One Year After the Police Murder of Mike Brown:

Days of Defiance

Updated August 12, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From the streets of Ferguson to Boston, NYC and spreading around the country as we post this, the weekend and Monday after the first anniversary of the police murder of Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri has been marked with defiant protest and expressions of unleashed outrage. The protest has broken way into mainstream news, and cannot be ignored.

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?", a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Film of the Dialogue Between Cornel West and Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

One year after they murdered Mike Brown, the powers-that-be wanted that anniversary observed in ways that whitewashed their crime and covered up the nature of the system. A lot of effort—of different kinds—went into trying to stuff the just outrage that erupted a year ago back into the bottle. But what emerges from three days is that people weren’t going to be stuffed back into the bottle. Lies, promises, threats, and violent attacks by the authorities have not able to shut down the defiant ones. And defiant spirit and protest are just what is needed!

The powers-that-be are lashing back. Police are attacking protests. Videographers are being arrested for documenting police crimes. The Department of Homeland Security arrested people protesting at the Department of IN-Justice in St. Louis on Monday. And on Monday, on the pretext of an incident for which there is little actual information except that a Black man was shot by police on Sunday night in Ferguson, St. Louis County (which includes Ferguson) was placed under a state of emergency, bringing back the infamous virtual military occupation imposed a year ago during the uprising demanding justice for Mike Brown—when the world saw armored personnel carriers and militarized pigs blasting away at protesters with rubber bullets and gas. People everywhere must demand: back the fuck off, you murderers! People have a right to protest!

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Below—some sketches from what’s going on updated 8/11. Check back for new updates, starting with the most recent. Stay tuned…




Ferguson August 10

Stepping out into the streets, linked arms, heading for the DOJ in Ferguson. Credit:  Special to Revolution

Monday, St. Louis. Starting at noon, protesters assembled at the Christ Church Cathedral—a church that describes itself as “a vibrant Episcopal community and a spiritual center for downtown St. Louis” whose mission includes “celebration of diversity; a breathtaking sacred space; and advocacy on behalf of those marginalized in society.”

Before marching speakers called for moral conscience, for others in society to have the moral conscience to move people to act to stop police terror. An Arab woman who spoke said, “Our Black and Brown children are traumatized by racism and this has to stop.”

Ferguson, dozens of peple were arrested August 10

Carl Dix and Cornel West among those confronted by Homeland Security police (in foreground) at the Dept of IN-Justice in St. Louis. Credit: Special to Revolution

The march itself was very strong, stepping off with “Indict! Convict! Send the Killer Cops to Jail!”—not always, but often followed by “The Whole Damn System is Guilty as Hell.” People sang “What side are you on, my people? What side are you on?” And chanted “Black lives matter!” And “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”

People locked hands in the first few lines, in determination not to be stopped. There were drummers, and a whole mix of people—young, old, Black, white, Arabs and others. People sang freedom songs. Some folks saw themselves as demanding the DOJ do its job. Others saw the DOJ as part of the problem. The huge Stolen Lives banner was in the mix and everyone got challenged to be part of Rise Up October, October 24, in New York City.

After a short march from the Church, protesters faced off with Homeland Security police at the downtown St. Louis Department of Justice and later dozens of St. Louis police with stun guns. People moved straight to the door of the DOJ where arrests started. The spirit of defiance didn’t die down—more the opposite. A core of people had planned to participate in civil disobedience, including a half dozen or so clergy who were defiant and strong. Some in the crowd were saying “We will pray with our feet.” When people sat down in front of the federal courthouse they said in unison, “I believe we will win. “  They sang, “I Can’t Breathe”—the song popularized by Samuel L. Jackson.

Others were inspired and compelled to join in on the spot—at this point dozens of people have been arrested. Among them Cornel West and Carl Dix.

A reporter for the Guardian tweeted “Should be noted peaceful protesters at fed courthouse in downtown St Louis are being arrested by officers from the Dept of Homeland Security.” Food for thought on the real nature of “national security!”

A woman journalist from France who joined the protest told Revolution, “It is so sad to see they’re still killing Black people. There is a Black president but it is still going on. He is just a symbol. This is an international issue—in Europe, even Africa—even though it’s worse here.”

A spoken word artist who ended up getting arrested said “If they know there are consequences, disruption of business as usual, people change. In Cincinnati they indicted the cop who killed Sam DuBose pretty quickly because of a rebellion in 2001 after Cincinnati police murdered Timothy Thomas. There have to be consequences.”

The protest and arrests have gotten significant coverage in U.S. and world mainstream media. The European news service Reuters pushed global stock market reports, ISIS, and Greece down the list of stories to feature Cornel West and others being arrested while the crowd chants “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

From our correspondent’s notes: “What I felt today was that what the defiant ones in Ferguson, those youth who faced the attacks by police but would not stop coming to get justice for Mike Brown and all the thousands of others have a tremendous effect on the people who came out today, on the clergy, on people not directly under the gun, not so much crushed by the killing of our people by the police. The youth who are targeted, profiled, locked up, and with no means to live, have no future under this system, who face the ugliness of white supremacy and its enforcers,  but who have stood up to it, who have continued with the beatings, the arrests, the demonization by the authorities, continued to fight back. On Saturday night and since they showed people what it means  to carry forward the spirit of the rebellion a year ago, the spirit that is right to rebel and is still right to rebel.  As I heard speeches, and participated in the march—with its strong and determined chants and defiance—I thought how much the defiant ones have had an effect on this section of people, have inspired these people to yell ‘The whole damn system is guilty.’ A common theme among many perspectives: ‘We WILL NOT STOP’.”

In the afternoon of August 10 activists heroically staged a massive Freeway Shutdown on Hwy 70 near St. Louis.


Caption: Defiance in the rain in Ferguson Sunday on West Florissant. Credit:‏@kodacohen

Ferguson August 9

8/9/15: Late night on Canfield Avenue in Ferguson. Credit: Special to Revolution

Ferguson August 9

8/9/15: Police shooting smoke bombs at protesters on Canfield Ave, a few blocks from where Mike Brown was murdered. Credit: Special to Revolution

Sunday in Ferguson, Sunday in Ferguson began with a gathering at Canfield Dr. at the site where Mike Brown was murdered. People did four and a half minutes of silence to mark the time when one year earlier Mike Brown’s body was left to lie in the street for four and a half hours. Many hundreds then went on a silent march to Greater St. Mark's church where a community memorial service was held.

Another important event happened in the early evening before things broke out on W. Florissant. Several hundred filled St. Mark’s church that evening to hear Cornel West and a panel of local religious leaders addressing questions about where the Black church stands and where it should stand in relationship of oppression Black people face in U.S. society.

As afternoon turned to night time, the mood grew more intense; those in the streets were confronted with a large number of pigs, and an armored carrier, at both ends of West Florissant.

At different points, people chanted, “Hands up don’t shoot” and “indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty.”  At  one point one of the pigs said snidely, “Will never happen.”

The protest was viciously attacked by police, who filled the air with smoke bombs.

From a correspondent on the streets that evening:

Early in the evening, on Flo’ one of us saw hundreds of youth hanging out, playing music including “Fuck the Police”, sitting on their cars. Some may have marched the night before. Some were thinking about Mike Brown, some just chillin’. 

But soon this mood was broken. Shots were allegedly fired but the main thing is that Tyrone Harris, 18, was shot by police and is in critical condition. His mom said Tyrone was a good friend of Michael Brown. And then the police moved in, in force, over a hundred and in riot gear. The youth there are used to this, that no matter the problem, the police use it all to enforce their rule of oppression on the Black youth.  In fact, the police forced us down the street to a small parking lot of a liquor store.  About 60 or so youth gathered  and some spoke out. One said, “They want to destroy every Black person in every state. This is a war.” 

People signed up for Rise up October as an answer to the genocide and police terror that the youth of Ferguson have fought heroically against.

At one point, a Black woman was yelling at the police for being there.   A pig looked her in the eye holding his club ready to use it on her. He said, “Back up or else.”    Then another Black woman there yelled and yelled at the cops for being there in the first place.  In response to what the pig told the other woman, she said, “Don’t tell her to step back, you need to step back and get out of here, all of you” There was deep hatred of the pigs for being an occupying army enforcing white supremacy in Ferguson. And when we referred to BA’s quote about the role of the police, it certainly rang true to the youth there. 

The Revolution Club and the Stop Mass Incarceration Network took the message of resistance and Rise Up October out all over Ferguson. And there is a moment to be seized to organize people into the movement for revolution. Credit: Special to Revolution

A Revolution Club member said to the crowd, “We facing genocide. This is what we get, the police attacking us, when we refuse to live like this. They want us to be quiet and we refuse.” The potential for much more resistance and for people to come out for Rise Up October and the potential to build a revolutionary movement holds a great among our youth and others here. On the one year anniversary of the savage death of Michael Brown and no jail for the killer these pigs come in to declare we can kill you but you can’t protest or even feel the sorrow and pain of what happened to Mike Brown.

On Sunday night, there was an important organizing meeting for Rise Up October at Christ the King Church near Ferguson. The gathering was addressed by Reverend Jerome McCorry, along with family members of people murdered by police. Those family members included J. Andree Penix Smith, mother of Justin Smith, beaten to death while unarmed and handcuffed by five Tulsa, OK police officers Aug. 14, 1998, and Mertilla Jones, grandmother of Aiyana Stanley-Jones, the seven-year-old murdered by Detroit police. Activist Nellie Hester Bailey from New York City also addressed the meeting. After the presentations, people broke into groups for fundraising, outreach, and logistics for October 24.


August 8, 2015, marching to Ferguson police station

August 8, 2015: Marching through the streets of Ferguson to the police station. (Photo: Special to Revolution/


Late Saturday Night at ground zero—Ferguson itself—after a day of different kinds of events and protests, hundreds of people, mostly youth, marched up to the Ferguson Police Department—the scene of ongoing crimes. After long and intense confrontation with police guarding the station a  young Black woman told a Revolution reporter, “Our voices need to be heard about the police killing Black people and tonight they were heard.”   A member of Lost Voices group told him, “What happened last year unleashed a beast. And that beast has been tamed too many times. Not tonight. “ And one comrade said, “What happened tonight was reminiscent of the first night of the rebellion a year ago.“  

Our correspondent wrote: "It was clear that the defiant ones who the powers-that-be have tried to crush both physically and through the media, the defiant ones  who stood up in the face of tear gas, tanks, rubber bullets, live machine guns, curfews, hundreds of arrests in the face of political firemen urging people to be calm while the police murder people over and over were in the streets Saturday night.  Their message was loud and clear: we are determined to stop the pigs from murdering us and we the people will stop them."



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