By Carl Dix
Revolutionary Worker #1001, April 11, 1999
The cops who gunned down Amadou Diallo in a hail of bullets have been indicted for murder and other charges. It's about time! This is a victory for the people. It was our struggle that forced the system to indict these murderers. Mouthpieces for the authorities will say these indictments show the system worked this time. The real deal is that the indictments show how hard it is to get justice from this system. Look at what it took to get these murdering cops indicted--people took to the streets in large numbers just about every day; 1000 youth walked out of high schools and colleges and held a defiant demonstration just two days after 1000 women had rallied in protest; more than 1000 people got arrested; many, many people spoke out against the way cops target Black people and other people of color. We have to do much more of the same because getting the cops indicted was only the beginning of this fight for justice.
We have to stay on the case. Remember that the cops who beat Rodney King got indicted and when the case came to trial, they got off the first time. And they got caught on videotape committing their crime. In an earlier statement on this case, I said we had to aim for nothing less than getting the cops who murdered Amadou Diallo indicted, convicted and jailed. We've achieved the first step. Now we have to keep fighting till they're convicted and sent to jail.
The fight for justice for Amadou Diallo must be linked to fighting for justice for all the victims of police brutality. Earlier, one of the cops who murdered Diallo had shot Patrick Bailey in the back and left him to bleed to death. The same NYPD that stole Diallo's and Bailey's lives tortured Abner Louima and has brutalized and even murdered many, many people. Giuliani and company have given a green light to all this official brutality instead of doing anything to put it in check. And police departments and government authorities do the same all across the country. We have to take it on ourselves to fight for justice for the victims of police brutality. And we have to set our sights on nothing less than stopping police brutality and police murder, once and for all.
We can't get lulled to sleep by talk about federal and state investigations or hiring more people of color to be cops or changing this or that policy relating to the cops. At all levels of this system, the authorities are throwing people off welfare, slashing health care, education and other social programs and forcing people to live on the streets. The only way to make people put up with such miserable conditions is to rely on a brutal police force to enforce them. That's why Bill Clinton and the Democrats work hand in glove with the Republicans to put more cops on the streets, build more prisons and pass more laws to put people on the bottom in those prisons. We can't rely on the politicians to put police brutality in check and stop the way this whole generation of youth is being criminalized. We're going to have to rely on ourselves to do this.
This means we have to build a fighting movement that targets brutal, murdering cops and the authorities who give them the green light to abuse us and help cover up for them afterward. This movement needs to bring together people from many different backgrounds, races and nationalities. We have to be determined to carry this fight all the way thru and not get sucked in or sidetracked when the authorities talk about making cosmetic changes. This is what it'll take to put police brutality in check.
And to stop police brutality and all the other misery this rotten capitalist system forces people here and around the world to endure will take nothing less than mass armed revolution. This means people on the bottom rising and bringing over to their side everybody who's got problems with the things this system does to the people. It means fighting to get rid of this system once and for all and going on to build a whole new world on the ashes of this messed-up one. It isn't time yet to launch the all-out revolutionary assault. But it is time to be getting ready for revolution, and that means in part building a fighting movement to put police brutality in check.
If Giuliani and those who back his program have their way, there will be cops enforcing order everywhere in society all the time. They want to shove his police-state program down the throats of the people on the bottom of society and convince people in the middle class that their only choice is to get behind their program or be overrun by crime. If they get away with this, we'll be pushed down so far we won't be able to do anything about the many horrors they inflict on us.
We have a golden opportunity to beat back their whole police-state program. Getting the cops in this case indicted has opened the door to achieving much more in the fight against police brutality. The eyes of the whole country and much of the world are on this battle for justice. Many, many people who usually suffer the abuse and harassment the system's enforcers bring down on us are speaking up and fighting back now. A lot of middle class people who usually are kept in the dark about how the cops operate in the ghettos and barrios have had their eyes opened and are themselves demanding justice. There's a whole lot we can accomplish right now. We have to step up the fight for justice. We have to fight in ways that shine a spotlight on the nationwide epidemic of police brutality and put the authorities on notice that we aren't going to put up with it anymore. We have to fight with even greater determination. We have to do this for Amadou Diallo and for all the victims of police brutality and police murder.
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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