This Struggle is for the Stouthearted and We Need Winter Soldiers

Dec 31, 2014


Winter soldiers clogged New York city streets after gathering at 59th Street and Fifth Avenue, protests continue despite Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call to suspend their actions.


Frank Chapman, Field Organizer

Chicago Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression

We welcome everyone thirsting for justice, everyone who is sick and tired of racist injustice and who believes in our inalienable democratic right to protest against injustices perpetrated against us. We welcome into our movement not only the racially oppressed but all oppressed people who want to and are willing to stand up and fight-back. The struggle to stop police crimes through community control of the police is a broad-based people’s movement open to all who wish to join. So when some members of the New York City Council joined this movement and were in the streets chanting, “I Can’t Breath!” The movement welcomed them. What happened?

Two police officers are killed and yesterday’s allies are turned into today’s opposition. Why? Check out this brief excerpt from the New York Times:

For some who share the protesters’ concerns, the insistence on pressing on in spite of the funerals is damaging. “I don’t think the protesters do themselves a favor by protesting until after these officers are laid to rest,” said Ruben Diaz Jr., the Bronx borough president.(NYT Christmas Day)

While the Mayor and the Bronx borough president are free to leave the protest for whatever political or moral reasons they care to invoke they cannot in anyway restrict the mass movement that has erupted against police crimes by calling for no protest “until after these officers are laid to rest.” We believe that they knew, given the breadth and depth of this movement, putting out a call for a moratorium on protest would be futile, and yet they went along with the FOP and did it anyway.

The NYPD FOP obviously did it to divide the movement. They wanted to separate the sunshine patriots from the winter soldiers. And let us concede that for the moment they have. To sharpen my point I need to define sunshine patriot and winter soldier. A quote from Tom Paine might help, said he:

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman. Tyranny, like hell, is not easily conquered; yet we have this consolation with us, that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph.”

Using this historical yardstick the Mayor de Blasio and Bronx borough president Diaz were the sunshine patriots and the winters soldiers were in the streets. One of them, Marvin Knight, a 71-year-old black retiree from Brooklyn, said it was absurd for any politician to ask that the protests stop. “This is America,” he told HuffPost at the rally. “Why should we stop doing what we know is right?”

Knight added that de Blasio’s call to halt demonstrations infringed on protesters’ First Amendment rights. “Why should our freedoms of assembly and speech be curtailed because a deranged man killed two officers?” he said.

We salute brother Knight and all the winter soldiers for staying the course, for this struggle is for the stouthearted and we need winter soldiers.