From a member of the National Revolution Tour

Fighting Police Brutality, Taking on Identity Politics Hustlers



Editors’ Note: This is excerpted from a snapshot by a member of the National Revolution Tour about their experience at a “Fuck the Police” rally in Harlem, with participation of hundreds, mainly youths. This was the second such rally in response to an escalation of police violence against youths and others in the NYC subway system. This also provides context to the embedded video of the Tour members agitating.

The rally started with people convening at the Harriet Tubman statue in Harlem. Black, white, Asian, and Latino people stood together waiting for the march to start, all there to stand up against the brutality and terror carried out by the police. This particular outpouring and the one before it have been in response to the rise in violence by the police who are being drawn out to enforce the new crackdown on so-called “fare evaders,” which has led to numerous accounts and videos of the police punching or tackling Black and Brown youths, and now more recently arresting and brutalizing a Latino woman selling churros and a Black youth selling candy in the subway station.

This is unprecedented, and many who have seen this came to demand that it stop. This got expressed by challenging the MTA’s $2.75 fare enforcement but mainly took on the character of saying “Fuck the Police” and variations of that. Then it started, the main character of the march was positive, with people chanting “no justice, no peace, fuck these racist police.”

We, the Revolution Club, were there in the middle of this, and we started the 1234 chant (1,2,3,4, slavery, genocide, and war), as well as what’s the problem and what’s the solution (what’s the problem—the whole damn system, what’s the solution—Revolution!). People took this up, and it was hella powerful. People, mainly youths, chanted “America was never great,” and shop owners came out to see what was up and some joined in. This was just the beginning.

When we all made it to 125th and Adam Clayton Powell, hundreds of us waited for what was next. The organizers soon started a mic check and warned everyone that this was a non-permitted march and set some basic tactical  guidelines for everyone. Then the spirit of the rally took an ugly turn—the organizers called for this to be a “Black centered” march and demanded that all the white people “step the fuck back” and essentially “know your place.” They started running the line of white people to the back and sides of the march to “protect” the Black and Brown people from the police. At that point the diverse and multinational crowd started shifting around, no longer solid in determination but fractured and disoriented.

We said some words—agitated—against this, calling out the clear divide-and-conquer line and the paltry attack on people who came righteously to stand up against the white supremacy and oppression, and challenged this orientation, especially in the face of what is being brought down by the Trump/Pence regime. Some of the organizers tried to shut us down, and some youths came to us—to disagree and agree—and a little bubble started to form around us as people shifted around. People took the flyer that we started to pass out as this was going on, but we reset terms and stayed there with people afterward. The challenge made folks uncomfortable, and this had an impact where organizers felt the need to come after or try to “cancel” us.

After some further back-and-forth with the organizers, the march started again. A little shaky but going, the march continued, and not long into it the pigs clamped down, showing their real role, and started rounding up any and everyone they could get to. Throughout the night people were determined to be in the streets. We started up different chants, resetting terms on revolution, and people took them up in mass—“how do we get out of this mess, revolution nothing less” and “what’s the problem, what’s the solution” being the main two.

By the end of the night, 58 people had been arrested. It was really important that people poured out around this en masse, but it needs to go deeper. At the same time, it’s not good that many of the people there did not spontaneously see the leap that has been made with Trump, or refused to look at the white supremacist American fascist danger that is shaping the beginnings of an all-out “surge” on Black and Brown people.




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