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Anti-racists – Stand your ground!

Published Apr 11, 2012 9:20 PM

Racism has reared its head in a very ugly way in the United States over the past few months. Everyone in the working-class movement, all progressive people must call this racism out loud and clear, and organize in solidarity with African Americans and all people of color.

This is especially important now. The corporate media have closed ranks against oppressed peoples. They have been purposely spreading disinformation in an attempt to break up the embryonic solidarity that was developing in reaction to the obviously racist killing of Trayvon Martin.

For at least four centuries racism has been a weapon in the hands of the ruling class that settled in what became the United States. From the times of open chattel slavery to today’s imperialism, racism has been a tool both to super-exploit Black labor and to break up working-class solidarity by misleading and miseducating white workers. Racism must be smashed.

The most typical example is racist police violence directed against Black people. Last November, White Plains, N.Y., cops broke down the door of an unarmed heart patient they were supposed to be rescuing, 68-year-old Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., and instead gunned him down (see article, p. 8). The cops killed him without even a pretext.

In an even more typical case, Newburgh, N.Y., cops chased 22-year-old Michael Lembhard into his family home March 7, broke down the door and shot him dead. Despite family protests, so far the authorities have refused to bring charges against the cops, who made a feeble accusation that Lembhard attacked them.

A six-year-old case of outrageous police brutality surrounding the Katrina Hurricane disaster came to a conclusion on April 4. Five cops had fired shots at a family trying to cross the Danziger Bridge to reach dry land. The case ended with the very unusual conviction of the cops and prison sentences of 38 to 65 years for the shooters and six years for a cop who tried to cover up the murders.

It was not official cops who killed Trayvon Martin. But so far the cops and courts have covered up the role of and brought no charges against auxiliary cop George Zimmerman, who stalked and gunned down the 17-year-old.

A final example is the killings of three African Americans in Tulsa, Okla., shot to death by racist killers with an apparent KKK mentality. Since Tulsa was home to the mass slaughter of African Americans in 1921, the murders recalled the nightmare of lynching throughout U.S. history. Here there was a less typical quick arrest; the two suspects are already reported to have confessed.

These recent examples spell out a clear message. There are racist assaults against people of color through institutions, the cops and the state. There are KKK-like assaults backed by the ideological racism of the ruling-class media that dominate U.S. society. There are assaults driven by the organized racism of ruling-class reactionary groups like the American Legislative Exchange Council, which promoted the “Stand Your Ground” law that allowed ­Zimmerman to kill Martin and — so far — get away with it.

Most of the time, the racists get off free. In a few rare cases, the state punishes them. But whichever the result, for those who feel solidarity with those attacked by racism, and especially for those who are not the direct victims themselves, the only honest response to this assault is to stand up directly to it. As individuals, speak up loudly in solidarity with the victims. Join the marches. Wear the hoodies. And build a strong organization uniting all nationalities that can stand its ground against both ideological racism and street racism.