Tag Archives: Working Class Heroes

Movie Review – CITIZENFOUR: “Speaking Truth to Power” is not What Needs to Be Done (* out of 5)

[Note: this review is being simultaneously published by the Independent Workers Party of Chicago and the Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago on the respective websites of both groups.]

CITIZENFOUR – a film by Laura Poitras  https://citizenfourfilm.com/

We expected a lot from Laura Poitras’ new film CITIZENFOUR; we were massively disappointed.  With ex- CIA/NSA contract worker Edward Snowden still stuck in exile in Russia and the citizenry of the United States far more interested in the latest shiny objects for sale at the Apple Store than in fighting for their rapidly disappearing Constitutional rights, we had hoped that this film would be a clarion call to the workers of the United States to take action in their own self-defense by standing up in support of Snowden and his fellow heroic whistle-blowers Chelsea Manning, Julian Assange, Jeremy Hammond and others.  Instead what we get is a very tepid and shallow overview of “the story so far” of the world-shaking revelations made by Snowden exposing the US Government’s global espionage network that monitors and stores for future use every cellphone call, email message and the wealth of information derivable from our daily movements as recorded by our cellphones every day.  CITIZENFOUR should be like a nuclear howitzer blasting chunks out of the edifice of US and British imperialism; instead its effect is like that of a dozen pies thrown in the faces of a gang of war criminals.  You could say that CITIZENFOUR pulled all its punches… except for the fact that it never even attempts to throw any.  This is, by the way, the primary reason why it’s getting such great reviews from the bourgeois press.

So far as we can tell, the reason that Poitras doesn’t engage in aggressive political “agitprop” – a fact that nearly every reviewer from the bourgeois press extols as one of her film’s strengths – is apparently that she has no political axe to grind – or more accurately, she is a liberal bourgeois democratic reformist whose political aspirations rise no higher than to being one who “speaks truth to power”.  What this means in practice is that she and others like her – including Assange and Snowden – willingly self-limit the extent of their political activities to begging the “legitimate powers that be” to behave themselves and to urging the paid employees of the US capitalist ruling class that have set up the global espionage network – the bourgeois politicians in the “Five Eyes” nations – to start taking their alleged “responsibilities” to the citizens of their respective nations seriously by curbing the “excesses” that they themselves signed off on!

This kind of “inside the box” thinking may seem strange coming from the likes of Poitras, Assange, Snowden and Greenwald; but if we analyze their political philosophies in more detail it doesn’t seem strange at all.  Unless a person has consciously broken away from the worthless, selfish, greedy corporatist ideology of the capitalist system and has become a conscious Marxist revolutionary dedicated to the overthrow of the capitalist class and its economic system, one’s politics are going to be by definition REFORMIST at best; and so how can a non-revolutionary do anything else but simply beg the bourgeoisie to straighten up and fly right?  If you believe that the capitalist economic system is “the best of all possible economic systems”, and that only the capitalist class and its favored institutions of higher learning are capable of producing “legitimate” political leaders – where does that leave you politically?  It leaves you “speaking truth to power” like a good, loyal (if somewhat uppity) wage-slave!

Is CITIZENFOUR worth seeing?  For us, it was worth the price of admission just to see the “Dream Team” of Snowden, Greenwald and Poitras in the same room preparing to launch one of the world’s most impressive exposes of massive governmental abuses of power affecting everyone on the planet who has access to a telephone and/or a computer connected to the Internet.  This NSA spy scandal makes Watergate look like a pillow fight!  But the cursory overview made by the film of the extent of the revelations can’t be very compelling to anyone who hasn’t been following the story over the past year or so.  The movie barely describes the NSA and GCHQ-run “Five Eyes” espionage juggernaut; nor does it clearly show the threats of assassination and worse levied against Snowden, Assange and Greenwald by various US Government scumbags through the news media for daring to bring all this criminality into the light of day.  And, having not even really covered any of these issues, the film fails to even attempt to engage the audience in the critically important work of what is to be done: building new political parties to take down those that have erected the Big Brother spy apparatus that is intended to be used primarily to rapidly identify political opponents of the US, UK, Australian, Canadian and New Zealand Governments INSIDE  THEIR RESPECTIVE NATION-STATES!  This is, after all, the real purpose of all this espionage: to create a database of the day-to-day activities of every citizen of the world’s leading capitalist states in order to identify and neutralize them if they should ever seek to organize seriously threatening political opposition to the neo-fascist police states being set up in the US and its partners in the “Five Eyes” nations.  The primary target of all this espionage isn’t foreign terrorism: the target is the domestic working-class political opposition that – if it turns in a revolutionary socialist direction – potentially threatens the continued class rule of the capitalist classes of the world.  The capitalist classes of the US and UK in particular have absolutely no intention of sharing political power with the numerically and economically vastly superior working class that creates all the wealth under capitalism.  Any attempt by the domestic working classes of the US or UK to throw off the yoke of capitalist exploitation through political or economic strike action will immediately be placed under the microscope of the global espionage network, where the movement’s leaders will be quickly identified, isolated and “neutralized” – physically if the capitalists deem it to be necessary.  This is precisely what makes so extremely dangerous  the Obama Administration’s precedent-setting legal findings asserting that a sitting US President has the “right” to order the assassination of any US citizen whose writings or friends and associates he – or more accurately his employers in the US capitalist class – do not like.

This is not crazy commie paranoia speaking here: the Obama Administration has openly admitted that it has murdered four US citizens in drone strikes overseas – that we know of; and the US government maintains a “watch list” of its perceived opponents that already had a million people listed on it in 2009 – and it is being constantly updated. In 2013 it was reported that an additional 450,000 people were “nominated” to be added to the list – with few of the nominees escaping that dubious honor.

The faith in the hired political lackeys of the bourgeoisie implicitly espoused by Poitras, Greenwald, Snowden and Assange; their placid belief that steady pressure applied to the so-called liberal “left-wing” and Libertarian sections of the political class will ultimately win the day and allow the necessary political reforms to be enacted is, quite frankly, absurd – and evidence of a political immaturity in all of them that is quite shocking, especially considering what they have learned since Snowden came forward with his revelations.  Those actual members of the US or UK capitalist classes who go to see CITIZENFOUR will undoubtedly feel a tremendous relief in their discovery that these potentially dangerous opponents of the capitalist class are, in fact, posing no serious threat to the status quo at all.  The capitalists and their spies and hired guns can sleep a bit easier knowing that Poitras, Assange, Snowden and Greenwald – for all their genuine courage and excellent work in exposing the crimes of the ruling class – have set for themselves only the pathetic task of “speaking truth to power”.   That is something that the ruling class can listen to from Assange, Snowden – or anyone else, for that matter – for ever, condescendingly acknowledging and even thanking them profusely for their heroic selflessness in bringing to the world’s attention these “serious issues” – while doing absolutely nothing substantial to change the workings of the national security state at all.  Viewed in this way, CITIZENFOUR becomes just another pointless pantomime rebellion in the long, bloody history of capitalism.  The capitalists will, first of all, breathe a deep sigh of relief now that it’s clear that the film isn’t presenting an indictment of the capitalist class or their system; then, having been let largely off the hook by the film’s protagonists, we expect the capitalist class to continue to do what they have in fact been doing: applauding the film.   Perhaps Poitras and Greenwald will be invited to  testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee to speak “truth to power” on CSPAN; or at the Council on Foreign Relations… or at the United Nations or one of the capitalist soirees like the annual hand-wringing exercise at Davos, Switzerland.   Finally, perhaps, the capitalist class will direct the editors of their news media conglomerates to heap praise on the film and even to heartily recommend that it be awarded the Palme ‘d’Or, or even an Oscar or two!  This is how activist filmmakers like Poitras and investigative journalists like Greenwald are co-opted by the capitalist class and transformed from courageous opponents of the capitalist system to prominent pro-regime songbirds publicly displayed in golden cages. Ask Barbara Kopple or Bob Woodward how it’s done.

Poitras, Greenwald et al are, we believe, decent, courageous and apparently honest bourgeois reformist journalists.  But we ask our readers to imagine how much further along in investigating, exposing and successfully fighting this impending global police state we’d be if the documents unleashed by Snowden had been placed not in the hands of “responsible journalists” but in the hands of worker-revolutionaries who weren’t so loyally censoring the documents in order to “protect the agents and assets” of the racist, bloodthirsty and greed-obsessed US capitalist class and its spy organizations!  Snowden makes clear in the movie that his motivation for placing the blockbuster documents he purloined from the NSA into the hands of trustworthy representatives of the bourgeois press was that he wanted to be sure that there would be no reckless release of information that would seriously damage the “legitimate” goals of the shadow government of the US!  Greenwald et al have scrupulously respected the “sacred trust” placed in them by Snowden to protect the “family jewels” of the espionage agencies of US and British imperialism.  This is disgusting!  Instead of placing the interests of the 7.2 billion workers of the world above all else, Snowden and his team are protecting the “legitimate rights” of the microscopically small capitalist class against those of the multi-billion strong international working class!  Snowden and his collaborators are doing a tremendous service for the US and British capitalist classes, which are, by the way, going to repay them and all of us by imposing their will on the world – both internationally and domestically – through increasingly brutal military and police-state force.  To throw the US and British capitalist classes such a huge life-preserver when they should instead be having ANCHORS tied to their necks is to betray the entire human race in order to maintain the tenuous and despotic rule of a class of criminals responsible for the perpetuation of the horrors of a capitalist world in which – to name just one major example – the world does little or nothing while 17,000 children die of starvation every single day!  There is nothing “legitimate” about the capitalist class or their “interests”!  Every effort should be made to destroy the NSA, the CIA and the US military and the cretinous ruling class that spawned them – not to save them!

Nothing short of workers revolution can change the increasingly deranged plans of the US capitalist class.  They have plans of global military domination of the entire planet that go far beyond what even Adolf Hitler envisioned; so long as their political opponents refuse to form working class revolutionary parties to overthrow the capitalist class and system, the ruling capitalists have nothing to fear.

The working class, however, DOES have something to fear from the fact that most of their erstwhile leaders are so completely dedicated to the continuation of the brutal capitalist system that they are prepared to follow the capitalist class all the way down the road to hell, where the fascists and eventually World War Three will put an end to this historical epoch – and perhaps throw the human race back into a pre-industrial stage of development.  Apparently, these folks think that they have more to gain from clinging to the coat-tails of the capitalist class than they can gain by fighting for the emancipation of the workers of the world.  If they insist on taking the capitalist road, that’s fine; but let’s not imagine that because THEY are heading down that road, that we, too, must take that well-worn path to political oblivion.  We’re not followers – we aspire to be revolutionary workers leaders. We warn the Poitrases and Greenwalds of the world of the dangers that lie ahead; we try to point out the reasons why we disagree with them; we urge them to take the high rather than the low road; but we can’t force them to lead a workers revolution.  They are simply not revolutionaries; perhaps it’s just not in their nature to be revolutionaries.  It’s a pity, but that is, in the end, their problem – we don’t need to make it ours.

The working class must look elsewhere than to Poitras, Snowden, Assange and Greenwald for the political leadership necessary to lead the workers of the world out of the dead end of the capitalist stage of development and into the next stage: that of socialism.  It’s “socialism or barbarism” brothers and sisters, just like Marx, Engels, Lenin, Luxemburg, and Trotsky explained to us so many years ago!  Now –  as then – to ignore the warnings of those great, selfless and honest internationalist leaders of the working class is to help the capitalist class pave the road leading to the hell of the next – and possibly this time, the last – world war.

Workers of the World, Unite!

IWPCHI and Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago

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Working Class Hero Attorney Lynne Stewart’s Legal Appeal Rejected

Lynne Stewart, a long-time defender of the poor and oppressed members of the working class of New York City, who has often been at the forefront of cases brought against working-class political activists by the racist, worker-hating “Justice” system of the NY city, NY state and US national governments, who is in jail for the “crime” of providing a stalwart defense of a man accused of “terrorism” had her latest appeal rejected by the US Second Court of Appeals on June 28, 2012.

Stewart is accused of “conspiracy to provide material support to terrorism” – an Orwellian construct if ever there was one! – and of “conspiracy to defraud the U.S. Government”.   She, and her two co-workers – interpreter Mohamed Yousry and paralegal Ahmed Abdel Satter – were accused of these “crimes” while (typically for Stewart) working legal defense for “the Blind Sheik” Omar Abdel Rahman, who is accused by the US Government of plotting to blow up bridges and who knows what else in New York City.

In a city full of lawyers, no one rushed forward to provide the highly unpopular Sheik Rahman with legal counsel, which he is entitled to as is anyone else accused of a crime here in the United States.  Courageously, Lynne Stewart stepped forward to undertake this difficult and thankless task.

The US Government claims that while Stewart was traveling to and from the jail in which her client was being held, she and her two co-workers transported secret messages from the Sheik to his followers in the Middle East.  Stewart asserts that she did no such thing – she simply helped her client – who was being held, illegally, completely incommunicado, unable to have any contact with his family and supporters at the time –  relay messages to and from his family.  judge in the trial, at the behest of Federal prosecutors whose “case” against Rahman is shaky, to say the least, leapt at this opportunity to attack the Sheik’s legal team and to effectively deny him any legal counsel at all in a trial in which he could, conceivably face life in prison, or even the death penalty.  The had Stewart, Yousry and Satter arrested on these flimsy charges and jailed.  Later, Stewart was sentenced to 28 months in prison – in what can only be described fairly as a punishment for her daring to provide Rahman with any serious legal defense at all.

However, the incoming Obama Administration – who had just agreed NOT to prosecute any members of the Bush Administration for their many war crimes and for torturing “terror” suspects at Guantanamo Bay and around the world at the infamous CIA “Black Sites – came forward to demand that Stewart’s sentence be INCREASED – from 28 to 120 months.  Their appeal of the original sentence was granted and Stewart’s sentence was quadrupled!  For Stewart, who is over 70 years old and suffers from cancer and a number of other health ailments, this means, essentially, a life sentence!

Behold the Democrats! “Friends of Labor”!  The “Lesser of Two Evils”!

In late June, Stewart’s latest appeal of this outrageous attack on the Constitutional rights of defendants to counsel of their own choosing, and on lawyers to carry out their responsibilities to their clients no matter how “unpopular” those clients may be was heard and was denied by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

http://lynnestewart.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/Lynne-Stewart-2nd-Cir-Opinion-6-28-12.pdf

Stweart has made the following statement from jail since the verdict came in:

“The past week has confronted me with changes both bitter and sweet and I want to share with all of you my outlook.  On the “sweet” side (because as progressive leftists, we always try to assuage the bitter !) the best  and most important news is that I have had my long awaited surgery, more problematic than the Doctor expected, spent a few days in hospital in Fort Worth and at Carswell prison and am in a slow recovery back in my unit.  I have been given a walker to insure that I don’t have a fall as the operation left me anemic and I sometimes am a little dizzy and weak…BUT THE GREAT THING IS THAT I AM CURED AND AM FUNCTIONING NORMALLY, with a rebuilt bladder and an absence of discomfort from a distended uterus.  (I know that this is more information than many of you want — my male supporters particularly !!!)  I feel better and stronger every day and am, of course, determined to deal with healing naturally.  I am not here to praise the great care I received ( still had my feet shackled, belly chained and cuffed ; no contact with anyone who might be  worrying about me etc. from the Bureau of Prisons(I can tell plenty of horror stories about the care of the women in here) but I have come through and am ready to soon resume STRUGGLE.  Ralph paid me an unscheduled visit this weekend gave me a real boost and will be more than happy to report further on this positive health development !!!

“THAT SAID,  the bitter occurrence was of course, the snide and unsubstantiated  opinion of the Second Circuit (posted on my website) denying any relief from the draconian sentence change imposed the second time around.  A blow, but not mortal.  We will do an appeal to all of the Judges of the Second Circuit sitting en banc, to reverse.   Hopefully and we always hope, those Judges will take a different viewpoint.  In reading the opinion there is a hypocritical view expressed that the first Judge Koeltl sentence and opinion is all wrong but the second sentence and opinion (as orchestrated by their remand) was all right. Will the real decision maker please stand up??   Also, the moral underpinning of their entire prosecution is now more questionable with the newly elected President of Egypt demanding the return of my “terrorist” client Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.  If he is a hero of the Arab Spring than my aid was a positive thing –yes??? Certainly not the criminal  support the US government gave to the 40 year Dictator Mubarak !!!

“In any event, we also go forward after the enbanc to the next ‘legal’ stage of the case…the certiorari petition for my entire case to the United States Supreme Court.  As should be remembered, from that April day in 2002 when Attorney General Ashcroft rode into NY and announced a “significant arrest and indictment”, this is the case that has the Bill of Rights affronted on almost every issue. As my colleague and brother, Attorney Michael Smith said to me then; there are First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth Amendment violation and that’s just for starters.  We are going to confront the Government and the Supremes and hopefully raise the awareness of the legal and the community at large to the terrible infringements and danger to all if my case is not reversed. Back Now to the fundamentals and as Ralph says—-‘We’ve got them right where we want them’!!  We fight on.

“In closing I have to say that any weakness in my body should not be mistaken for a weakness in my spirit or will.  When I signed on for this struggle back in 1962,to rescue my country and all its people from the powers that would ruin, twist and destroy  us all, it wasn’t for a week or a day but always–until we win.  I welcome your support and love.”

The Independent Workers Party calls on all working people to support the campaign to free Lynne Stewart (we do not have information as to the status of her two co-defendants; we will try to get information on their cases as well).  For more information, check out the “Justice for Lynne Stewart” website.

Thanks to the  Workers Vanguard website  for providing us with this update on the Stewart case.

IWPCHI

Rodney King Dead at 47 – An Appreciation of a Working Class Hero

The Independent Workers Party is saddened to hear of the death of Rodney King at the young age of 47.  His death appears accidental; he was at home with his wife when it occurred.  He was a Hero of the Working Class.  Our sympathy and condolences go out to his family and friends.

Rodney King became famous in a way that no one wants to become famous: he was beaten into the world’s consciousness by the racist Los Angeles Police Department in 1992.   The video of the savage beating he received at the hands of the LAPD on the night of March 3, 1991 was broadcast all over the world and provoked outrage from all decent human beings everywhere.

“I was close to death on March 3, 1991,” he said during an April interview for Ebony magazine at the Los Angeles Marriott Hotel downtown. “I thought they were going to kill me.” [Source: ‘The Root’, “Rodney King’s Legacy: A Civil Rights Symbol”]

Mr. King had been drinking beer at a friend’s house – as young men everywhere do – when they decided to drive somewhere – as young men do.  He was driving a car along the freeway in Los Angeles when a husband-and-wife team of California Highway Patrol officers saw King’s car coming up behind them “at a high rate of speed”.   While it is certainly not unusual for automobiles to drive on the freeways of Los Angeles at speeds well in excess of the posted limit – when doing so is actually possible – King’s car was the one that caused the CHP officers to give chase.  King, who was on probation at the time and who quite reasonably did not want to go back to jail, foolishly took off in his car, and a chase ensued.  According to the CHP, they reached speeds of up to 117 MPH.

Soon, King had left the highway and started speeding through residential streets; the LAPD was notified of the ongoing chase and their officers responded.  After driving through the city at speeds up to 80 MPH, the chase ended when police blocked off the road King was driving on.  It was at this time that the events transpired that made Rodney King a household name in much of the world.

King’s friends exited the car and basically cooperated with the police.  King, according to pilice, was “acting strangely”.  At least one LAPD Officer took a quick look at Mr. King and immediately fantasised that King was high on PCP, which meant, according to LAPD and Drug War propaganda and training, that King was capable of “superhuman feats of strength” and could single-handedly pose a deadly threat to the half-dozen armed police on the scene.  Mr. King was acting oddly, but was not making any attempt to attack the police when the first cop drew her gun.  King was ordered to lie down on the ground, which he did.

The group of LAPD officers then “swarmed’ Mr. King and attempted to subdue him and handcuff him all at once.  He resisted this assault – which it is within a citizen’s right to do.  It is illegal in most states (if not all of them) to resist arrest in any way – UNLESS excessive force is being used to effect that arrest.  Mr. King, seeing the police “swarm” him, attempted to push two cops off his back, and then he allegedly punched one cop in the chest.  At this time, one of the officers fired a Taser into Mr. King’s back.  Mr. King reacted to the electricity blasting through his body by screaming and making a move toward one of the police.  At this point, the police began beating Mr. King to a pulp.

He was struck over 50 times, during which time he was handcuffed and dragged across the ground.

Just moments after the beating of Mr. King, one of the arresting officers, Sargent Stacey Koon, “typed a message into his in-car computer: ‘U just had a big time use of force.  Tased and beat the suspect of CHP pursuit.’  [Another LAPD officer, Laurence] Powell also reported the incident on his computer–in a seemingly boastful way that would come to haunt the defense.  Powell typed, ‘I haven’t beaten anyone this bad in a long time.’ It wasn’t Powell’s only controversial message that night.  Later, investigators would discover another message sent shortly before the King arrest in which he described the scene of a domestic disturbance involving African-Americans as right out of ‘Gorillas in the Mist.'” [Source: Univ. of Missouri – Kansas City School of Law website: “The Trials of Los Angeles Police Officers’ in Connection
with the Beating of Rodney King”, by Doug Linder (2001)].

The savagery of the beating, which had been captured on video by a man who lived 100 feet away from the scene, outraged people worldwide.  Protests against racist police attacks took place in every major US city and college campus.  Without question, the video was, and is, a perfect example of unprovoked police brutality.  In the climate of anger that resulted from the national broadcast and rebroadcast of the video, people called upon the government to see to it that the police who committed this outrage face criminal charges.  And a Grand Jury did, in fact, find that four of the LAPD officers who took part in the beating should stand trial – the four were charged with “excessive use of force”.  This seemingly mild assessment of a beating which could very well have resulted in death outraged many; and the decision to move the trial from Los Angeles County to the neighboring Simi Valley, in Ventura County – a change of venue from a county with a high percentage of minority residents to one that was nearly all-white.  But the final outrage was to be committed on April 23, 1992, when the jury hearing the case acquitted 3 of the 4 officers.

Immediately, Los Angeles erupted in outrage.  The LA Riots began.  Crowds surged into the streets expressing their very real and very justified anger at the miscarriage of justice.  Stores were looted, fires were set, and racist attacks occurred.  In one case, a white truck driver, Reginald Denny, was pulled from the cab of his truck and severely beaten by black youths.  His life was saved by another group of black citizens who immediately rushed to his aid and drove his assailants away.

In Chicago, this reporter was working with the Trotskyist Spartacist League; we prepared to go out and distribute a leaflet the party had just produced, condemning both the racist acquittal of the cops and the racist retaliatory attacks that had taken place in response to the acquittals.  Even here in Chicago, the tension in the air was palpable: you felt that any small spark could have ignited a similarly violent response from black workers here in Chicago and all over the US, who had long suffered from exactly the same kind of racist assaults that Rodney King had suffered at the hands of the LAPD.  African-Americans everywhere were very justifiably angry all over the country and it seemed that we could be on the brink of nationwide rioting similar to what occurred in the wake of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

It was into this maelstrom that Rodney King appeared.  he was going to make a statement in response to the acquittals that would be broadcast live on worldwide television.  Everyone paused to see what he would say.  In his hands was a lot of power to set events in motion, either for the better or for the worse.  No one really knew that much about him; he did not seem to have been very political at all before he was beaten into fame by the cops.  But over the months that had passed since that brutal attack, he had been propagandized by every political group in the country, from the Democrats to the New Black Panthers.  What would he say?

The video, or portions of it, are still available on You Tube.  Well, dressed and obviously extremely nervous to have been placed in such a situation, and with the riots happening nearby in Los Angeles, surrounded by the news crews and their cameras that would beam his every word to hundreds of millions of waiting people all over the world, Rodney King came forth and asked for… peace!   Speaking with great difficulty – he was not a public speaker; nothing he had done in his life had prepared him for this moment – his voice quavering with emotion, he spoke: “I just want to say…  you know… can we… can we all… get along?  Can we… can we get along?  Um… can we stop making it… making it horrible for… for the… for the older people and the… and the… and the kids…?”

It was one of the most moving speeches I have ever seen.  This man heroically, in the words and gestures of, not a politician or a demagogue, but of a working man, in just a sentence, asked the nation to just calm down and to back away from the precipice of what could have been the start of some very ugly racial attacks.  He completely defused the most explosive racial situation I’ve ever witnessed.  He was brilliant.  He was courageous. And he was right.

The content of his message has been ridiculed by fools of every stripe.  They seem to have completely forgotten the context in which these simple words were uttered.  By openly repudiating any assertion that Rodney King wanted people to go out and “tear shit up” in retaliation for what had been done to him, he pulled the rug right out from under all the angry people and opportunists who were using the atrocity of the beating he received and the racist acquittals as a justification for rioting and worse.  Immediately after Mr. King spoke, you could feel the tension rolling back; and though people were still very angry, they were starting to see things from a much less purely emotional perspective.

Mr. King’s speech did not end the violence immediately:  the riots in LA had already gone out of control.  Many people in LA were already out in the streets and did not get to hear the live broadcast of Rodney King’s appeal to their rational sides.  In LA, the US Army, Marines and National Guard were called out to “settle things down”.  In LA, 53 people lost their lives, almost 2400 people were injured, and over 7,000 fires damaged or destroyed thousands of businesses.  Additional significant outpourings of anger took place in Atlanta, Las Vegas and San Francisco and smaller disturbances occurred all over the US.   We believe that it was Rodney King’s actions that prevented many more elemental outbursts of violence from occurring.

The Independent Workers Party, on behalf of the working class salutes our fallen brother Rodney King and remembers him fondly from pulling the nation back from the brink of the nightmare of coast-to-coast race riots.  On the night of April 23, 1992, Rodney King was a Rock Star.  More than that: he was a Working Class Hero.  And we will never forget him and what he achieved for the multiracial working class of the world that night.

IWPCHI