The Streets Belong to the People
Hands Off the Million Youth March
Revolutionary Worker #970, August 23, 1998
As we go to press, the New York power structure has been trying to suppress the "Million Youth March" (MYM) in New York City. The city government denied a march permit for Harlem on September 5, Labor Day weekend. March organizers were told they would only get permits for the isolated areas of Randall's Island or Van Cortlandt Park--and only if they rescheduled the whole march after Labor Day.
New York's notorious Mayor Giuliani denounced the MYM as a "hate march." He said, "You have the right to demonstrate and protest to a certain extent, but you don't have a right to do it any place you want, any where you want, any time you want." His intended message is: Stay in your place. We are in command, not you.
Straight up: Who does Giuliani think he is--telling Black youth and other oppressed youth they can't march in Harlem?! The streets of Harlem should belong to the people--not to this wannabe dictator. The voice of this generation deserves to be heard--speaking out against the ways they are abused, shut out and criminalized.
Giuliani's ban on the march in Harlem is an attack on the rising generation, a denial of basic political rights, and an insult to Black people.
Unite All Who Can Be United Against the Real Enemy
The racist political suppression of the MYM by City Hall needs to be met by uniting all who can be united -- to demand that the youth be allowed to march. But a confusing and negative response is being put out that claims Giuliani is working "for the Jews." And there is talk of turning the MYM into a march aimed at the Jewish community of Crown Heights.
Anyone who seriously studies the power relations in the USA should know that Giuliani is not working "for the Jews." And the people of Crown Heights don't control New York City or run this system! New York City is run by the U.S. monopoly capitalist ruling class and Giuliani is one of their political representatives.
And anyone who is serious about ending the oppression of Black people should know--it is the capitalist system that has oppressed Black people from the slave trade right down to today. The monopoly capitalist class and their enforcers are the main enemies of the people.
Targeting Jewish people only spreads false consciousness and anti-semitism among the people. It drags the heroic struggle for the liberation of Black people into the mud, and it is a diversion from fighting the real enemy of Black people and all oppressed people. In reality, anti-Jewish rhetoric sends a message to the ruling class that some forces do not really intend to take on this dog-eat-dog system. And this kind of rhetoric alienates all kinds of people who want to see the youth stand up to fight oppression.
When the system attacks, the people need to stand firm, unite all who can be united against the real enemy, and beat back the attack. The youth should march where they want and when they want. It's Right to Rebel!
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolutionary Worker Online
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