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

One Picture Worth 1000 Words

from Deep Dish TV, 08/12/2014

Police confront a protester in St Louis

Police confront protesters in Ferguson, St Louis, after the shooting by police of an unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown.

If the word “pigs” seems too offensive, or too 60s, or too derisive of the porcine species, this image should shatter the restrained, oh so fine and cautious language that now surrounds the militarized robo-cops who are charged to contain and repress communities of people of color throughout the United States. If this image does not make your blood boil, you are most likely deeply infected with racism.

In Ferguson Missouri, a community near St.Louis, a white cop gunned down Michael Brown, an unarmed Black high school graduate about to go to college. “Gunned down” is accurate. It means he pumped numerous bullets in to the boy’s body while his arms were raised over his head. The Police Chief at this writing won’t release the name of the murdering cop, for his “security.” (The town’s police force is 95% white, the town is 70% Black.)

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