Traumatized by the Police…. And Taking Up the Most Scientific Understanding of Revolution

by Joe Veale | November 23, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


When I was about 9 or 10 years old, my brother and I would play this game we called “strike out.” With tape we would mark out a “strike zone” on the wall of a factory building near where we lived.

When pitching he would dream he was either Sandy Koufax (with the Los Angeles Dodgers) or Bob Gibson (who pitched for St. Louis Cardinals), who were two of the great pitchers in major league baseball during that time.

When batting, he dreamt he was Willie McCovey of the SF Giants or Stan Musial of the Cardinals.

I, of course, would dream of the great pitcher with the SF Giants Juan Marichal—and when batting, one of the greatest ever in major league baseball, Willie Mays, who also played for the Giants.

Well, whenever we would hit a popup foul ball it would generally land on the roof of the factory. There was a step ladder on the building and we would use it to retrieve our ball.

When this would happen, which was frequently, people inside the building would call the police. The police always came. They would accuse us of breaking and entering. In very colorful language we would tell them they were lying and that they knew they were lying.

These encounters would end with the police making accusations and threats and with us saying back: “fuck you!”

A year or two before this, all the kids got into playing this game called “doctor,” where the “doctor” would do a physical on the “patient.” Of course the patient had to undress. I was the eight-year-old “doctor” and my patient was a five-year-old white girl. She told her parents.

The police came and arrested me and my seven-year-old “assistant doctor.” They took us to the police station and interrogated us. No charges. No lawyer. My grandmother was called from work, and she, my friend and his mother were all frightened and traumatized.

We thought we were playing an innocent game that all kids played.

No crime had been committed. We thought we were playing an innocent game but here we were—being threatened with jail time—being traumatized.

A little later we started to go to house parties at night when we were 12, 13, 14-year-olds. Having a good time (showing your latest dance moves) maybe making your first attempts at exploring “a chance at romance.” Innocent kid things. But the police would constantly show up.

Sometimes they would pull the plug and stop the music. They would announce that “the party is over!”

They would roll deep when doing this. Four to a car. Slowly following us—their car lights dim—as we walked to our homes.

There was only so much of this shit you could take. Someone would hurl a brick or bottle crashing the windshield window on the police car.

Some of us would go to jail. Juvenile hall. At school we would ask each other, what did you get busted for? “GP” was the general reply. “GP” was short for general principle.

Later we learned that the police would radio each other that they were responding to a “TNA” and needed back up when making these calls.

“TNA” as we learned later, was police talk for “Typical Nigger Activity.”

Generally when out on Friday or Saturday night looking for a party we would often be stopped and arrested.

There were times I remember, as soon as police would hear my name, they would say, “Yeah, you are going to jail because you hang out with so and so...” and they would take a group of us to jail.

That was the “legal” reason for our arrest. They would strip search us. Turn our pockets inside out trying to find residue of marijuana.

We had no rights they had to respect.

We resisted. We tried to stand up for ourselves—which more often than not meant getting a beat down and made-up charges being put on you.

One night the police shot someone I knew in the back a couple of blocks from my house, murdering him.

The next day they arrested me on a bogus warrant and announced: “We killed your friend last night!” They were still pumped up.

They went on to say that they were really disappointed that when they turned his body over to look at the face that it wasn’t me. They were sure, they said, it was me because it was so close to where I lived and they wanted to kill me so bad, in part because they said I had a “big mouth” and I was unafraid to use it—to speak up for myself, my friends, or anybody who was being abused by the police.

Since this was such a common occurrence, I found myself in constant confrontations with the police.

This is why when Huey Newton, Bobby Seale and Bobby Hutton started the Black Panther Party—and found a legal way to do armed patrols of police abuse, police brutality, police murder and the threat of this—it struck such a deep chord with me.

Because you experienced this shit every single fucking day.

The BPP did more. They pointed to revolution against this system of capitalism as the ultimate source responsible for the oppression of Black people. And as Huey Newton would say: “...we learned that in going out to make revolution, the spirit of the people is greater than the Man’s technology.”

That is why we studied the Red Book of Quotations of Chairman Mao—we were trying to make revolution. Mao’s Red Book was our handbook.

We went as far as our limited understanding would take us.

Today we have a higher, more comprehensive and scientific understanding of the oppression of Black people, Latino people, Native Americans, and immigrants, and the oppression of women, the oppression of gay, lesbian, transgender people, people who are different—and how the wars for empire that are foundational to this system—as is the destruction of the environment—are ALL rooted in this system of capitalism-imperialism.

We have this because of the work done by BA, Bob Avakian. The leader of the revolution. The Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party. We have the handbook of revolution for today’s time, BAsics from the writing and talks by Bob Avakian. Learning from revolutions and socialist societies in the Soviet Union from 1917 to the mid-1950s, and in China led by Mao from 1949 to 1976—learning from the mainly good things accomplished but also the negative—learning from history generally—from various fields of human endeavor—making a new breakthrough in our understanding of the whole process of revolution—involving tens of millions in overturning, defeating, dismantling this system and its instruments of violence—setting up a new economic system—socialism—that meets the needs of the people—a political system that goes along with that—and the further revolutionizing of society and the whole world to a transition to a world of freely associating human beings...communism.



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