Drop the Charges! – Defend the Anti-Racist Movement!
The Solidarity Campaign demands:
- Defend the Movement, Drop the Charges! Drop all charges against those arrested on June 1st.
- Cut the bloated WPD budget including the extra $250,000 allocated this year. Invest in the Worcester Public Schools and other social services as a step towards fully funding vital public services. Police out of Worcester Public Schools. Fund municipal broadband, including more funding for remote school access! Fund the WRTA to continue fare-free transit!
- For an organized solidarity campaign and coalition, leading to an organized Worcester anti-racist coalition. For democratic structures to discuss and debate strategy and tactics, including protest defense. Unions and other local organizations should get involved and mobilize their members and resources, including stewarding, financial, and legal aid.
On June 1st, Worcester police and tactical units instigated an attack on anti-racist protesters in yet another example of rampant police brutality. Following a protest at City Hall against the racist murder of George Floyd, police cornered a small march and filled the streets with enough pepper balls and smoke grenades to make it through the windows of nearby apartments. Nineteen protesters and on-lookers were wrongly arrested—after being tackled and kneeled on, and having their phones stomped on or kicked away by police attempting to destroy footage of the events. After being released, these nineteen were arraigned on trumped-up charges.
Police violence and legal charges are one of many attacks on the Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the anti-racist movement, designed to bully and intimidate those who are already active as well as people considering getting organized. Across the country, hundreds of anti-racist activists are facing charges or have been imprisoned as a result of participating in the surge of protests over the summer.
Despite massive public outcry, Worcester’s Democrat-controlled City Council voted unanimously to increase the police budget by a quarter of a million dollars shortly after the attack—money which is desperately needed to address the issues workers face in the midst of the pandemic. At the same time, Worcester Public Schools underwent further budget cuts and mass layoffs. City Council has made it clear that its priorities are to uphold racist policing in the city and continue to repress the working class. We cannot look to capitalist politicians – Democrat or Republican – to solve this crisis, because capitalism relies on the repression and exploitation of the working class, including people of color. The police are only a tool, firmly in the hands of the capitalist class, and confronting the brutality of the police requires confronting the brutality of capitalism. However, we can – and must – fight for reforms including dropping the charges against protestors and onlookers, and slashing the bloated WPD budget!
The Independent Socialist Group formed this solidarity campaign to fight back against the political persecution of anti-racist protestors. We’ve worked to put pressure on the DA and the Worcester city government, through picketing, rallies, a call-in campaign, and more. Since the start of our campaign, a number of the charges have already been dropped – but this concession will not send us home! We will fight these political charges until each and every one has been dropped! No protesters or bystanders should be tried for standing against police brutality! To drop the charges and fight for real change, we need to build consistent opposition to police brutality, repression of protesters, and systemic racism – and continue the fight beyond the November 20th hearing.
The next court date is scheduled to be January 15th, 2021! If you can make it in person, attend the picket outside the Worcester Courthouse. If not, help virtually pack the courtroom in Zoom to show the courts that the community is watching. Please get in contact with ISG, and consider joining us to continue the fight!
Get Involved – Build the Campaign!
For a fighting coalition!
If you are a member of a community group or labor union, connect with ISG to discuss building a coalition and solidarity campaign! The following organizations have already joined as supporters of this campaign:
Call and email various officials to demand the charges be dropped! Get in touch with ISG for a list of contact info!
Letters to the Editor
Write a letter to the editor or an op-ed! Get in touch with ISG for a list of local publications!
Make sure ISG has your contact info, so you can be notified of the progress of our campaign and how you can help!