(Leaflet of the Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee)
The Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee is not part of the October 22nd Coalition Against Police Brutality, but we certainly support its yearly marches. After all, from one generation to the next, police brutality is an everyday reality of American democracy that must be fought against. Moreover, this is for most part a hidden war in which the guard-dogs of capitalist order beat and kill sons and daughters of the working class, with African Americans, other national minorities, and immigrants singled out for special viciousness: if you’re Black or Latino in New York City you’re nine times more likely to be subjected to stop-and-frisk searches than if you’re white; and nationally, if you’re African American you’re 3.8 times more likely to be killed by cops than if you’re white.
The fight against police brutality and murders is therefore part of
the class struggle. And like in all other working-class struggles, in
order to unite their ranks to effectively wage it, the workers must pay
particular attention to raising demands and coming to the aid of their
most victimized and oppressed sisters and brothers. Intuitively
understanding this, this is why so many young working people of all
nationalities flocked to last fall and winter’s protests demanding
justice for the broad-daylight execution of Native American woodcarver
John T. Williams by S.P.D. gunman Ian Birk. It’s also why SAIC was so
active in working to draw more workers and youth into that movement.
The everyday regime of police brutality is meant to keep the
oppressed masses "in line" and intimidated. This is magnified when the
masses of people begin to rise in struggle for their own interests.
Then, the most basic role of the cops comes into the open for all to
see: suppression of protests, strikes, rebellions, and the struggle for
revolution. And this has been why the very class-conscious bourgeoisie
has been for decades militarizing the police forces, supplying them
with armored vehicles, helicopters, teargas launchers, flash grenades,
rubber-bullet guns, etc., and training them in "crowd control."
(As we saw during the "Battle of Seattle," crowd control really means
attempted police-smashing of protests.) The ruling class knew that its
decades of driving the masses of people economically downward while
stripping them of hard-won political rights was at some point going to
give rise to massive resistance, and that time is nearing.
The same business-owner’s laws passed to drive the homeless out of sight and mind are now being used to tear down the tents of the Occupy Wall Street movement and drive it from sight. Well over one thousand protestors have been arrested nationally for refusing to give up their camps in public spaces, as well as for such "terrible" crimes as marching on the Brooklyn Bridge. Along with this, many people have been beaten or otherwise brutalized by the cops, especially on Wall Street itself. But these police attacks on the Occupy Wall Street movement have only helped spur the movement, and increased its popularity, including internationally.
This popularity reflects a mass realization that the rich have used the capitalist economic crisis to get richer by looting the national treasury, driving down the wages and conditions of the still-employed workers, and squeezing the poor. In this situation increasing numbers of people are angry, they want a way to fight back, they want class struggle. But those that many have looked to for leadership have betrayed their hopes.
The Democrats have shown themselves to be just as much the handmaidens of Wall Street as the Republicans. For example, Obama has given $trillions to these financial parasites while attacking entitlements and doing nothing serious about unemployment, e.g., his new jobs bill is projected to only decrease unemployment by one-percent -- over the course of several years. He’s followed the same "color-blind" policies as the Republicans, which continue to worsen the conditions of African American and other national minorities. His education policy is no different than Bush’s. His healthcare reform was a give-away to the insurance companies. He’s driven still more migrant workers into the shadows while deporting a record one million people. He’s carried even farther the Bush-Cheney policies of government secrecy, spying, and infringement on civil liberties. While we head for environmental catastrophe his environmental policy is "drill baby drill," mountain top removal for coal, and deadly nuclear power plants. He’s continued imperialist aggression abroad, and is now responsible for twice as many U.S. war deaths in Afghanistan than Bush. (No one keeps count of the Afghans killed by the "gods" from overseas.)
The labor union officials, the supposed leaders of the workers,
overwhelmingly told the workers to vote for Obama . . . while
continuing their sell-out policy of saving or fattening the profits of
the employers by forcing concessions on the workers. And they’re now
loyal helpers in Obama’s campaign to make U.S. goods more competitive
internationally by slashing wages and benefits. According to these
labor traitors, the American workers should join in a suicidal
competition with the workers of all countries over which contingent of
the international working class is going to most starve itself: the
race to the bottom.
But after the capitalist’s politicians and news media were at first
silent about Occupy Wall Street movement -- and mayors across the
country sent the police to break up encampments and mostly failed --
OWS is now being flattered and cajoled by media pundits and politicians
(usually Democrats) who want channel it into being a movement for mild
reforms, or want to line up OWS behind various current Congressional
bills, or want OWS organizers to get behind Obama (or Ron Paul) in
2012, etc. Nevertheless, OWS continues to target the center of U.S.
finance capital, Wall Street -- a "street" that controls both corporate
parties and dominates politics of the country, including through
the mass media.
In response to National Public Radio’s trying to justify its initial
silence about the Occupy Wall Street movement by saying it didn’t have
any demands, protestors started making signs that said "We demand
everything!" And that’s right, we should demand everything.
Corporate greed, racial discrimination and oppression, and police
brutality and murders are among the many guaranteed products of the
capitalist system of production. But exploitation, injustice and
oppression inevitably give rise to resistance struggles, with each of
these struggles needing to be patiently built in its own right around
its particular demands. Yet these seeming separate struggles are
greatly strengthened when they fire each other up in united actions
against the common class enemy. This is what will happen this Saturday
at Westlake, and it will be another small step toward building a
revolutionary movement that can win everything.
Down with police brutality!
Seattle Anti-Imperialist Committee (www.seattleaic.org)
October 19, 2011 <>
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