- AFSCME Local 444 negotiations assesment 1997
- Preparing for Revolution: A discussion document
- The Internal lives of Revolutionary Organizations
- Socialist Alternative members: Questions and Answers
- Sanders: Our Alternative
- The Nature of the New European Left
- Catastrophic Climate Change: Caused by Capitalism
- University of California workers and Unions
- An Invitation to Our Readers
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
Ferguson protests force the US Justice Dept. to throw a bone.
by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired
I commented on Facebook today that the US Justice Department finding there are "sweeping patterns of discrimination in the Ferguson MO police department" comes as no surprise to those of us who see the world as it is. I assumed it was a condition of employment for the Ferguson police department and it seems the power brokers in the entire town. It certainly comes as no surprise to black folks and people of color in general. I know some white workers not courageous enough to be open about their racist views, you know, those that hide behind the cloak of "conservative thinking" that often sprouts from the right wing Christian pulpit, will cowardly argue that it is the racist, Muslim, Fascist Obama and his un-American cohorts that are skewing the stats. I am no fan of Obama, but it's his politics and class allegiance I oppose. I don't need to create false arguments, he's bad enough in that sphere.
Not simply Ferguson but the racist prison system and the racism in society could be investigated by the Justice Department as well in the event of mass protests, strikes and occupations breaking out at the general assault the capitalist class is waging on all workers and the middle class. And if need be this state organ may well produce similar findings. The ruling class is capable of all sorts of trickery under duress---they'll even nationalize industry as they did in the aftermath of the last crash in 2007 when their system stood on the edge of the abyss.
But we need to be clear. There is one reason and one reason only that the US Justice System found as it did----that is the uprisings in Ferguson and throughout the country. Led by the most audacious black youth unable to be cowered by the state and its repressive forces or allowing it righteous anger to be softened by the black petty bourgeois in the form of the Jesse Jackson's and Al Sharpton's, the movement looked like it was getting out of control and spreading and this is not acceptable. This powerful movement forced the US Justice Department, as racist as Ferguson's police, force to act, to tap its own on the knuckles----now now then!
The ruling class in this country is well aware of the anger and hatred of the bankers, speculators, moneylenders and others who have gorged themselves as living standards have fallen, homes taken and jobs lost. Despite the 1%'s mass media giving massive airtime to scenes of looting of stores, which is not the face of the movement, there has been widespread support and empathy with the victims of racism in the courts, the neighborhoods and the justice system. I think it was Martin Luther King who said that a riot is the language of the unheard or words to that effect. Given the conditions that people face day in day out, it is a credit to their humanity that breaking point comes as late as it does and understandable that some simply lash out at any symbol of oppression whether it be the small landlord or small capitalist. It was heartwarming to see those black youth protecting a white owned store in Ferguson as he had hired them and given them opportunity.
The numerous isolated movements that have arisen as a result of the capitalist offensive must not find common ground. The ruling establishment will respond with the carrot and the stick. The 1% will where it can inject racist ideas in to society using this age old divide and rule tactic. This is harder to do as the white working class has faced a savage assault in the past 40 years and US capitalism, engaged in predatory wars to defend the profits of US corporations, has limited resources. As we have said on this blog many times, they cannot afford guns and butter, only guns.
Malcolm X said "You can't have capitalism without racism". I agree with this view. The US ruling class has successfully divided the working class in this country along color lines. A black friend of mine and I were talking about that this morning, how they have successfully created two different worlds in many ways. And the super exploited poor in the urban ghettos and the poor whites in places like West Virginia and other rural communities have in many ways been de-classed, losing the ability to function as poverty drugs and prison has taken over.
Ferguson and the protests against police murders and racism have caused the state to pull out the carrot after making Ferguson a war zone. But this movement and the numerous movements against the capitalist offensive will find common ground, it's inevitable as the attacks continue on all sections of the US working class.
The main point we must absorb in the wake of the US Justice Department's findings is that this state of affairs has existed for a long long time.; where was the US Justice Department? The impetus for this decision is the independent and audacious direct action struggles of working class people that we saw last year. They weren't pretty, and for many reasons I don't intend to go in to, there is a lot of confusion, but they were necessary.
See the George Stephanopoulos interview with Darren Wilson here: http://weknowwhatsup.blogspot.com/2014/11/stephanopoulos-interview-with-darren.html
Protests against police violence present a problem for US capitalism
Ferguson the Big Picture