Police brutality, especially as directed against young Black and Brown men, is one of the most pressing issues in the U.S. today. Organized labor can and must take the right stand on this issue and join with the People’s Organization for Progress (POP), #Black Lives Matter, Moral Mondays, and hundreds of other organizations committed to racial and economic justice in calling for mass actions against police brutality.
The Labor Fightback Network (LFN) voted at our recent conference in Rutgers, NJ, to make building the Million People’s March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality in Newark, NJ called for by POP our first priority campaign. July 25 is barely over a month away. We need to work quickly to maximize labor participation.
Why is this a priority for a labor-based network? The better question would be: Why would it not be our priority? Labor cannot stand aside when any of us are victimized. We are a multiracial movement, and as the old labor slogan says, “An injury to one is an injury to all.” Police brutality endangers our members, our children, and our neighborhoods. Labor history includes many incidents of direct attacks by police on our members and supporters.
We salute ILWU Local 10 for shutting down the Oakland, Calif., port recently in solidarity with the Black community’s battle against police violence. We call on all labor to follow Local 10’s lead.
So what can you do right now to build the July 25th march?
- Make it your priority, especially if you live on the East Coast, to turn out as many people as possible! We need union contingents. Invite everyone in your union and all the other organizations you or your family may belong to, such as faith communities and student, issue-based, and community groups. Help organize carpools and buses to ensure that getting there is as easy as possible.
- Get endorsements. LFN supporters have a special role in getting endorsements from national and local unions and labor councils. While we understand that West Coast and Midwest supporters might not be able to attend, we all can seek endorsements. This may take a while, so please start now. Please use or adapt the sample resolution below.
- Publicize the march in your union newsletter and on social media.
- Organizing takes money — consider asking your union to donate to POP to help build the march.
Please let LFN and POP know if you get labor or organizational endorsements and commitments to attend. Contact:
People’s Organization for Progress:
Postal mail: P.O. Box 22505, Newark, NJ 07101-2505
Telephone: (973) 801-0001
Million People’s March on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/events/418074548350082/
Labor Fightback Network:
Postal mail: P.O. Box 187, Flanders, NJ 07836
Telephone: (973) 975-9704
Labor Fightback Blog: https://laborfightback.wordpress.com
Labor Fightback Network on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/laborfightback
Sample Resolution to Endorse and Build the July 25 Million People’s March Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice and Economic Inequality in Newark, New Jersey
Police brutality is an ongoing, growing and deadly problem in the United States of America.
It includes the unwarranted and unjustified killing of unarmed people, the use of excessive force, the violation of peoples’ constitutional rights, racist and discriminatory practices, criminal activity, corruption and misconduct, increased militarization of police forces, and the failure of the criminal justice system to hold police accountable.
Police brutality is not an isolated problem. It is an historical problem with roots that are deep in the social fabric of this country. It must be seen within the broader context of racial and economic injustice and inequality.
While the victims of police brutality come from all racial groups in society, the vast majority comes from African American, Latino, Native American and other communities of color. They are overwhelmingly poor and working class.
The People’s Organization for Progress (POP) is calling a MILLION PEOPLE’S MARCH Against Police Brutality, Racial Injustice, and Economic Inequality on July 25, 2015, in downtown Newark, NJ (meeting at 12 noon at the Lincoln Monument, located at the intersection of West Market St. and Springfield Ave).
The call for the Million People’s March demands an end to police brutality and justice for all of its victims, police reform, and an end to the problems of racial injustice and economic inequality, which lead to police brutality.
Therefore be it resolved that:
We [list union or organization] demand an end to police brutality, police violence, police torture and police terror.
We demand the firing and prosecution of police officers involved in unjustifiable killing of unarmed civilians, use of excessive force, and violation of citizens constitutional rights.
We demand community control of the police. We demand the establishment of Civilian Complaint Police Review Boards with subpoena and disciplinary powers over police forces.
We demand legislation at the federal, state, and local levels that will punish police that engage in the unjustifiable killing of unarmed civilians, use of excessive force, and violation of citizens’ constitutional rights.
We demand an immediate halt to all efforts to further militarize the police in this country. We demand the immediate termination of the federal government’s 1033 program that provides military equipment and hardware to local police forces.
We demand justice for all victims of police brutality. We demand justice for every person who has been unjustly abused, brutalized, and killed by the police.
We demand that the police stop the mass arrest of protestors.
We demand an immediate halt to all police actions and policies that impair, limit, attempt to control, or aim to prevent the exercise of freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, other civil liberties, and the right to protest.
We demand an immediate halt to police efforts to spy on, infiltrate, disrupt, and destroy organizations, associations, political parties, unions and dissident groups that are not involved in illegal activities.
We demand local, state, and federal legislation that will give Civilian Complaint Police Review Boards the power to discipline police officers.
Therefore, be it finally resolved that [list union or organization] endorses and will support this March.