Tag Archives: Ferguson Missouri

Don’t shoot, Black men & women are people too!

For those who came of age in the 1960s & 1970s, it’s almost unimaginable the tsunamic power of the Civil Rights & Black Power movements could come to this in 2014: “Don’t shoot; Black men are people too!” But racist subordination is so fundamental to modern capitalism it cannot function without it so they worked tirelessly to co-opt civil rights activists into the power structure (particularly of the Democratic Party) & to destroy, even murder, Black activists like Malcolm X whose souls were not for sale. That’s why political activists like Mumia Abu-Jamal & thousands of Black teens are sitting in jail cells for crimes they did not commit.

Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, & hundreds of other Black teens will not have died in vain. To name only a few: Eric Garner, Ramarley Graham, Oscar Grant, Amadou Diallo, Nicholas Heyward, Jr., Greg Chavis, John Crawford, Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Shantel Davis, Anthony Baez, Walwyn Jackson, Ernest Duenez, Jr., Kenneth Chamberlain Sr., Noel Polanco, DJ Henry. The call for justice in their names will be emblazoned on the banners of the new civil rights & Black power movement.

The crisis of leadership affects all movements for social change. There is probably no more bought off & mortgaged leadership than that of the trade unions in almost every country. Compromisers wheel & deal themselves into position to more effectively betray the cause of human freedom from tyranny & get a good salary & pension in the bargain. There is almost no instance where the Democratic Party is not in there handing out grants, honorifics that mean nothing, & a chance to meet the US president someday. Big deal! For those with a healthy conscience & a measure of self-respect, it’s not enough reward for a Mephistophelean bad deal.

If you want to know where the necessary Black leadership is coming from, check out the Ferguson protesters & the dozens of solidarity rallies around the country. That leadership will be young, male & female, tough as nails & not open to compromising–the stuff Malcolm X was made of. It’s coming. Can you feel it coming? Can you feel another tsunami gathering strength?


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)

Low hung pants & Black rebellion

Ferguson long slung pants August 14 2014

The national obsession with how low Black kids wear their pants crescendoes into more ordinances & school bans all the time. Concern about Black teens showing their underwear is not matched by how much cleavage women show. Ain’t that curious!? But it’s not about modesty; it’s about civil rights & it’s certain many kids ride their pants low just to challenge social hatred. In truth, those pants defy the laws of gravity & physics might want to investigate rather than let blue-nosed racists ban them.

Here a young civil rights activist in Ferguson leaflets outside a community meeting to discuss the murder of Michael Brown. Can his underwear possibly be of interest to anyone when he’s in the front lines of making history?

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The US war on Black teens

Ferguson, MO August 14 2014 (Scott Olson:Getty Images)

There is nothing new about the murder of unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri last Saturday. The Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s & Black Power Movement of the 1970s scared the hell out of the rulers of this country. Racism is so fundamental to capitalist rule that it cannot operate without it. Alarmed by the thrust of the Civil Rights struggle, government operatives attempted to discredit the more radical activists & coopt the leadership to the Democratic Party, the graveyard of social movements. Black Power activists were more often subjected to harassment & violence, including the murder of activists like Fred Hampton, murdered in his sleep by Chicago cops & FBI operatives.

Youth are always a problem for the oppressors. They are a rebellious lot who must be broken, demoralized, chastened to accept racism & injustice as their due. We see that played out in Gaza & we see it played out in the streets of the US where the so-called “war on drugs” is nothing but a war on Black youth, a policy to preeempt at all costs the emergence of Black youth as a political force. Nothing terrifies the rulers of this country more than organized Black political power.

Violence against Blacks wasn’t stopped by the Emancipation Proclamation; the history of violence against Blacks in this country is one of the most unspeakable in world history because it is denied & camouflaged behind the lyrics of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”. The tack in the war on Black youth since the the 1980s has been massive incarceration of thousands of Black kids for misdemeanor offenses, minor drug charges, & nonsense like lipping off to a cop. Police brutality is a pivotal part of all that & hundreds of unarmed Black teens have been shot down in the streets by police in every major city in this country. And that doesn’t even include harassment like “stop & frisk” laws.

The US government began its massive assaults on civil liberties in the Black community under the guise of the war on drugs. It made chopped liver out of several provisions in the Bill of Rights. White people, including political activists believed all the rubbish about drug gangs, dysfunctional Black families run by matriarchs undoing Black manhood (the Bill Cosby schtick), “Black on Black violence” & a dozen other slanders against Black people. As a result police ran rough-shod over the Bill of Rights. They would shoot an unarmed Black teen & walk away scot-free from prosecution. It’s been open season on Black kids for a long time. And in a case of chickens coming home to roost, the Bill of Rights is now at risk for all of us. That’s where you see the “an injury to one is an injury to all” thing is not just a ceremonial mantra but an iron law of social change.

Ferguson, Missouri is not the first time there have been massive protests against police brutality. The murder of Trayvon Martin in 2012 ignited protests all over this country. So it is no accident that disreputable characters like Al Sharpton (reverend, my ass!), a fool & an operative for the Democratic Party (DP) hot-footed it to Missouri from his bully pupit at CNN. He’s not there to organize massive opposition to racist violence; he’s there to make damn sure it doesn’t go too far but just enough to let off a little steam & then get everybody back voting for the local DP politician in place of taking social action. (It’s an old shell game; once you’ve seen them derail a few social movements you get to know the pattern.) The role of the DP is to control mass opposition to injustice (the role of the Republicans is to control the crazies on the right). What is needed is another civil rights & Black power movement, one that railroads the DP out of the way, as Malcolm X suggested, & will make no compromises that do not serve justice for the Black community & its kids.

“Hands up don’t shoot!” is the mantra of the new movement emerging in Ferguson, Missouri because, have no doubts about it, a new movement for civil rights & Black power is emerging.

May Michael Brown RIP–along with the hundreds of other Black teens shot down on the public streets–while DP politicians including Obama speak of a “post-racial era”. There will be no “post-racial era” until they pull their SWAT teams out of the Black community, until there is full educational, housing, employment, social, political, economic opportunity for every Black boy & girl. And to accomplish that, quite frankly, will take a revolution.

(Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)