Revolution Online, September 26, 2011

"We Are All Troy Davis!"

New York: Hundreds in the Streets in Outrage at Legal Lynching

Revolution received the following correspondence:

On Wednesday, September 21, at 11:08 pm, this system legally lynched a Black man. Troy Davis was executed by the State of Georgia. After the execution had been delayed for over three hours, the Supreme Court refused to stop this killing and Troy Davis' life was ended. Words can barely capture the injustice and outrage of this—which is a sharp example of what this thoroughly racist and utterly criminal system does to Black people and Latino people every single day.

People had carried out a long struggle to prevent this legal lynching. Then, the day after the execution, the question was posed: Are we just to be frustrated, devastated, and end up taking it again or would this be a day to resist, for people to stand up, and that began to happen in downtown New York City on Thursday, September 22. People did not accept this and would not let this go down without political resistance. They took to the streets with defiance. This hasn't happened in some time now and it was about time!!!

After a night of taking to the streets in the rain in Harlem, protesting against the legal lynching of Troy Davis, calling for this to be stopped, then the faint hope of a possibility that they would not go through with this, and then the shock and outrage of his unjust and horrific murder at the hands of the state, people were fed up and ready to act.

As the news of the execution spread, some people were calling it a "day of outrage," getting organized to act. The following afternoon a speak-out took place at NYU, where a multinational grouping of students, faculty, and administrators, along with volunteers from Revolution Books and several student groups, spoke bitterness and challenged the students to act. They gathered up a crowd to march into Union Square. People were chanting, "Enough Is Enough. Stop the Legal Lynching" and "The Whole Damn System's Guilty."

Hundreds of people were gathered at Union Square speaking bitterness, many drawing the larger lessons about what this says about this society and system. Several speakers exposed the outrageous illegitimacy, immorality and racism of the death penalty. Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party spoke and sharply exposed the systemic nature of the oppression of Black people and that this whole system has to go. People cheered, with many fists in the air when he announced that he and Cornel West would be calling for a day to STOP "Stop and Frisk" in New York this October.

After exposing the many outrages that were part of the legal lynching of Troy Davis, Travis Morales from Revolution Books quoted Bob Avakian saying, "Let's get down to basics: We need a revolution. Anything else, in the final analysis, is bullshit." [BAsics 3:1] When people heard this they clapped and cheered. Morales then called on people to act on their convictions and march when the rally concluded. This call for people to march was taken up by many and was resoundingly asserted by a defiant young student who called on people not to believe anyone who says you can't change things and that it matters that people came out to say no to this injustice and that it was time to march!

People came out into the streets, several hundred, possibly a thousand at the height of it, as many joined in, chanting, "We're all Troy Davis" "Whose streets? Our streets." The march was overwhelmingly youth, very multinational, and there was a feeling of long pent-up anger pouring out. People broke through the constraints and restraints. There were several attempts by the NYPD to block off, deter, and repress the demonstrators. Each time people fought through to deliver a message of opposition to this and condemn the murder of Troy Davis, with great determination that they had every right to come into the streets and do so. People held their fists in the air, and their heads high. Very early on, when police attempted to get demonstrators back on the sidewalk, a decisive message was sent that this was unacceptable, as marchers surrounded police chanting, "We Are All Sean Bell, NYPD Go to Hell." People put something on the line and each time they were confronted with repression, they found a way to break through. The march snaked through the West Village and all the way down to Wall Street where an "Occupy Wall Street" encampment protesting corporate greed has been going on for more than a week now. Thousands and thousands of people throughout Manhattan witnessed the protest. Many people of all ages and different races joined in, some heard the protest from inside and rushed down into the streets. Students and others skipped class, missed work and changed plans. At Wall Street, the march was greeted by the Wall Street encampment with cheers and celebration at what had been accomplished and further condemning the killing of Troy Davis. People got a taste of no business as usual and held their heads high. This is the spirit that needs to be carried forward and we need to build on.

This case showed not only that the State of Georgia is racist and murderous, as so many have correctly pointed out, but that the whole damn system is guilty. This case exposed not only the illegitimacy of the death penalty, which so many have correctly pointed out, but also that this whole system is illegitimate. The killing of Troy Davis is an horrific outrage, but what the determined spirit of "Enough!" of this protest portends is that there is the potential for the system having to pay a political price for the great crimes they commit against the people, especially if people draw the right lessons, and get organized and into the movement for revolution as well as broader resistance spreading and taking hold.

There are great stakes in this. Will this message the government tried to deliver prevail: that people's resistance doesn't matter, the truth of a case doesn't matter, innocent until proven guilty and the right to a fair trial can be thrown out the window, there are no rights for a Black man this system is bound to respect in the courts or on the streets? Will all this serve to demoralize, demobilize and crush people's spirits and further cement-in an intolerable way of life? Or, will people come through this drawing the deeper truths about the nature of this system and the need for resistance now, as part of building a movement for revolution to get rid of this system as soon as possible?

This needs to be the start of an autumn of resistance. People need to stand up and fight against the New Jim Crow, the criminalization of a generation, and the intolerability of this whole society and system. People need to know that "The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world...when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness...those days must be GONE. And they CAN be." ["The Revolution We Need... The Leadership We Have"] They need to be finding out about, engaging, supporting and getting with the movement for revolution; finding out about Bob Avakian, and the viable, vibrant communism for today.

Things don't have to be this way, there is a way out—get with the revolution, fight the power, and transform the people, for revolution!

More will be reported on these new stirrings of resistance and the lessons and the impact that the movement for revolution has had on this.

Update: The struggle has continued with mass arrests and brutality against a march from the Wall Street encampment back to Union Square on Saturday, September 24. More correspondence to follow.

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