WASHINGTON, DC, October 24 — During two days of rallying, members of Howard University’s Political Education and Action Committee (PEAC), were joined by members of Malcolm X Grassroots and the American Civil Liberties Union to fight the wrongful execution of Troy Davis.
PEAC speakers declared that Davis’ execution, scheduled for October 27, is one more example of the entrenched racism of the U.S. system. Davis, a black man, has been in prison almost 20 years for supposedly killing 27-year-old Savannah police officer Mark Allen MacPhail in 1989.
The District Attorney and police intimidated and coerced witnesses to get a conviction of then 19-year-old Davis. Now decades later, seven of the nine key witnesses have recanted, and other witnesses have identified a person they believe to be the actual killer — but innocence is not a defense, according to the U.S. Supreme Court and the State of Georgia!
Campus police were sent to stop the PEAC rally, and a leader was detained when he refused to stop speaking on a bullhorn. Students continued their bullhorn rally despite the attack. The University administration’s effort to harass and suppress student activism — using the pretense that the students were “disrupting classes” — stands in stark contrast to the University’s endorsement of ear-splitting concerts and fraternity celebrations on the main campus at the same time of day.
This confrontation demonstrated that the so-called “legacy” of Howard University in civil rights struggle and progressive action is in reality a legacy of student and worker movements in opposition to the University. The University is a corporation dominated by big businessmen and the bosses’ politicians. We have no unity with the University administration which parades behind a fig leaf of liberalism while trying to blunt the revolutionary spirit of its students!
On the second day of the rally, Davis’s lawyer announced he had received a 30-day stay of execution, but this is only a temporary respite while the government figures out how to move forward with the execution of an innocent black man.
The racist (in)justice system is critical to the U.S. ruling class’s strategy of intimidating superexploited black workers and dividing them from other workers. But repression breeds resistance, and racism must give rise to anti-racist revolutionary unity.
Today’s financial crises and wars will give rise to ever-greater racist offensives against the working class as the rulers become increasingly desperate to build their profits and power. It is urgent that struggles like the Troy Davis case be linked to the battles of workers throughout the world. We must turn these into a fight for communist revolution to destroy the capitalist roots of racist oppression.