Filed under: Canada, Environment, Indigenous, Labor, Mexico, Police, Repression, Roundup, US, White Supremacy
Originally posted to It’s Going Down
In the United States, ongoing clashes with the police in Ferguson continued to dominate the news. Since Mike Brown’s murder in Ferguson in August of 2014, police have killed over 1,100 people. Tyler Reinhard at Mask Magazine remarked on the anniversary:
Ferguson stands as the point in time after which all discussion about racialized extrajudicial police murder must also include a certain sympathy for the insurrection that will inevitably erupt.
During the protests that spread from Ferguson in 2014, only the most enraged participants engaged in vandalism, arson, and looting; yet protesters in Baltimore escalated to vandalism, arson, and looting as soon as their demonstrations escaped police control. All this illustrates the value of pushing the envelope: demonstrating new tactics, however unpopular they may be at the time, so that they enter the public imagination for future use.
Across the US and the world, numerous solidarity marches, protests, and disruptive demonstrations took place in remembrance for Mike Brown and also in response to the city of Ferguson declaring a State of Emergency.
In Denver, marchers took the streets in commemoration of Black August and in solidarity with Ferguson on August 9th.
— Denver ABC (@DenverABC) August 9, 2015
— Alejandro GM (@agomezmeade) August 10, 2015
— whatever-being (@chaos_stuff) August 10, 2015
On August 14th, Denver police were slapped with a lawsuit after they tried to take a phone from someone recording them punching a man in the face, (their response: he had drugs in there). DPD has also been in hot water recently for targeting members of anti-police organizations with harassment. According to a report:
The case stems from an incident one year ago Friday when Levi Frasier stopped to record an arrest in progress near West Fifth Avenue and Federal Boulevard. Frasier witnessed and recorded Denver police officer Charles Jones pull David Flores from his car and punch him several times in the head. Police said they were trying to recover drugs from Flores’ mouth.
Frasier’s camera was also rolling when Flores’ visibly pregnant girlfriend tried to help and officers tripped her and she fell to the ground. After the arrest, officers turned their attention to Frasier and the tablet he used to record the arrest.
In Memphis, people also gathered where Darrius Stewart was shot and killed on July 17th.
In St. Petersburg, about 50 people marched on the police department building.
In Milwaukee, people took the streets in remembrance of Dontre Hamilton, killed by local police in 2014.
In Chicago, a march ended in two arrests.
— natalie solidarity (@constantnatalie) August 13, 2015
In Arlington, Texas, people took to the streets after Christian Taylor, an unarmed African-American 19 year-old college student was shot and killed by Brad Miller, a white police officer. Miller was fired shortly after, but protests continued despite.
— Lauren Zakalik (@wfaalauren) August 12, 2015
In Baltimore, people took to the streets. However, the protest was attended by police representatives who also spoke at the rally, hoping to soothe tensions in the wake of riots last year.
In Oakland, rioting, lighting of small fires, and the blocking of a freeway took place after police killed a man on August 13th, the fourth African-American killed due to a police encounter since June. Police still have yet to release the dash and body cam footage and more protests are planned. Oakland police claim the man was armed, witnesses claim otherwise.
— Insurrection News (@InsurrectNews) August 13, 2015
In other police news, sales of LRAD military weapons to law enforcement are going well. According to one article:
During a company conference call with financial analysts last week, Tom Brown, the chief executive of LRAD, a military contractor, informed investors that sales were rolling in, not just from Chinese government agencies and the U.S. Navy, but also from American law enforcement.
LRAD manufactures an acoustic cannon that can be used either as a mounted loudspeaker or as a weapon to fire deafening noises at crowds of people. Over the last year, following a wave of protests over officer-involved killings of black Americans, LRAD has seen an uptick in inquiries from police departments around the country.
Police use of facial recognition technology is also following a similar trajectory.
— Copwatch (@Copwatch) August 14, 2015
— Arizona Daily Star (@TucsonStar) August 9, 2015
In Tucson, bus drivers walked out on strike over wages, conditions, and issues of mold on buses. Apparently one sad sack of shit rider wasn’t feeling it.
— Craig Reck (@CraigReckNews) August 14, 2015
— ѕyndιcalιѕт (@syndicalisms) August 14, 2015
Parents and relatives of the 43 missing Normalistas staged a blockade near a naval base. The mobilization began around 10:30 am, and a march began that was called by the dissident teachers who oppose educational reform and other amendments to the economic and employment system that will affect the working-class. Opponents arrived to the site of the dam La Parota .Meanwhile, hundreds of teachers from different trade unions got ready to march against neoliberal policies promoted by the federal government.
— ѕyndιcalιѕт (@syndicalisms) August 6, 2015
A key activist that has been central to the search for the 43 missing students that was assassinated received death threats prior to his murder. According to one post:
The activist who had played a central role in the search for the 43 missing students in Mexico and was killed, had received multiple threats , as confirmed by the organization which was active in. Miguel Angel Jimenez was shot dead inside his car on Saturday night in the town of Xaltianguis, near Acapulco, on the Pacific coast state of Guerrero…Miguel was one of the first people to organize in the city of Iguala. Guerrero, where 43 students disappeared in September 2014.
— Manel Márquez (@manelmarquez) August 10, 2015
In Canada, activists allege illegal spying on anti-pipeline organizers. According to one story:
“How do they know who we were spying on, whose emails they were reading, whose phone calls they were listening to, whose meetings they were putting plants in to report back. And we hope to get to the bottom of it.”
The BCCLA complaint alleges that CSIS (Canadian Security Intelligence Service) “broke the law by gathering information on the peaceful and democratic activities of Canadians, which it is banned by law from doing.”
The BCCLA also alleges that along with the RCMP, CSIS “illegally monitored and spied on the peaceful and democratic activities of community groups and First Nations opposed to the Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline project. These groups include ForestEthics Advocacy, Dogwood Initiative,, the Idle No More movement, and others.”
In Saskatoon, Canada, demonstrators are walking from Winnipeg to Prince Rupert, B.C. “as part of an effort to raise awareness of murdered and missing aboriginal women.”
A Huffington Post article discusses ongoing land theft of Native people among other ongoing continuing affects of genocide:
The U.S. was built on land taken from Indian nations, and indigenous peoples across the country are still living with the reality of dispossession. Right now, members of the San Carlos Apache Nation in Arizona are fighting the sale of their sacred Oak Flat site to foreign mining conglomerates.
The Kanaka Maoli in Hawaii are fighting to protect their sacred mountain Mauna Kea from the construction of a 30-meter, $1.4 billion telescope. Many Hawaiians are now questioning the legality of the state’s annexation, which took place after a group of business interests, most of them American, overthrew of the Kingdom of Hawaii in 1893.
And in the heartland, the Great Sioux Nation has refused a $1.3 billion settlement as payment for the government’s illegal seizure of their sacred Black Hills in South Dakota in 1877. The faces of George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt are etched into the Black Hills at Mount Rushmore.
— EnviroNews (@EnviroNews) August 14, 2015
“Our soul is hurting,” Russell Begaye told ABC News today. “I meet people daily that weep when they see me, asking me, ‘How do I know the water will be safe?’ The Animas River and the San Juan rivers are our lifelines. Water is sacred to us. The spirit of our people is being impacted.”
Meanwhile, back in the United States, Black Lives Matter activists staged disruptions at key rallies of Bernie Sanders and Jeb Bush. BLM activists attempted to disrupt a Clinton rally but were stopped by security and met instead with Clinton behind closed doors.
More and more, people are speaking up about the pacifying of the “official” Black Lives Matter movement, which grew out of the rebellions in Ferguson, Oakland, and Baltimore. An article on CounterPunch states:
Rebellions aren’t simply repressed. They’re pacified. While repression—the iron hand—is useful to terrorize a population into submission, the issues animating a rebellion must be partially redressed—the velvet glove—to forestall a further reaching revolutionary upsurge. The most effective way to defeat rebellion is to blunt its grievances and overtake its leaders. This is precisely what is happening with the Black Lives Matter movement.
For the past year, much attention has focused on the most dramatic responses to the Black Lives Matter movement: the militarized police and smoke grenades, states of emergency and curfews, government surveillance and fears of infiltration. While these forms of repression should not be discounted, they should be properly understood. Heavy-handed responses polarize the struggle. The middle ground disappears and both sides radicalize. For those seeking to maintain the status quo, this is not the best outcome.
In this video, editors of the Black Agenda Report talk about the refusal of Black Lives Matter leadership to challenge the power of the Democrats:
Glen Ford goes on to write on the Black Agenda Report:
The clearly visible fact that many of the cops that occupied Ferguson during this week’s anniversary of Michael Brown’s murder were physically afraid – and that the “street” brothers and sisters were demonstrably not – is all the proof we need that Black youth in what we used to call the “ghetto” remain eager to confront their tormentors.
What the Obama administration has spent the year trying to do, is co-opt the same activists they are building dossiers on, in preparation for possible future detention. There are clear limits, however, to the enticements that can be offered by an administration that, like all Democratic and Republican governments in the United States for the past 45 years, is totally committed to maintenance of the Mass Black Incarceration regime – albeit with some tinkering at the margins.
The greatest asset of the movement cooptation project is the Democratic Party, itself, an institution that thoroughly dominates Black politics at every level of community life. Not only are Black elected officials overwhelmingly Democrats, but virtually all of the established Black civic organizations – the NAACP, the National Urban League, most politically active Black churches, fraternities and sororities – act as annexes of the Democratic Party. Two generations after the disbanding of the Black grassroots movement and the independent politics that grew out of that movement, the Democratic Party permeates political discourse in Black America. And the Democratic Party is where progressive movements go to die.
Ford goes on to critique the disruptions of the debates:
#BlackLivesMatter activists may convince themselves that they are confronting the ruling class electoral duopoly by disrupting presidential candidates’ speeches, but the tactic leads straight to cooptation. What is the purpose? If #BLM’s goal is to push the candidates to adopt better positions on criminal justice reform, what happens afterwards? The logic of the tactic leads to either a direct or indirect, implicit endorsement of the more responsive candidate(s). Otherwise, why should #BLM – or the candidates – go through the exercise?
Until next time!