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Vol. 78/No. 31      September 1, 2014

Join protests to demand arrest of
cops who killed Brown, Garner!
(front page, SWP campaign statement)
Statement by John Studer, Socialist Workers Party candidate for governor of New York:

I urge working people and youth to march Aug. 23 in Staten Island, New York, an action backed by the National Action Network, the NAACP, Service Employees International Union Local 1199 and the United Federation of Teachers. Take a stand with the parents of Michael Brown, shot down by cops in Ferguson, Missouri, Aug. 9; the parents of Eric Garner, killed in a chokehold July 17 by cops in Staten Island; and thousands of others who will be there to press for the arrest of killer cops.

“I want everybody possible who can — wheelchairs, crutches, whatever — to come out to this march, for justice for my husband,” Esaw Garner, Eric Garner’s wife, has said.

If you can, go to Ferguson, Missouri, to stand with those demanding action to stop cop killings, brutality and harassment. Take part in other protests against cop abuse in your area.

“Hands up, don’t shoot!” is a slogan taken up by working people and youth that has captured their righteous indignation against the killing of unarmed Brown, who was shot six times despite putting his hands in the air. In the days after Brown was gunned down, millions saw images of Ferguson where the determination of working people captured the moral high ground with discipline and dignity in face of a militarized cop response. They drew attention to resentment over decades of racist and anti-working-class cop attacks and other indignities.

They put the U.S. rulers, their cops and politicians on the defensive. They forced them to adjust their tactics several times and pay lip service to the legitimacy of the outrage and protests as they sought themselves to take the moral high ground in public opinion. In this battle, the rulers have had little else to wield except the destructive nightly actions of small groups of provo-cateurs, looters and vandals.

The current wave of demonstrations stand as a statement against the multi-faceted assault on the working class by the capitalist system of “justice” meted out by the rulers’ cops, judges and prison guards.

Arrests and incarcerations around the country have soared in recent decades. The FBI says its master database of “criminals” now contains the names of one out of every three adults. The list is easily accessed by bosses, banks and landlords. More than 10,000 names are added every week.

Especially since 2001, the federal government has armed local police departments with military-style equipment, from assault rifles to armored troop carriers. The Missouri Department of Public Services has received $69 million from the Department of Homeland Security to buy advanced military hardware and other high-tech equipment.

Under “broken windows” and “stop-and-frisk” rubrics, cops target young working-class men — in vastly disproportionate numbers Black, Latino and Native American — for petty crimes, swelling the ranks of the incarcerated. So far this year more than 3,000 have been sent to jail for jumping over subway fare turnstiles in New York. When charged, working people face a frame-up system in which 95 percent are effectively denied their basic right to a trial, forced to “accept” a plea bargain rather than face a court they know is stacked against them.

Inhumane and often torturous conditions face those thrown into the rulers’ jails and prisons, including widespread use of solitary confinement. At least 44 percent of youth sentenced to New York’s notorious Rikers Island have faced guard brutality, leading to a “staggering” number of injuries, according to a recent special U.S. Attorney’s report.

From Ferguson to Staten Island, Rikers Island to Pelican Bay, the cops, courts and prisons are the rulers’ answer to the grinding effects of the crisis of their capitalist system on working people, whom they ultimately fear and whose struggles today can open the door to the fight for a world free of capitalist exploitation and brutality.

Join us Aug. 23!
Related articles:
Thousands join fight against cop killing in Ferguson, Mo.
Protesters across US: ‘Hands up, don’t shoot!’
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