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The Weekly paper of the New Communist Party of Britain

Trump fans the flames!

Fightback News! (USA) edited

US PRESIDENT Donald Trump pushed his racist “law and order” agenda in Kenosha, the Wisconsin city racked by violence after a white cop shot unarmed Black man Jacob Blake seven times in the back and the murder of two Black Lives Matter protesters by a teenage gunman two days later.

“Fires are burning, and we have a president who fans the flames rather than fighting the flames,” Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said on Monday. But Trump claimed his trip “could increase enthusiasm and it could also increase love and respect for our country”.

On the evening of 28th August, more than 200 people gathered outside the Kenosha Municipal Court building to demand justice for Jacob Blake and the victims of killer Kyle Rittenhouse. The rally was called for by the Milwaukee Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, with support from Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Kenosha EquiTeens, Wisconsin Freedom Road Socialist Organisation, and the Chicago Alliance.

“I am tired. I am tired of seeing my people dying at the hands of unfit cops,” said Alanna Carmichael, a Kenosha EquiTeens leader. “I am tired of fearing for my brothers’ lives whenever they leave the house. I am tired of fighting for the same justices that my family fought for 60 years ago.”

This protest came in the wake of several days of violence and repression at the hands of police, military and paramilitary forces. After last week’s fatal shootings repression was used against the people in the city. Unmarked vehicles with people who claimed to be police but had no identification stopped people and took them into custody in the early evening and into the night.

Some of those swept up in this wave of arrests were members of SDS. A mass call-in campaign was organised to get them, and others, freed from jail. The call to action generated thousands of calls from all across the country demanding their immediate release. Two SDS members, Victor Garcia and Adelana Akindes, spoke at the rally.

“Lots of us were disturbed when we found out about the Gestapo-like police tactics being used by the federal government in Portland, Oregon,” said Garcia. “I had no idea what to expect when that unmarked car with several masked and armed men came out, rushing at me, with fear that it was white supremacists coming to end my life and the lives of my friends.”

Garcia and Akindes both spent more than 24 hours in detention. They were separated from each other after being snatched up, taken to undisclosed locations, stripped, and given orange jumpsuits and a number. They were put into cells with others who had been detained; Garcia with 15 other men and Akindes with eight other women. They were not provided masks despite the close quarters.

“I saw first-hand the kind of culture that they cultivate there,” said Akindes. “They used every opportunity to dehumanise us, to make us feel like animals. The goal of them putting us there was to take us off the streets, to debilitate us so that we wouldn’t wanna keep fighting.”

After the rally, the protesters took to the streets. Marching through working-class neighbourhoods where many Black and Latino residents live they chanted “No justice, no peace, fuck these racist ass police” and “Jacob Blake” as passers-by made their support known. Many people came out of their homes to give clenched fist salutes. Drivers honked in support and some even pulled over to chant along with the marchers.

Near the end of the march, a few military trucks were spotted heading towards the protest. In a show of people power, the marchers stopped them in their tracks by putting their placards on their windscreens. Kenosha is currently occupied by a 2,000-strong National Guard force.

The Kenosha police have doubled down in defence of their officers and their actions. Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis said that his officers did nothing wrong in allowing the murderer Rittenhouse to escape without being apprehended. The Kenosha police union released a screed blasting what is plainly obvious, on the available video evidence, as fake or misleading.

The situation in Kenosha remains tense and it’s likely going to remain that way. As ever, the people will remain in the streets.