The 12-year old Black youth Tamir Rice had a toy gun when he was shot to death by a white Cleveland cop on Nov. 22, 2014.
Armed fascist terrorists are driving up and down the streets of Kenosha, Wis., without interference by police or sheriff’s deputies.
Nightly demonstrations have taken place in the city against police violence.
Videos show 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse carrying his AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. On the night of Aug. 25, the white teenager allegedly shot to death two anti-racists, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, and wounded a third, Gaige Grosskreutz.
Wannabe cop Rittenhouse had been a police cadet and plastered his Facebook page with “Blue Lives Matter” lies.
The killings occurred two days after Jacob Blake was shot and paralyzed by Kenosha policeman Rusten Sheskey. A video showed the white cop firing seven shots into Blake’s back while the Black father was entering his own car. Three of Blake’s children were in the back seat.
Police officers in an armored car can be seen on video tossing water bottles to Rittenhouse and his fellow vigilantes, all of whom are armed.
No attempt is made to arrest any of these racist thugs, even though it was after an 8 p.m. curfew. Instead, an officer is heard saying, “We appreciate you guys. We really do.”
Another video shows Rittenhouse walking past police with his AR-15 over his shoulder. Members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.
Police did nothing and Rittenhouse was allowed to return to Antioch, Ill., 20 miles away. There, in his hometown, Rittenhouse was finally arrested.
Meanwhile, the paralyzed Jacob Blake is chained to his hospital bed.
Defending fascist terrorism
The Kenosha city police chief, Daniel Miskinis, refused to call the killings an act of homicide. He blamed the victims of fascist violence for their own deaths, since the killings occurred after curfew.
But Miskinis says that it’s okay for vigilantes to break the curfew. The police chief claimed they were just “armed civilians who have come out to exercise their constitutional right and to potentially protect property.”
Many of the armed thugs belong to the “Kenosha Guard,” an outfit formed by Kevin Mathewson. The former member of Kenosha’s City Council posted a “call to arms” on its Facebook page. It was only taken down by Facebook after Huber and Rosenbaum were killed.
Tucker Carlson justified the shootings on Fox News. He asked, “How shocked are we that 17-year-olds with rifles decided they had to maintain order when no one else would?”
To this ten-million-dollar-a-year hatemonger, killing anti-racists is “maintaining order.” Carlson had earlier defamed Jacob Blake.
Another fascist ― Ann Coulter ― applauded the shooter, Rittenhouse, writing, “I want him as my president.”
The Kenosha County sheriff, David Beth, is just as racist. In 2018, referring to five accused shoplifters who were Black, Beth said, “We need to build warehouses, to put these people into it [sic] and lock them away for the rest of their lives.”
Is it any wonder that a Kenosha cop felt free to pump seven bullets into Jacob Blake’s back?
Counterattacking Black Lives Matter
Then there’s the bigot-in-chief who presided over a four-day hate fest known as the Republican National Convention. Kyle Rittenhouse loves Donald Trump and was in the front row of Trump’s Des Moines, Iowa, rally in January.
The Black Lives Matter movement is the biggest mobilization in U.S. history. Twenty million people have marched against racism in thousands of places, including rural areas. Many of the protesters have been white.
This unity is dangerous to the billionaire class. Three months after the whole world saw George Floyd being choked to death on May 25, the police and other racist scum want to strike back.
There’s only been three days in the last three months in which U.S. police haven’t killed anyone.
Kenosha is their target. The corporate headquarters of Uline ― owned by the ultraright billionaires Elizabeth and Richard Uihlein ― is located in Pleasant Prairie, a village in Kenosha County.
The Black community in Kenosha has always been small.
Ten thousand African Americans live there, a tenth of the city’s population. According to the 1970 census, just 1,930 Black people lived in Kenosha.
That’s despite Kenosha having been an industrial powerhouse. The American Motors assembly plant on the lakefront once employed 14,000 workers who belonged to United Auto Workers Local 72.
Hundreds of people worked in other factories, including where Jockey underwear was made. Most of the Black workers employed in these factories lived in nearby cities, including Milwaukee; Racine, Wis.; and Waukegan, Ill.
The American Motors engine plant closed in 1990. The assembly plant on the lakefront shut down three years earlier.
Luxury housing has been built on the lakefront where Ramblers once rolled off the assembly line. The housing’s residents can take a newly built streetcar to the commuter railroad station and travel to their jobs in Chicago.
Forty years ago, the first phase of deindustrialization was a disaster for Black workers in the Midwest. The median income of the region’s African American families fell by 36 percent between 1978 and 1982.
A reverse migration to the South began. Yet Kenosha’s Black community has grown five-fold since 1970. Thousands of Latinx people live in Kenosha.
Almost all of the factories in Kenosha that paid union wages and benefits are gone. But capitalists still need workers.
White workers who have woken up because of the Black Lives Matter movement will join Asian, Black, Indigenous and Latinx workers in fighting the new Great Depression.
Fifty-six years ago, the world mourned the murders of James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner. The Black and Jewish martyrs were killed by the Ku Klux Klan near Philadelphia, Miss., in 1964.
The anti-racist activists who were killed in Kenosha, Anthony Huber and Joseph Rosenbaum, will not be forgotten.
Gaige Grosskreutz, who was wounded, needs reconstructive surgery on his bicep. He needs help paying his medical expenses. Donations to a GoFundMe account can be sent to Help Gaige, Kenosha medic, with medical bills.
Kenosha belongs to the people, not the fascists!
The writer is a former Wisconsin resident.