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Vol. 80/No. 27      July 25, 2016

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Socialist Workers Party campaign statement

Join fight against cop brutality

The following statement was released July 8 by Alyson Kennedy and Osborne Hart, Socialist Workers Party candidates for U.S. president and vice president. Hart joined protests in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, against cop killing of Alton Sterling.

We demand the indictment and prosecution of the cops who killed Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, and Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, Louisiana! We encourage all working people and youth to join protests in your area. Where none are scheduled, call one. Get your union involved. This is a working-class and a union issue.

Castile, a cafeteria worker and a member of the Teamsters union, was driving near St. Paul, Minnesota, with his fiancé Diamond Reynolds and her daughter, when they were stopped by cops Jeronimo Yanez and Joseph Kauser on grounds he had a broken tail light. The cops shot and killed him as he sat in the stopped car.

Sterling was selling CDs outside the Triple S Food Mart in Baton Rouge when cops Blane Salamoni and Howie Lake came and wrestled him to the ground. Videos show one of the cops shoot Sterling in the chest multiple times.

Like every aspect of the so-called justice system, cop brutality is an essential part of how the propertied families who rule this country protect their interests.

This is a question that confronts the working class from one end of the country to the other. According to the Washington Post, 1,499 people have been killed by the cops since Jan. 1, 2015. About half are Caucasian, most of the rest are African-American or Latino.

Blacks are killed disproportionately, a product of the racist discrimination and violence the rulers have carried out in an effort to divide the working class.

Since the killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner in New York nearly two years ago, protests from coast to coast have inspired working people to speak out.

Workers have won new confidence to stand up and protest cop violence. It’s not just in big cities. Protests have taken place in small towns like Council, Idaho, where cops killed rancher Jack Yantis, and Seneca, South Carolina, where cops killed Zachary Hammond.

As a protest march against the killings of Sterling and Castile took place in Dallas, a sniper shot and killed five police officers and wounded seven. This action has nothing to do with the fight against police brutality and gives a handle to government authorities to slander and attack it. The fight for Black liberation paid a heavy price for similar actions directed against the cops in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

All this unfolds in the midst of the worldwide capitalist economic crisis, for which there is no end in sight and as Washington’s wars continue from Afghanistan to Syria and beyond.

Police brutality and killings are part of the rulers’ efforts to put us in our place. The rulers’ greatest fear is the working class — men and women of different skin hues and nationalities — rising up for the greatest of all battles in the years ahead: to recognize that we are capable of organizing and mobilizing by the millions to put an end to the dictatorship of capital by taking political power out of their hands and rebuild society based on human solidarity to meet human needs, not private profits.
Related articles:
Join fight against cop brutality and killings!
Nationwide protests say ‘prosecute the cops’
Philando Castile’s mom: ‘Could be your son tomorrow’
Socialist Workers Party campaigns door to door
SWP candidate in Baton Rouge: Capitalism is root of problem
Workers’ attitudes no different in Sanders’ state
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