Archive for November, 2011

Atlanta, GA

Posted: November 13, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

On Saturday night, October 15, MARTA transit police shot and killed 19-year-old Joetavius Stafford at the Vine City MARTA Station. Joetavius’ brother, who witnessed the shooting, said that the cop shot Joetavius in the back while he was running away with his arms up, and shot him again twice while he was laying on the ground shaking. The Fulton County Coroner’s autopsy report found two bullets wounds in Joetavius’ back, and one in his chest. This outrageous police murder charged the atmosphere in the city in the week leading up to October 22, and underscored the importance of building resistance to stop police brutality and murder. Family and friends held an emotional and angry vigil at the scene of the shooting on Monday night. Later that night, there was a defiant march through the downtown streets by Occupy Atlanta and others. On Tuesday, the October 22nd Coalition convened a press conference to decry this latest police murder and announce plans for the National Day of Protest. A section of the masses of people in the downtown area and MARTA riders listened to the speakers in the pouring rain, and all four television stations covered it on the evening news. Speakers included the October 22nd Coalition, FTP Movement, Revolution Books, Copwatch and International Socialist Organization. A message was read from former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, and several people stepped up and spoke out on the spot.

October 22: “Hey, MARTA, you can’t hide, we charge you with homicide!” “Shot in the back, no excuse for that!” “No justice, no peace! Fuck the police!” These chants rang out as a little over 100 people, including Joetavius’ mother, father and several cousins, gathered at the main Five Points MARTA Station downtown for the October 22nd march and speak-out. The march took off and immediately headed one block up to Troy Davis Park (the site of Occupy Atlanta and renamed by Occupy Atlanta). Going through the park, the march grew to 175 as people from Occupy Atlanta and homeless people joined in.  The march looped back around and passed by the MARTA station again where many enthusiastic Black youth joined the demonstration on the spot.  At this point the demonstrators had taken over the street, and there was outrage and defiance and a feeling of freedom that unleashed excitement among people who are under the gun and harassed by the police every day, taking to the streets and being able to shout out what they really felt about the police.

Some people brought hand-made signs, many held up pictures of Joetavius that were distributed by the march organizers, others carried enlargements of the centerfold poster from Revolution with the pictures of people killed by police from around the country. Dozens of copies of Revolution were sold.

The plan was to march to the Atlanta City Detention Center for a speak-out. But along the way, the marchers diverted from the route for a brief stop in front of the Fulton County Courthouse, to demand that the Fulton County DA charge the MARTA cop who killed Joetavius with murder. When this was announced over the bullhorn the crowd erupted in cheers and as the marchers left the courthouse steps, a banner that had been signed by many people downtown earlier in the day was seen taped across the main entrance doors of the building that read “Justice for Joe! Jail the Killer Cop!”

At the jail, a people’s speak-out was held, with many people coming to the mic to speak about their experiences with police brutality. Several had loved ones who were killed by police. Nicholas Heyward from the October 22nd Coalition and Parents Against Police Brutality in New York spoke movingly about his son who was killed by the NYPD 17 years ago, and the need to build ongoing resistance, not just on this day. A cousin of Joetavius said she was speaking out so that Joe did not die in vain, and so that other families would not have to go through the same loss in the future. Other people spoke about the unjust execution of Troy Davis, the history of the oppression of Black people in this country, the attacks coming down on immigrants, the heroic hunger strike by California prisoners, the civil disobedience in Harlem to stop “stop and frisk,” the need for people to join the movement for revolution, and more. Revolution was in the air—every time the word was mentioned there were cheers among the crowd, even though people have many different views of what that means.

During the speak-out, an announcement was made from Occupy Atlanta that the mayor was threatening to evict the occupiers from the park that night and a large police presence was building on the edge of the park. When the speak-out ended, the crowd took to the streets again for a march back to Troy Davis Park to support Occupy Atlanta. When the march reached the park, people formed up on the side of the park where the police were gathered, stretching out between the police and the park. Another riled and emotional speak-out was held, with some people addressing their anger directly at the police through the bullhorns.  Later that evening, the mayor announced that he was not going to move on the occupation and reverted back to his previous deadline of November 7.

A rare and powerful mix was brought together in the streets of Atlanta on October 22. Various streams of resistance came together in the streets, and revolution was in the air. People could sense that this mix and this atmosphere have great potential to change everything.

At one point during the march, someone who was straggling a bit behind and trying to find where the marchers were, was told by a bystander on the street, “Hurry up, you need to catch up with the revolution.”

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Houston, TX

Posted: November 13, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011


About 75 people gathered at Market Square. The rally was bolstered by a group of people who marched from the Occupy Houston encampment (whose general assembly had endorsed NDP) in another downtown park to join the protest. After the rally people marched throughout downtown Houston, including to the several prisons on the north end of downtown.

Speakers included Ray Hill, long-time prison rights advocate and founder of the Prison Show on KPFT; Krystal Muhammad of the New Black Panther Party; Dean Becker, a leading opponent of the drug laws used to jail so many youth; Maria, representing Occupy Houston; and Dave Atwood of the Houston Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty. The October 22 statement from the RCP was read to the attentive gathering just before the protesters started marching.

A group of drummers energized the spirited march through a busier than usual downtown Houston. A highlight of the march was at a county jail. As the march approached the jail, people had to cross over Buffalo Bayou, where in 1977 Jose Campos Torres was handcuffed by HPD officers and thrown into the bayou to drown. The MC told the rally of that crime and of the heroic resistance of the Chicano masses in response.

A section of the march went straight up to the door of the jail with their signs, and one man who had done a lot of organizing for 022 in one of the city’s large ghettos took a banner reading “This system has no future for the youth, but the revolution does” and hung it across the jail’s main entrance.

The MC played an audio testimony from an older Black woman in one of the city’s housing projects earlier that day. She spoke of the everyday harassment of the youth…and older residents… by the police, and said that she is tired of all this. She powerfully exposed what daily life of people in the projects is, and the weight of it on people…”just because we’re low income, doesn’t mean we’re criminal.” She also related her own defiance of the police.

Then a Chicana just started speaking up from the outskirts of the rally. When she was invited up to the mic, she related how her sons are spending extended time in jail because the judge didn’t like her defiant attitude. He straight up said she was butting into something that was none of her business [!], and retaliated with a more severe sentence for one of her sons. This woman’s story unleashed a number of the youth and others in the march to get up and expose their outrageous treatment at the hands of the police.

Person after person spoke of being arrested, jailed, framed on minor or phony marijuana charges. One white woman from Occupy Houston was framed on a marijuana charge. She was a student, had never been in trouble with the law, and had no record, but had a million dollar bond set on her. She went on to say that she was lucky because she was able to afford one of the best lawyers in town, but that if she had been Black or Brown and didn’t have money for a good lawyer, she’d still be in jail.

Several people who didn’t come up to the mic nevertheless were eager to tell people flyering or selling REVOLUTION their stories.

Taking the march right to the “jailhouse doors” of the main County prison had a powerful impact on people; it really energized the marchers, unleashed a torrent of stories, and established some bonds with people going in and out of the jail visiting prisoners. Through this and the entire weekend’s activities, a strong basis was established for continuing and developing the fight to end police brutality and repression, and the mass jailing of the youth.

Boston, MA

Posted: November 13, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

From a Revolution Books staff member:

On October 22nd over 250 people rallied outside the Boston Police Headquarters as part of the National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality and the Criminalization of a Generation.

The rally was marked by the broad participation of activists and supporters of Occupy Boston, including students from Harvard, Tufts and Boston University as well as residents of the predominantly Black and Latino and Cape Verdean neighborhoods of Roxbury and Dorchester in Boston. Many OB activists had only heard of the National Day of Protest the week before when it had been brought to the OB General Assembly by staff members from Revolution Books and were excited at being part of this nation-wide initiative. A number had participated in a rally of over 500 people the night before called for in the heart of Roxbury to demonstrate Occupy Boston’s commitment to the concerns of the Black and Latino communities.

A statement from the Occupy Boston web-site read in part: “This Saturday, in recognition of the 16th annual National Day of Protest Against Police Brutality, we will mark a historic development in our movement: activists from Occupy Boston will be joining activists from Occupy the Hood in a joint demonstration of strength and solidarity against police brutality. Not only will we be rallying against the police repression of our movement, both in Boston and nationally; more importantly, we’ll be rallying against the police violence experienced by poor folk and communities of color every day in this country.”

The rally buzzed as word of the arrest of Cornel West, Carl Dix and 30 other people protesting the New York Police Department Policy of “Stop and Frisk” in Harlem the previous night spread. Many people had never heard of “Stop and Frisk” and simply could not get their heads around having 700,000 such incidents happening in the course of a year. Some were asking “how can this be happening in this country?” Others were saying “this is exactly what happens when people protest the injustices in the system.” People taking up the Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party on the Occasion of October 22, 2011 and its call to be “WORKING FOR REVOLUTION” engaged in heartfelt discussions over what was the source of these crimes and what it would take to end them. Two young men who had traveled up from Occupy Wall Street in New York the night before spoke about how similar conversations were taking place at Zuccotti Park every night.

Speakers drew on deep personal experience with loved ones and friends whose lives had been lost at the hands of the police or whose street deaths were written off by the powers that be as “gang related” or, in other words, “not worth wasting our time on.” One man recounted the only time the City of Boston agreed to an out-of-court wrongful death settlement to the family of a man killed by the police to prevent the case from going to trial: “You want to know how much the life of a young Black man goes for on today’s market? $70,000—that’s how much! For a life ended and a lifetime of loss for family and friends. And even this was the only time this has ever happened. In every other case the City has ruled ‘Justifiable Homicide!'”

Other speakers spoke to how important this day was in breaking down the barriers that divide the people. An older Black woman spoke passionately about how much it meant for her to see the diversity of the crowd spoke to the mainly young white activists from the Occupy movement: “We are the 99%…You are the 99%…They say that once it gets cold and nasty and winter comes you will give up and go away. DON’T! DON’T GO AWAY! Stay. We are not going away, we are going to continue to fight, and we don’t want you to go away.” This was followed by a roar from the crowd “We are not going away! We are here to Stay!”

The rally ended with a march to nearby Roxbury Community College.

Los Angeles, CA

Posted: November 13, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011


October 22nd in Los Angeles saw the coming together of the spirit and optimism of the Occupy L.A. encampment with the deep, visceral anger at, and determination to put an end to police brutality, repression, and the criminalization of a generation. That synergy brought an electricity to the march and rally that impacted everyone who took part, or viewed it from the sidewalks as it passed by. And it spoke to a statement from the Party’s Message and Call—”The Revolution We Need… The Leadership We Have”—that was read twice at the rally:

The days when this system can just keep on doing what it does to people, here and all over the world… when people are not inspired and organized to stand up against these outrages and to build up the strength to put an end to this madness… those days must be GONE. And they CAN be.

Over 150 people marched from the Occupy L.A. encampment over to Pershing Square, where the protest against police brutality was gathering. Along the way people chanted “What do we want? Justice! When do we want it? now,” and “Hey Hey, Ho Ho, Police Brutality’s got to go.” They carried all kinds of signs they’d made at the encampment, including silk-screened posters of a cartoon pig in a police uniform; and they carried a banner that read “Occupy L.A. Committee to End Police Brutality.” They moved at double-speed, beating out rhythms on newspaper boxes and anything else metal available along the way. They were old and young, and of all nationalities, and brought a spirit that was infectious.

A week and a half before O22 there’d been a speak-out at the encampment where family members of the prison hunger strikers at Pelican Bay State Prison and other prisons told the hundred or more who attended about the torture of long term isolation in the prisons of California and around the country, and the struggle to end it.

And in the days before O22, after much debate about the role that the police play in society, the decision was made for Occupy L.A. to participate in the march.

A white college student, there with his two friends and part of the occupation, was asked what brought him to the protest: “I think if you’d lived in Birmingham when MLK was marching, you should have been with him.”

Students at one south central high school who’d made plans to walkout or sit-in to support the “Day of Defiance,” were kept from going through with it after the principal threatened one of the student organizers with expulsion.

The speak-out at Pershing Square set the tone for whole march. A South Central high school student got up on the truck with her father. She spoke about her and her family’s experience with police brutality, and about how she reached out to other students at her school to come to the protest. Her father stood with her; when he spoke, he talked about his family’s lifetime of suffering police brutality and prison, and the impact of mass incarceration.

Other family members of victims of police brutality of different nationalities got up and told their stories. A youth spoke for the contingent that came from Fullerton, in Orange County, carrying the horrific photo of Kelly Thomas, a mentally ill homeless man beaten to death by 6 Fullerton cops.

And the mother of a hunger striker told everyone, “Don’t to be ashamed if your relative is in prison, you need to speak out!”

The march kicked off 500 strong; the Occupy LA forces joining with students from different college campuses, high school students, family members—mothers and fathers, sisters and brothers—and other fighters against the police murders of so many Black and Latino youth. Some marchers had traveled for hours; from as far away as Riverside, Orange County, Victorville, and San Diego. Veterans of National Day of Protest were joined by many others who were learning about and protesting police brutality and murder for the first time.

A group of family members of prisoners part of the hunger strike marched with a banner in support of the prisoners’ courageous battle, with scores of hand written messages of support; and they held up homemade signs reading “Stop Torture” and “CDC Lies, Prisoners Die.” Their presence, and the brave and inspiring story of the hunger strike, had a big impact on the entire protest.

There was a real feeling of being strong together in the street and being able to shout about these crimes. That spirit of strength and defiance grew as it went down 6th Street—they were “on a mission.” “Marching down 6th street gave me goose bumps;” the sister of a Pelican Bay hunger striker told us, “after having felt alone for so long.”

The march stopped in front of the notorious Rampart police station, a few blocks from where Manuel Jamines, a homeless Guatemalan day laborer, was murdered by police last year, sparking nights of rebellion in the community. “Justicia, Justicia, Justicia para Manuel!” rang out. And as the names of all those murdered by L.A. County police were shouted out from the truck there was an outpouring of chalking on the sidewalk in front of the station—”LAPIGS,” “Murderers,” “Stop Killer Cops,” “Stop Killing Our People,” “Stop this Shit!” “Fuck the Police!” Chalk outlines of victims of police murder were drawn on the sidewalk while a young Black man lay on his face.

Perhaps 40% of the protesters were Black youth and other Black people—marching through this community densely populated with Latino immigrants. They took up the chants in Spanish while for blocks along the area of 6th Street where Manuel Jamines was killed, people from the community filled the sidewalks watching intently as the march passed.

The march stopped at the site of this killing. Family members of other victims of police murder climbed up to speak, including telling the story of her son, killed in Lynwood. As this was happening, a group of young Black women came forward with pictures and stencils of Manuel, and with roses and candles arranged a commemoration for him at the spot where he bled to death.

The sense of outrage and deep desire to fight police brutality continued at the rally. Families of the victims of police murders painfully shared their stories—but also their determination to expose these injustices. The sister of Julian Collender described how her parents were locked in the back of a police car watching their son bleed to death on their front lawn; and then how they assassinated her brother a second time with lies and slanders about what kind of a person he was. The brother of Robert Anthony Serrano described holding his brother, shot by the police, while he died in his arms; and how his father committed suicide on the day after what would have been Robert’s birthday.

There was also a sense of people straining to understand where this brutality and murder comes from, and what it will take to eradicate it. “It’s not just some bad cops,” Julian Collender’s sister said, “they’re all bad.”

The statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party on October 22, read by Michael Slate, writer for Revolution, addressed these questions and was very well received. People applauded at different points, including the description of what’s going on in the inner cities as a slow genocide that must stop. And there was applause when an announcement was made about the demonstration and non-violent civil disobedience that had taken place in Harlem the day before—launching a battle to stop “Stop and Frisk” as part of a new movement end to the mass incarceration of especially Black and Latino youth. A number of people came up afterwards to talk about the impact that the statement had on them—many wrestling with the “systematic and systemic” nature of police brutality.

A young man who has been part of Occupy LA from the beginning spoke about the sharp debate that has been going on at the encampment over the role of the police. Arguing against the view that police are part of the 99%, he said, “When you put on that uniform, you’re working for the ruling class.” He said while the police haven’t yet attacked OLA yet, they have attacked other encampments all over the country; and they occupy every single town surrounding OLA. He talked about stopping mass incarceration and also pointed to what had just happened the day before in Harlem. And he ended by calling on the people at the rally to go down to Occupy LA, be part of the dialogue and share their stories and understanding.

A member of the People’s Neighborhood Patrols exposed the police murders, the round-ups of immigrants, the harassment like “Stop and Frisk” that happens every day, and called on people to repeat with him, “All of this is illegal and illegitimate! All of this is illegal and illegitimate!” There was a call to join the People’s Patrols, and half a dozen people who had participated in the march joined the Patrol as they went out that night in the neighborhood following the rally.

The day ended with a candlelight vigil which 75 people took part in.

San Francisco, CA

Posted: November 13, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011


On October 22, hundreds of people took part in two separate actions against police brutality. In the Bayview District, where the masses rose up against the police murder of Kenneth Harding Jr., more than 100 people marched through the community in the October 22 National Day of Protest To Stop Police Brutality, Repression & Criminalization of a Generation. Later that afternoon, Occupy SF staged a “Solidarity March for National Anti-Police Brutality Day.”

Bayview

The Bayview is one of the many mainly Black communities in the U.S. which are “occupied”—where police are constantly coming down on the youth and others. But it’s also one where there is a growing mood of defiance and resistance. On October 22, over 100 people—relatives of those murdered by the police; people from the Bayview community, as well as the Mission District and the Western Addition; a contingent from Occupy SF; revolutionaries; former prisoners; and students—including from high school and SF State—took part in a spirited march through the neighborhood, with people stopping at various points to rally—with many people stepping forward to voice their outrage at the police and the way people are forced to live—and their determination to fight back.

Kenneth Harding, Jr., 19, was murdered by San Francisco Police on July 16 for allegedly trying to avoid paying a $2 bus fare. Videotapes showed Kenneth lying on his stomach on cold concrete bleeding to death while cops pointed weapons at the people who had gathered. Kenneth Harding’s picture was held up by protesters and his name rang out along with other names of those killed by the police: Charles Hill…Oscar Grant…Raheim Brown…Brownie Polk…Derrick Jones…Andrew Moppin…Gus Rugley…Mark Garcia…Idriss Stelley.

Denika Chapman, Kenneth’s mother, spoke at the protest. Denika, who moved to the Bay Area from Seattle after the killing of her son, told Revolution, “My life literally changed overnight. It’s no longer about me. I’m here in this Bayview community almost every day, going to the high schools, to the colleges, reaching out to the youth, trying to create awareness and prevention so no one else has to suffer another loss like I did. It takes more than just me to stand for justice. We all have to unite together if we want to create any type of change.”

“I’m not going to stop. This is my mission. This is my purpose,” Denika said. “When we all leave here and cross that bridge and go home to our own communities, these people who live here in this community, the Bayview-Hunters Point, they have to continue to go through this and that’s why I’m going to continue to be out here every day, every chance I get.”

Anger in the community and aggressive counter-attack by the authorities has been building in the community leading up to the protest. DeBray Carpenter, known in the community as Fly Benzo, a City College student, hip hop artist, has been outspoken in opposing police brutality, in particular the murder of Kenneth Harding, was arrested on October 18. An article in the San Francisco BayView by mesha Monge-Irizarry, founder and director of Idriss Stelley Foundation, reports how Fly was knocked to the ground by police and beaten after the police told him to turn down his boom box (ripping out the power cord) and knocking down Fly’s video camera which he was using to film the police. Outrageously it was Fly who was charged with aggravated assault on a peace officer, resisting arrest, interfering with police business and inciting riot. He is being held with a bail of $73,000.

On October 17, a day before his arrest, Fly performed a rap and spoke at a press conference for October 22. Fly’s performance is available on You Tube at https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=_vbh28x0_E4. The video begins with the voice of Black Panther founder Huey Newton comparing the police to an occupying army. At the end of the video Fly says, “Whoever stands with the police does not stand with the community, period!” The San Francisco BayView wrote, “Fly’s latest arrest Oct. 18 is probably to silence him on Saturday, Oct. 22, the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.”

Fly was still being held in jail on the day of the protest. But his presence was felt. Shouts of “Free Fly Benzo!” and “Hands off the Truth Tellers!” rang out. Fly’s father Claude Carpenter spoke at 3rd and Palou as the demonstration began saying, “They just can’t kill our children down in the street and have no one say anything about it or do anything about it.”

Also speaking at the protest was Kilo G, an educator who founded the community group, “Cameras Not Guns.” Kilo was arrested after videotaping immediately after the murder of Kenneth Harding. His charge: obstructing justice. “They don’t want me to talk,” Kilo said. “I got pepper sprayed, I got arrested. I got my arm twisted. I got choked. The police did this in front of my three year old son. So I know for a fact that we are standing up for justice because they are mad.”

Jerry Elster from the ex-prisoner group All of Us or None spoke of the hunger strike waged by thousands of prisoners in California who are kept in solitary confinement for years and decades in conditions that meet international standard of torture. “Our society and us are guilty of conformity and we ain’t doing it no more. We not going to acquiesce with the bullshit no more,” he said. Jerry who spent 27 years behind bars said, “Before I went into the penitentiary I was a product of the system. Now I am a threat to that system because I’m educated, I think and I can see.”

The Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party on the Occasion of October 22, 2011 was read and punctuated by raised fists and cheers at each of the “salutes” to those fighting the power—and drawing serious attention, and Revolution newspapers circulated among many in the protest, as well as some of the onlookers.

The Peoples’ Neighborhood Patrol was present throughout the march, and one member gave a statement—and then a spoken word poem.

Other groups and individuals speaking at the demonstration included Willie Ratcliffe, publisher of the San Francisco BayView; Cephus Johnson, uncle of Oscar Grant; an activist in World Can’t Wait who was recently arrested for doing civil disobedience in support of the prisoner hunger strike; representatives of Poor Magazine Poets; a representative of the Oscar Grant Movement in San Francisco. Terry Joan Baum, the Green Party candidate for mayor of San Francisco was at the protest and spoke at the press conference endorsing the protest.

From Occupied Territory to Occupied Territory:

As the march began, a crew of youth chanting and carrying banners jumped off the MUNI T line banging drums, wearing face paint, covered in stickers denouncing police brutality. Occupation San Francisco had arrived! The contingent of some 15-20 mostly youthful people had been organizing for October 22 at the encampment in the San Francisco financial district, where they had been subjected to two raids and daily harassment by the police. Denika Chapman, Kenneth Harding’s mother, was invited to speak at occupation on October 21.

Revolution spoke with Charlie, a 25-year-old white man who spoke to why he was taking part in Occupy San Francisco and the links with opposing police brutality: “I don’t see a future for me that isn’t hopeless and morally bankrupt. In order to survive I would either have to work a dehumanizing job or a morally repellant job and I don’t want to have to choose between those two options. This protest against police brutality is very important because it’s tied in because police seem to be an armed wing of the rich than people who serve and protect.”

Charlie commented on the moving accounts that people from the community gave of brutality by the police saying, “I’ve never been to this neighborhood before.  What people are saying is that this is occupied territory.  We are occupying for the 99% but this is territory occupied by the military wing of the 1%.”

No More Stolen Lives

The march ended at the spot where Kenneth Harding was killed. mesha Monge-Irizarry, whose son Idriss Stelley had been killed by San Francisco Police, built a memorial for Kenneth. Several family members spoke there. Elvira Pollard whose son Gus Rugley was killed seven years ago came because she was moved by many similarities between the way the cops operated when they killed her son and the way they operated when they killed Keith Harding.  She bitterly recounted how 20 police officers fired more than 500 rounds at her son, an unarmed construction worker. “I’ll always hate them motherfuckers,” she said. “I’ll always talk shit. I’m always one who will say fuck the police to their face. I’m not somebody to talk behind your back.”

At the end of the demonstration Danny Garcia, whose brother Mark was pepper sprayed and killed by San Francisco police, read names of some of those killed by police from the large wall. The police officer who was in command at the scene at the time when Mark Garcia was murdered, Greg Suhr, is now Chief of the San Francisco Police Department.

Occupy SF’s “Solidarity March for National Anti-Police Brutality Day”

Later in the afternoon, several hundred people from Occupy SF militantly marched through downtown San Francisco to the main police headquarters and jail at 850 Bryant Street. Occupy SF has been repeatedly threatened or attacked by the police, and today the demonstrators went right to this notorious “Hall of Injustice,” and took over the street in front —forcing the police to block it off. One protester emailed Revolution that “Occupy SF protesters stood in front of the building on Bryant Street with a double phalanx of police officers on the steps of the Hall facing their fellow citizens.”

A contingent of people from the Bayview action—which included both members of the Oct 22 Coalition and the youth from Occupy SF who had come to the Bayview—joined the action on Bryant Street.

There are different views about the role of the police among people at Occupy SF (including that police are part of the people—or the “99%”). It was very important that people from Occupy SF came to the Bayview and heard the voices and stories of those with a lifetime of experience of what the police are all about – brutal, murderous enforcers of a system of exploitation and national oppression. As one young white woman from Occupy SF who came to the Bayview action said to Revolution, “Listening to mothers like Denika was very important. What they’ve lived through—people should hear this. I’d never heard this before.”

The protesters then marched from Bryant Street back to Occupy SF in high spirits—right down the City’s central artery—Market Street. It was one of the largest protests against police brutality in SF in recent memory.

Seattle, WA

Posted: November 11, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

 

October 22nd in Seattle was a very powerful and good day! Resistance to police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation was intensified and deeper political unity built. October 22nd was endorsed by the Occupy Seattle General Assembly which also recently passed a resolution not to speak to the police at the occupation. Occupy also assisted with legal and tactical help and the rally was shown on Occupy Seattle’s live stream.

An opening rally was held at Westlake Park, the site of Occupy Seattle. A very diverse mix of over 1000 people of all nationalities and many backgrounds came together—including many youth, students, proletarians, homeless, re-awakened anti-war activists, anarchists, people of color, activists, revolutionaries, and many people newly activated by the Occupy movement. The MCs from the October 22nd Coalition began by reading the names and telling the stories of scores who’s lives have been stolen by police murder. Powerful and moving testimony was given by family members who have lost loved ones to police murder.

Friends and family of David Albrecht told how he was shot by police after his family had called them for help because David was suicidal. Police ordered his girlfriend to move away from David, and then shot him 23 times. There are still bullet holes in the house. His family and friends have been tailed and stopped in their cars and harassed by police since they have spoken out. They carried the lead banner in the O22 march.

The aunt of James Whiteshield, who at 17 died under suspicious circumstances in juvenile detention spoke out with great grief and passion. A native American woman, she said that it’s not just people of color who are brutalized and killed by the police, it’s anyone who is poor, and ended by saying “we are all related.”

Brother Talib, an ex-prisoner, spoke about mass incarceration and torture in the SHUs, beginning his speech with “Power to the People!”

A young white woman Sarah, told the story of her foster brother Miles who was killed in juvenile detention. The authorities claimed he committed suicide, but his body was bruised and beaten. She opened up an album with pictures of Miles showing his smile and then the pictures showing what had been done to him in jail. People came up to the stage to see the pictures and were moved and shaken. Since her family has challenged the police version, they have been repeatedly threatened by police.

The statement from the RCP was very well received. The crowd especially liked the “Three Strikes” quote from Bob Avakian, responding with cheers when to the end of the quote, “Three strikes and you’re out.” The speaker held up the book BAsics, from the talks and writings of Bob Avakian when saying “Get into BAsics” and was later approached by two college students who liked the speech and asked, “What was that book you held up?” and decided to get one. They are participating in Occupy Olympia (WA) and are also working with youth in juvenile detention and expressed a lot of pain and passion about people at the bottom of society and what incarceration does to young people and other prisoners—especially how youth are routinely medicated for the most minor violations in order to keep them sedated and compliant. They felt BAsics would help them at the occupation, where people are struggling to understand the world and how to change things, and that communism was little understood and needed to be seriously considered. The whole day of protest, they said, had been very empowering.

Also speaking were Eric Roberts, the brother of Aaron Roberts who was murdered by police after being stopped in his car, friends of David Young who was shot by police as his car was blocked into a fence, a witness to the murder of Shawn Maxwell, and Jared from the Responsible Marijuana Project who spoke about the incredible human toll experienced by people who are incarcerated for minor drug offenses and how people of color are disproportionately targeted and arrested.

The powerful testimonies given connected with all of us, including many new people in the crowd from Occupy Seattle who were just learning about the scope and cost of this epidemic. Pictures of the faces of the stolen lives were passed among people to carry and a powerful and defiant march of 1000 people took off. People did a die-in at the spot where Chris Harris had been body slammed into a wall by police after being wrongly identified as a suspect. Chris has suffered catastrophic brain injury. The march went by Seattle Police West Precinct, where protesters stopped, spoke out and indicted police brutality and murder. One person was grabbed out of the crowd by police and arrested.

After back and forth among the marchers, people went to the infamous spot where native carver John T. Williams was murdered a year ago. John T. was shot by Seattle cop Ian Birk within 4 seconds of jumping out of his car as he walked down the street carrying his small folded carving knife. There was and is tremendous outrage over this cold-blooded murder and the refusal to bring charges against Birk by prosecutors. At this site people died in, blocking the street. A close friend of John T’s spoke in his memory and did a prayer in Lakota.

The march was followed by an open mic back at the occupation site, where people of all kinds moved into a circle and were invited in to discuss and debate the role of the police and different strategies for ending police brutality and murder.

This whole day was extremely intense and also uplifting. People were inspired to stand together in resistance against this system’s crimes. Deeper understanding and unity among different political forces and sections of people developed around opposing police brutality and murder, mass incarceration and repression.

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Local coverage of Seattle’s National Day of Protest march and rally:

Chicago, IL

Posted: November 6, 2011 by o22ndp in Area reports 2011

January 1, 2011: Police shoot and kill Tory Davis…

January 7, 2011: Police shoot Darius Penix, 27-years old. Shot at 16 times, killing him at a traffic stop…

June 7, 2011: Police shoot Flint Farmer numerous times, killing him while he holds a cellphone…

July 25, 2011: Police shoot 13-year-old Jimmell Cannon four times…

October 5, 2011: Amit A. Patel is chased into Lake Michigan by police. He died a few hours later. Age 31…

Names and stories from the list of 57 people shot and/or killed by the Chicago police this year ring out in a striking indictment of these crimes of the system, reverberating off City Hall and the State of Illinois building.

The front page of the Chicago Tribune on the morning of October 22nd carried an expose of the cover-up of the police murder of Flint Farmer, including police video showing the cop shooting him three times in the back while he lay face down in the grass and killing him.

As people streamed into the plaza and the stage was being set up, the electricity of the day began to course through the air. Revolutionary music from Outernational and conscious hip-hop thundered off the skyscrapers overlooking the plaza. Curious bystanders and tourist were drawn into the growing scene of resistance, as protesters unfurled Stolen Lives banners and posters condemning police brutality and murder, and passing out flyers with the faces of victims of police murder.

Once the rally started, a statement from Flint Farmer’s father was read to the crowd of 100 people of all different backgrounds gathered to demand an end to police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation. Family members of victims of police brutality and murder, young folks from Occupy Chicago and Occupy the Hood, people who were outraged by the execution of Troy Davis, as well as college and high school students stood shoulder to shoulder to demand that this must stop.

A former prisoner who spent many years in solitary confinement and who has been involved in the movement for revolution since his release from prison condemned the historically unprecedented explosion of racist mass incarceration in the U.S. and the spoke about the courageous example of the prisoners on hunger strike in California (see below).

An uncle of Jimmell Cannon, a 13-year-old shot by Chicago police 4 times (see Revolution #242, Chicago Police on a Murderous Rampage: 42 people shot – We Say NO MORE!), spoke passionately about the outrage of these police shootings and murders.

After the Statement from the Revolutionary Communist Party on the Occasion of October 22, 2011 was read, others spoke out. Relatives of Jose Diaz, killed by Berwyn police, spoke; one relative said that “even though it was 11 years ago, it feels like yesterday.” Jamia Smith, the teenage sister of Devon Lee Pitts—who was killed by a police officer driving drunk—brought the crowd to tears as she read a poem with the lines: “Even as I write this, I still feel you around, my big brother, my guardian angel” with tears of sadness running down her face. Mark Clements, a survivor of police torture and activist with the Campaign to End the Death Penalty who spent 28 years in prison on a wrongful conviction, condemned the legal lynching of Troy Davis and led the chant, “Remember Troy Davis!” Occupy Chicago voted at their General Assembly to attend and send a representative speaker to stand in solidarity with O22, who said, “We have to end the suffering. It has to stop now!”

The rally concluded with a member of the People’s Neighborhood Patrol reading their founding Proclamation and calling on people to join the patrols. Several people signed up.

The crowd defiantly marched out of the plaza, chanting “Egypt, Wall Street, Pelican Bay –We refuse to live this way!” This spirit was heightened musically by a raucous anarchist brass band. The march grew as it snaked through the Saturday afternoon crowds on State Street. A banner with pictures of people killed by Chicago police stretched across the sidewalk side by side with a banner of Troy Davis brought to the rally by students from Columbia College. People stepped aside to let the protesters through, with many smiling widely that this question was being addressed and some even joining chants including “Indict, convict, send the killer cops to jail—The whole damn system is guilty as hell!” After moving through the crowded streets of the Chicago Loop, they marched into the occupation surrounding the Federal Reserve Bank building, mingling in with the chanting, drumming scene at Occupy Chicago.

Marching Against Police Chiefs

The Chicago Ad Hoc Committee for Oct 22nd, joining with World Can’t Wait and the Midwest Anti-War Mobilization, called for protesters to reconvene at the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Gala taking place at the Chicago Hilton later that evening. This was part of the IACP convention, a convention of police commanders who order murder, torture and rape. Their members include 20,000 commanders of police forces that rain brutality and terror down on civilians from Saudi Arabia to London, England, where police brutality helped spark major uprisings this spring.

As the time to reconvene approached, a “mic check”* was called at the HQ of Occupy Chicago and the crowd was challenged to join a march down to the Hilton. About 30 people marched out of the HQ bound for the IACP gala, chanting “Cairo, London, Chicago—Police brutality has got to go!” to the accompaniment of the anarchist brass band.

Once the march arrived at the Hilton, the march had grown in numbers and it was greeted by police lines and barriers. Protestors responded creatively to the police repression by positioning themselves on the other three corners and a determined and defiant protest ensued, denouncing the IACP in English and Spanish.

The October 22nd action concluded with the IACP protesters marching up Michigan Avenue to Grant Park, where they greeted thousands of people marching in to occupy the park; later that night 130 Occupy Chicago protesters were arrested while attempting to establish a permanent occupation at the park.



The following is the text of a speech by a former prisoner at the Chicago O22 rally:

I’m here to speak about the criminalization of a generation: there’s been an explosion of mass incarceration since the early 1970s, historically unprecedented in the history of the world.

U.S. has 5% of world population, 25% of worlds prisoners. More women incarcerated here than anywhere else in the world.

Nearly 2.5 million men, women & children in prison & close to 8 million are ensnared within the inhuman clutches of the so called “criminal justice system” today.

Rate of incarceration for Black males is over 5 times higher than apartheid South Africa, where a white supremacist colonial regime subjugated the indigenous Black population for decades and is universally considered one of the most racist regimes in the history of the world.

As Michelle Alexander documented in her book The New Jim Crow, more Black folks are in prison, jail etc in the U.S. than there were slaves 10 years before the Civil War.

Joining in with the upsurge of resistance sweeping the globe, in July thousands of prisoners in CA—led by prisoners in Pelican Bay SHU—went on hunger strike to demand an end to the torture & inhumane treatment they face.

Within days, over 6,500 prisoners in 1/3 of California prisons joined the hunger strike.

After 3 weeks they temporarily came off hunger strike, and then resumed the hunger strike on September 26. Within days nearly 12,000 prisoners were on hunger strike.

CDC retaliated, banned prisoners lawyers, withheld mail and visits, threatened to place prisoners on hunger strike in administrative seg.

At the end of last week, they temporarily came off again. Prisoners have stated though they are willing to die rather than face these conditions of torture, they do not want to die, and know that it will take peeps on outside to force the government to meet their demands, and that will not happen in the time they can remain on hunger strike and live to see those changes.

Despite the demonization & dehumanizing portrayal, majority of prisoners are locked up for non-violent drug offenses as part of “war on drugs,” which began in the early 1970s but expanded exponentially in the 1980s. And the “war on drugs” was a strategy for ruling class to impose a “counterinsurgency before insurgency” because they fear the power of the people rising up to challenge the crimes and injustices of this system.

They saw the power of the people in the 1960s, but because people didn’t make a revolution out of the upsurge of the 1960s, the ruling class was determined to crush any potential liberating movement of the people from developing again.

Despite their attempts, even in the depths of the most horrendous conditions of oppression such as the hellholes of America’s prisons, people have a vast potential to transform themselves as they transform the world and join in becoming emancipators of humanity.

Like millions of others, I was one of those youth that this system has cast off. My family lost our home when I was a teenager, I got involved with a street organization to survive on the streets, and by the time I was 17 years old I was serving a 20 year sentence in an adult maximum security prison. Like too many other youth, this system offered me no better purpose and no greater fate than crime and punishment, a future of living and dying for nothing.

Once I got to prison, I soon started to question what brought me—and all the other people there with me—to prison, and soon began to develop an understanding of the historical and social forces that led all of us to the hellholes of America’s prison system.

Within a short period of time, I was given an indeterminate period of segregation—solitary confinement—and it was in the midst of those brutally isolating conditions of torture that I became politically conscious.

And since my release from prison a few years ago, my life has been firmly dedicated to the movement for revolution and the struggle against the crimes of this system and for a liberated future for all humanity.

O22 is a day for people of all different backgrounds to get in the streets and stand together shoulder to shoulder with those who live under the boot and the gun of police brutality and repression—and those languishing in the hellholes of Americas prisons—and demand that all of this must stop! People of conscience everywhere should take inspiration from the courageous example of the prisoners on hunger strike and recognize the moral responsibility to join together to rise up to take action to stop these horrendous injustices.



Photo gallery from Chicago NDP that appeared in the Chicago Sun-Times:
http://www.suntimes.com/photos/galleries/index.html?story=8359348