I had the opportunity to interview Carl Dix, the co-founder of Stop Mass Incarceration and who has been exceptionally busy since the events in Ferguson, working to demand equality on all fronts.
He that can heroically endure adversity will bear prosperity with equal greatness of soul; for the mind that cannot be dejected by the former is not likely to be transported with the latter. - Fielding
1. You've been pretty busy over the last few years. Can you tell us about your role in the Communist Party? Is Communism still relevant in today's political climate? What does communism have to say about racism?
Things don't have to be this way, thru communist revolution, we could end the horrors this system enforces on people. The work of Bob Avakian, the leader of the Revolutionary Communist Party - developing a vision of the new revolutionary society and the strategy for making revolution.
The 1st quote in Avakian's book, Basics, says: "There would be no US as we know it today without slavery. This is a simple and basic truth." Savage oppression of Black people has always been a feature of the US - slavery, then Jim Crow segregation and lynch mob terror and today police terror. This terror concentrates a program of suppression with a genocidal thrust, that includes mass incarceration and the criminalization of the youth. Thru revolution we could end these seemingly never ending horrors.
2. Quentin Tarantino was at the October event RiseUp, since his statement, he has received a lot of negative press as well as positive. Is it helpful when Hollywood gets involved in these events? Should, as some critiques claim, that actors and directors should just stick to their profession?
Everyone who can see that police are inflicting brutality and even murder on people and that the whole system backs up the killer cops needs to act to STOP these horrors. The authorities want their victims to be alone in trying to deal with this crap. Prominent people, religious leaders, students and others must refuse to stand aside while people on the bottom of society are targeted in this way.
3. A lot of major news outlets, like Fox News are using the terminology of integration, as if to imply that the answer are for these movements to simply integrate into society rather than constantly struggle against institutional racism, isn't this just another form of concession? How are these movements, like Black Lives Matter and others changing the way we think about race, racism and identity in America today?
When students at the University of Missouri complained about racist outrages on campus, they were told to focus on education and ignore this stuff. Ignore lynching nooses, swastikas, being called the N-word, having cotton balls thrown on the grass outside the Black Cultural Center (So racists could watch Black students and faculty picking cotton in 2015, 150 years after slavery had ended.)
The students stood up and said NO MORE, and the authorities tried to change the subject from racist outrages to "freedom of speech"
The youth in Ferguson took to the streets after the murder of Michael Brown, defying tear gas, rubber bullets and military assault weapons to say murder by police must STOP! This is what made this a front burner issue in this country. The authorities have doubled down on continuing to unleash their cops to murder people. Cornel and I called for #RiseUpOctober to take the resistance to a much higher level.
4. You have done a lot of work with Cornel West, tell us about that and a bit more about what Stop Mass Incarceration is about?
Cornel and I formed the Stop Mass Incarceration Network in 2011 and called for civil disobedience to Stop "Stop & Frisk." I'm a revolutionary communist out to keep the system from beating down the people who have the most need for revolution. Cornel comes at it as a radical christian who sees his mission as letting, in his words, "suffering speak."
A shared sense that this injustice must be stopped, and that it will take broad, diverse and determined resistance to do that is what brought us together. There is room here for different kinds of people to come together to stop these horrors. As we resist, we discuss what it'll take to stop these horrors. (Cornel and I have had a number of dialogues over the last 6 years getting into exactly that question.)
5. You're on your way to another event in Missouri, what's happening there?
Black students at Missouri University launched a protest movement against the racist outrages on campus. These protests were joined by more students. The university football team went on strike, and the university president had to resign. The protests at Mizzou brought forth a wave of college protests nationwide, in solidarity with the students at Mizzou and in response to racism at their campuses.
These protests show the potential for a new generation to rise up in resistance to the genocidal assaults on Black people. I went to Mizzou with a crew of revolutionaries to stand with the students and to bring to them the message that there is a way to end these horrors - thru revolution.
6. As always, change happens through critical thinking and action, what can the general public do to help change the way we think about these continuing events, but also, what practical changes can be made (i.e., from the government to citizens).
The point to #RiseUpOctober was to challenge people: Which Side Are You On? You can no longer say you don't know that police get away with murder. We've seen videos of people beaten, tased, choked and shot to death by cops; and the killer cops are almost always exonerated.
Everyone who sees this horror needs to act to STOP it! Get with the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Go to the web sites: stopmassincarceration.net and revcom.us to find out more and get involved.
The practical change needed is the system indicting, convicting and sending murdering cops to jail. Body cameras on police or special prosecutors, have done nothing to stop murder by police.