CHICAGO — A tiny faction of old, white communist agitators led and helped organize Wednesday night’s protest in Chicago in response to the release of a dashcam video showing a white police officer fatally shoot 17-year-old black teenager Laquan McDonald 16 times.
The agitators belong to the Revolutionary Communist Party, a far-left Maoist outfit which advocates violent revolution.
The protest began around 4 p.m. downtown at the corner of Jackson and State Street.
At a prior protest on Tuesday night, members of the Revolutionary Communist Party energetically distributed fliers communicating their plan to co-opt the budding protest movement.
The Daily Caller obtained one of the fliers:
At the beginning of the protest, participants numbered in the dozens. As the protest zigzagged through the streets of downtown Chicago, it grew in numbers to a few hundred. By 7 p.m., protesters had moved north and were snarling traffic on the Magnificent Mile — a section of North Michigan Ave. lined with high-end retailers.
The revolutionary communists worked in unison to carry a bullhorn, a connected loud speaker and a carefully crafted sign from an October protest in New York City.
The main communist agitator who shouted a continuous barrage of chants through the bullhorn is longtime Chicago activist Grant Newburger.
Newburger, 57, called himself a leader of the Revolutionary Communist Youth Brigade as a fortysomething, according to the Chicago Reader, the Second City’s main alternative weekly.
At various points during the Wednesday night protest march, the gray-haired Newburger shouted into his bullhorn that he wanted the assembled crowd to stop so he could shout brief political diatribes.
One of the communist agitator’s rants urged protesters to show up on Black Friday to shut down shopping along the Magnificent Mile. The white Midwesterner repeatedly referred to protesters as “y’all.”
Otherwise, Newburger led chants. The refrain “16 shots!” was a common mantra. Another shout-back recital was: “CPD. KKK. How many kids did you kill today?”
At one point, when the protesters went lackadaisically silent in response to his chants, Newburger sagaciously called for a moment of silence.
Here is Newburger in 2007 at his apartment in the now-demolished Cabrini–Green public housing project. (Note the prominent poster of Chairman Mao.)
Another communist agitator who spoke into the communal Maoist bullhorn during Wednesday night’s protest in Chicago is Revolutionary Communist Party member Lou Downey.
“Send the killer cops to jail,” Downey urged protesters to chant.
A third white Communist agitator — a middle-aged woman — also yelled occasionally into the bullhorn. She sounded for all the world like a PTA mother.
At perhaps 6 p.m., police stopped Wednesday night’s meandering protest going north on Michigan Ave. a few blocks before the marchers would have arrived at Lake Shore Drive, a very busy north-south thoroughfare.
Marchers turned around and headed south. They briefly stalled traffic going both ways on a bridge over the Chicago River and then, as a gentle rain began, headed over to the sleek Trump International Hotel & Tower.
“We are the people! The mighty mighty, mighty people,” was a communist agitator-led chant. Also: “Whose streets? OUR STREETS!”
In front of the posh Trump hotel, protesters yelled “hands up, don’t shoot” at an assembled throng of police officers.
“How many bullets in the clip?” a viscerally angry white protester shouted at no cop in particular during a break in the chanting action. “Fuck y’all.”
“We are not products! We cannot be bought or sold!” was another chant.
The next stop was the offices of ESPN radio and the local ABC affiliate. From there, protesters ambled in a generally southwestern direction as the rain started to pick up in spurts.
By 9 p.m., the white-communist-led protesters had made their way to the south Loop chanting “fuck the police.” Also: “We’re black. We’re strong. We’re marchin’ all night long.”
At a later point, a group of protesters entered Millennium Park and ripped lights from the City of Chicago Christmas tree.
The Revolutionary Communist Party regularly seeks to conceal itself in growing radical movements involving protests against police.
In the summer of 2014, members of the obscure clutch were fixtures in Ferguson, Mo., clandestinely stirring up the protests which led eventually to last year’s night of mayhem after a grand jury decided not to convict police officer Darren Wilson for shooting and killing 18-year-old Michael Brown. (RELATED: Total Police Failure Brings Absolute Mayhem To Ferguson After Grand Jury Announcement)
“We are revolutionaries,” Downey, the well-traveled communist agitator, told The Kansas City Star in August 2014. “We’re working to do this in a way that puts an end to the system that for generations has criminalized youth, especially black youth.”
In September 2015, Downey raised $1,652 using a Gofundme account for further Ferguson exploits.
The Revolutionary Communist Party’s Tuesday flier describes the work of America’s police officers as “a campaign of terror with genocidal implications.”
“This is a situation where the burning anger and righteous refusal of the people to take this shit any more has erupted repeatedly into resistance since the uprising in Ferguson over Mike Brown’s murder,” the handout explains.
“We need an end to the whole system of capitalism-imperialism,” it urges.
“We need a whole different system, one where the system of oppression of Black people and other oppressed nationalities is eliminated, along with all the other outrages this system perpetuates here and around the world. This requires an actual revolution. This revolution is real and possible.”
On the front page of the Revolutionary Communist Party’s website, the party presents its founder and leader, Bob Avakian, in a glowing, hagiographic light.
“He has advanced the science of communism and made decisive breakthroughs in the theory, method, and strategy of revolution and the final goal of communism throughout the world,” the website declares.
Avakian, who enjoyed a comfortable middle-class boyhood, became radicalized in the 1960s during his time in Berkeley. He was part of the Students for a Democratic Society with Bill Ayers and, later, aligned with the Black Panthers.
He founded the Revolutionary Communist Party in 1975.
The Revolutionary Communist Party runs a handful of radical bookstore franchises around the country called Revolution Books. The one in Chicago is on Ashland Ave., is next to a paint store and across the street from an upscale vendor of eyeglasses.
Avakian — “Chairman Bob” — is now a very old, fringe oddball in bizarrely self-imposed exile. Only his closest acolytes know where.
McDonald, the teenager whose gruesome death has generated this week’s protests, died on October 20, 2014.
The police officer who shot McDonald, Jason Van Dyke, has been indicted on a single charge of first-degree murder.
The dashcam video showing McDonald’s death is painful to watch. It shows McDonald, who had a knife, walking away from police officers.
Van Dyke shot McDonald at a range of about 15 feet. He kept shooting — and shooting — after McDonald fell to the ground.
A judge has denied Van Dyke bail. The indicted officer currently resides in a hospital building in protective custody.
If convicted on the first-degree murder charge, Van Dyke will likely be sentenced to a prison term of 20 years to life.
The Chicago Police Department has settled a civil suit with McDonald’s family for — reportedly — $5 million.
The McDonald family issued a statement this week asking residents to refrain from violence.
“No one understands the anger more than us,” the statement said.
The Revolutionary Communist Party flier calls for a Black Friday protest to begin at Chicago’s famous Old Water Tower at 11 a.m. on Friday: