Let’s Spread the Ferguson Rebellion and put an end to this Police Brutality Epidemic!
It’s been almost two weeks since the murder of 18 year old Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO erupted into riots & protests against the racist police. Every 28 hours, a Black person is killed by police or other person acting as a vigilante. The Ferguson insurrection has sparked a flame that has only gotten brighter and shows little sign of withering away. It has galvanized not only Missouri, but also people in the U.S. and around the world. An example that shows the solidarity and connection Ferguson shared with the world are the instances where Palestinians have been giving tips through social media on dealing with the police force’s daily barrage of tear gas and violence. It is no surprise on why the Black working class people and other oppressed sectors are revolted by the brutal nature of the racist police violence that the killing of Michael Brown represent. Though the apartheid-like system of Jim Crow formally ended with the democratic gains of the Civil Rights Movement of the 50s-60s, in reality it only changed its form. There has been a resurgence of a “new Jim Crow”, especially since the 1980s, when Reagan began to defund public education and increase prison incarceration. The US economic recession that started in 2008 has only increased the marginalization and criminalization of black people: unemployment, poverty, police brutality, among other things, have been the reality for the majority of the African American population, along with Latinos and other oppressed sectors .
All support and Solidarity with Ferguson protests!
It is no surprise why the response by the Ferguson black community has been large and rebellious. It is a small city with a population of 21,000, where almost 70% of the population is Black and authorities are almost all white. To cite just one example, only three of the 53 city police officers are black. The unemployment rate for black youth (16 to 24 years) is 47%, while for white youth it is 16%. Moreover, Missouri was the last US state to abolish slavery. These figures start to paint a picture that is shared by the Black and Brown working class communities in most neighborhoods, ghettoes and projects of the nations elsewhere. In fact, according to a report entitled “Operation Ghetto Storm”, by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (an African Americans grassroots activist organization) “police officers, security guards, or self-appointed vigilantes extrajudicially killed at least 313 African-Americans in 2012…This means a black person was killed by a security officer every 28 hours.” The militarized attack on the Ferguson protesters also added fuel to the indignation the community and the nation. The first night of the protests faced attack and repression by the local police, but more and more people showed up days/nights after. Protests have gone from hundreds to thousands, with some having more than 7000 people at the demonstrations. Local fast food workers, (who’ve been organizing for the Fight for 15$ minimum wage campaign and for unionization) other labor union members, ministers and church members, students, and many sectors have come out to join the protests in solidarity. St. Louis mayor and Missouri governor called out the National US Guard and put forward a curfew after midnight to repress and try to stop the protests, but the Ferguson people have shown courage in coming out to not be silenced, with the support of activists from other cities and states who came out to Ferguson to fight along. Workers’ Voice / La Voz de los Trabajadores supports Ferguson protests against police brutality and is involved in solidarity initiatives and demonstrations in different cities.
Obama rules for the 1%, not for black and working people!
The racist murder of Michael Brown was unfortunately another in a long series of murders by police or vigilantes in recent years. The two latest cases that shocked national public opinion were Trayvon Martin, murdered by a neighborhood vigilante in Florida in 2012 & Oscar Grant’s murder by police in Oakland in 2010. But there were hundreds of others, including Kendrec McDade (Pasadena, CA 2012), Ramarley Graham (Bronx, New York, 2012), Alan Blueford (Oakland, CA 2012), Andy Lopez (Santa Rosa, CA, 2013), Kimani Gray (Brooklyn, New York 2013) and the list goes on… In 2014 alone, different police forces have killed Ezell Ford (South Los Angeles, CA), Eric Garner (Staten Island, New York), Jacorey Calhoun (Oakland, CA), John Crawford III (Beavercreek, Ohio,), Dante Parker (Victorville, CA), Omar Abrego (South Los Angeles, CA) and Alex Nieto (San Francisco, CA). In most of these cases, murders generated a series of demonstrations at the time, but the murderer tended to be acquitted by the courts and not held accountable. This racist murder epidemic has not decreased since Obama’s election, quite the opposite, it continues to grow showing that the USA is still today a racist country in which Black and Latin@ youth are viewed as “potential criminals” by the white police and ruling class establishment. The protests against such violence also show that Obama’s hold on Black working class other sectors is dwindling, as few still believe today that the President is a “friend of Black folks”. On the opposite, his administration is continuing the war at home and abroad against those who are not, and will not be, considered as equal under capitalism.
For a National Movement Against Police Brutality!
The Ferguson rebellion continues, and we must follow their lead everywhere. We must build a national movement against police brutality. Too often struggles that erupt in response to police brutality are geographically confined to one city or small region. For example, in 1992, the Rodney King riots stayed in California and in 2009, the protests and riots in the wake of Oscar Grant’s murder by Oakland police did not expand beyond Oakland. Police brutality is not a local issue but is the result of a racist state that protects the 1%. Therefore, all of us who are struggling against police violence in our communities must unite with others doing the same in other parts of the country. This is the key to increasing our forces and multiplying our power. A movement that unites youth walking out of high schools, colleges, and universities across the country, and workers doing the same in their factories and workplaces on a national scale is what is needed to make a dent against the state of daily oppression and exploitation that the Black and Brown working class face today. For us socialists, police brutality against Black and Brown are an attack against the working class as a whole- as it keeps us divided and unable to unite in struggle against the 1 %, the ruling class. This became apparent in the Occupy movement that had to struggle with divisions due to race and gender conflicts. In this struggle against the worst manifestations of racism, we must bring into our ranks white, Asian/Pacific Islander, Latin@ and Black workers. In addiiton, we must mobilize the labor unions and demand from the AFL-CIO and the “Change to Win Coalition” to take a real stand against the government´s extreme complicity with police brutality. To build a national movement against police brutality, specifically one with working class independence and a clear anti-racist stand, it would mean reaching out to activists and organizations fighting against police violence in places in all major cities affected by the recent police violence, learning from their struggles, and informing them of ours. But we also need to appeal to all unions and union federations to unite in this fight. To facilitate this process, Workers’ Voice /La Voz de los Trabajadores encourages the idea of holding a National Conference against Police Brutality. With such a conference, we could establish a national network that could distribute information about incidences of police brutality and coordinate strategy and actions against such episodes nationwide.
Stop all Police Brutality!
Trial and Punishment for the Michael Brown Murderers!
Free all arrested protesters and drop all charges!
National Guard and Police Out of Our Communities!
For a National movement and Conference against Police Brutality!
California, August 25th, 2014,
Workers’ Voice / La Voz de los Trabajadores