Cop brutality: Key part of capitalist rule
The Militant salutes the tens of thousands of workers, farmers, youth and other opponents of police brutality across the country and around the world who have marched demanding New York cop Daniel Pantaleo be held accountable for the killing of Eric Garner. But while the video of the assault leaves no doubt what happened, the grand jury decision not to indict the cop who choked Garner to death, like the Missouri decision in the cop killing of Michael Brown the week before, was no surprise.
The propertied rulers, who hold state power and whose wealth comes from exploiting workers, see us as an outlaw class that must be intimidated, divided and punished. Cops, prosecutors, grand juries, plea bargaining, courts and prisons — the whole capitalist "justice" system — exist to do that.
The bosses and the Democratic and Republican party politicians who represent them need the repressive forces of the state. The crisis-wracked capitalist rulers have tossed millions out of work; intensified production, threatening life and limb; and slashed social programs, spawning labor resistance, social protest and growing discussion of the need for the working class to chart a political course independent of the bosses and their parties.
Daniel Pantaleo and other killer cops are not "bad apples." They are just doing their job serving the rulers. And part of the deal is impunity for the violence they inflict on workers.
Prosecutors use the grand jury to go after working people and, when necessary, to make sure there are no charges when the accused are from the gang in blue.
Cop cams, "retraining" sessions, review boards or other "reforms" can't prevent police brutality, nor will federal prosecutors deal more justice than local ones.
Knowing the deck is stacked in the capitalist justice system, workers need to jealously guard our rights, among them the right to be represented by a lawyer, to remain silent, to go to trial without facing additional penalties and protection against "double jeopardy."
Blacks are victims of police brutality in disproportionate numbers. Because of gains registered by powerful struggles by African-American toilers, from Radical Reconstruction after the Civil War to the mighty proletarian movement that overthrew Jim Crow segregation, the rulers take special efforts to "police" them.
But police violence is aimed at all workers. The majority of those killed by cops in the U.S. every year are Caucasian. Police brutality is a crucial issue for the labor movement.
As Walmart workers and fast-food workers struck and marched recently, they chanted Eric Garner's last words, "I can't breathe," and many joined protests against the grand jury verdicts. Those protests drew large numbers of Caucasian, Black and Latino workers, including many unionists.
This bodes well for the fight against capitalist exploitation and police brutality. It points to the possibility and necessity of mounting a revolutionary struggle to replace the dictatorship of capital with rule by the vast majority — workers and farmers.