Protesters in Chicago are marking Martin Luther King Jr weekend with actions targeting the city's mayor and racist police force.
The weekend of actions began on Friday with protesters disrupting a breakfast honoring Martin Luther King Jr cynically hosted by Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel, a long time Democratic Party shill, is under scrutiny for covering up the Chicago police murder of black teenager Laquan McDonald. Protesters stormed the breakfast shouting, "sixteen shots and a cover-up" in reference to the 16 times that Chicago police officer Jason Van Dyke shot Laquan McDonald. The protesters honored MLK's legacy of direct action by attacking the, "cookie-cutter, white-washed, ahistorical version of MLK that the media tries to stuff down our throats."
Today protesters took direct action by briefly occupying the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police Credit Union. The Fraternal Order of Police was targeted due to the support it gives to murderers like Jason Van Dyke. After the public release of the video footage showing the killing of Laquan McDonald the FOP responded not by offering condolences to the family of McDonald, but rather by raising money for Van Dyke. The protesters are demanding that money be invested in opportunities for black Chicagoans instead of a racist police force which murders and imprisons blacks with impunity.
Police violence has risen sharply since the Nixon administration began its "war on crime", a thinly veiled attack on the newly gained rights of African-Americans. The role of the police as we know it today began under the Reagan administration with the "war on drugs". It is a commonly held misconception that increasing funding for the police is an appropriate way to deal with drug abuse in our society. Drug prevention and treatment programs are much more effective, but are also very poorly funded.
Drug prevention and treatment programs receive very low funding in Chicago, and one of Emanuel's first acts as mayor was to close half of the city's mental health clinics thereby dooming much of their patients to life in the city and state penitentiary systems. Heroin addiction is a serious problem in Chicago, and rather than dealing with the problem in a humane and economically efficient way by funding drug prevention and treatment programs, the state prefers to use the epidemic as an excuse to increase violence on its black population.
Solidarity against state violence!
Fund people not police!