The Time Is Now, the Potential Is There, to Shut Shit Down on April 14

April 8, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Last Saturday, April 4, Walter Scott—a 50-year-old Black man—was gunned down by a murdering cop in North Charleston, South Carolina. Walter Scott—a man, his brother said, who loved to tell jokes and dance… a man who was allegedly “wanted” for failing to pay child support… a Black man, the cops claimed, who had a “broken taillight”—was shot in the back, brought down in a barrage of eight shots—murdered—as he ran away, unarmed, from a cop who had Tased him.

Let’s be clear. Murders like this happen all the time. All the time.


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The difference here is that this one was caught on videotape—a fact which only came to light Tuesday, April 7, three days later. It shows Scott running away, posing no danger whatsoever to anyone, while the pig Michael Slager shoots him. The video shows Scott’s killer go back to where the incident started and pick something up—something that appears to be a Taser gun—and then set it down near Scott’s body. The video shows Slager and his partner stand there indifferently while Scott bleeds out and dies (even though their report claims they attempted to give him CPR).

When this news broke—when the documentation of this horrifying, back-shooting, cold-blooded murder came out—then and only then did the authorities move, charging Slager with murder. And, again, let’s be real clear: this monster would not have even been charged if people had not stood up in Ferguson, if people had listened back then to those who told them to calm down. And note well that the pig who did this to Walter Scott claimed—and will almost certainly claim at his trial and may well get off—that he was in danger of his life. The same claim that Michael Brown’s killer made in Ferguson… the same claim they always make… and always get away with, as they did in Ferguson… and as they will here, unless people raise holy hell about it.

Nobody with any claim to oppose police murder, nobody with any claim to conscience can at this point stand aside from the call for major outpourings of people on April 14.

The night before this hit, in New York, Carl Dix and Cornel West addressed an emergency meeting on police murder. Over 400 people crowded into a church to hear them. We won’t try to summarize it here—everyone reading this should go to hear on this website the speeches of these two leaders, as well as the powerful testimony of the relatives of those murdered by police. You should listen to the hot fury and the compelling analysis… the whole history this comes out of and the raw experience of those who face it… the determination of a new generation and the support of prominent artists and people of conscience and the impassioned response of the audience. All this showed the potential for April 14 to enable people to go back on the offensive against this epidemic of wanton police murder. An offensive that is clearly and urgently needed.


The Police Are STILL Killing Unarmed People, and
This Must STOP!

Cornel West and Carl Dix Speak


Click here for video of the program and messages of support

This potential was underlined the next day, when Reverend Calvin Butts—who attended the emergency meeting—led a coalition of clergy in NYC in issuing a call for people to act against police murder on April 14. There is a need and a hunger to go back on the offensive, increasingly felt in society. This has been boiling and bubbling in different cities where the rage has bubbled over… this came out at the emergency meeting… it was reflected in the action of Reverend Butts (and in other actions reported on across the country on this website)… and the outrage erupting in the wake of the South Carolina murder underscores this. APRIL 14 MUST MEET THIS URGENT AND DEEPLY FELT NEED FOR RESISTANCE AGAINST POLICE MURDER.

At this point, there is tremendous potential to meet that need, potential that is more apparent and in some ways far greater than it was a week ago. After all the slanders, misleading lies, and promises… these monsters were caught on camera once again carrying out murder… and people in their millions are again outraged.

But even with the powerful basis for resistance, even with the growing potential, there is very hard and creative work needed to make April 14 really happen in the way that it must. There are people—there are thousands—who can and must be organized to help make this happen. But that is a process—even if a telescoped one in the days now remaining until April 14.

Listen. You can’t just give people some materials and tell them to go challenge people. You can’t just tell someone who expresses interest about a meeting that’s coming up. That’s part of it, yeah. But it’s not enough. It can be a big step to go from sympathizing to resisting… and an even bigger one to go from resisting to organizing others. When people give you their names, you have to stay in touch… you have to introduce them to others in their school or neighborhood and help them mesh… you have to listen and think and draw them out as they tell you what they’re running into—positive and negative, clarifying and confusing—and work with them to make sense of it all and traverse it. Even in the short time remaining, there is a need to work WITH people… solving problems together on how to reach out… and through that, laying the basis for this thing to really take off as the days get closer.

Now in all this, the two main websites that are fighting for April 14—this one, revcom.us, and the website of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network—stopmassincarceration.net, are absolutely critical resources. Here is where you’ll find reports on what’s going on, the questions that people are running into, and how to understand and answer them. With, revcom.us, you get the way this is part of the whole larger dynamics driving the world, and a whole struggle for communist revolution. These sites are invaluable; and the more that people can get into these together, digging into them and talking it over collectively, the more their impact can be amplified.

Speaking to revolutionaries, our role here is a) to keep people focused on the reality of the situation:

the horror of the systemic and systematic police murder of Black and Latino people, made so powerfully clear in the Stolen Lives poster;

the epidemic proportions of that horror;

the way this is built into the system but at the same time totally unnecessary;

what was accomplished by the actions of the fall, when thousands took to the streets in resistance;

the ways the rulers hit back against all that;

and the need now to powerfully re-take the offensive.

And b) on that basis, to work with people who come forward in many different ways, giving them the ways to be organized and organize others, ways to learn more as they do, even if they may not be ready or in a position now to drop everything or go 24-7. This doesn’t mean being modest in our plans or turtle-like in our approach; it DOES mean working with people to develop and realize all the things, big and small, that are needed to actually reach the goal of powerful, high-impact April 14 outpourings. April 14 is not “our thing” in some kind of narrow way— increasingly it is, and must much more be, the project of many, many people and forces, embodying the hopes of millions. And the work to bring that into being must reflect that.

The campuses play a crucial role in this. There were students in the house to hear Carl and Cornel, and there are students taking this up. In some places there are cores… more often, right now, there are ones and twos, sometimes people who didn’t know each other before. But the movement needs many, many more! And we can draw forward more, taking the Stolen Lives posters onto the campus and working with parents and other people from the hard streets to bring reality directly to the students. We can draw students forward as well by finding the ways to saturate social media with highlights from the April 6 program.

We must also continue to go into those hard streets, fighting despair and uniting with the seething anger and desire to take this on that boils right beneath the surface and has been bubbling over in the past few months... finding the ways with people in these communities to make the 14th a powerful, meaningful outpouring.

And it will be important to persevere in the struggle to re-polarize people of conscience, building on the very significant statements and positions that now have been taken by those courageous ones who dared to step out first, and fighting to break into the media with all this. Again, given this outrage in South Carolina, what was not possible yesterday may be possible today… and still more, beyond what we imagined, possible tomorrow. Those who have stood aside up to now must be re-faced with the reality both of the murder of Walter Scott and the stands taken by people like Cindy Sheehan, Alice Walker, Eve Ensler, Arturo O’Farrill, Charles Burnett, and the other people of conscience who have stepped out.

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Finally, a word here on the Dialogue between Bob Avakian and Cornel West, REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion. This dialogue has huge meaning and importance in many, many dimensions, giving people an entirely different sense of the world that is possible, and the kind of revolution we need to get to that world. It is not an exaggeration to say that it is world-historic—again, in more than one sense. So, obviously, it has importance above and beyond A14—but it is also in fact a tremendously powerful positive factor FOR A14. Experience does show the tremendous importance of people being exposed to this, how important and positive this dialogue is for raising people’s sights and strengthening their resolve to change the world. Yes, be out there all day fighting the power... challenge people— and unite with them—on the horror and outrage of police murder and mass incarceration... work with and bring forward and organize new people as you do, learning and leading... and, at the same time, be promoting and watching together this gift of a dialogue from BA and CW.

With all this in mind, and with daring, well-founded tactical plans that give full expression to the desire of people to be free of this horrific madness, we can and will go forward to make April 14 a success—and a springboard to take this way higher and STOP this insanity.

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