The struggle against racism

Thousands came to Sanford for a demonstration to demand justice for Trayvon Martin (Gary W. Green | MCT/Newscom)

The murder of Trayvon Martin in a gated community in Florida has dramatized the depths of racism in U.S. society. Trayvon was young, Black and male--that was enough for neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman to decide he was "suspicious." To end bigotry and hate, we need protest--like the ones spreading today in response to Trayvon's murder. This page collects's articles about Trayvon's case, the new civil rights movement that has emerged to demand justice and the political backdrop to this electrifying struggle.

The Trayvon Martin case

We have to win justice

Trayvon Martin is dead because he was a young Black man walking where someone thought he shouldn't--proving that racism is alive and well.

Assassinated in the media

After first ignoring Trayvon Martin's murder, some in the media have now responded by blaming the victim.

Racism USA

What all Black men must learn

New York police search the pockets of a man stopped on the street

SW contributors remember their experiences with "the talk"--when family or friends tried to prepare them for a lifetime of dealing with racism and the police.

The many other Trayvons

The death of unarmed African Americans at the hands of police and racists remains routine today--but a new movement is saying: "Enough."

Economic freefall for Blacks

The economic crisis in Black communities constitutes an outright depression that has gone largely unnoticed because of the government's racist indifference.

A dream of education equality

The occasion of a day to honor Dr. King is an annual opportunity to remind ourselves that equity in education--and elsewhere--is possible.

The racist injustice system

When racism is the law

Every day, people of color are stalked and victimized like Trayvon Martin was--but it's legal because the perpetrators work for the "justice" system.

Murdered by the justice system

An innocent man was tortured for hours and then murdered in cold blood. That's the only way to describe the execution of Troy Anthony Davis.

Young, Black and criminalized

Trayvon Martin was singled out as "suspicious," something that happens to young Black men every day as a direct result of the "war on drugs."

Jim Crow justice in Jena

The Jena 6 case in 2007 had hallmarks of Louisiana's Jim Crow past--like nooses hung from a tree near a high school.

Casualties of "tough on crime"

The number of Americans behind bars is equal to the combined populations of Atlanta, Miami, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, Kansas City and Pittsburgh.

Forty years of drug war failure

The war on drugs is a war on people--against drug users and those involved in the drug trade, with catastrophic consequences.

Crime and capitalism

As Rosa Luxemburg wrote, bourgeois justice is "like a net, which allowed the voracious sharks to escape, while the little sardines were caught."

Police brutality

The NYPD's naked racism

New York cop Michael Daragjati boasted, "I fried another nigger," but he didn't know investigators had tapped his phone.

Oscar Grant's killer goes free

Less than a year after being convicted of killing Oscar Grant III, former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle was released from jail on June 13.

Police torture on trial

I should be happy that Chicago police torturer Jon Burge was finally arrested and indicted, but my happiness is overshadowed by disappointments. pamphlet

Download a pdf collection with some of the featured articles from this page, for printing out and distributing to friends, coworkers and fellow activists.

Rise of a new movement

On the march to Sanford

Our march across central Florida to protest the murder of Trayvon Martin was a symbol of the anger and determination that millions of people feel.

Bringing the battle to Sanford

As many as 3,000 people came from around Florida for a march through the town of Sanford where Trayvon Martin was murdered.

Racism and U.S. politics

Racism and politics in America

Race and racism have emerged at the heart of the Democratic presidential campaign. But they have always been beneath the surface of U.S. politics.

How the right redefined racism

The firestorm over Shirley Sherrod and her firing shows how far the "national discussion" on race has shifted to the right.

Socialism and Black liberation

The roots of racism

Racism as we understand it today did not always exist. It came into being as a consequence of the African slave trade and the rise of capitalism.

Race and socialism in the U.S.

The best fighters for socialism have always recognized that the struggle for Black liberation and socialism must go hand-in-hand.

Race, class and Marxism


For Marxists, there is an inseparable link between racism and capitalism--and therefore a commitment to fighting racism as part of the struggle for socialism.

Race in the Obama era

"No, he won't" for Blacks

Ordinary African Americans will have to fight for their own "Black agenda" since no one can seriously expect Barack Obama to do it.

Scoring points with stereotypes

Barack Obama's motive in criticizing Black men as irresponsible was to appeal to conservative white voters by validating racist stereotypes.

Whose responsibility?

The idea that Blacks need to focus on personal responsibility, echoed by Barack Obama, distracts from the question of social responsibility.

History of the struggle

Two young victims of racism

The murder of Trayvon Martin has obvious parallels with the lynching of Emmett Till by racists in 1950s Mississippi.

The King they won't celebrate

In the final years of his life, Martin Luther King presented a radical critique of U.S. society and campaigned for fundamental and far-reaching change.

The Black Power era

The Black Power movement was a magnificent high point of African American resistance--one that inspired and shaped radicals for years to come.

Urban rebellions and change

Far from being "pointless violence" the Black urban rebellions of the 1960s changed the direction of U.S. politics.

A generation found it can fight

The eruption of protest and rioting in Los Angeles in 1992 was an expression of the decades of accumulated anger at racism and class inequality.