Workers Vanguard No. 884

19 January 2007


“For Socialist Revolution in the U.S. and Internationally!”

SYC Speaker at Chicago Holiday Appeal

(Young Spartacus pages)

We print below the speech, edited for publication, given by Richard Elle of the Spartacus Youth Club at the Partisan Defense Committee’s 21st annual Holiday Appeal for Class-War Prisoners in Chicago on 10 December 2006.

The Chicago SYC is actively fighting to make Mumia’s case known throughout the city. We’re making presentations about Mumia’s case to campus youth groups and university classes. We speak about how Mumia’s case is important and stress that it is vital that other groups and individuals fight for his freedom. To throw the net out wider, we’re doing radio interviews—like at Chicago State University, where we presented Mumia’s case and asked those who were listening to get involved, to come to the Mumia rally we held in October, and to today’s event. We understand that the fight for Mumia is critical because black oppression is the bedrock of American capitalism. Black people will not be free until capitalism has been overthrown through a victorious workers revolution. Mumia Abu-Jamal, decorated journalist, black radical and eloquent speaker for the oppressed, is precisely who the rulers of this country fear the most. To them, he represents the spectre of black revolution, and that is why for him they reserve their ultimate punishment, the death penalty.

Because we fight for socialist revolution, the SYC fights against U.S. imperialism. When the U.S. was bombing Iraq, we took a side by calling for the defense of Iraq. We understand that war is not the policy or preference of one or another capitalist politician. War is an essential part of capitalism as it sets out to conquer new markets and entrenches its political interests abroad. The Workers World Party (WWP), the International Socialist Organization (ISO) and the Revolutionary Communist Party (RCP) built demonstrations using pacifist demands like “No blood for oil!” or “Money for schools, not for war!” These demands do not make clear that war is a systematic necessity of capitalism, but instead turn the crimes of blood-soaked U.S. imperialism into a “bad decision” at the hands of a few individuals.

It should be remembered that the Iraq war began with bipartisan support. Both the Democrats and Republicans agreed that the slaughter of Iraqis was necessary—any differences between them amounted to simple tactical differences. We intervened to make crystal clear that the fight against war is a fight for socialist revolution. While the WWP, ISO and RCP aimed to build the “broadest possible unity” by blurring the issue of class, we fought to win more revolutionary-minded elements to our understanding of the centrality of working-class struggle against U.S. imperialism, as part of leading the way to a socialist future.

Last February at the University of Chicago, four activists were arrested for protesting military recruiters. Two of them were SYC supporters. We say, “Not one person, not one penny, for U.S. imperialism!” The SYC calls for the unconditional and immediate withdrawal of the U.S. from Iraq and Afghanistan. To bring the struggle against the imperialist military to the universities, actions like the February protest are important, necessary and exemplary.

We sprang into action to defend the arrested and beat back the university administration’s attack against our right to free speech. We organized a united-front protest. The central demands of our demonstration were: “Drop all charges against the anti-military recruitment protesters now! Administration hands off! No disciplinary actions!” We issued statements and wrote letters to the administration and the campus press. Over 40 individuals and organizations endorsed our demonstration, and 70 people came in our defense because they too understood that “an injury to one is an injury to all.”

When students moved to express their opposition to the U.S. war machine, the administration tried to send the message that if we stepped out of line, we would be crushed. But in the end, our united front succeeded, and we won—all of the charges were dropped.

But how are Iraq and Mumia related? As Leninists, we believe that the state is an instrument of political rule of one dominant class over another. The capitalist state takes actions in the interest of the capitalist class. In the same way that the many peoples of the neocolonial world will forever be under the brutal thumb of U.S. imperialism so long as there is international capital, the lives of Mumia and other brave fighters for the oppressed will forever be in danger so long as racist U.S. capitalism rules over us all. That is why the SYC fights for socialist revolution in the U.S. and internationally. So, if you want to fight to get rid of capitalism and open the road to human freedom, check out the SYC.