What Does Black Lives Matter Want?

On August 1 the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL), a coalition of over sixty organizations, rolled out “A Vision for Black Lives: Policy Demands for Black Power, Freedom & Justice,” an ambitious document described by the press as the first signs of what young black activists “really want.” [see https://policy.m4bl.org/ for the complete “Vision for Black Lives” document]  It lays out six demands aimed at ending all forms of violence and injustice endured by black people; redirecting resources from prisons and the military to education, health, and safety; creating a just, democratically controlled economy; and securing black political power within a genuinely inclusive democracy. Backing the demands are forty separate proposals and thirty-four policy briefs, replete with data, context, and legislative recommendations.

But the document quickly came under attack for its statement on Palestine, which calls Israel an apartheid state and characterizes the ongoing war in Gaza and the West Bank as genocide. Dozens of publications and media outlets devoted extensive coverage to the controversy around this single aspect of the platform, including The Guardian, the Washington Post, The Times of Israel, Haaretz, and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Of course, M4BL is not the first to argue that Israeli policies meet the UN definitions of apartheid. (The 1965 International Convention for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the 1975 International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid define it as “inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them.”) Nor is M4BL the first group to use the term “genocide” to describe the plight of Palestinians under occupation and settlement. The renowned Israeli historian Ilan Pappe, for example, wrote of the war on Gaza in 2014 as “incremental genocide.” That Israel’s actions in Gaza correspond with the UN definition of genocide to “destroy, in whole or in part, a national, ethnical, racial or religious group” by causing “serious bodily or mental harm” to group members is a legitimate argument to make.

Continue reading

On the Movement for Black Lives after the Dallas shootings

Kali Akuno of Cooperation Jackson reflects on the movement for the Movement for BlackLives after the Dallas shootings. Recorded at the Common Bound conference in Buffalo for The Laura Flanders Show and New Economy Coalition

Serena Williams Speaks Out On Police Violence, Dallas Shooting


Instagram photo by Shana Renee • Jul 9, 2016

“I feel anyone in my color in particular is of concern. I do have nephews that I’m thinking, ‘do I have to call them and tell them, don’t go outside.’”

07/09/2016

By Martyn Herman

LONDON (Reuters) – Wimbledon champion Serena Williams said on Saturday she was concerned about the safety of her nephews in the United States after two black men were shot dead by police and five law enforcement officers were killed in an assault in Dallas.

The 34-year-old, whose elder half-sister Yetunde Price died in a drive-by shooting in Los Angeles in 2003, was asked about the violence back home shortly after winning her seventh Wimbledon singles crown and 22nd grand slam singles title.

The shooting of two men in Louisiana and Minnesota this week led to a protest march in Dallas where a lone gunman opened fire killing five police and injuring seven.

“I feel anyone in my color in particular is of concern. I do have nephews that I’m thinking, ‘do I have to call them and tell them, don’t go outside. If you get in your car, it might be the last time I see you?’” Williams told reporters.

Continue reading

Citing racial tensions, Bahamas issues travel advisory for U.S.

Thousands Take To US Streets In Protest

Thousands of people took to the streets in U.S. cities on Friday to protest the fatal police shootings of two black men earlier this week. USA TODAY

The government of the Bahamas is urging its citizens to be careful when traveling to U.S cities where there have been incidents of police shooting blacks.

In a strongly worded advisory issued Friday, the Caribbean nation wants residents, nearly 91% of whom are black, to be aware of potentially volatile situations if they visit the U.S. during the former British colony’s three-day holiday weekend. The Bahamas are celebrating their Independence Day.

“In particular young males are asked to exercise extreme caution in affected cities in their interactions with the police,” according to the advisory issued Friday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, “Do not be confrontational and cooperate.”

Continue reading

Mississippi Goddam!

————————————————————————-

For White Supremacists, is Mississippi the Diehard Confederacy or Anchor of the Ongoing Confederacy?

Mississippi declares April Confederate Heritage Month

A proclamation from Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant declaring April as “Confederate Heritage Month,” is one that has appeared online in previous years, and similar to ones issued by previous administrations, a spokesman said.

Bryant’s proclamation appears on the website for the Mississippi division of the Sons of the Confederacy, but not on the governor’s official proclamation page, as reported by the Jackson Free Press Wednesday. The governor’s site allows users the ability to request proclamations.

Continue reading

Until We Win: Black Labor and Liberation in the Disposable Era

Since the rebellion in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, Black people throughout the United States have been grappling with a number of critical questions such as why are Black people being hunted and killed every 28 hours or more by various operatives of the law? Why don’t Black people seem to matter to this society? And what can and must we do to end these attacks and liberate ourselves? There are concrete answers to these questions. Answers that are firmly grounded in the capitalist dynamics that structure the brutal European settler-colonial project we live in and how Afrikan people have historically been positioned within it.

The Value of Black Life

There was a time in the United States Empire, when Afrikan people, aka, Black people, were deemed to be extremely valuable to the “American project”, when our lives as it is said, “mattered”. This “time” was the era of chattel slavery, when the labor provided by Afrikan people was indispensable to the settler-colonial enterprise, accounting for nearly half of the commodified value produced within its holdings and exchanged in “domestic” and international markets. Our ancestors were held and regarded as prize horses or bulls, something to be treated with a degree of “care” (i.e. enough to ensure that they were able to work and reproduce their labor, and produce value for their enslavers) because of their centrality to the processes of material production.

What mattered was Black labor power and how it could be harnessed and controlled, not Afrikan humanity. Afrikan humanity did not matter – it had to be denied in order create and sustain the social rationale and systemic dynamics that allowed for the commodification of human beings. These “dynamics” included armed militias and slave patrols, iron-clad non-exception social clauses like the “one-drop” rule, the slave codes, vagrancy laws, and a complex mix of laws and social customs all aimed at oppressing, controlling and scientifically exploiting Black life and labor to the maximum degree. This systemic need served the variants of white supremacy, colonial subjugation, and imperialism that capitalism built to govern social relations in the United States. All of the fundamental systems created to control Afrikan life and labor between the 17th and 19th centuries are still in operation today, despite a few surface moderations, and serve the same basic functions. Continue reading

Blood On Their Hands — The Racist History of Modern Police Unions

[During the Occupy Movement against the “1 %”, many activists were ambivalent about or opposed to including such issues as “stopping police killings” and “ending mass incarceration”, because some organizers insisted on including the police (“unionized workers”) in the over-broad concept of the “99 %”  —  thereby siding with police repression and state-sponsored violence against Black and Brown people.  This article breaks down some of the history of these police unions and how they ensure I’m,unity and prevent accountability for police who murder.  —  Frontlines ed.]
by Flint Taylor, In These Times, January 14, 2015

Police unions have always played a powerful role in defending cops—no matter how brutal and racist their actions. (Ben Musseig / Flickr)

Outraged by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s statements concerning the killing of Eric Garner, Patrick Lynch, the longtime leader of the New York City Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association (PBA), the NYPD’s officers union, recently made the outrageous assertion that the Mayor had “blood on his hands” for the murder of the two NYPD officers.

In Milwaukee this past fall, the Police Association called for, and obtained, a vote of no confidence in MPD Chief Ed Flynn after he fired the officer who shot and killed Dontre Hamilton, an unarmed African American; subsequently, the union’s leader, Mike Crivello, praised the District Attorney when he announced that he would not bring charges against the officer.

In Chicago, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), a longtime supporter of racist police torturer Jon Burge, is now seeking to circumvent court orders that preserve and make public the police misconduct files of repeater cops such as Burge, by seeking to enforce a police contract provision that calls for the destruction of the files after seven years.  And in a show of solidarity with the killer of Michael Brown, Chicago’s FOP is soliciting contributions to the Darren Wilson defense fund on its website.

Such reactionary actions by police unions are not new, but are a fundamental component of their history, particularly since they came to prominence in the wake of the civil rights movement. These organizations have played a powerful role in defending the police, no matter how outrageous and racist their actions, and in resisting all manner of police reforms. Continue reading