Two Reflections in the Wake of the Incident in Baton Rouge

July 18, 2016 | Revolution Newspaper |


One: Baton Rouge – Wild Scenarios, Ruling Class Spin, and What We Actually Know To Be True

As of 5 pm Monday, July 18, here is what has actually been made public about what happened in Baton Rouge on Sunday, July 17: after a week in which the Baton Rouge police were caught on video carrying out the vicious assassination of Alton Sterling and then went on to brutally beat down and illegally arrest people who were protesting that murder, a Black man named Gavin Long had an encounter with some of those police, whom as a Black man he would have a legitimate reason to fear, and in that encounter Long and three police ended up dead.

Yet beginning with the first reports of the incident Sunday, the Baton Rouge Police Department, the ruling class media and major ruling class political figures shamelessly fabricated and reported as fact one lurid scenario after another, all designed to sensationalize things and whip up people behind approving the essentially illegitimate occupation of the Black community, and other oppressed nationality communities, by the police. And many of these forces went on to viciously attack the movement against police terror and murder and, in particular, Black Lives Matter, both the particular organization and the overall way that this slogan has become identified with an entire upsurge of protest against murder and terror carried out by these pigs.

It’s not just that the people who rule this society have absolutely no respect for the truth. It’s that they cannot afford to respect the truth because the real truth – that Black lives have never mattered and cannot matter to this system, except as a possible source of wealth and plunder, and that this has been BUILT INTO this system from the slave ships of Day One down to today – is something that exposes their essential nature.

Stolen Lives poster
Download PDF | JPG for web

And here is something else to think about, in relation to the controversy of today and the attempts of those on top to control and misdirect the debate. Look at the poster of the Stolen Lives. How many of the people on that poster, all of whom lost their lives to police, received any form of justice? None.  And that is the hard, bitter, cold – and, if we take it seriously, ultimately liberating – truth.

Two: A Question Posed: Do Protests Against the Oppression of Black People Under This System Do Any Good?

In a basic sense, yes. Without protest against injustice, nothing changes. Without struggle against the way things are, as people have done, they would have been broken. Without the lessons garnered from such protest, people in their masses would not be able to learn the way forward.

But in an even more basic sense, protests “do good” if and as they can increasingly be made part of something larger, a movement for revolution against this system. Because, again, the nearly 400-year history of Black people in America, right down to the ways in which this system has not and cannot deliver fundamental change today on as basic a question as to whether Black people must constantly live in fear of those entrusted with enforcing the law, makes clear that this oppression has been and remains built into this system, and that only such a revolution can bring it down.

And there is a third point that must be made as well. This revolution is not something that is only conceivable in a far-off distant future. The rulers of this country openly talk of how the center may not hold and refer to “faultlines” in the social fabric. The basis for a revolution exists in the contradictions of this society. Moreover – and this is the most important point – there is a leader of this revolution, Bob Avakian, who has done the work to develop a strategy to actually build up the forces to lead the millions necessary to make such a revolution, a strategy that could win such a revolution when the time came for the all-out attempt to seize power, and a blueprint and road map for a new society aiming to do away with exploitation and every form of oppression once victory has been won. No, the time is not yet here, but yes, the time is here to very urgently work on the developing conditions to bring forward the situation where such a revolution could be made – with a real chance of winning.

If you are really serious – serious about revolution and serious about winning and getting to a whole new world – then the time is now to get with this revolution.


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