At the July 20 Chicago "Justice for Trayvon" rally, which garnered somewhere between 5-10 thousand people (predominantly African-American), mainstream public figures like Jesse Jackson and celebrities like MC Lyte demonstrated alongside radical groups like the International Socialist Organization (ISO), the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA (REVCOM), Occupy Chicago, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL). The event was one of hundreds sponsored by the National Action Network (NAN), run by Al Sharpton.
At this particular rally, as was undoubtedly the case at most of the other Justice for Trayvon rallies across the country, the message was clear: the United States is a racist nation, the Zimmerman verdict must be the beginning of a "social revolution," and that social revolution must include the distribution of federal money to the inner cities.
Father Michael Pfleger has gained a reputation both in Chicago and nationally, not only for daring to work in areas almost everyone else has deemed too violent, but for making a number of comments many consider to be racist.
In a fiery speech, Pfleger unequivocally called the USA a racist nation, called for a "social justice" revolution, and demanded unspecified funds from the federal government to address poverty. The speech included the line, “racism is in the DNA of America,” which was met with enthusiastic cheers from the crowd.
Exemplifying how farcical this spectacle was in Chicago, the poster child of black homicide, Pfleger shouts at the end of the video, "We will not tolerate the killing of black and brown children, whether it's in Sanford, Florida, the backwoods of Mississippi, Englewood ... the genocide is over starting today!" The assembled crowed roared with approval.
The city of Chicago itself would, of course, constitute one "genocide" hotspot. In 2012, the city had over 500 homicides. It has had over 200 homicides so far this year. Both the victims and perpetrators are overwhelmingly black and the circumstances of the killings have no resemblance to the Trayvon Martin shooting whatsoever. A better representation is the case of 15-year-old Hadiya Pendleton, who preformed at President Obama's inauguration and was shot and killed in the city in January by two black gang members. Yet Pendleton's tragic story has received a fraction of the attention the Trayvon Martin case received.
Chicago "civil rights" attorney and activist Andre Grant also addressed the crowd and spoke about what plagues the inner city. Grant rattled off statistics demonstrating "racial disparities" in the criminal justice system -- such as "people of color" consisting of 60% of the prison population -- using them as evidence of American racism. Of course, Grant conveniently omitted the fact that in 93% of the time, according to 1976-2005 study from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, African-Americans are killed by other African-Americans. The Bureau also says that 80% of the time, black victims of nonfatal violent crime report that their attacker was black.
The most prevalent sign at the Chicago rally was one sponsored by the National Action Network and WVON, Chicago’s most popular radio station geared toward African-Americans.
There was also a significant presence of signs sponsored by radical groups. As an example, there was an abundance of signs sponsored by a group that advertised the website revcom.us.
Revcom.us is the website of the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA. The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA is headed by a man named Bob Avakian, who has been the subject of a number of reports claiming he maintains a cult of personality and that the Revolutionary Communist Party, USA is nothing but a cult. Revcom was passing out fliers promoting the group's planned presence at the Bud Billikin Parade on August 10.
Another radical group present at this rally was Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER Chicago).
ANSWER Chicago is on the short list for most radical groups in Chicago: they don’t recognize Israel’s right to exist, demand a "living wage," totally open borders, and routinely sponsor socialist conferences in Chicago.
The Party for Socialism and Liberation was also passing out fliers for a smaller event against "police brutality" that they will be having this week:
Below are two members of Occupy Chicago in their typical masks also passing out their own literature.
A Chicago-area rapper later took the stage and lamented negative aspects of his childhood and pathologies of the black community, including fatherlessness, single motherhood, teen pregnancy, poor education and drug abuse. At one point (about two minutes in) he adds in a gratuitous and unnecessary dig at former President George Bush. Though Obama is well into his second term as president, he -- along with the Democrats who have controlled Chicago for decades -- apparently warrant no blame for the misery of which this rapper speaks.
Last but not least, Jesse Jackson addressed the crowd. Jackson led chants of "stop the violence, save the children" and "keep hope alive," as if the Trayvon Martin shooting is somehow representative of what is killing black children. You won't see 8,000 people rally in Chicago over that.
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