Black Liberation and socialism celebrated in Chicago
Chicago, IL – 75 people gathered at a Black History Month event sponsored by Freedom Road Socialist Organization (FRSO), Feb. 3. They chanted, clapped and sang along to the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice as the program began.
Frank Chapman of FRSO set the stage with an assessment of the current crisis of capitalism, stating, “To say that the present administration is caught in the grip of political crisis that impedes its ability to govern in the face of the most massive uprising of the people seen in decades is about as revealing as saying that a zebra has stripes.”
Many in the crowd were members of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression. Jazmine Salas, who co-chairs the Stop Police Crimes committee of the Alliance together with Chapman, emceed the event. Despite the racist attacks of the Trump agenda, Chapman contrasted the impact of the movement in Chicago, such as the release of many victims of police torture and wrongful conviction in the same time period, stating, “Yet, in these troubled and trying times, we kept Rasmea Odeh from going to prison and have helped to free Black and Latino working class people who were sentenced to die in the dungeons of America.”
Members of the Chicago Teachers Union were present to cheer on Curtis Bynum, an organizer in the fight to save four public schools in the majority Black, South Side neighborhood of Englewood. Mayor Rahm Emanuel has targeted these schools to all be closed. Bynum spoke of the hope the CTU gained from the community hearings and student protests in recent weeks. But he added that, “The entire racist system is flawed. If we don’t change this system, we’re going to lose. But we’re going to continue to fight, and we will come out on top.”
Sharon Lake, a certified nurse’s aide from Veracare Nursing home in nearby Burbank, reported on their one-day strike held on the MLK holiday. “By taking action, we forced the employer back to the bargaining table, and we’re making progress now.”
Tyrone Williams of the Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression spoke about the need to keep pressure on the courts to win justice for Laquan McDonald, murdered by police officer Jason Van Dyke in 2014. Williams said, “When Van Dyke’s trial begins, we all have to rally at 26th and California at 8 a.m. to stop the system from letting that killer off easy.”
Chapman closed the event with a call for people to join FRSO to help build the fight today, and the long term struggle for socialism and Black liberation.