The white supremacist attack on Minneapolis's #4thPrecinctShutDown encampment, which left five protesters wounded, must be answered with mass action across the country. The movement in Minneapolis immediately returned to the streets — joined the day after the attack by a powerful high school walkout that had taken place earlier in the day.
Now it is time for all of us to respond and send a unified message: we will not be intimidated!
In Minneapolis, the encampment was formed at the precinct to demand justice for Jamar Clark and demand the facts in his case be revealed. Clark, like so many other young and unarmed Black men, was recently murdered by police. The police claim he reached for a gun but many witnesses stated he was killed execution-style.
In Cleveland, one year after the murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice, there still have been no charges against the cop who killed him. In Chicago, it took a year of constant pressure and agitating to force the indictment of the cop who killed teenager Laquan McDonald with 16 bullets. In the vast majority of cases — from Eric Garner to Alex Nieto, Michael Brown to Jessica Hernandez — there have been no indictments at all.
Racism and police brutality are nothing new in America. What changed last summer was the Ferguson Rebellion, which gave birth to a new movement. Now Ferguson is everywhere. Baltimore is everywhere. Minneapolis is everywhere. The Black Lives Matter movement has stopped business as usual, marched and disrupted, died in and camped out, mobilized and organized — and along the way changed the consciousness of millions.
The racists and fascists are attacking, just as they always have done when the anti-racist movement has surged forward. From Reconstruction to the Civil Rights Movement to the present day, the white supremacist language of the political class has been accompanied by violence and terror on the ground.
The white supremacists who shot into the crowd last night are like the Klansmen who shot up civil rights offices in the 1960s. Those Donald Trump supporters who beat up a Black Lives Matter protester last week, encouraged by the GOP front-runner himself, recalled the country's lynch mob culture of a century ago. Charleston of 2015 was Birmingham in 1963.
There is no option but to fight back. There can be no retreat for the movement for the simple reason that there is no place to retreat to — not in this country that was built on slavery, genocide and Empire. In the oppressed communities, the police continue to kill — with over 1,000 deaths at their hands in 2015 alone. On the campuses, racists are forming “White Student Unions.” On the airwaves and on social media, racist politicians and candidates are given 24-hour free publicity to promote their hatred in increasingly explicit ways.
The state clearly will not give safety to the oppressed. These shootings, after all, happened at a highly monitored protest directly next to a police precinct. As in all great historical movements, the people fighting back will now rise to meet the challenge of repression and violence by developing higher levels of organization to protect themselves. That too is now a task of the movement, in addition to organizing, mobilizing, marching and educating.
The white supremacists in this country have always been powerful, aided as they are by the media and the state, but they can be defeated. They are dangerous cowards who are fighting for an ugly past, while the Black, Latino, Arab, Native, Asian and white people fighting together against racism are fighting for the future. And now, in the face of this fascist attack, the movement will fight harder.
Minneapolis has not been cowed. The chant “Justice for Jamar!” rings out on the streets louder than ever. We in the ANSWER Coalition stand in solidarity with the people of Minneapolis and will be in the streets in cities across the country tomorrow, and in the coming days and weeks.
Stop the war on Black America! Justice for all victims of racist police terror and vigilante violence! The people united will never be defeated!