Tag Archives: Black power against police brutality

RIP Michael Brown

Michael Brown August 25 2014

Michael Brown, the 18-year-old murdered by a cop on August 9th, is being laid to rest today. Our deepest sympathies to his family. May he RIP.

Justice however isn’t even close to being addressed & won’t be unless massive political pressure continues to support the Black community in Ferguson. The Missouri National Guard was withdrawn after the governor claimed the situation was “greatly improved with fewer incidents of outside agitators interfering with peaceful protesters & fewer acts of violence.” The governor claims the National Guard restored order but didn’t admit the unrest was set off by the murder of an unarmed young man & police assaults on the Bill of Rights.

US Attorney General Eric “Hapless” Holder has ordered a federal civil rights investigation into the shooting & a grand jury is hearing the case against the killer cop. Since Holder is still investigating the 2012 murder of Trayvon Martin, no one should hold out much hope for justice from those quarters. Holder said, “It’s going to take time for us to develop all the facts, develop all the evidence & see where the case will ultimately go.” Quite a contrast to how expeditious they can be when they’re going after alleged terrorists. They had 9/11 all wrapped up in a week.

As for those “outside agitators”, we have every right under the Bill of Rights to travel to Ferguson, Missouri to express our solidarity with the Black community. And we sincerely hope (Reverend, my ass!) Al Sharpton does not derail this important civil rights & Black power struggle into prayer meetings & the next election for a “lesser evil”. There’s no objection to praying except when it’s used to replace justice.

(Photo is Michael Brown)

Mind-boggling courage

Ferguson tear gas woman August 22 2014

This is another image of the defiant young woman in Ferguson now kneeling before the barrage of tear gas & a phalanx of armored vehicles. We have not seen this kind of tough, mind-boggling courage in the US since the Civil Rights & Black Power movements of the 1960s & 1970s.

Dare we say a new era is opening up in the historic struggle against racist tyranny in this country? The achievements of the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s continue to reverberate around the world amongst those who struggle against social hatred of every kind. A new day is dawning & the future began in Ferguson.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Unflinching courage against police brutality

Ferguson woman in tear gas August 22 2014

Tear gas is raining down on this young woman standing defiantly in the Ferguson street where riot cops & National Guard are violently attempting to deny the Black community their right to assemble & oppose police brutality. This kind of unflinching courage is exactly what the US power structure fears more than anything else in the world. And they fear it because this kind of defiance is the hope of the future & of social transformation.

This young woman along with the Black community of Ferguson are making history & changing the world by ushering in a new civil rights & Black power movement. Don’t let history pass you by; stand with them. Once again, the world you change will be your own.

Our deepest respect to this young woman & our fullest solidarity with the Black community of Ferguson.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images; Olson was one of the several reporters arrested in Ferguson)

All this military gear to protect the convenience store? Who’s kidding who?

Ferguson trooper August 19 2014

Even if you buy the official police rap that a handful of looters & “outside agitators” (we haven’t heard that epithet since the McCarthy era) are the problem in Ferguson, is this the kind of equipment you use to save a convenience store or the local pizza joint?

Anyone in this country who believes in the Bill of Rights (which is the only salvageable part of the US Constitution, a slave owners document) had better speak now or forever hold your peace because if this isn’t stopped in Ferguson it will become the face of lawlessness in all the US.

(Photo from BBC video)

Streets of Ferguson flare up with police violence

St. Louis Post-Dispaatch August 20 2014

The narrative justifying why Israel used excessive barbarism against Gaza is echoed in why the US is using excessive barbarism in Ferguson. All you have to do is substitute looters for Hamas. State trooper Captain Ron Johnson, the soft cop in the Ferguson operation, is spouting pieties to the media a mile a minute. His latest: “A small number of violent agitators….hide in the crowd & then attempt to create chaos.” It’s a version of the human shield defense used so ignominiously by Israel to justify bombing Gaza into smithereens. Media also reports the protests have been infiltrated by violent looters from as far as New York & California. Is there now an internal passport system in the US to travel from New York to Missouri to render solidarity?

Obama is saying the same tripe from his pulpit in the White House. He’s preaching that the mistrust between Black communities & local police require Americans “to listen & not just shout.” Golly, it would be a whole lot easier to listen if the National Guard weren’t deploying noisemakers & bullhorns to deny residents of Ferguson their right to assemble.

So if it’s only a handful of troublemakers why the hell did the governor send in the National Guard–not to replace local riot cops, but to augment them? Why are they using noisemakers, armored vehicles, tear gas, stun grenades against unarmed protesters just for a handful of people? Why are officials flouting the US Bill of Rights & making it null & void in Ferguson?

Claiming there’s “a dangerous dynamic in the night,” Captain Johnson “urged” protesters to demonstrate during the daytime hours. This is the first we’ve heard the right to assemble is only a daytime right because thousands of vigils & protests are held at night, especially in the summer to escape blistering heat. But Captain Johnson, who talks out of both sides of his ass, claims violent protests “are erupting” at night. From the West Bank in Palestine to the streets of Santiago, Chile to Ferguson, Missouri, it’s an observable phenomenon that when riot cops & soldiers lob tear gas canisters & stun grenades & point loaded assault rifles at unarmed protesters, anger is provoked.

US Attorney General Eric “Hapless” Holder is headed for Ferguson to meet with the FBI & local officials (to get their stories straight) & mount an investigation into the murder of Michael Brown. Don’t hold your breath for justice. After George Zimmerman was acquitted in the vigilante murder of Trayvon Martin, Holder & the Justice Department launched a review to see if Zimmerman could be prosecuted for criminal civil rights charges. That investigation remains buried somewhere in the bowels of US justice. Meanwhile Darren Wilson, the killer cop is still walking the public streets, suspended with pay. A grand jury just began hearing evidence to see if he should be charged with murder. A kangaroo court trial may follow where he’ll walk away scot-free.

This is the front page of yesterdays St. Louis Post-Dispatch; it’s another picture worth a thousand lies. If there are only a handful of looters from New York & California, why all the firepower against unarmed protesters asserting their rights of free speech & assembly under the US Bill of Rights? And if you notice the subtitle here, why are ‘pastors locking their arms to break up crowds’? Why aren’t those pastors (the Reverend, my ass!) Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson–in the spirit of Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Rev. Ralph Abernathy–leading the popular movement to assert democratic rights? Why aren’t they calling national protest rallies in defense of the Black community in Ferguson or even asking people to converge on Ferguson in a massive show of solidarity & power?

Rallies continue around the US to protest the murder of Michael Brown & the truncation of democratic rights in Ferguson. Grab a placard & join a rally in your town.

(Image from St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Hands up, don’t shoot: Tibetan monks travel to Ferguson to stand with Black community

Tibetan monks in Ferguson August 20 2014

Hands up, don’t shoot!: Buddhist mob violence against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar has been making international news for a while now because hundreds of Rohingyas have been massacred, thousands have had their homes burned down, & hundreds of thousands have been forced to flee for their lives to other countries. (Hundreds were drowned in the exodus, thousands were refused entry to other countries, & many survivors were sent back to Myanmar where anti-Muslim violence continues & includes non-Rohingya Muslims.)

Buddhism cannot be judged by politics in Myanmar. Many remember that in the 1960s Vietnamese Buddhists actively opposed the series of military juntas ruling South Vietnam & were prominent in opposing the US war against Vietnam. Their opposition helped counter anti-communist rhetoric used by the US to justify it’s barbaric war.

It only goes to show you theology has less to do with tyranny than the heritage of colonialism & the often misguided attempts to overcome it–or the accommodation modern regimes are making to neoliberal plunder in hopes of getting in on the take. Those regimes use religious intolerance to enflame sectarian conflict.

Buddhism is as Buddhism does–which is just as true of the Papacy. These Tibetan monks traveled from exile in India to stand with the Black community in Ferguson, Missouri. That placard reads: “From Tibet, Justice for Mike Brown.”

(Photo from the Huntington Post)

Police deny Bill of Rights to Black community

Ferguson tear gas victim August 18 2014

So while (Reverend, my ass!) Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson are over at the church leading the police department in prayer, the Missouri National Guard is out in the streets taking care of business against thousands of unarmed, peaceful protesters demanding an end to police violence & their democratic rights under the US Bill of Rights–like the right to assemble & protest.

This woman is being treated (with milk) for tear gas damage she suffered. The National Guardsmen know one tear gas canister is worth a thousand “praise the lords” if you want to maintain racist tyranny.

(Photo by Joshua Lott/Getty Images)

From Gaza to Ferguson, “an injury to one is an injury to all”

Ferguson protester August 18 2014 (Scott Olson:Getty Images)

If life were even reasonably fair, Ferguson police & Missouri officials would go down not only as violent racists but among America’s dumbest criminals. Lawyers prep their lying clients to present a coherent alibi when they hit the courts. The Ferguson police department improvised a story about the murder of Michael Brown nobody could make head or tail of & presented it to media. It took a few days for media to chase down the young guy walking with Brown to hear his version which disagrees with the cop version & has somehow gotten lost in the revisions offered by police officials. They finally hit on the version (& obvious lie) where Brown was a suspect in a convenience store robbery but admit the cop who murdered Brown didn’t know that. There’s a simple rule to follow in life: a story that doesn’t add up is usually baloney. A kid can tell his teacher “the dog ate my homework” but when you murder an unarmed young man (known to everyone as a good kid) that kind of idiocy doesn’t cut it.

What we’re seeing now played out in Ferguson is the dog & pony show of the US war against the Black community & its kids. First they removed the white police chief & replaced him with the Black state trooper. The white cop was undeniably stupid but that isn’t why he was replaced. The trooper came on with the apologies & the commiserations; he had cops marching for justice against police brutality, photographed hugging other protesters, & solemnly bowing their heads at the prayer services for Michael Brown. It’s called street theater & it’s intended to mollify national outrage at a brutal execution.

As for using a Black cop against the Black community, that’s a device as old as the violent colonialization of the Americas & the extermination of native peoples. The US Army hired “Indian scouts” to pursue fleeing tribes & established Indian police forces on reservations. It’s still neoliberal colonial policy & the plundering war in DR Congo is the most ruthless instance of such treachery–where foreign mining companies hire militias among the Congolese to cover for their plunder.

The Democratic Party, whose primary function is to control popular unrest, hustled in Al Sharpton & Jesse Jackson, the DP apparatchiki they thought most able to pull the wool over people’s eyes. If they get their way, the massive uprising against police violence will be contained in prayer meetings & drowned out by “praise the lords” when a Black leadership not bought & sold to the highest bidder would be demanding national solidarity mobilizations to take back the streets of Ferguson & demand justice for Michael Brown.

While the state trooper is putting on the dog & pony show for media, the Missouri governor is deploying the National Guard, laying out a curfew as if the Black community was a lawless band of hooligans & looters. What happened to the Bill of Rights & the right to assemble & the right to protest? All the news now is about looters & molotov cocktails. Maybe a couple stores did get hit. So what? The only purpose for media focus on looting is to justify the continuing excessive use of force against thousands of unarmed, peaceful protesters who have had it up to their eyeballs with police brutality.

They’re using tear gas canisters & souped up humvees against unarmed protesters, assaulting & arresting people who by all reports remain peaceful but defiant of the curfew & determined to stand their ground against police violence. We cannot take our attention off Ferguson & we cannot stand silent any longer. Palestinians in Gaza, still recovering from genocide, have rendered solidarity to the Black community in Ferguson. The similarities between their struggles are not at all incidental.

“An injury to one is an injury to all”: that is our international clarion call to stand actively with the Black community in defense of their children against police violence.

This young man is in a demonstration to demand the end of police violence & the right for Blacks to assemble; he is wearing the mask against the police use of excessive tear gas.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Memphis 1968, Ferguson 2014

Black power 2014 August 15 2014

Memphis 1968 & Ferguson 2014: activists march in defiance of the Ferguson police description of the Black community as “fucking animals” with a simple, declaration of their humanity.

The defiance remains the same but the difference between the police force in Memphis 1968 & Ferguson 2014 could not be more dramatic & alarming. The Memphis cops are dressed like Barney Fife, though they used water cannons, attack dogs, mounted police, tear gas, & truncheons against protesters. Today the Pentagon is arming local police departments with military swag & Ferguson cops are dressed in camouflage gear & armed to the teeth with tear gas, rubber bullets, automatic weapons, handguns, combat armored vehicles, night vision equipment, military-grade assault rifles–like they’re going to storm the beach at Normandy.

Media is referring to Ferguson as a “war zone” & comparing it to Egypt & Iraq but inflammatory rhetoric is nothing new. To justify deployment of SWAT teams in the Black community beginning in the 1980s combat metaphors have been rampant in media including terms like “narco-terrorists”, “Beirut, USA”, “civil war zones”, & “regions under siege”.

The Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s & the anti-Vietnam War movement challenged police violence against unarmed protesters; those social movements numbering in the millions finally won the right of peaceful assembly which is in the Bill of Rights but not respected by police departments. Since the 1999 WTO protests in Seattle, police departments around the US have reintroduced storm-trooper tactics against peaceful protesters & they come to the tamest protests loaded for bear (& clearly all souped up on steroids). Increased militarization & aggression by police was evident against the Occupy movement in 2011.

There was a prison revolt in Attica New York in 1971 against brutal, dehumanizing treatment & conditions in the prison. The defiance of the male prisoners was dignified–they wanted justice, not vengeance. Their statement is evocative of Ferguson & a mantra for all the oppressed whose humanity is denied: “We are men! We are not beasts & do not intend to be beaten or driven as such. The entire prison populace has set forth to change forever the ruthless brutalization & disregard for the lives of the prisoners here & throughout the US. What has happened here is but the sound before the fury of those who are oppressed.” (This electrifying defiance was spoken by Elliot L.D. Barkley, a 21-year-old spokesperson for the prisoners who was murdered by the NY state police after the prisoners surrendered. According to witnesses, state troopers searched him out & shot him in the back.)

It’s clear from history that “an injury to one is an injury to all” is an iron law of social transformation. We’re all in this together from Gaza to Ferguson; from civil rights to women’s rights. The Pentagon can arm Israel & the Ferguson cops to the teeth but against the mighty force of international solidarity, tyranny doesn’t stand a chance. We have to win the streets back & regain our right to protest without police violence. The Ferguson Black community has released the first volley of that historic struggle.

(Image from whitecolonialism.tumblr.com)