Taking the Revolution to Northern California, Part 3:

Calling Out the Murdering Cops in Vallejo, Getting to the Roots

| revcom.us


A couple days before heading to Vallejo, we called one of the young women who’s been organizing protests at the shopping mall where the police murdered Willie McCoy. Check out the statement she wrote for revcom last week, “It’s Time to Wake Up Vallejo!” Rather than just call for an action and invite her, we wanted to work with her to call a protest together... but this time, a straight-up revolutionary protest, as part of the Get Organized for an ACTUAL Revolution Tour. We made a quick graphic, and she went to work right away spreading it to the networks she knows of Willie’s friends, family, and community. We sent her the BA Through the Years video and made a plan to mobilize as many people as we could to come back to someone’s house after the protest to watch more from Bob Avakian on Why We Need An Actual Revolution And How We Can Really Make Revolution.

When we showed up at the Taco Bell at 1 pm, it was just us (the Tour), three members of the Bay Area Revolution Club, and about five others. The Taco Bell has been completely closed down since the cops killed Willie there. There’s just some candles and photos in the drive-through lane, right in the spot where six pigs shot him 25 times while he was sleeping in his car, tearing his body to pieces. The pigs, or mall security, keep taking down the memorial and people keep putting them back up and lighting the candles.

While we waited for more people to come, we did some chanting and agitation and got out the Revolution Club statement on the cold-blooded murder of Willie McCoy, along with the Points of Attention for the Revolution to the cars passing by. It was striking to us how many people rolled down their windows to get the flyer—not just Black people, but also a lot of Asian, Latino, and white people. We contrasted that with our experience in Sacramento the day before when things seemed more racially polarized.

Before too long, we pulled people together into a marching formation. This was important in terms of representing, and showing people that we are an organized and disciplined force.

As we marched around the shopping mall parking lot, more and more people started showing up. We took turns leading chants. And people grabbed stacks of the Revolution Club flyers to get out to the cars.

Once we got more of a critical mass, we decided to march right into the Target store and disrupt business as usual! We can’t ritualize “protest as usual” that just ends up reinforcing the idea that all we can do is register our opposition, while these pigs keep getting away with murder. We have to show people that we’re not gonna take this shit anymore, and we’re organizing to put an end to it! Marching into Target, “disturbing the air,” with the drums and bullhorn, was exciting to everyone... even the workers and customers in the store, many of whom were smiling, and some of whom started chanting with us. And it created a moment of freedom when people in the Target and the youths who were part of the march were looking to us in a different way, and Noche Diaz really had people’s ear when he got up on a chair and told everyone who we were, why we were here, and what this revolution is all about.

As we wrapped up the protest back in front of the Taco Bell, we gathered everyone together and gave people a chance to speak their minds. One really powerful moment was when Willie’s four-year-old nephew got on the bullhorn and talked about how much he misses his uncle. We invited everyone to come back to a nearby house to watch BA’s film, the science, strategy, and leadership that we need to actually put a STOP to this police terror and all the other horrors of this system. At the end we got everyone to put their fists in the air and say together: I am a revolutionary! This was an important part of breaking down the us/them division and creating more of a “we” around this revolution. At the same time, we summed up afterwards that we should’ve put a sharper challenge to everyone who did that chant to step into the revolution now. And we should’ve read the Points of Attention with everyone right there, to give them more of a sense of what this revolution is all about and what it means to be part of this.

Although it was a little bit of a logistical challenge to get people from the protest to the film screening, three of the more politicized young people came through. One of them had been asking me at the protest if I thought Black people could be “racist,” cuz he wanted to distinguish between “prejudice” (which Black people can be) and institutional racism. After watching the BA through the years video, a short clip from Bob Avakian’s dialogue with Cornel West about the role of the police, and the “5 Stops” section of BA’s recent speech on revolution, we had some discussion, which everyone jumped into. In response to BA’s presentation of the 5 Stops, the guy that had been asking me about racism earlier said that he cares more about ending the oppression of Black people than of other people—even while he said that he’s open-minded and his ideas about all this are still being formed. He cited some examples of how other people of color look down on Black people. The two young women kind of agreed with him, adding some of their own experiences of being Black in America, even being treated as “less than” by immigrants from Africa. At the same time, they said they agreed with what was said in the film about how we have to end ALL this oppression. We had some discussion about how the system pits different oppressed groups against each other, and got into BA’s point about how all these different forms of oppression are rooted in the same capitalist-imperialist system. An Asian-American high school student who’s part of the Revolution Club talked about how it’s in the interests of the system to keep people of color so busy just trying to survive that they don’t have time to think about the bigger picture. She made the point that, for a lot of people of color, it’s easier and simpler to just blame your problems on other minorities, which is why we have to bring that understanding of the bigger picture to people.

One of the young women said that she thought it was really important for people to know the laws so that they can know their rights. She talked about how many people take plea deals and end up in prison because they don’t know their rights. This was an opportunity to go back to what BA had said in his speech about the oppression of Black people and other people of color and the relationship between capitalism and white supremacy in America, and the whole structure of laws, police, courts, and prisons to enforce all that. While it is good to “know your rights” within the framework of this fucked-up system, the essential problem is not that people are ignorant of how the legal system works. The problem IS this system. It is not just that the police break the law and systematically violate people’s rights—which they do—it’s the laws themselves, which are designed to enforce this economic system and all its oppressive social relations. All this has to be replaced, through revolution, by a whole new economic system, political system, and legal system, which BA has developed in the Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America.

All this left people with a lot to think about! We talked with people about getting deeper into the film from BA and spreading it to others. The Vallejo people wanted to come with us to Sacramento the next day, but weren’t able to, so we made a plan to get together for dinner before the Tour went back to LA.

Read Parts 1 and 2 here.
Next week: On the one-year anniversary of the murder of Stephon Clark.


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