Wednesday, December 01, 2004

On the Importance of the 2004 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality

Editor's Note: The following was a message from Carl Dix to a October 22 National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality (NDP)Kickoff Meeting held in New York City on September 4, 2004. The October 22nd Coalition to Stop Police Brutality, and the Stolen Lives Project, can be reached at


I would like to contribute a few thoughts about how important it is that we mobilize a powerful national outpouring for Oct 22, 2004. This is important because:

*As our research for the Stolen Lives Project makes clear, the authorities continue to give a green light to brutal, murdering cops.

*They've continued racial profiling targeting Blacks and Latinos even as they expanded this heinous practice to target Arabs, Muslims and South Asians.

*They've continued and expanded the police state clamp down they've been putting in place since Sept 11th. The severe limits on the right to protest that was put in place around the RNC were only the most recent examples of this.

The mayor has said the right to protest was a privilege that people should be glad they are allowed to exercise. Be clear that something considered a privilege is something that can be taken from you. He also said that the police did nothing wrong in making mass arrests that swept up protesters who were violating no laws and people who just happened to be walking by or riding their bikes in the vicinity. What kind of society do statements like these put us on course to be dragged into? One where cops are in people's faces everywhere all the damn time. And when challenged on all this, they come back with their bottom line justification--that what happened on Sept 11th means that people should accept, even welcome, the repressive moves by the government as what's needed to keep us safe.

It is crucial that people reject all this, and our efforts leading up to Oct 22nd and on Oct 22nd itself can play an important role in helping this to happen. NDP's approach of providing a platform for those under the gun of this official brutality and murder to expose the injustice being inflicted on them and their loved ones can bring out the truth of what's going on in a powerful way. And it's tradition of bringing into this fight allies from many different backgrounds, people of different races and from all walks of life, helps to make this fight against injustice stronger.

As a revolutionary communist, I see added importance to mounting powerful resistance on Oct 22nd. The brutality and repression the US rulers are intensifying on the home front is a necessary complement to their "war on terror" which is really a war for empire. Never is an imperialist ruling class so in need of acquiescence from the people as when it goes to war. So rejecting their lies that this police state clamp down being for our safety and taking to the streets in protest is especially important in this situation.

Also presidential elections are fast approaching, and this will be another election in which the will of the people will not be expressed at the ballot box. In my opinion, the differences between Bush and Kerry on Iraq, the "war on terror," the domestic repression and many other important issues range from narrow to nonexistent. As Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party put it, the worst thing that could happen coming out of this election is that the people's resistance becomes paralyzed and demobilized. Our efforts on Oct 22nd will help keep issues like police brutality and repression front and center for people and encourage others to also continue to build resistance to the injustice being rained down on the people.

Also in this time when Bush and Kerry are saying that people need to fight and die to keep this system and its global position in effect, exposing the way in which their cops continue to brutalize and even murder people, as well as the repression they're bringing down, can sharply pose to people whether this set up is worth fighting and dying to keep in effect. My answer to this question is clear. It isn't--in fact people need to be aiming to get rid of it thru rev and going on to bring a new society into being. A society where youth aren't treated like criminals because of the color of their skin. Where immigrants aren't rounded up and detained because of what part of the world they're from. A society where more and more of the people are being involved in grappling with how to do away with all the misery and degradation characteristic of this system.

In commenting on the police murder of Tyisha Miller, Bob Avakian spoke to what this says about the nature of this society. He pointed out that here you had all these "trained law enforcement professionals" trying to deal with an unconscious Black woman. Their way of dealing with that was to blow her away and then joke about it afterward. And the authorities then proceeded to exonerate the killer cops. We need to live in a society where law enforcement professionals are willing to risk their lives to ensure peoples' safety not murder innocent people and then claim their lives were at risk. Here Avakian was talking about Tyisha Miller, but he just as easily could've been talking about Nicholas Heyward Jr or Timothy Stansbury or Alberta Spruill or Malcolm Ferguson.

Getting rid of all the brutality and misery that this system brings down on people is going to take a revolution, and going on after the revolution to totally transform society till there's no more rich people riding the backs of everybody else to get richer, no more whites lording it over people of color, no more men dominating women. A necessary part of this kind of revolution is the people taking the reins of power in society into their own hands and dealing with all the questions that running society and totally transforming it will throw up.

From my perspective as a revolutionary communist, I see building the fight to stop police brutality and doing it in the way that this coalition has historically approached it--thru putting the responsibility to develop that fight into the hands of the people victimized by the police and those who step forward to join them in this fight--as part of getting ready and in position to do what I think is really needed--make revolution and wipe this rotten system off the face of the earth. That's why I helped form the Oct 22nd Coalition back in 1996 and why I'll be with you in mobilizing for NDP 2004.