Why Economic Boycotts Will Not STOP Murder by Police

by Carl Dix | March 2, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


A commonly held opinion among people who want to do something about the way the system refuses to punish cops who brutalize and even murder people is to “hit them in the pocketbook”—organize economic boycotts. The thinking behind this view is that, if Black people and their supporters withhold their money, the powers-that-be may be forced to rein in their front-line enforcers. This view misses what the powerful outpourings of protest accomplished last year, and it is based on a wrong view of what strength the masses who hate this horror actually have. The other thing that makes this approach seem seductive to so many people is because it’s easier than what really needs to be done.

Think about it—if people had responded to the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson by calling for a boycott instead of pouring into the streets and staying there in the face of the tear gas, rubber bullets and everything else the system threw at them, what would’ve happened? No one outside of that area would have ever learned about Michael’s murder. There wouldn’t have been people taking to the streets all across the country. And when the grand jury let the cop walk, there wouldn’t have been thousands of people pouring into the streets saying police getting away with murder must STOP! And millions of people wouldn’t have had their eyes open to the horrors being inflicted on Black and Latino people by this system and been challenged to take a stand with those demanding justice.

That’s the real power the masses of people have—the ability to challenge the injustice this system has brought down on Black people and other oppressed people from the very beginning of this country; not withholding our dollars from the economy of the country. The outpourings of protest have stripped away the cover of legitimacy the rulers work to keep over the savage oppression and the vicious exploitation this capitalist-imperialist system brings down on people. Rather than calling on people to stay home and not shop, which is a very passive form of activity, we need to mobilize even more powerful resistance, bringing forward wave after wave of people taking to the streets and saying NO MORE to police getting away with murder. This is just what the April 14 day of disrupting business as usual in this society is all about doing.

It is easier to stay home and not shop or to work on getting people to do that than to go right into the teeth of the repression, the mass arrests and the threats the authorities have unleashed against those who have stood up to say this shit must STOP! But it won’t stop the horrors from continuing to be perpetrated against the people.

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