On Sept. 19, the newly formed New York City chapter of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression held a rally in Union Square Park to demand: “Stop police crimes! Withdraw federal troops! Community control now!” It was part of a national day of action called by the NAARPR.
Speakers expressed their commitment to the struggle to defend Black lives from police murder and to keep the fight going and growing in the streets. They also called for solidarity with activists and community members targeted for repression by the police and Trump administration.
Participating groups included the New York Community Action Project, BAYAN USA, New York Boricua Resistance and the Communist Party USA. A highlight of the rally was the announcement by three high school students that they are forming a New York chapter of the Students for a Democratic Society (SDS).
The following remarks were given by Greg Butterfield, representing the Socialist Unity Party and Struggle-La Lucha newspaper:
“We’re proud to be here today with all of you, and to be part of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. The launching of the New York Alliance is a big step forward.
“It’s been almost exactly 10 years since the FBI raids on anti-war activists in the Midwest, including several members of the Freedom Road Socialist Organization. Back then, the revolutionary left rallied to the defense of these comrades, and eventually, together, we succeeded in beating back the government attack.
“Why do I bring this up? After all, we want to focus on building the movement to defend Black lives, for community control of the police. We want to encourage people to stay in the streets and not back down. But to do that, people have to know that we have each other’s backs. That means we have to get better at defending the movement, and each other.
“There’s a growing backlash from the capitalist state — the police, federal agents, ICE, Border Patrol, National Guard, courts and prisons, media and politicians. Trump has encouraged a violent, fascist, white supremacist movement that’s treated as a loyal auxiliary by the police that it uses to carry out shootings, vehicle attacks, and more on community members and protesters.
“Revolutionary organizations and activists are being targeted for arrests and violence — socialists, communists, anti-fascists, revolutionary nationalists, anarchists, community organizers, trade unionists — all of us. In the past few weeks, this repression has hit an African People’s Socialist Party organizer in San Diego, FRSO and SDS organizers in Tallahassee, Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and Frontline Party for Revolutionary Action (FPRA) organizers in Denver, to name a few. And Trump’s federal political police openly carried out the assassination of anti-fascist activist Michael Reinoehl in Portland.
“We need to defend our revolutionary organizations so that we can continue to support and defend the movement in defense of Black lives. And to do that we have to unite our efforts, in the same way that we rallied to the defense of the Midwest anti-war activists 10 years ago.
“The Socialist Unity Party and Struggle-La Lucha newspaper have issued an appeal to revolutionaries asking that we pledge to defend each other from state attack. As a first step, we’ve started a running list of comrades across the country who have been jailed or who face heavy charges, with links for bail support, petitions and information on how to take action.
“We urge everyone, every group, to take this information and share it. It’s a work in progress, and we need folks to add info on cases that we all should know about.
“Whatever differences our groups may have over the coming election, or the best demands to fight police terror, or bad feelings over past conflicts, I think we all understand that the struggle between working-class people and the capitalist state is going to intensify in the coming months, no matter what happens on election day. Now is the time for us to find ways to work together on the most basic level of self-defense for our organizations and the broader movement.
“Let’s unite to keep the struggle for Black lives vibrant and fighting in the streets. An injury to one is an injury to all!”
SLL photos: Greg Butterfield