Revolution #235, June 12, 2011
Report from a Reader
Thursday, May 26—The jury acquitted Moreno and Mata of rape charges.
Word of the Moreno and Mata verdict swept across the city like a gust of foul air. Deep truths about this system, its enforcers, its courts, and its culture were being revealed. Outrage, disbelief, and deep questioning was widespread. Shortly after the verdict was announced, a call for a protest was posted on Facebook and within 24 hours, the page had over 1,500 responses.
Friday, May 27—I stood in a gathering of hundreds of angry people in front of the Manhattan Criminal Courthouse. The crowd was composed of mainly young women of different nationalities and a significant number of men. Their signs expressed their rage: “New Rape City” – “RAPE: The only crime where the victim becomes the accused.” – “COPS —› Raping Queers, POC, Sex Workers, Women! What else is new???” – “Fuck Rape!” – “Outraged Survivor” – “Fuck the Police!” – “Intoxication is not Invitation!” – “Only 6% of rapists ever go to Jail!!!” – “I used a condom, but nothing happened. Police Officer Kenneth Moreno” – “Dear Ms ____, Thank you for your strength.”
While holding her baby daughter, one rape survivor told the crowd, “This girl is not going to grow up with this bullshit! We should be allowed to drink a few fucking beers!” [without fearing being raped]. Another woman, also a rape survivor, told the Village Voice when asked why she came to the protest: “I’m a survivor and I felt that I had to support this woman. I thought it would make her feel better,” she said. “Also, let’s start a fucking revolution.”
Some of those addressing the crowd demanded better training for the police, and more police accountability. A chant rose from a more youthful section of the crowd, “No justice—no peace! Fuck the police!” Some opposed the chant and complained that all police were not rapists and should not be the target of the protest. The chant got louder, continued, and spread.
I worked my way to the front of the crowd and told rally organizers that I was actively involved in building mass political resistance to police brutality and all illegal actions by the police against the people and had come to stand against this outrage and I wanted to read a profoundly relevant quote from Bob Avakian, Chairman of the Revolutionary Communist Party.
The first line of that quote had echoed through my thoughts since hearing of the verdict, “Look at all the beautiful children who are female in the world…” I turned to page 7 of BAsics and gave the book to one of the organizers. She showed it to others and they shook their heads in agreement as they read. They looked at each other and at me, and then a young woman motioned me up to speak. I told the crowd that I was part of resisting police brutality and standing up to any and all illegal actions by the police against the people. The crowd cheered. I said the problem is not just a couple of rapists in the NYPD, or even just the NYPD, the problem is a system and a society that has male supremacy and the exploitation and brutalization of women woven into its every fiber and daily functioning. And the police are the enforcers of that system, and an embodiment of its values. We don’t want to live this way. We refuse to live this way! We’re building a movement for revolution.
I began to read quote #10 from Chapter 1, page 7 of BAsics—“Look at all the beautiful children who are female in the world…” People listened intently. “...surrounded on every side, and insulted at every moment, by a society and a culture which degrades women, on the streets, in the schools and workplaces, in the home, on a daily basis and in countless ways.” We don’t have to live this way. A different world is possible. We need a revolution.
A number of people approached as I stepped away from the bullhorn. I sold copies of the “Declaration: For Woman’s Liberation and the Emancipation of All Humanity” and the current issue of Revolution newspaper. People asked about the quote, some knew something about Bob Avakian—most did not. A woman thanked me for being there and talked about how important it was to confront the reality that women are under assault in every way imaginable in this country and it is getting worse. “What kind of revolution are you talking about?” she asked. I turned to page 69 and handed her BAsics. She read the passage and said, “Communism didn’t work. We need to try something new.” She bought a copy of the Declaration. Another woman said that she did not think the demo was angry enough—that everything is getting worse for women in the world and people should be a lot more upset.
The rally became a march and went the few blocks to police headquarters at One Police Plaza. Protesters chanted and confronted police across barricades before the crowd, which included a brass band, left police headquarters and took to the street. The police scrambled, afraid the protesters might try to take the Brooklyn Bridge. Some in the crowd chanted “Take the bridge! Take the bridge!” But the procession marched past the entrance to the bridge and into the streets of lower Manhattan, leaving knots of debate and wrangling in its wake.
• • •
Saturday morning, May 28—I’m standing on the sidewalk outside the housing projects in Harlem with a sister and brother who read Revolution newspaper and are studying BAsics. The sister talks about how sexual assault is part of how the police operate in the projects and every young woman has to fear being in a situation where she is alone with the police. I recall a story from three years ago when another brother and I were walking along 125th Street to the subway stop carrying signs calling out the murder of Sean Bell by police. We had just finished a day in the street. A woman in her early 30s hurries to catch up with us—“I hate those motherfuckers!” she said in a voice filled with hurt and anger. She had been drinking but was not drunk. She pointed to the bruises around her neck. “They did this, the police, because I wouldn’t have sex with them.” Now tears were running down her face. “I’m a human being—they got no right to do this. I hate them.” She told us we were right to stand up against them.
Another quote from BAsics is echoing through my thoughts now. #10, Chapter 2, page 43:
“It is right to want state power. It is necessary to want state power. State power is a good thing—state power is a great thing”—in the hands of the right people, the right class, in the service of the right things: bringing about an end to exploitation, oppression, and social inequality and bringing into being a world, a communist world, in which human beings can flourish in new and greater ways than ever before.”
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