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News :: Human Rights : International : Police and Prisons : Race : War and Militarism
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 4)
by Steven Argue
13 Jan 2015
This is Part 4 of a four part article, also see Part 3 here:
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 3)
[Photo: Mary Hawkes killed by Albuquerque cop Jeremy Dear who claimed his camera “malfunctioned” during three incidents of police brutality, including when he shot and killed Mary Hawkes.]
Sections found here in Part 4:
Mexican and Central American Lives Matter
Asian Lives Matter
Liberal Reforms and Investigations
Citizen Police Review Boards
Murderous Cops, Liberal Snake Oil, & Revolutionary Solutions (Part 4)
By Steven Argue
Mexican and Central American Lives Matter
In stark contrast to revolutionary Cuba, the people of Mexico and Central America suffer under murderous U.S. backed capitalist regimes. The mass kidnapping and murder of 43 students at the Raúl Isidro Burgos Rural Teachers' College of Ayotzinapa on September 26th, 2014 is the latest example of the terror of the U.S. backed capitalist regimes in the region. From confessions and a body found, it appears that the students at the leftist school were abducted by the police on their way to a protest and, under orders of the mayor, turned over to mobsters of Guerreros Unidos ("United Warriors") who then murdered the students, burned their bodies, and threw them in the river. The identity of the remains of one student has been confirmed, but a number of other murdered bodies found in the search did not belong to the students, an indication of the prevalence of mass murder in Mexico today, both as a means of political terror and as a means of eliminating capitalist competition between competing cartels.
The Ayotzinapa students were hitchhiking and riding on buses at the time they were abducted by the police under orders of the mayor. In what is thought to be a related case of mistaken identity, a busload of football players was also attacked by gunmen around the same time with 6 people killed including one who was found the next day with his eyes gouged out and his face flayed down to the bare skull. The kidnapping and mass murder of these students is an example of the kind of terror U.S. client states in the region employ in order to maintain an unjust social order of grinding poverty, capitalist exploitation, corruption, and U.S. imperialist control.
After the abductions, militant protests erupted in Guerrero, the region of these kidnappings, as well as elsewhere in Mexico with slogans including “It was the state!” “We are all Ayotzinapa!” and “We want them back alive!” Government buildings and headquarters of ruling capitalist parties were torched. Universities, highways, and airports were shutdown. Eleven protesters who shutdown the airport in Mexico City, battling a violent attack by Mexico’s murderous police with Molotov cocktails and rocks, have outrageously been charged with attempted murder. Of the murderous Mexican state, the international communist movement demands without hesitation: Release All Protesters and Drop the Charges Now!
As a result of militant protests that have become a threat to the stability of the capitalist state, 80 suspects have been arrested including 44 cops. Also arrested is the mayor of Iguela, José Luis Abarca, who ordered the massacre. José Luis Abarca is a member of the PRD (Party of the Democratic Revolution). This author has long criticized much of the left, including the Zapatistas, for supporting the capitalist PRD as a supposed lesser evil alternative to Mexico’s other two ruling capitalist parties, the PRI and PAN. Abarca himself is now also accused of shooting another leftist activist in the face last year. Also driven from office in the latest protests is the PRD governor of Guerrero, Ángel Aguirre. Aguirre’s forces attacked Ayotzinapa student protesters in 2011, killing two people. He also reportedly has ties to the Beltrán Leyva drug cartel. The PAN and PRI are no better with a long history of capitalist murder, austerity, privatization, and union busting under their belts. For these reasons, a popular slogan of protests has become “Throw Them All Out!”
Attempting to take the place the PRD once held as the leftist opposition party now is the Movement for National Regeneration (Morena) led by former PRD member Andrés Manuel López Obrador (AMLO). Yet, like the PRD before it, Morena fails to offer real solutions because to do so must include smashing the brutal capitalist state in a proletarian socialist revolution and the total expropriation of the capitalist class, including the drug cartels, without compensation. Without such a program, such a party will simply become part of the problem as they become the administrators of the bourgeois capitalist state after taking positions of power.
The Obama Administration directly aids the Mexican government’s war on the working class and peasantry through the Merida Initiative which has supplied $3 billion dollars in training and equipment to the Mexican police and military since 2008. The pretext of much of this aid is the so-called war on drugs, but in reality this equipment is used by a corrupt government deeply involved in the drug trade for counterinsurgency efforts against a population that is profoundly fed-up. While the illegal drug trade provides a pretext for U.S. military support for Mexico’s brutal capitalist government, the illegality of the drug trade has also helped turn Mexico into a war zone with over 100,000 people killed since 2006. The narco drug wars in Mexico along with the mass incarceration of the poor in the United States, largely under drug charges, points to the need to decriminalize drugs.
While government mass murder and deaths due to illegal competition in the drug trade have plagued Mexico, no country other than those at war has a higher per-capita murder rate than Honduras since Obama’s 2009 coup in that country overthrew the elected government and brought back the 1980s death squads. Overthrown was the elected government of President Manuel Zelaya. That government was put in the crosshairs of U.S. imperialism because Zelaya increased the minimum wage paid to workers in U.S. owned sweatshops and maintained good relations with the government of Hugo Chavez in Venezuela. Important U.S. officials are known to have been in Honduras at the time of the coup advocating that kind of action. For show, the United States briefly suspended military aid to the Honduran military that carried out the coup, but that was quickly restarted and increased to levels much higher than before the coup.
After the coup, a reign of terror ensued where journalists, unionists, human rights activists and lawyers, and opposition political activists have been routinely shot or abducted, tortured, and murdered by government death squads. Murder increased by 50% in Honduras after the U.S. backed coup with a 90% impunity rate and Supreme Court justices replaced by the military in the middle of the night. This terror, with U.S. backing, continues. For instance, 32 journalists have been murdered since the coup, including three in 2014. In addition, hundreds of land rights activists have been murdered as well as dozens of LGBT activists, and at least 20 opposition party activists and organizers. Despite this reign of terror, the U.S. was quick to recognize the illegitimate elections carried out by the coup government and to pressure other governments to recognize the coup government as well. In addition to military aid, the United States helped set up wiretapping capabilities for the Honduran government in 2012 to increase the government’s capabilities to snoop on the phone and internet communications of people potentially targeted for death.
In addition to political murder, the drug trade plays a role in Central American violence as well. Rampant poverty in most of Central America drives many children and youth into street gangs and the drug trade. Drug violence doesn’t just come from the criminal gangs that often force youths to work for them; It also comes from brutal militarized police forces given U.S. aid in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala that often kill completely innocent child and teenage suspects. Out of the appalling conditions of poverty and violence the U.S. has helped create in countries like Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, a steady stream of political and economic refugees, including children, attempt to escape northwards into the United States. The response of the Obama Administration to this massive humanitarian crisis that they have helped create has not been to aid these victims of U.S. imperialism, but instead to increase spending to $17 billion per year in an attempt to keep refugees out of the United States. This, in turn, has not reduced the influx of immigrants, but has greatly increased the numbers of people, including children, who die trying to cross the border and who die after being sent back.
Asian Lives Matter
In December, 2014 many of the stories of victims of torture in U.S. secret prisons were confirmed by a Senate investigation into the matter. By the CIA’s own admission, many of these prisoners were innocent of even what they were accused. Among the crimes carried out against prisoners was murder through hypothermia. Tortures included forcing people to stand for hours on end on broken limbs, jabbing in rectum in ways that caused multiple types of long term injury, sleep deprivation for up to 180 hours often chained upright in a stress positions, cold, threatening to rape and kill mothers, children, and other family members, mock executions, Russian roulette, water boarding, and being chained in an upward position for up to 17 days. The declassified portion of the Senate report only admitted to the murder of one prisoner. His name was Gul Rahman who died of hypothermia as he was forced to sit in the dark in a cold cell shackled with his pants off. Two months after murdering Gul Rahman, one of his CIA murderers was given a $2,500 reward for his good consistent work. One month after the murder of Gul Rahman, the use of 45 degree Fahrenheit rooms for nude detainees was approved as a torture technique.
The Senate’s report documenting torture cases was 15,400 pages long, but Obama only allowed the Senate to see 6000 pages of it. In turn, the Senate only released 525 pages of the study to the press. With only 3.4% of the report deemed allowable for the public to see, and the brutality of what has been revealed in what has been released, one can easily deduce that there are many crimes that are even more gruesome being hidden in the pages that remain secret. None of this is a surprise to people who have been watching and who are inclined to believe the stories of victims of torture by the U.S. government. Much is made of the fact that there was no actionable information achieved through this torture. Of course there wasn’t. Everyone who has studied the issue knows that the true purpose of torture is to let the stories of it leak out to drive terror into targeted populations.
Today, Obama, who openly admits “We tortured some folks,” has not ended the torture of the Bush Administration. Obama’s Executive Order #13,491 officially ended some of the torture techniques ordered by the Bush Administration, but continued others. Obama’s executive order explicitly continues to allow the torture techniques found in Army Field Manual 2 22.3. These include sleep deprivation, prolonged isolation, humiliation, the use of fear, and sensory deprivation. In addition, no attempts have been made to pass legislation outlawing torture or to bring the criminals of the Bush Administration to justice for their crimes. The impunity with which the Bush Administration got away with its crimes of kidnapping, torture and murder helps assure that future presidents, as well as the current president, will be allowed to get away with the same crimes.
In addition to carrying out torture, the Obama Administration has directly carried out many thousands of extra-judicial executions by drone in Pakistan, Yemen, Afghanistan, and Iraq, among other countries. These are extra-judicial murders carried out without even the cover of trial. Speaking for the Obama Administration, John Kerry claimed on May 26, 2013 that “The only people we fire at are confirmed terror targets, at the highest level. We don’t just fire a drone at somebody we think is a terrorist.” Even if that were true, which it is not, and even if we could trust the Obama Administration and the CIA to murder the right people without trial, which we cannot, we are still left with the fact that almost everyone being killed in drone strikes were not even targeted for death by the Obama Administration. This was made clear in a study by the human rights group Reprieve which looked at a sample of 1,147 people killed in U.S. drone strikes and found that only 41 of the people murdered were actually intended targets of the attacks. This means that out of every 200 people the U.S. murders by drone, about 7 people were intended victims and 193 were not even targeted at all. So how does the Obama Administration claim that most victims are “bad guys”? That’s simple. They lie. As the New York Times reported on May 29, 2012, the Obama Administration, “counts all military-age males in a strike zone as combatants.”
Just as the racist imperialist government of the United States counts all military-age males as combatants in the traditionally Muslim world, so too the U.S. government considers all young African American, Native American, and Latino men as “thugs” and “criminals”. As dehumanized subsets of the population, the U.S. government at all levels works to terrorize, not uplift, these subsets of the world and U.S. population. Within that context, it should be understood that all liberal reforms are intended to legitimize the terror currently being dished out, not to do something about a system that purposely allows that terror with impunity. The Obama Administration reduced (but did not eliminate) the number of abductions and torture without trial carried out against peoples of the traditionally Muslim world, only to divert attention and move to mass murder through drone extra-judicial executions. Likewise, as police murder with impunity, the government is attempting to divert our attention from the fact that every institution of “justice” in the United States is set-up to allow government murder with impunity. They are doing this by setting up new institutions, investigations, and evidence that are intended to be used, or not used, in the exact same manner as what presently exists.
Liberal Reforms and Investigations
Mass protests, riots, and international outrage have been met with both repression and a few liberal reforms. On November 30th, Ferguson Mayor James Knowles announced the formation of a “citizen’s” police review board in Ferguson. On December 1st, Barack Obama announced a $75 million dollar program to equip police with body cameras. Obama’s funding does not, however, require that police departments make the wearing of cameras mandatory. On December 4th, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a program that will give three days of retraining for the police. This is being billed as a sort of refresher course for what cops learn in the academies without any real specifics given. On December 15th, Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson instructed his police chief to put body cameras on officers and give his officers racial sensitivity training. Federal investigations have been announced as well.
In response to the latest popular outrage against police brutality, the Obama Administration has also announced its usual fruitless investigations of civil rights violations. Obama’s (now former) Attorney General, Eric Holder, has announced an investigation into Missouri’s racial profiling (a practice that has already been well documented by the state’s own Attorney General’s Office). On December 3rd, Holder also announced a civil rights investigation into the death of Eric Garner. Yet, like Holder’s federal investigation of the of the murder of Trayvon Martin, which has still failed to produce any results, one would be advised not to hold ones breath for results. It is not impossible for some investigations to produce results, but for that to happen it will most likely be necessary to increase the pressure on the government. While we don’t oppose federal investigations, it is incorrect to demand them because federal investigations are likely to be cover-ups as well. Instead of demanding investigations, revolutionary socialists demand killer cops be jailed and leave it open to our enemies in the government to figure out how to do it.
Sensitivity training will never work under the current system. This is because in real life the most brutal cops are encouraged in their sadistic brutality and insensitivity by those in charge. This goes all the way up to the mayor’s and district attorney’s offices and even further with the lack of action by the federal government. Encouragement includes the impunity with which cops carry out their murders, frame-ups, false arrests, and brutality (and are often promoted for it). Brutal and discriminatory police are also encouraged by their bosses in the government who pass anti-homeless laws and back racist stop and frisk policies. Cops who blow the whistle on police brutality and corruption risk their lives and are driven from police forces, as was famously exposed in the example of the true story of Frank Serpico in New York. Sensitivity training will never work under capitalism because the ruling capitalist class wants the police to be an insensitive and brutal occupation army, not a force of caring people that could ever be called in any stretch of the imagination “peace officers”. No amount of sensitivity training will help cops who will not listen to a man who says 11 times “I can’t breathe” as he is choked to death. What will give cops a little bit of real sensitivity training, however, is if more killer cops are jailed.
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced a fast-track program, working with Obama, to put cameras on the NYPD. Yet, the entire murder of Eric Garner was caught on film and the police still got away with it. De Blasio hasn’t even fired the cop who carried out that murder on film. Obviously, cameras on police will not come anywhere near fixing the problem, and are largely just a distraction from what really needs to be done. Yet, they do potentially have some small advantages so they are still worth considering.
The city of Rialto, California began a pilot program of putting cameras on officers in February, 2012. In that first year, police use of force decreased by 60% and complaints against the police fell by 88%. Yet, in another example of Albuquerque, New Mexico police have murdered with police cameras on and gotten away with it and in another case killed a person after purposely disabling a camera. No criminal charges have been filed against police in either case.
Putting cameras on cops isn’t without some advantages, but doesn’t fix the problem either. The three main problems with cameras are that: (1) Film footage of blatant police murders are not enough to convict cops of crimes in America’s capitalist courts or even indict them by grand juries; (2) Cops can and do destroy footage or keep their cameras turned off when it suits their purposes; (3) Cameras catch anything, including justified resistance to cops. No capitalist court in the United States will condone resistance to a cop, no matter how justified. Therefore, in many cases where the evidence will be used, we are better off without any evidence at all. As opposed to liberal apologists for the brutal capitalist state, revolutionary socialists stand with the right of victims of that system to resist by any means necessary.
In those cases where it is the cop acting as the criminal, usually no amount of evidence can ever convict a brutal or killer cop. In the case of Eric Garner, there actually was video that showed Officer Daniel Pantaleo murdering Eric Garner in a choke hold as he pleaded for his life. That still was not enough to put Pantaleo on trial, let alone convict him of murder. Like Eric Garner, homeless person Kelley Thomas, with no weapons and begging for his life was murdered by police on camera as well and the police still got away with it. Obviously, the problem we are dealing with is far deeper than any lack of evidence.
In another recent case, Albuquerque police murdered James Boyd, a homeless man fed up with being harassed by police. As police harassed him for camping illegally on rural New Mexican land, he wielded two knives at a safe distance from police. After a two hour standoff, James Boyd attempted to walk away into the wild hills. This was when police opened fire on him. James Boyd was retreating and no conceivable threat to anyone except for to the cops if they advanced further in carrying out their violent home invasion in an attempt to arrest him for camping. No discipline or prosecutions of the murdering cops were ever handed down despite the film footage clearly showing the police murder.
A comparison of the treatment of James Boyd with the treatment of supporters of far right racist rancher Cliven Bundy may be useful here as well. Cliven Bundy’s supporters held off armed federal agents with high powered rifles instead of knives and they won. Perhaps the message is that the government prefers better off racist ranchers who illegally desecrate large tracts of federal lands with cattle over a poor person just trying to lay his head down and sleep somewhere. Or perhaps the lesson is that homeless people, African Americans, people of color, and the working class in general, need better weapons.
A rare case where film footage was useful in helping achieve a small measure of justice was that of Oscar Grant in Oakland, California. Yes, the film footage of Oscar Grant’s execution by police was important in winning a conviction for his killer, but where that evidence was important was in building a mass movement and strike action, not in court.
Video of Officer Mesherle’s murder of Oscar Grant was, however, captured on people’s cell phones, not with police cameras. Police footage will usually only be available if it helps the prosecution of civilians, not cops. Cops are perfectly capable of turning the cameras off or destroying footage that doesn’t help them while making claims that cameras malfunction. This was the case with Albuquerque cop Jeremy Dear who claimed his camera “malfunctioned” during three incidents of police brutality, including during the shooting death of a teenage girl, 19, named Mary Hawkes. The autopsy shows that Officer Dear pumped three bullets into her head, neck, and chest. The bullets entered her body at a trajectory where Officer Dear was standing over her. After protest, the police investigation showed that instead of the camera malfunctioning, it was intentionally disabled by Officer Dear. As a result, on Monday, December 1st, 2014, Officer Dear was fired. Officer Dear still has not been charged for his crime, but his firing comes after protests in Albuquerque and the eruption of a mass movement against police brutality across the United States.
The suspicion created by the fact that Officer Dear didn’t turn on his camera for the third time did help create local and national outrage and helped get him fired. Yet, according to Officer Dear’s attorney, Thomas Grover, “if they fire every officer who doesn’t turn on his uniform camera, they won’t have anyone left on the department.”
One recent case of an unarmed Native American man killed by cops was that of Corey Kanosh, 35, of the Paiute Tribe of Utah. He was an artist and father of one. Before being shot in 2012, Corey Kanosh was wrongly suspected of car theft, but proven to be innocent of any crime. The dispatch call also falsely claimed Corey Kanosh was armed, but this was not true. Details emerge from the one witness present who was independent of the cops, the other innocent suspect, Dana Harnes. According to his account, within 10 seconds of emerging from a vehicle, the unarmed Corey Kanosh was shot down by Milliard County Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Josse. Deputy Dale Josse claims there was a long struggle and he tasered Corey Kanosh before shooting him. Yet, there were no taser marks on Cory Kanosh’s body and if Dana Herne’s story is true, there was no time for a struggle to have taken place.
In regards to film, Deputy Dale Josse’s car followed just behind the victim’s vehicle, but suspicious claims are made that the camera in the deputy’s car was out of range of the car Corey Kanosh and Dana Hernes were in. If that evidence showed wrong doing by Deputy Dale Josse, it would likely have been destroyed. Their department does not, however, wear body cams. Had these deputies been forced to destroy evidence from a body cam as well; it is likely that nobody with any sense would have any question of who was the guilty party. Not that this would have brought justice for Sheriff’s Deputy Dale Josse, at least not without a major struggle, but it would have made it easier to carry out that struggle. So yes, body cams may be useful as an extremely limited reform, but far more is needed.
For the most part, Obama’s funding of body camera’s is a distraction from the fact that we are getting nearly zero justice in the capitalist courts and that basically no amount of evidence can put a killer cop in prison without strike actions and or major riots. Perhaps limited support can be given to Obama’s funding of body cameras, but additional provisions need to be attached that make their use mandatory by all law enforcement agencies in the United States and with the turning off of the cameras or otherwise disabling them made a felony.
Citizen Police Review Boards
Another reform proposed and implemented in some places on the local level are citizen police review boards. Of Ferguson’s new citizen’s police review board, Mayor Knowles says, “This groundbreaking initiative will be one of the first of its kind in this region.” That may be true. Yet, it will not be the first of its kind in the nation.
This author witnessed the results of a now dissolved citizen’s police review board in Santa Cruz, California. That body was usually an obstacle to challenging police abuse rather than a solution.
Citizen police review boards don't work for one simple reason. They are never meant to work. They are set up by the exact same local governments that already have full control of the police. The police review boards are created as an avenue to divert anger to powerless appointees while at the same time rubber stamping police cover-ups of police crimes.
One example of how police review boards operate was in Santa Cruz, California. In the time that the city of Santa Cruz had its Citizen's Police Review Board (CPRB), numerous cases of police abuses were rubber stamped as OK by the CPRB. These included the police murder of homeless activist John Dine and my arrest and beating for distributing leftist newspapers that exposed police crimes. The CPRB almost always simply worked to cover up police abuses. In my arrest and beating for a First Amendment protected activity of free speech, the CPRB found no wrong doing on the part of the Santa Cruz Police. Yet, I kept up the political and legal pressure and Federal Judge Ware eventually ruled in my favor. The CPRB was, however, worse than useless in these cases and was in fact part of the problem.
Numerous other cases of police abuse were paraded before the CPRB where the CPRB attempted to white wash the crimes of the police in a similar manner. One particularly egregious case was that of homeless activist John Dine. John Dine was shot and killed by Santa Cruz Police Officer Connor Carey. On television, the claim by Police Chief Belcher was that John Dine was pointing a toy gun at the officer before he was shot. Yet none of the many independent eyewitnesses backed up that claim. Even the Citizen's Police Review Board (appointed by the City Council) recognized that John Dine was not pointing a gun. Yet, the CPRB claimed not to be contradicting Chief Belcher in their findings despite telling an entirely different story. While pro-homeless writers like me, Becky Johnson, and Robert Norse picked up on these facts, they were ignored by the corporate media.
Instead, the CPRB's report stated that the shooting of John Dine was justified because he was reaching for what appeared to be a gun. Because of activism, too much of the truth had gotten out to the public for the CPRB to stick with Chief Belcher's version of a pointed toy gun, but the CPRB continued the cover-up with this new falsified version of events where John Dine is supposedly reaching for what appears to be a gun. The independent eyewitnesses refuted this CPRB version of events as well.
Some of the eyewitnesses had become so upset about the cover-up by the city government, DA, and the corporate media that they became activists in trying to get out the truth and punish those responsible. The CPRB simply gave its rubber stamp to the police cover-up. Instead of playing an independent role in investigating and disciplining the cops, it helped create the illusion that independent review actually exists while at the same time giving their rubber stamp to a police cover-up. This helped nobody except the political establishment, brutal cops, and the capitalist class.
As an activist I was familiar with a good number of cases that went before the CPRB while Santa Cruz had one. In that time there was only one exception of where having CPRB was useful, and even in that case it didn’t do much good. That was the case of Officer David LaFaver's brutality against a woman holding a child at the May 22nd, 1999 protest against the U.S. bombing of Yugoslavia. I stepped in and stopped that brutality by punching Officer LaFaver in the nose, allowing the woman and child to escape without further harm. The CPRB, under major citizen pressure in a small town, pressure that included a CPRB meeting packed with 100 people demanding LaFaver be fired or at least be investigated, did decide to carry out an independent investigation of what took place. That investigation found Officer LaFaver guilty of excessive force against the woman that endangered the child. As a result, I was told by an insider that Officer LaFaver was given the choice between resigning or being fired. LaFaver resigned.
After Officer LaFaver resigned in Santa Cruz, he joined the Sunnyvale police where he makes $150,000 a year. From Sunnyvale, I later got a call from a woman who had called the police as a result of suffering domestic abuse. According to her, Officer LaFaver arrived on the scene, but instead of being helpful, beat her, the victim, up. I, for my part served 7 months in jail (mostly in solitary confinement), 3 years probation, fines, anger management counseling, and suffer in trying to find employment due to a felony conviction on my record. All this was for stopping a brutal and misogynistic cop from continuing his crime his crime against a woman and child at what had been a peaceful and legal demonstration against the U.S. war in Yugoslavia. Yet, while little justice was produced by the CPRB’s ruling, the results of this one independent investigation that forced resignation of Officer LaFaver was closest the Santa Cruz CPRB ever came to bringing justice in its entire time of existence in Santa Cruz. Usually it was instead a complete obstacle to justice. Even in this case, little happened, LaFaver should have been prosecuted and gone to prison rather than moving on to another well paid police job.
Similarly, three members of the Albuquerque Police Oversight Commission (POC) resigned in protest in April 2014. Their letters of resignation were damning, saying they were under instructions from the city attorney not to go against the findings of the police department. One of the resigning members of the POC, Jonathan Siegel, summed it up in his resignation saying, “I cannot continue to pretend or deceive the members of our community into believing that our city has any real civilian oversight.” Likewise, activists who are familiar with how government works and with the history of Santa Cruz should not deceive people into thinking that a civilian police review board will resolve any our problems of police brutality, racist profiling, or abuse of homeless people.
Reforms like civilian police review boards are at best a distraction from the real struggle, at worst, when implemented, just another political tool of the capitalist state to spread lies and defend its murderous police forces from prosecution as criminals.
The true predators in America span from the politicians and judges who hold the highest positions of power all the way down to their badged minions and racist wannabes who patrol the streets, killing with impunity. They represent the wealthy capitalists who own America. Obviously, in capitalist America for those who hold power, the lives of young Black, brown, and poor people are cheep. No protest, no strike, and no rebellion by itself will change these facts. To truly jail all of the criminals who are responsible and bring racial justice to America will take a proletarian socialist revolution carried out by America’s multi-racial working class. That revolution must completely smash the capitalist state, at its heart the police, courts, prisons, and military to build new institutions based on racial equality and economic justice. Instead of destroying the property of the capitalists, our goal needs to become one of completely expropriating the entire capitalist class and using our ownership of the economy to guarantee everyone a job, housing, education, healthcare, security, and a clean environment through a new socialist planned economy based on human needs rather than profit.
-The author, Steven Argue, is a former political prisoner and member of the Revolutionary Tendency
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For related articles by this author see:
Nelson Mandela: Eulogies of Imperialist Hypocrites & a Revolution Betrayed by Capitalism
Closing Our Eyes Won’t Make Racial and Ethnic Inequalities Disappear
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Food Stamps under Attack; For Working Class Retaliation in the One-Sided Class War!
United States Port Actions End Business as Usual For Israel
Do Our Protests Accomplish Nothing? A Response to a Smug Cop
The Case of Trayvon Martin: There is No Justice in The Capitalist Courts!
Some History of Blatant Political Repression in Santa Cruz, California
Protest Shuts Down City Council, Urban Assault Vehicle Approved, Anti-Homeless Law Delayed
Forced Sterilizations, Racist Terror, and the Native American Uprising of 1972-1973
William Singletary, 65, Courageous Witness of Mumia's Innocence
Why The Russian Revolution is Still Important
The Movie J. Edgar; Just More Hollywood Lies
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