Revolution #207, July 18, 2010

From Revolution Books, Berkeley

The Whole Damn System is Guilty!

The killing of Oscar Grant, an unarmed 22-year-old Black man, was a cold-blooded murder. It was a towering crime. This verdict is a slap on the wrist. It is another crime of the system.

Under the law, 2nd degree murder is the unjustified, intentional killing of a human being. Involuntary manslaughter is a much lesser offense, and carries a much lighter sentence. We saw the videos. From the beginning, the cops were the ones driving the action. Detained, lying face down, putting his hands behind his back while one cop kneeled on his neck, Oscar was shot in the back. Cold-blooded murder, a totally unjustified and brutal act.

Think about it: If this case did not involve police, the situation would be completely different.

Imagine if seven ordinary people had swarmed the BART platform that night, rousted people off the train—cursing them with racist epithets—kicking, and shoving people to the ground, and then killing a man who was lying face down—shooting him in the back. Imagine if dozens of people had seen it. If they videotaped it. What had happened wouldn’t even be a question. It would be obvious. Murder.

This involuntary manslaughter verdict tells cops everywhere they can kill and get away with it. And this verdict tells the people that when we or people we love are gunned down, a slap on the wrist to a cop is the best that we can get.

Let's tell the truth—this system lets cops get away with brutality and murder every single day. The only reason that Mehserle even had to face murder charges at all—and everyone should know this almost never happens—is because the people rose up and fought for justice. And now the defenders of this system are saying that the battle for justice hurt the people. Bullshit. It’s the system the cops enforce with their brutality that hurts the people.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We don’t have to live in a society where our youth are gunned down by the police who get away with it over and over, where immigrants are criminalized by just the way they look, where oil gushes into the gulf and marshes week after week killing rich sea life and a whole way of life for many thousands. We could build a society where police brutality and other injustices are done away with and people work together to build a new society. Building that kind of society would take a revolution. We need such a revolution and right now we are building a movement for revolution.

The system is rotten. We don’t have to live this way. We need a Real Revolution!


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