By: Lamont Lilly
Workers World Party vice presidential candidate, Lamont Lilly gave the following speech at the Black Resistance March on the Democratic National Convention on July 26 in Philadelphia. This march was organized by the Philly Coalition for REAL Justice.
When we talk about the police and police terror, what we are really talking about is “the state.” The State is the FBI, the CIA. It is the courts, the prosecutors, the judges, the parole officers — every institution that makes money off of keeping Black and Brown bodies incarcerated. It is the private prison system, which is no different than the convict lease system 100 years ago. The police today are no different than the slave patrols when we were back on the plantation. That’s where the police in this country come from. Their function then was to keep the slaves in their place, to keep Harriet Tubman from helping us to gaining liberation.
The role of the police today is to keep the oppressed and marginalized in that same place – to keep the disenfranchised from fighting back, from resisting and gaining liberation. Their role is to keep the poor and working class from uniting. Look around you. Look at the faces beside you to your left and right. This is what a democracy really looks like. When you have white, Brown, Black, Latino, queer, trans, straight, Muslim, Christian, young and the old – all standing together for justice, for Black lives, in a stand against the two-party system which doesn’t really serve any of us. This is what a democracy looks like.
And you know what, sisters and brothers, this kind of solidarity absolutely petrifies this country. They don’t want to see the oppressed come together. They don’t want to see the working class and poor people uniting. So they distract us. They distract us like [Fox News reporter] Geraldo Rivera tried by walking into this march. They distract us with “Black on Black” crime, but the real conversation is white supremacy, racism, genocide, chattel slavery. That’s what the United States was founded on – genocide and exploitation.
These issues are why myself and Monica Moorehead are running for U.S. President and Vice President with Workers World Party. We want an end to racism and capitalism. We want an end to the deportations, the ICE raids and the war on Black America. We want an end to the continued assault on the Indigenous and Native Americans. We must unite on this front.
We know that you cannot reform sexism, capitalism, imperialism, nor colonialism. When we talk about colonialism – that is what the ghettos in this country are. They are colonized territories where Black and Brown people are still basically in bondage, exploited, occupied, terrorized.
Sisters and brothers, I have to do this — I have to talk to my people for a split second. Black people, African descendants, please listen loud and clear. We are members of an anti-Black society, of an anti-Black country; in every fucking way, shape and form, we live in a system saturated with white supremacy. The school system, the political system, the court system, the economic [system], even in the arts. This country is completely anti-Black.
And it is because of such anti-Blackness that we cannot depend this country to value Black lives. We cannot depend the U.S. government to value our lives – it never has, ever since we stopped working for free. We have to fight for ourselves. We have to love ourselves, first.
Love your hair, love your lips and noses. Love that melanin in your skin, which what makes us so powerful. Teach our history to your children. Do not wait until they’re 37 years old. Teach them about Nat Turner, Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells and Malcolm X, so they can grow up strong and as freedom fighters. Love each other. Keep each other inspired. Uplift each other, sisters and brothers. This movement cannot be built by hate; it must be built out of love. Love of the people! Love of ourselves! Love of the community! Love, for the revolution!
As brother Fred Hampton said, you don’t fight racism with racism, you fight racism with solidarity. You do not fight capitalism with Black capitalism, you fight capitalism with revolutionary socialism.
And remember, love each other, sisters and brothers! Uplift each other! Black is beautiful! All power to the people! ■
NC-based activist, @LamontLilly is the 2016 Workers World Party, U.S. Vice-Presidential Candidate. He has recently served as field staff in Baltimore, Ferguson, Oakland, Boston and Philadelphia. In 2015, he was a U.S. delegate at the International Forum for Justice in Palestine in Beirut, Lebanon.
Photo: Phillyvoice.com (Provided by Lamont Lilly)