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Communist Dialectics


Mass Struggle against Racist Police Murder Must Become

A School for Communism, Not A Capitalist Tool


USA--A year ago, a militarized police force rolled into Ferguson, MO to confront mass protests against the police murder of Michael Brown.  Slogans like “Hands Up, Don’t Shoot,” “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her/His Name” became hashtags and organizations. From mass anger, social media and established organizations like unions and foundations, a new movement against racist police terror was born.
When masses are in motion as they are today, their movement can become a battleground:  on one side, efforts to make it a school for communism; on the other, attempts to make it a tool to tie the masses more securely to capitalism.

Capitalism needs racist police terror. From its beginnings, the kidnapping of Africans combined brutal class oppression with what Marx termed “primitive accumulation.” Enslaved persons produced wealth and at the same time were themselves the largest capital reserve in the United States.
Racist ideology justified that enslavement and separated unfree laborers of European, African and Native American ancestry into strict “racial” categories. Those divisions have been enforced by the murderous police forces which emerged out of slave patrols and strikebreakers in the US and elsewhere in the 18th and 19th centuries.
Capitalism cannot exist without racism, which provides its competitive edge and prevents the unity of the oppressed masses.  The fight for communism cannot succeed without dealing a decisive blow to that racism.  This will enable a final victory over racist practices and ideas.  No capitalist reform can do that.
The capitalist rulers have always been terrified that black workers and youth, targets of their most vicious capitalist attacks, will seize communist ideas as their own.  They targeted black US communists, including Angelo Herndon in the 1930s and Paul Robeson in the 1950s, trying to separate black Americans from the communist movement in which they played a leading role. 

The leadership that has emerged from the current movement against racist police murder has no such militant class perspective. Two of its best-known spokespersons are DeRay McKesson and Britanny Packnett. Packnett is the executive director of St. Louis’s Teach for America (TFA) program.  She was appointed to the Ferguson Commission and to President Obama’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing and anointed by Time magazine as one of “12 New Faces of Black Leadership.”
McKesson is a TFA alum and a former school administrator.  He and St. Louis native Johnnetta Elzie were lauded by Fortune Magazine in April as among the world’s 50 greatest leaders.  They have over a hundred thousand Twitter followers.  Their website wetheprotesters.org models its introduction after the US Declaration of Independence.
“Black Twitter” posts information about police shootings days before other news media.  It is a forum for debate over the strategy and goals of the movement.
On August 20, Elzie, McKesson, Packnett and a San Francisco data analyst launched a new website, Campaign Zero.  It integrates “recommendations from communities, research organizations and the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing” into a package of reforms “to change the way police serve our communities.” This, they claim, can “end police killings and other forms of police violence in the United States.”
Campaign Zero will track the policy statements of presidential candidates McNalley, Sanders, Clinton and Ron Paul to see how they address their recommendations on use of force, police training, community oversight, etc. at the federal, state, and local level.

This makes “wetheprotesters” a lobbying organization like the National Rifle Association and the League of Women Voters. It hopes to influence the Democratic Party platform and, most importantly, to steer activists into the electoral process.
The ruling-class media were overwhelmingly positive, but Twitter included more critical voices:
“The only way to change systems from the outside is through violence.”
“Policy change after slavery was sharecropping, chain gangs, and the for-profit prison industry. The lesson: policy change won’t liberate us.”
“You want to end police killings?  Dismantle the system which the police serve to protect and uphold.”
“The justice department won’t save us or provide justice for us. We will provide justice for ourselves. We are our own liberators.”

Our International Communist Workers’ Party must help make this movement a school for communism, including stepping up our Twitter game.  Only by mobilizing the masses for communism can we end this murderous capitalist system.

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