Revolution #226, March 6, 2011

Correspondence from Revolution distributors in Houston

The Savage Police Beating of Chad Holley

On February 3, 2011, a surveillance video of the savage beating of Chad Holley was released to the media by community activist Quanell X, and it set off a groundswell of outrage and anger in the city. The video of March 10, 2010 shows Chad, who was 15 years old at the time, knocked down by a police car, kicked, stomped and beaten by four Houston police for his alleged participation in a burglary. The video made national news and went viral on YouTube. In Houston, community activists have held a couple of town hall meetings in the black communities, called  "A call to action." Hundreds of people packed the two churches where they were held and dozens of people lined up and testified to their own experiences being brutalized by the police and several others talked about how their family members were murdered by the police. Revolution's Bear Witness forms got out to many of those who spoke as well as to the audience more broadly.

There were a lot of different political programs put forward, and Revolution was in the mix of it. At one of the meetings, we had a poster of the centerfold of the quote from the Message and Call—"The days when the system can just keep 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." People came up and took pictures of the poster and passed it from hand to hand. Many of them got copies of the Message and Call as well as Revolution. In contrast to what they had heard from the stage—that it is a few bad apples—people wanted deeper answers and many of them wanted to learn about this revolution and its leader, Bob Avakian.

One thing that was striking was the impact the uprising in Egypt has had on people. A lot of people wanted BA's Egypt 2011 statement and wanted to know how things are going to develop in Egypt. Hundreds of the statement got out. People were saying, if the Egyptian people can kick out Mubarak, we don't have to keep accepting the brutality by the police. Several people said  "We're gonna be Egypt for Houston." A white lawyer also got up and spoke and said,  "I'm a human being first and the Blacks and Latinos know all about this, they live it everyday. But it’s people like me who needed to see this tape. Well, I saw that tape and I'm outraged by it. Long ago, my daddy showed me a sign that said ‘whites only’ and he told me that's wrong. And it’s still wrong. We need to do what's right."

There are more town hall meetings planned as well as protests and marches. Along with a growing combativeness, there are many questions that people have. Can we fix the system or do we need revolution? How is revolution possible? What is communism? At the same time, there is a broader hotly contested debate on police brutality developing. Just today it was reported that a city councilwoman is being investigated for passing out a  "know your rights" kind of flier at one of the town hall meetings. We'll write to you again as things develop further.

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