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LOS ANGELES, December 23 – Just two days before Christmas, the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) murdered 14-year-old Valentina Orellana Peralta and 24-year-old Daniel Elena Lopez in a Burlington Coat Factory in North Hollywood. These two young Latin workers join the long list of workers, including Alex Flores, whose lives have been stolen by the racist LAPD. By the end of 2021 the murderous LAPD had taken twice as many lives as in the prior year (LA Times, 12/27/21). Even in the face of these rising numbers, Progressive Labor Party (PLP), alongside the families of lost workers, continues to fight back against this whole damn capitalist system.
Fight back for Valentina
Like many workers, Valentina immigrated seeking a new life in the U.S. But as her father put it, and as is true for so many workers internationally, “this is what my daughter found here: death (NYT, 12/28/21).”  
Valentina was in a dressing room with her mother trying on dresses for her upcoming quinceanera (15th birthday celebration) when a cop’s bullet pierced the wall and struck her in the chest. She was left dying in her mother’s arms.
Valentina’s story has received national news, including crocodile tears from U.S. president Joe Biden offering “deep condolences.” The blood of Valentina, however, is just as much on Jim Crow Joe and his Top Cop Kamala Harris as it is on the killer cop William Dorsey Jones who pulled the trigger!
For decades Biden and Harris have been instrumental architects in the violent and racist war on all workers, but especially on Black, Latin, indigenous, and immigrant workers particularly in LA.
Only charge being a worker
Unlike the feigned sympathy shown for Valentina, Daniel Elena Lopez, also shot at the scene, was immediately criminalized. The media and police immediately and falsely labeled him a suspect with a deadly weapon. In truth, no gun was recovered. He only had a bicycle lock and was clearly mentally unwell. 
The LAPD quickly released the video of the shooting. They had Cheryl Dorsey, a retired Black woman cop, review the video and described the shooting as being “within policy.” The LAPD thinks they can hide the racism on which they are built because Dorsey Jones is a Black cop. However, there is no such thing as an antiracist KKKop and PLP charges Dorsey Jones with MURDER.  
Struggle and sympathy over sorrow
The family of Daniel courageously joined the protests and vigils that were organized in the name of Valentina. His sister, fighting through tears, humanized her brother who the KKKops and press had criminalized. Like so many of our working-class sisters and brothers beaten down by capitalism, she said that he was distraught as he was facing an eviction, and had been incarcerated for three years, only recently released. She said he was in a mental health crisis and needed help, not to be killed. She picks up the mantle of women leaders, just as we’ve seen with the Flores Family, who defiantly speak out for workers.
About one third of all police shootings in LA (including non-fatal) are of workers exhibiting signs of mental illness (LA Times, 12/28/21). At the national level, “more than one in five” workers killed by the police have mental illnesses and 1,400 people with mental illnesses have been murdered by the cops since 2015 (NBCNews, 5/21/2021) ).
This is what fascism looks like!  
Last year the LA mayor and City Council voted to both increase the LAPD budget in spite of calls to defund, while simultaneously voting to remove police from so-called “non-violent mental health response teams.”
None of these changes, however, would have saved the lives of Alex Flores, David Flores, Daniel Hernandez, Nicholas Burgos, David Ordaz Jr. or Marco Vazquez Jr., who were all experiencing a mental health crisis and purported to be “violent” when LA cops and sheriffs murdered them. These reforms are merely tools to win our class to support the capitalists’ police state.
As communists, we know that the state, particularly the armed body of the state (the police), was born out of the inherent class antagonism between the capitalists and the working class. Capitalists need the kkkops to maintain their exploitation of the working class.  
Since their inception as racist slave patrols in the south and strike breakers in the north, the function of the police has been to terrorize our class, especially Black, Latin, indigenous and immigrant workers, into obedience. Their job was to put down the rebellions when we fought back and to force us to accept our exploitation.  
No amount of reform can ever change this reality. We must organize and build our fighting PLP, grow our own Red Army, and destroy this whole rotten system. PLP members and friends will continue to join with the families impacted by racist state terror and raise our communist analysis within the fightback.

This content was originally published here.

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