[Reformists like Al Sharpton and Van Jones have continually appealed to activists to appeal to the Obama Administration and to Eric Holder’s Department of Justice, to get justice and relief and an end to routine police abuses and unending bloody killings (against black and brown people in large part ) from coast to coast. But this article reveals that such reformist appeals are deceptive and mis-directive. As people learn more about the systemic cause of ongoing police terror, many turn away from electoral solutions, and toward community-based self-defense organizing. — Frontlines ed.]
Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. at a cabinet meeting at the White House in February. Credit Stephen Crowley/The New York Times
Teresa Sheehan, shown in 2013, was shot and wounded by San Francisco police officers at a mental health center in 2008. Ms. Sheehan’s civil rights lawsuit was argued at the Supreme Court in March. Credit Patricia C. Sheehan, via Associated Press
At Supreme Court, Eric Holder’s Justice Dept. Routinely Backs Officers’ Use of Force
It was the kind of violent police confrontation that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. has frequently criticized in Cleveland, Albuquerque, Ferguson, Mo., and beyond. But last month, when Ms. Sheehan’s civil rights lawsuit reached the Supreme Court, the Justice Department backed the police, saying that a lower court should have given more weight to the risks that the officers faced.
Smiley and West, NPR — December 13, 2013
West: From PRI, Public Radio International in Princeton I’m Cornel West.
Smiley: And in Los Angeles I’m Tavis Smiley.
West: Brother Tavis, we are blessed to have one of the great and courageous intellectuals of our time. She is Arundhati Roy. We call her Sister Roy. Of course she’s the winner of the Booker Prize of her renowned novel The God of Small Things. She is the author of a variety of very powerful prose, non-fiction prose. She is in the process now of finishing a new text called Capitalism: A Ghost Story.
What a blessing to have you, Sister Roy.
Roy: Thank you, Dr. West.
West: Let’s start, before we get to your magnificent political activism, your visionary political activism, let’s go all the way back to your upraising, your training as an architect very much like Thomas Harding, becoming a great writer like Thomas Harding.
How do you connect your childhood with your training as an architect to your becoming a great writer?
Roy: I don’t know if I’m a great writer.
West: I can testify to that.
Roy: I’m a little embarrassed by all the good things you’re saying about me.
I grew up in south India as the child of a divorced mother which was unusual in that area. You know it’s a very parochial community called the Syrian Christians. My mother had married outside the community and then got divorced and come back to the village.
Growing up there in a very traditional space where caste was practiced, where there was all kinds of bigotry hidden and not so hidden, then growing up outside of this great Indian family unit.
I suppose it just made you look at society and wonder why it wasn’t offering you the certainties and the assurances that it offered a lot of other people from my kind of background.
I think that’s what initially made you want to explain it to yourself through writing.
The architecture was actually something that I did because I knew that I had to do something where I could earn a living very quickly so as to not be dependent on anybody because I knew that once that happened I wasn’t going to have even half a chance to write or to think or be anything other than live a very constricted, suffocating life. Continue reading