Justice through Trayvon Martin?

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Agent of the International's picture
Agent of the In...
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Jul 14 2013 21:20
Justice through Trayvon Martin?

So I noticed the entire left have voiced their opinion on the Zimmerman case and the outcome. What's surprising is that I have also seen responses from anarchists (like the Anarchist Memes, WSM, etc. on facebook) following with their input as well, but almost the same line as the left. Idk, I was hoping for some different substance.

It just seems to me that the left and minority communities are seeking justice through Trayvon Martin, beyond just seeking justice for his family. Now, while a guilty verdict may have been justice for his family, I think its a fact that such a verdict would not be justice for black people, as well as for everyone else whose faced some form of racial or ethnic oppression. I don't know if any of you agree or disagree, but are protests for Trayvon Martin misguided? Should we just dismiss this immediately and move to more "important" issues (a position a bunch of racists trolling on Occupy Wall St. facebook page have taken)?

It just seems to me that a guilty verdict for Zimmerman would be equivalent to Obama being the first black elected president; at the end of the day, this shit system still goes on and treats everyone the same as before. Racism is still endemic and blacks are still the most disadvantaged and discriminated community in the United States.

Is such a case just a reflection on the state of America? And it there anything more to it?

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Tyrion
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Jul 14 2013 23:50

Well, to the extent that this trial is likely to have any broader impact, it's certainly possible that Zimmerman's acquittal could encourage future violence of a similar sort. This is a man who stalked and murdered an unarmed kid, and completely got away with it as far as the legal system is concerned. I don't know how anyone can seriously doubt what the outcome would have been very different if Trayvon Martin had been white; from the very start of this, there were lots of visible and not very subtle efforts to attack Martin's character by appealing to really vile racist stereotypes. As much of a media spectacle as this case has been and as much as it's something of a sideshow compared to the much more massive acts of murder and repression that occur on a daily basis, I still feel pretty enraged thinking that this scumbag Zimmerman was able to murder an essentially defenseless teenager and walk away scot-free (though this is more of an emotional response than any real implicit endorsement of prisons and such).

I can't imagine that anything will be achieved through demonstrations, though. I don't really know when demonstrations have ever achieved anything in themselves, and they strike me as especially futile in this case.

Ablokeimet
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Jul 15 2013 09:21
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
So I noticed the entire left have voiced their opinion on the Zimmerman case and the outcome. What's surprising is that I have also seen responses from anarchists (like the Anarchist Memes, WSM, etc. on facebook) following with their input as well, but almost the same line as the left. Idk, I was hoping for some different substance.

It seems to me that the verdict is a slap in the face for black people in the US and something against which there is justified outrage. Anarchists in the US would be derelict in their duty if they didn't:

(a) Visibly join in this outrage; and

(b) Attempt to contribute some political analysis.

The "natural" response is to look for a demand that can address the situation, but the US liberals are aiming at reactionary target - the "stand your ground" laws that have been spreading in the US. This is on a par with the liberal push there to disarm the population and ensure that only the State is armed. No revolutionaries, and Anarchists least of all, can support that.

Further, the "stand your ground" laws are entirely consistent with the right to use reasonable force in self defence and would serve to bolster the legal position of picketing workers if they defended themselves against cop or thug (oh, but I repeat myself) attack.

There is, in fact, no "demand" that I can think of that would be appropriate to raise and place on the State in this case. That doesn't mean, however, that Anarchists have nothing to say. Rather, it means our task is to:

(a) Point out the especially racist nature of capitalism in the US;

(b) Denounce all police and their auxiliaries as inherently racist, existing to protect the ruling class and for no other purpose - workers, when not seen as useless nuisances, are treated as positive dangers; and

(c) Pose the necessity for workers' revolution as the only way out of racism and violence, explaining how proposals which fall short of that are either useless or will produce positively harmful effects.

There will be no justice for Trayvon Martin while US capitalism remains standing. It is the duty of Anarchists in that country to make the maximum number of workers possible aware of this.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 15 2013 16:52

there actual seems to be evidence that "stand your ground" laws increase the likely hood of white people getting found to be justified in killing black people.

http://io9.com/disturbing-chart-shows-rise-in-justified-killings-of-7734...

i also think it is vary unlikely this would increase the likelihood of the courts supporting workers shooting cops.

Since its already legal to use lethal force in self defense, and "stand your ground" seems to mainly increases the likelihood of racist murderers getting away with being racist murderers, while doing nothing to help people actual defended themselves.
eg - http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57433184/fla-mom-gets-20-years-for-f...

then we lose nothing from there removal and may gain a little.

radicalgraffiti
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Jul 15 2013 16:56

also, its ridiculous to suggest nothing can be done to combat racism short of revolution, and we should all just focuses on workers organizing, of cause it will take a revolution to completely abolish racism, but there's a lot of room for improvement short of that, just as there is with the situation of workers withing capitalism

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Jul 16 2013 05:05
Agent of the Fifth International wrote:
It just seems to me that a guilty verdict for Zimmerman would be equivalent to Obama being the first black elected president; at the end of the day, this shit system still goes on and treats everyone the same as before. Racism is still endemic and blacks are still the most disadvantaged and discriminated community in the United States.

i think you make a very good point here, but i agree with radicalgraffiti that

radicalgraffiti wrote:
also, its ridiculous to suggest nothing can be done to combat racism short of revolution, and we should all just focuses on workers organizing, of cause it will take a revolution to completely abolish racism, but there's a lot of room for improvement short of that, just as there is with the situation of workers withing capitalism

i think the important thing is how we approach protests about individual instances of racial injustice. it's very important to engage in these types of protests but to also use the chance to spread the message that justice for racially oppressed communities cannot be achieved within the confines of the current system. we spread this message while at the same time supporting efforts to pursue the maximum justice possible in the meantime. it's not a choice of one or the other. and the way to get this message to those who care is to connect with them at these types of protests.

also, protesting an outrageously racist verdict such as this, besides being a good in itself, can grow into something much bigger. remember that revolutions and near-revolutions don't spring up out of nowhere, they grow from struggles which are pursuing small reformist gains, or even less, defending old gains from being rolled back, or expressing outrage over an injustice. a strike here, a protest there... it builds and builds... then there's a trigger and things bubble over.

off the top of my head, the uprising in france 1968 exploded out of student protests over the shut down of a university and the expulsion of a few radical students. the workers movement had been pathetic for a long time (much like it is in most western countries today), with only slight growth in the few years before 1968, but the spark from the student movement caused an explosion from labor which had real revolutionary potential. (unfortunately it was stomped out through clever manipulation by the reformist unions.)

before a revolution or near revolution occurs, each strike itself which helped build things up to that point was reformist and isolated, pursuing gains for a small group of workers rather than the class itself. yet the point is that these actions can eventually add up to something that then transforms into a whole new direction... from isolated to unified, from reformist to revolutionary.