Ferguson, Missouri—From a Reporter’s Notebook:

Tuesday Night (August 11) on West Florissant: The youth remain defiant!

August 13, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Editors’ note: After three days of defiant and wide ranging protest (see “Three Days of Defiance”, the mood in Ferguson stayed defiant and there were outbreaks of rebellion and engagement with revolution. The following is from our correspondent’s notes on the scene:


Defiant youth out on West Florissant in Ferguson, Missouri, Tuesday August 11. Photos: Special to Revolution

West Florissant Tuesday August 11, 2015

West Florissant Tuesday August 11, 2015
West Florissant Tuesday August 11, 2015

We heard there was going to be a march to the police station last night, so a few of us from revcom.us and #RiseUpOctober went to West Florissant to check it out. It is a few blocks from where Michael Brown was murdered. This is a gathering point for diverse youths and others who want to resist the daily killing by the police and consider Ferguson the epicenter of resistance that hasn’t been seen in this country for decades. This two-block area of West Florissant is where the rebellion happened. It is a strip with beauty supply stores, nail salons, convenience stores. There are no Starbucks, no upscale restaurants here, but there are youths coming out night after night to resist and protest the killing of Mike Brown and other victims of police murder with chants, signs, lots of soul and heart, and determination to get justice.

As people were gathering and still arriving and some talking about what to do that night, I got out Carl Dix’s statement “Ferguson 2015—It’s Still Right to Rebel Against Injustice,” the new issue of Revolution, and Rise Up October palm cards and talked to people. I asked a Black man in his 30s why he was there. He said, “I am out here and from the day after Michael Brown got shot because my brother was brutalized by the police, and me... they stop me all the time, almost every day. I have no record, have a job, have travelled the world teaching dance, continue to protest the police. That’s what we have to do.”

A Black woman student from St. Louis said, “I am proud of what happened here, that’s why I am here. I am scared, I am Sandra Bland, I am an activist too.” I ran into two 19-year-old white college students who drove from Kansas City to be part of what was happening last night. They told about a debating club they are in that mainly takes up the issue of racism and the police killing of Black people. They said the main problem is institutional racism that permeates society, that that is why the police kill Black and Brown people. They think education is key to stopping this. I told them what BA says about the role of the police. They were interested in that view and said they would check out revcom.us and took a few palm cards for Rise Up October, thinking they might organize people to go to New York on October 24.

As night fell, about 100 people gathered and the police in riot gear were across the street from us. At one point, people ran into the street and blocked traffic in both directions. Then the pigs moved in, grabbed and pushed people. Then the line of at least 100 cops in riot gear and shields pushed people back, and then we faced off.

One young Black man looked them straight in the eye and said over and over again, “Why you here with guns, bulletproof vests, Tasers, shields. Why you here? All we got is our voices. Why you here?” More people surged towards the pigs, yelling at them for being there. Then people shouted, “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot!” and “There is no riot here/Why you in riot gear?”

The youths remain defiant in the face of the “official violence aimed at suppressing sections of people this system has no future for, people it hates and fears. This kind of violence has been built into the very fabric of America since the first Africans were dragged to these shores in slave chains centuries ago. It is completely illegitimate, and it must be stopped.” (“Ferguson 2015—It’s Still Right to Rebel Against Injustice!”).

At one point, the cops moved back but kept the riot gear on, ready to be used. I walked over to a few youths. One said, “No justice with the cops, they make it clear. They want us to kill each other. They not there to serve and protect.” About 30 people marched up and down West Florissant chanting, others stood around talking to each other, sometimes laughing and chillin’ along the strip. But as soon as the police made a move, they responded; or when I showed them Carl Dix’s statement and about Rise Up October, they jumped into conversing about the issue of police terror and what to do about it. Many of them said they want to go to New York on October 24.

Revolution—Nothing Less

As I walked along the strip, I suddenly saw many people wearing REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts, people I didn’t know. When I asked one youth why he was wearing it, he smiled and said “Because they say revolution, that’s what I am for.”

I saw a group of three women with them on and they said they are signed up for revolution and Rise Up October. I told them they needed to check out BA by watching the film BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! They nodded in agreement and walked along. Seeing youths wearing the shirts, even several of them, made a youth from Ferguson I know ask me, “Where can I get a shirt?” I told him we will have more in the next day or two. Keep that in mind when you (reading this) think about how strongly you are reaching out to raise money to subsidize getting those T-shirts produced and shipped!

As I sat down on a curb resting, and seeing more people with shirts, I thought how exciting it is for the defiant ones of Ferguson to make August 22 a day when people all over the country will wear REVOLUTION— NOTHING LESS! T-shirts to represent for revolution and the emancipation of humanity. I thought of all that the defiant ones have done to make “It’s Right to Rebel Against Injustice” a rallying cry everywhere and how August 22 can be a day when the youth searching for answers to the horrors of capitalism-imperialism can provide direction to that.

August 22 and building for it needs to be the time when the youth here will be “Boldly marching in, chanting, giving all who see it the sense of a force that is sure of the revolution and sure of themselves. Sharing the words of BA with people and bringing the message. ... Doing all this is critical to actually building a movement FOR revolution, with the Revolutionary Communist Party at its leading core, and preparing the political conditions, the people, and the vanguard both to make that revolution when the time is right and to hasten that time.” (“Take a Big Step in Getting BA Everywhere! August 22: Represent for Revolution and the Emancipation of Humanity”)

I got up from the curb excited at the prospect of a powerful August 22 and 23 here in Ferguson—THAT will impact all over.

West Florissant in Ferguson, Missouri, August 11, 2015

Photo: Special to Revolution




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