The Spark

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

Sam Johnson Speech:
We Can Stop this Violence

Aug 19, 2019

Sam’s speech was the conclusion of the political program at the SPARK Summer Festival, coming after Gary Walkowicz, whose speech appears on the previous pages.

Well, what the brother was talking about, I’ve been through some of that, I know what it will take to stop it. Working people have to come together to stop it.

We have to understand where the problems come from. They come from that capitalist class that wants to keep raising their profits, put their profits before our lives. And it’s getting worse.

Well, how did we get what we have today? No one gave it to us. Workers really fought against the companies. That’s how we got what we’ve got, jobs, pensions, medical care. It’s how we got schools for our kids.

Now today, the capitalist class is taking that all back, pensions, jobs, schools. They’re taking back so much, our grandchildren have less than we do. And the children of our grandchildren will have even less.

They’re getting rid of teachers, so classes get bigger. Teachers need 20 kids in a class, but today they’ve got 35 to 40 students. That’s a problem for the children. Schools are getting worse because all our tax money is going to the capitalist class instead of to schools.

So if we know problems come from what the capitalist class is doing, we’ll know what we have to do – stop waiting for the politicians that run this government to help us. That’s their politicians, the capitalist class’s politicians. The president runs it for what the capitalists need, to push their profits up.

Why are we going to keep putting up with it? Most times, workers today say there’s nothing we can do. But there is something we can do: we are the majority of the population. We are the ones who make this whole country run, but we make it run for what the capitalists want. We can see that it ain’t right, and we’ve got the forces to stop it. But we’ve got to bring our forces together.

Myself, I came up in the auto plants in the ‘70s. We were able to bring different groups together, black, white, Yugoslav, Albanian, Arab, Polish. That division they created among us, we could get past that. When we did, we didn’t stop everything, but we backed the bosses up.

We have to stand up and bring our forces together. The police, troops, all that, they’re part of the working class. When we fight, we can bring them together with us. We can bring those forces they use to protect them, we can bring them with us.

We can stop those right-wing maniacs from shooting at us. I know what happened with the KKK. They were in Alabama when I grew up. My family had a problem with them. My auntie had a juke box, people came over to listen to it, have a drink. The KKK told her to get rid of it. She said, it’s not going to happen. They told her, when we come back that better be out of there. When they came back, my family was organized – family and friends around the family. They were organized in a two-block area around my auntie’s house, waiting on the KKK to come back. My family was there with their rifles and their shotguns. But the KKK had got the message what was waiting for them. Unh-un, no, they didn’t come.

I’ve known about those fights. I know it will take a fight again.

In California, I was there in ‘65 in the rebellion. Two years later, I came here; I was here only two months, and Detroit blew up. I was living right there, in the area where it started; we were living right there, my nephews are still living there. I saw what people did, how the cops backed off.

That’s what we have to understand about those people shooting at us. We’ve got the forces to stop that. They’re not going to want to come close to us, when we’re organized.

But now, some people are just sitting back waiting for some politician, some Democrat to do something about this violence. Get rid of Trump, they say. Yes, get rid of Trump, but then what? They say put a Democrat in office. But what’s going to happen? The Democrats are going to have the same old policy they had before. And we’re going to have the same problems we have now and worse.

If we understand all that, then we understand that when we come together, we can stop all the problems we’re having today. We’ve got the power and the forces that can do that. We can do that. We can take back everything they’re taking from us. That’s what I know, we have the power to do that.

I’ve been around quite a while; I’ve just had my 80th birthday. I may have slowed down somewhat, but I’m still ready to deal with it. I may have slowed down, but in my mind, I know what it takes. That’s why I talk to young people. Once they get it, if they talk to other young people they can deal with it. They’re faster than me. And I know they’ll fight. They fight all the time now, in neighborhoods just about all over the country. But they don’t know what to fight for. They’re fighting each other, killing each other, putting up gangs to fight each other. But those gangs can come together. We’ve got to come together. We can stop all this. But we’ve got to come together. That’s what it will take. To deal with the real problems. Once we do that. We can stop it from happening again.

We’ve got the forces to protect ourselves, to stop the violence from happening. Once we get the bigger picture, we’ll know what we can do. We don’t need to worry about what’s going to happen. The ones causing the problems for us, they’re going to worry about what’s going to happen to them. But we’ve got to stand up and fight. That’s what we have to do, we definitely have to fight.

That’s what I want the younger people to understand what’s happening.

I’ve slowed down. I can still move around a little, but the younger people, they can move faster than me. Once they get the bigger picture, they can spread it. And that’s what it’s going to take, the next generation, two or three generations after me. Coming together. Let’s do it.

Are you tired of it and don’t want all this violence? Don’t want it to happen? If you understand why it’s happening, let’s do it. Let’s get together. Let’s do it NOW!