Build the Resistance! Fight Back! On October 22nd, Wear Black.
Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

by Carl Dix, National Spokesperson, RCP

Revolutionary Worker #1215, October 12, 2003, posted at

October 22nd, National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation, an important day in the people's struggle is coming! Since it was started in 1996, Oct 22nd has become the day when people all across the country come together to indict police brutality and murder, government repression and the way the authorities treat our youth like criminals, guilty until proven innocent--if they survive their encounters with the police to prove their innocence. We in the RCP wholeheartedly support the October 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality.

This year has been marked by an upsurge in police brutality and murder by law enforcement agents across the country.

In NY, police knocked down Alberta Spruil's door before dawn with a battering ram, threw a concussion grenade into her Harlem apartment and handcuffed the 57-year-old grandmother, all because they claim one of their snitches said her home was a drug spot. She died that morning of a heart attack!

In Benton Harbor, Michigan, cops chased Terrance Shurn, a Black motorcycle rider and rammed his bike from behind, sending him crashing thru a wall and killing him. Later that night, police attacked people holding a memorial for him, sparking several nights of rebellion!

These, and the countless other outrages perpetrated by the police must be met--and are being met--with stepped-up resistance from the people. Once again people's voices are being heard about police brutality.

Protest marches and rallies are being held in NY; outrage over the harassment of Black youth in San Francisco's Hunters Point is generating heat; in Seattle, 300 people blocked the freeway to protest the killing of Robert Thomas Sr.; and the two-day rebellion in Benton Harbor made national headlines. This spirit of resistance is to be cherished and nurtured, coming as it does in a time when the authorities would like nothing better than to smash people down and keep them silent and afraid.

Since Sept 11, 2001, we have been told that "our country has been attacked" and anything the police do is justified to "keep us safe." The reality is far different.

As the Draft Programme of the RCP puts it, "Democracy in capitalist society, including in the much advertised `American democracy,' is a fraud. It is democracy only for and among the ranks of the bourgeoisie, but it is a ruthless dictatorship over the proletariat and the masses of people generally. This can be seen in the ghettos and barrios, where the police act as an occupying army. And it can increasingly be seen in many resistance movements, even some based among middle class people, which quickly run up against police spying, beatings, and jail time once they depart from the tightly approved limits of `dissent'." This has become even more true since this paragraph was written!

October 22nd Coalition is not a revolutionary organization. It is a coalition of many different individuals and organizations uniting to build the most powerful visible national day of protest possible to stop police brutality. Many different opinions contend within Oct. 22, of which the revolutionary viewpoint of the RCP is one. There is sharp and constant struggle within the coalition itself over which way forward, what will it take to stop police brutality. People who want to reform the system and people who want to get rid of it; anarchists, communists and nationalists; clergy and atheists; people directly experiencing the guns and billy clubs of brutal, murdering police along with people who don't experience the brutality themselves but step out to oppose it when they become aware of it: all take part in freely speaking their minds, and somehow manage to unite together to bring about a powerful day of protest.

The Oct. 22nd National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality is very deeply loved by many because it enables many different kinds of people to come together to fight injustice and because it gives expression to many of the things they long for. The different forms of struggle that Oct 22nd has helped bring into existence objectively strengthen the people's resistance movement, develop their organization and fighting capacity. Thru doing this, it moves us closer to the day when we can rise up millions strong and get rid of this rotten capitalist system thru revolution and end police brutality, and all the other ills it spawns, once and for all.

October 22nd is a day when: We can speak the TRUTH about the murderous occupiers of our neighborhoods who harass and kill our children; We can feel the POWER of what we can achieve when we work together; We can see the UNITY of different sections of the people, what we have in common.

October 22nd is a day when we get a taste of what it's like not be ground down, harassed and degraded. We all long for this, and we revolutionaries work towards a time when all of society, every day, can be like that. We can imagine a society run based on meeting the needs of the people, not profit for a few; a society where people of different nationalities, women and men, people of different ages and backgrounds, work together, on a basis of equality--not because they must work to keep from getting crushed, but to create a new and beautiful future; a society where the people run things.

Couldn't we handle things a lot better than the current rulers and their enforcers?

Take the police killing of Tyisha Miller. As RCP Chairman Bob Avakian pointed out: "Tyisha is passed out in the car and the police come up to the car. They surround the car, they're all armed and they just shoot her--execute her basically. And it seems to me that one basic point to be made is this: if you can't handle this situation differently than this, then get the fuck out of the way. Not only out of the way of this situation but get off the earth--get out of the way of the masses of people. Because, you know, we could have handled that situation any number of ways that would have resulted in a much better outcome, and frankly if we had state power and we were faced with a similar situation, we would sooner have one of our own people's police killed than go wantonly murder one of the masses. That's what you're supposed to do if you're actually trying to be a servant of the people. You go there and put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people." ("Putting Forward Our Line in a Bold and Compelling Way," Part 1)

It was extremely significant in 2001 and 2002 that the October 22nd Coalition did not fold up tents and go home, at a time when all the voices from on high were screaming that it was no longer permissible to speak out against police brutality in the wake of Sept. 11. It showed that there was a section of the people who had developed some muscle, some organization and some fighting capacity, and who were not able to be cowed and ground down in the face of attacks by the ruling class.

And when the October 22nd Coalition, thru its Stolen Lives Project and in other ways, ceaselessly and relentlessly exposes the nationwide epidemic of police murder and violence, it provides powerful concrete documentation and evidence of what this American way of life is all about. This is especially important in today's situation with a police state emerging in this country while around the world, the U.S. is carrying out an immoral unjust occupation of Iraq, threatening military attacks on Iran, Syria, North Korea and other countries.

There are many people awakening to political life who can put two and two together, and who can see that there is a lot in common between the repression and brutality at home and the occupying empire abroad. When the parents of police murder victims speak at anti-war rallies, they provide depth to people's understanding of why this system is not worth fighting for. The intersection of this exposure with the broad anger at the rulers' plans for war and occupation without end, is a potentially very powerful combination.

Again this year on Oct 22nd, people of different nationalities and from many different backgrounds will join together to take the streets and manifest resistance in other ways to police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a generation. And our special focus will be to connect the experience of Black, Latino and other minority peoples--who traditionally suffer police brutality--with the experience of the immigrant communities that have been targeted since Sept. 11, 2001.

We in the RCP call on all those who hate injustice to join in the effort to mobilize a powerful National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation!