Oaklandsocialist has a suggestion for a step in stopping the police rampage of murder, brutality, rape and destruction: That the movement to oppose it organize and go directly to the union membership at their work places. We can draw up leaflets pointing to the latest two murders – Philando Castile and Alton Sterling – and to the need for workers, especially organized workers (meaning the unions) to get involved in stopping this.
Never was the silence of the union leadership more deafening. At last night’s protest in
Oakland, for example, the unions were totally absent as an organized presence. Two years ago, a black United Auto Workers member in Ferguson told Oaklandsocialist that his local leaders had told him that the protests against the murder of Michael Brown “are not our battle”. Why? Because they are taking their orders from the Democratic Party tops.
And never was the presence of the organized working class more needed.
The shooting of 12 cops (5 dead, 7 wounded) in Dallas shows the danger. The anger and frustration is building. Why would it not? According to the Washington Post, the number of people killed by the cops reached 491 in the first six months of 2016 – one every 8.9 hours and a 6% increase over last year. Not only that, but the rate at which cops killed black people was 2.5 times that at which whites were killed. The protests continue but the killings mount. Frustration is the order of the day.
“Deeply Troubled” vs. “Outrage and Horror”
And what was the official reaction to the shooting of of Castile and Sterling, vs. the cops? Obama’s comments are revealing: “All Americans should be deeply troubled,” he said. He talked about “the broader challenges within our criminal justice system.” But he also made sure that nothing would be taken to mean a broad criticism of the criminal, racist police in general. “To admit we’ve got a serious problem in no way contradicts our respect and appreciation for the vast majority of police officers who put their lives on the line to protect us every single day. It is to say that, as a nation, we can and must do better to institute the best practices that reduce the appearance or reality of racial bias in law enforcement.” Note the calm, measured and safe tone he takes.
Compare it with his comment on the attack on, rather than by, the police: “there’s been a vicious, calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement…. we are horrified over these events…. our police have an extraordinarily difficult job and the vast majority of them do their job in outstanding fashion. I also indicated the degree in which we need to be supportive of those officers who do their job each and every day. Protecting us and protecting our communities. Today is a wrenching reminder of the sacrifices that they make for us.”
He is not outraged at the “vicious, calculated and despicable attacks” by law “enforcement”, only on them.
And as for serving and protecting us: In Oakland, it was recently revealed that the OPD has been operating almost as a giant brothel. Those cops who were not involved must have known about it and kept mum. That’s how much they “sacrifice” and “protect” us.
Just last May, Obama signed a federal bill criminalizing making “threats” against cops. As commented on by Breakingbrown’s Yvette Cornell, even before that, just calling the cops racist can lead to arrest. This new law will make that worse. What will be next will be criminalizing video taping the cops in their daily routine of brutality and murder. This is what attacks like the one in Dallas will help open the door to, but it won’t stop the cops’ rampage in the slightest.
The proposal of Oaklandsocialist, for trying to involve the organized working class, could be a first step towards building a real, working class movement against police racism as well as against repression in general. We urge anybody who is interested to contact us.