End Capitalism to Bring True Justice for Shantel Davis
Wednesday, December 12, 2012 at 6:14PM
Contributor

What does it mean to remember Shantel Davis, the 23-year-old unarmed black woman killed by black NYPD Detective Phillip Atikins in Brooklyn on June 14?

As the six-month mark of Shantel’s murder approaches, family, friends and supporters fighting to send Atkins to prison plan to gather for a vigil on the site where she was murdered.

For the Progressive Labor Party, remembering Shantel means much more than only fighting for Atkins to serve time. The lasting justice for Shantel means fighting for an anti-racist communist world that would be worthy of her life. 

For the Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and Mayor Bloomberg, remembering Shantel means reminding the mainly black and immigrant workers of East Flatbush that cops can get away with racist murder.

After six months of protests, including disrupting Ray Kelly’s speech at a forum and militant unpermitted demonstrations in front of the 67th police precient, Hynes has still not charged Atkins with any crime. The DA is sitting on numerous witnesses and videos that show Atkins shot her in cold blood. But publicly Hynes needs to reassure other cops who kill that the courts will look the other way. Privately Hynes promised Shantel’s family an investigation. 

The city’s rulers also want workers to forget the words of former NYPD narcotics detective Stephen Anderson who served under the same command as Atkins. Anderson recently testified in court that he and his superiors regularly planted evidence on innocent people to make arrests. In Shantel’s case the police and media want workers to believe the lies they created about Shantel’s supposedly lengthy (actually non-existent) criminal record to smear her name. 

Shantel’s family and friends remember that during the first seventeen years of her life Shantel devoted free time to care for the elderly, sick and disabled. But while her big close-knit loving family nurtured her to be kindhearted and generous, capitalism failed Shantel.

Shantel was one of millions of U.S. black youth that racist education set up for low wages and underemployment. For all of Shantel’s short life, PLP fought against the racist conditions of capitalism in East Flatbush, from school budget cuts to police brutality. Throughout the city we organized students around local and global struggles to smash a racist system that can never provide jobs for all.

Capitalist education forced her to give up on school. The year Shantel was due to graduate high school the unemployment rate among black youth in New York City was over 40 percent and Shantel dropped out. For several years Shantel cared for her elderly grandmother, a demanding skill that demonstrated Shantel’s aptitude. But to capitalism she was barely worth considering for most jobs.

Six months after Atkins killed Shantel PLP remembers that true justice for Shantel Davis means putting an end to the racist capitalist system that set Atkins loose to begin with. Today, in a period when revolution is not an immediate reality that means putting forward communist ideas of anti-racism, militancy and class solidarity in the fight to put Atkins behind bars. Making the growth of a fighting communist movement our benchmark for victory means that our class can advance whether or not the bosses decide to indict Atkins. 

Without building a long-term revolutionary movement, convicting Atkins could feed the deadly illusion that capitalism can be nice and can do without racist terror. If such false ideas are the heart of Shantel’s struggle we will have won the battle and lost the war. As long as capitalism exists police terror will continue to shatter working-class families. PLP fights to send Atkins away. But we also aim to win the class war against all of the racists bosses and their assassins whether or not we win the individual battle to put Atkins in jail.

Article originally appeared on The Revolutionary Communist Progressive Labor Party (http://www.plp.org/).
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