Monday, November 22, 2021

Some Thoughts On The Ahmaud Arbery Murder.


Richard Mellor

Afscme Local 444, retired



Workers, the poor, the marginalized, will never get justice from the rich people’s courts (the capitalist justice system).  Every inch of progress, every right, every freedom workers and all those victims of class society have achieved, whether it be women, black folks, gays, the disabled you name it, has been obtained through mass action, through strikes, protests, preventing the system from working. In other words, direct action and not the courts. Many have died and many have suffered but it’s not for nought. Progress takes sacrifice.


This does not mean that we never use the capitalist courts. We just cannot rely on them. For three decades I was a workplace lawyer of some sort. This is what a shop steward is, or any union official not sitting in an office in Washington rubbing shoulders with the politicians of capital.

My history as a rank and file union worker, and the history of the US from a workers’ perspective, is that our movement was built by and maintained by genuine working class people who fought day in day out for the rights of the worker.


There were a couple of times when a lawyer, a good union lawyer saved my ass. There were other times when I had to argue at my union meetings that we should not place too much credibility on a lawyer’s advice, not because they are bad people, but because we cannot substitute the capitalist courts for the potential power that we and all workers have that can, if necessary, change the world.


I respected our union lawyer and lawyers have a role to play in the labor and workers’ movement.


But watching this, I love this prosecutor and it brings back memories of those cases we won even if it was only the argument that we won but due to the balance of power between the class forces that we lost the case. Sometimes, the legal route can only best be used to help the worker or union member see the bias in it and strengthen our argument that independent working class power and relying on our own strength through direct action is the only solution.


So it’s still great to watch her undermine the argument that these racist scum use to defend their actions with regard to their murder of Ahmed Arbery. I don’t care that they never used the “N” word or used racial slurs. I know what they are and so the hell do black folks.


Another part of the pleasure for me is that this prosecutor is a woman. She is not the type of woman that the mass media and Hollywood say we are supposed to admire and cherish. But neither were our mothers or our sisters, but we know how beautiful they really were. I wish her the best of luck.


I am involved in a court case right now; a fairly substantial one involving billions of dollars.  I was on a webinar discussing the case (as a listener). There were four male attorneys and a woman who presented the details of the case. She was very efficient.


As I watched this I thought to myself. Here we go again just like the unions of old where the recording secretary is always the woman and the top folks are men. There was some questions asked and some of the men answered them. When it ended there was a phone number to call the law firm for further questions. I had some further questions so I called it. I got an answering machine so I left a message expecting one of the guys to call me back.


When the call came it was the woman that did the presentation, not only that, it is her law firm. I was surprised the top dog called me back but also very grateful and also told her my misconceptions that I thought she was the clerk and wished her the best of luck in her field.


I might get some backlash for praising a lawyer in this way from some quarters, but it’s ok.


Check out the video and I hope these guys get what they deserve.

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