Just a couple of days ago, this blog site commented that we are starting to win. Now we have confirmation from today’s Wall St. Journal. A front page article in today’s paper is headlined, ”
“Police Move to Revamp Tactics
Departments Rethink Training Amid Wave of Protests and Federal Scrutiny”
They report “Police departments around the country are racing to develop new training rules on the use of force…. In many cases, departments are grappling with how to prevent encounters between police and citizens from escalating into deadly ones, especially with minorities, as was the case in two deaths that have sparked nationwide civil-rights protests. Those protests continued Thursday with demonstrators gathering and chanting for change in New York, Washington, and elsewhere.”
The article goes on to report that part of the problem, as they see it, is that police are too aggressive, that they need to be taught to deescalate things. Among other things, this means backing off from the current policy of teaching the cops not to hesitate for one second to shoot.
This makes it perfectly clear: The protests and the militancy of those protests is forcing Corporate America and their politicians and other representatives (including the cops) to back off. Even House Speaker, Republican John Boehner, is getting in on the act. “Clearly both of these [murders of Michael Brown an Eric Garner] are serious tragedies that we’ve seen in our society and I think the American people want to understand more of what the facts were. There are a lot of unanswered questions that Americans have and frankly I have.” Even James Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police felt forced to admit, “I don’t think cops are perfect by any stretch and sometimes they make mistakes.”
Still the enemy
It’s not that Pasco – defender of the racist and repressive police, or John Boehner, one of the leaders of the attacks on human rights and on working class people in general – are “changing”. It’s not that they will ever be anything but the enemies of all working class people. But these comments do show a couple of things:
- Whatever difference may exist between the corporate-controlled liberal Democrats and the corporate-controlled conservative Republicans are minor at best. They all simply respond to our pressure out in the streets (and freeways), in the communities and the work places. That’s what counts, not electing more Democrats.
- While still in its very earliest stages, this movement is already starting to have success. This shows what tremendous potential power we have.
We have to keep the pressure on. Build the movement in the streets (and freeways). Sink deeper roots into the working class communities.
There are all sorts of calls for investigations by the US Department of (in)Justice. This is the same force that has led the repression of Muslim people and has vastly increased surveillance over people in this country. They may yet bring charges against Wilson (in the Michael Brown case) and Pantaleo (in the Eric Garner case), and this is good, but they will never be on our side.
Even the United Nations is getting into the act, and this is good also. But we shouldn’t have any illusions in them. This den of thieves is simply the combined governments of all the capitalist nations of the world – the same governments that are repressing their own people as well as waging wars all around the globe.
International People’s Investigation Possible?
We would like to raise this: Is it possible to organize workers’ panels, workers’ committees, to investigate police abuse and racism in every major community in the country? These committees could hold public hearings where youth and workers and the unemployed could come and testify about their own experiences. Then, from there, would it be possible to organize an international workers’ investigation into human rights abuses in the US? This would involve organizing to bring over workers’ leaders as well as just some rank and file workers from Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and Australia to hear evidence and decide whether or not to convict the United States government as a human rights abuser.
One final point: Everybody knows that the issue of police brutality, homicides and police racism does not exist in a vacuum. It is inextricably linked to the issue of mass
incarceration of black and Latino people. And that issue is inextricably linked to the issue of economic inequality in general. As the billionaire Nick Hanauer wrote in his famous piece The Pitchforks are Coming, “You show me a highly unequal society, and I will show you a police state.”
That is why the struggle against police brutality and racism is linked with the struggle for decent jobs and higher wages for all. And that is also why it must ultimately be linked with the struggle to bring down capitalism itself, the struggle for a democratic socialist society.
- Build the movement in the streets and freeways and in the communities and work places. Demand the convictions of the police who killed Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, John Crawford. etc.
- For elected community patrols in every working class community to patrol the police and keep the community safe from all violence and crime – both police crime and otherwise.
- For both local and an international people’s investigation into US human rights abuses.
- For an end to solitary confinement and other forms of torture in US prisons and for union rights for prisoners and for the minimum wage to apply to prisoners.
- For a $20 per hour minimum wage, a guaranteed job with union rights, socialized medical care, and free higher education for all.
- For the movement to put up its own political candidates, completely outside of and in opposition to the Republicrat politicians and paid the same as the workers they represent.
- For socialism; take under public ownership the commanding heights of the economy (the banks, major corporations, etc.) and democratically plan production under the direct control and management of the workers themselves.