Updated 7-10-16 Notes from the Streets of the Twin Cities

Anger, Outrage, Openness to Revolution in Aftermath of Police Murder of Philando Castile

Updated July 10, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


Dear Revcom,

See below for update: Hundreds shut down freeway Saturday night

When I got to the Minnesota governor's mansion Friday morning, protests had been going on non-stop from Wednesday night after Philando Castile was shot point blank for Driving While Black in a suburb of St. Paul. Protesters set up an encampment outside the Minnesota governor's mansion the night of the murder, with hundreds protesting and demanding justice for Philando Castile, shutting down the block in front of the mansion and draping crime scene tape all over the mansion's front gate.

Friday morning found only 20-30 people holding down the encampment, and another 10 or so at the site of the police murder in Falcon Heights a few miles away. I was able to talk with a teacher from the school where Philando Castile worked as a supervisor in the cafeteria, who said that several hundred people in and around the school and others marched on Thursday evening near the school to remember Philando Castile and demand justice. Philando Castile was very much known and beloved by the entire school community. It was said that he knew the names and diets of each of the 500 students in the school.

By the evening on Friday, the crowd in front of the mansion swelled again to 300 or more, with Prince's music and dancing, and speeches mainly by leaders in the broader Black Lives Matter movement. At one point, the police tried to disallow and dismantle the one tent on the scene, but people streamed toward the tent and formed a human chain around it.

It seems events in Dallas were disorienting to some of the movement activists, given how Black Lives Matter was being attacked. There were views out there that in response people should just retreat into basically making peace with and helping each other make it in the world as it is. In addition, on Friday morning there was a shooting on the north side of Minneapolis, the Black community there, which took the life of a child and wounded another. (I had a very interesting experience later in that community, which I'll get to shortly.)

The Revolutionary Communist Party IS ORGANIZING NOW TO OVERTHROW THIS SYSTEM AT THE SOONEST POSSIBLE TIME. Preparing to lead an actual revolution to bring about a radically new and better society: the New Socialist Republic in North America.

From Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution—Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA

Despite this, hundreds of people didn't retreat and were at the protest at the governor's mansion Friday night. I found the mood among this mainly young crowd, of very mixed nationality but more than half white, to be far more impatient and fed up than was reflected from the front by the speakers. I circulated among the crowd introducing "Time To Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution," the Message from the Central Committee of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA: "It's time to organize for an ACTUAL revolution," and "We need to overthrow this system and completely replace it from bottom to top, let's put an end to police murder and genocide of Black and Brown people—and all the other crimes of this system—once and for all." I had these bundled in a packet along with articles from revcom.us on these police murders.

When asked how they saw putting an end to this police murder, many people expressed an urge for unity among all people, along with a complete exasperation at the cops walking free in case after case. Not long ago, the cop who murdered Jamar Clark in Minneapolis walked, even after people waged determined struggle. There was a further understanding, however incomplete, that reforms and struggles—not only over the period since Ferguson but for generations and even hundreds of years in this country—have not led to equal rights, let alone liberation, for Black people.

Compared to what was being presented to them by speakers at the governor's mansion, and what they were previously aware of, the possibility of a total and liberating alternative was music to many ears. I say "many" because some of the organizers of the rally took great exception to what I was getting out. They threatened to not only kick me out, but to have my presence denounced from the front of the rally, until several protesters who overheard all this started asking them simple questions like, "Did you read what it says in what he's passing out?" When they said "no," these other protesters, mainly young women of color, told these self-appointed police that people had a right to check out other views and especially serious analysis of how to fucking end this shit!


During the afternoon on Friday, I went to the neighborhood on the north side of Minneapolis where Jamar Clark was murdered, and where the two-week occupation of the Fourth Precinct police station took place. I walked up and down a busy street with various strip malls and stores. Here the response to the Party's Message was immediate and visceral in many cases. I talked to a mother sitting in her car with her young daughter, about the same age as Philando Castile's girlfriend's daughter, who had to witness the murder and who tried to comfort her mother in its wake. I said that no little girl should ever have to go through that again. She brought up the killing of a child that morning on the north side in the all too familiar drive-by shooting. I read the sentence from the Message: "This system locks down generations of Black and Brown youth, brutalizing and incarcerating them and even blowing them away—or else setting them up to fight and kill each other, when they should be fighting the REAL enemy." She took the materials with serious interest.

I came upon a young Black man, shirtless in the warming sun in the middle of a strip mall parking lot, holding up a home-made poster on cardboard saying "Fuck Da Police." He was waving it around to everyone and no one. His reception to the content of the Message was excited, to say the least. We talked about it briefly and he took a stack of the Message and flyers with him, saying he was going back over to St. Paul that night. He gave his contact info and expressed strong interest in the Revolution Club. About a half-hour later, I found him in another parking lot, waving his poster and passing out the flyers to everyone, insisting that they take it. We spoke again, and he took copies of Revolution newspaper, a poster of "Land of the Thief and Home of the Slave," and a copy of BAsics, which he said he would seriously read. I said that he should really dig into this material, and go to the website so that he would know exactly what he was taking out, and why it was righteous to do so.

I was actually tipped to go to this particular strip mall where I met this young man by a bit older Black man who is a manager of a small restaurant on the main street. He read the article from Revolution on the two police murders all the way through, and looked at the Message. He was very much into distributing the packet, and took a large amount to give out to his customers. He was totally fed up with the cops walking and no justice in these police murders. He had a sense of the historic oppression of Black people and the failures of previous attempts at reform and liberation. At one point I remember emphasizing that the approach in the materials is scientific, that it reflects reality, and that it doesn't rely on faith in any way. To this last point he exclaimed loudly, "Yes! Relying on faith, that's why we're in the situation we're in!"

7/10/16 Update from St. Paul

7/9/16: Marching from the Governor's Mansion in St. Paul to the I94 Freeway, shutting it down, and protesting from overpasses. Photos: Special to revcom.us.

There was word circulating late Saturday afternoon that there was going to be some kind of action associated with the evening rally at the Governor's mansion to protest the police murder of Philando Castille. As of about 7 pm, the crowd was no larger than last night, about 300, but then the ranks started to swell, and organizers started to prepare people for some kind of civil disobedience. As the march set up and set out, I would say there were close to 500 people, of many nationalities, mainly white, and mainly on the young end.

About a half mile away from the governor’s mansion, the march suddenly veered down the on-ramp to I-94, a major interstate highway, and marshals told people who didn’t want to get arrested to go down to the overpasses. About half of the march went onto the highway, and immediately blocked both directions. This was around 8 pm Central time. The blockaders moved down the highway several hundred yards, and then stopped. The police presence at the outset of the evening was heavier than last night, but they were unable to stop people. On the highway, the buildup of police vehicles, cops, vans and buses went on for hours, until they started to arrest people, but very slowly.

It was a very tense situation, with cops holding their shields up and aiming weapons at the nearby tree-covered embankment. It was almost midnight before the arrests of the dozens of hold-outs started, with tear gas grenades being used, and many demonstrators running up the embankment of the highway to escape the onslaught.

As of this writing, I don’t know the number of arrests, or even when the blockade ended. There were parts of I-94 a few miles west of the blockade point, even in the direction away from the demo, so it was unclear if there were other blockages going on. There were some late protests at the governor’s mansion, also, and that area was totally locked down well past midnight.

The crowd was positive toward the proclamation of the RCP from the start, but this increased dramatically during the blockade. Many of those who were on the overpasses—which included increasing numbers of people from all over St. Paul, Minneapolis, and surrounding areas who were streaming in to support, and even to join the blockaders on the freeway—were reaching out for the proclamation, and exclaiming their support for the idea of a total revolution, overthrowing the system and replacing it with a better one, for the world.

As it got later, more basic youth came on, also mainly eager to check out the idea of getting organized for a revolution. There were students from various nearby universities who expressed interest and gave contact info for the Revolution Club. I ran into a young Black man who I met yesterday who said he had passed out all of his proclamations, and I gave him a couple of hundred more. I connected with people of many nationalities out in the streets who have substantial populations in the Twin Cities, including Hmong people and other Southeast Asians, Mexican-Americans, and North Africans reaching to find out about the revolution.

After a while, various countercurrents became apparent. A small group came on with their charge of the RCP being a cult, and being homophobic. One of them barged into me and knocked the fliers onto the ground. I withstood this physically and politically, challenging them to read the proclamation, which of course they wouldn’t do. But they had aroused others who wanted anyone who was homophobic to get out of there. I loudly read the second point of attention, about treating men, women, and differently gendered people as equal and comrades, and this not only neutralized these assholes but won others to take up the proclamation.

One Black man started to escort me out of there until I read him the same point of attention, at which point he said he was on security, and shook my hand, and said I was welcome to stay. Later a group of Black women came over and said they wanted to pass out the flier, and I asked why, had they read it? No, they just heard that it was in support of revolution and of people of different genders and sexual orientations. So, we read that point of attention and they took a large stack of fliers. Perhaps 6-700 proclamations got out, counting the large stacks others took.

So, Minneapolis/St Paul came from behind and replicated their past feats of militant and dramatic action against police murder of Black people. Right On!! Now, let’s get organized for an ACTUAL revolution!


Volunteers Needed... for revcom.us 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