ANAHEIM, CA, July 27 — The chants began with “Let Us In! Let Us In!” but quickly changed to “Police Say Get Back, We Say Fight Back” and “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police!” as more and more people pressed into the small lobby outside the Anaheim City Council chambers on July 24. As a hearing on recent police killings was starting, PLP and members of the community joined relatives grieving for Manuel Díaz and Joel Acevedo. Both were murdered by the Anaheim police over the previous weekend.
On Saturday, July 21, immediately after Díaz was shot twice from behind, neighborhood friends and families confronted the police. The kkkops attacked the militant crowd — including entire families with children and babies in strollers — using rubber bullets and police dogs.
Then, on Tuesday, Anaheim workers and youth fought back! PL’ers joined the workers and students who refused to “ask” the cops for permission to voice their frustration. Instead, we demanded the jailing of killer cops. The crowd stormed City Hall and confronted the police and Anaheim council members and later marched to the Anaheim police station, blocking traffic and taking over the streets.
People pounded on cop cars and defiantly gathered at street intersections. Back at City Hall others yelled in the faces of cops and some angry youths bumped into the police line. The cops raised their batons and hit teenagers as young as 13, many shielding themselves with their skateboards.
One cop responded to teenagers throwing dirt clods by aiming his handgun at one youth. The crowd surged forward and pushed into the street. A young woman, a relative of one of the men shot execution-style, angrily stalked back and forth along the line of cops, yelling accusations of murder in their faces and jabbing her finger at each of their chests.
The large multiracial crowd grew to about 1,000 and continued to chant and confront the cops late into the night. These workers showed no fear in taking on these racist killers.
Capitalism’s Austerity Attacks Latino Workers
Working-class families have much to be angry about in Anaheim. This racially diverse city, with 53 percent of its population Latino, suffer the same high jobless rates, exorbitant housing costs and vicious austerity measures affecting education and other social services as the rest of California. While Disneyland and other corporations continue to receive large subsidies and public monies, working-class families employed at the “Happiest Place on Earth” get paid poverty wages, and are terrorized by trigger-happy cops. As exists worldwide, capitalism in crisis has only one slogan: “Save the Bosses, Banks and Corporations — Screw the Workers.”
Working-class communities like Anaheim live under repressive policies, anti-immigrant racism and fascist terror that use fear and direct violence to silence residents’ class anger. It’s no accident that Anaheim was California’s testing ground for the federal government’s racist Secure Communities, a program that combines the forces of the FBI and Immigration and Customs Enforcement in order to more effectively deport immigrant workers.
Like the rest of the U.S., California’s Latino youth are twice as likely compared to whites to be sentenced to prison. Black workers are six times more likely to be incarcerated. In addition to being imprisoned in both the state jails and in immigrant detention centers, Latino men in Anaheim are murdered frequently on the streets by cops.
Since 2007, these fascist Anaheim cops have murdered 16 people; nine were Latino. With the capitalist crisis deepening here, this racist trend is rapidly increasing. The killing of Díaz and Acevedo brought Anaheim police shootings in 2012 to six; five were Latino.
Many in the crowd asked about our signs, enlarged pictures of the CHALLENGE “WANTED For MURDER!” front page that condemned recent racist killings nation-wide. People readily agreed that police departments systematically terrorize black and brown communities and criticized the city’s suggestions that the recent tragic murders were the result of “a few bad cops.” Many took CHALLENGE, open to the idea that capitalism is at the root of these racist cop killings.
By Tuesday night’s end, 24 people were arrested and scores were injured. Driving past the many police blockades placed throughout the city, PL’ers smelled the smoke and saw the fires. We talked with some teenagers who lifted their shirts to show us the bruises the rubber bullets left on their bodies. They said the cops fired at them without warning.
Cops ‘Protect and Serve’ Bosses Profits
If they had any previous doubts about capitalism’s kkkops and courts, these youth now have no illusions; they know that the Anaheim police don’t “protect and serve” their community, but instead only protect and serve the interests of the bosses and their profits.
In California, unions and politicians are promoting Governor Brown’s “Tax Initiative” as a way to pacify working-class fight-back at our schools and jobsites by focusing on voting. Likewise, in Anaheim politicians and local religious figures are trying to win over residents with promises of federal investigations, policy changes or electing Latinos to the City Council. Many of these public figures are condemning the “violence” by protesters.
PL’ers will continue to support and stand side-by-side with our militant working-class sisters and brothers in Anaheim who showed no fear in fighting capitalism’s fascism and racist killer cops. We will continue to distribute CHALLENGE and build relationships, explaining to our friends why capitalism always needs racism and state violence (here and worldwide) to defend its profit and power by super-exploiting these victims of racism and trying to divide the working class.
From Brooklyn and the Bronx, NY, to Sanford, Florida, and Anaheim, workers must take to the streets and fight back against the bosses’ racism and kkkops. Progressive Labor Party is on the streets, in the schools, on our jobs, in the military — building our class anger and our Party to the fight for communist revolution. Only this can destroy the system that oppresses our class and then erect a society run by and for workers, the creators of all value.