Thursday, October 11

Until the Jena 6 are Free, Neither are We!

By now, most people have heard of the Jena Six. During the build up to September 20th, when 50,000 people from all over the country marched on Jena, as well as after the mass outpouring, the corporate media felt forced to address it. With every hotel booked to capacity in the week leading up to the demonstration within Fifty miles of Jena, it was an impossible thing to ignore. But for those who haven't heard, The Jena Six refers to a case which started last year in a small Louisiana town. Basically it all started when a new black student at the local high school decided to sit under a tree which only white students sat under. The next day, 3 nooses, symbolizing the KKK, lynching, etc.. were found hung on the tree, this sparked the black students in the school to protest by all sitting under the tree the day after, a clear stand against racism. As a result of this, the situation exploded, the system showed its true colors. The District Attorney called a schoolwide meeting in the school auditorium, and separated students based on race. Facing the black students directly, the District Attorney said "I can write your life away with the stroke of a pen." Later, one of the black students who sat under the tree was invited to a all white party, when he got there, he was beaten by racist white students at the party. When the police came by, they came only to tell the black student to get back to his side of town. The next day, the student was in a convenience store where he saw one of his attackers. Heated words led to the attacker pulling out a sawed-off shotgun on the black student. When he managed to wrestle it out of the hands of the white student, the police arrested him and charged him with theft! The systematic and institutionalized racism peaked when a white student provoked 6 black students by supporting the nooses, supporting lynching black people, and etc.. to beat him. Even though the student wasn't hurt, and it was just a schoolyard fight and the student went to a high school dance that night, the 6 black students involved were charged with all kinds of insane charges amounted from 15-20 years in prison.

The fact that a school yard fight has been used to throw away the lives of six promising young black students, all of them star athletes with a real chance to break out of the the dire exploitation and oppression black people all over this country face, while white students who did far worse have gotten off free is a reminder of what kind of system we live under, what the roots of this country and the capitalist system really is; white supremacy and national oppression.

Gloria La Riva, a leader of the Party for Socialism and Liberation and a videographer attended the September 20th demonstration in Jena, Louisiana and filmed a large portion. She put together this short video. In the video, a speaker comes onto the podium and remarks that the prosecuter told the masses not to come to Jena on the 20th, that the people don't know what goes on in Jena. She then said, well, we do know what goes on in Jena, because it goes on in DC, it goes on in New York, it goes on in LA and etc...

This is a reflection that the Jena 6 is just one of many, many examples of institutionalized racism. 50,000 people did not pour out into the streets of Jena because this case is so unusual, something out of the ordinary. 50,000 people showed up because this is the reality of this racist system. Weither it be the fact that in New York City, 86% of all people frisked are black despite making up less than half the city's population, or it be the consistant racist police killings and the terrorism against black communities weither it be Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, or the countless others killed.

Such a system which has racism so deeply rooted into it, cannot be ridded of racism. There will be racism no matter what type of reforms the people force out of the system. The only way to stop this from happening again, as we always claim after something like this happens (Never Again! was the rally call for Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo etc) is a socialist revolution. Only socialism puts people before profit, while capitalists attempt to profit off of racism.

3 comments:

Renegade Eye said...

I met your comrade in Minneapolis, today at a Jena6 event here.

I sent Celticfire an email telling him about your blog.

LeftyHenry said...

what? I have a comrade in Minneapolis lol?

Dave Marlow said...

I don't think that capitalism can be cited as the sole, or even chief force perpetuating racism. Certainly it gives employers, as well as the state, the ability to be racist. However, a smart employer will hypothetically cross racial lines so as to (1) expand his/her workforce and (2) subsequently decrease wages. After all, with a greater workforce at your disposal, employees are more expendable and you can bring in scabs when strikes or unionization occurs.

All food for thought. Capitalism is a grievous evil and the main struggle that we face, but racism has been prevalent throughout the many epochs of history.