Tuesday, September 13, 2005

From Gulf Coast to Gulf War, From New Orleans to New York

Response to September 11th Jazz Funeral March
Sunsara Taylor

From Gulf Coast to Gulf War, From New Orleans to New York:
The World Can't Wait - The Bush Regime Must Be Driven From Power!

Yesterday's beautiful outpouring of people's spirit, music, mourning demonstrated powerfully the basis to build very rapidly a movement that can drive the Bush regime from power - and the urgent necessity and stakes of doing so. The outpouring's size, energy, and breadth stood out as an indicator of the potential of this moment while the repression of the police - clearly prepared to arrest hundreds - and the white-out of the media stood out as an indicator of the severe new norms being bolted into place.

Hundreds turned out for a Jazz style funeral procession through the streets of NYC. Dozens of professional, and exceptional, horn-players and drummers, along with hundreds of deeply saddened but strong-spirited marchers showed up. A coffin with the words New Orleans on the side was carried at the front and the band struck up a slow, mournful dirge. The procession snaked around Washington Square Park, picking up strollers and others lazing in the afternoon sun. Banners demanded, "Rescue not Repression" and announced, "The World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime!"

Then, in keeping with the New Orleans tradition, the music switched abruptly, becoming upbeat and celebratory. Marching turned to dancing, hand-waving, booty-shaking, and an occasional hoot here and holler there, all while layer upon layer of horns belted out the passions of our gathering.

But, just as we all reached the north side of Washington Square Park dozens of NYPD showed up with helmets, batons, and handfuls of plastic "riot cuffs" - an essential tool for mass arrests. Behind them were parked multiple paddy-wagons with the doors open and ready. Back a bit further were rows of cops on motorcycles.

There is no one who could make an argument that this type of police force was there for anything other than suppressing a political message and a form of resistance which would have connected deeply and sparked resistance which in this politically parched and fraught time-period could spread like wildfire.

On Real Time with Bill Maher this past week George Carlin spoke what millions feel when he pointed out that "the real looting in this country takes place in the transfer of the wealth from the poor to the rich, I'm sorry that you don't like class and the truth, my friend, but you're stuck with it! Class is class, and the poor have been systematically looted in this country. The rich have been made richer under this criminal fascist president and his government." He was of course, immediately ridiculed and challenged by James K. Glassman, for making a comparison to Nazis. But Carlin again got tremendous applause when he responded, "Fascism, when it comes to America it will not be in brown and black shirts, it will not be with jack-boots, it will be in Nike sneakers and smiley shirts!"

Of course, Carlin is not the only one getting out there and speaking the outrageous truth right now. Everyone has already been buzzing about Kanye West's statement on NBC's live fundraiser for the Gulf victims that, "George Bush does not care about black people."

The fact is that the very legitimacy of the Bush regime - including the fact that it came to power in the first place through a stolen election which systematically suppressed hundreds of thousands of Black voters!!! - is up for question in the eyes of millions.

This is why, I am convinced, the very basic and absolutely righteous endeavor of a jazz funeral procession for the city of New Orleans, the many who needlessly died, and the hundreds of thousands who were displaced was so "threatening" and deemed worthy of such massive repression.

As one marcher pondered to me, "Imagine if these police spent this much energy and organization trying to save lives and rescue people rather than suppressing and repressing those of us demanding that the government stop allowing people to suffer and die."

What ended up happening in the street is that the musicians and mourners persevered, breaking up into small groups and heading up to Union Square and reassembling and playing and dancing and attracting the attention of thousands more. The police sent their paddy wagons, squad cars, and batons up to encircle and threaten again.

Perhaps our procession could have taken the streets and the police would not have really arrested all present. Perhaps even if this had happened it would have been worth it. Certainly people are facing much worse in the streets of New Orleans and the surrounding areas.

But what is also certain, to end where I began, is that what transpired yesterday is an indicator of both directions the future can go and what is required of all of us right now.

On the one side, there is the potential for millions to come onto the political stage and drive out this regime, and the necessity to launch this as one concerted effort bringing together all our strength, puncturing the atmosphere and establishing a different dynamic in society where we are not always overwhelmed and put on the defensive.

On the other side is a future where even in the face of mass murder by criminal governmental neglect, the people are not allowed a funeral procession, not allowed to raise questions, not allowed to hold those responsible accountable, not to mention the rest of what the Bush regime has in store for the planet, science, the Supreme Court, etc.

As it says at the end of the Call for the World Can't Wait - Drive Out the Bush Regime, "The future is unwritten. Which one we get is up to us."

All out for November 2nd. The world cannot wait!

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 3:07 PM | 1 comments

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Hurricane Katrina: The People Did Not Have to Die

Statement by the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA -- August 31, 2005

Special posting for Revolution, August 31, 2005, posted at revcom.us

There was no way to stop Hurricane Katrina, but the chaos, suffering and death that resulted from this storm WAS preventable. Why didn’t the government organize massive and systematic evacuation? Why weren’t the levees maintained? Why were so many people left to fend for themselves?

This government has spent hundreds of billions for the war in Iraq – but didn’t evacuate a city facing a devastating storm that had been predicted for days. They got all kinds of helicopters and transport plans in Iraq but in New Orleans people were trapped in the city and stuffed into the sports stadium.

People, from all walks of life, are suffering because preventive measures that could have lessened the effects of the hurricane are not profitable. People were forced into an "every-man-for-himself" situation, so millions were left to try and survive on their own. Over 100,000 people were left in New Orleans -- often because they didn't have a car, gas or cash.

This disaster revealed the unequal and oppressive relations of this system. People live in conditions where when a disaster hits, they are left in severe and needless danger of death. On TV, we’ve seen the many thousands of Black people trapped in New Orleans and other dangerous places. We see the results of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and the present-day effects of this oppressive history in sharp relief.

Before the storm even hit, Louisiana's governor Blanco gave authorities the power to suspend civil liberties. Federal Homeland Security officials have declared a national emergency. In the media, people desperately trying to survive are being demonized as "dangerous armed gangs of looters." Meanwhile, the governor is sending in troops. All this cannot be good for the people.

Louisiana’s governor called for a day of prayer. And while individuals can pray if they want, the government should be meeting the needs of the people, mobilizing others to help, not telling people to pray.

The new developing dangers are caused by the way that society is set up, NOT by nature. New suffering must be prevented. The disaster that looms is not inevitable IF HUMAN BEINGS ARE MOBILIZED TO PREVENT IT. If people are NOT mobilized in this way, if the government is NOT forced to take URGENT measures right away, then hundreds and possibly thousands more will needlessly die from disease and/or not being rescued.

* At the government’s expense: People must be housed and cared for until they can safely return to their homes; hotels, convention centers, and other buildings must be provided to people in need of shelter; there must be free communication for people to contact relatives. Immediately, there must be emergency medical care and measures to prevent massive epidemics and needless dying. There must be no arrests for so-called looting. There must be emergency relief –people must be immediately provided with water, food, medicines, and other basic needs FREE OF CHARGE.
* The needs of all must be met, with first priority to those most urgently in need. There must be immediate, orderly, and safe evacuation. If necessary, events in nearby cities must be cancelled to accommodate people. People must not be evacuated into situations which are going to reproduce disease and danger.
* There must be intense search and rescue efforts in all areas. People must NOT be allowed to die. All necessary resources, including mobilizing volunteers, must be brought to bear on this. The government must not repress people who volunteer or prevent them from helping, but instead, must assist these efforts.
* There must be no profiteering and speculation off people’s misery by the sharks of insurance companies, oil monopolies, real estate developers, etc.

Download this statement from the Revolution newspaper website: revcom.us
– and stay tuned for updates.

Contact the Revolutionary Communist Party: PO Box 3486 Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654, rcppubs@hotmail.com
This article is posted in English and Spanish on Revolution Online

Write: Box 3486, Merchandise Mart, Chicago, IL 60654

Phone: 773-227-4066 Fax: 773-227-4497

posted by Sunsara Taylor at 3:14 PM

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