2014-11-28 by Steven Argue of the Revolutionary Tendency [https://archive.today/xGdF5]:
The following is my response to a cop who saw my post of these cops and complained about protesters "always rioting", complained our protests "accomplish nothing", smugly pointed out that it is the police and not us who have the guns, and who said he loves the shirt in this photo and wanted to know where to get one.
[Photo: A cop with a t-shirt bragging, proud to beat us down. At the heart of the capitalist state are it's repressive cops, prisons, military, and courts of injustice. They are part of a system that cannot be reformed, but must be smashed in proletarian revolution.]
In the United States armed police often violently attack people for exercising our rights to free speech, but the propaganda of the corporate media constantly spew their lies, making the victims of police repression look like the criminals. In reality, it is the capitalist police, and not the people, who are the violent criminals.
Our protests haven't accomplished a thing? Really? Bullshit. Here is a rundown of our top seven accomplishments in the United States in the past hundred years. Accomplishments made despite your arrests and police batons in the streets:
The protests of the women's suffrage movement combined with the example of the extensive gains for the liberation of women in the 1917 Russian Revolution to win women the right to vote in the United States in 1920.
In 1934 three major strikes, including two general strikes in San Francisco and Minneapolis, all led by reds and fighting against you cops, forced the U.S. capitalist class to give us the New Deal. The gains we won included Social Security, a minimum wage, a ban on child labor, and programs that provided jobs. It wasn't the socialism many of us were fighting for, but these things were accomplishments.
In the 1960s there were accomplishments as well. People fought back in the Black ghettos and across the South standing up in the face of police and Klan terror. Far from accomplishing nothing, we forced an end to legalized discrimination against Blacks. It wasn't an abolition of the racist capitalist system or an end to racist police terror, but important advances were made.
In the 1960's and 1970s people rose up against the U.S. slaughter of the Vietnamese people. By May 1970 so many people were fed-up with the war and government repression that eight million students went out on strike. This didn't immediately stop the war, but afterward the majority of people drafted opposed the war. Soldiers in Vietnam refused to murder for a war they didn't believe in, fighting in a country where they didn't belong. Many commanding officers that tried to force them to fight were fragged. This helped bring victory to the Vietnamese people, enabling them to run their country as they saw fit without U.S. mass murder and without U.S. imposed dictatorships. Once again, our struggles did accomplish something. The war was ended and our "boys" (men and women actually) the Vietnamese Communists were victorious. It wasn't an abolition of U.S. imperialism and U.S. imperialist wars, but the liberation of Vietnam and an end to the U.S. slaughter of three million Vietnamese people was still an important victory.
In addition, spin-offs from the movement against the U.S. war in Vietnam included the women's liberation movement, Gay and Lesbian liberation movements, and the environmental movement. The ERA still has not been passed, but we have made important headway on basic rights and reproductive freedom due to a mass movement that took to the streets. Gays and Lesbians are still officially discriminated against, including not being allowed to marry and have the same legal rights as straight couples, but they are no longer rounded-up by police vice squads with their names published in the newspapers the next day (and being fired from their jobs as a result), and they are no longer locked up and tortured in mental institutions for homosexuality. The planet is also rapidly being destroyed by greedy capitalists through global warming, but we did get some terrible things like DDT banned and the heightened awareness of earlier movements at least puts us one step closer to possibly rising up and doing something about global warming.
So as you can see, our work, and our protests, may not have yet brought on the revolution many of us seek, but you are either very naive or lying if you think that our protests have accomplished nothing. After all, if we were accomplishing nothing, why would those who own this country send you pigs out to bust our heads so often when we are simply exercising our legal right to protest. Your bosses are scared of the people, that’s why they send you thugs out against us. We will continue our struggle, always reminded that your anger and disapproval are signs that we are doing something right.
That was my message to him.
Regarding the police themselves, justice is extremely rare under America’s racist capitalist government. In the case of Rodney King, despite videotape showing the cops using enough force to kill a man, the police were acquitted in their first trial. In that case it took a mass six day uprising in 1992 that destroyed over a billion dollars in property to win a new trial for the criminal cops. In the subsequent trial, two cops, Koon and Powell, were found guilty. For a change, two brutal cops went to prison for their crimes. In addition, the 1992 uprising forced the resignation of LA’s Chief of Police. On a small scale, property was also redistributed through “looting”. Yet, the people paid a heavy price for this action with all kinds of repressive government forces mobilized in the streets including the Marines, 53 people were killed, around 2,000 people were injured, and nearly 20,000 people arrested. Yet, the destruction of a billion dollars in property was not without sense, because much of what was destroyed was owned by the ruling capitalist class, our oppressors and exploiters.
Another rare case where a small amount of justice was won was the case of Oscar Grant in Oakland California. Oscar Grant was clearly shown in video being handcuffed and executed by Oakland’s BART Police. Yet, to jail the guilty cop took a mass movement that included protests and a strike by the Oakland Longshore union (ILWU) shutting the Port of Oakland down. The killer of Oscar Grant got off easy with a conviction on a manslaughter charge, but the case was unusual in the fact that the cop did any time at all for his crime.
The true predators in America span from the politicians and judges who hold the highest positions of power all the way down to their badged minions and racist wannabes who patrol the streets, killing with impunity. They represent the wealthy capitalists who own America. Obviously, in capitalist America for those who hold power, the lives of young Black men are cheep. No protest, no strike, and no rebellion by itself will change these facts. To truly jail all of the criminals who are responsible and bring racial justice to America will take a proletarian revolution carried out by America’s multi-racial working class. That revolution must completely smash the capitalist state, at its heart the police, courts, prisons, and military to build new institutions based on racial equality and economic justice. Instead of destroying the property of the capitalists, our goal needs to be one of completely expropriating the entire capitalist class and using our ownership of the economy to guarantee everyone a job, housing, education, healthcare, security, and a clean environment through a new socialist economy based on human needs rather than profit. Building the kind of revolutionary party capable of leading such a revolution is a goal of the Revolutionary Tendency.
Justice for Michael Brown and All Victims of Police-State Terrorism!
For Resistance to the Racist Capitalist State!
For Mass Protests and Strikes!
For Armed Workers’ Self-Defense to Protect Ourselves, Our Families and Our Homes!
Towards a Revolutionary Party of the Multiracial Working Class
For Proletarian Socialist Revolution That Will Bring Justice, Including Prison For Racist Murdering Cops!