Trayvon Martin: in Marx’s shadow (2013), by John Kersey

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Trayvon Martin: in Marx’s shadow
by John Kersey
Posted on the LA Blog, 29th July 2013

Now it emerges that the organizing force behind the Trayvon Martin protests is none other than the Revolutionary Communist Party. Who’d have thought it?

It turns out that Revolutionary Communists have coordinated — or perhaps infiltrated — Trayvon Martin protests throughout the country, often with more aggressive sloganeering than in Oakland. In Florida, they didn’t shy away from connecting Martin to larger, more abstract causes, such as US imperialism and the war in Afghanistan. A reporter at The Daily Caller took note of a giant banner lying on the ground at one rally in Sanford: “17 Afghans, Trayvon Martin murdered: The System of Capitalism set these crimes in motion.”

While some journalists express surprise at seeing such old-school, lefty jargon applied to a mainstream political cause, experts say the Revolutionary Communist Party has a long history of commandeering other people’s crusades. It’s a tried-and-true technique for any cadre organization with a tightly controlled, central apparatus, and a mission that no one else understands, says Columbia University Professor Todd Gitlin, who has studied social movements for decades.

The parallels that some have drawn between the Martin case and that of Stephen Lawrence seem limited in terms of the facts themselves. But there is one thing that they have in common. In both cases, the violent death of a young black man was used by political and para-political agencies on the Left to push their own agendas, particularly against the police and against the white working-class. The meeting of Trayvon Martin’s mother and Stephen Lawrence’s mother in May was not simply a sharing of private griefs. It was a public and political act, like many similar acts that have attended the Lawrence case and that now attend the Martin case.

Writing in January 2012, Brendan O’Neill concluded,

It is fitting that the Lawrence case should end with a political trial, because this was the most cynically exploited and politicised murder in living memory. Lawrence was not the first young black man to have been murdered by racists, nor was he the first black murder victim to have been failed by a seriously botched police investigation. But he was the first black murder victim whose tragic demise was cynically milked by the cultural elite and used as the lynchpin of a moral crusade against Old Britain and its foul, backward inhabitants. In a triple whammy of murder-milking, Lawrence’s death was used by the elites to demonise the white working classes as the new ‘brutes within’; to redefine racism as a disease of the brain rather than as a relation of power; and to dismantle long-standing legal principles that were once seen as central to the justice system.

The leading factors here are in fact those so very beloved of Communists of all stripes – liberal guilt and white self-hatred. As is usual in the Left’s thinking, it does not matter that George Zimmerman’s ethnic background is in fact Hispanic, and that he has black ancestry, and that he has previously protested at the reaction of the police to the beating of a homeless black man by a policeman’s son. The dynamics of the story depend on Zimmerman being portrayed as a white aggressor against a black victim, and demonized as a racist. It is also, of course, an excellent opportunity for the Left to use the undoubted failings of the police as a means to agitate for political change to law enforcement, first establishing the presence of “institutional racism” in the police and then enforcing conformity with the Left’s diversity agenda in order to combat it.

In fact, it emerges that NBC well and truly stitched Zimmerman up when they edited an audio transcript of his call to police before broadcasting it. Here is the full transcript of what Zimmerman actually said to the dispatcher:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. Or he’s on drugs or something. It’s raining and he’s just walking around, looking about.

Dispatcher: OK, and this guy — is he black, white or Hispanic?

Zimmerman: He looks black.

And here is what NBC broadcast:

Zimmerman: This guy looks like he’s up to no good. He looks black.

The effect, of course, is to make it appear as if Zimmerman had racially profiled Martin. Yet the facts show that was not the case, and Zimmerman has already filed suit against NBC for defamation. The key question, of course, is why NBC, and other media outlets, should have wanted to ensure the “facts” fitted their desired narrative to ensure that this case was about race, and nothing but race. So far as ideology is concerned, they and the Revolutionary Communists would appear to be singing from exactly the same hymn-sheet.