Uproot Racism – Only Revolution Can Bring Justice!
Ferguson to New York:
All Out Against Police Terror!
Racist decision sets off firestorm of outrage. (Top) Protester facing police in Ferguson. (Bottom) CUNY Internationalist Clubs in march to Times Square that night.
From Ferguson to Mexico, Revolt Against Capitalist Police Terror
An abbreviated version of this article was published in Revolution No. 11, December 2014.
All across the country hundreds of thousands anxiously awaited the news from Missouri on Monday evening, November 24. A thousand gathered outside police headquarters in Ferguson listening car radios blared. In New York City’s Union Square we joined a young and multiracial crowd of several hundred. Eyes glued to handheld screens, they held their breath as the hour approached for the announcement. Then came the dreaded news: white killer cop Darren Wilson would face no charges for gunning down 18-year-old black youth Michael Brown in the St. Louis suburb last August. Mixed with the outrage, fury and indignation, many felt devastated by the inescapable truth: there is no justice in racist America.
For months, people expected this outcome to the vile staged
drama of racist injustice. Even so, the announcement of the
grand jury decision stunned, like a punch to the gut. In New
York the angry crowd poured into the street with arms raised,
like Mike Brown when he was shot. In Ferguson, patrol cars and
businesses near police headquarters went up in flame, along
with stores near the scene of the August 9 murder. From coast
to coast, there was a wave of revulsion at the monstrosity of
letting a killer cop walk after murdering another unarmed
African American youth. On Monday night, thousands protested
in at least 90 U.S. cities; by the next night there were tens
of thousands of protesters in 170 cities nationwide. And they
The Ferguson decision couldn’t be more ominous. The grand jury gave a green light for police brutality and murder of black and Latino youth, particularly young men. That no charges were filed, as is almost always the case, confirms that racist cops can kill with impunity. Barack Obama, the first black president of the United States, whom many young people voted for, told African Americans and others they had to eat it. Like hell! We and many others refuse to bow down to this machinery of racist injustice. Many chant that “the whole damn system is guilty.” We point out that that system is capitalism, which from the days of chattel slavery to Jim Crow segregation to mass incarceration today has been built on black oppression. And the only way to end cop terror is through revolution – socialist revolution – to bring this racist system down.
On the night of the announcement, shopping malls in the St. Louis area shut down and angry protesters occupied the I-44 freeway. In New York, hundreds marched to Times Square disrupting traffic, while some headed on to Harlem and the bridges. In Oakland, California protesters occupied I-580. Everywhere they chanted, “Hands up, don’t shoot,” which became the iconic slogan of protests last August. The next day, the numbers swelled. In NYC, protesters shut down an entrance to the Lincoln Tunnel, blocked the Williamsburg Bridge and thousands poured onto the FDR Drive blocking traffic in both directions as they marched more than two miles for over an hour as drivers honked support.
The Internationalist Clubs at the City University of New York (CUNY), along with the Internationalist Group and Class Struggle Education Workers, marched in the protests on both nights and called a speak-out Tuesday afternoon which drew over 100 students, faculty and workers at Hunter College. We put forward a revolutionary, working-class program: our signs declared, “No Justice in the Capitalist Courts” and called for worker/black/immigrant mobilization against police terror. We linked cop terror in Ferguson with the police massacre of students from Ayotzinapa in Mexico. While many repeated, “No justice, no peace,” we chanted “Only revolution can bring justice” – which many picked up. We came off the FDR Drive, our red flags in the lead, chanting, “Workers and students, shut the city down.” In Portland, Oregon IG comrades joined in with some 3,000 protesters at the so-called “Justice Center.”
But the images accompanying the Ferguson grand jury decision were of burning buildings, cop cars aflame and “looting.” No accident, the authorities wanted it that way. To announce the decision at 8 p.m. when it could have been made hours earlier was itself a provocation, to put a damper on organized protest. For weeks, the media and authorities had predicted “violence” when the grand jury decision was announced. Already on November 17, Missouri governor Jeremiah Nixon had declared a “state of emergency,” even though no such emergency existed. When the fateful night arrived, with a mass demonstration outside the Ferguson police HQ, media cameras sped off to record mayhem. The rulers wanted visuals of “violence” and they got them. Yet the rage those images showed was real.
State and local authorities concluded that last August they lost the battle for public opinion. No matter how much they screamed about “riots” and “outside agitators,” what viewers saw were cops in combat gear waging war on the people of Ferguson. So what was the answer? While paying lip service to “constitutional rights,” they emphasized “protection of property” and built up their arsenal even further. But this time there would be no shots of armored vehicles and police snipers. By threatening heavy duty repression and announcing at night, Governor Nixon and county prosecutor Robert McCulloch scared off demonstrators. And by holding back for a few hours they used the media’s preference for “bang, bang” to get their pictures of shooting flames and sounds of crackling gunfire to justify a crackdown. Then they moved in.
In the Ferguson area, Governor Nixon announced the number of
National Guard troops would be tripled to 2,200, effectively
occupying the town. Some 400 Guardsmen were stationed at
strategic points all over St. Louis, ready to lock the city
down if it threatened to blow. Around the country, after a
brief respite to let people blow off steam, mass arrests
resumed. Over 400 were reportedly arrested nationwide in the
first two days. On Wednesday, police in Los Angeles arrested
nearly 150 people for “failure to disperse” while in Oakland
another 33 were arrested after a march through city streets.
Then on the weekend, as demonstrators returned to the streets
in Ferguson, cops arrested 16, almost all from out of town
(branded “outside agitators”), many linked to the
Revolutionary Communist Party. There should be a national
outcry demanding that all charges be dropped against everyone
arrested in and around protests over Ferguson.
Police walk past burning patrol car on night of November 24. Authorities wanted images of Ferguson in flames, in order to justify police-state measures After warning incessantly of 'violence," mobilizing the National Guard and threatening demonstrators, they held back long enough to get their visuals. Then they restarted mass arrests.
The government and media are campaigning to get people to be angry not at police murdering black people with impunity over and over again, but against black “looters” showing insufficient respect for what really matters to this society: property. On the first night there were 80 arrests in Ferguson as a dozen buildings went up in flames. The media howled about vandalism. Yet the couple of police cars that were torched were symbols of the racist cops who have long terrorized this black community. And even black Democrat Jesse Jackson Sr. could recognize that “the shooting started before the looting,” that banks looted black people, “stealing homes with predatory loans,” but they got bailed out while the black poor and middle class got “left out.” Obama piously called for protesters to seek “constructive” outlets for their anger, pontificating that he “has no sympathy for destroying your own communities.”
Some “peaceful, legal” protest organizers buy into the ruling-class hysteria about vandalism, looting and arson. The Don’t Shoot Coalition called for “amnesty” only for “those engaging in protest activity” such as civil disobedience. But in fact, the attacks on businesses were a form of protest, an act of desperation by an enraged, oppressed population denied justice no matter how much they peacefully protested. Buildings were burned in Ferguson only in two areas: around police headquarters after cops declared the protest unlawful and started tossing their “hornet’s nest” grenades shooting out rubber pellets and toxic chemicals; and in the area near where Mike Brown was gunned down. One protester told a journalist, “What is going on here is real simple. We told them no justice, no peace. We didn’t get our justice, so they don’t get their peace.” If the cops are going to get away with murdering people, at least this will up the cost, another said.
Of course these actions, far from exercising power to change the racist reality express a sense of powerlessness, and typically hit small businesses while a Wal-Mart and shopping centers are untouched, not to mention the “banks made of marble, with a guard at every door” and government offices protected by an army of police and National Guard. As Marxists we call for protesters against the cop murder of Mike Brown, the grand jury decision and the racist police to mobilize against the ruling class, its repressive apparatus and the capitalist system. Charges should be dropped against all those arrested during the nights of protest and fury against racist injustice in Ferguson. The system just demonstrated that it won’t allow a “constructive” response, the only answer is to bring it down and replace it (and their entire police forces and military officer corps) with the rule of the poor, oppressed and working people.
No Justice in the Capitalist Courts
CUNY Internationalist Clubs and Internationalist Group marching in crowd of several thousand that took over FDR Drive in Manhattan, November 25.
The grand jury that refused to indict killer cop Darren Wilson was fixed from the start, and everyone knew it. Grand juries are controlled by prosecutors, and the prosecuting attorney of St. Louis who led this one, Robert McCulloch, was notorious as a defender of the police. His father was a cop who was killed by a black man, and he once told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch,“I couldn’t become a policeman, so being county prosecutor is the next best thing.” Over 20,000 people signed a petition to demand he be replaced by a special prosecutor, but McCulloch hard-lined it and he was backed by Governor Nixon. He could have charged Wilson in a preliminary hearing before a judge, but instead he used the grand jury as a screen to hide behind. And by not recommending any charge while burying the jury under mountains of “evidence,” the prosecutor ensured the outcome: the jurors threw up their hands and refused to indict.
There is a lot to be said about this grand jury and its decision, but that would require plowing through thousands of pages of testimony and other materials which were unloaded on it in a giant data dump. Journalists and analysts have pointed out several notable facts. First, a decision not to indict is extremely rare: according to the web site FiveThirtyEight, Bureau of Justice statistics show that of 162,000 cases presented to federal grand juries in 2010, only 11 ended with no indictment. Also, the prosecution gave jurors false information about when police could legally use deadly force. Three decades ago the U.S. Supreme Court threw out laws like Missouri’s that allowed cops to shoot suspects just because they were fleeing. Eventually, the prosecutors told jurors to ignore that statute since it conflicted with “case law.” But they did not say that it was unconstitutional, and refused a juror’s request to explain what was wrong about it.
In presenting the grand jury’s decision, McCulloch ranted against the media “who will pounce on a single sentence or a single witness” and its “insatiable appetite” for something to write about. He vituperated against the witnesses themselves, who he claimed “adjusted their stories” or were “completely discredited by the physical evidence.” Even though according to an NPR analysis 16 out of 18 witnesses said Michael Brown had his hands up when cop Wilson shot him, McCulloch claimed that “some said” he did while “others said” he didn’t, or only “briefly.” He cited a witness who said Brown moved toward Wilson in a “full charge,” but didn’t mention that this was the only witness other than the killer cop who claimed that. He skated over the fact that the police officer fired off 12 rounds, nearly emptying the magazine of his Sig Sauer pistol, and doesn’t mention that the fatal shots to the head were fired when Brown was down.
Many have commented on how Darren Wilson’s testimony dehumanized his black victim. The fact that the cop testified at all is itself very rare. Hardly any competent attorney would advise a defendant to do so, as it would lock them into statements that could be used at trial, without a lawyer there to advise him, without knowing the witness testimony, without the right to cross-examine and without a judge. But in reality Darren Wilson was not the defendant in this proceeding,Michael Brown was on trial. And the prosecutors were the cop’s attorneys, feeding him softball questions and buttressing his defense, for example suggesting “it was your opinion that you needed to pull out your weapon because…” in order to get him to say he was afraid for his life. But the most dramatic was Wilson’s portrayal of Brown as a “demon” and claiming he “felt like a five-year-old holding onto Hulk Hogan” (the wrestler) when he grabbed the victim
In fact, both Wilson and Brown were 6-feet, 4-inches tall, and of the two big guys the cop was “solid muscle” in the words of Mike’s friend Dorian Johnson, while Brown was “bulk.” The cop then says that “it [referring to Brown] looks like a demon.” Later, Wilson says Brown “made like a grunting, like aggravated sound” and “was almost bulking up to run through the shots.” All this is a racist stereotype of big black men that goes back to the days of slavery when plantation owners lived in fear of the “strapping” field hands who did the backbreaking work that produced the slave master’s profits. It is the psychosis of British colonial troops in 1879 South Africa who could not believe how the Zulu impis (squadrons) armed only with spears would charge through a hail of bullets. It is the Belgian colonialists’ nightmare in 1960 as they fled Stanleyville in now-independent Congo before Simba rebels who supposedly used juju (magic) believing this would make them invulnerable to bullets. This is the stuff of horror films, used to justify racist murder.
Beyond portraying Mike Brown as a monster, the whole grand jury system today is a perversion of any kind of justice. Grand juries are not even part of the court system. There are no rules of evidence to be followed, no requirement of unanimity or that the decision (it’s not a verdict because it’s not a trial) be “beyond a reasonable doubt.” In fact, all it would take was four votes out of 12 to prevent charges from being filed. Grand juries are tools of the prosecution, completely under the thumb of the district attorney, giving the D.A. the decision he wants 91% of the time, according to a survey by a judicial panel. Judge Sol Wachtler in New York famously remarked that any D.A. worth his salt could get a grand jury to indict a ham sandwich. (Wachtler was then indicted by a grand jury for threatening a former lover.) But as a protester’s sign in the Tuesday NYC demo said, “A Grand Jury Can Indict a Ham Sandwich, But Not a Racist Killer.”
Meanwhile, on November 18, Leon Taylor, a black Kansas City resident, was executed after Governor Nixon refused appeals for clemency. The jury that tried him for a murder-robbery 20 years ago couldn’t come to a decision on the sentence despite the prosecutor’s call to “get mad” and give Taylor death. So a second, this time all-white, jury was summoned that sentenced Taylor to die. And now the Ferguson police, after murdering Michael Brown, are reportedly “investigating” both his parents, Lesley McSpadden and Louis Head! It doesn’t stop.
The fact is that the whole judicial system is set up to
ensure than police can kill black people at will. And the
knowledge that they can do so pervades everything the police
do. That is why a thug like killer cop Darren Wilson can yell
at Mike Brown and Dorian Johnson to “get the fuck on the
sidewalk” and can reach through the window of his car door to
grab Brown’s throat. Likewise “stop and frisk” means police
can stop African American and Latino youth for any reason
whatever. Consider all the well-known cases of white police
killing black people: the number of cops prosecuted is
extremely rare, and the number convicted of anything at all,
much less murder, is far less. Now count the number of black
cops killing white people… Actually, we couldn’t find any, and
even if there are a few, the near or total absence of such
cases tells you everything. But it’s not just the courts.
American Capitalism Is Racist to the Core
St. Louis County police and armored vehicle advance on protesters in Ferguson, Mo., August 18
Over and over in recent marches demonstrators chanted “Black Lives Matter.” What an indictment of racist American society! The names of those killed by racist police and vigilantes were on everyone’s lips. Only days before Mike Brown was murdered,Eric Garner was chokeholded to death on Staten Island by New York police: his mother, sister and wife followed reports from Ferguson as they anxiously await a grand jury decision on the cops who killed Eric. Last year a Florida jury absolved the racist vigilante killer of Trayvon Martin. Before that, Kimani Gray, killed by the NYPD in East Flatbush: no charges filed against the killer cops.Oscar Grant in Oakland, shot to death on New Year’s Day 2009 by a BART transit cop, who was out in six months. And the Ferguson decision came on the anniversary of the murder of Sean Bell, cut down by a hail of 50 cop bullets on his wedding day in 2006: the NYPD death squad walked.
Since Mike Brown’s death, the list of black victims of racist cop terror keeps growing:
–Kajieme Powell, 25, whose killing by St. Louis police on August 19 was caught in a horrifying video;
–Ezell Ford, 25, known to police to be mentally handicapped, shot in the back on August 11 by a Los Angeles cop;
–VonDerrit Myers, 18, chased down and killed by 17 bullets from a moonlighting St. Louis police officer in the Shaw neighborhood on October 8;
–Akai Gurley, 28, shot dead by a rookie NYPD cop on drug patrol in a dark stairwell of a Brooklyn housing project on November 20;
–Tamir Rice, a 12-year-old child, shot dead by police in Cleveland on November 23 because he had a toy gun.
The list goes on and on.
Last year, FBI statistics report that 461 “felony suspects” were shot and killed by police in the United States, the highest number in two decades and the third consecutive annual increase. According to a USA Today (15 August) analysis, nearly twice a week a black person is killed by a white cop. The actual numbers are certainly far higher, since only a fraction of the 17,000 police agencies are included in the FBI database and some have not reported for years (Florida since 1997, New York City since 2007). Another study reported that in 2012, at least 313 African Americans were killed by police officers, security guards or vigilantes – one every 28 hours (Alternet, 28 May 2013). A ProPublica (10 October) analysis concluded that young black men were21 times more likely to be shot dead by police than young white men.
All attempts to reform the police have come to naught. Hire black cops? Black police kill black youth, too. Black police commissioners? The co-chair of Obama’s new commission on “21st century policing,” Charles Ramsey, as head of D.C. police carried out mass arrests of protesters at World Bank summits, and as Philadelphia top cop has “stopped and frisked” black youth as much as the NYPD. The Don’t Shoot Coalition in St. Louis wants a civilian review board. New York City has had one since 1993, and although chokeholds were banned that hasn’t stopped beat cops and white-shirt supervisors from using them. The coalition also calls for a federal investigation of Wilson. One’s underway, and won’t produce anything. Ban racial profiling? Already banned, but it’s SOP (standard operating procedure) for the cops.
Now Barack Obama and NYC mayor Bill de Blasio want to “experiment” with police wearing body cameras. Yet the existence of a cellphone video didn’t stop NYC cops from choke-holding Eric Garner to death, and it hasn’t brought action against his murderer, killer cop Daniel Pantaleo. As demonstrators in New York chant, “How do you spell racism? NYPD, How do you spell murderers? NYPD.” No “police reforms,” no review boards or body cams, will change that. It will take nothing less than revolution to stop racist cop terror, by bringing down the capitalist state and replacing it with a workers government.
Ferguson has brought all this to a head. Obama tells
protesters that “We are a nation based on the rule of law” and
“so we need to accept that this was the special jury’s
decision to make.” Sure, laws like the U.S. Constitution that
declared black slaves to be equivalent to 3/5 of a person. Or
the Jim Crow segregation laws that Rosa Parks (and before her
15-year-old Claudette Colvin) violated to sit in the front of
a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. And no, we don’t have to accept
that a grand jury led by the nose by a pro-cop prosecutor
hears the case in secret, or even that a court can let off
racist murderers like Darren Wilson. “The law” codifies the
interests of the oppressive ruling class, the capitalist
exploiters, in particular to keep down those they exploit, the
poor, oppressed and working people. And the cops are the armed
fist of the bourgeoisie.
Above: Two hundred join in speak-out at Hunter College, City University of New York the day after the racist grand jury decision letting cop killer of Michael Brown go free, November 25. Below: leaflets calling for the speak-out.
For Obama it is a problem of miscommunication and past injustices. “In too many parts of this country, a deep distrust exists between law enforcement and communities of color,” he said following the announcement of the grand jury decision, adding: “Some of this is the result of the legacy of racial discrimination in this country.” So he, and liberals like him, want to have yet another “conversation” about race. Governor “Bull” Nixon appoints a “Ferguson Commission” to study social and economic conditions. But at their first meeting in Ferguson, an angry audience shouts them down because they don’t represent the community. Many whites supported Darren Wilson? That’s not about “distrust,” it’s racism, and it’s rooted in an economic and social structure that to this day keeps black people segregated on the bottom. That structure is the capitalist system, and no “conversation” is going to change that one bit. It’s all about power.
Wilson, in his vile self-justifying interview on ABC-TV, declared he was just doing his job by killing Mike Brown, and that he did it “right.” In fact, the job of the police in America is to terrorize and repress African Americans, Latinos, poor people, immigrants, workers, leftists and anyone else perceived as a threat to the rule of capital. That is also the job of the courts, the prosecutors, the legislators, the mayors, governors and presidents. And they all rest on the guns of the police and military, those “special bodies of armed men” that Friedrich Engels, co-author with Karl Marx of the Communist Manifesto, pointed to as the core of the capitalist state. Engels notes that since society became divided into classes with conflicting economic interests producing irreconcilable antagonisms, it was necessary to have a power to regulate the inevitable class conflict and “keep it within the bounds of ‘order’”:
“This public power exists in every state; it consists not merely of armed men but also of material adjuncts, prisons, and institutions of coercion of all kinds….”
–Friedrich Engels,The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State(1884)
The cops will keep on defending the interests of the racist rulers until the capitalist class they “serve and protect” is overthrown. Obama claims: “We have made enormous progress in race relations over the course of the past several decades. I’ve witnessed that in my own life. And to deny that progress I think is to deny America’s capacity for change.” Yet at that very moment, as viewers saw on a split screen on their TV, protesters in Ferguson were overturning police cars, furious that nothing had changed, that cops could still murder unarmed African American young men and get away with it. As for the supposed “progress in race relations,” blacks in Ferguson replied that the Harvard-educated black president “had a silver platter” and “don’t feel the pain” (The Guardian[U.S. edition], 25 November). What Obama has seen in his life is that the rulers put “a few black faces in high places” like him, in order to keep the same old same old.
Barack Obama to the contrary, there is not going to be a “post-racial” capitalist America.
The undeniable fact is that murderous racism, particularly against black men, is built into U.S. capitalism today, as it has been since the American colonies and the U.S. economy were built on the basis of slave production. It was the profits from the Southern slave system that fueled Northern industry, financed New York banks and drove westward expansion. Chattel slavery was formally abolished as a result of the Civil War – the second American Revolution. But following the brief democratic interlude of Radical Reconstruction, the racist rulers have devised one method or another to deny black rights, through Jim Crow segregation until the 1960s civil rights movement and by systematic racist police terror since then. Police massively arrest and harass black youth to keep as many African American men as possible under the control of the “justice system.”
Michael Brown, like Eric Garner and so many others before him and since, was a victim of the capitalist system which is irremediably racist to the core. Despite the 1964 Voting Rights Act, the poll tax has been replaced by voter IDs. Despite the 1954 Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education establishing that separate is not equal, the schools are as segregated as ever. Despite the considerable expansion of a black middle class since the 1960s, millions of black youth still face a jobless future. In fact, Ferguson became a black suburb as a result of deliberate “social engineering,” back when “urban renewal” meant “Negro removal.” St. Louis rulers dynamited the Pruitt-Igoe public housing in 1972, assisting some former residents to move to inner-ring North County suburbs like Ferguson, and leveled the entire 70-block riverfront black neighborhood along the Mississippi to attract industry, which never came (see Richard Rothstein, The Making of Ferguson, Economic Policy Institute, 15 October).
In the past, U.S. rulers would occasionally carry out limited social reforms, always ensuring that the repressive apparatus was strengthened. When Northern inner cities exploded over police brutality in the late 1960s, the National Guard was brought in to suppress “rioters,” but they also initiated or greatly expanded a host of poverty programs as well as affirmative action plans. Since genuine equality was out, they instead offered “diversity” for a select few. While militants called for black power, the rulers used black Democrats to push “empowerment” via black-owned businesses. They enabled many in the black middle class to leave the ghettos for Nassau County outside New York, Montgomery County outside Washington, D.C., Fulton County outside Atlanta. But this hasn’t stopped police from regularly pulling over black legislators, city officials and even CEOs driving expensive cars.
Nowadays, however, in these times of “privatizing,” no section of the ruling class would support new social programs or reforms. As a result, the official response to black unrest today is different from the 1960s: all stick and no carrot. Thus we get Governor Nixon’s preemptive “state of emergency” in Missouri, preparing for martial law. And despite the hand-wringing over militarized police back in August, the Obama administration just announced that it will not reduce the amount of military hardware being funneled to local police departments, and will instead focus on “training.” The police state we saw in Ferguson in August and again in November is the harbinger of what’s in store for black America, and all those who defy the capitalist rulers.
The problem isn’t confined to Missouri, New York City or even the United States. As the recent massacre of students of the Ayotzinapa teachers college in the state of Guerrero, Mexico (six confirmed dead, 43 “disappeared”) gruesomely showed, cop terror is international. The CUNY Internationalist Clubs joined in the first protests against the massacre (including with signs saying “Mexican Militarization Made in U.S.A.”), we have held film showings and discussions at Hunter College, and marched to Times Square with signs saying, “From Ayotzinapa to Ferguson, Down with Capitalist Police Terror.” We have underlined that imperialist war abroad means racist repression“at home,” dramatically shown by police use against protesters of armored vehicles brought back from the occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq.
What’s needed is to bring out the power of the force that can defeat the capitalist state: the multiracial working class. Unions should be out in force, using their muscle to stop racist cop terror. Contrary to myths spread by academics and petty-bourgeois pseudo-leftists, African Americans and Latinos are heavily represented in the ranks of labor, even more than white workers. Michael Brown’s mother, Lesley McSpadden, is a member of the UFCW (food and commercial workers), and Eric Garner’s mother and sister are in the TWU (transit workers). We have called for labor/black/immigrant mobilization against racist police terror, and for workers action to stop migra raids, deportations, racist attacks. Class-conscious workers should demand all police and military forces out. It’s the killer cops and their accomplices who are endanger the population, in Missouri and elsewhere, not those who are protesting police repression.
Especially after Ferguson, there must be no illusions in the so-called “justice system,” which is in fact a machine for imposing racist injustice. A popular chant, from Missouri to New York, has been “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail, the whole damn system is guilty as hell!” Yes, the capitalist system is guilty of systematic racist murder, and for that reason, calls to “jail killer cops” (raised by reformists such as the Workers World Party or the Revolutionary Communist Party) can only build illusions. The capitalists back their armed thugs to the hilt, count on it. And when demonstrators chant “No justice, no peace” we warn that this deceptive slogan – popularized by black Democrat Al Sharpton, who has for decades acted as a fireman for the ruling class, seeking to douse to flames of struggle, from Ferguson to New York – hides the stark fact that there will be no justice for the oppressed under capitalism.
Nor will the answer be found at the ballot box. The fact is,all the police and military forces active in Ferguson last week are commanded by Democrats: St. Louis County chief executive Charlie Dooley, Missouri governor Nixon and U.S. president Obama.Democrats and Republicans = racist police terror,we must build a revolutionary workers party. As our signs have proclaimed,workers revolution will avenge victims of police murder including Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Kimani Gray, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Eleanor Bumpurs, Anthony Baez, Alberta Spruill, Ramarley Graham “and so many others.”
The protests over Ferguson have been described as the biggest civil rights demonstrations in decades. Not exactly. The angry marches coast-to-coast over the murder of Trayvon Martin and again when his vigilante murderer was let off seemed larger. Those were largely of youth who voted for (and believed in) Obama and were then shocked when the ugly reality of racist murder raised its head. What’s different this time is that the illusion has worn off, bitter reality has set in. And the reality is,only revolution can bring justice– socialist revolution, of black, white, Latino, Asian and immigrant working people, acting as champions of all the oppressed and led by a multiracial revolutionary workers party. The upheaval in Ferguson, Missouri proves it. For young people fed up with racist injustice, the message should be loud and clear. ■