What to Do When Officer Frankenstein Just Can’t Stop Killing Us

[The major media, led by CNN, works to turn attention away from the epoch of police killing blacks, and focus instead on keeping protesters non-violent in their appeals to the system.  This article, from the left-liberal The Nation, considers the effectiveness of non-violence vs the effectiveness of breaking glass, in winning attention and reforms from the system.  The article does not address the more substantial issue, of breaking from the system and building permanent community-based collective self-defense networks, which is a course many are beginning to consider.  —  Frontlines ed.]

On the Baltimore Uprising: Toward a New “Broken Windows” Theory

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Volunteers working to clean debris around a burned out CVS store are reflected off a smashed window the morning after the uprising in west Baltimore, April 28, 2015. (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

Volunteers working to clean debris around a burned out CVS store are reflected off a smashed window the morning after the uprising in west Baltimore, April 28, 2015. (Photo: Gabriella Demczuk / The New York Times)

 

Whenever there is an uprising in an American city, as we’ve seen in Baltimore over the past few days in response to the police-involved death of 25-year-old Freddie Gray, there always emerges a chorus of elected officials, pundits, and other public figures that forcefully condemn “violent protests.” They offer their unconditional support for “legitimate” or “peaceful” protests, but describe those who break windows and set fires as thugs, criminals, or animals. And eventually someone invokes the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Civil Rights movement, reminding us that non-violence brought down Jim Crow segregation and won voting rights.

There’s something that needs to be cleared up: the Civil Rights movement was not successful because the quiet dignity of non-violent protests appealed to the morality of the white public. Non-violent direct action, a staple employed by many organizations during the Civil Rights movement, was and is a much more sophisticated tactic. Organizers found success when non-violent protests were able to provoke white violence, either by ordinary citizens or police, and images of that brutality were transmitted across the country and the rest of the world. The pictures of bloodied bodies standing in non-violent defiance of the law horrified people at home and proved embarrassing for the country in a global context.

So anyone who calls for protestors to remain “peaceful,” like the Civil Rights activists of old, must answer this question: what actions should be taken when America refuses to be ashamed? Images of black death are proliferating beyond our capacity to tell each story, yet there remains no tipping point in sight—no moment when white people in America will say, “Enough.” And no amount of international outrage diminishes the US’s reputation to the point of challenging its status as a hegemonic superpower.

What change will a “peaceful” protest spark if a “peaceful” protest is so easy to ignore?

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Rising anger among workers in the US: The ILWU Steps Up

By Mark Vorpahl

13 September, 2011
Countercurrents.org

Anyone who still believes that U.S. workers and the labor movement are incapable of mounting a struggle against the conditions that the economic crisis is forcing on us has not been paying attention. Evidence to the contrary was vividly provided on the morning of September 8th, when 500 International Longshore and Warehouse Union (ILWU) Local 21 members and their supporters took over the Port of Longview in the state of Washington. Railroad cars were damaged and the grain they carried was dumped in an effort by these workers to defend their jobs by resorting to the only tactic they had left, that is, using work site action to hurt the employers bottom line.

To do so they had to use their strength in numbers to overpower the police and security guards. Though the police attempted to make arrests, the workers pushed back and managed to release their brothers and sisters. The standoff that developed was explosively tense. As the hours rolled on the police began to bring out an arsenal of “non-lethal” guns and tear gas, demonstrating that they were prepared to inflict heavy casualties in order to secure the port and defend the bosses’ property and profits. The workers withdrew, for the time being, after having made their point by inflicting costs on the port bosses dearly. It is a credit to their unity that there were no successful arrests or injuries. Continue reading