On Oct. 10, members of the San Diego branch of the Party for Socialism and Liberation organized a rally in solidarity with the anti-racist organizers arrested under false charges in Denver, Colorado. The organizers are facing decades in prison simply for leading the struggle for justice for Elijah McClain.
Different organizations also came out to support these wronged organizers, among them Rise Up San Diego, the National Lawyers Guild, and Socialist Unity Party. A red banner reading “Stop Racist Police Terror” was held on stage as organizers spoke of the need for solidarity and organization. Signs also read “Stop the war on Black America!” and “Stop DA Young’s vendetta against protesters!” A flag brought by supporters read “Power to the People.”
The rally took place at the City Heights Performance Annex, located in a park directly across the street from the San Diego Police Department Mid-City Division office. The first speaker was Tucker Davis of PSL, who read a solidarity statement from the local branch. He said, “We know that our comrades are being targeted because they have exposed the abuse and violent repressive tactics of the police and because they have mobilized thousands of people in the streets to march for justice!”
The second speaker, Carl of the Socialist Unity Party, spoke of the ways the police function to perpetuate racism and act for the sake of social control in the capitalist U.S. Speaking of the history of American police Carl said, “They were established in the 1840s in this country based on how they occupied the Philippines. … Its foundation is occupation, not protection.”
Arantxa Calles, a member of the San Diego branch of the PSL, spoke of the relationship between imperialism and the revolutionary optimism we can obtain from a deeper analysis of the situation. They said: “Imperialism functions off of repression … uses racism to excuse their violence and advance it. … But that’s a lot of work just to keep a fundamentally unstable system going. They jailed our comrades because their protest is working.”
The final speaker was Jose Cortes, former congressional candidate for the 50th district and member of the local branch of the PSL. He explained what true solidarity looks like and the need for people to join an organization so we can advance working-class interests more effectively. “How are we actually going to take the power that we rightfully deserve, that’s being kept from us? It’s going to be taken when we come together, get into our workplaces, our schools, our families, and we demonstrate unashamed, unafraid, to show that these aren’t radical ideas.”
Just as they did for Denzel Draughn, the San Diego community came together on this Saturday afternoon to show their unwavering support for anyone who is brave enough to organize against the racist brutality exhibited by police departments across the country. Supporters from all across the city gathered to passionately demand that the bogus charges against the Denver organizers be dropped, that there be a stop to the police repression sweeping the country, and that there is real justice for Elijah McClain and so many others.
Top image: Attendees pose after the demonstration. Liberation photo by Luis Montoya