News & Politics

Speaker at Dem Candidate Forum Gets Crowd to Chant Quote from Cop-Killer Assata Shakur

Speaker at Dem Candidate Forum Gets Crowd to Chant Quote from Cop-Killer Assata Shakur
A poster with photographs of Joanne Chesimard, a fugitive for more than 30 years, is on display during a news conference giving updates on the search of Chesimard, Thursday, May 2, 2013, in Newark, N.J. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

How radical has the modern Democratic Party become? How about this? One of the featured speakers at a Democratic conference being held this week in Washington, D.C., just favorably quoted a domestic terrorist who is on the FBI’s Most Wanted list. And the audience enthusiastically chanted along.

The annual “We The People” summit in Washington is featuring many Democratic presidential candidates, including Cory Booker, Julian Castro, Amy Klobuchar, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Jay Inslee and Kirsten Gillibrand. The candidates are expected to discuss progressive causes such as organizing rights, health care, and climate change.

Jamal Watkins of the NAACP led the “We The People” crowd Monday morning with a chant quoting convicted cop-killer Assata Shakur (aka Joanne Chesimard):

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

As Mediaite’s Caleb Howe pointed out, Shakur’s words are in reference to a well-known Karl Marx quote: “Let the ruling classes tremble at a Communistic revolution. The proletarians have nothing to lose but their chains. They have a world to win.”

Shakur’s words are often recited at protests, including Black Lives Matter marches and the 2018 “March for Our Lives.”

The Women’s March under the leadership of Linda Sarsour faced controversy in 2017 for celebrating Shakur’s birthday in a tweet. Eventually the organization was forced to make a statement, saying in a series of tweets that the “Women’s March is a nonviolent movement. We have never and will never use violence to achieve our goals” and that Shakur’s “resistance tactics were different from ours. That does not mean that we do not respect her anti-sexism work.”

Shakur, a former Black Panther and member of the Black Liberation Army, was convicted of the first-degree murder of State Trooper Werner Foerster during a shootout on the New Jersey Turnpike in 1973.

Between 1973 and 1977, the terrorist was indicted ten times in New York and New Jersey, resulting in seven criminal trials.

After she escaped from a New Jersey prison in 1979, she sought refuge in Cuba, where she was granted political asylum. There is a $2 million reward for information leading to her arrest.

(AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The “We The People” summit is sponsored by a slew of left-wing organizations, including Center for Popular Democracy Action, Communications Workers of America, Planned Parenthood Action Fund, and Service Employees International Union (SEIU). You can watch the event live here.