“Capitalism, Policing and State Violence” was the topic of a talk given by Lamont Lilly at the Alan Blueford Center for Justice in Oakland, Calif., on July 10. Lilly, a leading member of the Durham, N.C., branch of Workers World Party, was visiting Oakland to share his experiences in the fight against police terror. He had recently been on the front lines in Baltimore for a month, after the police killing of Freddie Grey, a 25-year-old African American. Prior to that, Lilly had also visited Ferguson, Mo., in support of the Black community there, in the aftermath of the grand jury nonindictment of Darren Wilson, the white police officer who killed 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Jada, who also organizes First Friday performances at the Blueford Center, performed a beautiful spoken word piece, to open the meeting.
Lilly talked about the origination of U.S. policing as antebellum slave patrols, used to catch runaway enslaved African people. He pointed out that whether or not an individual officer may have some good intentions, the role of police under capitalism is to protect the property and the interests of the 1% or the ruling class. He detailed how the school-to-prison pipeline, supported by the police, feeds the coffers of the prison-industrial complex.
Lilly is also a contributing writer for Workers World newspaper, as well as being published at truth-out.org and counterpunch.org. He is currently working on publishing a book of his original poems. You can follow him on twitter @LamontLilly.