Tag Archives: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Malcolm X Birthday Tribute: “The Democrats are Dixiecrats” and “The Ballot or the Bullet” Speech

Malcolm X after 1964 pilgrimage to Mecca.  Source: Wikipedia, “Malcolm X”

On this celebration of what would have been the great US civil rights leader Malcolm X’s  92nd birthday we honor his memory by publishing a transcription of a speech he gave around 1964 which contains his brilliant deconstruction of the Democratic Party’s phony “friends of black workers” charade as well as his famous “the ballot or the bullet” warning to the racist capitalist US government.

Though the majority of the Democratic Party’s top leaders have long since dispensed with the outright white supremacist ideology they espoused at the time Malcolm X gave this speech, they still run most of the US’ major cities: every one of which is a racist hellhole for black and Hispanic workers, prominently featuring a brutally racist police department and judicial system run and defended by the Democrats.  In 2017, many major US cities – where unemployment for black workers runs as high as 60% or more and where the racist cops routinely gun down black workers as if they were dogs – are run by black Democrats.  The end result of the racist US criminal justice system remains largely the same as it was back when all these cities were run by white segregationists.  Black workers are still the last hired and first fired; the jails and prisons are packed with mostly black and brown bodies.  Today, instead of Northern Democrats running the country (as Malcolm X says) “in cahoots with Southern Dixiecrats” they are running the country as a giant “con game” in cahoots with their fellow hatchet-men (and women) of the US capitalist class in the Republican Party.

Malcolm X – brilliant as he was when he was at his best (and in this speech he is at his best) was never won over to revolutionary – that is, revolutionary Marxist/Leninist/Trotskyist – politics.  He was at first a Muslim fundamentalist, and later a black nationalist.  Neither of these ideologies are revolutionary in the 21st century, especially in a modern capitalist society whose working class is composed of workers of all ethnic backgrounds.  Only Marxist revolutionary integrationism can organize the multi-ethnic working class of the United States into an unconquerable, unified revolutionary force necessary to emancipate the working class from the capitalist system which is fundamentally based on the exploitation of the working class.

Malcolm X presented a militant counterpoint to the non-violent method of “struggle” favored by the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the pacifist, pro-capitalist wing of the Civil Rights Movement that wound up its career in the lucrative (for them) but politically dead-end of Democratic Party politics.  Today the utter bankruptcy of the idea that by placing “black faces in high places” (in the Mayors’ and Congressional offices and offices of the municipal police forces)  racism would gradually “wither away” under the capitalist system – is fully exposed as the fraud the revolutionary Marxists always said it was.  Millions of black workers have long ago stopped even bothering to look for jobs that no longer exist as the capitalist greedheads have turned formerly thriving industrial cities into jobless ghost towns.

Malcolm X points out how the division of labor between the Northern Democrats and the Southern Dixiecrats prevented the successful promulgation of Civil Rights legislation from being passed until the rise of the Civil Rights movement and the threat that it could turn into an integrated revolutionary movement of the working class forced the bourgeoisie to make concessions to head off the birth of that potential revolutionary movement.  Bourgeois historians tell the lie that the Democrats – as they had done in the 1930s and 40s with Roosevelt’s New Deal – proved they had the interests of the working class and black workers at heart.  In fact the Democrats were merely doing their best to save the capitalist system from itself in both cases, by heading off the development of a revolutionary socialist workers movement by making timely concessions to the workers, thus temporarily defusing the powder keg of working class anger that threatened to bring down the entire US capitalist system.

This is why we say that the Democrats are not the “friends of labor” but the mortal enemies of the working class and the most formidable obstacle to the development of revolutionary consciousness among workers – and particularly black workers – in the USA.   The willingness of the bourgeoisie to absorb and neuter nascent revolutionary movements via last-minute concession-making is one of the keys to the resilience of a capitalist system that should have been overthrown decades ago.  We say :”Dump the Democrats (and of course the Republicans too) and build a workers party to fight for a workers government!  If we want there to be a future for our children and grandchildren free of poverty, racism, sexism, unemployment and war we absolutely MUST overthrow the capitalist system before it staggers into World War Three – a prospect which seems more likely with each passing day.  Quite simply put: “Capitalism must die so that the working class may live”.  And this is why we seek to create the vitally necessary revolutionary Trotskyist vanguard party composed of workers from every ethnic background to fight side-by-side as sisters and brothers against the common enemy: the US capitalist class and its bought-and-paid for Democratic and Republican political water-carriers.  Only a workers party based upon the only model that has successfully overthrown the capitalist system – a Leninist vanguard party – has the capability to overthrow the racist exploitative capitalist system of the US and create an egalitarian socialist workers republic where racism, sexism, poverty, homelessness, unemployment and war will become permanently relegated to the history books.

Workers of the World, Unite!

— IWPCHI

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Note: The audio file that this transcript is made from can be downloaded (or listened to) here:  https://www.marxists.org/reference/archive/malcolm-x/the-dixicrats.mp3

Malcolm X speech: “The Democrats are Dixiecrats – it’s the Ballot or the Bullet” (1964/5?)

“22 million black victims of Americanism are waking up; and they’re gaining a new political consciousness… becoming politically mature. And as they become… develop this political maturity they’re able to see the recent trends in these political elections. They see that the whites are so evenly divided that every time they vote the race is so close they have to go back and count the votes all over again… which means that any bloc… any minority that has a bloc of votes that stick together is in a strategic position. Either way you go, that’s who gets it. [Applause] You’re in a position to determine who’ll go to the White House and who’ll stay in the dog house. [Laughter, applause]. You’re the one who has that power. You can keep [President Lyndon Baines] Johnson in Washington, D.C. or you can send him back to his Texas cotton patch. [Shouts, applause]

“You’re the one who sent Kennedy to Washington; you’re the one who put the present Democratic administration in Washington, D.C.. The whites were evenly divided; it was the fact that you threw 80 per cent of your votes behind the Democrats that put the Democrats in the White House.

“When you see this, you can see that the Negro vote is the key factor. And despite the fact that you are in a position to be the determining factor, what do you get out of it? The Democrats have been in Washington, D.C. only because of the Negro vote: they’ve been down there four years; and their… all other legislation they wanted to bring up they’ve brought it up and gotten it out of the way, and now they bring up you! And now they bring up you! [Scattered laughter] You put them first and they put you last! [Laughter, “That’s right!”] ‘Cause you’re a chump! [Laughter, applause] “A political chump! [Voices: “That’s right Malcolm!” “That’s right.”]

“In Washington D.C., in the House of Representatives, there are 257 who are Democrats; only 177 are Republicans. In the Senate there are 67… Democrats; only 33 are Republicans. The party that you’ve backed controls two-thirds of the House of Representatives and the Senate… and still they can’t keep their promise to you! ‘Cause you’re a chump. [Voices: That’s right! Applause]

“Any time you throw your weight behind a political party that controls two thirds of the government and that party can’t keep the promise that it made to you during election-time and you’re dumb enough to walk around continuing to identify yourself with that party you’re not only a chump but you’re a traitor to your race! [Shouts, applause]

“And what kind of alibi do they come up with? They try and “pass the buck” to the Dixiecrats.

“Now, back during the days when you were blind, deaf and dumb – ignorant, politically immature – naturally, you went along with that. But today, as your eyes come open and you develop political maturity, you’re able to see and think for yourself; and you can see that a Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat… [Shouts: “Yeah! Light applause] … in disguise. {Applause]

“You look at the structure of the government that controls this country: it’s controlled by sixteen Senatorial committees and twenty Congressional committees. Of the sixteen Senatorial committees that run the government, ten of them are in the hands of southern segregationists. [Voices: “That’s right!”] Of the twenty Congressional committees that run the government, twelve of them are in the hands of southern segregationists! And they gonna tell you and me that the South lost the war! [Laughter, applause]

“You, today, are in the hands of a government of segregationists: racists; white supremacists who belong to the Democratic Party but disguise themselves as Dixiecrats! A Dixiecrat is nothing but a Democrat. Whoever runs the Democrats is also the father of the Dixiecrats! And the father of all of them is sitting in the White House! [Voices: “Right!” Applause]

“I say and I say it again: you got a President who is nothing but a southern segregationist. [Voice: “That’s right!” Applause] From the state of Texas. They’ll lynch you in Texas as quick as they’ll lynch you in Mississippi… [Applause] … only, in Texas, they lynch you with a Texas accent; in Mississippi they lynch you with a Mississippi accent! [Laughter, applause]

“And the first thing the cracker does when he comes in power, he takes all the Negro leaders and invites them for coffee! [Laughter, applause] To show that he’s all right! [Laughter] And those Uncle Toms can’t pass up the coffee! [Laughter… a pause… then applause]

“They come away from the coffee table… telling you and me that ‘this man is all right’. [Laughter] ‘Cause he’s from the South! [Laughter] And ‘since he’s from the South, he can deal with the South’!

“And look at the logic that they’re using: what about [racist Mississippi Senator James] Eastland? He’s from the South! Make him the President! He can… if Johnson is a ‘good man’ ’cause he’s from Texas and being from Texas will enable him to ‘deal with the South’, Eastland can ‘deal with the South’ better than Johnson! [Laughter, applause]

“No-oo, I say you’ve been misled. You been had! You been took! [Laughter, applause]

“I was in Washington a couple weeks ago… while the Senators were filibustering. And I noticed in the back of the Senate a huge map; and on this map it showed the distribution of Negroes in America. And, surprisingly, the same Senators that were involved in the filibuster were from the state where there were the most Negroes. Why were they filibustering the Civil Rights legislation? Because the Civil Rights legislation is supposed to guarantee voting rights to Negroes in those states; and those Senators from those states know that if the Negroes in those states can vote, those Senators are down the drain! [Voices: “Yeah!” Applause] The Representatives of those states go down the drain!

“And in the Constitution of this country it has a stipulation wherein whenever the rights, the voting rights of people in a certain district are violated then the Representative who’s from that particular district – according to the Constitution – is supposed to be expelled from the Congress. [Voice: “That’s right!] Now, if this particular aspect of the Constitution was enforced, why, you wouldn’t have a cracker in Washington, D.C.! [Shouts, applause]

“But what would happen? When you expel the Dixiecrat, you’re expelling the Democrat! When you destroy the power of the Dixiecrat you’re destroying the power of the Democratic Party! [Voice: “Amen!”] So how in the world can the Democratic Party in the South [he probably meant to say “North” – IWPCHI] actually side with you, in sincerity, when all of its power is based in the… in the South? These Northern Democrats are in cahoots with the Southern Democrats! [Applause]

“They’re playing a giant con game: a political con game! You know how it goes: one of ’em comes to you and makes believe he’s for you; and he’s in cahoots with the other one that’s not for you. Why? Because neither one of ’em is for you! But they got to make you to go with one of ’em or the other. So this is a con game! And this is what they’ve been doing with you and me all these years.

“First thing – Johnson got off the plane, when he become President… he asked: ‘Where’s Dickie?’ [Voice: Yeahhh!] You know who ‘Dickie’ is? Dickie… woah! Southern cracker Richard… [Georgia Senator] Richard Russell! [Laughter] Look here! Yeeesssss! Lyndon B. Johnson’s best friend is the one who’s heading the forces that are filibustering Civil Rights legislation! You tell me how in the hell [slaps hand on podium] is he gonna be Johnson’s best friend? [Applause]

“How can Johnson be his friend, and your friend, too? [Voices: “Right!”] Naw, that man is too tricky – especially if his friend is still old Dickie! [Laughter and applause]

“Whenever the Negroes keep the Democrats in power, they’re keeping the Dixiecrats in power. This is true! [Voices: “That’s right!”] A vote for a Democrat is nothing but a vote for a Dixiecrat!

“I know you don’t like me saying that! But I… [Shouts, applause] … I’m not the kind of person who’d come here to say what you like. I’m gonna tell you the truth whether you like it or not! [Shouts, applause]

“Up here in the North you have the same thing. The Democratic Party don’t… don’t do it, doesn’t… they don’t do it that way; they got a thing that they call ‘gerrymandering’. [Laughter, shouts] They… they maneuver you out of power! [Laughter] Even though you can vote they fix it so you voting for nobody. [Laughter] They got you going and coming. In the South they’re outright political wolves; in the North they’re political foxes. [Laughter] A fox and a wolf are both canine; both belong to the dog family. [Laughter, applause] Now… you take your choice: you gonna choose a Northern dog or a Southern dog? [Laughter, applause] Because either dog you choose, I’ll guarantee you, you’ll still be in the dog house! [Laughter, applause]

“This is why I say: “it’s the ballot or the bullet”; it’s liberty or it’s death; it’s freedom for everybody or freedom for nobody. [Applause, shouts]

“America today finds herself in a unique situation. Historically, revolutions are bloody: oh, yes they are. They haven’t ever had a blood-less revolution. [Shouts] Or a “non-violent” revolution. [Voice: “Right!”] That don’t happen even in Hollywood. [Laughter, applause] You don’t have a revolution in which you love your enemy. And you don’t have a revolution in which you’re begging the system of exploitation to integrate you into it. Revolutions overturn systems; [Applause] revolutions destroy systems. [Applause] A revolution is bloody…. [long pause, audience is silent] … but America is in a unique position: she’s the only country in history in a position actually to become involved in a blood-less revolution. The Russian Revolution was bloody; Chinese Revolution was bloody; French Revolution was bloody; Cuban Revolution was bloody – and there was nothing more bloody than the American Revolution. [Voices: “That’s right.”] But today, this country can become involved in a revolution that won’t take bloodshed. All she’s got to do is give the black man in this country everything that’s due him. [Voices: “That’s right! Applause] Everything! [Applause]

—- Original transcription by IWPCHI

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Report on NATO 3 Defendant Jared Chase’s Court Appearance 18 February 2016

DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST JARED CHASE AND FREE HIM NOW!

At a pre-trial hearing held today (18 February, 2016), former NATO 3 defendant Jared Chase’s Cook County Public Defender Peter Benesh made an ineffectual attempt to obtain a court injunction prohibiting the shackling of Chase using a “black box” device, which causes physical injury to Chase, who suffers from Huntington’s Disease.  Chase was in court to answer to charges of “aggravated battery to a corrections officer” – a Class I offense, punishable by between 4 and 15 years in the penitentiary.  Yet Chase’s lawyer was repeatedly rebuffed by Cook County Court Judge Thaddeus Wilson for lack of preparation in not asking for this protective court order in the proper fashion.

We were informed about the hearing via the Twitter and WordPress accounts of   “Free the NATO 3”.

In our experience attending hearings like this one (since circa 1979), defendants have almost always had a legal defense campaign orchestrated by one or another revolutionary socialist party. Having had more than a century of experience defending class-war prisoners, the communists know how to run an effective defense campaign in a politically-charged case like this.  Understanding that, in political cases, legal precedent and rule of law have a tendency to fly out the window, the communists do not act as if it’s just “business as usual” defending a political activist:  they organize media campaigns to get out their side of the story in defense of the accused, make sure that their physical presence is asserted before every court hearing with a protest outside the “temple of justice” and make sure that the lawyers in the case understand the nature of how the capitalist frame-up system works in cases involving anti-capitalist political activists.  Effective tactics are employed to let the powers that be understand that the defendant does not stand alone in facing the charges; the revolutionary working class principle that “an injury to one is an injury to all” means that every worker in the USA – in fact, the revolutionary workers movement itself – is on trial, not just the defendant.  Inside the courtroom they stand in solidarity with the accused when the defendant’s name or names are called.  This always pisses off the judges – but the communists don’t mount defense campaigns for their comrades in order to have the opportunity to kiss a judge’s ass.  Communists understand that it is imperative to make it clear to both the accused person(s) and the court and spectators that THIS defendant is not fighting his or her case by themselves – he or she has a strong and militant base of supporters closely watching every development in the case.  Often times major court victories have been won only after huge national and international defense campaigns have made it politically extremely expensive for the bourgeoisie to railroad the defendant.  These class-struggle methods have worked time and time again to expose the injustice of the capitalist system to the world; they alert the working class to the vital necessity of NOT acting as if these cases are just “business as usual”.  The outrageous US government frame-up of the NATO 3  is an attempt by the capitalist state to intimidate the working class and crush political dissent.  Workers must be awakened to this fact and taught not to cower in the face of such criminal conspiracies that the capitalist class and its justice system continuously launch against worker-militants.

For activist groups who are not part of the revolutionary socialist movement, like the NATO 3 folks, these historical lessons have not been incorporated into their defense tactics.  Not having the revolutionary Marxist understanding that there is no justice for workers – especially communist or anarchist workers or trade union militants – in the capitalist courts, they tend to try to “play by the rules” of the court, allowing defense attorneys to kowtow to the judge’s every whim; they advise supporters to “keep a low profile” in and around the courtroom, often even going so far as to assert that the defense attorneys “know” this judge and know how best to “get on the good side of the judge” for a favorable ruling.  More often than not, these class-collaborationist tactics result in complete disaster, with the defendants getting the book thrown at them.  The defense attorneys then express “shock” at the “uncharacteristically severe” sentence handed out by their “friend” the judge.  Revolutionary Marxists don’t fall for this bullshit.

Having been informed by Jared Chase’s supporters’ websites that the hearing today would occur at 9AM, I made certain to arrive early so I could participate in the demonstration that would undoubtedly occur before the hearing.  But when I arrived at 8:45 AM, this is what I saw:

... not a goddamned thing! So excuse me for being disappointed.

… not a goddamned thing! So excuse me for being disappointed.

This was not good.  When I expressed my disappointment later to a handful of his supporters in the court gallery at not having seen the slightest hint of public protest outside the courthouse, I was chastised for being so arrogant in criticising them since  they had been attending all these hearings for all these years and I had not.  As if that matters in terms of the simple expression of disappointment at seeing NO evidence of support outside the courthouse TODAY!  These poor defense tactics usually don’t obtain much sympathy from the judges, who have been instructed by the political powers in the Cook County Democratic machine to “make an example” of the defendants.

While it is entirely understandable that Chase’s supporters are depressed and dismayed at the prospect of their friend spending up to 15 years in prison if he gets the maximum sentence possible in this case, that is no excuse for failing to organize an effective defense campaign and then expressing hostility towards supporters who express their dismay when they show up at court in response to an appeal for support and find no organized support at all!

Progress cannot be achieved by the workers movement if historical lessons go unlearned and if every generation just keeps making the same avoidable mistakes over and over and over again.  Our capitalist class opponents have centuries of experience buttressing their class rule; they learn from their failures and don’t repeat the same stupidity twice!  Likewise, the communist movement has nearly 200 years of experience fighting frame-ups in the courts of the capitalist classes all over the world.  To fail to take advantage of the hard-won experience of the revolutionary communist movement is a major error on the part of any activist group that finds its comrades in a situation like Jared Chase is in.

It was no surprise in this era of mass apathy among US workers that – in Chicago, a city of 4 million – a grand total of 9 supporters of Chase (including this reporter) made the trek to the Cook County Courthouse for the hearing.  It was held in a bizarre glassed-in courtroom in which spectators are entirely sealed off from the actual courtroom, which sits behind a semicircular glass-and-metal barrier that looks like something out of the original Star Wars movie.  No photos could be taken of the courtroom because in the “free and open” court system of Crooked Crook County, the Chief Justice has banned all cell phones from the premises.  Members of the public who wish to observe the proceedings in Cook County Courthouse at 26th St. and California Avenue in Chicago must not only pass a metal detector screening before entering the courthouse, but they must also place their cell phones, chargers and any other electronic recording devices in secure lockers (provided for free by the county) before they are allowed to enter the building.  The criminals running the farcical “justice” system  in Crook County Courthouse – widely acknowledged to be one of the most corrupt in the United States of America – must keep video and audio evidence of their many blatant miscarriages of justice hidden from the eyes of the working class at all costs.

The court hearing in room 303 (which was set for 9:00 AM according to the “Free the NATO 3” website ) never actually got underway until 10:05 when the “Honorable” Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson finally graced us with his presence.  Wilson, who is black, has hung a large framed color photograph of the Rev. Martin Luther King on the door behind the bench in order to give the appearance (to the uninitiated) that in his courtroom, the respected principles of Dr. King are upheld.  King would undoubtedly not be amused to know that his portrait is being utilized in this manner in a courtroom in Cook County, where brutal racist injustice is meted out daily to hundreds of primarily black and Hispanic defendants.  Hundreds of people of color are daily shipped to this County Courthouse for “kangaroo court”-style bond hearings at which it’s “your money or the next two months of your life” while you wait in jail for your trial.   Judge Wilson’s courtroom sits directly above a filthy, overcrowded basement prison dungeon where hundreds of people are crammed into holding cells awaiting trial; this is a place completely at odds with everything Dr. Martin Luther King stood for.

On the dark, smoked glass barrier that stands between the public and the “bar of justice” are affixed a number of printed and crudely hand-lettered signs threatening the citizenry – who are supposed to be those from whom Judge Wilson derives whatever limited power he actually possesses – not to do a multiplicity of things.  “Absolutely No Food or Drinks Allowed in this Courtroom” one declares.  “DO NOT ENTER UNLESS YOUR NAME IS CALLED” screams another.  If a citizen dares to enter the courtroom he or she has paid for many times over with their taxes – what would happen?  Would the altar of justice be rendered unclean by an unindicted citizen’s presence?  Would it have to be then reconsecrated to the gods of justice, Crook County-style?   No children are allowed to cry or call out to a parent, sister or brother they see being brought into the courtroom in handcuffs and prison rags: “Children must be kept quiet or you will be asked to leave!”  Surely Martin Luther King would endorse all this! A child crying out at seeing her father for perhaps the first time in months or even years would be cast out of the room by the “honorable” Judge Wilson!  Such is justice in Crooked Crook County, USA, run for the past 100 years by the “lesser evil” Democratic Party!  Everything is crooked about this place: the huge cockroaches at the jail skitter crookedly across the floors and the walls; even the birds flying over this place seem to fly sideways.  Let’s not even mention the crooked guards!

While we waited for Jared’s case to be called an attorney emerged from the courtroom into the spectators’ seating area to converse with his client, who was seated among us.  They openly discussed their strategy right there where it could be heard by all the court employees and the judge via the intercom system connecting both rooms.  There is no private place in this courthouse for attorneys and their clients to discuss their cases!  The image of Martin Luther King gazes pensively down from the wall of Judge Wilson’s courtroom upon this farce.  If only that portrait could come to life to tell Judge Wilson what it thinks about the monstrous scenes that have played out in that courtroom under its eyes day after day after brutal day!

Finally, at around 10:32 AM, Jared Chase is led into the courtroom.  As he enters, I stand up in solidarity.  “SIT DOWN!” bellows the “Honorable” Judge Thaddeus Wilson.

Chase is a big guy; 6 feet tall, perhaps a bit more.  Thinnish but well-muscled in his brownish v-necked prison shirt and matching brown pants, he looks as healthy as can be expected – given the circumstances of his confinement in a hellhole Illinois state prison in Pontiac – to me, who has never seen him before.  But to his friends he “looks very thin and gaunt, and his health is visibly not well.”

Chase stands erect, calm and collected; his hands are not manacled but I can’t see his feet.

There is some preliminary chatter between the judge, prosecutor and Jared’s Public Defender Benesh.  Then Benesh asks the judge for a court order to prevent Chase’s being manacled with what is called a “black box”.

"Black Box" restraint. Used to attach chains from leg irons to wrist cuffs and chain waist belt.

“Black Box” restraint. Used to attach chains from leg irons to wrist cuffs and chain waist belt.

This high-security restraint is usually only used for the most dangerous inmates: murderers and terrorists.  In spite of the fact that all of the “terrorism charges” that the government had brought against the NATO 3 were repudiated by the jury in the original trial, Chase is still being periodically subjected to this abuse by the prison screws when they transfer him to court for trial.

Benesh is asking the judge for a “court order” prohibiting the use of the “black box” on Chase.  He states that there is an existing doctors’ order that these restraints not be used on Chase due to his suffering from Huntington’s Disease, which causes sufferers to shake uncontrollably.  This shaking, combined with the harsh restraints, has been found to be causing injury to Chase, Benesh explains.  The use of harsh restraints “cuts off circulation” of blood in Chase’s hands.

Who do you want me to order to stop using the restraints?” asks Judge Wilson?

Benesh appears to be somewhat taken aback by the question.

“Who do you want the court order to be issued to?  Eye-Doc?” asks the judge again, indicating the acronym for the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC), as if to prompt Benesh… who appears to fumble for an answer.

“In terms of transport…” Benesh begins to reply.  “We are asking that the least restrictive means possible should be used.”  He describes a less physically punishing type of restraint known to be used by IDOC.

Judge Wilson advises Benesh to “talk to IDOC… I am not in a position to order such a thing.  You can file a Federal lawsuit against IDOC if they are not following doctors’ recommendations.  If it’s within my authority I’ll do it.  I don’t know of any need for extra security.  But just based on oral statements  I’m not going to do anything.”

It appeared that Benesh was unprepared to properly ask Judge Wilson for a court order, having not submitted to the court any legal document for the judge to review and sign!  Not only that, but Benesh seemed uncertain who it was that he wanted the judge to order to stop using the “black box” restraint!  Unbelievably poor preparation for the hearing by Benesh – not at all atypical for the Public Defenders here in the “Land of the Free(TM)”.

It’s pretty outrageous that the Public Defender’s Office had their client dragged in chains all the way to Cook County Jail from the dungeon at Pontiac Correctional Center – a distance of 100 miles – so they could challenge the state’s use of cruel restraints used when he is transported from jail to court and back, causing physical harm to him – and then the PD wasn’t even prepared to properly ask for and obtain the court order necessary to get the chains removed!  Sadly, this kind of third-rate legal defense for the poor is common, not only in Crooked Crook County but all over the USA – and in all the “advanced” countries of the capitalist world.

Benesh then asked for a status hearing to be set for March 23rd.  He appeared not to have submitted any requests for discovery of evidence such as videos of the alleged physical altercations between Chase and prison guards that led to the present assault on a prison officer charges against Chase.

The judge agrees to set a status hearing for March 23rd at 9AM and for the trial to begin on April 11th of 2016.  Chase is dismissed and I stand up again in solidarity as he leaves; and I and all Chase’s friends and supporters leave the courtroom.

Moments later Public Defender Benesh comes out into the hallway and I introduce myself and ask him for his business card.  He says “no problem” and goes back into the courtroom to take care of some other legal business.  After a few minutes he comes back out again, accompanied by a female colleague, and I ask him a few questions.

I had heard from one of Chase’s supporters that there might be video evidence available in this case.  Is Benesh aware of any?  “Not that I’m aware of; and I don’t know if it would be helpful or not if there was” he replied.  Surprised at his answer I ask “really?  No videos at all?”  (There are cameras all over the jails).  “No I don’t know of any”.  “Have you asked if there was any such evidence through the discovery process?” “No.” he replied.

“The next hearing on March 23rd; will Jared have to appear in court again for that?” I ask.  “Yes, he’ll be appearing at all of the hearings”.  This is a real ordeal for Chase, who has to come, shackled, all the way from Pontiac to Chicago, especially considering his health.

“What is the specific offense Chase is charged with and what are the potential penalties?” I inquire.

“He is charged with ‘aggravated battery to a corrections officer’, which is a ‘Class I’ offense, punishable by 4-15 years in prison” Benesh replies.  Very serious, indeed.  (For a description of the incident as related in a letter from Chase to a supporter, click here).

I ask Benesh if he has been on the case from the beginning of the NATO 3 trial; he says: “I just got this case two weeks ago from my colleague in the Public Defender’s Office.  I had nothing to do with the earlier case; this case has nothing to do with the original one”.  But of course, this is not true at all!  This case has EVERYTHING to do with the earlier case; Chase is a political prisoner who was framed up by undercover cops in the first place!  If that frame-up hadn’t been successful, this assault case would never have occurred!

This is what we meant earlier in this article when we spoke of the danger of having inexperienced defense attorneys who do not understand the difference between a typical criminal case and one involving a political frame-up.  This lawyer appears to be unaware of the very political nature of the charges his client is facing.  “Business as usual”; just another assault case in the hideously overloaded docket of the vastly understaffed and underfunded Public Defender’s office.

It’s too bad that the crew of “Free the NATO 3” supporters didn’t bother to talk to this new defense attorney for their comrade!  They had all just walked away from the courtroom without even bothering to talk to their comrade’s new lawyer!

It was not a very impressive performance by the “Free the NATO 3” defense campaign.

Later on that evening, I checked the “Free the NATO 3” WordPress site to obtain more background information about the case and to see if they had written a report about the hearing; commendably, as we stated above, they had. Their article criticises that I stood up in solidarity with Chase as he was led into the courtroom: “While prisoner supporters have employed the tactic often to stand up when the defendant’s name is called in various cases, Judge Thadeus [sic – IWPCHI] Wilson issued an injunction in the NATO 3 case preventing supporters from doing so, and does not respond kindly to this. So please remain seated when Jay’s name is called, as protest tactics or standing up only backfires on Jay.”

This expresses quite clearly the touching faith that these so-called “anarchists” have in the “impartiality” of the US capitalist “justice” system!

The “Free the NATO 3” website operated by these folks appears to offer a decent amount of information about the case – including copies of Judge Wilson’s outrageous piece-of-shit injunction against displays of class solidarity for political prisoners who appear in “his” courtroom.  Unfortunately, the amateurishness of the anarcho-reformists reared its ugly head again when we tried to download a copy of this fine example of legal treachery; we received a “404- File Not Found” error.  We left a message on that page so the website admins could fix the problem; checking it again today a week later, we found that it has still not been corrected.  We left another message, for what it’s worth.

***

This should serve as a warning to young activists trying to decide between joining a revolutionary socialist organization or a more loosely organized “anarchist” or other activist group.  It a choice between joining a party of organized, disciplined revolutionaries who will know how to avoid a cheap police entrapment scheme and defend you if you get framed up on bogus charges or joining a group that will fall right into a trap set by a pair of half-assed Police Explorers who infiltrate their organization on the first try.  In a revolutionary socialist party, youth members are taught about the history of police entrapment schemes; internal party discipline requires them to report provocations like the one launched against the NATO 3 defendants to party leaders, who know how to deal with these things properly.  It would be almost impossible for this kind of entrapment scam to ensnare a youth member of a revolutionary Trotskyist party; for amateur “activist” and “anarchist” organizations, this is not the case.  So choose wisely when you choose the revolutionary political organization you want to join.

***

One last glimpse of the “justice” that takes place in the “Honorable” Judge Thaddeus L. Wilson’s judicial chamber of horrors:

A tall, well-groomed black man in a new winter jacket stands calmly before the dais upon which Judge Wilson sits.  A few feet to his  right, a middle-aged, stooped blonde white female Assistant District Attorney is trying to make this man look like Capone times ten.  She rattles off a seemingly endless number of arrests and convictions for petty offenses this man has suffered all his life for the “crime” of being a black man living in Democratic Party-run Crooked Crook County.  She chatters on: case after case, from the 1990s to the present.  Only after she has made it up to June of 2008 does the “Honorable” Judge Wilson stop her, saying tiredly: “That’s enough.  I get the picture”.

Perhaps it was a trick of the light, refracted through the smoked glass barrier of the courtroom… but we swear we saw the left hand of Dr. King move in front of his eyes; his shoulders seemed to heave spasmodically.  He appeared to be crying.

Thanks to the poor defense work today by Atty. Peter Benesh of the Crook County Public Defender’s Office, Jared Chase will once again most likely by dragged in chains – including the “black box” apparatus that is causing him physical harm – from Pontiac “Correctional” Center to Crook County Courthouse for his next status hearing on March 23; his trial is scheduled to begin on April 11.

— IWPCHI

 

 

 

 

 

Declassified 1977 “Report of the Dept. of Justice Task Force to Review FBI Martin Luther King Jr. Security and Assassination Investigations”

Why is workers revolution necessary to completely overthrow the rule of the capitalist classes of the world and replace it with the rule of the working classes of the world – rather than merely reforming the system?

We publish here yet another expose of the “democratic process” in action.  It relates to how the US capitalist class reacts whenever the wage slaves of the United States – that is, YOU, dear reader – organize yourselves to fight for your rights.  In this case we expose the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation’s  use of its Counterintelligence Program (a.k.a. COINTELPRO) to destroy the leadership of the U.S. Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  In stark contrast to the mythology that surrounds the US Government’s role which extols how “enlightened liberals” like John F. and Robert F. Kennedy courageously assisted the evolution of democracy and civil rights in the US, we see that in fact the US Government’s most “liberal” regime in the post World War II era – the Kennedy Administration – in fact unleashed the racist FBI of J. Edgar Hoover on the Civil Rights Movement, focusing first and foremost on destroying the credibility and effectiveness of one of the most charismatic leaders of that movement – the apostle of non-violence, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

This internal Department of Justice review of the FBI’s “investigation” into the alleged “Communist” brain trust behind Martin Luther King (which was the pretext for FBI harassment, wiretapping and surveillance of Dr. King from 1963 up until his brutal murder in Memphis in April of 1968) proves that no matter how “nonviolent” or “pacifist” or even pro-capitalist a leader of the working class is, she or he will always be seen as a deadly threat to the capitalist class due to the simple calculation that ANYONE who is capable of inspiring the working class with a sense of their power to change the status quo presents a mortal threat to the continued existence of capitalist class rule.  The reaction of the capitalist class and their bought-and-paid-for politician-servants will be predictable: infiltrate, disrupt and destroy the threat – no matter how small – to the domination of the numerically tiny capitalist class over the vast working class majority of the population.

In the case of King, he was, like so many black civil rights leaders who had grown up through the massive class struggles of the 1930s and ’40s, not at all averse to working with Communists or ex-Communists.  Black workers from Harlem to Mississippi knew that the Communist Party of the United States of America had produced thousands of self-sacrificing workers who fought racism in the US and many of whom gave their lives in that struggle.  The CP as well as the Trotskyist Socialist Workers Party had impressed black workers with their campaigns for full equality for black workers at work, in the military and at every level of society and had fought racist frame ups against blacks like the infamous Scottsboro Boys case.  Communist union organizers braved death threats from the Ku Klux Klan while attempting to organize black workers throughout the South into unions in which black and white workers would fight for their rights as workers together as sisters and brothers.  Martin Luther King Jr., like so many other people of color all over the world was no doubt inspired by the strong anti-racist side of the Communist program and supposedly studied basic Marxist philosophy to some extent – but he never became a Party member.

The basis of FBI head J. Edgar Hoover’s insistence that there existed a plot by the Communist Party of the US to infiltrate and control the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) of Dr. King was based on the fact that King’s top advisor in the SCLC was an ex-Communist named Stanley_Levison.  Levison was a large part of the reason for the rapid organizing success of the SCLC in the early to mid ’60s.  Levison had learned how to effectively organize mass movements while he was a member of the CP in the ’40s and this experience served Dr. King extremely well throughout his rise to international fame.  Shrewdly advising King as to how to maneuver more skillfully in the treacherous political waters of the US, Levison helped the SCLC leadership create a powerful organization to fight for civil rights for black workers – using non-violent means.  Though Levison appears to have quit the CP in 1957, Hoover used the fact of his former party membership and current role as close advisor to King to justify the launching of the entire suite of COINTELPRO attacks on Martin Luther King and his wife, Coretta Scott King.  Hoover’s anti-Communist paranoia regarding Levison led him to tag Levison as  “secret Communist” – and he forwarded reports to fellow red-hater Robert F. Kennedy linking Dr. King to the CP through Levison that convinced RFK to greenlight the wiretapping of phones in King’s home and the SCLC offices starting in early October of 1963.

The capitalist class had created COINTELPRO originally to fight the rise of the Communist Party in order to keep the Party from gaining a leadership role over the working class of the US, which would threaten to overthrow capitalist class rule and establish a socialist workers state in its place.  One of the most dangerous (to the capitalist class) outcomes of such organization would be the smashing of the segregationist system of the US that divided the working class along racial lines.  The Communist Party’s program called for complete integration of the workers movement, which would neutralize one of the most powerful weapons in the hands of the capitalist class – the domination of its ideology of racial superiority of whites over blacks and Hispanics, which enabled the capitalists to more easily divide and conquer the multiracial US working class.  Levison’s position at the top of the SCLC’s leadership appeared to Hoover to be the harbinger of this capitalist class nightmare.  Hoover unleashed a massive COINTELPRO investigation campaign against Levison – as evidenced by his massive FBI file, the released version of which runs to 190 separate sections!

After John F. Kennedy was murdered in the highly suspicious manner in which he was, a sense arose among the US working class that it was quite possible that sinister forces INSIDE the U.S. Government may have contributed to or even actually planned the murder of the relatively popular Kennedy.  Investigations into his assassination quickly led to the uncovering of many clues as to what elements of the U.S. Government might have had a hand in the Kennedy assassination: was it the C.I.A., which blamed Kennedy for the failure of the infamous Bay of Pigs fiasco that attempted to overthrow the Castro regime in Cuba?  Was it the Mafia who were angry at the Kennedys, both Bobby and Jack, for unleashing the hounds of the Justice Department against them, in violation of an alleged pact between the Mafia and the Kennedy clan before the 1960 election?  Or was it a combination of the two?  As the sixties wore on and more evidence leaked out of the US government regarding its secret operations to topple governments throughout Central and South America, in Iran and the Dominican Republic and elsewhere, the working class of the United States and the entire world came to doubt the veracity of any official statement coming out of the mouths of the politicians and government officials in Washington.

The police state attacks on the U.S. Civil Rights movement were obvious from the beginning.  Cops all over the United States, north and south attacked black and white civil rights activists wherever they emerged, beating them bloody in front of TV cameras from Birmingham to Chicago and from New York to Los Angeles.  The murder of Medgar Evers; the savage attacks on the Black Panther Party, the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama in which 4 young Sunday School students were slaughtered – and the lackluster “investigations” of these crimes by the U.S, Government at all levels – all pointed to a sinister racist collaboration between the national, state and local governments to crush the civil rights movement  by any means necessary. (It was later discovered that a paid FBI informant working inside the Klan in Birmingham named Gary Thomas Rowe, Jr. who took part in several Klan attacks on Freedom Riders and who participated in the murder of civil rights activist Viola Liuzzo most likely – at the least –  had advance knowledge of the conspiracy to commit the 16th St. Baptist Church bombing).

The vast amount of police state surveillance and the maelstrom of violence that had enveloped the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King and his family and fellow leaders of the Civil Rights movement (in “spite” of that massive surveillance) was obvious to everyone involved in the Civil Rights movement.  So it was that when the Reverend King was murdered in cold blood while carloads of cops sat in the parking lot of the Lorraine Motel like scarecrows, the politically conscious workers of the US immediately suspected that there was a conspiracy in US Government circles that aided and abetted this heinous crime against the entire working class.  The US government’s attempts to “investigate” the King assassination were met with incredulity and contempt.  Anger turned into massive uprisings as angry black workers attacked the police and National Guard units sent into black communities to “restore order”.   The US capitalist class, in a desperate attempt to head off what appeared to be a rapid radicalization of the black working class ordered their hired lackeys in the Democratic Party to immediately institute the most thorough APPEARING “investigations” into the murder of Martin Luther King.  From 1968 to 1977, several investigations were launched – internal investigations by the police agencies at the local, state and national levels, as well as Congressional investigations.  As the extent of the FBI’s COINTELPRO was slowly revealed in the late 60s and early 70s, it became clear that, like the Kennedy assassination, there was a very sinister backstory behind the superficial analysis provided by the bourgeois press and the government investigations into the attacks by the FBI on the entire civil rights and anti-Vietnam War movement as well as those inquiries into the possible involvement of the FBI in the murder of Dr. King.

The end of the Vietnam War – made possible by the victory of the Communist Viet Cong over the troops of U.S. imperialism – as well as the death of J. Edgar Hoover in May of 1972 suddenly opened a window of opportunity for the politicians and servants of the bourgeoisie to perform the Herculean task of attempting to con the working class into believing that the “bad old days” of COINTELPRO were over and that the “democracy-loving” liberal Democrats and Republicans would right the ship of state and ensure that such excesses would never again be allowed to happen.  Investigations were launched into the CIA’s assassination of foreign government leaders and their involvement in military coups all over the world.  The Watergate scandal and the investigation into the FBI’s COINTELPRO operation – which most likely could never have taken place so long as J. Edgar Hoover still drew breath – was begun.  The massive effort of the US government to convince the working class that the “excesses” of the Hoover-era COINTELPRO operation would heretofore be eliminated and abolished through reforms at the FBI and other US police state agencies was, after years of strenuous effort, finally largely successful.  The rising tide of worker militancy – especially that of black workers – peaked and rolled back – or rather was driven back by the continued use of COINTELPRO-type police state attacks on activists while the politicians in Washington put on their dog-and-pony shows like the Church Committee  investigation into CIA, NSA and FBI “excesses” from the 1950s through the early ’70s.

The recent exposes of torture programs run by the United States military in Iraq and Afghanistan and Guantanamo Bay, as well as the secret prisons run by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and the massive global police state espionage operations of the National Security Agency – which make the FBI’s domestic wiretapping efforts against Civil Rights activists and opponents of the Vietnam War of the ’60s look like child’s play – prove that in fact, nothing has changed when it comes to the US capitalist class police state operations against their working class political opponents.  It should be obvious to any intelligent worker that the long, sordid history of US capitalist class rule proves that there is only one way for the 1% to maintain the whip hand over the tens of millions of wage slaves who create all the profits that are systematically stolen by the capitalists.  The class rule of the capitalist class requires the complete suppression of any attempt by the worker-slaves to organize an effective fight for their rights, never mind making an actual bid to overthrow their capitalist masters.  Even those who steadfastly espouse the philosophy of non-violence are set up for harassment, blackmail, long jail sentences on trumped-up charges and – if none of that “cures” the uppity wage slave who dares to stand up to all those attacks – assassination.   What the United States Government did to Martin Luther King must be burned into the consciousness of every working man and woman in this nation.  THIS is why we call for the overthrow of the most murderous ruling class ever to rampage across the face of the planet – the U.S. capitalist class.

11jan77_Report of the DoJ Task Force to Review the FBI MLK Jr. Security and Assassination Investigations

Workers of the World, Unite!

Independent Workers Party of Chicago