The Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression (CAARPR) was founded in 1973 as a local branch of the National Alliance, which grew out of the mass movement to Free Angela Davis and All Political Prisoners.
Davis had been charged with murder in a racist frame-up after the aborted attempt by Jonathan Jackson to free his brother, George Jackson, and the Soledad Brothers in 1970. The Chicago Alliance continues to struggle for justice with a focus on the following goals.
Establish Civilian Control of Police
From its inception the CAARPR has campaigned against police crimes committed primarily against the poor and people of color. The Alliance initiated a campaign to Stop Police Crimes. Victims of those crimes and their families are actively involved. The Alliance is organizing for passage of legislation to establish an elected Civilian Police Accountability Council that holds police officers accountable for crimes such as assault, murder, torture, and racial profiling.
Free Political Prisoners and the Innocent
Over the years the NAARPR has successfully campaigned for the release of many persons falsely charged and sentenced to death or to long prison terms. We, in alliance with mass progressive organizations, led the struggle for freedom of the Wilmington Ten, Tchula Mississippi Mayor Eddie Carthan, Delbert Tibbs, and many others. We campaign to end the unjust imprisonment of Leonard Peltier, and leaders of the Black Panther Party who remain in prison.
Stop all Police Torture of Suspects
Chicago police have tortured hundreds of Black and Latino men. We are struggling for hearings and new trials for those who remain incarcerated. We have investigated many of their cases. We are convinced they are innocent and were convicted only by confessions made under torture. We were part of the struggle for the release of Nicole Harris, a young Chicago mother coerced to confess to killing her own young child. We are also struggling for freedom for Derrick Searcy, James Harris, Michael Harris, Clayborn Smith, Charles Solo Harris and a host of others.
Abolish the Death Penalty
The U.S.A. has more people on death row than any other country in the world. The CAARPR works with other organizations to end the death penalty. The abolition of the death penalty in Illinois has helped thrust this issue on the national agenda, resulting in the introduction of several National Death Penalty Moratorium bills in Congress. Fifteen states have abolished capital punishment.
Abolish the “other” death penalty
We support all efforts to abolish the death penalty. We oppose sentencing anyone to Life Without Possibility of Parole, or death in prison.
Fight Racism, Sexism, Homophobia, anti-Semitism, Immigrant Bashing, Religious Discrimination, and All Other Forms of Bigotry.
Although the CAARPR has a specific focus on the fight against racist and political repression, we see all of these other struggles as linked to our basic fight. We defend the human rights of all those who are unjustly oppressed.
Defend the Rights of Labor
The Alliance was founded on the recognition that the democratic right of all workers to organize and bargain collectively over wages, working conditions and benefits is fundamental to democracy. We defend workers who are fired, assaulted, even murdered for their struggle for this most basic rights. We especially support efforts of low-wage service workers and workers in so-called “Right to Work” (for less) states to organize, especially in the South.
Defend Civil Liberties
The Alliance defends political prisoners and the civil liberties of workers, peace activists, immigrants, and opponents of white supremacy, male supremacy, and homophobia. We defend the First Amendment to the U. S. Constitution.
Expose the Prison Industrial Complex and the “War on Drugs” as the root of the New Jim Crow and the Cradle to Prison Pipeline for people of color
The CAARPR has been in the forefront of the struggle against the prison-industrial complex, one of the fastest growing industries in the country. Its profits depend on the incarceration of 2.5 million people – mostly African Americans – and most for non-violent crimes. The CAARPR works to draw the connections between this intolerable situation and the re-segregation of U. S. society based on race. White supremacy and class exploitation lie at the roots of this crisis.
Secure Health Care for Prisoners
The CAARPR is working to hold the Illinois Department of Corrections (IDOC) and the County Jails across the state to the standard of the Eighth Amendment to the U. S. Constitution, which bans cruel and unusual punishment, including the denial of medical care to prisoners. Our highest priority is to work for a rapid and responsive procedure independent of the IDOC through which prisoners being denied care can protest and be heard.
We often intervene directly with IDOC medical staff to address urgent crises in medical care when we are aware of them. We work in coalitions aimed at winning legislation to improve prison health care. We actively review medical records and prisoner complaints to explore a system-wide solution to this problem.
As one example, we exposed and brought legal action in the case of Montell Johnson, whose treatment is an example of what’s wrong with the system. Through legal action and political struggle we won the medical treatment he needs, and his freedom.
Support Affirmative Action
We defend and call for extension of affirmative action programs to end the legacy of white supremacy and genocide practiced against peoples of color in the United States. We also struggle for full representation of Black people and others in the elected bodies of city, state, and federal government.
In this country African Americans, Latinos, Native Americans and Asians continue to be targets of racism. We struggle against all forms of white supremacy, and we understand that this struggle is at the center of the fight against racist and political repression.