Free Josh Williams!
Jail Killer Cops—Not Freedom Fighters!

January 4, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Josh Williams
Josh Williams
(Photo: Free Joshua Williams NOW Facebook page)

Josh Williams is one of the defiant youths of Ferguson, Missouri, who in the summer of 2014 took to the streets after cop Darren Wilson murdered Michael Brown and police left his body in the street for four hours. Then 17 years old, Josh was among the courageous youths who stood up and said “no more!” in an unmistakable fashion and gave expression to the pain and anger of millions of Black and Brown people who are dehumanized, demonized, and brutalized by this system and its enforcers. They refused to back down in the face of tear gas and tanks, and their actions inspired an urgently needed, long overdue resistance against police murder across the country.

Josh is cherished and respected by those who know him personally and have fought side by side with him. And Josh became an inspiration to many more as he became a symbol for, and his image an icon of, the Ferguson uprising. In the eyes of the authorities, this was the crime” that needed to be punished. Josh has been convicted of bogus felony charges and was sentenced on December 10 to eight years in prison. This is a vicious injustice. It should be condemned by everyone who stands with the fight against police terror.

What’s on Trial Is Rising Up Against Police Terror

The prosecution and imprisoning of Josh Williams is retaliation against the powerful, beautiful, and courageous uprising that shined a hot spotlight seen around the world on brutal racism and terror against generations of Black and Brown youth in America. Josh’s sentence is meant to send a message to those who supported and sympathized with the rebellion, and the prosecutor openly admitted this.

Josh was charged with felony burglary and arson after people stood up in rage when police gunned down 18-year-old Antonio Martin in Berkeley (a town next to Ferguson) on December 23, 2014. Antonio Martin was another Black youth who “fit the description” of a “suspect” (supposedly for shoplifting in this case) and ended up being gunned down by police. This was just one month after the November 24 grand jury decision that gave a stamp of approval to Darren Wilson’s murder of Mike Brown while making clear that killer cops are immune from justice.

Those Who Rule This Murderous System Have NO RIGHT to Talk About Violence!

Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?

"Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?" is a clip from the film REVOLUTION AND RELIGION: The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion; A Dialogue Between CORNEL WEST & BOB AVAKIAN. The film is of the November 2014 historic Dialogue on a question of great importance in today's world between the Revolutionary Christian Cornel West and the Revolutionary Communist Bob Avakian. Watch the entire film here.

This is a system that loots whole continents and destroys whole communities. It’s a system that strides around the world as the global killer cop with military occupations and drone strikes that routinely incinerate whole families. Violence is deeply entrenched in America’s culture, going back to the enslavement and torture of African people to accumulate its founding wealth, and hunting and exterminating Native peoples to steal their land. Just since Josh Williams was arrested one year ago, more than 1,100 people have been killed by police across the U.S. What people in Ferguson and across the country have been rising up against is a slow genocide against Black people. The spear point of that genocide is police terror and mass incarceration.

In Defense of the Defiant Ones—It Is RIGHT to Rebel Against Police Terror!

As was said in a statement at following the rebellion in Ferguson after the November 2014 grand jury decision (In Defense of the Fighters in Ferguson):

We salute the bravery and defiance of the people in Ferguson in response to the outrageous refusal of the Grand Jury to indict the murderer of Michael Brown. They said NO, loud and clear, to injustice. No one was left in any doubt that they have had enough. And nobody can miss their courage and desire to fight against the enemy.

The bourgeois talking heads will slander them. The liberals will shake their heads. But know this...

This is not hopelessness or despair. No, this is casting away illusions. This is confronting reality as it is and saying in very clear terms HELL NO! And thereby laying the basis for real hope.

This is not senselessness. No, this is sanity. This is what it looks like when the outcasts realize that this system has no place for them, and they decide to stand up against that.

This statement went on to make the point that “People will learn to fight better and direct their anger more clearly,” but that people standing up, refusing to be beaten down and broken is crucial to doing that.

Jail Killer Cops—Not Freedom Fighters

Josh Williams has already spent more time in jail than Darren Wilson and the cops who killed Eric Garner, Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice.  His prosecution and sentencing are part of a larger counter-offensive going on over the last year aimed at suppressing the movement to stop police terror. This includes beatings and arrests of hundreds of protesters, including many who continue to face criminal charges and jail time. This includes police and media efforts to demonize and discredit the resistance, as well as threats like those directed at film director Quentin Tarantino for speaking out against police murder at Rise Up October. It is crucial to stand up for those under attack and do this as part of advancing the struggle to STOP police terror. Defending people who are being targeted and punished for fighting against police murder needs to become an integral part of the challenge to all society: “Which side are you on?”

Readers can go to the #FreeJosh hashtag and the Facebook petition site to learn about efforts to fight for Josh’s release and how to support him in prison. Those who are in prison, and all those with family and friends in prison, should spread the word to respect and defend freedom fighter Josh Williams.

Free Josh!


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