An editorial from the Revolutionary Abolitionist Movement placing the recent police assassination of Winston Smith in the context of an ongoing wave of police murder and terror across the US.
On June 3, 2021, a stone’s throw away from where Deric Chauvin presently stood trial for killing George Floyd on May 25, 2020, thirty-two-year-old Winston Smith was gunned down by members of the US Marshals Service. Winston Smith was a black revolutionary who called for armed resistance against the white supremacist police. His execution by Federal troops marks an escalation in the preemptive repression of comrades.
As well as being a father, a son, a musician, and a comedian, Winston Smith was a revolutionary. He was clear-headed and outspoken about the war against black people by the US, and realistic about the situation. In an Instagram video he assessed the situation: “All this protesting shit. Like, you all are still coming with your hands up? Saying y’all surrender? …Mother fuckers have been kill y’all for years…They’re still shooting y’all down, they must want a war… Stop going to the protests, go to the gas station and get some gasoline.”
US police, unable to control themselves even in the face of unprecedented global scrutiny, murdered approximately three black people per day before and throughout the Chauvin trial. Among the dead are thirteen-year-old Adam Toledo, slain by Chicago police mere hours before the Chauvin trial began on March 29th; twenty-year-old Daunte Wright, who was murdered by Minneapolis police in April; and sixteen-year-old Ma’Khia Bryant, who was murdered in Columbus, Ohio, just before the Chauvin verdict was read.
While fascists in uniform continue to perform executions, far-right gangs are increasingly emboldened and looking to recruit. On June 23rd and 24th of this year, mere weeks after Smith’s murder, members of the white supremacist group Patriot Front vandalized two statues of George Floyd: one in New Jersey, and the other right here in Brooklyn. One demonstrator, Deona Knajdek, was killed and others maimed after a fascist drove into one of the many uprisings that took place in response to Smith’s murder.
Echoes of the past pervade these events. At least fourteen rounds were fired at Smith— an assertion of abject hatred reminiscent of the forty-one shots fired at Amadou Diallo on February 4th, 1999, after officers alleged that the cell phone he was carrying was a gun. The execution itself was carried out by the same fascist militia that murdered Portland-based anti-fascist Michael Reinoehl. Executing Winston Smith while on a date recalls the shooting of Korryn Gaines while holding her five-year-old son. The drive-by murder of Deona Knajdek on June 13th echoes Heather Heyer’s murder by a fascist in Charlottesville, Virginia while she boldly confronted a white supremacist rally on August 12, 2017.
While the ruthlessness of its forces comes from the white supremacist foundations of the United States, there is an increasing capriciousness of these attacks and executions as its global standing wanes and power slips from its grasp. Like a wounded animal, the State and its henchmen become increasingly vicious as their failures— and vulnerabilities— come to light.
One is immediately struck not only by how many police murders there have been in the span of just over two months, but also by the young age of many of the victims. By attacking our youth, white-supremacist, State-sanctioned militias across the country seek to rob Black and Brown communities of our futures. They know that our people are growing restless. They fear, and rightly so, that today’s Black and Brown youth will lead tomorrow’s revolution.
Today, and every day that we carry the struggle forward, we honor the memory of Winston Smith as well as those of countless others whose lives have been mercilessly cut short by State goons of all stripes. We honor all of those who came before us in the struggle for liberation from State violence and oppression, as well as the young people leading the movement today— from the likes of George and Jonathan Jackson to the brave young folks who took the streets last summer. We take a stand for our dignity and prepare to defend our bodies and lives.
We will abolish the specters of white supremacy and State terror, which have condemned George Floyd, Winston Smith, Breonna Taylor, Ma’Khia Bryant, and so many others to an early grave. From the ashes of this old world, a new world will be born.