From the Chicago Revolution Club:

Solidarity March Against Police Brutality and Gun Violence

February 15, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


Photo: Special to

February 13—Holding our Stolen Lives banner and wearing super-size BA Speaks: Revolution—Nothing Less! and BA-image T-shirts over our heavy winter coats, we marched up King Drive chanting, “Everywhere we go, people want to know who we are, so we tell them, we are the revcoms, the mighty, mighty revcoms,” along with a call and response of “I am a revolutionary.” When we got to the rally site, organizers of the day’s Solidarity March were exuberant.

The march had two focuses—to end the violence among the youth (since January 1, 70 people have died in gun violence and another 305 have been wounded by gunfire) and an end to police terror. While the crowd was much smaller than organizers had hoped, about 60 people gathered at the rally site in the bitter cold; it was a defiant and highly energized group. At the beginning, a number of local politicians joined in, along with Father Pfleger—the white priest of Chicago’s Black nationalist-oriented Catholic church, St. Sabina’s, made famous worldwide through the movie Chi-Raq.

As we joined the crowd, a member of the Revolution Club spoke. He addressed both focuses of the march, ending his remarks with BA’s quote:

No more generations of our youth here and all around the world, whose life is over, whose fate has been sealed, who have been condemned to an early death or a life of misery and brutality, whom the system has destined for oblivion even before they are born. I say no more of that. (Basics 1:13)

Saying, “This quote will give you a feel for what Bob Avakian and the revolution he is calling for is all about.” The club member then led the crowd in a call and response of “No More, No More!”

Everyone’s heart went out to a representative for the family of Bettie Jones (the 55-year-old Black woman who, along with 19-year-old Quintonio Legrier, was murdered by Chicago police on December 26) when he told the crowd how a pig told Bettie’s daughter, “Get over it, she’s dead!” as she tried to hold her mother as she lay dying on the floor of her home. It was excruciating to hear him describe how Bettie’s children, alone in their home for four days, were on their hands and knees scrubbing up their mother’s blood.

As we stepped into the street chanting “We represent the Chi and call for U N I T Y” (a call for the youth to stop killing each other and unite), more police than marchers appeared in front of us, at our side, and behind us. Undeterred, the march took the streets. After a half mile, the pigs tried to force the marchers back on the sidewalk. The people weren’t having it and the police backed down. “Sixteen shots and cover-up,” a by now iconic chant in reference to the police murder of Laquan McDonald, rang out as marchers defiantly linked arms and stopped traffic at a busy intersection.

For three and a half hours, the march, with bike cops on one side and a sea of pigs’ cars, an aid car, and even an empty bus marked “police charter” behind us, crossed different gang territory lines calling for an end to the violence among the youths and an end to police murder. At different points there were intense face-offs and verbal confrontations with the police, who tried to force the march off the street or cordon us into a smaller space. As we passed the Englewood police station a couple dozen smirking cops stood in front of it, and the youths in the crowd got in their faces, jumping up and down and chanting “16 shots and cover-up.” Before we moved on the pigs had slunk back inside.

We also passed groups of people on the street who cheered and raised fists of solidarity. “Indict, Convict, Send the Killer Cops to Jail. The Whole Damn System Is Guilty as Hell” was particularly popular with both marchers and bystanders. At one point the march passed some members of the family of Ronald “Ronnieman” Johnson waiting for the bus. Together with marchers they chanted “Justice for Ronnieman.” Gloria Pinex, mother of police murder victim Darius Pinex, joined the march as we entered Englewood. A sister of Dakota Bright, killed by the police at age 15, came running out to greet the march as it passed by her. A group of youths hanging outside a corner store cheered the march and jeered the pigs, and people from the march went over to engage with them.

Photo: Special to

A poignant event occurred when the march stopped in front of the Illinois Casket Company (see photo to right). People in the crowd demanded that the killing of our youths, by the police and by each other, end. Ja’Mal Green, the march organizer, spoke about Matt Williams and dedicated the march to Matty Matt. Matt, 21 years old, who had been in the streets at almost every protest since the release of video of the police murder of Laquan McDonald, was murdered one week prior when a bullet meant for someone else came through the window and killed him as he played video games with a friend. A Columbia College student and aspiring rapper, Matty Matt rapped about police violence.

Each time we stopped to do a die-in or linked arms at busy intersections in Englewood and Auburn Gresham, the questions of “what is the problem” and “what is the solution” were in the air. Contending views were offered as different people spoke to the crowd. Some called for Black-owned businesses. Another refrain was “Get out and vote,” especially against state’s attorney Anita Alvarez, on March 15, when a local primary is scheduled. While we took on this “vote, vote, vote” stuff some, we could and should have done this more, and more sharply, drawing from BA’s quote about the presidential elections (in his piece “On ‘Principled Compromises,’ and Other Crimes Against Humanity”). Members of the Revolution Club repeatedly called out the police as enforcers of the system of capitalism- imperialism that can only be ended through revolution and called on the youths in the life to stop doing what the system wants you to do, killing and maiming each other, and to get with the revolution and its leader, Bob Avakian. Throughout the march we passed out flyers and called on people in the march and along the street to be there on March 2, a day of no business as usual to stop police terror.


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