‘We must stand up and take back our streets!’
There’s a fine line between justice and murder. Legally justice is the proper administration of the law; the fair and equitable treatment of all individuals under the law. The dictionary definition for murder is the crime of killing another person deliberately, not in self-defense or with any other extenuating circumstance recognized by law.
Time and time again we’ve watched police nationwide violate our rights and gun down our youth. NY cops hide behind their badges as excuses to kill innocent young men and women with no more penalty than a police desk job or termination after drawn-out legal procedures.
The most recent act of deadly force occurred when [a black] NYPD Det. Atkins gunned down a good friend of mine, Shantel Davis. As someone who knew them both, I know this is a gross lack of judgment by the NYPD for allowing a bigot such as Atkins to remain on the force long enough to kill an unarmed individual. I’ve had several encounters with Atkins before stop-and-frisk was an “issue.” I was interrogated, searched and taunted with no more probable cause then my skin color and gender.
Atkins is not alone! Even though he’s solely responsible for murdering Shantel Davis, he’s just one of the many NYPD’s ticking time bombs. We workers pay the salary of the same officers who turn around to harass, illegally jail and gun down our children and grandchildren.
Don’t wait until they kill your child. Stand up before the NYPD murders someone else’s child. It’s a vicious cycle in our community where our recurring encounters with police have become so normal that people ignore the injustices and dismiss it as routine.
Why is this so widely accepted in the urban communities? Why does your zip code and skin color determine how much police interaction you will have, whether engaged in illegal activities or not? We rely on politicians and TV personalities to broadcast our feelings of disrespect and hopefulness but when will we, as a whole, stand up for ourselves, our rights and our children’s future?
We’ve asked for equality long enough and still face some of the same barriers we’ve been fooled into believing we’ve broken down. They kill our unarmed youth and then flood the media with rap sheets and allegations as if to justify their actions. They never flood the media with allegations and infractions of the officers whom they stand by so firmly.
We can no longer rely on department “investigations” and Internal Affairs to produce the truth. We must get the answers ourselves. We must educate our friends and family on what police are and aren’t allowed to do to us and lift the veil which has been placed over society’s face and led us to believe these police actions are justified. I’ve been pulled over and harassed while I watch countless people walk past as if nothing was happening. We need to stand up as a community and take back our streets!
There’s no reason why, in 2012, we should still be facing a racism issue in a country that calls itself the “Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave.” This is definitely the land of the brave because when you’re a young black male growing up in these inner city neighborhoods you’re brave for even walking these streets, already knowing that the police will target you, crime or no crime. My friend was gunned down with no explanation no apologies and no remorse.
Racism no longer confines itself to Caucasians hating African-Americans. This disease has buried itself deep within our community and has caused a sick self-hatred like no other. I don’t know exactly Atkins’ nationality but I know his skin color was as dark as mine. They’ve drilled it into our heads that we’re a threat to society and we in turn gun down and fear our own brothers and sisters.
We’ve came a long way when it comes to white people and racism. You even see Caucasians more actively involved in the movement than we ourselves. Now the tables have turned and we’re now forced to deal with racism amongst our own brothers and sisters in our community.
It starts with us. We, as the younger generation who deal with the struggles everyday, must become more active in the fight for equality. If we do not unify and stand together as one, there’s no way we can defeat the demons we face on a daily basis.
STOP relying on other people and authority figures to do the work. We blame the system and speak of hopefulness but we are the ones that have the voice and ability to change the system. This is a subject I can speak about all day, but I end this chapter with a question: What will you do to change the wrongs around you?
May Day: Salvador PL’ers Expose FMNL Traitors
On May Day in El Salvador there were two marches: one led by the pseudo-leftists, the FMLN (Farabundo Martí National Liberation Front), and another led by angry students and unions such as teachers and health care workers who currently fight to get out from under the FMNL’s influence, but still retain some socialist nostalgia.
PLP participated in the march to honor the memory of the workers killed by the bosses in Chicago in 1886. But we also marched with the rest of the working class struggling against — and to get rid of — capitalist exploitation.
PLP organized 116 comrades into four collectives to coordinate agitation, distributing DESAFIO and 5,000 fliers which condemned the capitalist massacres and wars forced on us. The so-called leftist unions only asked for reforms. The FMLN marched as if this were a religious procession, but simultaneously acted as cops.
One FMLN member — a former major of Soyapango, Carlos Ruiz, called “the little devil” — took our literature and then insulted our comrade. This only mirrors the FMLN’s service to the capitalists’ interests.
College students used loudspeakers to condemn this element. Our literature, including 100 CHALLENGES, was well received by the workers, indicating the great potential we have and the fact that we have much more to do.
The workers in El Salvador, as in the rest of the world, have no other alternative than to organize ourselves in the PLP to fight for a communist world, one that hoists only one red flag — we are one international working class.
For this we need real communist discipline as well as to break with capitalist illusions, with the individualism and selfishness which the bosses’ propaganda has used to fragment us for decades.
We must break the chains that imprison us — wars, fascism, borders, sexism, racism, nationalism — to fight all the evils of this murderous system in every corner of the world. We have the potential to organize the international working class, to teach our children to turn their guns against the bosses, not against their working-class sisters and brothers. Join the PLP.
Comrade from El Salvador
Obama’s Minimum Wage Fakery: Starvation, Inc.
The U.S. federal government defines the “federal poverty level” (FPL) as the “minimum amount of gross income that a family needs for food, clothing, transportation, shelter and other necessities.” FPL is currently set by the Census Bureau — which is part of the Department of Commerce, part of Obama’s cabinet — at $23,050 per year for a family of four (about $11 per hour). The administration is required to update it annually according to rising inflation, but it is based only on an estimate from the food budget for minimal nutrition without taking into account how other necessities have risen in cost.
Contrast this with something called “self-sufficiency wages,” which is based on the amount needed to provide the necessities without any government aid, whether that aid is in the form of tax credits, welfare payments, food stamps, Medicaid, public housing, child care, or any other subsidy. You might think those would be about the same figure, but you would be wrong.
A professor in the University of Washington School of Social Work, Diana Pearce, has calculated self-sufficiency wages based on most of the 50 states in the U.S. She has come up with figures for families of various sizes and in various states and counties. For example, in Tucson, a family of four needs $49,563 per year ($23.83 per hour). The federal minimum wage is $7.65 per hour, which doesn’t even meet their own $11-per-hour level needed to barely rise out of their definition of poverty. Therefore it takes more than twice the FPL wage to live. You are not defined by the feds as impoverished unless you make less than half that amount.
In other words, Congress and the Obama administration (and all administrations) don’t give a bloody damn if you starve to death or live on the street or have to leave your young kids home alone while you work. More than half the families in the U.S. live on less than $49,563 per year, the self-sufficiency wage. That is, more than half of the workers in the U.S. are actually impoverished, while the super rich grow ever richer with the help of Obama and the Congress. Can anyone doubt that we need to overthrow this system and replace it with one run by the working class?
Meeting CHALLENGE Seller ‘Is highlight of my week’
Having the privilege of being one of the CHALLENGE sellers at the recent Unitarian convention, I encountered mostly friendly responses. There was one article about the main topic this year: Immigration Reform, which seemed a good idea others might emulate — making sure an article pertinent to any convention’s topic, be it a union, the MLA (Modern Language Association) or any national health association, is in the paper during the convention.
While selling this year, several times I indicated it was a communist paper and usually got “interesting” as a response, but nothing as outstanding as one in particular: a young woman delegate listened as I pointed out a few articles, ending with, “and this is a Communist newspaper.”
She stared at me very intently, “So you are a communist and a Unitarian?” I said yes, and added that many of the principles were the same.
Her face became so serious that I had no idea what she was thinking, and I became a little apprehensive. After a long moment she said, “This is the highlight of my week, meeting you.” She took my information gladly, however was reluctant to give me hers. She did say that she would be in touch. I think she will.
A Unitarian Communist