National Sections of the L5I:

The Whole Damn System is Guilty

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Build a Mass Movement Against Racist Capitalism!

The shocking grand-jury non-indictments in both Missouri and New York have touched off a firestorm across the United States. After the racist killings of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, countless young people, male and female, Black, Brown, white, etc., students and workers, have for the first time in their lives been propelled into social and political activism. Their energy and determination have re-ignited a sense of struggle and longing in the hearts and minds of older generations.

The righteous indignation of recent days is part of a historic movement for Black freedom and equality, dating back to the civil war and continuing to the present. Across the country, highways are being shut down, walkouts are taking place in high schools and universities, and “Die-ins” occur next to Christmas tree lightings. The University of California, Berkeley*, like Ferguson, has experienced heavy-handed police/military crackdowns, including the use of teargas, but protests continue. In New York, protesters have occupied major bridges and highways, as the NYPD has been unable or unwilling to challenge them.

These planned and spontaneous actions have evoked images of Civil Rights marches five decades ago, and represent what must become a new Black Freedom movement capable of uprooting racism once and for all.

Black oppression - and the continuing freedom struggle

For a brief period after the American Civil War, Blacks achieved a degree of equality. During Radical Reconstruction, former slaves were elected to government and given land. Schools were built for the first time. The revolutionary upheaval of the war had opened new vistas of liberation.

The promise of equality was quickly betrayed. Blacks were forced into debt, driven off their land, and subjected to the terror of the Ku Klux Klan, as well as Jim Crow segregation. Since that time, important victories have been won against white supremacy, yet inequality remains. Policies like the “War on Drugs,” and “Stop and Frisk” have led to new forms of oppression, while Black unemployment remains double that of white America, and de facto segregation continues in many areas.

The killings, intimidation, the violence, suffered by Black people are not simply the consequence of poor decisions or snap judgments of select law-enforcement officials; they are endemic to, and symptomatic of, American capitalism and the social role it sets for Black people generally; low-wage employment, mass incarceration, and unemployment.

To achieve real equality and justice, the underlying causes of inequality and racist violence must be overcome.

From resistance to revolution!

A number of trade union leaders have come out with statements against the recent police murders and non-indictments. New York teachers, hospital workers and others participated in a mass march on Staten Island after Garner was choked to death. Such actions are an important step, but a far cry from what is needed. If we are to truly shut down the whole racist system, we need the power of the organized working class. Protesters should call on major unions like the TWU, UFT, SEIU and others to flood the streets and shut down Wall Street and city government!

A mass organized movement of resistance can be built, bringing together a cross section of the oppressed in united struggle against police violence, Black oppression, and the capitalist system that fosters both. Immigrant and Latino workers, who also face police violence, should join the struggle, along with low-wage workers and others.

Mass assemblies are needed to democratically discuss the direction of the movement. A coordinating body could link militant Black workers with organized labor, and activists fighting for better jobs and against mass incarceration. Such organization would further the fight for justice.

Ultimately, in order to end Black oppression, multi-racial revolutionary struggle is necessary. Capitalism is the source of all modern-day inequality. Its abolition, and the overthrow of all those political entities that protect its existence; the police, the “justice” system, the prison-industrial complex, the fraudulent “democratic” Congress and presidency, the military, and all government agencies of repression, must be swept away in revolution

Revolutionary socialists fight for working-class democracy, a people’s defense guard, and a democratically planned economy to meet the people’s needs, not capitalist greed. A revolutionary movement will stamp out all forms of inequality and injustice, once and for all.

This is the text of a leaflet distributed at the New York demonstration, December 13. 2014
*The original referred to Los Angeles, rather than University of California, Berkeley, this has been corrected.
Workers Power