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News :: Human Rights : Labor : Police and Prisons : Race : Social Welfare
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 2)
by Steven Argue
Email: sargue (nospam) ucsc.edu
13 Jan 2015
Modified: 07:00:05 AM
This is Part 2 of a four part article, also see Part 1 here:
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 1)
Click on image for a larger version
[Photos: Fullerton, California homeless man named Kelly Thomas who was beaten to death by police as he pleaded for his life. As usual, the police got away with the murder.]
In Part 2:
Homeless People’s Lives Matter
Democrats Help Cause the Problem, Plead For Patience
For the Right of Armed Self-Defense
Liberalism Versus the Right to Struggle by Any Means Necessary
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 2)
by Steven Argue
Homeless People’s Lives Matter
In addition to racial injustices, extremely poor people, especially homeless people, are also routinely abused and murdered by police forces with impunity. One example is that of Kelly Thomas.
In Fullerton, California in 2011 a homeless man named Kelly Thomas was beaten to death by police as he pleaded for his life and police bragged of smashing his face in. Like Eric Garner, he had no weapons and was begging for his life as he was murdered by police on camera. The entire murder was caught on a city surveillance camera and audio was supplied by recording devices worn by police.
Kelly Thomas had a record of being harassed by the police for “crimes” like jay-walking, sleeping, and loitering. Kelly Thomas suffered from schizophrenia, had trouble taking care of himself, and at the time of his murder had a disheveled look that would make people think he was probably homeless. The night police gave him the beating that killed him, he had committed no crime. Without any provocation, Officer Manny Ramos put on latex gloves saying as he did it, "Now you see my fists?" To which Kelly Thomas responded, "Yeah, what about them?" Manos replied, "They are getting ready to fuck you up." Officer Manuel Ramos, Officer Jay Cicinelli, and Officer Joseph Wolfe then proceeded to beat Kelly Thomas to death with fists, clubs, and electric shocks. As these cops murdered Kelly Thomas, the suffering man cried with pleas of dad help me they’re killing me 31 times. He said he was “sorry” 15 times even though he had nothing to be sorry for. He asked God to help him 26 times. He said he couldn’t breathe and repeatedly respectfully begged for his life saying “sir please” over and over again.
Despite this clear case of cold blooded murder, on January 13th, 2014, Officer Ramos and Officer Cicilli were acquitted of all crimes charged against them. The District Attorney then dropped the charges against Officer Wolfe as well. Cathy Thomas, Kelly Thomas’s mother, responded saying:
“I guess it’s legal to go out and kill. It breaks my heart. Part of me died that night with Kelly, part of me died that night, part of me died in court. I feel dead inside. They got away with murdering my son.”
Defense attorney John Barnett, however, may have been telling more truth than many people would like to recognize when he said, “These peace officers were doing their jobs. They were operating as they were trained.” The capitalist courts agreed and found no wrong doing on the part of the three murderous cops who beat Kelly Thomas to death. Like almost all police murders, the cops got away with what they did.
Vigilante beatings and murders against homeless people are common as well. In Atlanta, on December 11th, 2014 the police reported that two separate incidents of homeless Black men murdered in their sleep were carried out with the same gun. Similarly, Tai Lam, a 63 year-old disabled Asian American man in leg braces, was beaten to death by three people
for being homeless in San Francisco on November 23rd, 2014.
Millions of people are homeless in the United States every year and homelessness was estimated to have gone up by 12% in 2008 after the capitalist collapse of 2007. According to the National Center on Family Homelessness in 2009, 1.5 million children experience homelessness in the United States every year.
Poverty, hunger, high rent, and homelessness are rampant in the U.S., one of the richest countries in the world. Yet, instead of working to resolve these problems, local governments pass laws against homeless people criminalizing everything from sleep to sitting down or covering up with a blanket to even arresting people for feeding the hungry. These laws are on the increase with one particularly bad example being a 119% increase between 2011 and 2014 of city bans on people sleeping in vehicles. This was reported to the United Nations by the National Law Center on Poverty and Homelessness. It is this kind of official treatment of the most vulnerable people, as a scourge to be gotten rid of, that helps set the stage for vigilante and police terror against homeless people. Further creating this violent atmosphere is the generalized impunity with which police carry out brutality and murder.
Revolutionary socialists oppose all of this anti-homeless oppression while we also fight for an end to homelessness. People are homeless in the United States for four major reasons: high rent, low wages, unemployment, and a lack of adequate or appropriate care for people disabled in various ways.
There is plenty of housing in the United States, but it will take the nationalization of the blood sucking capitalist banks a give foreclosed housing back to the poor who need it. Redistributing housing that has been foreclosed on by the banksters will go a long way towards resolving homelessness. Likewise, the socialist revolution will expropriate greedy landlords and set rent at rates no higher than 10% of a person’s income, as has been done in revolutionary Cuba. Unemployment, an additional cause of homelessness besides high rent in the United States, will easily be eliminated through a planned socialist economy that produces for human need instead of for profit.
While high rent and low wages are major causes of homelessness, mental illness plays a role as well. Numerous studies have put the number of homeless people suffering with mental illness at around 30%. This, however, does not establish cause and effect, because the severe mistreatment people suffer while being homeless is a cause of mental illness. In fact, a study by Dr. Guy Johnson and Prof. Chris Chamberlain found that only 15% of people were mentally when they first became homeless, and 16% developed mental illness while on the street. That’s over half of the people suffering mental illness developing that problem while being homeless. Despite these discrepancies, mental illness is still an important cause of homelessness, making people less capable of taking care of themselves.
An additional cause of mental illness is the psychiatric and pharmaceutical industrial complex. The massive drugging of people with harmful and addictive psychiatric medications has been shown to prolong and exacerbate mental illness. Nigeria, for instance, with far less mental health care and far fewer drug treatments prescribed for schizophrenia, has been shown to have a significantly higher recovery rate from that brain disorder than the United States. This and other studies have pointed to the fact that many psychiatric medications not only don’t help, but that they are in fact harmful. One may be inclined to think that these drugs are helpful due witnessing people acting out when they are “off their meds”. Yet, what people are often observing are actually the effects of withdrawals from highly addictive drugs that have powerful impacts on the mind, not an authentic indication of what a person would be like without their psychiatric medication.
The pharmaceutical industry is politically powerful and makes sure that the FDA is stacked with industry representatives. One measure that is needed to resolve this problem is the nationalization of the pharmaceutical industry, taking the profit out of medicine and taking the corruption out of FDA approval of profitable drugs. This will help establish a science based approach to drug approval rather than the current greed based approach which often ignores all scientific evidence. This will not resolve all mental health issues for all people, but it will be an important step in the right direction.
Increased forced psychiatric drugging is another step in the wrong direction that is presently taking place, however. For many people diagnosed with mental illness to retain housing under housing support programs, they must submit to taking prescribed psychiatric medications. Judges are also allowed to order non-violent offenders to take psychiatric medications in most states. Police then can become involved in forcing people to take medications that harm their minds and body and cause early death. This is another institutionalized form of violence and torture being carried out by the police and the capitalist state. Similarly, the most widespread form of child abuse in the United States today is the drugging of children with psychiatric drugs. One in 13 children in the United States is taking psychiatric medications. These drugs, which include extremely powerful speed, are setting up many children for lives where they suffer from drug addiction either in the form of illicit drugs or continued legal prescriptions and often forced medication on harmful pharmaceutical drugs.
Liberal solutions presented in the wake of the beating death of Kelly Thomas included more psychiatric care and sensitivity training for cops. Psychiatric care, however, as it is currently set up in capitalist America, is part of the problem. In addition, no amount of sensitivity training will help cops who beat a man to death as he begs for mercy as was done to Kelly Thomas. It is the capitalist state that allows the cops to get away with murder. What is needed instead is the unconditional housing of every single person and the jailing of killer cops. Rather than the U.S. spend trillions of dollars on imperialist wars to subjugate the world and billions of dollars to militarize U.S. police forces, better social measures could be established to care for people unable to care for themselves, but this will never be the priority as long as the two parties of blood sucking capitalists, the Democrats and Republicans, hold power in the United States.
Democrats Help Cause the Problem, Plead For Patience
Just after Michael Brown was murdered, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles urged people to be patient and to "have faith in the process". Familiar with how the criminal justice system works; African Americans in Ferguson were not willing to patiently stand beside as another racist police murder was white-washed by the capitalist state. The people knew better and protested for weeks. The police responded with brutality which included tear gas, the aiming of high powered deadly weapons directly at unarmed protesters and journalists, the firing of so-called non-lethal ammunition at protesters, and large numbers of arrests. The $3 billion that Obama’s Department of Homeland Security has spent per year on militarizing local police forces was seen in action as heavily armed cops entered the streets threatening to kill protesters and journalists. This included weapons pointed from fully armored Lenco BearCat vehicles. Prominent activists from around the country then joined the Ferguson protests, demanding both justice for Michael Brown and the right to protest in the United States.
Besides months of legal protest, Ferguson’s brutal and repressive police also inspired looting and vandalism of businesses. In addition, the group Anonymous also carried out direct internet action against the Ferguson city government including police computers as retaliation for the government’s repressive response to protesters.
It was the lack of silence in Ferguson to the police murder of Michael Brown that brought the attention of politicians and the corporate media. The same politicians and pundits who counsel patience when the people rise up are the ones who are silent when there is no uprising and the mainstream media pays no attention.
The second execution of Michael Brown occurred on November 24th, 2014 when a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Darren Wilson. Likewise, the second execution of Eric Garner occurred on December 3rd, 2014 when a grand jury decided not to indict Officer Daniel Pantaleo either. Prior to these decisions and the unrest they produced, the government was already preparing for war. Missouri Governor Jay Nixon, a Democrat, had already called a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard on November 17th. The Ku Klux Klan, emboldened by racist government actions and statements, issued their own death threats against protesters.
Missouri Governor Jay Nixon’s mobilization of the National Guard against the African American community in Ferguson is not his first racist action. As Missouri Attorney General in 1999, he successfully fought against the state’s desegregation program in court, temporarily ending the state’s bussing program for desegregation. For many anti-racists, bussing has been seen as an important element for ending separate and unequal schooling for African American children in the United States. Jay Nixon’s stand against desegregation won him the title of Missouri’s George Wallace and he was protested by the NAACP and others for that act. It was Alabama’s Governor George Wallace (also a Democrat) who famously declared his intention to fight against desegregation at his inaugural address with the words, "In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw a line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say, segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever!"
As is typical of racists, Governor Jay Nixon is anti-union as well. Currently, Jay Nixon is fighting against the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees Council 72 which is asking for a modest raise for in-home health workers. This raise would be from $8.60 an hour to $10.15 an hour. This modest raise is needed both to aid the survival of underpaid workers and for the survival of the disabled, elderly, and dying people who need better pay to retain good workers.
Governor Jay Nixon is also a firm defender of the death penalty and executed 10 people in 2014 alone. This almost ties Democrat Nixon’s 10 executions in Missouri with Republican Rick Perry’s 11 executions Texas in the year 2014. Socialist revolutionaries, as opposed to Democrats like Jay Nixon, have no faith in this country’s racist cops, district attorneys, and courts in ever finding out who is guilty of a crime. There is no justice in the capitalist courts in part because cops and the wealthy are already represented by the prosecutors and judges. In addition, it is wealthy people who can afford proper representation and experts to properly challenge an unjust criminal charge. Innocent poor and working class people are routinely railroaded into prison and / or execution. For working class and poor Blacks, Chicanos, Native Americans, and Puerto Ricans, these injustices are multiplied in court by the racist prejudices of judges, attorneys, and jurors. To trust that system to decide who should live and who should die would seem an obscene proposition fit only for horror movies, except it is also the brutal reality of the United States today. Meanwhile, murderous cops, on the front line of defending the class and race injustices of the United States, are almost always above the law.
In Ferguson, Missouri as in New York, the grand juries decided that it was within the rights of the police to murder unarmed Black men. In Missouri, it was decided police could gun down an unarmed Black man with his arms up in the air. In New York, it was ruled legal to choke an unarmed Black man to death who is laying on the ground. These decisions were on the level of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Dred Scot decision of 1857 that found that Black men have “no rights that a white man is bound to respect.” Not even the right to breathe or surrender without being shot or choked to death.
With these decisions, the protests that erupted when the shooting first happened returned to Ferguson and New York and spread across the United States and then the world. For the oppressed and brutalized people of Ferguson, the grand jury ruling was unacceptable. People took to the streets demanding an end to police murders with impunity and, just after the ruling, were attacked by police violence. Against the unarmed protesters in Ferguson, police used tear gas, flash grenades (causing injury), and carried out large numbers of arrests. In addition to militarized police, Governor Nixon increased the National Guard deployment to 2,200 troops occupying Ferguson.
In Ferguson, some wealth was redistributed through “looting”, but this was nowhere near what has been carried out by the ruling class with their billions in government bailouts to the wealthiest financial capitalists. Difference was that this was looting where poor people grabbed a few things rather than the looting of the national treasury by the banksters with the help of their representatives in the Democrat and Republican parties. The main problem revolutionary socialists have with the wealth redistribution in Ferguson is that its scale was far too small. We fight for a proletarian socialist revolution that will redistribute all of the wealth of the capitalist class without compensation. As a more effective intermediary step than looting, we will redistribute far more of the wealth of the capitalist class by resurrecting the fighting unions we had in the United States in the 1930s when union struggles were being led by Trotskyists, left socialists, and Moscow line Communists.
In Ferguson, arson also took place against police cars, other vehicles, and a good number of commercial businesses. There are some who are claiming that this was a false flag operation, that the arson was started by the police in order to “justify” the heavy handed response of the police. This motive has several holes in it, but more importantly, the video evidence that has been circulated supposedly showing a police SWAT team lighting a car on fire does not convincingly show anything like what is being claimed. The sound of the explosion in the video actually seems to come from the burning building across the street. The supposed “explosion” in the car looks more like flashlight light and reflections than an explosion. In addition, had the cop placed a flash bang grenade into the car at such a short distance, it would have caused injury and potentially blown his hand off. I haven’t seen much evidence of who actually burned up Ferguson, but there is nothing convincing about interpretations of that video and claims that it is evidence of police lighting a car on fire. Had the police actually carried out widespread arson, more evidence would probably be available and both business owners and insurance companies, who actually do have some considerable power, would be demanding immediate justice.
Far more likely than a police false flag operation, arson was probably carried out in retaliation against police cars and the businesses of the capitalist class whose government has declared open hunting season on young Black men. Obama said he had no sympathy for those who were carrying out “violence” in Ferguson, but by that he was not talking about the murderous cops. Instead, Obama was talking about protesters who committed property damage. Obama is wrong. Property damage is not violence. Killing young Black men, however, is. Obama also invoked the name of Michael Brown’s family as calling for calm. Yet, in reality, when the grand jury’s obscene decision was handed down, Michael Brown’s step father, Louis Brown, told gathered protesters to “Burn this motherfucker down!”
Even Martin Luther King Junior, who argued against rioting, recognized that “a riot is the argument of the unheard”. What Martin Luther King Junior did not recognize, however, is that politics only at its lowest level is actually an “argument”. It is an argument on that level to convince Blacks, people of color, poor people, and the working class in general to take action. Beyond that, proletarian politics is a struggle for power. Martin Luther King Jr., on the other hand, saw politics as an argument with the ruling white liberal Democrats he supported to get them to see the moral justice of taking action against white supremacist segregation and terror in the south. Yet, the capitalist Democrat and Republican parties, and the ruling capitalist class they represent, are not persuaded by moral arguments. They never have been and never will be. They are persuaded by actions and organization that threaten their profit margin or power.
Where Martin Luther King Jr’s tactics were somewhat successful were where they involved disruptions of business as usual and hit businesses in their pocket books. His heroic mass mobilizations in the face of police clubs, police dogs, fire hoses, and police and KKK murders also helped build working class and student sympathy to higher levels of struggle. Many of King’s initial successes in the 1950s were, however, met by a wave of KKK and police terror across the south. Had it not been for armed self-defense, Martin Luther King Jr's tactics would have failed.
For the Right of Armed Self-Defense
Where the tactics of Malcolm X, the Deacons for Defense and Justice, and Robert F. Williams were most successful was in the fact that they were armed both as a means of self-defense and as a threat of higher levels of action if the government and the KKK did not back down. Regarding the Deacons, Stokely Carmichael wrote, “Here is a group which realized that the ‘law’ and law enforcement agencies would not protect people, so they had to do it themselves...The Deacons and all other blacks who resort to self-defense represent a simple answer to a simple question: what man would not defend his family and home from attack?” The Deacons provided armed protection for the Civil Rights movement, including for the brave yet naïve Gandhian pacifist freedom riders from the north who were part of the 1964 Freedom Summer project, the 1966 March Against Fear, and protected Martin Luther King Jr. himself. The armed defense set up at the March Against Fear was carried out under an agreement from Martin Luther King Jr. himself.
By 1965, the Deacons for Defense and Justice had 65 armed chapters defending Black people and confronting the Klan across the south and one chapter in Chicago, Illinois. Chapters carried out patrols. Arms would be concealed by day and carried openly at night to discourage Klan attacks. Flyers were left by maids and nannies at white homes warning that anyone caught burning crosses on Black people’s lawns would be killed. Under the protection of the Deacons from the terror of the KKK and police, numbers of non-violent protesters rapidly grew. In Jonesboro, Louisiana cops ordered an end to a fire hose attack on Black student protesters after 4 Deacons calmly emerged from a car and loaded their rifles. Armed self-defense had ended a violent attack by law enforcement. In Bogalusa, Louisiana the terror of white racist lynch mobs operated in full daylight until racists were shot in firefights between Deacons and the Klan. As a result of armed self-defense, Klan activity was then driven into the cover of darkness in Bogalusa and Louisiana’s segregationist governor gave into the demands of the civil rights movement.
Besides playing a critical role in defeating police and KKK terror and Jim Crow segregation in the south, armed self-defense has also played an important role in the labor movement. This includes the leadership of the multiracial Mississippi Woodworkers Union who demanded in 1965 that factory management "treat the members of the Negro race exactly the same as the members of the white race." As a result, one of the union leaders, Ottis Mathews, was abducted at gunpoint and tortured by the Ku Klux Klan. Local police, who were most likely working with the KKK as they were all across the south, claimed they couldn’t uncover anything about the incident. The union responded by taking an ad out in the local newspaper declaring, "Our members have been advised to arm themselves against a future occurrence of violence," further warning the KKK that any effort to impede their travel on public roads would be “met by death.” In this manner, armed workers of a multiracial union also played a role in effectively fighting back against the racist and anti-union terror of the KKK and police.
The United States has a long history of government and vigilante massacres of workers in the United States. One of these was the 1914 Ludlow, Colorado massacre of 21 men, women, and children as terror against a union organizing drive of mine workers.
Bourgeois falsifications distort history and deny the importance of the Deacons for Defense and Justice, but their confrontations with the KKK and local white supremacist governments brought victories. This eventually put enough fear into the capitalist ruling class that President Johnson was finally pushed to destroy the power of the KKK and used federal troops to enforce desegregation orders. Johnson was completely wedded to the white supremacist power structure, but he wasn’t stupid; he saw the revolutionary potential of armed Black proletarian power rising in the south. Johnson took action rather than allow an armed Black working class to further mobilize and smash the terror of racist cops and the KKK, which would have built a stronger independent Black militant leadership in the process. Instead, once pushed by that alternative, Johnson preferred to take action himself and claim credit on behalf of the white supremacist power structure, Democrat Party, and moderate Negro leaders. This, in turn, helped preserve the white supremacist power structure, its racist divide and rule tactics, and its system of capitalist exploitation.
Similarly, the 200,000 armed Black men who fought in the Union Army to smash the southern slavocracy are barely mentioned in official histories given of the liberation of African Americans from slavery. Likewise, the fact that southern Blacks were immediately disarmed after the Civil War is hardly mentioned as the first step in the betrayal of Radical Reconstruction. By disarming the southern Black population the northern bourgeoisie was able prevent needed land reform and instead set up a sharecropper system with land still under the ownership of former slave masters. Blacks being disarmed and dispossessed of what was rightfully theirs set the stage for the next step of northern bourgeois betrayal, where they allowed the white supremacist fascist terror of the White League, Red Shirts, and Democrat Party to smash Radical Reconstruction and drive southern Blacks into almost a hundred years of legal Jim Crow segregation and extreme political repression.
The right of African Americans and the working class in general to be armed for self-defense is a critical question, not to be undermined by liberal bourgeois public opinion. History has shown that the right to armed self-defense against the terror of the white supremacist capitalist state and its vigilantes has been a critical question in regards to Black liberation and Native American liberation. It was the power of armed Black people in the south in the 1960s that dismantled the official power of the KKK and Jim Crow segregation. Unfortunately, some of that terror and segregation has been replaced by increased numbers of racist, brutal, and militarized cops on the streets as well as an expansion of the prison industrial complex. Meanwhile, the Democrat Party, which opposes armed self-defense for Black people, has been a central cause of the problem. Examples include Bill Clinton who promised, and gave us, 100,000 more cops on the streets. Likewise, today Obama is spending $3 billion per year to militarize police forces across the United State.
Armed protests have taken place against recent police murders. In response to the police murder of Michael Brown, dozens of members of the Hewey P. Newton gun club have marched with rifles in hand in Texas. The Revolutionary Tendency stands in solidarity with this action, despite other strong differences we have with the New Black Panther Party that led it. Likewise, we also stand with an armed multiracial protest held in Beaver Creek, Ohio in October against the police murder of John Crawford III. John Crawford III was an African American man who was inspecting a BB gun in a Wal-Mart store when cops blew him away. Store surveillance cameras show that John Crawford III broke no laws and never even pointed the BB gun at anyone. He was no conceivable threat. As is standard operating procedure, a grand jury has also failed to indict the cops who murdered John Crawford III. The armed protest for John Crawford III marched through the store where John Crawford III was murdered. This armed protest was organized by Anonymous, Cop Block, and Ohio Open Carry.
The right to open carry was outlawed in California in response to the armed anti-police brutality patrols of the Black Panther Party (BPP). These patrols were set-up by the BPP after the racist police murder of Denzil Dowell on April 1st, 1967. The BPP responded to this murder by exposing it with their press and setting up armed self-defense patrols. The patrols would listen in on scanners to the police and arrive on the scene of police abuses in the Black community with loaded weapons and legal experts to advise and defend victims of racist police arrests and violence. The successes of these patrols quickly caught the attention of the state government with Governor Ronald Reagan signing the Mulford Act (widely dubbed the Panther Bill) into law. Don Mulford who submitted the bill, like Ronald Reagan, was a Republican. The Mulford Act of 1967 prohibits the carrying of loaded firearms in public in the sate of California. Obviously, the Republican Party does not support the right to armed self-defense. In fact, they are an even more virulently racist party than the Democrats and only support the right to bear arms as long as the weapons stay in the hands of white people. Nationwide coverage of an armed open carry protest carried out by the BPP in Sacramento against the Mulford Act in 1967 gave birth to the BPP as a nationwide organization because young Black people were fed up and wanted to join a group willing to take such bold action.
Similarly, the 1934 ban on automatic weapons came when three important strikes lead by reds shook the foundations of the capitalist status quo in the United States. While gangsters like Al Capone were cited as the need for such a law, gangsters then were just as capable of getting illegal Thompson submachine guns as they are of purchasing illegal Uzis today. The purpose of gun control in 1934 as in 1967 was not to disarm criminals, but instead to disarm rebellious Blacks and the working class in general as they fought back against their oppression and exploitation. During the Great Depression the specter of working class revolution loomed greatly in the fears of the ruling class as capitalist economics and strike breaking had ground much of the working class into unacceptable conditions. Those fears were greatly amplified in 1934 as three ground shaking strikes were led to victory by revolutionary reds.
Before 1934, the working class of the United States was getting pulverized, in part due to the ineffective tactics of the union bureaucracy. It was a situation very similar to today. In 1934 this all changed with three major strikes led by reds. These were the Minneapolis Teamsters strike, led by the Trotskyists of the Communist League of America, the San Francisco Longshoreman's strike, led by the Communist Party, and the Toledo Auto Lite strike, led by the left socialists of the Workers Party (which later joined the Trotskyists). In Minneapolis and San Francisco these strikes escalated to general strikes after cops killed workers. In Minneapolis, deputies were also killed in fighting at the Battle of Deputies Run. These three strikes were the beginning of a labor upsurge that greatly improved the lives of the working class of the United States through collective bargaining. It also forced the ruling class to begin giving us the New Deal in 1935 which included a minimum wage, an end to most child labor, Social Security, and jobs programs. While this was only a beginning to what we deserve, they were still victories, and those victories were won through militant industrial actions with the essential leadership of communists.
Despite the victories in 1934, government brutality continued. This included the 1937 Memorial Day Massacre at Republic Steel in South Chicago when the Chicago police opened fire on marching steel workers and their families. Ten workers were murdered and 40 more were injured. All of them were shot in the back. An additional 101 protesters were injured from police beatings, including an 8 year-old child. In that strike, which was unfortunately not led by class conscious communists, the union misleaders told workers that they should welcome these cops sent in by the Democratic Party.
The push for gun control largely comes from white well off liberals who trust the police and Democrat Party to protect them. Arguments against cheap “Saturday night special” handguns are an argument to make guns more expensive and to keep them out of the hands of working class and poor people who need them the most. In addition, arguments that so-called “assault weapons” are not needed to kill deer miss the entire point of the Second Amendment for the right to bear arms. That amendment was added to the constitution because the poor plebian masses that had just made a revolution didn’t trust the ruling class and demanded that this right be put in the constitution, not to kill deer, but to kill oppressors as the need arises. The right to bear arms was a fundamental gain of the American Revolution. Likewise, U.S. government attempts at gun control are a counterrevolutionary act similar to British attempts at gun control that sparked the American Revolution in the first place.
The Revolutionary Tendency stands with the right to armed self-defense and opposes racist anti-gun laws like the Mulford Act. Likewise, we stand for the right of people to form armed self-defense militias and point out that in places where it is not legal to carry a loaded gun, it is still legal to carry other weapons like tasers.
Liberalism Versus the Right to Struggle by Any Means Necessary
As part of Martin Luther King Junior’s liberal pacifist strategy, he tried to prop up the Democrat Party. For most of his political career, Martin Luther King Jr. was even silent on the U.S. slaughter in Vietnam carried out by two successive presidents of the Democrat Party; This included being silent about Black people being slaughtered in that war. It wasn’t until soon before King’s murder when King finally broke his silence and spoke out against U.S. involvement in Vietnam in 1967.
In opposition to the liberal pacifist strategies of the Civil Rights movement emerged the leadership of Malcolm X which advocated the right of Black people to self-defense, denounced the Democrat Party as racist, advocated Black self-determination, and opposed U.S. imperialism in Vietnam, the Congo, and elsewhere.
Martin Luther King Jr. did play a courageous role in leading the Civil Rights movement from the 1955 Montgomery bus boycott up until his assassination in 1968. Yet, in all of Martin Luther King Jr.’s glad handling and support for the racist and mass murdering Democrat Party, of Malcolm X, King stated, “in his litany of articulating the despair of the Negro without offering any positive, creative alternative, I feel that Malcolm has done himself and our people a great disservice.”
Yet, this was false. Malcolm X did offer solutions. When King was desperate due to the Ku Klux Klan’s violence he begged for federal troops from his friend Lyndon B. Johnson. LBJ refused. Malcolm X responded:
“If the federal Government will not send troops to your aid, just say the word and we will immediately dispatch some of our brothers there to organize self-defense units among our people and the Ku Klux Klan will then receive a taste of its own medicine. The day of turning the other cheek to those brute beasts is over.”
Martin Luther King rejected the offer, calling it “immoral”. In 1965 Malcolm X traveled to the south and spoke out at the Tuskegee Institute and in Selma. At a Civil Rights gathering in Selma, Civil Rights leader and close associates of King, Andrew Young and Coretta Scott King, tried to prevent Malcolm X from speaking. Yet, participants at the event insisted Malcolm X should be allowed to speak and he was allowed to do so. From the podium, Malcolm X proclaimed he was:
“One hundred percent for the effort being put forth by the Black folks here. …they have an absolute right to use whatever means are necessary to gain the vote. ….I pray that all the fear that has ever been in your heart will be taken out, and when you look at that man, if you know he’s nothing but a coward, you won’t fear him. If he wasn’t a coward, he wouldn’t gang up on you… . They put on a sheet so you won’t know who they are—that’s a coward. No! The time will come when that sheet will be ripped off. If the federal government doesn’t take it off, we’ll take it off.”
Malcolm X was giving voice to a movement that at that time was in fact beginning to be highly armed. In fact, federal troops were not sent into the south until after Blacks were armed. FBI infiltration in the Nation of Islam was then used to successfully push for the assassination of Malcolm X.
Andrew Young, for his part, moved on in his career from trying to prevent militant action in the Black community to becoming the oppressor as the Democrat Party’s mayor of Atlanta, then Congressman, and then finally serving under the racist imperialist presidency of Jimmy Carter where he served as the U.S. representative to the United Nations. In that position, Andrew Young worked for Jimmy Carter’s imperialist policies which included direct support for the Somoza dictatorship in Nicaragua, carrying out the U.S. imperialist economic blockade of Cuba, direct support for the Shah of Iran, direct support for the mujahideen holy war against women's rights and literacy in Afghanistan, (which gave birth to the Taliban) and direct support for the genocide of East Timor.
By murdering many of the best Black leaders and promoting hand pick leaders like Andrew Young, Barack Obama, Reverend Al Sharpton (a self-admitted former FBI informant), the U.S. government has managed to channel much of America’s justified Black anger into support for Black oppression in the Democrat Party. Similarly, the conservative labor bureaucracy misleads workers through losing tactics on the picket lines while promoting support for anti-union Democrats as the only way forward for labor. To combat these problems, a revolutionary workers party must be built that advocates winning strategies by the multiracial working class and opposes support for our oppressors in the Democrat Party on principle. Along the road to revolution, among the most important tools we have to pressure for changes are strike actions. Yet, to bring about this kind of effective action takes the patient organizing of a revolutionary party of the multi-racial working class that challenges the legitimacy of most of the current leadership of the unions and left in general in the United States. While strikes by the multi-racial working class are the most effective strategy of resistance we currently have, the current rarity of such actions insures that frustration also spills over and takes other forms. These other forms of resistance should not be ignored.
Please See Part 3
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by Steven Argue
(No verified email address)
13 Jan 2015
Modified: 07:22:44 AM
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 3)