Larry Krasner’s victory tonight was a decisive show of support from the people of Philadelphia for much needed changes in our broken criminal justice system. By taking a bold stand on the issues Larry showed that it is possible to win running a strong progressive campaign. The local activists who poured their heart and soul into this campaign deserve a huge amount of credit for this significant victory.
The election of a progressive DA, while a positive step, is only a start. One person cannot be expected to change the political culture of the city establishment. We need to keep organizing to put pressure on the whole system of mass incarceration and racist policing. We need to be vigilant for any dirty tricks from the city’s political machines between now and the November general election. We need to do the hard work of building independent political power linking ‘movement building’ to electoral politics to win real system wide reforms to improve the quality of life for working people. We need a party of the 99%.
The Trump administration is the most racist, reactionary, vicious, climate denying, pro business, anti working-class administration in decades. Along with the chaos and instability coming from White House, the Republicans have been emboldened at the state and city level to carry out attacks on immigrants, women, lgbtq people, unions, worker health and safety, wages, public education, unions, and environmental regulations.
The response by millions of youth and working class people to these attacks has been magnificent. Within hours of Trump’s election victory, we took to the streets to declare that we would resist. The ongoing wave of mass protests since Trump’s inauguration have underscored the complete lack of a mandate for his right wing policies. The temporary defeat of the Muslim ban and the departure of key cabinet appointments have shown that the Trump agenda can be beaten back.
But the fight is far from over. This administration will keep pushing its agenda as we saw last week when congress voted once more on repealing the Affordable Care Act, this time passing it on to the Senate. Even more alarming, racist hate groups are seizing the political moment to come out of their holes and begin organizing in public, raising their banner and taking to the streets.
Philadelphia has declared itself a sanctuary city, that it will not cooperate with ICE on detaining suspected undocumented workers, and Mayor Kenny and City Council have said they will stand firm and defend it. This is a great first step, but to make Philly a real sanctuary city we have to go beyond simple non-cooperation with ICE and use our city’s resources to actively defend our immigrant sisters and brothers. We have to make Philly a real sanctuary city for all working people:
No one has sanctuary without a living wage to provide for themselves and their family. Philadelphia needs $15 and a union.
No one has sanctuary without a stable home. Philadelphia needs a massive program to rehab its crumbling housing stock, community control of development and strong tenant rights protections.
No one has sanctuary without access to quality healthcare. Philadelphia needs Improved Medicare for All.
No one has sanctuary without high quality public education. Philadelphia needs fair funding formula and a democratically elected school board.
No one has sanctuary without an end to the militarization of the police, mass incarceration, private prisons and the school-to-prison pipeline. Philadelphia needs a real democratically elected police review board with full powers to subpoena, hire and fire.
When we fight together to make Philadelphia a real sanctuary for immigrants, we make it a better city for all working people.
Friday 5/19/2017 6pm
1315 Spruce St – William Way LGBT Community Center Ballroom
Confirmed Speakers To Date:
Andres Celin – Organizer with Youth United For Change*
Erika Almiron Niz – Executive Director Juntos*
Klyde Breitton – Organizer with Philly Tenants Union and member of Philly Socialists
Marty Harrison – TUHNA Executive Board Member*, 15 Now activist, and Member of Socialist Alternative
Hundreds of Philadelphians take to the streets last night in solidarity with the family of Mike Brown, the community of Ferguson, and to show our contempt of the Grand Jury decision not to indict Darren Wilson.
Indict Darren Wilson with a full investigation into the Ferguson police by community groups and labor unions.
For elected civilian review boards in all cities with the power of hiring and firing as a step towards community con- trol of the police.
Stop the militarization of the police! For the millions spent on new police weaponry to be invested in schools, health care, housing and public works.
For economic justice! For guaranteed quality jobs with a $15 an hour minimum wage.
For a new Black Freedom Movement to build coordinated national protests against racism, police violence and economic inequality.
Ferguson, a working class suburb north of St. Louis, erupted with outrage this weekend over the murder of Mike Brown, an 18-year-old African American boy, by a police officer. While mainstream media outlets largely ignored yet another police killing of an unarmed black youth, hundreds of grieving Ferguson residents took to the streets in the immediate aftermath of the shooting and demanded justice, many raising their arms and crying in unison “Please don’t shoot me.”
Witnesses of the murder say that Brown was walking to his grandmother’s apartment when a police officer in a patrol car told him and a friend to “get off the street.” Brown and his friend continued walking when the officer exited his car and fired a shot at the two men. Brown put his hands in the air and began to get down on the ground while the officer fired repeatedly, killing him. The Ferguson police department claims that Brown attacked the police officer and was shot afterwards, despite eyewitness accounts to the contrary.
It is clear that Mike Brown’s murder is yet another occurrence of the rampant police violence targeted at people of color across the United States. Last month, NYPD officers murdered Eric Garner, an unarmed black man selling loose cigarettes. In an under-reported incident in April in Philadelphia, two police officers in plain clothes shot 20-year-old Phillippe Holland, an unarmed African-American pizza delivery driver, after he drove away from them, thinking the officers were attempting to rob him. Holland did not die but was severely injured after being shot in the head, neck, and back.
Sunday night’s vigil in Ferguson was met with a heavy police presence. As the protest wore on, some participants engaged in looting and a local gas station was burned down. These actions represent the growing frustration and anger with unpunished police brutality, flagrant racism, and income inequality in America’s black working class neighborhoods.
Many onlookers are calling this looting “violence,” whereas a careful look reveals that the only “violence” that resulted in the injury of a human being yesterday was perpetrated by the state and by the police. Unfortunately US law under capitalism (and in turn the US media) prioritizes the preservation of corporate property over the destruction of black bodies.
Every capitalist state relies on this type of violence to reinforce and maintain property relations and systemic oppression. The police in such a state do not exist to protect and serve a diverse working-class, but the (largely white) ruling class and their corporations.
The question of Black liberation, however, does not easily reduce to a simple class question. There are special circumstances involved in the oppression of black people that require special attention and demands. The Ferguson rebellion cannot be dismissed as an unorganized or random occurrence and should not be called “the wrong way to express frustration.” Rebellions occur when a critical mass of oppressed people feel they have no other way to impact an unjust situation. Time and time again, police officers who brutalize people of color are treated with impunity, and Mike Brown’s friends and family now have no reasonable expectation of “justice” from the state. A police officer kills a black person every 28 hours in America. Nothing can bring our Mike Browns or Trayvon Martins back from the dead, and no amount of vigils or peace walks seem to be able to stop police violence in the future.
The Ferguson Rebellion demonstrates that working class people of color who are the victims of police brutality are actively seeking some alternative to our feckless elected leaders’ promises to “investigate” the police or “hold officers accountable.” All working class people–that’s you and me and everyone who is angry about Mike Brown’s death– need to build powerful organizations with an eye not just on punishing aberrant individual police officers, but on fundamentally overturning America’s racist police state and the capitalist system that relies on it.
We cannot rely on the city, state or feds to prosecute corrupt or violent police officers. We need independent democratically elected community police review boards with the power to investigate, discipline and dismiss racist, corrupt and violent officers. We need an end to ‘stop and frisk’. We need an end to the ‘war on drugs’ that is criminalizing our youth. We need decent schools and jobs in our communities.
It is the task of socialists to fight racism and all oppression with class unity, to build strategic channels for righteous anger that funnel energy towards dismantling the weapons of the ruling class, especially the weapons that overwhelmingly brutalize our black and brown brothers and sisters. These multiracial revolutionary channels will be built as we struggle together for a just socialist world. We stand in solidarity with the protesters in Ferguson and will be out this Thursday at 7pm at Love Park to stand alongside all Philadelphians building a movement against racist police brutality in our city and across the US.