This is also the most timely reading of May Day. This last fall, public outrage over the police killings of Mike Brown, Akai Gurley, Eric Garner and the almost countless other black people murdered by police erupted in massive demonstrations and riots across the country. They demanded an end to assassinations by police.
Now, as then, the state blames the people police have killed for their own deaths. Eric Garner’s health killed him, not the stranglehold; Michael Brown was violent. Then, as now, officers who kill face no repercussions for their actions; they tell us the demonstrators are to blame. From the original May in 1886 until May 2015, we have every indication that police departments, judicial systems, and oversight boards insist that police continue killing unfettered.
As a population tired of being under the threat of execution, protesters have demonstrated, petitioned, spoken out, occupied, marched for eight hours straight, and blocked bridges, highways and tunnels. Yet no material change resulted from these activities.
In the case of Michael Brown, police execution was justified by a claim that the teenager fought back. Similarly, protesters were vilified for using force, ‘resisting arrest’, and rioting. Routinely, fighting back, asserting one’s desire to survive, and any hint of ‘violence’ has been deemed unacceptable by the police and the state that shields them. They would like a completely docile population, ready to accept death, or at least a jail sentence, for slightly undermining their authority.
That’s not what they are going to get.
For all those accustomed to living under the boot of the police, for all those who understand that survival is at stake, and because there is no other option, it is time to go on the offense.
This May Day, we look at the historic events that brought us here and we see that we are still faced with the same enemy. We can’t appeal to the humanity of the court system; we fear for our lives in the street. We must take away the one implement that allows them kill with such impunity, with such rapidity, and such callousness: their guns.
This May Day we call for the unconditional surrender of arms by the NYPD and police departments nationwide.
We call for every active group, every union, every concerned individual to take up this campaign and finally end this hundred-year-old brutality.
Disarm the Police!
Disarm the NYPD!