[Note: In the wake of the shooting of police in Dallas, Texas there have been arrests of hundreds of Black Lives Matter protestors in several cities, including Chicago. We say: DROP ALL THE CHARGES AGAINST ALL THE BLACK LIVES MATTER PROTESTORS! – IWPCHI]
10 July 2016
This past week the world was once again reminded of the brutal racism that lies at the cold, dead heart of US imperialism as the US Police State executed three black men for the “crime” of… being a person of color in the racist USA. First Alton Sterling, 37, was shot to death in Baton Rouge, Louisiana by cops who had attacked him for selling CDs… presumably without a license! And then the very next day in the Minneapolis/St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights, Minnesota Philando Castile, 32, was shot to death by a crazed cop who falsely claimed that his tail light was broken and then told Castile to present his ID… and shot him four times when he reached for his wallet, killing him – with Castile’s girlfriend sitting by his side and a baby watching the horror unfold from the back seat! The world yet again reeled in horror when videos made by witnesses to these brutal executions by police were made public. Once again the lies of the police were exposed when the videos clearly revealed that, in contradiction to the cops’ claim that their victims threatened them with guns, neither of the two men were brandishing a weapon when they were summarily executed. Castile’s girlfriend Diamond Reynolds used her cell phone to record the immediate aftermath of the murder, capturing the ravings of the deranged cop who immediately (and typically for the police) blamed his victim for his own death at the hands of the killer cops! But the US police state’s reign of terror against African-Americans wasn’t over; when a black man who was suspected of opening fire on Dallas cops during a Black Lives Matter protest against the racist cop murders would not surrender to the cops fast enough, they mounted a bomb containing a POUND OF C4 EXPLOSIVE on a mobile “bomb detecting robot”, drove it by remote control to the place where he was hiding… and blew him up with it!
“Kinder, gentler” community policing brought to you by an African-American police chief in Democratic Party-run Dallas, Texas.
The reality of racist cop terror against poor and homeless people in general and against people of color particularly has been largely covered up by the major US media outlets. The “mass media” outlets are owned and operated by the numerically tiny and filthy rich US capitalist class whose mortal fear of workers revolution by the tens of millions of workers they exploit and force to live out their lives in dire poverty has led them to militarize the police forces of the USA. The capitalist-owned news media conglomerates – (which Marxists, scientifically, collectively describe as “the bourgeois press”) covers up the crimes of its masters, whether those crimes are committed in Iraq, Libya, Syria, Afghanistan – or right here in “The Land of the Free(TM)”.
The ability of the bourgeois press to cover up the crimes of their masters has met its match in the far more democratic realm of modern mass-communications that are not subject to the censorship of the bought-and-paid-for editors of the capitalist-owned press in the Internet and the widespread use of smartphones. Capable of capturing video evidence of the truth of how the US police state deals with black workers who dare to stand up for their rights as citizens, smartphones are now in the hands of more than 60% of the population. Connected to the Internet, these phones can provide “real-time” reports of police atrocities as they go down. In Falcon Heights, Diamond Reynolds was able to create a video of the incident immediately and was able to upload it to the Internet just before the police arrested HER for witnessing their crime. Where the police were once able to “justify” their gunning down of black and Hispanic youth who they invariably claimed had “turned and fired” at police before being executed, now the cops’ lies are exposed over and over again. Eyewitness videos are released to the public via the Internet just hours – or even as in this case, minutes – after the cops have spun their lying tales of having come under fire and having been “in fear for their lives”, proving to the world that what their victims and their families have always claimed – that their sons and daughters were unarmed and unresisting when murdered by police – was true.
The endless cases of black workers being murdered by cops all over the USA proves that having black mayors, Congressmen, police chiefs and even a black President has not changed the reality of racism in the USA. But because the US does not have a major working-class political party, the demonstrations against these wanton police state killings has been led principally by the pro-capitalist, reformist and Democratic Party-affiliated “Black Lives Matter” group and similar organizations. Their mostly peaceful and law-abiding protests have limited their “demands” to calling for such reasonable things as “citizen control over the police force” and for “independent” investigations into the murders committed by the police. These “reasonable” demands are actually impossible to achieve in a capitalist nation-state in which all of its institutions – including the police – were based on an economic and political system in which slavery was the primary source of investment capital.
But not all of the victims of the racist US police state can be expected to simply beg the “powers that be” to reform the police state terror apparatus that the capitalist class and its politicians have designed and implemented over the past century and a half since the US Civil War put an end to the slaveocracy.
There are some people who have learned all too well the lessons taught by the US capitalist class that violence is the answer to every question. It was only a matter of time before some fed-up victim of racist US police-state terror retaliated in kind for the endless series of cold-blooded murders of black men and women by the police.
In the racist hell-hole of Texas at least one young black man – who had been recruited and trained by the US Government to murder his fellow workers in Afghanistan – Micah Johnson, just 25 years old – allegedly took his knowledge of military skills and put them to work during a Black Lives Matter demonstration in Dallas, Texas. Opening fire exclusively on the massive, heavily armed police mobilization designed to intimidate the Black Lives Matter protest and to keep workers from participating in the demonstration, this man (or men; initially the cops and many witnesses claimed there were multiple shooters) allegedly gave the police a taste of their own vicious medicine, picking off 12 cops with a high-powered rifle, killing five of them.
This desperate attempt at retaliation against the police very nearly created a massacre of the very protesters the gunman – it is claimed – supported. The small army of Dallas cops had been sent out to intimidate anyone who was thinking about joining the demonstration and, at the slightest provocation, to attack the Black Lives Matter protestors. Realized they were being fired upon, the cops chaotically returned fire on the perceived locations of the shooter(s). Video taken by the protesters and bystanders show that hundreds of rounds of ammunition were wildly fired by the cops in the general direction of the alleged attacker(s). Reports say many cops were shot in the back; it is highly likely that some of them were shot by their fellow cops as they ran around firing in panic wherever they believed they saw a flash from the muzzle of a gun. Fortunately, the shooter(s) fired from far above street level; if they had been standing among or behind the protestors the trigger-happy cops would probably have killed dozens of innocent people.
Somehow, the Dallas police were able to contact (one of?) the suspect(s) by phone as he hid out in a parking garage near the scene of the shooting. For a time they carried on “negotiations” with Micah Johnson who they claim now was the sole shooter. But after a few hours of negotiations, the cops got tired of waiting for the man to surrender.
As with the cops in every other major US city, simply walking or driving down the street “while black” – or Hispanic – can lead to a very ugly confrontation with “Dallas’ finest” – which could easily land a citizen in the morgue. The lying bourgeois press reports that the Dallas police – long notorious for monstrous racism and for having Klan members on its payroll – are a “kinder, gentler” police force today. The Dallas cops engage in “community policing” scams designed to get workers to rat out their neighbors who might be trying to survive in a country with 25% unemployment rate for blacks (a brutal 75% for black youth!) by dealing drugs or participating some other minor criminal activity. In fact, even the Wikipedia article on the Dallas Police Department shows that there have been police corruption and racist profiling scandals in Dallas and its environs in the past 20 years. The Dallas Police Department’s own website presents reports proving that racial profiling is alive and thriving among the cops on their force. African-Americans, who make up just over 25% of the population of Dallas make up 36.7% of the traffic stops as compared to whites, who, though they make up 50.7% of the population, are pulled over just 25.2% of the time.
Racial profiling by Dallas Police Department, 2011 to 2015. Source: Dallas Police Department
And for those who are pulled over, it is nearly THREE TIMES as likely that the traffic stop will result in a search and an arrest if a person is black than if he or she is white.
Racial profiling – alive and thriving in the “kinder, gentler” Dallas Police Department, even under a black police chief. Source: Dallas Police Department
The numbers of blacks pulled over by the Dallas Police has actually been increasing slightly year-on-year as this allegedly less racist Dallas PD has been attempting to reduce racial profiling under their new black police chief. Likewise, when it comes to police shootings, there is no evidence that the DPD is becoming less trigger-happy. Well over a third of the officer-involved shootings recorded resulted in a “miss”. The DPD has shot on average 15 people a year since 2003; between 2011 and 2012 the number of citizens shot or shot at by police nearly DOUBLED from 11 to 23, and then stayed at or above 20 for 3 consecutive years.
Long-term trend of Dallas Police Department officer-involved shootings is on the increase. Source: Dallas Police Department
5 of the 6 people they shot in 2015 were killed; of the five, three were black or Hispanic. As of March 2016, DPD cops have shot at (at least) one black man prior to their murder of the black suspect in this week’s assault on the DPD. This is the racist record of the “new” Dallas Police Department, led by a black chief!
Proving our point: when these “kinder, gentler” Dallas cops got tired of negotiating the surrender of the black man who was the alleged gunman, they immediately showed how “modern” Texas lawmen handle such a situation. They had their SWAT team create a BOMB containing A POUND OF C-4 PLASTIC EXPLOSIVE COMPOUND, which they then mounted on a mobile “bomb detecting” robot – AND THEY DROVE IT UP TO THE SUSPECT AND BLEW HIM UP WITH IT! “I approved it and would do it again if presented with the same circumstances,” African-American Dallas Police Chief David O. Brown declared to the press!
THIS is the supposedly “more racially sensitive” Dallas Police Department that did this! They summarily EXECUTED a suspect in a crime – WITH A BOMB! That is the modern version of racist Texas frontier “justice”; there is nothing “civilized” about it! It does not matter that the police chief is a black man; when push comes to shove the black cops – just like the white and Hispanic and Asian and LGBT cops – are tools in a racist police state that are willing to murder their fellow black men and women in defense of the capitalist state! The summary execution of Micah Johnson is a monstrous crime that underscores once again the willingness of the US police state to appoint itself as the final “arbiter of justice” – especially against black workers.
The working class of the US now confronts a ruling capitalist class that is without question the most despotic and brutal in the world. In the past 15 years they have re-legalized torture; the black Democratic President has asserted the right of a President to authorize the assassination of US citizens; and now the police are being allowed to use BOMBS to execute suspected criminals! Does anyone need any more evidence that unless we the workers overthrow this savage US capitalist class all of our lives are in mortal danger?
We do not advocate the vigilante killing of police by workers – no matter how justified it may be (although we recognize that killing a cop or anyone else in self-defense is legally justifiable). Racist cop terror is part of the capitalist state apparatus used to intimidate the working class, keeping them too scared to rebel against the forces of “law and order”. As revolutionary Marxists and Trotskyists, we understand that terrorism is not a revolutionary program that can lead to the creation of a better world for the working class. If terrorism was capable of creating more just societies then Iraq, Libya, Afghanistan and Syria would be the most wonderful places on Earth in which to raise a family. Individual and organized acts of terror launched against the capitalist state are doomed to fail; and more often than not they result – as we can see in the present case in Dallas – in harsh measures being taken against the workers movement itself. Terrorism occurs when people become hopeless in the face of massive attacks on the working class that go unavenged because no well-organized revolutionary socialist workers party exists that proves itself capable of finding a way out of the dead end of the capitalist system through workers revolution. Instead of doing the hard work of organizing a revolutionary socialist workers party, the terrorist appoints his or herself as the hero-avenger of the workers, grabs a gun or a bomb and sets out to save the world by killing a few representatives of the capitalist system that oppresses us all. But the capitalist nation-state has always a reserve of people to take the place of those who fall to the impotent attacks of the terrorists. Within a short time it’s back to business as usual, and to even more repression against the workers movement, not less. No terrorist organization has ever led a successful workers revolution, and none ever will because it takes a mass uprising of the working class led by a revolutionary socialist vanguard party to overthrow a capitalist nation-state. In fact, every successful workers revolution in the history of the world was led by such a party!
In the wake of the killings of the Dallas cops, defenders of US imperialist terror and its domestic police corollary have been claiming that it is the POLICE, not the citizens who are under attack across the USA! The bourgeois press, especially its most rabidly pro-capitalist pro-US-imperialism outlets have begun launching attacks on the Black Lives Matter demonstrators, obscenely arguing that by standing up against racist cop terror they are encouraging people to kill cops! That is a monstrous slander of the Black Lives Matter organization and the hundreds of millions of workers in the US and around the world who support them! Black Lives Matter is a reformist organization that seeks merely to “reform” the racist capitalist US police state into a police state that “protects and defends” the rights of “people” in general – and black “people” in particular. The Democratic Party-affiliated reformist leadership of Black Lives Matter and its affiliates do not recognize the true role of the police in a capitalist state: the police do not “protect and defend” the interests of the workers: they “protect and defend” CAPITALIST PRIVATE PROPERTY and the “inalienable right” of the numerically tiny capitalist class to rule over the 250-million-strong working class! The role of the police is to uphold and defend the highly UN-democratic capitalist system, in which the top 10% possess 75% of the national wealth!
This is what “democracy” looks like… under capitalism. Top 10% have 75% of national wealth; “bottom 90%” get to split 25%. Source: “Recent Trends in Wealth Distribution in USA, 1989-2013”. Federal Reserve Bulletin, p. 11.
The police in a capitalist state are the capitalist class’ first line of defense used to smash any attempt by the workers to oppose the class rule of the “1%”. The police are one of the “special bodies of armed men” who are used to prevent workers from organizing effective strike action by the unions to defend their organizations and the livelihood of the workers. THE POLICE IN A CAPITALIST STATE ARE THE MORTAL ENEMIES OF THE WORKING CLASS! They were our enemies last year; they are our enemies today; and they will be our enemies so long as the system of capitalism exists! It does not matter if the cops are black, female or LGB or T! And it does not matter how many of them are gunned down from time to time by enraged people who have been forced to suffer under the racist capitalist system in the USA all their lives… like Micah Johnson!
So how do we effectively fight racist cop terror? We do not fight it through terrorist methods; desperate attacks on the police like the one launched this week in Dallas will not overthrow the racist capitalist system that created and which perpetuates the racist US police state. To put an end to racist cop terror once and for all we must organize an integrated revolutionary socialist – Trotskyist – vanguard party to lead the working class in the overthrow of the entire racist capitalist system – in the US and around the world. The workers – who do the hard work that makes the world economy function and who thereby create all the wealth in the world – MUST RULE if we want to see “real democracy” exist! The only “real” democracy is workers democracy; capitalist “democracy” is a fraud in which a tiny percentage of the population owns all the wealth and uses it to control the political system for their own selfish ends!
Until the capitalist system is overthrown, racist cop terror will continue to plague us. Black workers will continue to be the “last hired and the first fired”; and the capitalists will continue to possess 75% of the national wealth while the “bottom 90%” of the population gets to split just 25%! Reformism never has and never will work to end the racism and economic inequality that grows from the very roots of the capitalist state and which had its origins in the institution of the slave system that created the first big ruling class family fortunes here in the USA. The US Civil Rights Movement, which repudiated the idea of revolution in favor of “working from within” the capitalist system served only to make a handful of black and Hispanic sellouts – like Jesse Jackson – rich, while leaving the vast majority of black workers just as bad off as they were – or even worse! – than in the ’70s. We must not succumb once again to the comforting lies of the “modern” reformist civil rights “leaders” in groups like Black Lives Matter who tell us that the cops are our friends and that “this time” working within the racist capitalist system will work!
The first step towards ending police state terror is the building of a revolutionary Trotskyist workers party that fights for the rights of the vast majority of the population – the working class! The pro-capitalist, reformist leadership of Black Lives Matter does not even want to form a workers party at all! They want you to vote for the Democrats – the very same people who RUN the racist police state and the racist criminal justice system here in the US! The Democrats and Republicans are the bought-and-paid-for representatives of the 1%! We need a party of the working class that fights not for “power sharing” with the capitalists, but for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a revolutionary socialist workers government!
Black Lives Matter! Capitalism must die so the working class may live! Join us and help build a party that can lead the fight to end racist police terror and create a decent future for all the workers in the US and the world through workers socialist revolution!