Carl Dix Speaks on #RiseUpOctober:
It HAS to Happen

August 28, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


Carl Dix is the co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA.

Carl Dix
Carl Dix is the co-founder of the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and a representative of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. (Photo: Revolution/

Sixty years ago tomorrow, Emmett Till was brutally murdered. Why? Because they say he whistled at a white woman. Four days later, two white men came to his family's house and dragged Emmett off. They took him to a river, made him take his clothes off and beat him nearly to death. They gouged his eye out and shot him in the head. Then they tied his body to a 75 pound fan and threw him in the river. They were never punished for this murder, even tho' they admitted to doing it in an interview run in Look magazine.

Saturday will be another solemn anniversary. 10 years ago Hurricane Katrina roared ashore from the Gulf of Mexico. Katrina broke thru the levees in New Orleans and flooded 80 percent of the city. Hundreds of thousands of people were driven from their homes. Thousands and thousands of mostly poor Black people were left to die as the authorities failed to provide rescue from the flood waters or emergency supplies of food and water. Nearly 2,000 people DID die. Black people were herded into pens in the New Orleans Superdome that reminded many of the way enslaved Africans were jammed into the holds of slave ships. Blacks who acted to save their own and others' lives were condemned as "looters." The governor of Louisiana gave orders to shoot looters on sight. And police did gun down people who were doing nothing more than trying to escape the flood waters. In the weeks that followed, the authorities used Katrina to ethnically cleanse New Orleans, driving 100,000's of mostly Black people out of New Orleans. I saw some of this up close because I was in New Orleans several times in the aftermath of Katrina, and I fought together with people against the way Black people were driven out of the city.

These two anniversaries are gone into, deeply, in our newspaper, Revolution.  I urge everyone to get multiple copies of Revolution here tonight. Let's think about these two horrific anniversaries. And think about this—from Emmett Till to Sandra Bland... from the catastrophe of Katrina to the ongoing catastrophe of mass incarceration... from all the horrors of the slave ships, the Middle Passage, the centuries of enslavement and lynch mob terror, South AND North, to what we're here tonight to talk about—WHAT WE MUST DO TO STOP POLICE TERROR AND MURDER... think about what America has meant.

So what MUST we do to stop all this? I'm gonna talk tonight about the only REAL way to put an end to this, and then I'm going to talk about Rise Up October, the huge National March to Stop Police Terror on October 24 here in New York City, which is something that everyone can and must jump into right now to push these killers back. And to start all this, I'm going to share with you a quote from Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party. Here's what BA says:

There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system which has, for so long, not just exploited but dehumanized, terrorized and tormented them in a thousand ways—putting an end to this in the only way it can be done—by fighting to emancipate humanity, to put an end to the long night in which human society has been divided into masters and slaves, and the masses of humanity have been lashed, beaten, raped, slaughtered, shackled and shrouded in ignorance and misery.

That ugliness is so real, it is painful to even think about. There is the way they nearly wiped out the native peoples who lived here and stole their lands, and then put the few who survived into concentration camps called reservations. There is the way they dragged millions of Africans to these shores in slave chains. Oh yes, this capitalist system came into being dripping with blood from its every pore as Karl Marx said. There's the subjugation of women, which is ages old and current day with the culture of servitude and rape and viewing women as sex objects, and the attempts to control women's most private decisions of when or whether they want to have a child. There's the way they do immigrants who are driven here by hunger and horror the U.S. causes in their homelands, desperately seeking work and then persecuted—deported in record numbers by Obama and insulted by fascist idiots like Donald Trump.

Carl Dix

There's the imperialist wars—the powers that be sometimes tell us about the Americans who die in these wars, but do they tell us about the people they kill? They killed over a million people in Iraq these past two decades. They killed three million people in Vietnam and three million more in Korea. And do they tell you why? Well, Cornel can tell you—it's for EMPIRE. And I was in their army, I saw how they try to break people's spirits and turn them into mindless killing machines for their imperialist wars. When they told me in 1970 that I had to ship out to Vietnam, I said "HELL, No!" I did two years in Leavenworth military prison because I refused to kill my Vietnamese brothers and sisters for this system. And now they're even putting all of human life in danger by destroying the environment of the planet we all live on.

We can't turn away from this ugliness. We have to confront it.

But there's something else. There's the great beauty that Avakian talks about. The potential to emancipate all of humanity.

This is not a dream. This is not "don't worry, we'll get justice some day." This can be done. Humanity CAN be emancipated. And the way to do this is through revolution—thru getting RID of this system and bringing in a system that is based on freeing people from all that ugliness and developing whole new ways for people to relate to each other and to the whole world.

A lotta people tell me, "Carl, you're crazy. You can't make revolution. They're too powerful." But what's crazy is going along with this system and expecting things to get better. And let me tell you about their power—I've seen it up close, and I've seen the very real potential to defeat that power.

We saw the potential to make revolution in the 1960's, when Black people stood up against the oppression enforced on them, sparking much broader resistance here in the U.S. and striking a chord with people around the world. The potential to defeat them and their power was shown in Vietnam where peasants who were inspired and organized defeated their big powerful army—and part of how they did that by inspiring soldiers like me to rebel. Back then we wanted to question and change everything. We saw glimmers of a different morality, a whole different way people could relate to each other. We saw a glimpse back then of the beauty Bob Avakian is talking about.

In a few parts of the world people did get free, and here in the belly of the beast, the system got knocked back on its heels. But things didn't go far enough. We never made revolution here in the U.S., leaving power in the hands of the capitalist exploiters. Where revolution had been made, power was seized back. The attempt to change everything got defeated, and people around the world and in this country have paid a heavy price in blood and misery for this ever since. A lot of people got too beaten down and gave up. What we got was a few faces in high places—some Black, some Latino, some women. What else we got was over two million people in prison.

Today one in two Black children grow up in poverty. We got crack and AIDS and all the horrors that go with what Lorraine Hansberry called a "dream deferred." But that's where Bob Avakian comes in—because he never gave up on the people and he never gave up on revolution, and not only that, he made new breakthroughs in revolution, including in basically solving the problems that the revolution ran up against back then.

Don't let people tell you we can't do better than this...don't let anybody tell you that America is eternal, and that the best we can hope for is getting some itty-bitty changes in HOW they dog us. Don't let them suck you into framing what you're trying to do in the language and the terms of the system. Don't let them tell you that we have to limit ourselves to working within the channels this system puts out there. We've seen this movie before, and the result is the whole genocidal situation we face right now—and yes, I said genocide. So I'm challenging everyone here, especially you young people—get into this revolution, get into Bob Avakian and what he's brought forward about how to make revolution—keep your sights aimed where they need to be: on emancipating all of humanity. You can do this by going to our website——or come to our new bookstore opening up this fall in Harlem at 437 Malcolm X Blvd at 132nd St. ... but do get into him.

Now, coming from where I'm coming from—the need for and possibility of revolution—I understand that we have to fight right now—we can't let them beat people so far down that we could never rise up against the things they do to us. We have to mobilize everyone we can, wherever they're coming from and however they see the problem and the solution, to fight this madness we face. Again, that's why you came here tonight—to find out what we must do to stop police terror and murder.

Stolen Lives poster
Poster PDF (for print) color | black & white       JPG (full size, for web)

Let me start out by getting personal. When I tell you the police have killed over 700 people so far this year, these are not just statistics to me. In the decades I've been working to stop murder by police I've seen the devastation killer cops inflict on families and on communities. I met Mertilla Jones five years ago. It was just days after a SWAT team broke into the wrong house and murdered her 7-year-old granddaughter, Aiyana Stanley-Jones. I met Juanita Young 15 years ago, just days after a cop who had arrested her son Malcolm Ferguson the previous week for protesting the murder of Amadou Diallo murdered Malcolm. I met Nicholas Heyward almost 20 years ago, two years after his 13-year-old son, Nicholas Jr, was gunned down by a cop while he was playing with a toy gun. These are just a few of the thousands of people who have been murdered by police. Ask these parents what it's like to mourn your child, without even justice. Or ask my wife, whose brother was shot down by cops right in front of his mother, just a day after they had told her they were gonna kill him. All this is a big part of why I'm doing all I can to mobilize people to act to STOP police getting away with murder. And it's why you need to join with this effort

People who front for this system are asking, "what are your demands?" They say, "You can't just tell us to stop letting our cops kill you, you have to have some 'reasonable' demands.'

It tells you something about this system that to them stopping the police from murdering innocent people and terrorizing Black and other oppressed peoples is "unreasonable." Let's leave that aside for now. OK, here are some demands. How about indicting, convicting and putting the killer cops in jail? And I don't just mean the ones who get caught on video killing someone next week. I mean all the killer cops, including those who have killed 1000s of people over the past years and decades. This is a "reasonable" demand because there is no statute of limitations on murder!

How about dismantling the new Jim Crow of mass incarceration and the whole genocidal program this concentrates? Don't be bragging about how Obama pardoned 46 people when there are 2.3 million people locked down. How about doing something about this for real? How about dropping the charges on everybody who got arrested protesting murder by police over the past year? How about shutting down that dungeon and butcher shop they got over there on Riker's Island, and the other dungeons just like it in other cities? And we do have an overarching demand: how about you STOP unleashing your cops to kill our people?

These are pretty reasonable demands, unless you are presiding over a system that NEEDS official murder, terror and massive unjust imprisonment. These are the demands that people need to throw down over and fight for as part of ending these horrors. And RiseUpOctober, the big national march in NYC on October 24, is aimed at making a big leap in the fight to do this.

When you're up against a genocide, and that IS what we're dealing with, you don't ask the people presiding over it to make some changes to smooth out the rough edges of that genocide or to slow down its intensity. You act to stop it.

And when you're up against a genocide, you don't listen when they say: "you've made your point—now you can stop disrupting the business as usual of our system." We haven't "made our point" until all of society is in an uproar saying that THIS MUST STOP. We haven't made our point until everyone has felt compelled to choose sides on this because they understand that there is no middle ground, and people feel challenged to be in the street saying THIS MUST STOP. We haven't made our point until, like Rev McCorry says, these so-called champions of human rights stand revealed before the whole wide world for the frauds that they are, and the whole world sees that THIS MUST STOP.

Video of the full event held on August 27:
What We Must Do to STOP Police Terror and Murder

Diverse, Intense & Uncompromising: A Night in Harlem to GET READY for #RiseUpOctober in NYC, October 22-24, 2015

THIS is why we have to be out there on October 22, 23 and 24. When we stand out there on October 22 reading the names of those the police have murdered—with prominent people joining with loved ones of those murdered and with clergy and others to, as Kimberlé Crenshaw and Janelle Monáe have called on us to do: SAY THEIR NAMES. This will send a powerful message. When people take to the streets in cities all across the country on October 22, people won't be able to turn their heads and say they didn't see it. On October 23, when students and clergy alongside and in solidarity with those who feel the lash of this every day, engage in non violent direct action and shut down one of their institutions of misery and terror—that will send a powerful message to all—this movement is serious.

Then on October 24, we, all of us, will march in from Grant Homes and Strivers' Row in Harlem, from Washington Heights and Jackson Heights, from Bed-Stuy and Hunts Point and from Jamaica and Staten Island. There will be students from CUNY, Columbia and dozens of other campuses from this area, people from Newark and Paterson and Hartford, numbering in the thousands and thousands. We will be joined by thousands and thousands more from Atlanta and Chicago, from Detroit and Cleveland, from New Orleans and Mississippi and many other places. Millions of people all across the country and around the world will hear our powerful cry: WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON? Millions more are gonna say, okay, I gotta choose sides and many of them will decide they have to be with the ones trying to STOP this.

We will change history. We will inspire thousands and yes millions, who are tired of being treated like criminals and tired of seeing cops patrolling their communities like occupying armies, to see that they don't have to take this, to see that it's not their fault. And they will stand up and act to stop this. We will rally to their side thousands of people from other sections of society who refuse to stand aside while horrors are inflicted on people because of the color of their skin. We will open the eyes of those who don't suffer these horrors, challenging them to quit swallowing the lying justifications the authorities give for continuing to give a green light to killer cops, challenging them to get off the sidelines—Which Side Are You On? Are you on the side of acting to STOP these horrors? Or are you on the side of continuing to let them go down? There's no middle ground, no neutrality, on this. You gotta choose a side. And I don't mean just giving us your sympathy. I mean actively joining in the resistance and mobilizing others to resist too. You gotta join with this effort to make October 24 as powerful as possible. You gotta listen when somebody here tonight tells you what you can do and who you can hook up with to be part of RiseUpOctober, or, and let me be real—if you and people like you don't throw in on this—it ain't gonna happen.

And it HAS to happen.

I don't want to have to keep on making hashtags with the names of people killed by the police. I don't want to keep adding names to the lists of the lives stolen by law enforcement. I don't want to have to keep adding pictures of people the police have murdered to banners like this. I don't want to let this genocide keep going so that future generations will be here discussing what to do about it 20 years from now. We've got to act to stop it now.

So let's get out there, let's do all we can to STOP this, and then let's do more—let's make October a big step toward a world where when the next generation learns about Emmett Till and Katrina, it really WILL be history, a history that has been overcome and that no longer echoes and booms in the reality of the present. A world where humanity has straightened its back and emancipates itself.



Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta
The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need