Roland Sheppard


A Collection of Roland Sheppard’s Essays

PaintersLadderThe View From The Painters Ladder

Front CoverWhy the U.S. Government Assassinated Malcolm X and Martin Luther King, Jr. $2.95 (USD) Purchase the e-book

In the 1960s, I regularly attended Malcolm X’s meetings in Harlem. I am one of the few remaining people who personally witnessed the assassination of Malcolm X in the Audubon Ballroom.


Martin Luther King, Jr.’s ‘Dream’ is not possible under the ‘Nightmare’ of capitalism. The system of capitalism is based on the exploitation of Labor, and racism is required to divide and weaken the working class. As Malcolm X said: “Racism is profitable. If it was not profitable, it would not exist.


The previous Civil Rights Movement offers valuable lessons for today: if we don’t let them divide us; if we keep our politics independent of the Republican and Democratic Parties and the Government; if we rely only upon our own power in the streets, in the schools, and at work; if we take up the struggles of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr. and the many other heroes of the movement – we can win. – Roland Sheppard


Roland Sheppard Speaking Against Gentrification San Francisco City Hall 4/26/06

My name is Roland Sheppard, I am a retired Business Representative of Painters Local #4 in San Francisco. I have been a life long social activist and socialist. Prior to my being elected as a union official in 1994, I worked for 31 years as a house painter.

House painting was my vocation, but working for a better world has been my lifelong avocation. I became especially interested in the environment when I was diagnosed with cancer due to my work environment as a painter.

I have led a unique life. I am one, of the few people remaining, who was at the Audubon Ballroom when Malcolm X was assassinated.

I learned how to write essays, when I first got a computer, in 1998.  Using the Internet and my word processor, I was able to put together all the medical legal arguments on my breakthrough workers’ compensation case in California, proving that my work environment, as a painter, had caused my cancer. During the course of the five-year struggle, I won a $300,000 settlement of my court case and, incidentally, I learned how to write.

My essays are my view from the Painter’s Ladder. I was in the words of Robert Tressell, a Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, a phrase that Tressell used, in his book, The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist, to explain the exploitation of workers, under capitalism, who willingly sell their labor and donate the surplus value, which their labor produces, to the boss. (Hear A Lecture About The Ragged Trousered Philanthropist)

In my retirement, I am writing about my life experiences as a socialist, as a participant in the Black Liberation Movement, the Union Movement, and almost all social movements. My, essays are based upon my involvement in the struggle for workers democracy and freedom for all humanity. It is my hope that these essays, which I regularly update, when I discover more facts, will help future generations of Freedom Fighters.

My web page stands for equality of all people, These essays are written from my ground floor view as a participant in the Antiwar movement, the Black Liberation Movement, the Women’s Movement and the struggle for workers democracy and freedom for all humanity. For Socialism!  Contact Me

If there is no struggle there is no progress. Those who profess to favor freedom and yet depreciate agitation—want crops without plowing up the ground, they want rain without thunder and lightning. They want the ocean without the awful roar of its many waters. . . . Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. — — Frederick Douglass

The press is so powerful in its image-making role, it can make the criminal look like he’s a the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. This is the press, an irresponsible press. It will make the criminal look like he’s the victim and make the victim look like he’s the criminal. — Malcolm X


Daily News Digest Archives

Book Reviews:

Book Review: The Radical King (Unsanitize)

Living Downstream: An Ecologist Looks At Cancer and the Environment

Perpetual War for Perpetual Peace

The Media Monopoly

Workplace Roulette

Civil Rights Movement:

New Orleans After  Katrinia Essays:

All They Will Call You Will Be ‘Refugees’

The Ethnic Cleansing of New Orleans 2008: A Requiem

An Open Letter To The San Francisco Board Of Supervisors


Diallo Verdict Gives Police a License for ‘Legal Lynchings’

John Lewis 1963 March on Washington Speech

Justice and Injustice in California: A comparison between rich and poor communities

Movie Review: Selma

Reparations and Capitalism

San Francisco: Explosion At Southeast Sewage Treatment Plant

The Day the Music Died: Malcolm X’s Assassination, Feb. 21, 1965

The Ethnic Cleansing of New Orleans 2008: A Requiem

The First Impeachment Trial: Andrew Johnson in 1868 By Roland Sheppard

The Historic Role of Police Brutality in the Black Community and African American Oppression

The Lessons of the Montgomery Bus Boycott

The Other San Francisco: Institutionalized Racism

The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights Movement

The Rise and Fall of the Civil Rights Movement (Appendix)

The State of the Civil Rights Movement In The Age Of Obama

The “Verdict” for Officer Mesherle Involuntary Manslaughter There is no Justice in the United States!

Why Democracy Now Refused to Interview Me on the 50th Anniversary of the Assassination of Malcolm X

Why the Government Assassinated Malcolm X And Martin Luther King Jr.


Big Oil’s ‘Killing Fields’

Capitalism Fouls Thing Up It’s Time to ‘Come on Up for the Rising’!

Cuba: “The Road Not Taken”

During Drought, Frackers Keep on Fracking! With Their Own Private Water Supplies!

Environmental Racism

Genetic Engineering – Danger Along the Food Chain?

Monsanto: “Playing God in the Garden”

Ocean Pollution: ‘Oceans Without Fish’

Oil Workers Killed by Company Neglect

Seattle IMF Environmental Protest

The Fight to End Global Warming

The Myth of Kyoto

The Poisoning of Children and the Arrogance of Wealth

Visions of Sustainable America

Whither Humanity? The Environmental Crisis of Capitalism

‘Butterflies are Free’

‘What Have They Done to the Rain?’

“Trade Secrets” Cancer and the Environment


2010 Elections: The Default of The Trade Union Movement

Energy Crisis Or Capitalist Crisis?

Gentrification of Hunters Point

My Efforts To Prevent Occupational Cancer in Painters

Peter Infante’s Cancer and Blue-Collar Workers: Who Cares?

PG&E Ripoff: Return of the Robber Barons

San Francisco: 1000 Nurses Rally For ‘Medicare for All’

The Rise and Fall of the Trade Union Movement

The War at the Point of Production: The ‘Killing Fields’ of the United States

US Government Declares War on West Coast Dockworkers

Why I Do Not Celebrate Labor Day!

Why The Chicago Teachers Union Strike Was Won!

Wildcat Protest Against Employer-Union Partnership

Workers Memorial Day — April 28, 2012


9-11 World Trade Center Dust Cloud: How Many Will Die

An Example of the Death Agony of American Capitalism: The Gulf of Mexico Oil Leak Criminal Disaster

Big Oil Fracking California

During Natural Disasters: Is ‘Looting’ a Crime? Is Survival a Crime? Who Are the Real Looters?

Earth Day Editorial: Survival of the Human Species is Now at Stake!

Editorial: Black Community Control of the Police

Editorial: Fracking is An Exanple Of How Capitalism Has Lived Past Its Time

Editorial: Fracking is An Exanple Of How Capitalism Has Lived Past Its’ Time

Editorial: Greece

Editorial: Greece: No to Austerity — No More Negotiations!

Editorial: Greek talks with euro creditors collapse as ‘disaster’ moves closer

Editorial: Killing Us Slowly Obamacare is Coming Home

Editorial: Let the People Vote on War!

Editorial: No indictment in Ferguson case — No Justice. The Ferguson Grand Jury Star Chamber and Jim Crow ‘Justice’

Editorial: Re: California Governor wants to pass a massive $3.6 billion tax plan on autos

Editorial: Seattle Election

Editorial: Support Chicago Teachers Strike

Editorial: Syriza A Popular Front

Editorial: The Big ‘Entitlements’ Swindle Workers Wages Are Not ‘Entitlements’ — We Earn Our Benefits!

Editorial: The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) — The 1% Have Decided To Put Profits Over the Survival of Humanity!

Editorial: Why California Is Fracking During Drought

Editorial: Wisconsin Labor Battle/Election June 2012

Goodbye To Nat Weinstein — My Old Friend and Comrade

Hiroshima and Nagasaki Never Again!

Human Society stands At The Crossroads: Either Socialism or the Destruction of Humanity

Let Elian Return Home!

Let The People Vote on Healthcare!

Living Black History

Movie Review: 12 Years a Slave

Movie Review: 911 Dust and Deceit at the WTC

My Forefathers and The 1%’s Forefathers

My Prepared Speech at Nat Weinstein’s Memorial Meeting

Obama & Company Organize the Naked Rule of the 1% to be Enforced by the Iron Heal

Obama’s Coup D’état

Occupy Wall Street Demonstrates The Need To Build An Organization of All Anti-Capitalist Forces!

Pamphlet Text

Party Congress Backs Gorbachev’s ‘Reforms’

Pax Americana and The Failure of ‘Lesser Evilism’ “A Ponzi Scheme” The Economy is Only A Paper Moon

PG&E Ripoff: Return of the Robber Barons

Sandra Steingrabber: How Fracking Impacts Public Health

The Degeneration of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP)

The United States ‘Principal of Preventive Strike’

Time To Nationalize The ”Privately owned ‘Public’ Utilities”

Today’s Cuba (1992)

Why Oil Companies Want California’s Water

Four Poems:

Grieving for My Mother

Imagine A Socialist Society

Mill Valley Was Once a Pretty How Town

On the Beach and Free

Roland Sheppard