Quick Hit Thursday February 12th, 2015, 1:02pm

Op-Ed: "Black Lives Matter!" Our Attitude Toward The Elections In Chicago

The following comes from the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression.

What are the mayoral and aldermanic elections really about? There are a host of gut level issues raised by the various candidates that seem to address public education, job creation and unemployment, elimination of pension funds, public safety, the housing crisis, the health care crisis, MBE/WBE Independent Contractors, and all the ancillary issues that lie dormant in the social savagery created by budget cuts that further impoverish the poor and enrich the rich. But what about the racism, driven by an ever-deepening economic crisis and the political delirium of the powers that be, that is casting a shadow over all these issues? Ah! Therein lies the problem; everybody is ignoring the racist cutting edge of all the gut level issues afflicting our City, and getting away with it.

Think about it for a minute. Ninety percent of the public schools closed were closed in the African American community and over seventy five percent of the unarmed people murdered by the police are African American males. Yet the leading mayoral candidates opposing Rahm Emanuel kicked off their campaigns calling for a thousand police and then proceeded to address every other crisis without so much as a whisper about racism. Have they not heard the young people marching in the streets chanting "Black Lives Matter!"? Haven't they witnessed the mass youth-led uprising against police crimes and the racist criminal justice system? Are they aware that 28 City Council members have signed on to the Ordinance granting reparations to victims of police torture? It is impossible for them not to have heard or seen these volcanic social explosions; therefore, calling for more police is clearly a slap in the face.

We are basically being murdered in the streets in a manner that harkens back to the days when African Americans were publicly lynched; and politicians choose to ignore it because, believe it or not, they have allowed themselves to be caught up in the political delirium that is incapable of perceiving the change in the moral and political climate precipitated by the present uprising of our youth led by Black Youth Project 100, We Charge Genocide and #Black Lives Matter.

But this is not true of the politicians running for City Council who live in communities under siege by the police. Both incumbents and their challengers are starting to come out for an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC) because it is their constituents that are being murdered and tortured and there is a developing mass movement in these communities against police crimes.

Our Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression does not endorse candidates; we push issues, and fight for the candidates as well as people in elected offices, to support those issues. The issue of empowering the people, to hold the police accountable for the crimes they commit, is raised in the letter we sent to every candidate, who is running in the present City-wide elections, asking them to endorse CPAC. This is not a quid pro quo proposition or a political tit for tat game. We are asking these politicians to take a stand against the killing of our youth by racist police, who are propped up by a criminal justice system that perpetrates racist injustice. We are asking them to stand up for democracy, for life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If you are not willing to do this then, in our opinion, you are not fit to hold any public office.

In political struggle nothing can be fixed finally and fairly because the relationships of forces for and against change are constantly changing. Being defeated means we are forced to recess, recover, regroup, rebuild and start over. In every lost struggle there are the seeds of a new one until phoenix-like victory arises out of the ashes of defeat. Such is the dialectic of the progressive movement of social change and it happens without our permission.

After some forty years of repeated struggles for community control of the police we saw in the Ferguson rebellion the rosy dawn of a new day, we saw the possibility of victory being snatched from the jaws of defeat. When the grand jury refused to issue indictments in the cases of Eric Garner and Michael Brown we witnessed that out of these defeats there emerged a mass uprising that catapulted our movement into the national and international political arenas like never before. We see this as a favorable yet transient moment in our struggle. While the winds of change are at our backs we must push forward with all we've got going for us so that when this moment passes we won't see it as a lost opportunity. Our battle cry as we struggle in these elections for endorsements for CPAC must be: Fight Back! Endorse CPAC!

We have to dare to struggle in order to win, and it is our duty to win.


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