No justice without radical change
Monica Hill
volume 36
issue 1
February 2015

The death of Michael Brown fueled protests against racist cops in Ferguson, Mo., including this one on Aug. 22, 2014. Scott Olson / Getty Images

“No Justice, No Peace!” This ringing slogan is close to the hearts of protesters marching against police abuse in Black and Latino communities in the USA. And today the chant expresses mounting global defiance against state repression, whether in the Middle East, Africa, Asia, Europe, or Latin America.

But Presidents Obama and Peña Nieto of Mexico, who warmly shook hands in Washington, D.C., in January, are doing their best to enforce “peace” without justice.

That won’t stop outraged revolts led by young Blacks and immigrants in the U.S. and indigenous youth in Mexico. The challenge now is to sustain momentum, expand solidarity, and build toward radical change.

It’s the system. The masses who have taken over streets and highways in Mexico and the U.S. know that the government creates the violence of everyday life. The police and military have a special role as the enforcers — but all parts of the state work together to ensure the rule of the capitalist economic system. Obscenely wealthy businesses, including drug cartels, depend upon this coercion to survive. On the home front, cops and prisons work to suppress rebellion and protect the banks and speculators — at all costs! Internationally, military occupations and wars destroy lands and lives to keep the imperialist powers on top.

What have these powers produced? A world of afflicted human beings, nearly half of whom struggle to survive on less than $2 a day. “Rest assured,” the experts tell us, “recovery is near and capitalism is good for eternity.” Lies! Life is getting worse, not better. Capitalism is designed to profit a privileged few, not to nourish a humane, productive, sane civilization.

Unbearable conditions are causing upheavals globally, and rulers are desperate to clamp down. Institutionalized racism plays a critical role in this effort, especially in the U.S., because it was founded and grew rich on the backs of Black slaves and immigrant workers. Embedded white supremacist policies in the U.S. are intended precisely to break solidarity across races. Racism is also active in Mexico, where, like in the U.S., indigenous communities are stigmatized, the better to undermine their rights and steal their land.

This we know: No working class divided by racism will ever pull off a revolution. The ruling class knows this too, as they watch vast multiracial upsurges with horror.

For reform and revolution. Taking the offensive against capitalism is a dual fight — one for survival reforms, and one to overthrow the profit system entirely. Articles in this special Freedom Socialist issue address many of the needed reforms. They include dumping the grand jury system, stopping U.S. arms sales and funding for Mexico’s murderous “war on drugs,” and establishing job and training programs for youth. True, reforms under capitalism are temporary and the ruling class reverses them as soon as possible. But the fight for them wins us some relief and is essential training for revolutionary battles to come.

Crucial to protest and direct action are organization and leadership. They are what distinguish initiators who plan and prepare from the masses of other dedicated protesters. And they are what have kept two historic movements on the move since Michael Brown was shot on Aug. 9, 2014, and government troops abducted Mexican teaching college students from Ayotzinapa on Sept. 26.

A vital development in Mexico is that pupils and teachers’ unions are leading the formation of popular municipal councils in the state of Guerrero to replace corrupt official governments. The Mexican Partido Obrero Socialista (POS) is calling for an expansion of these popular councils, and for building a democratic national mass movement to coordinate protests and hammer out politics.

Groups involved in U.S. protests are coordinating around national actions and working and talking with each other. Mexican immigrants play a vital role in connecting the struggles north and south of the border. Left groups, grass-roots unionists and social justice movements must energetically support each other’s work in this process. Here in the U.S., fierce opposition to U.S. wars is particularly important, because the Pentagon counts on its poverty draft to recruit jobless young people, especially youth of color.

In Mexico, along with the municipal councils, largely indigenous groups of people in several states have established armed community police in self-defense against the corruption and brutality of cops, the military, and drug traffickers. Mass arrests have followed, and a movement to free political prisoners is part of the struggle. (See

Capitalist barbarities are global and organizing across borders vital. The Committee for Revolutionary International Regroupment (CRIR) is a group of Trotskyist parties. (See “A bold step forward for socialist solidarity”.) CRIR consists of the Freedom Socialist Party (FSP) in the U.S. and Australia, POS in Mexico, Núcleo por un Partido Revolucionario Internacionalista in the Dominican Republic, and Partido Revolucionario de las Trabajadoras y los Trabajadores in Costa Rica.

Coalitions of rank-and-file unionists and immigrant rights groups collaborate across the U.S.-Mexico border, as does the grassroots youth-led immigration movement. In Australia, FSP comrades have organized for decades with Aboriginal activists fighting deaths in custody, and they work together with West Papuans resisting Indonesia’s bloody military occupation. (See the Australian Organiser.)

What a party has to offer. It’s going to take a revolution to abolish this system that thrives on racism and social decay. And the essential form of organization to achieve that goal is the revolutionary party, which studies the lessons of history and dedicates itself to working-class seizure of power. Such a party’s arsenal of know-how and confidence is pivotal to building mutual solidarity across borders for a socialist hemisphere and world.

The FSP is a party for all races and genders. At the same time, FSP is integrally feminist and acutely conscious of the indispensable leadership of Black radicals in the U.S., especially Black women. We are a place to learn, to contribute, to keep our eyes on the prize through all the ups and downs of struggle, and finally to win a lasting victory. We hope you will join us!

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This article in Spanish / Este artículo en español

Also see:

Rebellion and repression from Ferguson to Ayotzinapa

Roots of the Ferguson explosion — and what’s next for the movement

Curb police violence through community control

Mexico: the greatest political crime in decades

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