The people of Baltimore — and the entire country — are justifiably angry at the racist cruelty of those in power and their armed occupying force — the Baltimore police. It is outrageous that Freddie Gray died in police custody, arrested for the “crime” of running away from the cops. The public still does not know how he died. Murder charges against the six police involved in Gray’s death are a welcome first step, but they are hardly a resolution to the crisis.
People’s anger did not begin with Gray’s murder. It is a normal response to a system that favors the super-rich, at the immense expense of the poor, and that uses racism to divide us. The fuel of poverty, urban decay, inadequately funded schools, and joblessness was already set. Freddie Gray’s murder was the spark.
President Obama and Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake called the young protesters “thugs.” Yet their capitalist system rewards the real thugs — corporations who rule our lives, dictators they install all over the world, the Pentagon war criminals with their half-trillion dollar annual budget, and the police.
Are Palestinian youth who throw rocks at racist Israeli troops “thugs”? Then neither are the young people of Baltimore. All are fighting for a decent life against a system they know is aimed against them. But make no mistake about what really upsets the politicians and the large corporations they serve. They are seeing young people who have no fear of the police, no fear of the armed bodies that daily suppress them, harass them, imprison them, and deny them their rights and a decent future.
Obama’s new U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch also condemned the violence of the protesters, but not the far greater violence of those in power. She said the rioting was “counter-productive.” But the capitalist courts she endorses have repeatedly let the police who murder Black and Brown people off the hook, from Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd and Antonio Zambrano Montes, to Eric Garner. We have yet to see justice in these cases.
The Freedom Socialist Party and Radical Women stand with the Black community of Baltimore. We stand for a united working-class response to Freddie Gray’s murder!
We call on Baltimore city officials to enact community control of the police based on an elected civilian review board, independent of the police, the city attorney, and the politicians, with the power to investigate complaints, subpoena witnesses, and order remedial action, including retraining or firing those found guilty of abuse.
We call on President Obama and Congress to immediately fund a public works job program to repair and build new public housing; provide free health care, reproductive care, and drug rehabilitation; and reduce class sizes and massively upgrade the public school system.
Now is the time for working people of all races to come together to replace the bigoted U.S. capitalist system with a humane socialist system based on workers’ power and sharing the country’s enormous wealth.
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