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28 April 2008

New York Labor Black League for Social Defense
and Spartacist League Statement

Sean Bell Verdict: Killer Cops Walk…Again!
There Is No Justice in the Capitalist Courts!
For Mass Labor Action Against Racist Cop Terror!

APRIL 28—Once again, the cops who committed a heinous crime—this time, the gunning down of 23-year-old Sean Bell in a firestorm of 50 bullets on his wedding day—have been found “not guilty” on all counts. The grisly death march of the NYPD thus continues, from the 1999 cop killing of Amadou Diallo, cut down in a hail of 41 bullets in the lobby of his own home, and countless other victims of racist police terror to the present outrage. By the standards of bourgeois legality, the cops who killed Sean Bell were doing the job they are paid to do under racist capitalism. To add insult to injury, not only did State Supreme Court justice Arthur Cooperman last Friday acquit the cops on all charges, but in the course of the bench trial, it was the victims who were put on trial—Sean Bell posthumously and bullet-riddled Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield on the stand! Once again, the racist injustice system of this country recalls the infamous 1857 Dred Scott decision in which the U.S. Supreme Court held that black people “had no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”

What should be happening now is massive labor-centered protests on the streets to unite the social power of the working class with the anger of the ghetto and barrio masses. New York City is a union town with a multiracial working class—black, white, Latino, Asian and immigrants from around the world. Transit workers, city and hospital workers have the social power to bring the financial capital of U.S. imperialism to a screeching halt. To unleash this tremendous social power requires a political struggle within the unions to build a class-struggle leadership by fighting to oust the pro-capitalist labor misleaders who subordinate the interests of working people to the capitalist parties, Democratic and Republican alike. As a spokesman for the Spartacist League put it in addressing a protest rally on the day of the acquittal of Sean Bell’s killers: “The only way to fight these racist rulers and the gangs in blue is through a workers party that fights for a workers revolution.”

NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg, whose cops are out in force to intimidate and repress, said of the court’s verdict: “America is a nation of laws, and…we accept their authority.” Proving again that his talk of “change” doesn’t mean a dime’s worth of difference, Democratic Party presidential candidate Barack Obama intoned: “We’re a nation of laws, so we respect the verdict that came down.” The miserable pawnbrokers of ghetto rage like Democrat Al Sharpton have likewise appealed for calm and promised to take it to the Justice Department along with making diversionary calls for civil disobedience. This is a calculated strategy to chill the justified anger and corral it into the dead end of electoral pressure politics, not least in this presidential election year. Against the timeworn schemes to “reform” this racist capitalist system, including whitewash “police accountability” commissions and hat-in-hand appeals to the Justice Department of Guantánamo Bay and Torture, Inc., it is necessary to understand that the state—the cops, the courts, the prison system—is an instrument of the rule of the capitalist class, of repression against the working class and all the oppressed. It cannot be reformed to meet our needs, it must be smashed and replaced by workers rule.

Mumia Abu-Jamal, former Black Panther, award-winning journalist and MOVE supporter, framed-up and facing execution or life imprisonment at the hands of the state, said of the Bell verdict: “So 23-year-old Sean Bell joins Amadou Diallo and many, many others guilty of WWB: Walking While Black. And while millions of black and white Americans thrill at political illusions of post-racialism, Sean Bell’s case proves how deeply deadly race can still be.” Mumia’s case, too, shows that there is no justice in the capitalist courts: This innocent man and eloquent fighter for the rights of the oppressed should not have spent a day in prison. So Sean Bell's killers walk while Mumia rots in prison. Free Mumia now!

The same racist capitalist rulers who bomb, starve and torture people from Afghanistan to Iraq unleash their racist cops “at home” against striking workers, black people and immigrants. Black oppression in this country is the envelope for class exploitation; it took a Civil War to smash chattel slavery and it will take a third American revolution to put a final end to centuries of black oppression that is the bedrock of this system. Only then will it be possible to eradicate the systematic segregation in jobs, housing, education and health care and build a workers state where those who labor rule. This Marxist perspective for revolutionary integrationism is counterposed both to liberal integrationists who promote illusions in justice under capitalism and to black nationalists who preach despairing acquiescence to segregation and discrimination with schemes of “black capitalism.” Finish the Civil War—For black liberation through socialist revolution! As revolutionary, proletarian internationalists in the belly of the U.S. imperialist beast, we seek to forge a party on the model of Lenin and Trotsky's Bolsheviks and fight for new October Revolutions, eliminating once and for all the class exploitation and racist oppression that the cops and courts “serve and protect.” Sean Bell: We will not forget!