To: Detroit/Seattle Workers' Voice mailing list
November 5, 2017
RE: Seattle Workers' Voice #8
On November 4 about 150 people took part in a rally against Trump in downtown Seattle, starting at noon. The slogans included "hey hey, ho ho, the Trump regime has got to go", "black lives matter", and "no Trump, no KKK, no fascist USA". This was part of a number of actions across the country, mainly organized by the Revolutionary Communist Party on the theme that "This nightmare must end: the Trump/Pence regime must go!" Various anarchists such as The Insurrectionary Youth Action also organized for the Seattle demonstration, the IYA's slogans being "Stand up to Trump, fight white supremacy!" and "Become ungovernable: fight back against Trump Nov. 4". The Seattle Workers' Voice took part with our own viewpoint, and distributed to demonstrators and bystanders about 300 copies of the leaflet whose text follows.
From Seattle Workers' Voice, vol. 1, #8, Nov. 4, 2017.
Nationally, 1,218 people were killed by the police in 2015. (1) Many of
them were victims of police murder, with a disproportionate number
being black or other national minorities, e.g., black men were two to
three times more likely to be killed by the police than white men.
Since then the number of people being killed by the police has slightly
declined, and this is no doubt related to the spreading of the Black
Lives Matter movement. In fact, this movement has spread so far that
there are now constant protests by NFL players and other sports teams
on all levels, with the racist President slurring and threatening the
protesters, while covering over that the protests are against racism
and police murders. But clearly this movement must be spread
farther and deepened. As of October 31 this year, another 994 people
have been killed by the police, many of them either innocent of any
wrong-doing or who should never have had guns drawn on them. Among
these numbers are two outrageous and totally unjustifiable killings by
the Seattle and King County police this summer.
First was the June 13 gunning down of 20-year-old Tommy Le, a popular Vietnamese-American student at South Seattle College. For some reason Tommy had been acting strangely the night of his killing: e.g., threatening people; reportedly carrying a knife; saying things that made no sense. When the cops arrived he was barefoot and wearing shorts and was outside -- which gave the cops plenty of room in which to maneuver or back off if anything happened. But when their taser failed, one of them, Deputy Molina, pulled his pistol and shot Tommy twice in the back and once in the hand as Tommy tried to leave. A week later the Sheriff's office reported Tommy Le had only been carrying a fountain pen.
Then on June 18 Seattle police gunned down Charleena Lyles, a pregnant
African-American mom of four. Charleena had called the SPD to
investigate a burglary of her apartment. Two cops were sent because the
Department knew that she'd recently been having mental health problems.
After their routine investigation was nearly over Charleena suddenly
threatened them with a kitchen knife or knives. But both cops had
batons, one had pepper spray and was to the side or rear of Charleena,
and there were many things they could have done to stay out of her way
or to physically defend themselves without killing her. Instead, both
drew their Glocks, aimed at "center-body mass" (i.e., aimed to kill),
and between them they shot Charleena a total of seven times , with
three of the bullets entering her back or the rear of her arm.
But despite militant protests demanding justice and mass denunciations
of the authorities at public meetings, the killers of Ms. Lyles and Mr.
Le have not been charged with anything, nor have they even received a
slap on the wrist from their police superiors. This once again shows
how far the system will go to preserve police impunity, and it shows
that the liberal Democrats who rule Seattle and many other big cities
cannot be relied on to deliver justice. Indeed they're part of the
problem: they hire the police chiefs and they oversee the murderous
Capitalism is based on the exploitation of the labor power of the majority of the people by a relative handful. Oppression is therefore built into it, and the capitalists especially benefit from racial, sexual, and anti-immigrant discrimination and oppression: the capitalists make extra profits by super-exploiting the victims of their special oppression. They also blame the victims of their special oppression for the ills actually caused by the capitalist system itself. And then they use this to divide the working-class, thereby weakening the inevitable resistance.
The police are the enforcers of the law and order of this unjust and
racist system. As such, they inevitably view the masses of working
people as suspects or enemies. On a daily basis this translates into
their bullying, shut up, don't act out, obey me attitude toward masses,
particularly African Americans and other doubly oppressed working
people and youth. Along with this, in these decades of austerity for
the people while the rich get incredibly richer, the police and their
masters fear mass rebellions, and seek to tamp down any form of
"disobedience" before it can grow into more. Backing the police are the
politicians of both parties, who normally give the police everything
they want, who compete with each other in praising them, and who have
been militarizing the police forces for decades.
The majority of African-American and other national minorities shot down by the cops are from the working class, and it is a matter of elementary justice that all workers should stand up for the rights of their more victimized and oppressed sisters and brothers. This is part of the struggle to unite the entire class for its resistance struggles against capital and to build a movement to overthrow it. We should work to consolidate a revolutionary trend within the Black Lives Matter and other progressive movements to do this, a trend that steadfastly fights for justice and reforms as part of building up a revolutionary movement. With this in mind, let us continue to spread the word about every racist atrocity. Let us continue to build the protest movement. And all out for the November 24 "Black Friday" protest!
Friday, November 24, noon to 8 pm
Westlake Park, 401 Pine St.
Called by Black Freedom Front – Seattle
1. According to police.net
Seattle Communist Study Group
November 4, 2017
The PDF form can be found at www.communistvoice.org/SWV-171104.pdf.
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Posted on November 5,