A Pattern of Police Harassment of the Revolution Club and the Masses Stepping Forward

December 11, 2017 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From the Revolution Club, Chicago

This is the back story in just one neighborhood where the Revolution Club has been doing work over months as part of the mission of the Revolution Project in Chicago: to bring forward organized forces for revolution, emancipators of humanity, OUT OF a situation where people are caught up in shooting and killing one another. The Revolution Club has been working on this in a number of neighborhoods as well as reaching broadly all over the South Side and other areas of Chicago with the full message of revolution and the immediate task of driving out the Trump/Pence fascist regime. There has been similar repression and other forms of counter-attacks in other areas similar to what is described here in just one neighborhood, with the notable exception in this neighborhood of the personal intervention of the district commander (who is being promoted in a major way as the model of new and good policing in Chicago).

While this story did not come out at the trial (see "Prosecution Forced to Back off Serious Charges Against Chicago Revolution Club Members"), it needs to be known by people not only from among the oppressed but by all those who long for a future for the youth, who continue to be shocked by the abuse the police get away with in neighborhoods of the oppressed.

When the Revolution Club came to Englewood’s Moran Park with our declaration in the summer of 2017, there was an immediate attraction to it by a number of people in the neighborhood, young and old. Some people immediately put on the Revolution Club T-shirts and got down with us in a serious way about the six Points of Attention for the Revolution.

We publicized a rally for June 10, so everyone could come hear directly from leaders and representatives of the movement for revolution and have a way to step into it. At the time we arrived to set up the stage and sound system, the commander of the 7th District, Kenneth Johnson, was already on the corner, with several police cars and an arrest wagon. He told the legal observer that he didn’t like the “anti-police” message on the banner. She reminded him that he is not allowed to suppress protests based on the content of the message. The commander and the police wagon stayed at the corner until halfway through the rally—a warning and threat to the whole neighborhood: don’t get involved with this. A relative of someone murdered by police many years ago arrived near the end of the rally, having waited down the street until he could see the police were gone.

The rally itself was very powerful, projecting a force that is serious about revolution, welcoming and inviting people in to be part of that, while challenging people sharply to get out of the harmful shit they are doing to one another that this system has set them up to do. Get out of that capitalist system-exploiter-dog-eat-dog way of thinking that has you ready to kill somebody going through the same shit you’re going through because you think that’s the only way to have some meaning and give the lives of your loved ones meaning. Become part of fighting for the revolution humanity needs, the revolution that is the only way out of this hell, the communist revolution to emancipate all of humanity. The rally introduced people to the leadership and strategy that exists for this revolution, the new communism developed by Bob Avakian who is leading the revolution. It challenged people to become part of forging a force that is representing with a scientific approach and a communist morality. A force saying we have the leadership and strategy and science, and applying that, representing it, fighting for it, drawing forward waves of others to strengthen and grow it and further impact thousands and millions.

At the rally, in the face of the police intimidation, community members put on shirts and family members of someone recently murdered by the police bravely came out. Others gathered in the park across the street to listen and lend their support from a distance.

As the July 4 weekend neared, police held press conferences announcing an escalation of their forces on the streets. The Revolution Club held a press conference announcing a campaign to distribute whistles and blow whistles any time police were in the neighborhood harassing or brutalizing people. We organized for a July 4 picnic in South Shore with the theme “Amerikkka was Never Great!”

As we prepared for the picnic, Revolution Club members came upon police in the Moran Park neighborhood who were snooping around someone’s yard. The Revolution Club members started blowing whistles, gathering some people around who had been hanging out up and down the block. The pigs were infuriated and overtly threatened the whole neighborhood if the people there did not turn against the revolutionaries. One pig said, “Nobody gets a pass around here anymore.” A young guy on the block joked that this pig must think he’s Denzel Washington in Training Day. People were worried that the police would indeed retaliate, but also joyful at together standing up to the police who ended up backing down that day. Many people on the block put on REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts and got whistles.

In the next couple days, police made good on their threats. The house where the pigs had been rooting through the yard mysteriously burned down the same night. Everyone in the neighborhood thought the police did this. The following days saw an increased police presence, police handcuffing people en masse and then letting them go, police stopping people to ask them why they are wearing the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt. On July 4, a family party was raided by dozens of police from three districts and people were brutalized and arrested.

We organized a community meeting in the park about the police attacks. The following week we heard from people in the community that police were going around the Moran Park neighborhood telling people they would be arrested if they were out on the sidewalk between the hours of 7 am and 3 pm. It was an unofficial martial law. And community people, especially youths, were being threatened with arrest if they did not immediately take off the REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirt. The pressure was building.

Not only were there all the overt threats and harassment, at the same time slanders and political attacks against the Revolution Club and against the leader of the revolution, Bob Avakian, began being spread from unknown sources through the neighborhood. Some people who had initially supported the revolution were starting to turn against it, while others started to have deeper discussions to learn more what the revolution is really all about.

The Revolution Club issued a notice that we would defy the daytime ban and called on others to join us standing on the sidewalk on July 21 from 7 am to 3 pm and wear their T-shirts wherever they were that day. We announced we would have a rally on the corner of 57th and Racine by Moran Park in Englewood featuring Joe Veale, a supporter of the Revolutionary Communist Party and former member of the Black Panther Party who had given a powerful speech at the June 10 rally.

Beginning around 10 am on the 21st, 7th District police moved to get the Revolution Club members off the street. First they arrested one woman literally for supposedly taping a sign to a pole! Then, police SUVs gathered at the corner of 57th and Racine as the rally start time neared. As the Revolution Club got on the microphone to start gathering people for the rally, police swooped in to stop it and arrested four people.

The rally was disrupted and the revolutionaries regrouped and called forward others to join a press conference in front of the 7th District station, where the Revolution Club members were all being held. Commander Kenneth Johnson personally came out of the station making threats and declaring his opposition to the message of the Revolution Club, saying on video that his district “works hard at fostering relationships within the community” and he thinks what we are doing is “totally antithesis to what’s going on in the streets.”


The next day, the Revolution Club followed through on the rally at 57th and Racine, joined by people newly getting involved with the club, people from other organizations, and people from the neighborhood. Again Commander Johnson appeared, flanked by several police and police SUVs on the street where Carl Dix called him out for enforcing a modern-day version of the infamous Black Codes. Again Johnson stated his disagreement with the message of the rally and said he would enforce every law he could find to use against the Revolution Club.

The Revolution Club decided to do a film showing the next week in Moran Park of the seminal speech from Bob Avakian, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! The day before the film showing, when the Revolution Club was standing on the sidewalk talking to people in the neighborhood, four police SUVs pulled up and numerous police came out and surrounded the three Revolution Club members, threatening them with arrest. After a brief standoff, the police backed away and got back in their cars and drove off. Later they drove past, waving and shouting out the name of one of the Revolution Club members who had been arrested on July 21. At the film showing the next day, Commander Johnson AGAIN appeared at the end of the showing, and said he did not want this message in this neighborhood.

Since then, the Revolution Club has not backed off of our mission and not backed off organizing in the Moran Park neighborhood, coming back again and again and working to draw forward and organize people into the revolution, impacting the whole neighborhood as we work to impact society as a whole.

In recent months we have also worked tirelessly to organize forces for revolution and as a key task of the revolution right now to get the word out everywhere, including all over the South Side of Chicago, about the need to drive out the Trump/Pence fascist regime, which gains strength and gets more dangerous to humanity by the day. The Chicago Police Department has also tried to stop this message from getting out, including coming down in very heavy-handed ways on students at Kenwood Academy in Hyde Park who have only begun checking out the Revolution Club and the movement to drive out this regime. And meanwhile, the police continue to carry out their overall brutality and repression against the masses of people, including just recently murdering a young man on the South Side. (See “JUSTICE FOR QUONO!”)

What is needed is you.

Why is the Chicago Police Department working so hard to stop people on the South Side from getting organized into the revolution? Why do they hate so much the message that people should stop killing each other, should stand up against murder and terror by the police, and should get organized for revolution to emancipate humanity? Why, when people try to lift their heads to something lofty and good for humanity, do the police come down so hard on them? Police who are supposedly here to serve and protect. Police who supposedly are so concerned about all the shootings among the people.

Some people think revolution couldn’t happen, that people can’t ever get together and that there is no way to win. In the Revolution Club, we know that’s not true because we’ve studied the work Bob Avakian has done to develop a path to win, and the scientific toolkit to use to work through the contradictions involved in doing this.

But what the Chicago Police Department is doing should also be an indication to all. What are they worried about? They are not trying to stop violence. They are trying to stop revolution, and seem to be pretty concerned that this revolution could grow forces right here, right now in this city that might call the whole society into question.

How we fight forward is by growing the forces for revolution, as we grow the movement to drive out Trump and Pence. What is needed is you. To get with this. To find out about Bob Avakian and see his work for yourself. To join the Revolution Club. To be part of calling forward millions now to drive out a fascist regime. To be part of preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the vanguard, for the time when millions can be led to go all out for revolution, with a real chance to win.


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