In the past 5 years over 400 people have died at the hands of the Los Angeles Police Department, and District Attorney Jackie Lacey has not prosecuted a single officer.
Every week for the past 9 months Black Lives Matter - Los Angeles has held space outside the Hall of “Justice”, along with White People for Black Lives, American Indian Movement-SoCal, March and Rally LA, Ground Game LA, California For Progress, Defend Movement and others. The purpose is to honor those who have been taken from us, to call on the spirit of all of those who have suffered and died at the hands of white patriarchal capitalism, and to demand justice and a future where everyone is truly liberated.
On Wednesday, July 25th, we at the Los Angeles Local of the Democratic Socialists of America were humbled to support them.
Being there to listen and share stories with very courageous families demands that we all take into our hearts the pain, suffering, and scars of loss that are unjustly inflicted on our sisters and brothers whose loved ones have been murdered by the police. But as Dr. Melina Abdullah reminds us frequently, our loved ones are not lost; they are with us today. We took a moment to call out the prophetic wisdom of Ida. B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hammer, and Elaine Brown and martyrs like Jimmie Lee Jackson, Martin Luther King and Malcolm X. And we held a moment of silence for the freedom fighters whose lives were cut short.
DSA has endorsed the Movement for Black Lives Platform, because as socialists, we believe that the freedom of all is bound up with the freedom of those most exploited by capitalism.
Capitalism can never affirm the dignity of all people as it relies on racism, white supremacy, genocide, heteronormativity, patriarchy and the theft of life and land from those deemed “inferior” for the enrichment of the few.
As Abolitionists, we believe that the institutions of police and prisons serve to maintain the order of this system.
From putting down slave rebellions, to breaking strikes, to profiling and predictive policing, law enforcement exists as a tool of the oppressor, not as the protector of the innocent. Police protect and serve not the people but those with wealth, power, and privilege. Prisons rob people of their dignity, separate families and harm communities more than the crimes they seek to punish.
Angela Davis wrote that “prison relieves us of the responsibility of seriously engaging with the problems of our society, especially those produced by racism and global capitalism.” Together we stand for a future where ICE, police, and prisons, have been abolished and the $1.6 billion dollars the city spends on the LAPD is instead reinvested in communities in the form of restorative justice, education, afterschool programs, supportive housing, mental healthcare, and other services that build political power, economic justice, and community control, and begin to deliver to communities of color the reparations they are owed.
The community conversation that happens outside Jackie Lacey’s office every week builds power, it feeds an inextinguishable light within that will always shine for justice, and it fights back through learning about our shared fight, out here we exchange knowledge that empowers each of us to go out there and keep fighting.
To those who have been captured by the monster of police brutality and mass incarceration who are locked up in cages right now, we thank you for empowering our own struggle to bring justice to our city and the families out here today, and we will continue to fight until the state lets our captives free.