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Letters of October 25

Learning to Fight in St. Louis
After kkkkop Jason Stockley was acquitted for the murder of Anthony Lamar Smith, the working class of St. Louis rebelled (see front page). A small collective led by PLP recently joined the struggle in solidarity. These are their letters.
For some of those on the trip to St. Louis, it would be their third or fourth time visiting from Chicago since Ferguson. This was my first time.
Upon arriving, we checked for news. The first article that came up from a “St Louis” Google search was an article reporting a banner drop at the Cardinals vs. Brewers baseball game before we had arrived in the city.
The banner depicted a cardinal wearing a jersey with “#Expect Us” in place of the team name. In the cardinal’s hand was a sign that read “Racism Lives Here” with the script “Stop Killing Us!!” written below the image. Afterwards, workers took the streets to show their continued discontent with the murders of black workers in the city. Sure enough, tensions were still high, and workers were demanding justice for father and soon-to-be husband Anthony Lamar Smith.
The next day, we arrived at the City Justice Center and met with a member of a grassroots group Lost Voices. They said they had been waiting for two comrades that had been assaulted and mishandled by kkkops the night before.
We made a friend with whom we talked about the notion of black workers being considered three-fifths of a person. We had discussion about how the 13th amendment states that no person can be held as a slave unless they are a criminal.
There were other workers who welcomed us with open arms. One worker had familiarity with the party. He spoke of revolution on the bullhorn. He had said that they “were not a charity” and that money is not what they wanted. In contrast, we attended another community event of churches and charities, and all they wanted was money.
We also visited Ferguson where the majority of rebellion took place after the murder of Mike Brown in 2014.
During dinner with a local friend we made earlier, we discussed reformism and revolution. There was criticism towards how the organizers are approaching the fightback. Some saw non-violent protests as the way to fight without being met with violence from the kkkops. There is talk of reform. Some mentioned revolution, but the overarching solution the workers had was to alter the current system instead of creating a new one.
A lot of self-criticism took place during this trip in regards to my participation in fightback at home. I look forward to being able to have more time for involvement in the fightback after graduation.
Workers wear many faces and come from many places. The struggle is all the same though. We saw the same fight against racism, sexism, and classism in St. Louis that we've seen in Chicago. However, it was still a fresh and informative experience.
A community leader showed us around. We had good conversation with him even though we didn't really get to explain our ideas for a better world as communists. Instead, we understood our role as guests and listened. Eventually, he mentioned there was going to be a Black Lives Matter protest at a shopping mall. We arrived to the mall and saw protesters inside the mall shouting "black lives matter!" so we tried to join but the doors were locked.
As we were looking for new friend, protesters started leaving the mall and closed off the intersection outside the mall. There was a small group of leaders at the center of the protest chanting, along with about 40-50 chanting along with them. Towards the end, we all formed a huddle in the middle as one protester gave a speech. "We can't be separated in the fight. Neither of us are allies. We are all brothers and sisters. We will continue fighting racism no matter the opposition." What a way to end the trip.
Driving down St. Louis, we saw two tents in front of a courthouse jail. There was a cloth banner with “Shut it Down for Justice because Black Lives Matter” painted on it. Youth and older men gathered to talk about the prior night while their eyelashes painted white with mace. Chests showing taser marks. Two older white males with long beards walked by with their baseball hats and shook hands with one of the older black protesters. I feel it was a conversation to try to understand the other side.
They were waiting for their reverend to come out after the prior night of marching. The cops separated the reverend and crushed his glasses. The two men who tried saving the reverend got maced and tazed. One of the guys had traveled from California and brought his emotional support puppy, which apparently also got maced.
The protesters passed around flyers for a community block party organized by all the churches in the area, free food for anyone, haircuts for the large amount of homeless youth, live music and lots of welcoming people. In a way, it seems like the community helps itself out, it’s great, but it’s probably done out of need. A man was talking to us about how he had started wanting to help with one thing and it ended up turning into a mentoring program for the youth teaching them how to read.
In conclusion, I feel as if we should contribute and support efforts in this area.


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