Defend our black brothers and sisters against the murderous police-state! Defeat chauvinism in the workers’ movement and win it over for the struggle against oppression!
By Johannes Wiener and Yossi Schwartz, Revolutionary Communist International Tendency, 11.7.2016, www.thecommunists.net
After the recent murders of two black brothers – Philando Castile and Alton Sterling – by white policemen, the task for revolutionaries in the US is to intensify the struggle against police violence. The Revolutionary Communists International Tendency (RCIT) sends it sincerest condolences to the families and friends of the murdered, and warmest greetings to all those who are fighting against racism and police violence in the US.
We want to say clearly that the police and the (in)justice system in the US are waging a war against the masses of black people and, to a somewhat lesser degree, against the Latinos and poor whites. This war means that (statistically) nearly every day police kill a black brother or sister; 30% of all people who are killed by the police are black (while they represent only 13% of the total population). In the years 2013, 2014 and 2015, police in the US killed nearly 1,000 black brothers and sisters. (1) In addition to these murders, we also must pay serious attention to the daily harassment of blacks and Latinos in “traffic controls,” stop and search operations, and the terror of prison. Police in the US are not security forces, but rather an army of occupation in the black ghettos! And their behavior is not very different from that of regular armies of occupation in colonies.
The Dallas Shooting
In response to the horrific ongoing police violence against blacks, last week a black brother, Micah Xavier Johnson – in an act of counterproductive individual bravery – shot and killed five white policemen in Dallas, before he himself was killed by a police-robot. As revolutionaries, we understand that individual terrorism (the isolated killing of policemen, soldiers, bosses or politicians) is counterproductive to the cause of the revolution and black liberation. We maintain this not because we have any sympathy with the racist state apparatus, the function of which is to ensure that the rich stay in power, the prisons are filled with our black and Latino brothers and sisters, and the masses of the poor are too afraid to fight for their rights.
Why are such acts counterproductive to the cause of liberation? Because we need to smash the whole state, its entire repressive apparatus, and not merely eliminate a small part of it. And the capitalist state apparatus can only be smashed by the masses of the working class and the oppressed (blacks, Latinos and poor whites) – and not by a small armed group. Therefore, all actions of liberation fighters must be directed towards strengthening the political consciousness and the self-organization of the working class. Individual terrorist acts don’t serve this goal.
The rich and powerful only exploit such acts of isolated heroism as a pretext for enacting more reactionary laws against the masses of the people and the black liberation and revolutionary movements. We are fighting for the day when we can dissolve the police and the army as a whole; but such counterproductive acts are just pushing this day further into the distance.
Nevertheless, we express our sympathy for this brave brother, Micah Xavier Johnson. His lone act expresses how weak the revolutionary movement is in the US, in that it provides no constructive outlet to such dedicated fighters who, while their hearts are in the right place, cannot be convinced to dedicate their energy for a long and successful struggle. We must also to pay close attention to the fact that Micah suffered from the psychological effects of having participated in the US-imperialist occupation of Afghanistan. This personal experience seems to have had a very negative impact on his personality. Like many other young men from poor backgrounds, he was mentally destroyed by the same US military machine that physically destroys the masses of the Afghan, Syrian and Iraqi peoples.
Israeli Training and Consultation for US Police
Following the murder of 18 years Michael Brown by Ferguson police in Missouri the local police dressed in combat soldiers rampaged through the streets of Ferguson, pointing assault rifles at unarmed residents and firing tear gas into people’s front yards from behind armored personnel carriers, all bringing to mind the occupied West Bank. Noteworthy, is the revelation that many of the policemen who were deployed in Ferguson were trained by Israel security forces using their own experience of terrorizing the Palestinians.
Political commentator John Miranda recently stated that police brutality is directly linked to the training some officers receive in Israel.
“As for the increase in police brutality within the United States, I think this definitely can be pointed towards the Israeli training that the Department of Homeland Security is giving all of American police officers. Some police officers are actually being flown to Israel for the training, not all of them but some, and then those that are flown to Israel, they come back home and they train the head officers in the training that they’ve gotten in Israel. All these incidents, it is not just happening to African Americans. Police are literally being brutal with all Americans.”
Right-wing Americans blame president Obama for the killing of the police officers in Dallas. For his part, during a press conference in Spain, instead of attacking racist police killings, President Obama stated "whenever those of us who are concerned about fairness in the criminal justice system attack police officers, you are doing a disservice to the cause."
Oppression of Black People and Social Injustice
In addition to calling violence against police a "reprehensible crime," Obama also cautioned Black Lives Matter against extreme rhetoric.
"If we paint police in broad brush, without recognizing the vast majority of police officers are doing a really good job and are trying to protect people and do so fairly and without racial bias, if our rhetoric doesn't not recognize that then we're going to lose allies in the reform cause," he explained. "In a movement like Black Lives Matter, there are always going to be people who say things that are stupid or are imprudent or are overgeneralized or are harsh."
And this is coming from a president that during his term in office young black men were nine times more likely than other Americans to be killed by police officers. According to the findings of the British Guardian study there were 1,134 deaths at the hands of law enforcement officers in 2015. (3)
This should not surprise us as under President Obama:
• 25% of black households live below the poverty line as compared to eight percent for white households.
• One out of three black children lives in poverty.
• Blacks are twice as likely as whites to be unemployed.
• Blacks earn $13,000 less per year than their white counterparts.
• For every $100 in wealth of a white household, the black household only has $6 in wealth.
At the same time the capitalist class is becoming richer under Obama and the income inequality worse under Obama than George W. Bush. "In the 2009-2010 period, a time of modest economic growth, the top 1 percent of U.S. earners captured 93 percent of all the income growth in the country. Got that? Now compare it to how the mega-rich made out during the Bush upswing years of 2002 to 2007. During that time, the top 1 percent of earners captured just 65 percent of all the income growth." (4)
How Best to Counter Police Violence?
We need to develop a successful strategy against police terror. What we need are not appeals to President Obama, who at the time of the shooting in Dallas was attending a meeting of the most dangerous terrorist organization in the world – NATO. Obama condemned the killing of the policemen in Dallas calling it a “vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement”. (5) It is absurd that Obama has the gall to make such a statement at the same time that he is planning with other imperialists how to conduct vicious, calculated and despicable attacks on civilians in a number of countries. How can Obama expect to be taken seriously by any sane human being when US troops harass the masses in Afghanistan and their bombers terrorize the people of Iraq and Syria – all under the pretext for fighting against terrorism? We need to kick out of the movement for black liberation all the “leaders” of the black community who stir up illusions of the good intentions of this cynical enemy.
Whenever someone is shot or mistreated by the police, we need to set up an independent investigation conducted by a jury comprised of members of the victim’s local community. This jury should be assisted by experts who have the trust of the community. The individual cases of all persons incarcerated in prison need to be reviewed by a similar jury. All prisoners who have been jailed for minor non-violent drug offenses, or for stealing from corporations and the rich (while at the same time not harming the poor), or for other minor, non-violent offenses, should be freed immediately.
At the same time, we should begin an independent investigation of all police departments. Police officers who have killed or mistreated people should be jailed immediately. We need to set up action committees in all neighborhoods which are open to all those who want to resist police terror. We need to have eyes and ears everywhere, both to immediately help the attacked brothers and sisters along with documenting the police brutalities. We need to form self-defense groups which will convince the police to stay peaceful in a language that they really understand. Such self-defense groups should be elected by the community and be responsible for keeping our neighborhoods safe from all criminals who mistreat the masses of the people (whether in uniform or not).
In addition to this, it is urgent that we struggle for the full equality of black, Latino and migrant workers in the workplaces. Down with both Clinton and Trump – both are enemies of our class and will just introduce more attacks against our rights!
It is crucial to fight inside the workers’ movement – in particular the trade unions – against all forms of chauvinism and for solidarity with our black brothers and sisters.
The RCIT calls for the formation of an independent revolutionary mass movement for black liberation. Such a movement should focus on winning over black workers and the impoverished masses of the ghettos for a joint struggle with all oppressed people – Latinos, white workers, Asians, Muslims and Native Americans! In addition, we need to build a multinational revolutionary party which can lead and coordinate the struggle against the racist, oppressive capitalist states; against unemployment and for decent housing; which can put an end to the wars and occupations directed towards other peoples, as well as against the black people inside the US! Down with US-imperialism – There’s no liberation without revolution!
No justice – no peace! Long live black liberation - down with police terror!