BRONX, NY — The family of Ramarley Graham and the working-class community here continue to fight the racist NYPD over the execution of this young man on February 2nd, 2012. The KKKop, Richard Haste, has been indicted on a ridiculous 2nd degree manslaughter charge. The trial is set to begin on September 13th. The last of the weekly vigils for Ramarley will take place on July 19th and all workers and students are encouraged to attend. (The vigils take place at 6:00 PM on East 229th street between White Plains and Barnes, in the Bronx.)
One of the chants that rings out during our weekly vigils and marches is “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police!” This chant reflects the incredible anger and vigilance in the community over this racist murder. At the same time, it reflects the optimism that many have that “justice” will be served. As we have rooted ourselves deep in the struggle here, PLP members have probed the notion of “justice” that the community yearns for.
The sad, racist history suggests that the killer Haste will go free. The courts and “justice” system do not stand apart from the cops in their role as protectors of the capitalist system. They both exist to maintain the racism and exploitation that capitalism demands. After all, the courts have been a stopping-point for millions of young black and Latino youth on their way to prison, victims of the racist War on Drugs. (For more information, see Michelle Alexander’s book, The New Jim Crow).
Most brutal, racist cops are never made to pay a price for their actions. In White Plains, NY, the cops who murdered a 68-year-old retired black Marine, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr., were not even indicted. Even when indictments are handed down, cops are usually acquitted. The community knows this history and has been cautious about raising hopes for a conviction.
PL’ers have been asking this question: Even if Haste is somehow amazingly convicted, will this be “justice?” Will the 47th precinct (where Haste was stationed) close up and stop its notoriously racist practices? Will racist police brutality be a thing of the past? Will cops stop murdering black and Latino youth? Police brutality is the sharp edge of a racist capitalist system. Will racist education, health care and unemployment vanish?
Of course the answer is NO, and although a conviction would be cheered, the courts will never grant the justice that the working class needs. True justice for Ramarley Graham, Shantel Davis, Tamon Robinson, Kenneth Chamberlain, Sr. and all the victims of racist police will come when the remains of the capitalist system and racism lie smoldering in the dust of communist revolution.