This system we live under, the system of capitalism, has indicted itself again. In the last two weeks it has freed two murderers and given the go-ahead to cops across the country to carry out their murderous activity. For some people the belief they might have had in the fairness of this system was shattered. First was the acquittal of Darren Wilson, the cop who gunned down Michael Brown. Then came the acquittal of Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City cop who suffocated Eric Garner using an illegal chokehold.
The complicity of those who maintain the order of this society – from the prosecutors and politicians to the police who maintain order on the streets – has been exposed. Their secret court system, known as grand juries, has been exposed as an official system of cover-ups used to acquit known murderers.
We have witnessed the use of the corporate media to try to distract people from the realities of the murder of Michael Brown, an unarmed 18-year-old Black youth who did not bow down to the authority of a white cop. Instead of being the victim of another racist police murder, Michael Brown was painted as the aggressor. He was portrayed as being a thief and a threat and responsible for his own death. And now Brown’s stepfather is under investigation for his angry outburst following the announcement of this travesty of justice. The mask of justice was slipping.
With the acquittal of Daniel Pantaleo, the New York City cop who killed Eric Garner, the mask of justice was removed. This wasn’t a matter of the orchestrated twisting of the facts that we saw in Mike Brown’s case – challenging the statements or eyewitnesses and taking Wilson’s pathetic whining as fact. The video of the murder of Eric Garner and his pleas for help, as he was being suffocated, were plain for all to see. And yet, in the secret court of the grand jury, Pantaleo was declared an innocent man. Even for some of those who deliver the news to us for their corporate masters, this was too much. They couldn’t hide their disbelief and wondered out loud how the murder of a man accused of selling cigarettes could not be a criminal act.
For many, the nature of this system, the racism that lies at the core of its functioning, comes as no surprise. But the open and blatant disregard for human life was more than many expected. The hundreds of thousands and millions who did not take to the streets contained their righteous anger. But wishing and hoping that officials who make promises to conduct investigations, provide cops with cameras and putting up healing centers will not change this reality.
Some people refused to be quiet and took to the streets across the country – in the hundreds and sometimes in the thousands. And, of course, out of frustration, some windows have been broken, stores looted and set on fire. The collateral damage is unfortunate. But, for many, the anger brought about by these state-sanctioned daylight lynchings burns hotter than fire.
The cops may slow down for a minute. But we know they will not stop. The system they are serving and protecting cannot allow this. The millions in prison, the millions imprisoned by a life of poverty, the millions who face the racism of this society in all its forms, the millions of young people whose future is being denied to them face an elite that that places value on profits but not on human life. They are the same one percent that is in the process of destroying life on the planet. What more proof do we need?
The question we face now is what to do. These demonstrations are a start. We cannot hope for things to get better without actively forcing a change. The reality is that we can act and fight back. Workers do all the work to make the society run – we produce all the goods and provide all the services. We also have the power to make the system come to a halt, if we organize and use our power. Then it isn’t any longer just a question of demonstrating from the outside – it is a question of stopping the monster system from the inside and putting something much better in its place.