Chicago South Side

Out Among the People Protesting Police Murder—Organizing for an ACTUAL Revolution

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From a Revolution Club correspondent

Around 5 pm on Sunday I noticed a text from a club member who had been out of town. I tried to reach her and let her know I could drive her to our organizing center. I got no answer. I turned on the 5 pm news before I headed out. The top story was the protest in South Shore against the police murder on Saturday of 37-year-old Harith Augustus.  People were starting to gather. There on my screen was the club member I had tried to call who was clearly already there. The news camera panned the crowd: a lot of Revolution—Nothing Less! (RNL) T-shirts, and the reporter said, “the Revolution Club is here,” then comes a great interview with Lucha Bright from the Revolution Club, looking sharp in her Club gear.

Heading for the Revolution Club Organizing Center, I hit a massive traffic jam right where Lakeshore Drive (a 26-mile thoroughfare that runs the length of this city along Lake Michigan) ends and runs into the South Side community of South Shore. The traffic came to a dead stop at what is normally not a busy area. It did not move for quite a while.

The night before club members had been in the thick of it for hours in a major outpouring of hundreds of people confronting the police in response to the murder.  I had watched the videos on Twitter but wasn’t there myself. The police were vicious, clubbing people and they had their automatic rifles out. But the people were defiant, at times dancing on top of police cars. Many copies of HOW WE CAN WIN—How We Can Really Make Revolution (HWCW) got out in the midst of this. Out in the front lines, and when people, including club members, briefly stepped back from the front lines to catch their breath, club members held “lightning on-the-spot organizing meetings” going over key points in HWCW, to enlist people into the revolution. One person had to run back to our organizing center in the midst of all this to get more RNL shirts and HWCW pamphlets.

When I got to the Revolution Club Organizing Center, which is only a few doors away from the barber shop where Harith Augustus, the Black man gunned down by police the day before, worked, I learned why the traffic was so backed up. A protest of about 200 people, which began a few blocks away from the Organizing Center, near the spot where this police murder occurred, had attempted to get onto Lakeshore Drive and had been prevented from doing so by the police.

Instead the march had been pushed east on 67th street right past “the Parkways,” a large (and notorious) low-income housing complex that extends for several blocks where, as one neighborhood resident put it, “the youth are at war with the youth on East End.” East End is another area of the neighborhood not far from our Organizing Center. I later learned from a Club member in the march, that youth from “the Parkways” had poured out and joined the march for a few blocks.

Not long after I got to the center we got a call from a club member in the march saying it was going to come right by us. We gathered up some large posters and banners and, in our RNL T-shirts, stepped outside the center to greet the people as the march approached.

The marchers were in the street and a long line of pigs was on the sidewalk. (Kind of a reverse of the norm here where the police block the street forcing the protests onto the sidewalk.) Joey Johnson was on the bullhorn announcing that they were passing our office and leading the chant, “How do we get out of this mess? Revolution—Nothing Less.”  People in the march put their firsts in the air and we chanted in unison with them “Revolution—Nothing Less.”

The march was a mix of people from around the city and community people. A young man in the lead, whose photo with his fist in the air hit the front of the Sunday Chicago Tribune, had been a close friend of Paul O’Neal (a teenager who was killed by the police in South Shore the summer of 2016) and had led protests against the murder of his friend back then.

After the march passed by there was a long line of cars backed up on the street outside the Center. I went up to the people in the cars to get them copies of HWCW. As I approached the second car, the young woman in the passenger seat held up her copy of HWCW and shouted out, “I am with you,” to a roar of cheers from those of us outside the center.

A middle aged Black man in a T-shirt for CPAC (community control of police group) shouted out “Power to the People” to Joe Veale and stepped out of the march to give him a high five. He had seen Joe at a gathering of activists earlier in the day. At that gathering, Joe spoke about his history with Black Panthers and how back then we didn’t know how to make a revolution but now with Bob Avakian we have the leadership, the strategy and the plan, and told people he was “enlisting them in the revolution.” (See video of Joe on this page.)

The march continued back where it started a few blocks away and then club members and a number of people I had never met before, all in RNL shirts, converged on the center. A woman and her 5-year-old grandson, both in RNL shirts, came in with a Revolution Club member. It turns out the woman lives right near our center and had been watching us for some time from a distance but when all hell broke loose the day before, she said she wanted to join us and got a shirt. Her grandson looked great in the women’s small. She was expressing great pride in one of her children, a 20-year-old, who had danced on a police car in their RNL T-shirt on Saturday night.

A couple in their 50's came in, joined a discussion of HWCW, watched some clips from Bob Avakian and got shirts. The man had just that day discovered he knew the man who had been killed by police, when his full name, Harith Augustus, was made public. He said when he heard, “Snoop” he thought it was one of the tall thin longhaired teens on the block, who looked some like the rapper Snoop Dog. When he discovered it was Harith he was devastated. He told me he first met Harith in 2002 when he was in a shelter where Harith worked. He said Harith was the nicest person you’d ever meet and had given him a free haircut when he was getting his certification from barber college.

I looked outside the center and saw three or four young people, also in Revolution—Nothing Less! shirts hanging out and went out to talk to them and get them copies of HWCW (which it turns out they already had). The first person I spoke with was a young man around 20. He told me he’d joined the club the day before. His brother, Maurice Granton, was killed by the police last month. Harith was his barber and he had been in the streets in protest for the past two nights. Another man, in a shirt, came by telling one of the young women they had to leave, so I didn’t get to talk with either of them.

A friend of the club from the neighborhood stopped by with his wife. He said he had lots of photos and film from the night before, including of the police with their automatic rifles out. He said he would send them to revolution.reports@yahoo,com. He had heard that people were once again gathering on the corner that had been the scene of the outpouring on Saturday night. A couple of us went down to check this out, but things were quiet.

Three women, two in their early teens, had gone into the center and were getting down inside with club members about HWCW. Before they left, those of us remaining at the center took a picture with them all in our RNL shirts. I saw it on our Twitter page this morning.  A club member who often staffs the center, remarked that it is becoming a true “organizing center.” (A correspondence about this should be coming soon.)


See also: Chicago South Side: Pigs Gun Down Another Black Man—People Get into the Streets in Outrage “The whole damn system is guilty as hell!”

Editor’s note: Tyisha Miller was a 19-year-old African-American woman shot dead by Riverside, California police in 1998. Miller had been passed out in her car, resulting from a seizure, when police claimed that she suddenly awoke and had a gun; they fired 23 times at her, hitting her at least 12 times, and murdering her. Bob Avakian addressed 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 this 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 you put your own life on the line, rather than just wantonly murder one of the people. Fuck all this “serve and protect” bullshit! If they were there to serve and protect, they would have found any way but the way they did it to handle this scene. They could have and would have found a solution that was much better than this. This is the way the proletariat, when it’s been in power has handled—and would again handle—this kind of thing, valuing the lives of the masses of people. As opposed to the bourgeoisie in power, where the role of their police is to terrorize the masses, including wantonly murdering them, murdering them without provocation, without necessity, because exactly the more arbitrary the terror is, the more broadly it affects the masses. And that’s one of the reasons why they like to engage in, and have as one of their main functions to engage in, wanton and arbitrary terror against the masses of people.

Bob Avakian, BAsics 2:16

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