On July 13, an almost all-white jury ruled that George Zimmerman was not guilty on all charges for the murder of Trayvon Martin. While saddened and angered by this verdict, we were not surprised that the U.S. so-called ‘justice system’ has again said that racist cops and vigilantes like Zimmerman have a green light to shoot and kill African Americans.
Just as one of the foundations of the U.S. economy was profits from slavery, the U.S. legal system began with a constitution that said that African Americans were only 3/5 of a person. In 1857, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that African slaves and their children have no rights in the U.S., in the case of Dred Scott v. Sanford. Then in 1896, the Supreme Court ruled that segregation was constitutional in the case of Plessy v. Ferguson. And early this year, the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Civil Rights Act, opening the door for racist local and state governments to exclude Black and Brown voters from the polls.
The law, the police and the courts are not about justice, they are about protecting the property, privilege and power of the monopoly capitalists, the richest 1% who own and control the corporations and government that dominate the economy and society. They are part and parcel of the national oppression that African Americans face: the all-around, social, political and economic inequality of Black people face as an oppressed nationality in the U.S.
The fight for full equality and liberation by African Americans has been a powerful force for progress in the U.S. The sit-in by four African American college students at a segregated Woolworth’s lunch counter on Feb. 1, 1960 launched a national movement of direct action to desegregate the South and to fight for Black political power. This movement, and the organization that arose out of it, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee or SNCC, directly led to the rise of Students for a Democratic Society and the anti-war movement and was an inspiration to other oppressed nationalities, especially Asian Americans, Chicanos, Native Americans and Puerto Ricans, as well as the women’s movement, and the struggle of LGBTQ people.
Our experience from participating in these movements for almost 50 years is that progress does not mainly come from the courts or elections. Nor does it mainly come from economic struggles such as boycotts. The fight for equality advances when the masses of working people organize and show their power in the streets through militant mass actions such as rallies, marches, occupations, strikes, etc.
The huge protests across the county that have mobilized hundreds of thousands of people, including large numbers of Black and Brown youth, are a great development. Everything possible should be done to build this struggle.
Justice for Trayvon Martin!
Fight for Full Equality and Liberation for African Americans!
Don’t Mourn, Organize!