On the NYC Police Killings & the Haymarket Massacre

Published on ZNet, by Bill Fletcher, Jan 6, 2015 (first published on Billfletcher.com).

In every vibrant progressive social movement there comes a moment when a psychologically or emotionally disturbed person, an agent provocateur, or a political extremist commits an atrocious act that is seized upon by the State and/or the political Right as a means of attempting to discredit or outright repress the movement. The action, committed for whatever reason, is sufficiently heinous that confusion develops within the movement and the movement can lose both its momentum as well as a segment of its less committed or more ambivalent supporters.  

In 1886, at the height of the Eight Hour Day movement, a bomb was set off at a worker’s rally at Haymarket Square in Chicago. The rally was called to both protest police killings of worker protesters as well as to support striking workers fighting for the 8 hour day. The rally was attacked by the police and a bomb was thrown at the police. To this day no one actually knows who set off the bomb, including whether it was an agent provocateur, or a deranged or infuriated activist. What is known, however, is that the bombing became a pretext for governmental effort to discredit the protests and the workers movement, and to suggest that the entire movement was led by cold, cruel anarchists who were only interested in violence. Charges were brought against key leaders of the movement and in a kangaroo trial, eight individuals were convicted for their alleged involvement in the bombing and four were subsequently hanged.

The reaction by police unions, the political Right and much of the mainstream media today, in the aftermath of Ismaaiyl Brinsley’s alleged killings of two NYPD officers, is eerily reminiscent of the aftermath of the Haymarket massacre. Intense and manipulative efforts are underway to paint those who have protested police violence, or even those who have simply spoken up against it, as allegedly having blood on their hands since they supposedly created the tension between the police and the community. New York City Mayor de Blasio, for instance, has been demonized by the Right, with the suggestion that he and Rev. Al Sharpton created the incendiary environment that resulted in the murders of the two officers.

In this moment it is critical that progressives counter these arguments actively, vocally and with immense vigor. These arguments and allegations are cynical and disingenuous efforts to discredit and derail one of the most important movements of the recent past. Let us be clear as to what has been unfolding … //

… (full text).

(Bill Fletcher, Jr. is the host of The Global African. He is a racial justice, labor and global justice activist and writer. Follow him on Facebook, Twitter and at www.billfletcherjr.com).

Related Links:

Other Links:

Harald Lesch während einer langen schlaflosen Nacht, on Humanitarian Texts, Jan 7, 2015;

Reconquérir la propriété, un enjeu déterminant pour l’avenir des communs, dans ATTAC France, par Fabienne Orsi, le 6 janvier 2015;

OC Transpo: Des chauffeurs gagnent plus de 100000 $, dans La Presse.ca, par JEAN-FRANÇOIS DUGAS, le 6 janvier 2015: Plus de 200 chauffeurs d’autobus sont victimes d’une agression par année au Canada;

Le RSI répond aux critiques des travailleurs indépendants, dans Le Figaro.fr/blog, par Yann Le Galès, le 6 janvier 2015;

Income-tax aid program seeks volunteer preparers, on Orlando Sentinel, by Debbie Manis, Jan 5, 2015;

Sommet européen de Bruxelles: des milliers de citoyens disent non au TAFTA, dans ATTAC France, par Collectif Stop TAFTA, 19 décembre 2014;
Partenariat transatlantique de commerce et d’investissement, dans fr.wikipedia; /Liens Externes;
Transatlantic Free Trade Area TAFTA on en.wikipedia; /External Links;

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