Below is a statement sent to the Minneapolis Star Tribune July 1 by Doug Nelson, Socialist Workers Party candidate for mayor of Minneapolis, and David Rosenfeld, SWP candidate for City Council Ward 12. They speak out against an act of intimidation and political thuggery carried out by some participants at a Taking Back Pride event June 27 sponsored by Twin Cities Coalition for Justice for Jamar, a group initially set up in response to the police killing of Jamar Clark in 2015. For roughly two hours City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins, who is a Black, transgendered woman, was prevented from driving away by members of this group until she signed a statement listing their demands, some of which she says she disagrees with.
The Socialist Workers Party campaign in Minneapolis condemns the intimidation and harassment of City Council Vice President Andrea Jenkins at the June 27 Taking Back Pride event by a small group of “activists.” Jenkins was detained, berated and coerced by individuals who demanded that she sign her name to their list of demands, which included the resignation of the current mayor and not opening the streets at George Floyd Square.
After the councilperson signed her name under duress, she was allowed to leave. An organizer of the group, Donald Hooker Jr., declared a “people’s victory.” But such political thuggery is rightly abhorred by the overwhelming majority of working people. Far from a victory, this act of intimidation sets back building the broadest possible support for protests against killings and brutality at the hands of police. In this sense, it is of a piece with race-baiting, demagogy and giving political support to vandalism and looting that have been the calling card of many radical, left and woke political groups and individuals.
The working class must defend the space to discuss, debate and act if we are to build a powerful, disciplined, and independent movement to defend all who are exploited and oppressed. Those who would shut down space and replace civil discussion and debate with intimidation and demagogy are an obstacle to building such a movement.
Doug Nelson, SWP candidate for mayor of Minneapolis
David Rosenfeld, SWP candidate for City Council, Ward 12