Filed under: Editorials, Police, Repression, Southwest, White Supremacy
From Lucha No Feik
On October 28, 1967 Huey Newton allegedly killed police officer John Frey. Up until that moment the Black Panther Party, barely a year old and only around one hundred members deep, had only engaged in police patrols, established community defense initiatives, planned rallies for Denzil Dowell who was shot dead by police in Richmond,CA, and enacted the spectacularized armed protest at the California State Assembly. October 28, 1967 marked a significant turning point in the tenor of the BPP and the broader Black Power movement. This singular action became both a moment of division and clarification that went on to set the tone for a future wave of struggles.
As we must always be cautious in being too overzealous about the contemporary moment given the lack of hindsight, we nonetheless feel obligated to ask a question that contains within it an expression of our latent desire: will we look back on July 7, 2016 as a moment of equally clarifying division? A moment of clarity in rupture?
We’ve witnessed a series of successive escalations since that terrible day in August 2014 when Michael Brown was murdered in Ferguson. Local vigils turned into static protests, static protests turned into roving demonstrations, roving demonstrations turned into national marches, national marches turned into riots, and riots turned into freeway and train blockades. A special shout out to the comrades in Oakland last night who showed us yet again the significance (both materially and polemically) of blocking the networked physical infrastructure of this world we wish to destroy. With each successive iteration of struggle since the summer of 2014, tactics have been evolving and escalating — to deny this material fact does a disservice to the progression of this current wave of struggle. Now we have Dallas.
It goes without saying that this incident, like Huey Newton’s action in 1967, will create a chasm within the larger context of #BLM struggles. The more liberal-minded elements of the “official” organs of #BLM have already been quick to condemn what happened in Dallas — distancing themselves from those actions and reiterating that peaceful protests and “organizing” within institutional frameworks and perspectives are the only serious way to initiate significant change. These are the same reactionaries who advocate for nebulous concepts like “community policing” and “police accountability” instead of the abolishment of the police and prison industrial complexes in their absolute entirety. These are the same apologists who ignore the structural relationship between the state-sanctioned murder of black and brown bodies and the accumulation of capital. These are the liberals who agree with Jesse Jackson when he claims that “Attacking the officers was a cowardly and insane act of terrorism and in no way represents anything about our long struggle for peace and justice for all.” These are the idiots who don’t evaluate the nuanced complexity of Micah Johnson’s history as an Army Reserve vet or Christopher Dorner’s own military and law enforcement past and contextualize it within America’s history of structural antiblackness — coming home to roost. (Let us also note that the Dallas Police have now become the first American police department to use a remote-controlled robot bomb to kill a suspect and that the LAPD burned Christopher Dorner alive in the cabin he was barricaded in. [image below]) These are the enemies who clamor for policing that attempts to reflect the identitarian descriptors of those most heavily policed, which, in the words of a comrade of ours, is undoubtedly “Effective policing, deadly as fuck.”
These are the individuals, groups, and collectives now standing on the other side of the chasm opened up by Dallas. This is the clarity of rupture. Such clarity is precious as it allows us to see the fault lines between us. Such clarity allows us to see the exasperated futility of yet again posing for pictures chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot!” on the steps of L.A. City Hall — an empty space of weak institutional power. Such clarity allows us to see solidarity in the beautiful defiance of the march through Leimert Park yesterday. Such clarity allows us to see the ridiculously co-opted nature (LA’s art institutions back at it again) of hosting an official #BLM event at the MOCA Geffen Contemporary instead of urging those in attendance to join the demonstrations on the streets of DTLA and Leimert Park. Such clarity allows us to see the fallout that occurs when the rhetorical threat of “No Justice, No Peace” actually holds up its end of the bargain. Such clarity doesn’t give a shit about Snoop or The Game and their terribly gendered and sexist Operation H.U.N.T. Such clarity can smell the bullshit when the very same local celebrity rapper rhymes, “That’s why I’m headed to Ferguson with this German luger, Cause I’m probably more like Nelson Mandela than Martin Luther, More like Ice T than Ice Cube, I’m a cop killer, Murder all the cops, then the cops will probably stop killin’” in a song, but then says to the LA Times in his self-appointed capacity to speak for all of us: “The cops that died in Dallas weren’t the cops that shot and killed Philando or Alton. As much as Philando and Alton didn’t deserve that, those cops in Dallas didn’t deserve that. And the only thing I could think of was to initiate peace on both sides, so that’s why I’m here.” This is a frustratingly common sentiment, as another comrade rightly points out, “This morning you’re distancing yourself from what happened in Dallas, but yesterday you were quoting John Brown to figure out the role of white people.”
2,614 people have been killed by police since August 9, 2014, the day of Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri. TWO-THOUSAND SIX-HUNDRED AND FOURTEEN. Here in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area, we’re unfortunately on the front lines of these statistics — so again we ask: what can we take away from the clarity of this rupture? What can we learn about ourselves and our enemies as we stand on this side of the chasm? If you now find yourself on the other side of the rupture…good riddance.
Por el comunismo y la anarquía,
Los Angeles, CA
Friday July 8th, 2016
Map of those killed by police since August 2014: