To: Detroit Workers' Voice mailing list
July 18, 2016
RE: Black lives matter!

Enough! Justice for Alton Sterling
and Philando Castile!

by the Seattle Communist Study Group,
for the July 16 demonstration in Tacoma, Washington

First, the video of the cops' cold-blooded murder of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge. Then, from near Minneapolis, Lavish Reynolds' live-stream explanation of what had just happened while slumped-over Philando Castile is dying beside her, and the murdering cop is pointing a gun at her and screaming orders while her four-year-old daughter is in the back seat of their car.

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Millions of people have been deeply upset and angered as a result, with protests breaking out in every part of the country, as well as in Europe, South Africa, and Canada. Further fueling these protests are the realities of everyday life in America, a country where

Agents of a growing police state

As always, the police have the full force of the capitalist political parties and the news media behind them. What's more, the murders of five Dallas police officers by a sniper have only helped the police departments, politicians and media to bury the issue of racist police brutality and murders in an orgy of cop-love. These murders in Dallas should be condemned.

Obama says "the vast majority [of police] are doing a really good job," and that any violence toward police officers is a "reprehensible crime" (What about violence by the police, Mr. President?) To defend them he panders to racism: "You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context?" Additionally, rather than calling for gun controls on the cops, or that they should be disarmed, Obama has used the occasion of the police killings of Sterling and Castile to do propaganda for more gun controls on the people! To pull this off he has gone into contortions trying to blame Phil Castile for his own murder(!): "We don’t know what happened, but we do know that there was a gun in the car that apparently was licensed, but it caused in some fashion those tragic events." (Quotes are from Obama's July 9 and July 12 speeches in Poland and Dallas speeches.)

Behind this is that the primary role of the police is not to protect the masses of people from criminals, but to defend capitalist "order." That's why both ruling political parties have for years been militarizing the police forces: they know their Wall-Street-enriching program is going to eventually give rise to militant protests, strikes and rebellions. Thus, in Baton Rouge we've seen the cops coming out armed for war: assault rifles with 30-round magazines, gas masks, combat fatigues, body armor, military vehicles. Moreover, through the Department of Homeland Security fusion centers, the federal government has been coordinating the activities of state and local police forces with private sector partners. Thus, the coordinated attacks on the Occupy Wall Street movement at the end of 2011.

Presiding over this growing police state is a president who has given himself the right to assassinate anyone, anywhere, with drone missiles. And he talks about "the rule of law."

Racism built into the system

The disproportionate number of shootings of African American and other national minorities is not just because of a few racist cops. Moreover, even in cities with Black mayors, Black police chiefs, and lots of Black cops, the disproportionate police murders of national minorities continue. No, the racism is built into the capitalist system, a system based on the exploitation of the labor power of the majority of the population, and super-exploitation of national minorities and immigrants. Thus, the capitalist class makes extra profits by using the general oppression of African Americans to force them into lower-wage jobs and a "last hired, first fired" position. Additionally, the promotion of racist poison against Blacks by the capitalist politicians and press is part of the divide-and-rule tactics used to hold down the entire working class, thereby further increasing profits.

The police are the front-line defenders and enforcers of this unjust system. And since it is resisted by the masses everyday, the police outlook becomes fear and hatred of those they lord over: brutal enforcement of "God-given" authority; racist, trigger-happy street murders -- all while the cops know the courts will give them immunity, and the politicians and press will spout the police line.

Building a revolutionary movement

Obama says "If we’re honest, perhaps we’ve heard prejudice in our own heads and felt it in our own hearts...None of us is entirely innocent." But this is a liberal political diversion meant to defend the police, i.e., "we're all to blame!" In opposition to it we must keep our political fire aimed on the police and the entire system they defend. We need to continue building the protest movement that demands justice for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and all victims of police brutality and murder. And we should attack the source of racial discrimination and police murders, capitalism. By building up the movement that stands for the rights of the most brutally oppressed today we help build a revolutionary movement to achieve the final justice, a people's justice based on a new economic system. Black lives matter!

Seattle Communist Study Group July 15, 2016 (with minor revisions for publication on the DWV list) <>

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Posted on July 30, 2016.