Editor’s Note: The Tribune obtained the following video of spokespeople from the Mike Ramos Brigade, a community organization which has been at the forefront of Austin protests against police violence this week. In response to their leadership, we have witnessed a slander campaign against this group from the ruling class media and state agencies.
Our sources tell us that organizers in Austin being viewed as radical protesters are being targeted for state repression, with arrests underway. We have decided to make the video available in the interests of their free speech. As an independent news source, we oppose dissenting voices being silenced.
Transcript of statement:
Hello, we are supporters of the Mike Ramos Brigade. We send our greetings to the people of Austin, the United States, and those all over the world standing up against oppression. We greet those fighting back against the violence of police forces here in the US who hunt and destroy Black people, the working class, and all those fighting for a better world.
We wish to tell the world about the Mike Ramos Brigade amidst the attempts to discredit not only our organizing, but all the people of the world rising up.
For one – we are not ‘white-led’ as the media and opportunist critics seek to claim. We are a diverse organization, which you can immediately see, that has the leadership of Black people, Chicanos, immigrants, workers, youth, and yes, even white people. All people who wish to fight for Black and Brown lives and for the lives of the working class and all oppressed peoples, are welcome in our organizing.
The Mike Ramos Brigade formed in the immediate aftermath of APD’s horrific killing of Mike Ramos in East Riverside, where many of us have been living and organizing for years. Our supporters were the first to be out there, agitating and protesting against APD, who are nothing but invaders and murderers in our communities.
We formed to fight for justice for Mike and for all victims of police violence in Austin and nationwide. This is why we exist, and for this, the media and the police vilify us, paint us as outsiders and try and denounce our every move, because they are afraid of the people’s rage.
The police are the extremists and outsiders in our communities. What extreme is, is murdering Black people and the poor every day. What extreme is, is shooting at protesters and teargassing them. This society which starves, exploits and kills is extreme.
About our name: we respectfully decline to change our name for those believing we should.
Mike’s death is systemic, and our organization arose in the struggle for him, and our organization will continue to fight for demands for justice for Mike, as well as all victims of APD in our community. Those demands are:
- Fire and prosecute Mike’s killers: Officer Mitchell Pieper and Officer Christopher Taylor.
- Fire Chief Brian Manley. He lied about about Mike’s death, and lies about the brutality that his force carries out against protesters.
- End the “Riverside Togetherness Project,” a $1 million dollar grant from the Department of Justice that only brings more cops in to hunt us and push real estate development.
These are our basic demands. We have seen gains in the legal front, and the other demands are neither extreme or unreasonable, but we know even these will not be given willingly by this system. This is why the Mike Ramos Brigade organizes forcefully, without apology against the racist, killer cops. They are not our friends, they can not be reformed or hugged in to better behavior.
This is why we call for the formation of mass organizations that resist police oppression in working class neighborhoods.
We call for building a mass movement of communities who are willing to fight for people’s justice outside of the system that constantly fails us.
We call for full support of the rebellion against the racist and violent police in Minneapolis, all around the US, and the world.
They have not listened when we kneeled. They have not listened when we voted. They don’t listen when we speak at City Hall. This is why people across the US, and the world, are no longer playing along with their system, even as the ruling class and their lapdogs try to shame and put down those who have stood up.
Any time the people rise up, the ruling class will use their violence to silence the voices of those demanding total change. They want to silence those who make connections between their political power and their economic power, which is why they fear protests against target.
Target was funding the Minneapolis police to surveil the working class Black community which has now rebelled against it. Corporations are behind the violence that the police carry out against Black people and workers.
Target is not ‘part of our community.’ It exploits the communities around them and its employees. We call on people to stand behind Target employees who are organizing for their interests as they face greater exploitation during the economic and health crisis.
We also wish to announce that the Mike Ramos Brigade will be reaching out to local businesses to call on them to pledge their support for Black Lives by putting up signs in their windows. We know that many small business owners understand the rage of the people and want to show their support, especially as protests continue across the country. Please reach out to us to pledge your support for Black Lives and join our list of businesses that support the people.
The Mike Ramos Brigade will not be intimidated out of organizing and protesting by the racist pigs and their lackeys. We have not engaged in illegal activity, other than protesting in the streets with 1000s of others, which this system is trying to criminalize even further and scare people from doing.
This is why rampaging cops attack and brutalize anyone who shows defiance to them, and really anyone out in the streets. They see the people as their enemy. This is why we will not aid them and police the people or their anger. It is the ruling class and their lackeys who want to put down this justified rebellion and wag their finger at the people.
We will be out protesting again tonight, at APD Headquarters, not just for Mike Ramos and George Floyd, but for all of the victims of APD’s terror during this past week of protests. The police pepper sprayed us, tear gassed us, shot a pregnant woman in the stomach, and lodged rubber bullets into the heads of teenagers. Some of their victims are still in the hospital and face long roads to recovery.
APD’s terror is being watched by a horrified city of and the world. APD can not bribe us with cookies or lure us into theatrics like hugs and empty conversations. They are the same racist killers, and we will not lied down for them, we will only continue to stand up!
Fight for Mike Ramos, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, David Mcatee, Ahmaud Arbery and all the people murdered by the police!
Fight for Brad Ayala, Saraneka Martin, Justin Howell, Gemicah Hale, Bomani Boarton, Anthony Evans, Nikki and every other Austinite who APD has attacked during protests.
Resist Police Violence and Oppression! We will not back down from the Fight against racism and for a Better World!