On November 15, Jamar Clark, a 24-year-old black man, was handcuffed by police and murdered execution-style. Continuous protests have erupted outside of the 4th Precinct headquarters in North Minneapolis, demanding “Justice for Jamar” and the release of body cam and dashboard footage of the shooting. On Monday, November 23, things escalated when three white supremacists in body armor shot five unarmed protesters who were escorting them away from the protest encampment.
The police arrived at the scene—not to apprehend the assailants—but to mace the protesters who had rushed in to provide aid to the wounded. Protesters reported hearing police say “this is what you wanted!” This blatant act of racist terror has been downgraded in the media as a mere “shooting.” After the recent attacks in Paris, President Obama condemned the terrorists—why are no such condemnations being made now?
The police under capitalism exist to “serve and protect” the property of the rich and to enforce the “rule of law”—laws made by and for the rich. They are part of the capitalist state apparatus and we can have no illusions that they can protect the majority. Measures must be taken immediately to defend ourselves through the election of self-defense stewards at all “Justice for Jamar” actions to prevent further violence from being inflicted upon us.
Like the slave system that enriched the early American capitalists, modern capitalism is held together by racism and violence. You cannot maintain a system of exploitation without oppression. As Malcolm X explained, you cannot have capitalism without racism. The murder of Jamar Clark is part of a broader strategy of coercion intended to keep the majority in constant fear of the power of the state. But every revolutionary awakening in history shows that when people lose their fear of the state, the ruling class is in serious trouble. After all, we are the majority and they are a tiny minority! This is why our protests and demands for justice are met with mace, batons, and rubber bullets. No number of body cameras or broader demographic representation in the ranks of the police can change the fact that this system is designed to exploit, bully, and oppress us.
Some are demanding community control of the police. While this is a correct instinct, we must be absolutely clear that this is impossible in any meaningful way in a society divided into hostile classes. As long as legal, political, and economic control over society remains in the hands of a small minority they will use the police to defend their interests. To end racism and police brutality we have to end the economic system that gives rise to it and fight for a new society in which the majority have economic and political control over our own destinies: socialism. Get organized and join us in the struggle!