Justice for Trayvon Martin!
Time To Revive National Civil
By : Reverend Jesse L. Jackson, Sr.
Source: Weekly Column | Chicago Sun-Times
Prosecutors in the Trayvon Martin case — Trayvon was the young African American shot to death on the streets in Sanford, Fla., by a self-appointed community watch volunteer — have decided not to send the case to the grand jury, even while announcing the investigation continues.
Meanwhile, according to statistics compiled by Kali Akuno and Arlene Eisen on behalf of the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, the Black Left Unity Network and the US Human Rights Network, police or private security people have slain 17 other African Americans since Trayvon’s death. Across the country, people are questioning the promise of “liberty and justice for all.”
Fundamental questions need to be answered about “stand and defend laws” — more accurately, “free pass for murder laws” — about racially skewed school-discipline practices (Trayvon had been suspended and was visiting his father when he was shot); about a criminal justice system still rife with bias, and about the dangers of “walking while black” in America. The man who shot Trayvon needs to be tried in court. But these broader issues require independent, forceful investigation.
So where is the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights? Dwight Eisenhower, a Republican president, created the bipartisan commission in 1957 to investigate the facts and issue credible reports on progress or challenges in our civil rights laws and practices. It was, as early director Theodore Hesburgh stated, to be the “conscience of the nation” on our progress in civil rights.
In the 1960s, for example, hard-hitting, authoritative commission reports on voter suppression in Montgomery, Ala.; school desegregation in Nashville, and housing discrimination in New York, Chicago and Atlanta helped lay the foundation for the Civil Rights Acts of 1960 and 1964, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and Fair Housing Law of 1968.
Today, the need for a revived commission is apparent. The commission should be investigating school-discipline policies and our biased criminal justice system. We need a clear look at the apparently coordinated effort of Republican governors to erect barriers to registration and voting that have a disproportionate effect on the young, the poor, the elderly and minorities. The apparently racially skewed efforts to direct African-American and Latino homebuyers into exotic, subprime mortgages needs to be probed as well.
Yet the commission thus far has been largely absent without leave. This isn’t an accident. Under Reagan, conservatives began to cut away at the commission, reducing its budget and staff. In theory, the eight-member commission is bipartisan, with no party having more than four members. Then, under George Bush, two Republican activists changed their registration to “independent,” enabling conservatives to hold six seats on the commission, rendering it less useful. By 2011, Wade Henderson, president of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, issued a report concluding that the commission was “so debilitated as to be considered moribund.”
Now that President Barack Obama has named three members to the commission, including the chair, Martin Castro, it is time to revitalize the body. The rights of women, gays and immigrants are battlegrounds. African Americans continue to experience disparate treatment in the workplace, the schools and on the streets. An aggressive commission can provide a voice of justice, a ray of hope. Where is the “conscience of the nation” on racial justice when we need it?
Wear Your Hoodie, Protest this Racist Murder and Rebuild the National Black Liberation Movement
The senseless murder of 17 year old Trayvon Martin, an unarmed Black youth in Sanford, Florida, who was shot by George Zimmerman, a white man driven by racism and protected by an unjust “Stand Your Ground” law, is a crime against humanity and violation of human rights.
The refusal of the Sanford police department to arrest Zimmerman, despite having evidence that he chased Trayvon after being told by the 911 operator not to do so, and his aired “fucking coon” comment showing that he wanted to kill this Black youth, along with the cover up actions by the heads of the Sanford police department, sends an age old racist message - that Black people have no rights that a white is bound to respect.
The Sanford police did not drug test or do a criminal background check on killer Zimmerman, and allowed him to keep his gun permit enabling him to purchase and carry another instrument of death. Yet, they drug tested young Trayvon’s dead body, and did an extensive background check, trying to find reasons to justify this racist killing.
The economic crisis created by the capitalist system and its ruling 1%, that is protected by government policies and agencies, including major cuts in social programs in the billions to bailout the banks and corporations, has fostered a sharper racist political and social climate by scapegoating working class and poor Blacks and Latino’s and labor unions as the cause of the economic crisis.
The struggle against the racist aspects of the economic crisis that reflect the conditions of the most oppressed and exploited sectors of the 99%, must be brought forward by a more united Black left in alliance with other oppressed sectors, and a strategic campaign, that highlights the issues and demands and begins to mobilize a national resistance of working class Black and other oppressed peoples.Trayvon Martin's Parents in New York City 21 March 2012
The immediate demands for the arrest of killer Zimmerman for a hate crime, the resignation of the Sanford police chief and the repeal of the “stand your ground” laws in all states throughout the U.S., must be linked to a struggle and movements to build mass based working class Black and oppressed people’s power.
The short lived struggle following the initial massive response to the racist jailing of the Jena six, in Jena, Louisiana in December 2006, shows that the immediate struggles that highlight the racist injustices of the system, must be linked to a long term struggle and organized national movement with a program of action that addresses the systemic causes of these injustices.
The coming forward of the demands and movements of the most oppressed sectors, is critical to a direction that begins to shape new power relations and a new consciousness toward uniting the larger U.S. working class to challenge the attacks.
The struggles to reform the capitalist system are not the answer. The reforms alone have not eliminated the conditions of human oppression and exploitation, despite what’s written in federal, state and local government constitutions and charters, or the forming of special commission and agencies.
The lack of mass based power by working class Black and other oppressed people has also allowed the reforms that have been won through struggles since the formation of the U.S., to be weakened and eliminated, to increase profits and power for the rich.
The history and depth of the oppression and exploitation of the Black masses, is part of the permanent structure of capitalism, sharpening during economic crises. In addition to being a source of cheap labor that continuously allows the capitalists to lower the standard of living for all workers, the Black working class is a main sector of the larger working class of consumers, that the capitalist rely on to purchase the products made by oppressed and cheap labor mainly by workers of color in Africa, Asia and Latin America. This is a major reason for the Congress passing U.S. free trade agreements like NAFTA.
The struggles and movements of the Black, oppressed and working class masses must be to build mass based power and democracy over the economy, social institutions and all areas of government, as part of bringing about a revolutionary alternative to the capitalist system. An alternative that uses the massive wealth and resource of this country to address the suffering, disease, unemployment, homelessness, deaths, and the divisions caused by the greed and wars of a system that places profits over human needs and rights.
The murder of Trayvon Martin highlights one of the ways this racist and exploitative system sees addressing the problems of the economic crises to further divide the people and to try and extend the life of capitalism and the dominance of the 1% capitalist ruling class.
While there will be many responses to the tragedy of Trayvon Martin, the proposed solutions that promote a direction beyond basic reforms, will require a more united and conscious role of the Black left among the Black masses to help link immediate issues to a long term movement building, program, strategy and struggle.
Black left unity grounded in work among the Black working class masses must become a main task!
Saladin Muhammad 3/22/12From Emmett Till to Trayvon Martin... Our Struggle against Racist Terror continues