By the Editorial Board
One year ago on July 25, 2020, Garrett Foster, a servant of the people and defender of Black lives, was murdered in the streets of Austin for standing up to a reactionary during a protest in the wake of the May Uprisings, defending the people and the movement that he believed in. His absence is an immense loss, but what cannot be taken from the people is his memory and the example he set, which is forever present among the people’s struggles.
Anyone who feels as Garrett did, that the injustices of racism, poverty, and exploitation are unacceptable, must look to live and die as Garrett did. He put his beliefs into practice and died in defense of those beliefs and the people—not just those people he knew personally—but all the people. All those who stand up against the old society should see Garrett as a comrade-in-arms.
The day after Garrett was killed, a Tribune writer eloquently stated:
“It is impossible to speak of anything else except the need to be like Garrett Foster, that we need more men like him and that if there were, the struggle for a better world would be that much closer to culmination.”
We emphatically echo this once again: the people need to become revolutionaries in the model of Garrett, which will only take the people that much closer to sweeping away the old and conquering the new. Garrett did not just believe in the fight against police brutality—a fight he was entirely committed to, alongside his partner and fellow revolutionary Whitney Mitchell—he believed in radical change at all levels.
This desire for a better world is what drove Garrett. His life and sacrifice tower over all those who would seek to defame him or justify his murder. His murderer, US Army sergeant Daniel Perry, is insignificant in comparison to Garrett in every way. Perry did not just set out to attack Garrett—he sought to harm the entire movement for Black lives, a movement that Perry despises and has expressed hatred towards.
As the legal process moves forward with an indictment against Perry (coming nearly a year after Garrett’s murder), Garrett’s family and fellow revolutionaries are fighting incessantly to ensure that the State doesn’t sweep Garrett’s murder under the rug. The indictment can be seen as a victory, but it cannot be seen as justice. It is through fighting that people will move closer to people’s justice, which will be carried out by the people and their organizations. Making demands of the State and pressuring it to indict educates the people in the struggle for political power and what is ultimately necessary—a new State, led by workers, which would wield real justice against the enemies of the people.
Since the day Garrett died, the people have been steeling themselves in the fight for long-term political power. The day after his death, his name was seen painted on the walls of cities such as Los Angeles, raising the call for people’s justice, and his name has continued to appear on walls across the country. His name has been seen in revolutionary graffiti in Germany, Denmark, and Brazil. Revolutionaries marched for him in Oxnard and lit candles for him in San Antonio, and numerous marches and vigils have been held in Austin in the same streets where Garrett marched for nearly 50 days straight prior to his death.
The reactionary State and one of its chief instruments of state power, the police, have sought to repress the chanting of Garrett’s name in Austin. A week following his death, Austin police brutally attacked a march at the very site where Garrett was gunned down, arresting 40 people and stomping on candles, flowers, and signs left to honor Garrett. Despite this, that same night, the protesters overcame the assault and blocked part of I-35, the main highway through Austin.
At the forefront of the mobilizations in Austin have been protesters who marched alongside Garrett before his death, and who have vowed to fight for him. Most prominent among them has been his widow, Whitney, a Black woman, a quadruple amputee who relies on a wheelchair, and a hero in her own right. She has continued to organize, fight, and face the police in the streets. The same police who protected Perry, letting him go free after Garrett’s murder, and who prevented Whitney from saying goodbye to Garrett at the hospital where he was pronounced dead. These are the same police who see Black people like Whitney as a threat, most especially when they fight back against the racism and exploitation of the old State, which the police enforce and protect.
Whitney, alongside other activists, has brought together other families of the victims of state and civilian reactionaries, knowing that the fight for Garrett cannot be fought alone. In March of this year, she helped lead a march for five miles from the site of Alex Gonzales Jr.’s murder by police to the site of Garrett’s murder. When the group reached downtown, Austin police attacked Whitney and threw her out of her wheelchair when she demanded that they return a banner for Garrett they had stolen. And yet, with all that has been taken from her and all that she faces, Whitney rises to meet the fight head-on.
Whitney’s courage is the courage of the masses. With the masses, anything is possible, and that includes bringing real justice to Garrett’s killer and this rotten society that creates miserable reactionaries like Perry. Nothing can deter the fight for people’s justice: not the police, not the civilian foot soldiers of the State, nor the farce of the ruling class’s justice system which may or may not allow Perry to go unpunished by their laws. While a refusal to convict would be yet another insult to the people, we counter this possibility with the rising understanding that justice is not found in the old State’s courts, but in the struggle for a new Power. The people must honor Garrett by fighting to conquer the just and equal society that the people deserve, the society which Garrett knew was on its way, and for which he gave his life.
Garrett Foster Lives Forever in the Struggle!
Honor and Glory to Garrett Foster, Servant of the People, Defender of Black Lives!
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