Chicago Eight Years Later:
If You Think Voting Solves a Single Goddamn Thing, Look at Obama’s Home Base and Tell Us Why...

April 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


BA on elections


Pierre Loury
Pierre Loury

May 6, 2015, victims of police torture under the command of retired Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, at the Chicago City Council.May 6, 2015, victims of police torture under the command of retired Chicago Police Commander Jon Burge, at the Chicago City Council. Some victims spent decades in prison after confessing to crimes they did not commit. (AP photo)

Chicago State students and supporters shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway to protest the closing of their school.
January 28, 2016, Chicago State students and supporters shut down the Dan Ryan Expressway to protest the closing of their school. Photo: YouTube

If you think voting can change a single goddamn thing, look at what went down last week in Obama’s home base, Chicago. Then tell us why voting for anyone else is going to change anything.

  • Monday April 10, Pierre Loury, a 16-year-old Black high school junior ran from police, in a country where police murder Black youth with impunity. Chicago police shot and killed him as he fled. Leroy Collins, Pierre’s uncle, said, “We know what happened, they shot an innocent kid and are now covering it up. It’s the same thing—just a different day and neighborhood.” Barack Obama never said shit about police and white racists killing Black people until thousands were in the streets. But he has done nothing—not a damn thing—while the epidemic of police murder rolls on.
  • Two days after the murder of Pierre Loury, a report from Chicago’s Police Accountability Task Force came out saying data from the Chicago Police Department “gives validity to the widely held belief the police have no regard for the sanctity of life when it comes to people of color.” [emphasis ours] This system has never treated people of color as human beings. If a Black man in the White House didn’t change that, how are you going to tell yourself that voting for anyone else will?
  • The same day the task force report came out, the Guardian newspaper published an exposure of Homan Square—a warehouse in Chicago where at least 7,351 people, more than 6,000 of them Black—have been detained without access to attorneys, tortured, and in at least one case, killed. Remember when Obama ran for president as the anti-torture candidate? Prisons and police were torturing people then and the CIA was torturing people around the world... and they still are—from Chicago to Guantánamo.
  • April 14, an op-ed in the New York Times by Nicole Gonzalez Van Cleve, author of the book Crook County: Racism and Injustice in America’s Largest Criminal Court, exposed how “the rottenness [of] the Police Department” is enabled by “racist practices [that] extend far into the criminal courts, indeed they are the very foundation of the cases that enter into the court system. The hands of many judges and prosecutors are just as dirty as the bigots in blue.” Obama’s Department of Justice defended the police in every single case of police brutality that came before the Supreme Court. But when heroic youth rose up in Baltimore in April 2015 demanding justice for Freddie Gray, he called them “thugs.”
  • As of April 15, there were 166 murders in Chicago alone. It is a horror that our Latino and Black youth are killing each other off—deprived of hope and a chance for a future, in a system where crime becomes, in the words of a conservative economist, “a rational choice”—and indoctrinated with the dog-eat-dog survival ethic of capitalism. Remember—they told you that just having a Black president would give “hope” to the ground-down youth in the ghettos and barrios? That was a sick lie that has done great harm to people.
  • At the end of this month, the government is set to shut down Chicago State University on the South Side—a school whose students are overwhelmingly poor and Black, and mostly women. If you voted for Obama, you endorsed a war on public education with a devastating impact on the most oppressed—in his home base Chicago and around the country.

Obama has done little or nothing about any of this. Angela Davis told you that Obama’s election was a “victory, not of an individual, but of ... people who refused to believe that it was impossible to elect a person, a Black person, who identified with the Black radical tradition.” All that did was set you up for another eight years of horrors.

Some of those who promised you “change” say: Well, see, Obama, or whoever, can’t do it all alone, we have to pressure “the system”—as if you can make this system work in the interests of the very people it eats up. That’s a lie too—as we insisted, pretty much alone, eight years ago: the fact is, "pressure from below” or not—Obama couldn’t bring about any real change even if he tried, and he wasn’t intending to in any case. Why? Because it IS a system—the system of capitalism-imperialism—and that has real meaning. You can’t get justice out of this system by voting. And it’s not just a waste of time, it’s harmful to try. If you play that game, it makes you complicit of the crimes of the system. Wake the fuck up, admit it, and act accordingly.

Eight years ago, when almost everyone else was drinking the Obama-lade—the Revolutionary Communist Party fought with you to confront the reality that this system’s elections wouldn’t and couldn’t change things. And what WE were saying about elections eight years ago is just as true today, and in some ways even more apparent.

Humanity can get beyond all this. None of these outrages are necessary. But NOTHING is going to change under this system.

Revolution CAN bring about a whole new, and much better, way of organizing society. Here’s the reality:

  1. This system of capitalism-imperialism cannot bring any justice and must be overthrown and replaced with something far better—a socialist society on the way to communism.
  2. This IS possible, but it will require us to be very scientific to identify and take advantage of the weaknesses of this system and to develop the potential strengths of the people.
  3. We have a leader, Bob Avakian, who has developed the new synthesis of communism that has taken the science of revolution and emancipation to another level, and following THIS leadership—and REJECTING the Obamas, Sanderses, and Clintons of the world—is what is needed.


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