The following is re-printed from Revolutionary Transit Worker, No. 52 (September 2002), which is supported by the League for the Revolutionary Party:
The economic crisis has hit the working class hard, and working-class Blacks and Latinos hardest: first fired, last rehired, homes lost to predatory banks. Talk of “recovery” is a lie: times are tough and jobs are not coming back. Black, Latino and immigrant youth in the cities, unable to find work, are angry. These communities are the most likely to see a militant fightback against economic inequality, unemployment, and cutbacks.
That’s where the cops come in. Their first loyalty is to the capitalist bosses and their system: that means enforcing the bosses’ profit-making and control over the economy against workers. They beat down those who rise up against the injustices and hardships of this system. For people of color, hardship and injustice are a necessary feature of this system of racial oppression.
The cops use all sorts of military and legal weapons to intimidate, isolate, terrorize and even murder the victims of oppression and exploitation. The more the capitalists tighten the screws on the living and working standards of the masses, the more they rely on the cops to keep the victims down. The cops’ role is international; in South Africa, the ANC government sent the police to massacre 34 striking platinum miners, and even tried to indict the surviving miners for murder. And it’s for damned sure the case in the U.S. of A. This can be seen in both the NYPD’s “Stop & Frisk” policy, and the recent clashes between cops and protestors in Anaheim, California.
Stop & Frisk: Racist to the Core
For years now, NYPD cops in the “Stop & Frisk” program have systematically stopped ‘’suspicious’’ people on the street and searched them “if necessary.” The program has come under scrutiny from activists, the media and some politicians as the number of searches has exploded: from about 97,000 in 2003 to over 685,000 in 2011! But the program doesn’t stop or deter crime: the big crime drop in NYC occurred before 2002, when the program didn’t even exist. No, “Stop & Frisk” is a racist program that lets the cops harass Black and Latino men in NYC at will. Blacks and Latinos made up over 85% of the stops, while they are only a little over half of the population. There were more stops of Black and Latino men in 2011 than there are Black and Latino men in the city!
Democratic Party politicians at best criticize the program, endorse a few feeble protests and file lawsuits. Some even justify the program. None have tried to mobilize the masses of Black and Latino youth, the actual victims of these attacks, or condemned the police force as a whole for its racist, anti-worker role and intimidation of entire communities. Revolutionary Transit Worker and the League for the Revolutionary Party say: Stop “Stop & Frisk” and expose the racist role of the entire police force. It’s not just a few bad apples – the role of the entire force is to keep workers and people of color down.
Masses in Anaheim Protest Police Killings
The city of Anaheim has always been a study of rich and poor. Disney and other resort corporations built massive projects while the Latino community struggled with poverty and unemployment. The crisis of 2008 just made things worse. On July 24 and 25, cops shot and killed two Latino men, Manuel Diaz and Joel Acevedo. In both cases the cops claimed “self-defense,” as usual. In both cases the communities reacted in mass protests. And in both cases the police responded to the just outrage with heavy repression, including arrests, massed cops in riot gear, helicopters, tear gas, rubber bullets and a police dog. The protests continued for nine days in a row, but by themselves they have been hard to sustain and the killer cops have returned to duty.
Revolutionary Transit Worker and the League for the Revolutionary Party stand with the protestors and condemn the murders of people of color by the racist cops. While RTW has limited resources, unions – the only mass organizations the working class currently has, are potentially capable of leading a mass defense against police brutality. This is particularly true of TWU Local 100, with its history of militancy. Local 100 and other unions must stand together in protest with communities of color against cop harassment and brutality. This means more than paper statements and turning out staff from the union hall (although that is a start) – it means that the union should consistently reach out to members and mobilize thousands to protest police brutality and killings by cops.