Workers and poor of all nationalities, unite against racism!

The Malice Green case in Detroit:
Conviction of racist killer cop overturned!

. The following article was the main content of Detroit Workers Voice #15, August 3, 1997, published by the Detroit Marxist-Leninist Study Group. It also appears in Communist Voice, vol.3, #3, August 10, 1997. A minor error has been corrected.


. On July 31, Walter Budzyn, one of the two white Detroit cops who beat the black, unemployed steel worker Malice Green to death in 1992, was granted the right to a new trial by the Michigan State Supreme Court. At the same time the court upheld the conviction of co-murderer, Officer Larry Nevers.

. The court's decision to grant Budzyn a new trial is an outrage. The court came up with some flimsy technicalities to support its claim that Budzyn did not get a fair trial. Bull!! It was Malice Green who never got ANY trial while it was Budzyn and Nevers who played judge, jury and executioner. They "tried" Green by smashing his skull with heavy metal flashlights. They murdered Green though he had committed no crime except to be suspected by the police thugs of having a "rock" of crack in his hand. For the Michigan Supreme Court to nevertheless grant Budzyn a new trial shows that no amount of evidence will prevent the capitalist courts from trying to find ways to protect the police thugs. Now Budzyn has been released from prison after serving a mere four years while at this point it is up in the air whether the prosecutors will actually re-try him or simply let him go free.

. The police, as servants of the rich, have never needed much of an excuse to carry out atrocities against the Afro-American and Latino masses. Despite all the hand-wringing by the ruling class authorities in the wake of the uprising following the videotaped beating of Rodney King, racist murders and beatings by the police continues. In recent years, the so-called "war on drugs" has been used by the ruling class as another excuse for police rampages against national minorities.For example, recently Marine snipers mobilized into stopping drugs from entering the Texas border gunned down a 15-year old Mexican-American youth who had merely been grazing goats near his family's farm.

. The workers and poor have never been able to rely on the capitalist courts for justice. Were it not for the mass protests following Malice Green's murder, the authorities would have simply swept the issue under the rug as has happened time and again. Now that the situation has cooled down, the courts have seen an opportunity to start reversing even the small bit of justice that Budzyn's conviction represented. The fight against racist police depends on building up a militant struggle of the oppressed.

The flimsy excuses of the court

. The Michigan Supreme Court's ruling is a cruel joke. First they admit that there was such overwhelming evidence that Nevers committed murder that the alleged flaws in the conduct of the trial were not very important. According to the court, these same flaws are very important in the Budzyn case however because they hold that the evidence against him was not so strong. But if there's overwhelming evidence that Nevers committed murder, that evidence itself overwhelmingly condemns Budzyn as at least directly aiding in a murder. And in fact Budzyn's trial showed that he actively helped Nevers and never once tried to stop Never's rage of death. (In fact, a whole bunch of cops, including a black supervising officer, stood watch as Green was killed and yet only had their wrists slapped. )

. The court searched high and low for excuses to claim that Budzyn did not get a fair trial. They pointed out some jurors knew that a "not guilty" verdict might result in a riot and that during a break in the trial jurors viewed the film "Malcolm X" which has a theme against police brutality.But the mainly black jury was undoubtedly already aware of racist conduct by police as it is a fact of life in the black community. If general knowledge of police racism means a jury can't be fair, this is basically declaring that a black jury should not be allowed to sit in judgment of white cops. The other problem cited by the court was that some jurors thought Budzyn was a member of the former STRESS squads, police units notorious for beating and killing innocent blacks.Actually it was Nevers who had served in this racist hit squad. This was the only "flaw" noted by the court that had anything to do with any factual matter of the case. Thus the court essentially argues that if only the jurors knew that Budzyn was not on the STRESS squads, they might have ignored the enormous evidence against Budzyn.

. Suppose a poor black worker was sent away for murdering a cop. What are the chances that the highest state court would overturn a guilty verdict on such flimsy grounds? Slim or none. What nerve this court of injustice has to claim that the possibility of anti-racist rebellions and awareness of racism in the U. S. is an obstacle to justice being served. The court cries about the rare film that exposed some police brutality while ignoring that every day the capitalist "entertainment" industry bombards people with movies and TV shows that glorify the police and promote how wonderful it is for them to step on the rights of the downtrodden. Shows like "COPS" allow the police to portray themselves in the most favorable light as do fictional shows like "NYPD Blue" where police terror is portrayed as a virtue, even by openly racist cops. Yet the court is upset when a bit of the truth about the police leaks out.

Capitalism, class interests and racism

. The police murders against blacks and Latinos are no accident. They are part of a whole system of racist oppression that serves the interests of the capitalist exploiters. Racism helps the wealthy keep down the conditions of the vast majority of Afro-Americans and other minorities. And the worse the living conditions of certain nationalities, the greater the profits of the rich. Not only that, if the capitalists can specially oppress one section of the workers, this helps them drive down the wages and working conditions of the working class as a whole. In short, racism helps the capitalists make profits.

. It's no accident that the two major parties of capitalism, the Republicans and the Democrats, have been slashing welfare and social benefits right and left, which disproportionately hurts minorities. These cuts in social programs are going into the pockets of the rich in the form of fat tax cuts. Meanwhile by throwing people off of welfare, the capitalists want to throw more impoverished people onto the labor market, force them to work for poverty wages, and use the threat of replacement by more slave-wage workers to wring concessions from the better-paid section of workers.

. The police enforce this system, protect the wealthy and powerful, and put down the masses so they can't threaten the status quo. It's no accident that the police one day terrorize the national minority communities and the next defend the right of the newspaper capitalists to throw 2,000 people out of work and beat up strikers. Suppressing the workers' movement and the oppressed nationality communities goes hand-in-hand because both serve the interests of big business. It's also no accident that the capitalist government officials only pay lip-service to curbing police "excesses" and that the few exceptions usually occur when they are afraid that the anger of the masses will explode in revolt.

. The capitalists also use racism to keep the workers divided and weak in the face of their attacks.As long as some white workers believe their problems stem not from the rich but from the specially exploited minority masses, they cannot mount a serious struggle against exploitation.

The "respectable" black leadership

. Class interests are also clearly seen in the role of the well-off black bourgeois leaders. Mayor Archer, black city council members and Wendell Anthony, local leader of the NAACP, talk about the need for justice, but they emphasize that the decision of the Michigan Supreme Court must be respected. As soon as the Court's decision was known, they began to run to the media urging everyone to remain calm. No matter what their personal opinion of the decision to free Budzyn, clearly they aren't outraged enough to seriously fight back against it. For the black elite, the biggest nightmare is that a powerful and militant protest will break out among the ordinary black masses and other sections of the poor. Thus they must preach respect for the system of oppression and pretend that if only the masses behave themselves, the justice system will work for them. Look at Mayor Archer. When the court freed the racist murderer Budzyn, his reaction was "I am confident that when all legal action involving this case is over, justice will be served. " The job of the Afro-American bourgeois leadership is to keep the masses in line so that the interests of the rich are not threatened. The "respectable" black leadership represents the relatively small section of the black community that has become well-off, often with their own business interests that are threatened should the black or Latino workers begin to assert themselves. This is why despite black mayors and black police chiefs in major cities, racist police behavior continues to be rampant.

Workers of all nationalities, unite against racism!

. The real interests of workers of all nationalities lies in a common struggle against racism. If there is to be justice, there must be a mass struggle. The movement against racism should be aimed against the capitalist ruling class, for they are the ones who benefit from racism and arm and protect their police thugs who uphold the oppressive status-quo.

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Last changed on October 16, 2001.