By KARL BELIN
On April 17, a large and diverse group of activists gathered at Curtis Hixon Park in downtown Tampa, Fla., to demand justice for Daunte Wright, Adam Toledo, and all other victims of killer cops. The event, called by the Tampa Bay Community Action Coalition (TBCAC), brought together more than 40 activists from across Tampa, as well as a number of park-goers who took time out of their weekend reveries to join the action. Looming over the event, the Florida “Anti-Riot” Bill (more accurately, the anti-protest bill) sits on Governor DeSantis’ desk waiting to be signed after passing through the Florida Senate.
Powerful speeches from several organizations, including TBCAC, Students for a Democratic Society at USF, and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization, invoked the memory of Black and Latinx victims murdered by police across the United States and drew the historical connection between these killings and the lynchings of the past, stretching back to slavery. Among those remembered were local victims of cop murder Josiah Pinner and Jonas Joseph. The local news covered the event and were overheard telling an organizer that they would “stick around until things got crazy,” implying they expected a police response to the demonstration. However, the cops were nowhere to be seen, and despite the draconian measures being used against protesters across Florida, this large group of mostly young activists held a dignified event, raising chants and demands for justice.
While the demands of the protest were somewhat limited, calling only for “community control” of the police, the speakers from the various organizations were clearly wrestling with the nature of the cops themselves. Some speakers maintained that “the cops work for us,” while others quite correctly understood that the police exist simply to impose the will of the ruling class. Socialist Resurgence distributed a special leaflet for the event, calling for the abolition of the police and the conviction of killer cops (see below), which we hope will be welcomed as a contribution to this ongoing discussion in the movement in Tampa.
With the impending decision in the trial of Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd and the inevitable signing of the “Anti-Riot Bill” into law, the movement in Tampa and across Florida will be reignited once again and forced to come face-to-face with the realities of fighting back against reactionary forces of capital.
As Lenin was fond of saying, life teaches; and big lessons are in store for workers and youth across the sunny South. The police, the courts, and the entire capitalist state are now arrayed against the working people of Florida and elsewhere. Only a fighting socialist program, strong unions, and a workers’ party can stand up to the onslaught.
We invite all Southern workers, unemployed, and students to discuss with Socialist Resurgence and to join us as we expand our work across the South!
Socialist Resurgence distributed the following leaflet in Tampa:
Justice for Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo! Jail Killer Cops!
On April 11, a Brooklyn Center, Minn., cop gunned down 20-year-old Daunte Wright during a traffic stop. The cop’s body cam video, released with uncharacteristic swiftness, showed officer Kimberly Potter shout “taser, taser, taser” before firing one round from her handgun. Police officials claimed that Potter intended to taser Daunte, but shot him by mistake. Potter, a 26-year police veteran and training officer, resigned from the force on April 13th. She has been charged with second degree manslaughter.
Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, erupted with protests, with hundreds taking the streets and resulted in the state deploying National Guard troops, who were later expelled from the Labor Center by rank-and-file workers. All of this takes place in the context of the trial of Derek Chauvin, the cop that murdered George Floyd and sparked an antiracist rebellion.
In Chicago, police body cam footage revealed the cold-blooded murder of 13-year-old Adam Toledo, hands raised in the air on March 29. We stand in solidarity with the ongoing protests there. These martyrs will never be forgotten!
From Oscar Grant, Sandra Bland and George Floyd to Daunte Wright and Adam Toledo, the cops are on a killing spree. In spite of the mass uprising against cop violence last year, the police continue to kill with impunity.
Police exist to protect and serve the interests of the ruling rich, not the working class and oppressed. Police forces have their roots in the slave patrols of the old South, and shootings are just the continuation of the lynchings of the past under the cover of the law. Because of this fundamental role, they cannot be reformed under capitalism. The police are not part of the working class; they are agents of the state against the working class and oppressed.
Justice for Daunte and Adam! Jail killer cops! Abolish the police!
Photo: ABC News