The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

Baton Rouge, Minnesota, Dallas
– a Vicious, Violent Circle

Jul 18, 2016

“Terrorism” – that’s what the police have been calling the killing of cops, first in Dallas, then in Baton Rouge.

Perhaps it is. And if it is, it shouldn’t come as any surprise that isolated individuals took it upon themselves to attack police. There has been an open warfare going on in the big cities, one that pits the police against people, mostly young men, and mostly, but not only, black. And it’s not the cops who suffer most of the injuries, nor most of the deaths. For every police officer killed this year, dozens of civilians were killed by police.

So perhaps someone decided to kill police in revenge, or as a warning, or in the hopes it would stop the killing.

If they did, they couldn’t be more wrong. The black population long ago learned that individual actions don’t push back oppression – only the organized force of a population that has been mobilized can do that.

The issue of the people who have been killed by police does not start with the police themselves, although some police who are brutal or racist or both magnify the problem.

It starts with a society that for decades has deprived whole generations of young people of ever having a job, deprived them of the education that would allow them to get jobs. It’s a society that has turned large sections of big cities into wastelands. Recreation centers, where young people could develop themselves, were shuttered. Parks were closed down and the equipment that belongs in them removed or not replaced – so that public funds could be turned over to private interests. Schools were given away to private, profit-making corporations for their own benefit. Large sections of cities big and not so big were ravaged by the banks that ran one mortgage scam after another.

Money for jobs, for training? Oh, no, capitalist society poured public money instead into prisons. Instead of schools, the rulers of this society built prisons. Instead of job training, they offered training in how to become a criminal. It is a whole prison-house regime into which millions of young people have been thrown.

Is it any wonder that many are angry, desperate?

This is the situation that the rulers of this society handed over to the cops, demanding that they keep order in this disordered society. Is anyone surprised that they sometimes shoot?

Anyone who believes we have seen the end of the violence is engaging in wishful thinking.

Capitalist society is based on violence. Until this society is uprooted, replaced by a more humane one, one that working people will build, the violence will continue.