By Zak Brown
New York City
Letting Darren Wilson go free was a declaration of war.
War against every person of color in the United States. War against every victim of police violence. War against all poor and working people whose communities have become ghettos of state repression and murder without consequence.
Now Officer Wilson can be found parading his ‘moral superiority’ on national television, claiming if he could he would have killed unarmed 18 year old black teen Michael Brown “again”. Smugly standing before oppressed people of the world, cheeking with self-righteousness, Wilson enjoys hundreds of thousands of dollars donated to him by his racist supporters. Thousands of police have been rallied to defend his “innocence” and repress the people in revolt. Thousands more National Guard have been deployed to assist.
Is this really a new theme in the United States? Perhaps it would be best to consider this atrocity an extension rather than a birth of something new.
Because in the history of North America, rather, in the history of the world, White Power is nothing “new”.
What nominal progressives and white liberals don’t understand is that this travesty is not the result of a “militarization of police”. The police have always been militarized. They have always been the enforcers of white supremacist capitalism. This is not the result of a “failed justice system”.
The system is working flawlessly.
What we are witnessing is a widespread disillusionment with the functions of White Power; the fundamental ‘clearing’ of mysticism that paints those who imprison and murder people as being “defenders” and “public servants”. Police serve the powers at hand. Our present system exists to reproduce the oppression so commonly experienced. Justice in the United States is not blind; it’s a conscious and willing servant of unbridled exploitation.
The people of Ferguson know this, and they want the world to know this too.
White Power is Fighting Back
As would be expected, the media has established a fortress of consent to the violent state repression which befalls anyone who resists.
Protesters are commonly referred to as “thugs”. Their demonstrations are reduced to “looting”. Their cause is just an “excuse to be violent”. All of this is shaded with a heavy tone of racism and bourgeois indifference to the plight of working people. What the media is attempting to do is provide a convenient narrative to the suburbs of the world. Crazy black people gone wild! Violent rioters destroying everything in sight! There is no sense to it! This is a common theme in the history of power. If your viewer has the perception that they themselves are “rational”, then the best option is to paint your opposition as being “irrational”; unthinking, impulsive, and nearly inhuman beings who are impossible to approach with reason.
So far this strategy is working brilliantly – at least to some extent.
Those already inclined to defend white supremacist capitalism have readily joined the ranks of power in defending Darren Wilson. Middle class whites, privileged office workers, metropolitan liberals, the vast swaths of conservative and prejudiced Americans who populate the town and country, all of whom have publicly taken to defending Darren Wilson and “our country”.
They decry the burning of the American flag; they fume over the destruction of businesses and property; they huddle around the television, feasting over the ideological frenzy. To these people, the fetishism of consumer society has reached its apex. Flags and material objects – things, absolute shit – are worth more than human lives.
However, the strategy of polarizing the conflict has also given many allies to the struggle against White Power.
Progressive whites are marching alongside oppressed people of color all over the country. Protests have erupted in major cities in 37 states, many of which meeting significant state repression of their own. Demonstrators in Palestine, Hong Kong, and elsewhere stand in solidarity with the oppressed people of Ferguson, Missouri.
Lines are being drawn; enemies and allies are being created. This is class war.
Rioting is a Virtue
Those nominal progressives who stand against rioting are very mistaken. Rioting isn’t a senseless expression of violence. Certainly not in the case of Ferguson. Rioting – true rioting which is more than a drunken stupor following a sporting event – represents a social breakdown of the established law, understandings, and “common knowledge”. It’s a rejection of everything that is and everything that the system wants people to believe. It’s an expression of care, of respect and solidarity among oppressed people; fundamentally, an expression of love which appears “irrational” to those who love only money and power.
Can we really compare the violence of the oppressor with the resistance of the oppressed?
Those who make moral qualms over the destruction of property are the reason property must be destroyed. To show that, when all is said and done, the real power which can transform the world rests solely with the people. When the people exercise their own power and their own interests, the world of money and power trembles.
Should we be wary of senseless violence? Certainly.
However, what is more senseless than violence for the preservation of privilege? Violence which exists solely to preserve more and more violence? If we really want to resolve our culture of violence, then we should begin by challenging that violence which is inherent to our social structures. Violence which enables and justifies all other scenes of violence. Until then, we have to consider any moral objections on the basis of a uniformed rejection of violence as being a justification of that initial injustice which enables all others.
People are in the streets. Fighting, challenging, shooting back. These are good developments but resistance is always more than that which is merely a spectacle for the evening news.
Real resistance is always an expression. An expression must necessarily be something internal that is made external. So for us to resist means to first transform ourselves. To develop new understandings, new culture, new love that guides us forward in building a society which is fit for the full existence of everyone. This must be done practically. By the people seizing control of their own communities and kicking out the colonizing police and their institutions. By the students seizing control of their own education and replacing White Power “knowledge” with learning that empowers. By the workers seizing control of their own workplaces and deciding to go about things according to their own interests and not exploitative profit.
All of which must come for there to be real change.
As we see clearly, the energy is there. We need to stop waiting for a catastrophic moment where “everything will align”. Transformations don’t “happen” they are built. Destroying White Power means building something entirely different and that is what empowering the people truly means.
Solidarity with oppressed people everywhere.
Solidarity with Ferguson.
Justice for Mike Brown.
[Image Credit: The Guardian]