October 10, 2014 - No. 82
Fight for Justice in Ferguson,
Support the Resistance to
State-Organized Racist Attacks!
for Justice in Ferguson, Missouri
• Support the Resistance to State-Organized
• Failure of Justice Department and Obama in
Ferguson Is a Failure of U.S.-Style Democracy - Voice of
• Support Continued Resistance in Ferguson,
Missouri - Voice of Revolution
• Calls to Demonstrate October 10-13
• Reports From Youth Resisting in Ferguson
Fight for Justice in Ferguson, Missouri
Support the Resistance to
State-Organized Racist Attacks!
On August 9, unarmed African American youth Michael
Brown was shot and killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson,
Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. The incident began when Wilson stopped
Brown and friend for jaywalking and the situation escalated from there.
Wilson attempted to drag Brown
into his cruiser, but Brown fled. Wilson fired his weapon at Brown who
stopped, turned around and raised his hands. Wilson then fired several
more shots, killing Brown. Since that moment, protests have been taking
place in Ferguson and around the U.S. to demand justice for Michael
Brown and that Officer Wilson,
the Ferguson police and the powers that be, be held to account for the
brutal killing of an unarmed youth.
Furthermore, on the evening of Wednesday, October 8,
another black youth was killed by police, this time in the Shaw
neighbourhood of St. Louis, about 20 kilometres south of Ferguson. The CS Monitor reports that "a white
off-duty police officer chased and shot a black high school student
named Vonderrit Myers, Jr., whom police allege fired at the officer
first." Reports say 17 shots were fired by the unnamed police officer.
The 18-year-old's family says Vonderrit was carrying a sandwich, not a
Meanwhile, investigations into the killing of Michael
Brown continue and a Grand Jury is currently underway, although there
are serious indications of corruption on the part of the prosecutor and
the fact that the jury, with just one African American juror is not
representative of the local
population which is 60 per cent African American. Police reports on the
incident say the Brown assaulted Wilson and attempted to grab his
weapon, which even if it were true does not justify the police slaying
an unarmed youth who is in the process of surrendering.
The situation is more than just
questionable judgement on the part of a single police officer. The
massive outpouring of rage from people of all walks of life against the
killing of Michael Brown is an expression of the injustice, racism,
state violence and political disenfranchisement faced by African
and national minorities everyday in the U.S., especially the youth. The
people of the United States are organizing to end state-organized
racism and police violence and impunity. TML expresses its sincere
condolences to the family of Michael Brown and calls on Canadians to
make sure there is no conciliation in Canada with attempts to exonerate
this state-organized racism against the American people.
Protestors have made clear, through daily actions since
August 9, that until there is justice there will be no peace. These
protests have continued despite even more police violence being used to
suppress protests. The youth in particular vehemently reject the use of
force to get them to give up their just demands
and are more adamant than ever. In that vein, a call has gone out for
people to come to Ferguson for actions on October 10-13, including a
mass demonstration in St. Louis on October 11 (see item below).
The ongoing events in Ferguson, greater St. Louis and
all across the United States show the clash between
the conditions faced by the youth, African Americans and national
minorities and an authority that refuses to guarantee
rights. This refusal of the U.S. state to afford its citizens the most
basic rights is an outrage. The unjust killing of Michael
Brown and the use of state violence to attack those who seek justice
shows the utter inability of the U.S. ruling circles to modernize the
social and political arrangements. The ongoing violation of rights is
there for the world to see and a condemnation of U.S. hypocrisy and
double standards on the question of human
rights, which the U.S. imperialists self-servingly use to attack the
right to be of countries around the world.
TML salutes the steadfast resistance of the
youth and all those fighting for justice and the rights of all in
Ferguson and across the U.S. It is through their own efforts that they
will provide a way forward for the society, provide themselves a bright
future and work out the practical ways to affirm the rights of all.
Failure of Justice Department and Obama in Ferguson Is
a Failure of U.S.-Style Democracy
In several statements concerning the just resistance in
Ferguson, Missouri to the police killing of an unarmed African American
teenager, President Obama urged calm instead of anger. While saying he
understood the passions and anger, he did not speak to their source in
the racism of police departments across
the country and the whole culture of militarism that pervades policing
agencies from the federal FBI, Drug Enforcement Agency, Bureau of
Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Immigration and Customs Enforcement and
many others to state, county and local police. And in failing to
identify these problems, the actions
being taken, like the Justice Department investigation, are not
designed to solve them. On the contrary, they are designed to admit
some fault while leaving the source -- the racism and militarism of the
U.S. state -- untouched.
President Obama did not go to
Ferguson himself, saying he had to wait until the "investigations" are
complete. He did send Attorney General Eric Holder, who in turn sent 50
FBI agents to Ferguson to make their presence known and question
people. This is the same FBI notorious for its spying and disruption
of anti-war, Palestinian and Muslim groups in the present, and its
arming and protecting of the KKK while targeting civil rights groups
and organizations like the Black Panthers in the past. It is an agency
racist to the bone and known to ensure that state-organized racist
attacks are covered up, all while being
President Obama's comments show that the holding the
U.S. state and its racist policing agencies to account -- from top to
bottom -- is
to be blocked. Speaking August 18, he said, "We have all seen images of
protesters and law enforcement in the streets. It's clear that the vast
majority of people are peacefully protesting.
What's also clear is that a small minority of individuals are not.
"While I understand the passions and the anger that
arise over the death of Michael Brown, giving into that anger by
looting or carrying guns, and even attacking the police only serves to
raise tensions and stir chaos. It undermines rather than advancing
justice." He urges protesters to "seek some understanding
rather than simply holler at each other." So, while by his own
admission the vast majority are peacefully protesting, they are still
his main target. The stand of protestors against police and condemning
them is what is undermining justice -- not the brutal, racist actions
of the police themselves, imbued as they are
with a militarist culture. As people worldwide are well aware, this
militarist culture is racist to the core, constantly dehumanizes the
peoples and justifies their slaughter by portraying them as less than
human -- much as was done with slaves.
It is the military that coins racist terms and drills
them into the soldiers' heads and popularizes them in the monopoly
media. A militarist culture relies on violence and force, not political
solutions to social problems. Ferguson police, like the county and
state police, cannot escape this pervasive culture and instead
repeatedly reflect it. This is the culture of U.S.-style democracy
today and reflects its failure to provide solutions or even protections
in this modern day.
Obama does attempt to speak to the issue of excessive
force, saying, "Let me also be clear that our constitutional rights to
speak freely, to assemble, and to report in the press must be
vigilantly safeguarded: especially in moments like these. There's no
excuse for excessive force by police or any action that denies
people the right to protest peacefully."
There is no excuse for excessive force by police, which
is precisely what was repeatedly on display for the world to see. And
this includes the continued killing of unarmed African American
teenagers and men, in St. Louis, in Los Angeles, in New York City and
Chicago and elsewhere.
Excessive use of force, repeatedly exercised by police
on a racist basis, has no place. Yet no actions were taken by the
federal government to stop the excessive use of force, and repeated
display of combat-level force used against demonstrators. What is the
excuse?! Perhaps an investigation is needed to prove
what is right before everyone's eyes.
The people of Ferguson and their just anger are not the
problem. Young African American teenagers and men are not the problem.
U.S.-style democracy, with its racist core and culture of militarism
today is the problem. It is a failed democracy and its representatives
necessarily fail when it comes to solving
The people of Ferguson have shown they know what justice
requires and that charging the individual policeman involved with
murder is necessary but not enough. They have said they have no trust
in the existing system, including the various police agencies,
prosecutors, grand jury, FBI and politicians. But they
are not the ones deciding these issues -- and they should be, just as
the people as a whole should be the decision makers. It is the people,
organized and fighting for their rights, as those in Ferguson have
been, that are the source of justice and democracy. It is the right of
the people to govern and decide and that
is what is required for democracy today.
Support Continued Resistance in Ferguson, Missouri
Michael Brown -- unarmed
and with his hands in the air -- was shot by police officer Darren
Wilson August 9 in Ferguson, Missouri. He was an African American
teenager, headed to college.
Resistance in Ferguson to the brutal police killing has
continued ever since with daily actions of various kinds being
organized. A major demonstration with people coming in from across the
country is planned for October 11, with additional actions October
10-13. The unyielding protesters have maintained a
memorial to Brown at the site of the shooting. They also organized to
rebuild it, with pictures, candles and poems, after recent efforts to
burn it down. Tent encampments of youth were also established. For
weeks, one of the youth collectives that has formed, Lost Voices, had
an encampment on West Florissant Avenue,
blocks away from where Brown was killed. The youth, many who knew
Brown, gathered to discuss tactics to continue their fight and also to
inform themselves about their rights. A second encampment also existed
near the police station, a main target of current demonstrations.
Youth and the many adults supporting them have also
continued to contend with police brutality and hundreds of arrests,
using various tactics as needed. When told they could not block foot
traffic on the sidewalk, they used bicycles in the streets. When police
tried to enforce a five-second rule, where anyone
stopping for more than five seconds would be arrested, protesters
locked arms to prevent arrests and continued their action. They also
took the police department to court arguing the rule was meant to block
their right to protest.
In response to police claims that protests should end so
things can "get back to normal," youth responded, "How we were living
before wasn't normal!" They affirmed their right to resist police
brutality and killings and racism of the government, which they
regularly confronted. In the course of battle they are
learning more about their rights and organizing to affirm them.
Both tent encampments were recently raided by police,
without provocation. Police confiscated all the private property of the
youth. At the Lost Voices encampment, for example, on September 26, ten
patrol cars and 3 flatbed trucks were used to surrounded the encampment
and forcibly remove belongings. These
included 13 air mattresses, 10 tents and five coolers. Two people were
arrested, including a young woman organizer, for demanding their
rights. She demanded to be given time to secure the belongings and was
put in a chokehold and arrested. Police took these actions in a short
time, perhaps in an effort to intimidate
protesters who are organizing now for the October events. Youth are
organizing to re-establish their encampments at a different location.
In other battles, police insisted that demonstrators
disperse after 11pm, using a noise ordinance as their excuse.
Protesters have refused. One night about 200 people banged pots and
pans for much of the evening.
On September 27, the night after police raided the
encampment, protesters again gathered in the street in front of the
police station. They were joined by a group of clergy members. The
youth chanted, "I put my hands on my head, don't shoot me dead!"
Through such chants and raising their hands during protests,
demonstrators have shown their respect for Brown as well as their
defiance of police -- that even with threats of being shot with hands
in the air, they will not yield.
Shortly after 11pm, police told the demonstrators to
leave or risk arrest. Police began to line up in military fashion,
holding shields and batons at the ready. The clergy members kneeled to
pray. Two rows of young people formed. They asked the clergy to stand
behind to shield them. As police came forward
the youth were unfazed, saying they had the right to protest. They
locked arms and said, "Take one, take all!" Standing firm, as they have
repeatedly done, their protest continued. In this case the police
The struggle in Ferguson continues to reveal the unjust,
racist character of the U.S. state from top to bottom, as well as the
path forward -- fighting for rights. The defiance of those in Ferguson
has been an inspiration to all. The many resisting have demonstrated
that by taking matters in our own hands and defending
rights, we can deprive the rich and their police of their power to
deprive us of rights. It is police and government impunity that is the
crime, resistance the solution. Ferguson has been on unyielding on this
issue and on their demand for justice. Voice of Revolution
urges people to join the action October
11 and lend support through other means, such as holding local rallies
October 11 and promoting this struggle for Justice Now!
Calls to Demonstrate October 10-13
We Will Gather in Ferguson, But the World Will Hear Our
Call for Change
"Droves of people, many of
them young and black, took to the streets of Ferguson, Missouri to
demand justice for Mike Brown. Millions stood in solidarity as
protestors were met by a brutal and militarized response by local
"Our country can no longer deny the epidemic of police
violence facing Black and Brown communities. Mike Brown is now part of
a long list of people like John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Eric Garner,
Oscar Grant and countless others who have been unjustly killed by
police. Their lives mattered.
"Join Hands Up United, Organization for Black Struggle,
Missourians Organizing for Reform and Empowerment and our partners in
Ferguson from October 10-13 for a weekend of resistance. We are hosting
a series of public events -- marches, convenings and panels -- to build
momentum for a nationwide movement
against police violence.
We Need You in Ferguson October 10 --13
Hands Up United writes,
"Young brothers and sisters in
Ferguson remain under siege. Too many community spaces have been raided
and peaceful protests have been met with vicious police brutality and
violence. We need your help to reclaim the city.
Join us in Ferguson, Mo. for a weekend of resistance Oct. 10--Oct. 13.
"As young, black men, we've known what it's like to be a
target of suspicion much of our lives. That's why we're coming together
for #FergusonOctober to reverse the senseless, rarely prosecuted police
violence that has plagued black and brown communities for generations.
As we continue to put pressure on
officials in Ferguson, St. Louis and around the country, we know we are
"It was young people who first bravely took to the
streets following Michael Brown's murder demanding real change and
justice. We must continue to stand. We are in the fight of our lives.
We come together to demand, 'Not one more!'
"Will you take a stand October 10--13? Commit to join us
in Ferguson, Missouri. Let's do this."
Justice Now March
Friday, October 10 --
Buzz Westfall Justice Center
100 S Central Ave., Clayton, Missouri
To kick off our Weekend of Resistance, we will march on
Prosecuting Attorney's Bob McCulloch's office to demand Justice for
Mike Brown. In order to get justice, McCulloch needs to step aside.
Justice for All: National March and Rally
Saturday, October 11
-- 10:00 am-2:00 pm
Scott Trade Center
1401 Clark Ave., St. Louis, Missouri
Thousands of people from Ferguson, St. Louis and the
nation will come together and show our strength as we stand united
against police violence, both here in Ferguson and across the country.
We will march through downtown St. Louis and rally at Keiner Plaza
sending a message across the world: Not One
Hip Hop & Hope
Sunday, October 12
TBA, St. Louis area
We will be hosting events at houses of worship
throughout the St. Louis area to commemorate the lives of those we've
lost to police violence. Additionally, we'll be hosting a music event
during the afternoon in the Ferguson area.
Moral Monday Civil Disobedience
Monday, October 13 --
10:00 am-12:00 pm
TBA, Ferguson and St. Louis
Power concedes nothing without a demand. On Monday, we
are taking our cue from the fearless activists in North Carolina who
were inspired to fight back against right-wing attacks there and across
the South. They kicked off the Moral Mondays movement for progressive
change by engaging in civil disobedience
every week, reminding all of us that these actions have been a part of
every major movement for change. We will be hosting a series of actions
throughout the Ferguson and St. Louis area.
Reports From Youth Resisting in Ferguson
"In Saint Louis County, the police
have a history of racial profiling and abusing the power of the shield.
In Saint Louis County all of the cards are stacked against young black
people. Mike Brown's untimely demise was the tipping point in Saint
Louis County. We believe he was brutally assassinated. His body
lay in the streets of the Canfield Green Apartment Complex for over
four hours. It was as if he was publicly lynched by the Ferguson Police
Department and his body was left on display as a mechanism of fear.
"The community responded to this wrongdoing with much
disdain and the police launched a preemptive and massively militarized
offensive. We were tear gassed and shot down in the streets by rubber
and wooden bullets as if we were dogs. I woke up one morning and there
were armored military vehicles stationed
around the corner from my mother's house. I saw helicopters and fighter
jets flying above my childhood elementary school. Palestinians tweeted
advice on how to construct makeshift gas masks in St. Louis. A vast
majority of the police officers who fired upon us do not even live in
or near the neighborhoods they
"There's a saying on the streets: 'Mike Brown means
we've got to fight back.' Darren Wilson shot down Mike Brown and the
Ferguson Police Department attempted to vilify the victim. Young people
in the city of Saint Louis viewed these reprehensible acts as a
declaration of war. There was no meeting of the
minds. Mike Brown sparked a universal moment of clarity for young black
people. We feel as if no one in a position of power respects us. We
feel as if we are not viewed as humans. Police officers blatantly
referred to us as monkeys and dogs. A select few have lost their jobs
as result of their actions, but a great
many remain gainfully employed.
"We suddenly found ourselves on the parking lot of
McDonald's surrounded by members of the National Guard with M-16's
trained on our every movement. Our behavior was completely legal and
peaceful... At this moment I realized it was basically all of us
together versus the tyrannical order of the police
and the National Guard.
"This is the moment I asked myself, 'Why did I vote for
Barack Obama twice? Why are we being treated like this simply for
demanding justice for our fallen brother?' I decided it is possible
I'll never vote for another American president for as long as I live.
We live in America but we are clearly not included
as Americans. Americans don't unleash a completely militarized force
upon other Americans. Americans don't tear gas other Americans.
Americans don't drive tanks over the front yards of other Americans. By
classical definition we are still poor black people who reside in
America, but we are not considered equal
to fellow American citizens and lawmakers. Our hopes and dreams are not
valued or respected. Our worries and concerns often fall upon deaf ears.
"During this time I've pulled children out of clouds of
tear gas. I've witnessed white women who are members of the clergy
collectively praying in front of tanks and armored vehicles. One of
these women was mercilessly shot with a rubber bullet by the police
while praying for peace. Our neighborhood was
occupied by the police as if they were an invading army laying siege to
their enemy and pillaging the remains. Our basic civil rights were
stripped away as we were treated like cattle in the name of a sick,
sadistic experiment in martial law. We assumed that our beloved, black
president would come to our defense
and speak about the perils of police brutality, racial profiling, and
Mike Brown's unfortunate demise. Instead we felt as if he co-signed
this unfair treatment and endorsed the brutal show of force the police
displayed towards us...
"The entire system is corrupt from top to bottom. We
will not stop fighting and resisting all forms of police brutality. We
may be the minority in this country, but vocally, we will be the
majority. They cannot kill us all. They cannot throw us all in jail. We
want justice for Michael Brown and every victim of
police brutality." (Kareem Jackson, activist and rapper Tef Poe)
People Are Going to Continue Fighting
"These weeks of rebellion were defined by something that
the media won't explain to you. They won't tell you that local youth
have outsmarted the local Ferguson police department a number of times
over the course of these protests...
"What they won't tell you is that St. Louis County
police officers used live ammunition against unarmed American citizens
in the streets of Ferguson and that 911 would respond to your phone
calls with 'Will respond later.'
"You probably don't know that on the nights when the
midnight curfew was enforced hours earlier, local police departments
committed drive-bys using rubber bullets to bruise the bodies of teen
boys who weren't afraid of tanks and armored vehicles roaming West
"With my own eyes, I witnessed Bloods and Crips coming
together to protect women and children who were too tired to run
anymore from tear gas, as these U.S. citizens were merely trying to
leave the chaotic scene sanctioned by the National Guard. On days where
people just wanted to peacefully assemble
and stand still, we were forced by sniper rifles and officers equipped
with full war time gear to keep marching or be subject to arrest for
the dubious charge of 'failure to disperse.'
"So what are the next steps? People, we are going to
continue fighting. Young people like myself have come together under
the banner of 'Hands Up United' and we are working with national
organizations like the Dream Defenders to make this movement a national
one. We are calling for a period of national
mobilization here in Ferguson from October 9th thru October 13th. We
must keep the energy going, for this is our best opportunity to receive
the freedom and justice for all we always hoped for." (Taurean
Russell, Hands Up United)
Police Terrorism is the Real Violence
"How dare folks criticize resistance when our young
folks are responding to police terrorism? Police terrorism is the real
-violence! Those young men and women out there are an inspiration to
the world. They are realizing that tear gas will not kill them. They
have dealt with pain and street violence before so they are not scared.
A young man we spoke to said, 'How am I supposed to respect a curfew if
they don't respect human life?' Another young woman said: 'I've been
stabbed 15 times and shot twice! My uncle just jumped off a bridge and
committed suicide. You
think I'm scared?' From solidarity messages from rebels in Palestine
and Greece, they have learned how to deal with tear gas and fight back
effectively. The monopoly on violence that the system holds has been
going on for too long and they have learned how to effectively deal
"These are young Black men and women who have lived and
survived street gang battles. Many may have been shot at before, so
they are fearless in the face of these heavily armored trucks. They
have waged combat for 14 [now almost 50] straight days, and though they
have been heavily outgunned and out-manned
they still keep coming back. This is a resilient population that will
not stop until they see Justice for Mike Brown and at this point for
their whole community." (Rapper Rod Starz of Rebel Diaz)
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