DSA National Political Committee Statement on the Killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile and the Dallas Police Officers (July 12, 2016)
The Need for A Democratic Transformation of the Criminal Justice and Police System
Democratic Socialists of America condemns the recent police killings of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile. These are the latest in the endless taking of black lives by the excessive and precipitous use of deadly police force. Despite the increased attention to these arbitrary killings by the militant protest of #BlackLivesMatter, the deaths of Freddie Gray, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland, Eric Garner, Walter Scott and scores of others go unpunished.
This devaluing of the lives of African Americans derives from a racist criminal justice system that serves to repress and contain low-income communities rather than promote peace and well-being. The close working relationship between prosecutors and police precludes the impartial investigation and prosecution of police violence. Thus, in addition to greater community control of policing and the demilitarization of police, DSA calls for independent investigation of all uses of lethal police force.
As an organization committed to nonviolent political action to achieve social justice, DSA also condemns the murder of police in Dallas this past week. This senseless loss of life occurred during a peaceful protest against police brutality and in a city where a relatively integrated police force has taken some useful steps towards community and accountable policing.
The right wing, however, has used the tragic deaths in Dallas to attack #BlackLivesMatter, a movement committed to militant, but peaceful organizing. DSA is committed to working as allies of #BlackLivesMatter and others fighting for racial equality, in part because a divided working class is an already defeated working class. We believe that people of all racial and ethnic backgrounds must understand their role in a white supremacist, capitalist system and build solidarity across their differences, but that white progressives have a particular responsibility to combat nativist and racist political movements that justify current police practices as necessary to protect “blue lives.”
A truly democratically controlled criminal justice system should promote peace and justice, not arbitrary violence. Many matters now handled by police, such as drug use and community disputes, are best handled by mental health professionals and community-based mediation. When necessary to protect human life, police intervention must be as restrained as possible, with the use of firearms as an absolute last resort. In many societies that have more practical and effective gun policies than our own, most police do not carry firearms. Stronger gun control policies, as well as severe restrictions on police use of firearms, must be part of any restructuring of the role of police in our society.
The United States can only achieve democratic forms of peacekeeping and dispute resolution if we comprehend the historic role of the police in reinforcing forms of racial and class domination. Armed and professional police forces arose in the United States to capture fugitive slaves and to repress striking workers. Thus, the struggle for a democratic judicial and criminal justice system is integrally tied to the fight for racial, gender, and class equality. Mass incarceration and repressive policing cannot redress the absence of economic and educational opportunities that beset inner cities and increasingly inner suburbs and deindustrialized small towns. Nothing short of radical democratic change can alter a criminal justice system that works to perpetuate American apartheid.
Source: DSA National Political Committee statement.
First Black President, First Socialist President, First Female President; all wonderful progressive ideals. Major battles to move the country in a positive direction. But the progressive war against conservatism is losing. The progressive movement is being stymied by themselves.
Every four years, progressives turn out to elect a figure head, the highest office. But then they wonder why are all of our efforts leading to nowhere? Isn’t it enough to elect a progressive to the highest office? NO. IT. ISN’T.
What happens to the off year elections, the ones where the conservatives elect state governors, state legislatures, and House of Representatives and Senators as a form of backlash? After electing a President, progressives lay down their arms, sit back and sip chamomile tea and sing Kumbaya because they elected a President! A President that is doomed to succeed because of rabid conservative opposition.
Watch as the people with newly won insurance be left out in the cold again because progressives stayed home and waited for their savior President to make it all better instead of electing a progressive state governor and legislature. Watch as states refuse Medicaid expansion, pass laws legalizing discrimination of LGBT people, enact practices restricting voting privileges of minorities. Watch in horror, but wait four years until the next Presidential election to elect a new savior. One that cannot save anything. One that we shove into the fray without armor, weapons, or backup. Just shove em out there, sit back and wonder why nothing has changed for four or eight years, when the “big revolution” comes around again.
I’ll be all around in the dark – I’ll be everywhere. Wherever you can look – wherever there’s a fight, so hungry people can eat, I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a cop beatin’ up a guy, I’ll be there. I’ll be in the way guys yell when they’re mad. I’ll be in the way kids laugh when they’re hungry and they know supper’s ready, and when the people are eatin’ the stuff they raise and livin’ in the houses they build – I’ll be there, too.
You are the light of this world
Sometimes you might forget, like where you left your fencing tool,
and it’s the end of a long, snowy winter, and you’ve got a lot of work to do,
and you just can’t remember where you left your tool, and you really, really need it.
The best way to remember? Stop thinking about it.
Sometimes you might not feel it…
that’s harder, like when a cow is going through a difficult birth,
and needs the help of a farmer to reach deep inside her
and rearrange the limbs of the calf before she can deliver
that baby to the light,
and the farmer reaches inside, and it hurts from all the pressure,
and it’s sticky and ooey and gooey with blood and birth sac fluids,
but eventually that baby makes its way out with everybody pushing and pulling and praying.
You are the light of this world.
I am the light of this world.
I want everyone who posts a “thank you, Veterans” message today to consider this: many of us enlisted because we had no other way to afford college. I wasn’t patriotic. I did it to get money for college. I still don’t believe in blind loyalty to a government. I do believe in protecting and serving my fellow human being, regardless of nationality. Patriotism can be dangerous. The majority of enlisted men and women come from the less advantaged communities in our country. Which isn’t much different from the armies of poor raised hundreds of years ago to defend monarchies. I guess my point is this: today, think about why we need armies, and try to think of things you can do, personally, to help our world move towards a way of cohabitation that no longer requires armies. ❤️
Alan Watts once commented that “It is not possible to see the sky just by painting your window blue”. It is a quote that has stuck with me ever since I read it many years ago.
And it occurs to me that the blue paint masquerading as the sky is every single philosophy out there. Every doctrine, every religion, every single explanation that tries to satisfy that deep longing we have to understand the Mystery.
The blue paint is belief. The blue paint is faith. The blue paint, as pretty as it may be, is not the sky itself. And no matter how convincing or even intoxicating that picture on the glass of the window in your room may be – it’s not the real thing.
To apply the blue paint is conditioning. To remove the blue paint is inquiry. To gaze out at the sky directly is enlightenment.
– Eric Allen Bell
14 Republicans voted for a clean CR. Too bad they’re so few.
Rep. Pat Meehan (R-PA)
Rep. Scott Rigell (R-VA)
Rep. Jon Runyan (R-NJ)
Rep. Mike Fitzpatrick (R-PA)
Rep. Lou Barletta (R-PA)
Rep. Peter King (R-NY)
Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA)
Rep. Charlie Dent (R-PA)
Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA)
Rep. Michael Grimm (R-NY)
Rep. Erik Paulsen (R-MN)
Rep. Rob Wittman (R-VA)
Rep. Frank LoBiondo (R-NJ)
Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA)