KCC - Wanted for racist state terror: capitalism

13 April 2024 617 hits

BROOKLYN —“I shouldn’t fear for my life to come on campus,” stated a halal cart worker to members of Kingsborough Community College’s antiracist club, Common Ground. For months, the halal cart has been the target of racist attacks, including racist anti-Palestinian graffiti (see CHALLENGE, 3/13). While the racists intended to terrorize workers and students at KCC into fear and silence, they and the capitalist bosses they’re serving made a severe miscalculation. Amidst genocide in Gaza, widening imperialist wars, and sharpening fascism, antiracist students and communists in the Progressive Labor Party are hard at work building a mass, multiracial, antiracist fightback!

Fighting to build unity, solidarity, and collectivity

Since our semester started, Common Ground has regularly met to discuss how best to respond to these racist attacks, with our new women students taking leadership and learning from the experiences of our veteran students. Recently, in addition to tightening rules against student organizing, we were surprised and disgusted to discover two brand-new security cameras installed at either end of our meeting room!

Everyone agreed this felt like quite a violation, and one of our new students stated, “This campus feels more and more like a police state and not a college.” Another student asked, “Why would they bother spying on us, do they think we’re breaking the law?” 
The expression “police state” raises an important question – what is the State? What does KCC’s administration have to do with the State? And what should workers’ attitudes toward the State be?

The capitalist state and communist revolution

States arose when, after about 300,000 years of human societies, divisions of society into classes – between exploiter and exploited – appeared. The state emerged as a special group of people occupied with governing, appearing to stand neutral and outside of society. However, they really enforce a dictatorship of the exploiting class through other special groups granted the legal authority to use violence and imprison whoever the ruling class deems an enemy. Under capitalism, this reality is obscured by layers of appearances like the court system and sophisticated propaganda upheld by the capitalist media, schools, movies, music, and most social media. 

The capitalists will always treat antiracist fighters for multiracial unity as criminals. Racism and sexism, along with nationalism, are the pillars that uphold their entire profit system to keep the working class politically divided, differentially oppressed, and economically exploited. Black workers especially are super-exploited and, through racist police terror, the bosses’ cops intentionally terrorize Black and immigrant workers on the streets, in schools, and in their own homes. 

In this way, the student who observed that KCC seems like a police state is righter than they knew! The capitalist state in the U.S. today includes everyone from Joe Biden to the NYPD, to the administration of every CUNY campus. Arming ourselves with communist politics exposes the dead-end false promises of liberal reforms. Communists fight to arm the entire international working class politically to defend against capitalist attacks in the short term and to organize our entire class to smash this entire genocidal, sexist system with communist revolution and a workers’ state of our own! 

WANTED for racist terror: capitalism

Guided by these politics, PL’ers supported Common Ground’s decision to create a “WANTED FOR RACIST HATE CRIME” poster. The NYPD – who had to be pressured into responding to this racist attack in the first place - only posted two “WANTED'' flyers, on a desolate corner outside campus with mostly empty storefronts. After weeks of discussion, we decided instead of relying on the NYPD, we would copy the images of the racist suspect caught on surveillance and create our own! We also created a petition with a list of demands, including calling out KCC’s refusal to acknowledge this hate crime even happened and raising money to cover the damage to the halal cart.  
Since then, Common Ground members and PL’ers have attended prayers and iftar (when Muslim workers break their fast during the month of Ramadan) at a community mosque multiple times, making friends, distributing the WANTED flyer widely, and sparking outrage and willingness to build a mass movement around fighting back. We are organizing for May Day, and plan to continue discussing the students’ sharp observations about capitalism and even sharper questions about communism in our PLP study group. The struggle continues!