More than half a million people gathered in Washington, DC on Oct. 10 for the “Justice or Else!” rally called by the Nation of Islam (NOI.) It was the largest popular assemblage in the United States in more than a decade.
Written by David Hungerford for SouthFront
The foremost issue was the epidemic of police killings of African-Americans. The predominantly African American gathering heard speaker after speaker denounce police killings. Many also demanded an end to the endless wars, noting their huge cost while so many at home are in need of education, medical care, and even food, in the richest country in the world.
As of Oct. 10 more than 900 people have been killed by police officers in the United States in 1915. The real number is larger because local police forces are not required to report killings to the Federal Government. Blacks are proportionately more than three times as likely to be killed by police as whites. Just exactly one of these killings has been indicted as a crime. No other industrialized country comes close the United States in police killings of its own citizens.
Cops have also been on a rampage politically. They intimidate elected officials for the least word of criticism, get schoolteachers fired for saying things they don’t like, and generally act like fascists.
The United States has become a very repressive country. There is universal surveillance of electronic communications. People are afraid to talk freely on the telephone. Some have been charged with “terroristic threat” as a criminal offense because of things they say on social media, and even jailed. Politicians and elections are bought by a few billionaires. Ninety percent of mass communications is controlled by just six corporations. Mainstream media do not report on the many wars, they just rewrite State Department and Pentagon press releases.
The “Justice or Else” rally was a people’s reply. Its real significance was the vast turnout itself. The day was one of mass people’s self-activity in defiance of repression and rule by fear.
The main speaker was Minister Louis Farrakhan, leader of the NOI, or the Nation, as it is often called.
The Nation is important as an economic organization as well as a religious one. Black small businesspeople in the United States find it very difficult to obtain bank credit for start-up capital, cash flow, and expansion. It is a very serious disadvantage. There is no doubt about the reason: the capitalist class wants to limit competition.
The Nation functions on a small business mutual self-help basis. Economic independence gives it a significant degree of political independence. Much of Minister Farrakhan’s speech was the same kind of sermon one might hear in any church, synagogue, or mosque. But he also said things like, “The demand for justice is bigger than all our lives, so the demand for justice must give us the will to wish to sacrifice our lives, because the many are greater than the one.”
Black people are the bulwark of democracy in the United States. They have always fought for democracy the most because they have had it the least. They will always fight for justice, equality, and democracy until they have them. History shows that when black people fight for justice, they lead. The few who want a Fourth Reich in the United States have no idea how much of a fight they will get.
12 October 2015