United States Politics

Zimmerman Verdict: The Legal Lynching of Trayvon Martin

By Bonnie Weinstein

The outrage felt over the acquittal of George Zimmerman for the murder of unarmed teenager, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, is palpable. My youngest son, John, who’s 34-years-old, said to me, “You know what this means, mom, it means, the cops or “wanna be” cops, can just kill you any time they want now.” He was weeping. The headline story in the New York Times the morning after the verdict says of the “stand your ground” laws:

“The laws allow someone with a reasonable fear of great bodily harm or death to use lethal force, even if retreating from danger is an option. In court, the gunman is given the benefit of the doubt.”1

This says it all. It’s a state-approved lynching! But our outrage must be focused toward building a movement massive enough and powerful enough to stand up and defend our communities against vigilantes—cops or otherwise—who now have the right to hunt down and kill any one of us for no reason other than they don’t like our looks. The one with the gun now has the benefit of the doubt in court and the dead victim is presumed to be guilty unless, of course, the shooter happens to be Black or Brown, or down and out. Can anyone doubt the verdict would have been murder in the first degree had Trayvon Martin gunned down George Zimmerman?

As the austerity assault on working people mounts; as unemployment grows; as prices for everything from water to parking tickets shoot ever-higher, the capitalists—their government, cops and courts—are making it clear that our lives are cheap, worthless, and a detriment to society except as needed, to do the work.

But therein lies our power—twofold! If we organize democratically in unity and solidarity with each other and even withhold our labor, the capitalists can be stripped of their power and the corporations can’t make a dime. And with our hard work, cooperation and democratic planning, we can satisfy the needs and wants of everyone and make the murderous capitalist system extinct—finally!

1 “Zimmerman Is Acquitted in Killing of Trayvon Martin,” By LIZETTE ALVAREZ and CARA BUCKLEY, July 14, 2013