Two Black People Murdered in Louisville, Kentucky—in a Climate of Ugly White Supremacy Whipped Up From the Top

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On the afternoon of October 24, an armed 51-year-old white man tried to enter the First Baptist Church of Jeffersontown, a predominantly Black congregation on the outskirts of Louisville, Kentucky. But the midweek service at First Baptist had just ended and the church was locked. The man then went to a nearby grocery store, walked over to Maurice Stallard, a Black man who had been shopping with his grandson, and shot him in the back of his head. He continued pumping bullets into Stallard after he fell to the floor. He then went outside and shot 67-year-old Vickie Lee Jones, also Black. Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones were declared dead on the scene.

Not all the circumstances around the killings are clear or known publicly. While the motives of the alleged shooter are not known, some of what has come to light potentially points to these murders targeting Black people: the shooter had tried to get into a Black church (which media commentators have compared to the horrific 2015 murder of nine Black people at a church in Charleston, South Carolina); and a man who confronted the alleged killer at the store’s parking lot reported that the gunman said to him, “Don’t shoot me. I won’t shoot you. Whites don’t shoot whites.” The man alleged to have carried out the murders has not said anything publicly but has been charged and entered a plea of not guilty as part of due process.

Whatever the motives and actual circumstances, these murders in Kentucky—and other attacks on Black people and other oppressed people on the rise around the country—are happening in the context of the whipping up of hateful, undisguised white supremacy from the highest levels of the power structure. The Kentucky murders took place in the same week as two other major developments: pipe bombs were sent to the homes and offices of top Democratic leaders, particularly prominent Black figures, as well as three wealthy liberals who are Jewish or of Jewish descent, and to CNN; and a white supremacist gunman murdered 11 Jewish people at a synagogue in Pittsburgh as he shouted “All Jews must die.”

White Supremacy—Woven Deep into the Fabric of the U.S. Capitalist System

This white supremacy has been part and parcel of the economic and social fabric of this country since its origins—built on stolen land based on the genocide of Native Americans, its wealth accumulated largely off the backbreaking labor of enslaved Africans, enforced by whips, chains, and bloodhounds. Throughout the entire existence of this country—from slavery to capitalism to the global imperialist empire—its institutions, laws, and culture have been stamped with white supremacy. Throughout all the transformations in the way production is carried out and organized, and changes in the demographics of the country, white supremacy has flourished and institutions to enforce it have been strengthened. Even when the ruling class made some modifications in the forms of oppression of Black and other people of color, it moved to establish some new forms to fortify and extend white domination, on the foundation of what already existed.

The emancipation resulting from the Civil War was soon followed by the imposition of Jim Crow—90 years of blatant white domination, relentless exploitation of Black sharecroppers, and murderous lynch mobs.

The Civil Rights Movement, the Black Liberation struggle and other massive struggles of the 1950s, ’60s, and ’70s forced some concessions from the ruling class. These sustained fights contributed to positive—but partial—changes in society. For one, open legal discrimination against Black people was outlawed. But the advances achieved by the powerful upheavals of that era were soon followed by the “war on drugs,” unrestrained police terror of Black youth brutalized and murdered by cops who almost always remain free, large-scale demolition of public housing in many cities, huge cutbacks in education funding, and mass incarceration of Black and Brown youth.

And for decades, there has been a growing fascist section in society, including at the top levels of power, who have been foaming at the mouth over even the limited gains achieved by Black and other oppressed people (as well as by women) won through struggle, as well as other changes in society. To these forces, America was “great” when it was unmistakably clear that white Christian males ruled the day and the USA was at the top worldwide—and it’s been going to hell ever since Black people got too “uppity,” women broke through some of the chains binding them, and so on. The partial concessions that people fought for and won have been a key part of what’s given rise to these fascist forces, led by a section among the rulers, who basically want to reverse all that, by force if necessary. White supremacy is so closely woven into the fabric of American capitalism-imperialism that it is impossible to really end it (and not just reform it here and there) without completely tearing apart that fabric.

Fascist Atmosphere Emboldens Racists to Act on Their Hate

And now the fascists are in the White House and in control of Congress and the Supreme Court. They are moving aggressively to “Make America White Again” as a crucial part of their whole agenda, and further unleashing KKK/Nazi social forces. The Trump/Pence regime is forging even more repressive measures and fanning the flames of more intense racist hate. Trump described white supremacist goons as “very fine people” and said the people protesting Confederate monuments are “trying to take away our heritage.” His Department of Justice invented something it calls “Black Identity Extremism” to target people protesting police brutality. Trump has called on cops to treat those they arrest “rough,” and his administration has ended consent decrees aimed at curbing the most outrageous police brutality in some cities. It has ordered federal prosecutors to bring maximum charges against nonviolent drug offenders—charges which send Black people to federal prison at four to five times the rate for whites.

This fascist atmosphere has emboldened racists throughout society to act on their hate. They have staged torchlight marches in Charlottesville, and brutally assaulted people in Midtown Manhattan. They have killed people in Portland, Oakland, and Charlottesville, and come out armed to the teeth to oppose marches called by Refuse Fascism. Over and over racists have called police on Black people they regard as being in “their” space—while golfing, renting an Airbnb, barbecuing in the park, trying to get into their apartment, dozing in a dorm’s common room. Police were called on a nine-year-old kid in Brooklyn by a woman who claimed, completely falsely, that the boy had touched her in a sexually inappropriate way.

And now in Kentucky—a former slave state, a state that began passing Jim Crow laws preventing Black people from conducting business with or attending “white” institutions within a year of the end of the Civil War—two Black people who went grocery shopping in a store frequented by many whites were murdered in broad daylight.

The horrific, cold-blooded murders of Maurice Stallard and Vickie Lee Jones barely broke into national news. Trump didn’t even pretend to give a damn about two elderly Black people gunned down in a horrific assault.

This is the world we live in. This is the system we live under—a capitalist-imperialist system. A system that feasts upon relentless exploitation of billions of people worldwide, and has brutally enforced oppression of entire peoples and nations, and of the female half of humanity, deep in its marrow. A system that continually spawns murders of people of color by racists and pigs, and many other horrors.

Time’s up on this system.


There would be no United States as we now know it today without slavery. That is a simple and basic truth.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 1:1

Clip: "The direct line from the Confederacy to the fascists of today."

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7 Talks by Bob Avakian

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Why We're in the Situation We're in Today... And What to Do About It: A Thoroughly Rotten System and the Need for Revolution
Track 1, Track 2, Track 3

This system can't be reformed. It must be Overthrown


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