When Are Violent Protests Justified?

 [The New York Times is not starting this discussion, but noting that many are raising the question of mass violence (and a challenge to the “non-violent” mantra) in the wake of repeated state violence against oppressed people and popular protests.  This is a discussion long held, but growing and intensifying, as growing numbers of revolutionary activists discard polite appeals to an oppresive system, and take more active and determined steps.     —  Frontlines ed.]
By    | opinion | New York Times

Credit: Jim Young | Reuters

Demonstrators in New York and around the country, angered by a Staten Island grand jury’s decision not to indict the police officer Daniel Pantaleo in the death of Eric Garner, have seized on Mr. Garner’s last words as a rallying chant: “I can’t breathe.”

Some observers noted a chance congruence between those words and a quotation from the influential Martinique-born philosopher of anti-colonialism Frantz Fanon: “We revolt simply because, for many reasons, we can no longer breathe.”

The demonstrations last week coincided with the New York release of “Concerning Violence,” a film by the Swedish documentarian Goran Hugo Olsson that serves as a sort of introduction to Fanon’s ideas. To Mr. Olsson, who was in New York promoting the film last week and who took the opportunity to participate in several marches, the similarity between the protesters’ chant and Fanon’s text was not a coincidence, he told Op-Talk.

Continue reading

70 Years: Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

[The jails and prisons are still filled with countless victims of the same kind of phony justice, if one considers the millions who are driven by lack of resources into unjust “plea-bargained” sentences.  —  Frontlines ed.]

Judge vacates 1944 execution of black S. Carolina teen

George Stinney Jr. was convicted of killing two white girls in one-day trial with a white jury and a white judge

A South Carolina judge on Wednesday vacated the conviction of a black teenager executed in 1944 for the murder of two white girls, saying he had not received a fair trial.

George Stinney Jr. was, at age 14, the youngest person to be executed in the United States in the past century. He was convicted of killing Betty June Binnicker, 11, and Mary Emma Thames, 7, in Alcolu, a segregated mill town, and was electrocuted three months after their deaths.

Stinney’s trial lasted one day. Courtroom witnesses said he was taken to court in a cage and could hardly walk under the weight of the shackles.

Stinney’s case has long been whispered in civil rights circles in South Carolina as an example of how a black person could be railroaded by a justice system during the Jim Crow era where the investigators, prosecutors and juries were all white.

Continue reading

1999: On the Killing of Amadou Diallo by New York Police

see the YouTube video at http://youtu.be/nghqjBwZTiE

American Skin 41 Shots — live in Tampa, FL 3/23/12

American Skin (41 Shots)” is a song written by Bruce Springsteen, inspired by the police shooting death of Amadou Diallo. It was written and premiered during the band’s 1999–2000 reunion tour. Springsteen first performed it in concert in Atlanta on June 4, 2000, the final concert before the tour’s final ten-show run at New York City‘s Madison Square Garden, where it was also featured. The performance led to some controversy in New York City, where the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association called for a boycott of Springsteen’s shows.It was played at several concerts in April 2012 on the Wrecking Ball Tour in response to the shooting of Trayvon Martin.. Springsteen performed the song on July 16, 2013, a few days following George Zimmerman‘s controversial not guilty verdict. It was again dedicated to Martin at the Limerick, Ireland, concert with Springsteen saying before the song “I want to send this one out as a letter back home. For justice for Trayvon Martin”.

Shooting of Amadou Diallo

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Shooting of Amadou Diallo occurred on February 4, 1999, when Amadou Diallo, a 23-year-old immigrant from Guinea, was shot and killed by four New York City Police Department plain-clothed officers: Sean Carroll, Richard Murphy, Edward McMellon and Kenneth Boss, who fired a combined total of 41 shots, 19 of which struck Diallo, outside his apartment at 1157 Wheeler Avenue in the Soundview section of The Bronx. The four were part of the now-defunct Street Crimes Unit. All four officers were charged with second-degree murder and acquitted at trial in Albany, New York.

Continue reading

Death by Police in America

Sky Valley Chronicle, December 7, 2014

(MONROE, WA.) — Five days ago Op-Ed writer Eugene Robinson wrote a piece for the Washington Post called, “What America’s police departments don’t want you to know.”

In that piece he provided information that many Americans may never have been exposed to — data relating to police shootings of civilians across the country.

Robinson came to the conclusion the death of unarmed black teen Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri at the hands of a white police officer was not an isolated incident.

It was part of what Robinson called, “A tragic and unacceptable pattern: Police officers in the United States shoot and kill civilians in shockingly high numbers.”

How many civilians are shot to death every year by police? Nobody really knows, says Robinson because “police departments don’t want us to know.” Continue reading

The Black Panthers Had the Right Idea

Who will Protect and Defend Black Life?
by THANDISIZWE CHIMURENGA, Counterpunch
It’s kind of fitting that police officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, murderers of Mike Brown in Missouri and Eric Garner in New York, were cleared of criminal wrong-doing in the last several weeks. The eruption of protest, activism and organizing in response to the (bad) decisions of legal bodies to not hold these officers accountable for their crimes has occurred at a time of special significance for the legacy of the Black Panther Party (BPP).

October 15th saw the 48th anniversary of the birth of the BPP in Oakland, CA.  Originally named the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, the BPP had a self-defense strategy against the brutal terror of the police. The strategy unashamedly and unapologetically maintained that Black people have human rights that are to be respected, including the right of armed self-defense, and BPP members had a right to intervene with those arms if necessary when law enforcement – those touted as the ones whose job was allegedly to protect and serve – violated those rights. In Los Angeles, the month of October also saw the deaths of Ronald and Roland Freeman, brothers who were co-founders and leading members of the Southern California Chapter of the Black Panther Party.  Ronald and Roland, who were born one year apart and died one week apart, were also survivors of the Dec. 8, 1969 shootout with the Los Angeles Police Department’s SWAT team on 41st Street and Central Avenue. The pre-dawn attack, the SWAT team’s first major engagement, lasted 5 hours and saw 13 members of the BPP stand trial for attempted murder of police officers. All 13 of the Panthers would eventually be acquitted of all charges in December, 1971 due to the illegal actions of the LAPD.

Continue reading

Why blacks are urging a Black Friday boycott

By Soledad O’Brien and Rose Arce, CNN,  Wed November 26, 2014

(CNN) — Once again, the streets are electric with anger after a white police officer evades charges for fatally shooting a black man. Sirens screech and wood batons push back marchers protesting from Missouri to New York to Los Angeles. This time the cadence of “No Justice, No Peace” has been replaced with “Hand’s Up. Don’t Shoot.”

Protesters gather on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Tuesday, November 25. A grand jury's decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has prompted demonstrations across the country.

Protesters gather on the steps of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington on Tuesday, November 25. A grand jury’s decision not to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the August shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, has prompted demonstrations across the country.

But there was another sign raised above the crowd in a recent protest in New York: “Doing Nothing with Saying Nothing. Changes Nothing.” The mathematics of this one are clear. Something’s gotta give.

A loose network led by African Americans in the film and arts world has emerged from the fog of tear gas to call for a quiet riot in response: a boycott of Black Friday shopping.

Ryan Coogler, who directed the 2013 film about police brutality called “Fruitvale Station,” told us he was confounded by the eruptions of “human rights violations committed by public servants.” Continue reading

Black Is Back Coalition: Preparing The Day After the Ferguson Grand Jury Decision

Lawrence Hamm, Chairman of the People’s Organization for Progress,

speaks to the need to prepare, nationwide, for a powerful people’s
response to the Ferguson Grand Jury announcing their pending “decision”
on the police killing of Michael Brown