Communist Party USA

  “All power to the people!” was the slogan most often heard at the conference of the National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (NAARPR) held here the first weekend of December. Over 140 delegates from 30 organizations attended. The spirit of struggle burning in the hearts of anti-racist, justice-loving people during the 2020 Minneapolis-centered uprising, responding to George Floyd’s murder by police officer Derek Chauvin, has been carried forward in struggles around too many police murders. It lives on in the NAARPR coalition’s commitment to continuing the struggle to assert community control over the police and end wholesale police murders of Black and other oppressed peoples in the communities they are sworn to protect. NAARPR grew out of the struggle to free Angela Davis and all political prisoners in the 1970s. It defines itself in its by-laws, ratified by the conference delegates, as a “national mass defense organization to fight for community control of the police, to build a mass movement uniting all the various strands of the people’s movement to end all forms of racist and political repression, to defend the rights of oppressed peoples and workers, to protest and organize for systemic change and to consistently engage in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality.” The participants were primarily young, men and women, multi-racial, multi-ethnic, labor and community, trans and LGBTQ+ inclusive, and multi-lingual. They represented more eloquently than any words the deep roots in communities in struggle that the NAARPR coalition unites. Angela Davis, in her video address to the conference, talked of the impact coronavirus has had on advancing mass consciousness. She said: An already existing crisis in democracy was deepened and intensified by the COVID-19 pandemic. Precisely because of decades of struggle by dedicated activists who have argued that racism is structural, not primarily attitudinal and individual…the devastating impact of this virus on indigenous, Black, Latinx, and other communities of color, was understood by huge numbers of people to confirm the existence of structural racism. Frank Chapman, NAARPR executive director denounced the mismanagement of the pandemic. He told attendees: “Over 800,000 people have died from COVID-19 and tens of thousands are still dying, that’s war. And the perpetrator of this war is not the COVID-19 virus, the perpetrators are those who are making money off of the health care system. Not just Trump, but the pharmaceutical companies and all of them!” Expanding on that idea, Davis, speaking about the founding of the NAARPR in the 1970s, said: When we initially created the Alliance, we saw the era of the 1970s as unprecedented in the reach of its repression…. At that time…we clearly understood the interdependency of racist repression and political repression. Today, we have an even deeper appreciation of the centrality of structural racism and the violence it spawns, and the ways in which racism continually produces and extends and exacerbates crises in our society. Police terror in communities of color, especially Black, Latinx, Indigenous, and LGBTQ+ communities, is another dimension of structural racism. NAARPR is committed to winning community (democratic) control over the police, reversing today’s use of the police by the ruling class to terrorize and subjugate our Black, brown, indigenous, and other oppressed communities. Community control is a revolutionary goal, undermining the monopoly on force by the capitalist ruling class. Winning community control of the police puts the community in charge of a major instrument of capitalist oppression, and represents a fundamental democratic shift in power. The power envisioned for such community control commissions include: final say over policing policy; independent, democratic monitoring of the police for compliance with policies; ability…

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NAARPR Conference moves anti-racism struggle forward