The Spark

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

Thugs?
No!

May 11, 2015

The six cops who killed Freddie Gray in Baltimore have been charged.

Freddie Gray isn’t the first person that cops put in the back of a van, expressly to injure him. No seat belt, hands cuffed behind his back, feet shackled, he was left to bounce off the van’s walls. Others have been gravely injured, even paralyzed. And Freddie Gray is not the first man to die in Baltimore like this.

And yet, this is the first time any Baltimore cop has been charged for the crime.

Isn’t it obvious? If young people hadn’t gone out into the streets on Monday night, the cops would not have been charged.

And yet, Maryland’s governor, Baltimore’s mayor and the President of the United States all called these young people “thugs.”

These hypocrites preside over a system in which cops have killed poor young people on the street with no consequence. Let the hypocrites call the young people what they will.

“Thugs”? No! The young people of Baltimore know what they are – and they are NOT thugs. They revolted with good reason. They are denied an education and a job. They are penned in by the police, rounded up for standing on the streets where they live. Many have been railroaded into prison. Some have been shot. Most know someone who was killed. Why shouldn’t they erupt in rage?

They are revolting against a society that has made conscious decisions to toss them on a scrap heap before they even have a chance to live.

And those young people who revolted know why the murdering cops were charged – because of the young people’s revolt.

No one should believe, just because six murderous cops were charged, that “justice” will be done. Not in Baltimore, not elsewhere. The problems are much bigger than just the cops. The police are only enforcers of a system built on exploitation, unemployment and racist oppression.

The confrontations in the streets of Baltimore Monday night won’t change all that. But the knowledge those young people gained in confronting the cops may well serve them in the future fights that remain to be made. The whole working class needs to pay attention.