No Justice for Delrawn Small, Push Limits on the Job
Friday, December 8, 2017 at 12:50PM
Challenge_DesafĂ­o

BROOKLYN, November 27—Wayne Isaacs, a Black kkkop, was found not guilty on October 23 for murdering 37-year-old Delrawn Small in a 4 of July road rage dispute. This was an instant reminder that this racist murderous system of capitalism will continue to defend the kkkops who help maintain it.  Instantly, thoughts turned to a student, Delrawn’s family member, who attends a Brooklyn high school where a few communist teachers in the Progressive Labor Party have a base.  
We knew we had to organize a school-wide response to support our student and to get students and staff in motion over this racist attack.
Murdered on July 4
Seconds after Small approached cop Isaac’s car, the off duty cop shot him three times while Small’s family, including his 14-year-old daughter, watched. In court, the lawyer said, “The defendant [cop Isaac] came out of the car, not to render aid, but to coldly walk by Small’s body, get on the phone and call 911 to allege he was attacked, punched, as Delrawn Small laid on the concrete in his own blood…It happened so fast, in one second, he ended his life in front of his family, stumbled a few feet and fell” (NY Daily News, 10/23).
On the day the capitalist courts ruled this murder as legal, Victor Dempsey, Small’s brother, said the outcome “goes to show the system is not for black people. I don’t care how we look at it.” (New York Times, 11/7).
Following the murder, some PL teachers participated in a rally organized by his family. We introduced ourselves as communist teachers to her family. One PL teacher who at the time was teaching summer school organized her classes to write letters of support to the family. This had a significant impact on both our student and her family who felt the school was supportive.
Organizing After the Verdict
One teacher reached out to the student’s mother to offer condolences and express our outrage at the verdict. The mom was not surprised by the outcome. We suggested organizing a rally in front of the school at the end of the week to condemn racist police murder and to show school-wide support to the family. Both student and parent agreed. We then organized an emergency staff meeting and an emergency student meeting. Staff was supportive of the rally. At the student meeting, our courageous student attended, along with a handful of others and plans were made for how to get the word out to the student body.
They made flyers calling on all to attend. Student leaders posted them around the school.
Fighting in Hard Times
We were happy with the plan and enthusiasm in the school to denounce racist police murder and support our student. We knew we were pushing the limits in this time period of increased cynicism by calling for a mass action directly in front of the school.
Unfortunately, we did not take into account the great fear, individualism and willingness to go along with the status quo that exists amongst the administration. Our lack of full objectivity allowed us to underestimate the enemy and we did not make a plan to counter it. As soon as students began putting up flyers, the administration took them down. One bold student, who hates this racist system to its core, confronted an administrator she saw taking down the flyers. The student quickly went back to tell the others, and they made plans to distribute the flyers more clandestinely.
Unfortunately the rally was canceled. It may be that the administration heightened Delrawn’s family member’s fear that the rally would bring too much attention to her. Or it may be that they convinced her to call off the rally. Either way, the next day our student thanked us for our support but asked that we call off the rally. We called another emergency meeting to let students know. Many were disappointed and angry because they felt that the administration had won.
But we all realized we had to respect our student’s wishes and instead decided to organize a moment of silence at our next school assembly and a dedicated wall where students and staff could write messages of support to the family.
Marx wrote to Engels about the ebb and flow of class struggle, where there are “developments of such magnitude 20 years are no more than a day…though these may be again succeeded by days into which 20 years are embodied.” We are in a time when days are as slow as years in terms of struggle. It is important in this difficult period of low class struggle and class-consciousness to continue to get the people around us in motion against this racist, murderous system. We may not always be able to make our plans of action a reality, but we must push the limits and create a culture of fightback. These small steps forward represent progress as we continue on the road to the destruction of capitalism and all the misery it unleashes worldwide.

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