By Tom Eley
1 May 2012
Protests spread throughout the US in the aftermath of the killing of 17-year old Trayvon Martin in February. The killing of Martin found a point of connection with broad popular anger over injustice, inequality, and the promotion of right-wing, vigilante laws. Martin’s parents played a central role in raising awareness of their son’s killing, and in demanding the arrest and trial of his killer.
The political establishment in the United States also mobilized in response to this anger, bringing forward certain individuals and organizations that make it their profession to manipulate and redirect popular anger. The aim always is to keep opposition within acceptable parameters, to try to ensure that it does not pose any threat to the capitalist system and its political representatives, Democrat and Republican.
The professional politicians of race, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, played a particularly cynical role. Together with their supporters in the International Socialist Organization and other pseudo-left groups, Jackson and Sharpton used the Trayvon Martin killing as an opportunity to insist that race, not class, is the fundamental issue in American society. The more immediate aim is to prepare the ground for the reelection campaign of Barack Obama, who is now presiding over a massive assault on the working class of every race.
It is worth reviewing the political pedigree of Jackson and Sharpton, two individuals who personify the decay of the civil rights movement and the cultivation of a wealthy black elite that is fundamentally hostile to the social aspirations of workers, both black and white. In the course of their services to capitalist politics, both have become multi-millionaires, even as the conditions of life for the vast majority of black workers and youth have deteriorated. These are not, in any meaningful sense of the term, individuals on the “left.”
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From New York to California, outrage over the acquittal in George Zimmerman’s murder trial poured from street demonstrations and church pulpits Sunday as protesters called for justice for the unarmed youth he killed and demanded federal civil rights charges against him.
Protests were planned later Sunday in Boston, Detroit, Baltimore, San Francisco and other cities over the Florida case, which unleashed a national debate over racial profiling, self-defense and equal justice. One protest in California hours after the verdict late Saturday ended with vandalism while police dispersed another crowd by firing beanbag rounds.
In Washington, the Justice Department said it is looking into the case to determine whether federal prosecutors should file criminal civil rights charges now that Zimmerman has been acquitted in the state case.
As Trayvon Martin’s mother stood at the altar of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple on Sunday, the Rev. Jamal-Harrison Bryant asked for anyone whose child had also been the victim of “senseless violence” to come forward…
Trevor Dooley stood his ground, brandished his gun and killed a man after an argument over local skateboarding rules in a Florida town.
He argued in court last month that he had a right to do so under the state’s Stand Your Ground law.
Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation.
It was not immediately clear what charge Zimmerman will face.
A threat was issued Friday to boycott local businesses because of the Trayvon Martin shooting case. But those businesses said they are already feeling the side effects.The threat stated that if George Zimmerman is not arrested in connection with the shooting death of Martin, then Sanford businesses should be avoided.
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The Justice Department could bring a hate crime charge against George Zimmerman in the killing of Trayvon Martin if there is sufficient evidence the slaying was motivated by racial bias…
The parents of teenager Trayvon Martin, who was fatally shot in Sanford by a volunteer neighborhood watchman, joined more than a thousand people marching in New York City on Wednesday to demand justice for their son…
Witnesses in Trayvon Martin death heard cries before shot.