Statement of the Seattle Communist Study Group, prepared as a leaflet for distribution at a demonstration in Seattle which was scheduled for October 22, 2016 as part of actions in several cities called by the October 22 Coalition To Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation. The Seattle demonstration, however, didn't take place.
While civilian gun violence is in a long-term decline, the number of killings by the police is increasing. Last year the number was around 1200. This year it is already 856. These are often cowardly murders, with the victims shot in the back, or with their hands raised, or when lying on the ground wounded. Many of the victims are disabled, or having mental problems, e.g., Alfred Olango in El Cajon, and they're often oppressed minorities. And Native Americans and African Americans bear the brunt of this murderous campaign; e.g., African Americans are gunned down at 2.5 times the rate of whites even though the cops' Black victims are less likely to be armed than their white victims.
African Americans are forced into unemployment, poverty and homelessness at twice the rate of whites. The wealth they are able to accumulate is one twentieth of that of whites. Their life expectancy is four years less. Schools are increasingly being re-segregated, and African Americans are discriminated against in the criminal "justice" system and racially profiled at every turn.
The majority of the working people -- no matter what their skin color -- in no way benefit from this special oppression of African Americans. To the contrary, racial oppression serves to deepen the exploitation and oppression of all workers. But it benefits its source, the capitalist ruling class. Profits are increased as a result. And they can point to the social results of the racial discrimination they practice as part of their constant propaganda war to scapegoat African Americans, other oppressed nationalities and immigrants for the problems caused by the capitalist system.
The police are the front-line defenders and enforcers of this unjust system. And since the effects of this system are resisted by the masses everyday, the police outlook becomes fear and hatred of those they lord over. Hence, brutal enforcement of their imagined God-given authority, and racist, trigger-happy street murders.
The more workers of all nationalities rally against racist injustice aimed at their most oppressed sections, the stronger will be the overall class struggle. Consciously or unconsciously, this has been a major reason why so many whites and others have participated in the Black Lives Matter protests for years, or flocked to the protests demanding justice for Native American John T. Williams when he was murdered by the SPD in 2010.
Mass political activity independent of the Republicans and Democrats is what gives life to the movement against racist police brutality and murders. But being representatives of the capitalist class, both parties work to stamp out this life.
Trump and the Republicans are most straight-forward about it: police repression while they shout "law and order!" and spew racist lies against the Black Lives Matter movement aimed at isolating it.
The Democrats also use repression, e.g., calling out the National Guard against Ferguson protesters in 2014, and in the many cities they rule -- including with black officials -- repression and police murders continue. Supporting this is that under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, the Democrats too militarized the police forces. Moreover, the Democrats also resort to racism in defending police murders: "You know how dangerous some of the communities where these police officers serve are. And you pretend as if there’s no context?" (Obama after the police murders of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile)
The Democrats special service to the capitalists is their role in undermining the movement. Thus, they pretend support while they preach "patience," i.e., wait forever. And they've worked to co-opt various Black lives matter activists into electoralism. Additionally, they've worked to organize diversions. Thus, to defend the police and the racist system they defend, they've pointed at society in general as the source of the problem: "I think implicit bias is a problem for everyone, not just police." (Clinton) And when we're talking about police murders by the guardians of the state, the Democrats have opportunistically tried to divert our anger into building their movement for more gun controls on the people.
But this has not worked out that well. In the face of the pro-police propaganda coming from both parties and the capitalist "news" media, anti-racist demonstrations continued right through the party conventions. Now, with more racist police murders (e.g., of Terrence Crutcher in Tulsa, OK, of Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, NC, of Alfred Olango near San Diego, CA), and with all Baltimore cops involved in murdering Freddie Gray now walking free, demonstrations have only continued. This is the only path forward.
The black masses have risen in protest along with white and other non-white workers and students. They are sick of the ongoing racism of the cops, courts and entire system. And to advance this good situation all have a role to play. We need to bring more people into the struggle at the workplaces, communities and schools. We need to build new organizations determined to do this, as well as building better overall organization. We need more leaflets to be written which fearlessly expose the basic connection between the racism of the justice system and capitalism itself, and we need people who support these politics to distribute these at demonstrations, workplaces, and schools. By doing these things we will help sustain the movement, and give new power to the continuing anti-police brutality explosions.
By fighting in this way for the rights of the most brutally oppressed today, we not only help them to oppose that oppression and strengthen democratic rights for all of the masses, we are simultaneously building revolutionary movement to achieve justice for the masses -- a people's justice based on a new economic system.
Black lives matter!
Seattle Communist Study Group
October 22, 2016
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Posted on November 15, 2016