Ferguson: Thug Illusion in a Media Revolution

[In the US in recent years, the prominence of the repressive arm of the state has grown to a larger scope than ever before.  The occupation of Black and Brown communities, migrant communities, of increasingly and permanently vulnerable communities of occasional and unstable work, of displaced and homeless communities, youth castaways from schools and jobs, from broken families and internally abusive communities, have all suffered from repeated rounds of criminalization, police violence and mass incarceration.  Such attacks have been endorsed, promoted and justified in daily hysterical media accounts, in political and religious and cultural campaigns for ever-enlarging police forces, for overt and covert racist profiling, for militarization of police, and for multiplying the surveillance and snitch networks.  Opposition to these measures has also grown, and protest movements have also become major targets for political suppression and for beatings, arrests, and killings by cops, all reaching epidemic levels.

Not only does this repression hit at the increasingly re-proletarianized sections of the so-called “middle class” but many from the most oppressed peoples have joined the new and recurrent protest movements, at great personal risk.  Those who have histories of arrests and imprisonment and participation in many illegal and semi-legal pursuits have along with other sectors become politicized and have joined together to change the system.  In a number of cities, gang members have pointedly and significantly stood together, in de facto truces with each other, to defend their communities from attack – a pattern rarely, if ever, reported.  If anything, the twisted reports which occur in the media, are always of the horrifying and frightening “thuggishness” of protest movements.  This is a central ingredient of the media assault on all militant protest movements which now terms such protests as “terrorist.” 

The following article from revolution-news.com, describes these features as they have been seen in Ferguson, Missouri, and in the protest movements that have grown nationwide in recent months.  A largely untold story, we appreciate the courage of revolution-news in bringing it to light.  —  Frontlines ed.]

2/16/2015, Revolution News

“The revolution won’t be televised ya’ll know that.
And if it does get televised they gonna make it look as bad as possible.” – Shoota

The nationwide protests after the police shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson have brought much needed attention to issues of institutional racism, police brutality and the killing of unarmed black men across the US. The #BlackLivesMatter protests have also brought people together and created unity in black communities throughout the country.

Mainstream media (MSM) broadcast images from Ferguson of stores being looted and buildings up in flames. The images shown in MSM succeeded in creating a massive media spectacle. MSM combined with some elements in social media also managed to push false narratives into the public discourse regarding who exactly was in the Ferguson streets and what they were doing there. The narrative that “thugs” were causing destruction and mayhem in Ferguson was amplified in MSM in attempts to smear and discredit the #BlackLivesMatter protests. But who are these so-called “thugs” running amok in Missouri? Continue reading

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

California Prisoner Hunger Strike: Countdown in the Struggle for Humane Conditions

Day 32


August 8, 2013 — Today is the one-month anniversary of a hunger strike initiated by prisoners at Pelican Bay State Prison that quickly spread to other correctional facilities across the state of California. To be precise, it is Day 32 of a month-long period of no solid foods for what are now hundreds of prisoners.

 

These are men risking their lives to insist on humane conditions and certain terms for those prisoners who have otherwise been banished to indefinite sentences of solitary confinement in California’s prison system. Many of these men have been isolated for decades with no windows, no contact visits, no outside sunlight and no real exercise.

 

Recent reports from these prisoners demonstrate that their brave efforts have been made all the more difficult by prison guards who are treating them very harshly.

 

Guards are knocking them into walls, handcuffing them incorrectly to cause suffering and bending their arms to provoke extreme pain. Guards are spitting out racial epithets or deliberately placing an African American prisoner, for example, in a cell with racist graffiti. Guards are also being strategically divisive by tactically treating some prisoners nicely and others in the most demeaning ways, hoping—as the guards openly discussed in front of some prisoners—to create division so the prisoners will begin to fight each other. The guards’ goal: to undermine the hunger strike. According to these same talkative guards, this unprofessional behavior is what they were instructed to do to help bring the hunger strike to an end. Continue reading

The People–Not the System–will solve the Problem of White Supremacist Murders

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Reflection of the Times.   WE CHARGE GENOCIDE!

The People Must ORGANIZE!

Statement by Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, July 13, 2013

Trayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will. Zimmerman was only put on trial because todos con una misma direcciónmillions of our people took to the streets in early 2012 and threatened to disrupt the system. The trial was a means to divert our energies and return things to the status quo.

Obama’s statement that a “a jury has spoken” encouraging what he called, “calm reflection”, is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo. The status quo of white supremacy has never and will never work for Black people.  As W.E.B. DuBois stated, “a system cannot fail those who it was never meant to protect.” White supremacy and the systems that support and reinforce it like capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy must be defeated and dismantled. We must always keep this in mind and be prepared in concrete, organized ways to ensure that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Now is the time for direct action in the form of organized Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.

We must also be clear that the Zimmerman verdict is a reflection of the times. 17-year old Trayvon Martin was the 31st Black person executed by someone employed or protected by the state in 2012. As we demonstrated in Operation Ghetto Storm, 313 Black women, men, and children were executed without trials by the police, security guards or certified “neighborhood watchmen” in 2012. These extrajudicial killings have by no means stopped or slowed down, as witnessed by the execution of Kimani Gray and dozens more Black people in the first six months of 2013. With the Zimmerman verdict justifying and setting new precedent for the disposal of Black life, we should expect the number of extrajudicial killings to increase. It is now more imperative than ever for us to strengthen the organization of our communities and defend ourselves. Continue reading

Oakland: Hundreds of Immigrants, Children, and Supporters to join May 1 Rally, Demand Dignity for their Families

Oakland– Immigrant workers, children, and community members will converge in Fruitvale Plaza on Wednesday for a vibrant May Day march demanding swift action to expand rights for all immigrants and their families.

may_1

The May 1 festivities will feature colorful banners, lively speakers, along with musical and theatrical performances. Following the kick-off rally in Fruitvale BART Plaza, hundreds of immigrant rights supporters will march to Mi Pueblo to stage a picket calling for justice for the grocery store’s workers who were threatened with I-9 audits and deportation after trying to organize a union.   The diverse coalition will then continue to Josie de la Cruz Park for a festive closing rally.

WHAT:     May 1 Rally and March for Immigrant Rights

WHEN AND WHERE:

3:00pm        Opening rally at Fruitvale Plaza (Near BART)

4:00pm        March begins

4:30pm        Rally at Mi Pueblo

5:00pm        Continue march to Josie de la Cruz Park

6:00pm       Closing rally at Josie de la Cruz Park

              

WHO: Oakland Sin Fronteras, a coalition of immigrant workers, students, labor unions, and faith and community groups.

 

NYC, April 16 — Building Internationalist Resistance and Movements

 

***PLEASE SHARE AND FORWARD***

DRUM– Desis Rising Up & Moving,
MXGM – Malcolm X Grassroots Movement,
Campaign to End New Jim Crow,
and VAMOS Unidos
present

Building Internationalist Resistance and Movements: Black, Muslim, South Asian, Inline image 1Latino, & Third World Organizing Globally
Black Star, Crescent Moon book launch, followed by panel discussion

Join us for a powerful evening of discussion linking the struggles for freedom across the world to radical activism and organizing here in the US.

Sohail Daulatzai is Associate Professor, Film and Media Studies and Associate Professor, African American Studies at UC Irvine. His new book is Black Star, Crescent Moon: The Muslim International and Black Freedom Beyond America, which documents the political and cultural history of Black internationalism from the 1950s to the present. The book maps the rich, shared history between Black Muslims, Black radicals, and the Muslim Third World, showing how Black artists and activists imagined themselves as part of a global majority, connected to larger communities of resistance.

The lecture will be followed by a panel discussion amongst NYC organizers working on challenging state violence- from police abuse & mass incarceration, to neoliberalism & exploitation of workers, to wars & occupations.  Speakers and an audience discussion will link internationalist politics to day-to-day organizing in the U.S., the opportunities, challenges, and links to struggles internationally.

–         Fahd Ahmed, DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving (Moderator)

–         Monami Maulik, DRUM – Desis Rising Up & Moving (on Third World Internationalism)

–         Imam Al-Hajj Talib ‘Abdur-Rashid, Mosque of Islamic Brotherhood (on Muslim Internationalism)

–         Rafael Samanez, VAMOS Unidos (On Latino Internationalism and Bolivarianism)

–         Speaker, MXGM – Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (on Black Internationalism)

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013 – 7:30-10:00pm
Riverside Church
490 Riverside Drive

New York, NY 10027

Please RSVP your name to info@drumnyc.org or 718-205-3036. Or on Facebook.

Last UK resident in Guantanamo joins hunger strike

Shaker-300x288A British resident who has been held by the US without charge or trial for over eleven years has joined the hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay.

Shaker Aamer (46) from South London, whose wife and four children are all British citizens, told his lawyer on 29 March that he had lost over 30 pounds since joining the strike.

Lawyers for the Guantanamo inmates estimate around ¾ of the 166 men still held there have joined the hunger strike, although the US military claims the number is lower.

In a legal declaration filed by his lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, Mr Aamer also details how he has been subjected to sleep deprivation and violent procedures known as “Forcible Cell Extractions” while attempting to pray, in response to his hunger strike. These procedures are “excruciatingly painful,” particularly because of his long-term back injuries originally caused by mistreatment by the US in Bagram Air Force Base, Afghanistan.

Mr Aamer is protesting his ongoing detention, despite having long been cleared for release by the US authorities and never having been charged or tried with any crime during his eleven year ordeal.  Mr Aamer continues to be held despite British Foreign Secretary William Hague’s public calls for his release. Continue reading