Terror … and Racial Terror

Photo by Stephen Melkisethian.This article was originally published at ZNet.

With all of the discussion about ISIS/ISIL, Al Qaeda, etc., one would think that the only terror on this planet is that derived from relatively small numbers of criminal fascists roaming the planet who claim to be Muslims.  Yet that is not the only location of terror.  In West Africa, for instance, millions live in terror as the horrific virus, Ebola, spreads, killing more than 3,000 people.  Due in large part to the devastation wrought by neo-liberal policies on the health care systems of West African nations, Ebola has been spreading at an unanticipated rate.

There are other forms of terror, of course.  Environmental devastation and climate change, which capitalism seems unable to stop but has also played a major role in advancing, threatens billions.  Islands across this planet are threatened as water encroaches on coastal regions.  And one need not be a rocket scientist to know that it is the working classes, the farmers and many other impoverished segments of society that will suffer on a scale beyond anything that will afflict the rich and powerful.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

In honor of Jamala Rogers

Jamala Rogers is a lifelong activist and fighter for Black liberation. Among other roles, she is a founder and leader of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis and she has been at the front of the movement for justice for Mike Brown since he was murdered by Ferguson police.

Today, in honor of Jamala’s birthday and her lifetime of struggle, FRSO/OSCL salutes her. We recommend watching the interview and reading the links below to get to know more about her.

Jamala’s blog

The Best of the Way I See It — political writings by Jamala Rogers

 

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Posted in Culture

Whites Protest in Solidarity with Black Youth in Ferguson

At 12:53 Sunday afternoon, I received an e-mail from the Organization for Black Struggle:

OBS has put out a call to action for white allies! For the white folks in the Don’t Shoot Coalition–they are asking us, as white allies, to act on this call September 28, TODAY. Police have been on a major PR campaign the last few days; we need to seize the narrative with an Allies Solidarity March tonight at Ferguson Police Headquarters, 222 S. Florissant Road.

Earlier in the week, a white terrorist burned the memorial to Mike Brown at Canfield Apartments and left a NIGG sign. Protests kicked off again that night, showing the continuing spontaneous–hopefully getting organized–rage of Black youth and their supporters among older people. A higher level of protest continued throughout the week. Most of the nightly protests moved from West Florissant to the main drag, North Florissant Avenue, through downtown Ferguson where the brand new police headquarters is located.

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Meanwhile, white cops in the St. Louis area have taken to wearing wristbands reading “I Am Darren Wilson,” openly declaring their willingness to shoot unarmed Black youth! And a more genteel approach was adopted by the white power structure in Ferguson, a campaign to proclaim via button, bumper sticker, yard sign, window placard and tee-shirt “I ♥ Ferguson.” (I wrote a letter about this to the Ferguson newspaper, which refused to print it.)

Finally, on Thursday, the Ferguson Police Chief issued a canned video “apology” to the Brown family and the community – too late, too canned, too much on tape, not in person. Protests rose. There were some arrests. Then on Saturday evening, amidst smaller protests, a Ferguson police officer was shot, reportedly by burglary suspects. An APB went out in the community for black men with dreds to stay inside because the police will be gunning for this suspect.

So when I got the OBS call to flip the script, I forwarded it to about 90 white people in my e-mail contacts list. It was impressive to have at least 5-10 people come up to me during the action to thank me for sending that e-mail, saying otherwise, they might not have known about it.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

Reparations: What’s the Idea of an African-American Nation Got to Do with It?

This article was originally published on Black Commentator and ZNet.

Events in Ferguson and elsewhere have cut through the white noise (yes, white) of “post-racial” blather to reveal the state of race relations in the US.

Shortly before Ferguson, Ta-Nehisi Coates movingly made the case for reparations to the African American people; that is, being awarded money for being done wrong. He documents the plunder of African Americans from getting no wages for their life times of labor under slavery, to being consciously excluded by the government from Federal Housing Administration mortgages subsidized by all taxpayers, to 21st century racially-targeted predatory lending practices with banks performing the wallet extraction. In every period of history, black subordination has been enforced through violence.   Far from the waters of righteousness rolling down since the abolition of the slave system, an avalanche of assaults on their humanity and their economic and physical security have continued to pile insult and injury on African Americans. The cumulative effect of governmental policies and practices are the cause of enduring African American poverty and marginalization, generation after generation. Therefore, “repair” of the relationship between blacks and whites cannot take place without public acknowledgement of the crimes against African-Americans over five centuries and counting, and without U.S. governmental action to provide compensation for the brutal injustices committed.

But to get reparations is not the same as “to get free.” A larger question remains: “How will African Americans AS A PEOPLE be liberated?”

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

Reflections On Ferguson, One Month On: Heroism, Lessons, What Next?

It is just over a month since Darren Wilson, a Ferguson Missouri pig, gunned down Mike Brown, a Black teenager, in cold blood. It is stunning how much has happenedmaybe even how much has changedsince that day. Here are some reflections on one of the most important urban rebellions in the US in the 21st century.

ad41630127f8dbf3da1b9cef7b6cfbed40c199d6493f624275d76fbf52fc2bb31. The most important thing to keep in mind is that the real heroes here are the ordinary people of Ferguson. If they had responded with a night of angry protest on August 8 and then slipped back into their daily lives, Michael’s would have been just another name added to the long, long list of those lynched by the police.

But they didn’t return to their daily lives. They continued to protest. They stood up to a full-fledged occupation of their community by multiple militarized police forces and the National Guard. The young’uns defied the curfews. Some threw back teargas canisters at the invaders, some did a little trashing and burning. The elders stood between them and the po-po, making it clear that the cops would have to go through them to get at the youth.

And they never stopped. Just a week ago, angry residents disrupted the first meeting of the Ferguson City Council since things blew up, informing them that there will be no going back to business as usual.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities, Police & Prisons

Suspected for Being Black

[This article was originally published on ZNet. We are republishing it here to share the sharp analysis of what lies behind he Ferguson explosion and the chord it has stuck among the Black masses in this country.]

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Each time there is a police or extra-judicial killing of an African American I have two immediate responses.  One is intense anger at the absence of legitimate democratic rule in the USA exemplified by the ability of the State as well as hate groups, to snuff out the life of African Americans at will. The second response is the recognition that this is an experience of terror that envelopes every person who is identifiably Black and, for that matter, other peoples who are of the ‘darker races.’

Two recent killings, one of Eric Garner in New York and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, speak to a very different reality experienced by African Americans compared with whites in the USA.  Without going through the details, there are certain questions that can be asked to anyone in the USA and, depending on the answer, one can ascertain what I would call the ‘racial terror index.’  Here are a few examples:

  • Are you generally afraid of the police?
  • To what extent do you expect there to be a possibility that you will be stopped by the police? Have you ever been trained on how to respond if you have been stopped?
  • If you were in a car that broke down, how likely are you to knock on someone’s door seeking help?
  • If you are man, how likely are you to drive long distances with a female of another ‘race’?
  • If you had difficulty getting into your own home, how likely would you be to contact the police and ask for their help?
  • How many neighborhoods do you need to be careful in transiting for fear that the police will stop you?

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

Hip Hop and Ferguson

J. Cole in Ferguson

J. Cole in Ferguson

Resistance is deeply embedded in Hip Hop’s DNA. Hip Hop culture was born in the midst of the Black Liberation Movement, at a time of popular uprising, when people were doing their utmost to be free. No matter how much the forces of capitalism have done in their attempt to coopt it, at its heart Hip Hop culture is still a culture of resistance.

From the beginning the culture has been characterized by a willingness to document the ills of the community, the source of those ills outside the community, and the need “to fight the powers that be.” Anthems such as PE’s “Fight The Power” and “Black Steel in the Hour of Chaos,” NWA’s “Fuck Tha Police,” and going further back, Grandmaster Flash’s The Message are emblematic of this tradition.

The events in Ferguson, and the reaction of the Hip Hop community have brought this to the fore.

While much of the Hip Hop royalty, if you will, has remained silent regarding the execution of teenager Michael Brown by Darren Wilson of the Ferguson MO, PD, many have expressed their outrage. Some already produced songs in protest.

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Posted in Music

Protests erupt in Missouri after another police murder

Protestors in Ferguson confront police with hands raised to show they are unarmed. Michael Brown was shot and killed while doing the same.

Protestors in Ferguson confront police with hands raised to show they are unarmed. Michael Brown was shot and killed while doing the same.

Evidence is still being collected and facts sifted through as I write but what we are absolutely clear on is that a black, unarmed teen was murdered by a Ferguson cop yesterday. Ferguson is a one of many municipalities that make up St. Louis County in Missouri.

Michael Brown was visiting his grandmother at the Canfield Green apartment complex when the tragedy occurred. Details are sketchy but most eye-witnesses tell the same sad story: When accosted by the Ferguson police, Mike raised his hands to show that he was unarmed. Shots ranged out. He raised his hands again to show “compliance” and police fired again, killing him.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities, Police & Prisons

Take action now for Palestine!

“I look forward to surviving. If I don’t, remember that I wasn’t Hamas or militant, nor was I used as a human shield. I was at home.”

- Mohammed Suliman @imPalestine, July 20, 2014 (9:20am)

“As much of the world approached a new year the people of Palestine were subjected to a cruel bombing campaign in Gaza, killing hundreds of civilians… 

Israel, backed by the United States is blaming Hamas for their bloody actions and claim retaliation for attacks on them…

Palestinian refugees seeking to escape the horrific air strike campaign are lacking in adequate medical care, food, medicines, electricity, water and other necessities and residential homes and other buildings, including a university, have been targeted by Israeli air strikes.

Journalists are actively banned from entering Gaza in an attempt to hide the atrocities.

But numbers can’t really begin to describe the devastation that the Palestinian masses have been subjected to by their U.S. backed Israeli occupiers.”

– FRSO/OSCL, January 8, 2009 (“End the Occupation of Palestine, Build Anti-Imperialism!”)

Comrades and friends:

As we have called on you before—many times, over the entire history of our organization—we call on you again to take action in solidarity with the people of Palestine, who need it every day, but especially now. The ongoing colonization and occupation of Palestine by Israel has trapped the Palestinian people in their own land, in their own homes, where Israel has indiscriminately killed more than 1,000 civilians. Many more will die from this war, and from this occupation. It must end; we must do everything we can to help end it.

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Posted in International Solidarity

Stand up for Palestine!

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Israel’s illegal occupation and apartheid domination of Palestine continues this month with a renewed round of escalated bloodshed.  Those of us who have been looking on with horror from the US, those hailing from the Middle East, and anti-imperialists everywhere, are being joined by new segments of society, especially youth. Meanwhile, the mainstream media outlets are counting the Palestinian dead, putting Israeli explanations in quotes, and delivering coverage that is more even-handed than maybe ever before.  The BDS movement has won significant victories, with the Presbyterian church decision to divest, and the EU issuing a business warning against linking with the settlers.  The tireless organizing to make Palestine free, in the last eight years especially, combined with this terrible moment of violence, may be opening a new window for dissent.

In response to the Israeli bombing operation, comrades in the Tennessee district helped to organize a rapid-response demonstration. The street-corner sign-holding action took place simultaneously in three cities in the state where we have comrades. Thanks to sharp organizing work as well as the alertness and internal organization of some of our local Arab communities, the action drew between 120 and 150 people across the state with only 24-36 hours notice.  This made the event one of the biggest protests of its kind that we could recall. Media coverage was also less sluggish and less unsympathetic than any of us could remember it being to a Palestine solidarity action.

After the action, several participants asked when the next one would be. Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said this bombing campaign “could take time.”  We may need to be open to using this simple tactic again.  The need to build-out awareness and opposition to apartheid Israel continues, and grows in urgency alongside the death toll. Whatever form our organizing takes, FRSO/OSCL will continue to stand with the Palestinian people in their struggle for justice and self-determination.

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Posted in International Solidarity, War & Empire Tagged