Justice Cup Renews Struggle in Saint Louis During Stanley Cup

Justice Cup Renews Struggle in Saint Louis During Stanley Cup

By: Nat Turner

Photo courtesy: Richard Reilly
We  believe in the freedom and liberation of all people. We understand the  current crisis in our country as part of a longer history of racialized  and gendered violence, environmental injustice, ableism, queer and  trans-phobia, and mass incarceration. This is why we believe it is  important to connect the struggles of this country’s most oppressed from  African Americans, people Indigenous to  Turtle Island, to immigrants to the LGBTQIA+ community. The fight to  abolish the police state, demand real economic justice, climate change  prevention and to protect the lives of our trans siblings must come  together as one. From the barrios to the borders to the St. Louis Northside and other urban cores the disinvestment in people and the  suffering it causes must cease.  
At this moment we are directly  placing the focus of our protests and demands to St. Louis City  officials and Missouri politicians, but we also understand the  interlocking nature of ALL our struggles. We truly know that none are  free until all are free. Here is our national framework which we will  acknowledge some will say is impossible. For us it is essential to have a  conversation that re-imagines the world we live in -- a vision we hope  will cultivate and shape the kind of world we desire for our children,  grandchildren and as many generations forward as we can envision. We are  fighting for a country that upholds that vision, and have included the  most integral parts below.

1.    Reparations and Decolonization of the land
2.    Open Borders
3.   Abolish the police state including ending the mass incarceration  of people and the agencies that feed this including ICE, DHS, Border Patrol and police.
4.  Full scale mobilization towards Climate Justice, empowering the most impacted, and addressing the root causes of  the crisis.
5.   Equality Act so that everyone including the LGBTQIA+ community can live authentically and freely without fear.
6.    Free Healthcare for All
7.    Upholding Roe Versus Wade

United in struggle we are letting local and Missouri state government  know that we fully intend to hit them where it hurts by continuously  disrupting commerce, starting with the Stanley Cup unless the following  demands are met. Our resistance will be bold, it will be defiant, and it  will be direct.

1.    St. Louis City and County Prosecutors  take a definite stand and publicly vow NOT to prosecute anyone under  Missouri’s abortion ban.
2.    The immediate closure of St. Louis City workhouse.
3.    That LRA properties be refurbished and repurposed to provide housing for the unhoused and affordable housing for families
4.    The city divest from failed arrest-and-incarcerate model of  policing and instead reinvest in Real Public Safety, including fully  funding Cure Violence.  
5.    Indict Darren Wilson
6.    The immediate release of Ferguson uprising political prisoner Josh Williams
7.    Driver Licenses for city and country residents who are undocumented
8.    St. Louis City and County declare a climate emergency and act accordingly to transition to 100% Renewable energy by 2025.
9.    No to privatization of the airport and all public utilities
10. City and County colleges and universities provide in state tuition rates for undocumented students  
11.  St. Louis law enforcement and prosecutors refusal to corporate with ICE and extend its role as a sanctuary city.
12. The city to refuse the presence of the National Guard anywhere in the city  
13. No uniformed police take part in the local LGBTQIA+ Pride events as  we commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots against  police brutality.
14. The creation of an accessibility commission  comprised of most impacted and city officials to create and enforce  accountability to making all parts of the city accessible for people  with disabilities.
15. That all TIFs are granted only after a signed  community agreement that will earmark at least 10% of funding for  accessibility infrastructure.
16. That the city and county minimum wage start at $15 an hour. That all sub wages be abolished.
17. That the city and county explore and implement a 6 to 1 ration for  income in that no owner or executives can make more than above 6% of  their lowest paid employee. If those in power want high salaries they  must raise the salaries of their lowest paid employees.
18. An  instant repeal of all mandates for medically unnecessary procedures to  access abortions, the closure of crisis pregnancy centers, and  investment in comprehensive sex education AND safe, accessible  reproductive services for all who can become pregnant.
19. Automatic emancipation rights for unhoused minors including LGBQTIA+ who have been kicked out by their parents. - Demands of the Justice Cup

The first two days of this week saw the launch of a new, grassroots initiative called the "Justice Cup" in Saint Louis. The Stanley Cup finals begin and the well fed colonizer masses of Chesterfield and Ballwin and Saint Charles pour into the Downtown area to watch the game, oblivious to the fact that this city is one at war. Homelessness rates skyrocket, more and more people find it hard to get jobs at a living wage, children are dying in the custody of Border Patrol, Washington University is still in the midst of bitter class struggle, gentrification marches ever onward, and the NGA has the North Side slotted for their new spy/mapping center in St. Louis Place, nevermind the existential threat to women's reproductive rights in the entire State. Climate change threatens to burn us all or drown us all. There's no mobilization or movement from the masses of sated middle class and upper class colonizers on these issues, the hockey game has their undivided attention. The coalition of activists that has put together the Justice Cup effort have made it their mission to not allow this complacency and idleness to go on longer, not on their watch.

These demands were released yesterday after a mass meeting of individuals who have a material interest in the demands of the Justice Cup effort. Latinx people, New Afrikan people, queer people, and others were represented and left their mark on these demands. We personally see these demands as being more than a bit ambitious and many of them can only be conquered through the most bitter, disciplined and brutal armed struggle, as history has shown. However, the special character of Saint Louis, being a city that has burned twice in the past five years and being the home of a militant and experienced network of activists, many of whom have developed politically since 2014 in the face of police and National Guard troops pointing guns at them should be mentioned. This movement has an anticapitalist and national liberatory character despite not being explicitly communist. It is the duty of Communists to lend support and leadership to mass activists and support, not wreck, stand aloof from, or trail behind and criticize, their efforts to allay the suffering of the people. Furthermore, it is in our interest as human beings and as Communists to give full play to the Marxist-Leninist-Maoist style of work in regards to the United Front and the mass line method of leadership. The United Front is one of the "three magic weapons" and is comprised of various sectors of the mass movement working in generated and non-generated organisms under the leadership of the Communist Party, and the organizers of the Justice Cup are veteran activists with a history of struggle going all the way back to the pre-Ferguson era.

It remains to be seen how the City will be impacted by the Justice Cup movement. Saint Louis has seen movements similar to it before. Militant direct actions are good propaganda tools and serve as a good method to train new intermediate and mass organizers and also provide excellent training in terms of resisting the police. The demands of the Justice Cup are progressive and common sense reforms that would directly help allay the suffering of the masses, particularly in the North Side. However, our city is not run by working class people, or people with common sense. This city is under the thumb of developers, crooked politicians, murdering police, and an incompetent and useless Board of Aldermen. These demands will not be granted in any form without the bitterest of physical struggle – thus this movement will serve as yet another brutal learning experience about the true nature of the ruling class in this city, state, and country. Many will undoubtedly swing further left in their analysis and come to Marxist-Leninist-Maoist conclusions as a result of the failure of the strategy of peacefully (but loudly and directly) levying demands on the bourgeois government in this City. Reforms of this type are conquered through force, not bargained for or elected. Once again, political power grows out of the barrel of a gun. That said, more power to the Justice Cup movement.

-Nat Turner, for Red Voice News