Solidarity Statement | September 23, 2020


Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party (South Africa): Release U.S. political prisoners jailed for fighting in the anti-racist struggle



Political repression in the USA continues against those leading the massive anti-racist protest movement, as seen in the recent arrests of four leaders of the Party for Socialism and Liberation (PSL) and the ongoing criminalization of the protest movement as a whole.

On 17 September, these PSL members who had taken to the streets demanding justice for George Floyd, Elijah McClain and other victims of racist police violence in the United States, were unlawfully arrested on trumped up charges.

Russell Ruch, Lillian House, Joel Northam and Eliza Lucero have been key organisers in the anti-racist struggle in the USA. Though one person was released, the rest are still in jail. All four were falsely charged with multiple felonies and many misdemeanours (including the bizarre and ridiculous charge of “kidnapping”), and face years of possible imprisonment.

They have been criminalised for standing up to the white supremacist capitalist state of the USA. They have been criminalised because they choose to keep fighting and organising for justice! Having worked closely with other activists and relatives of victims of police violence, they are seen as potential threats to the state’s unyielding domination.

These arrests are a tactic that aims to chip away at the momentum of the PSL and the anti-racist movement in Denver. This reflects a nationwide repression against the anti-racist struggle of the Black Lives Matter movement, promoted by the White House and its capitalist agenda. They will continue to mount an attack on the PSL and others who are unmasking the face of capitalist exploitation and challenging its brutal arm of repression.

This is part of the global attack on left movements and revolutionary, socialist organisations across the world. Following the Hirak protests in Algeria, journalist Khaled Drareni was sentenced to three years in prison for Facebook posts. In Bolivia, over 13 female political prisoners have been imprisoned on false charges by the de-facto government led by far right, fascist Jeanine Áñez, after the coup against President Evo Morales in November 2019. Today, 5000 Palestinian political prisoners are currently incarcerated in Israeli prisons. The conditions under which they live are even worse due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

From the imprisonment of Indian activists advocating for justice for indigenous communities in India in 2017, to the arrests of Chile’s indigenous Mapuche fighting for land use this year, the capitalist state will always wield its armed wing as a force of repression to those who dissent or challenge the existing miserable order of things. Tactics to suppress are many:, ranging from the unlawful use of sound cannons, heat rays, tear gas and smoke canisters to disperse crowds to the active identification and criminalisation of key leaders of political social movements.

We in South Africa continue to see our own suffer brutal killings at the hands of police, as most recently seen in the case of the tragic murder of Nathaniel Julius in Eldorado Park. We join all progressive organizations and peoples calling for the immediate release of the Denver political prisoners! We continue to join the global cry for justice for George Floyd and all victims of racist police terror and mass incarcerations across the globe.

We stand in solidarity with the PSL and all those fighting for a world in which to be working class, black, poor, female, indigenous, queer or immigrant is not a life guaranteed of exploitation and degradation, where the threat of violence and even death looms large.

In the fight for justice for all those slain at the hands of the police, we echo the PSL in their correct diagnosis that it is not just a few bad police that are the problem, but that it is the capitalist system itself and its apparatus of repression that perpetuate this senseless violence. The police, courts, prisons and the laws that value private property over lives can only be fully uprooted when we fight to wrench out the economic order that values profit and property over human lives.

Forward to Socialism!

Issued by
Irvin Jim
National Chairperson
Socialist Revolutionary Workers Party

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