Uprising of Black Youth and the Fight For Independent Black Political Action
By ALAN BENJAMIN
Black youth in more than 50 cities across the United States have risen up to protest the August 9 killing by a white police officer of 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
Ferguson is not that different from other predominantly Black cities across the United States, where one Black youth is killed every 28 hours by white police officers, security guards or self-appointed vigilantes (like George Zimmerman, the man who murdered Black youth Trayvon Martin in Sanford, Fla., only later to be let off the hook).
The Malcolm X Grassroots Organization speaks of an orchestrated ruling-class campaign of “ethnic cleansing” of Black youth in the United States, with a growing number of police executions of unarmed Black youth left unpunished and millions of Black youth warehoused in the nation’s fastest-growing industry: the prison-industrial complex, also known as the New Jim Crow.
The immense anger expressed daily in the streets of Ferguson has been directed not only against the police execution of Michael Brown; in recent days it has been directed against city and state authorities for failing to arrest Darren Wilson, the white officer who killed Brown. Instead, Wilson has been placed on administrative leave with full pay, while the St. Louis Country prosecutor assigned to the case, Robert McCullouch, has praised the Ferguson police for its continued “professionalism” – indicating that another Trayvon Martin miscarriage of justice is in the making.
In light of this situation, the NAACP has called on Missouri Governor Jay Nixon to appoint a Special prosecutor in the place of McCullouch, as the latter, according to the NAACP, is “pro-police, even when the Ferguson police exhibit wrong-doing; he has personal, family and professional ties to the Ferguson police department.
For its part, Socialist Organizer has called for the immediate bringing to justice of Darren Wilson, the murderer of Michael Brown. We have called for a National March of labor and community leaders in Ferguson to demand full justice for Michael Brown, noting that an important step in this direction would be the creation of an independent civilian police review board with subpeona powers in St. Louis County.
We have also stated that what’s needed in the North County of St. Louis are independent labor-Black community candidates for City Council and school boards in North St. Louis County.
Independent Black Politics
The police murder of Michael Brown, like the unpunished murders of Trayvon Martin and hundreds more every year, have all been carried out with the complicity of the Democratic and Republican parties and their bipartisan institutional framework. This has put on the political agenda the fight for independent Black candidates for public office at all levels and the fight for an independent Black political party linked to the struggle for a Labor Party.
One expression of this effort to advance the struggle for independent Black politics in the aftermath of the assassination of Michael Brown is a Discussion Paper by the Black Left Unity Network titled, “The Ferguson Rebellion: Why Rebuild the National Black Liberation Movement?!” The document reads, in part:
“In order to deal with the Police killing of 18-year-old Brother Michael Brown, the immediate demands (jailing of the killer cop, the removal of the militarized police from Ferguson [see sidebar article on the militarization of the police forces across the United States], the firing of the police chief and all those in authority defending the murder of Michael Brown) must be linked to and elevated by national demands as an oppressed people under attack, citing Brown’s murder as part of a pattern of State-sanctioned repression and occupation. . . .
“The cry of the Black masses for justice being expressed and popularized by the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri and throughout the U.S. is a cry for change and for the power to make radical transformative change. It is not a cry for a failed democracy, even when led by a Black president who has shamefully tried to use his position as U.S. president to convince Black people that the system of national oppression has ended and that we now live in a post-racial democratic society where the problems of Black people are mainly the failures and faults of the individual and not the system of national oppression as a structure infrastructure of systemic capitalism. . . .
“The time is now to rebuild Black worker organizations. The Dodge Revolutionary Union Movement and the League of Revolutionary Black Workers were inspired by the 1967 Detroit Rebellions that took the struggle against racist national oppression into the auto and eventually other industries, thus positioning the Black liberation movement to carry out struggle inside of the labor movement and at the point of capitalist production. These forms of Black worker organization must be rebuilt to help shape the Black and general working-class consciousness and mobilize their power against the system of Black national oppression and U.S. and global capitalism. . . .
“The forces of U.S. capital and the imperialist State know clearly that national resistance by the Black masses would become a catalyst for a general resistance of all oppressed people and sections of the broader U.S. working-class. Ferguson is showing this potential. . . .
“This new period requires the focus on developing a national program of action for Black liberation. The Black Left Unity Network has called for the holding of a National Assembly for Black Liberation and a national discussion and shaping of a Draft Manifesto toward developing a national program to be ratified at the National Assembly.”
For a Black Political Party Linked to the Struggle for a Labor Party
In this vein, Socialist Organizer reaffirmed at its 13th National Convention in July 2014 its position on the Black question in a resolution which reads, in part:
“There is, of course, in the United States a very specific dimension of the class struggle that involves the question of national oppression. . . . Black people were a component part of the constitution of the American nation but at the very same time they were permanently excluded by the ruling classes from inclusion within this very nation.
“We support Black self-determination and Black nationalism, though we do not advocate territorial separation. To further their liberation struggle by breaking with the Democratic Party, and to enable the forging of a unity of equals with workers of other nationalities, we support the construction of an independent Black Party, which we in S.O. see as linked to the struggle for a Labor Party based on the trade unions. We would seek all avenues to promote the unity of a Black Party with (and potentially within) a Labor Party.
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The Militarization of Police Departments Across the United States
(Excerpts from a Discussion Paper by the Black Left Unity Network titled, “The Ferguson Rebellion: Why Rebuild the National Black Liberation Movement?!”)
Homeland Security funding has given police departments over $75 billion in military equipment! The Pentagon currently offers hundreds of millions of dollars worth of surplus military weapons to St. Louis County Police.
This U.S. militarization of the police is part of the U.S. global strategy of empire, carried out by the Pentagon representing the highest command level of the U.S. military industrial complex. For several decades, the U.S. government’s $3 billion yearly military aid to Israel helps to point out the connection between U.S. imperialism and the Zionist settler State of Israel and why the Israeli military have trained more than 9,000 U.S. police at the federal, state and municipal levels.
Militarized police are now being deployed in other cities across the U.S. where Ferguson solidarity protests are happening. They see this support as an expression of a developing national resistance that has not yet formed an organized national Black united front . . . a people’s front and a program of action to unite and provide a national political direction to connect the various local solidarity efforts and local fight backs against police killings. The State understands the potential for this national resistance.
Without the pressure of national mass resistance and active international support of demands that both address the police murder of Brown and other unarmed Black victims that have taken place, and that pushes the international social and political movements to condemn these as crimes against humanity, the promised investigations by the U.S. Attorney General and government agencies will, once again, find the police killings as a local matter, making the rule of justice the domain of the U.S. courts whose role is to protect the image and organizations of the State.