Today it was reported that the man who penned The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People has died. Today it was also reported that a small group of people who all but certainly never read that book blocked Muni trains in protest of the shooting death of Kenneth Harding as he fled from police, one year ago today.
These must be some interesting people. After all, they thought hard and determined that the best way to get the public crying for justice following the death of a man convicted of pimping out a 13-year-old -- after pleading down from child rape -- is to block their Monday commute.
You'd expect more of a group calling itself the "Humanist Workers for Revolutionary Socialism" than to make the people who, perhaps not as a matter of choice, rely on public transportation bear the brunt of their actions. But, reading the group's own site, perhaps not. Perhaps this is the first step in their mission to "abolish the capitalist system altogether and replace it with a humane, democratically run planned socialist economy."
The government-subsidized public transportation system that only makes back a quarter of its budget via passenger fares -- let's do away with that first.
A better tomorrow, per the Humanistic Socialists, will require "that we transcend the alienated, egocentric personality characteristic of capitalism, and embrace a spirit of community, cooperation, and mature insight Finally, and most important, we believe that no program for socialist revolution can be developed or implemented without a clear understanding of the dialectic method."
Bad luck: You could have been boning up on the dialectic method on that Muni ride you weren't able to take this morning.
From the Humanist Workers' website: "From July 2009 until early March 2010, HWRS was affiliated with the International Leninist Trotskyist Fraction (IFLT or FLTI). In March 2010, HWRS, together with the Communist Workers Group of New Zealand (CWG-NZ) split with the IFLT and formed a liaison committee. The letter announcing and explaining the split is available here."
If you dig past the "egocentric personality characteristics of capitalism" and "socialist revolution," the root cause of today's protest -- police brutality -- is relevant. No one can claim the relationship between the city's poor minority communities and the police is where it should be. It's another matter, however, to punish commuters, many of whom hail from those communities.
Additionally, the Harding case is nuanced. While today's protesters repeatedly claimed he was shot for fare evasion, Harding was a paroled felon who had crossed state lines and was wanted in connection with a Seattle-area murder. He had every reason to not want to give his vitals to police after failing to produce a transfer; they claim he then brandished a weapon, fled, and fired indiscriminately before purportedly shooting himself during the fracas.
The police's word should never be taken as gospel. But to believe otherwise implies a massive, multi-agency conspiracy took place to cover up the death of an allegedly gun-toting, wild-shooting parolee who'd crossed state lines and was a "person of interest" in the slaying of a pregnant woman.
Police brutality is a pressing issue. But you needn't be a master of the dialectic method to realize that today's protesters aren't making the best case they could -- in style or substance.
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