By Nikolai Volginn
Another young black man has been murdered by police on America’s streets. On Monday, February 8th, David Joseph, who was only seventeen years old was shot and killed by officer Geoffrey Freeman in Austin, the State Capital of Texas. Joseph was confirmed to be unarmed and, what’s more, naked, posing no threat whatsoever to anyone, yet, according to the Huffington Post, officer Freeman opened fire “within seconds” of encountering Joseph.
Stories of young black men falling to police bullets in various American cities have become shamefully common, so much so that they rarely evoke much attention anymore. The police officers guilty of murdering scores of black youths almost always escape any form of justice because of the plea that they “felt threatened”, a plea which petty-bourgeois white people who see no more racism in the country and feel nothing of the systematic deprivation daily imposed upon poor black and minority communities by an economic system which executes and excludes them so as to keep the wealth looted by international plunder in white, bourgeois hands. These relatively privileged white people excuse police killings by labelling the victims “thugs” who—in the words of one white twitter troll—are “destined for crime” and therefore deserve to have their lives ended. Why a seventeen-year-old whose life has hardly even started, and who posed no threat to anyone, could deserve to be shot dead by anyone should be unfathomable to any decent person with even the slightest degree of empathy for his fellow human being. Though unfortunately a considerable number of people excuse and abate these appalling murders by failing to acknowledge that the problem goes much deeper than the personal history or habits of each individual who falls dead.
The problem is colonialism. The poverty-stricken black population within the so-called “United States” has been thoroughly colonised by white capitalism which intertwines the exploitation of class by class with the subjugation of “race” by “race”, of the colonised by the coloniser. The liberal bourgeoisie points to a few black celebrities in the public eye and says that the problem of racism, aside from a few fascist groups such as the Klan, has been more or less cleared up and that black people in twenty first century America have just the same rights and opportunities for advancement as any white person enjoys. They say that the integration and gradual attainment of equal rights by the American black man and woman has been more or less successful but, in truth, as Malcolm X said as far back as 1964: “there may be a gradual coming together at the top…but at the mass level I don’t think there’s any real, honest, sincere coming together, if there’s anything there’s a widening of the gap”. Indeed at the mass level, the level of the tens of millions of ordinary Afro-Americans living in squalid and poor communities with little opportunity for decent work, almost no opportunity for personal or intellectual advancement and the constant need to look over the shoulder just in case a police officer or any other white person on the street could “feel threatened” enough by the presence of a black man to pull out his gun and shoot him, there seems to have been very little improvement in the condition of the black community since the FBI destroyed the Black Panthers by flooding the ghettos with drugs and murdering their leading organisers, people like Fred Hampton and Bobby Hutton, in so-called “shoot-outs” which were nothing more than political assassinations.
Still today, in the twenty-first century, the police patrol through the ghettoised black communities harassing and murdering with impunity, protected by a criminal justice system which, like much of the white petty-bourgeoisie in America, labels the victims as thugs and hooligans. As Malcolm X explained, the imperialists have committed such crimes in first enslaving, then ghettoising—while always colonising—the more than forty million black people in America that they find it impossible to acknowledge their own guilt and the enormity of their crimes. They find it impossible to sincerely accept their so-called public servants, who supposedly exist to protect the public, are committing murder with impunity. They refuse to accept that it is the system created by America’s history of subjugation and genocide of non-white peoples, as the bottom crust of the social order from which the wealth and capital of the bourgeois partially arises; which has reduced the black communities to such a level of hopelessness and pent-up anger that it can only manifest as self-hate and self-destruction. And so instead of acknowledging their own culpability for the condition of the colonised people of the so-called United States they make excuses for the pigs and racists who defend and perpetuate this inhuman system of internal colonialism. It does not matter whether the black victim of the police was a ghetto-youth or on the verge of going off to college to try to get an education, if he was murdered by police then he must automatically have been a “thug” and a “criminal” in the eyes of the white middle class and the compradores who have managed to integrate somewhat successfully into the ranks of the very exploiters who have their jackboots on the necks of the colonised communities.
If there is ever going to be any progress for the American black communities, or for the indigenous people, or for any of the other subjugated peoples living within (and outside) the borders of the so-called ‘United States’, it must be recognised that the struggle cannot be limited to campaigns against police brutality nor for opportunist and individualist calls for the further integration of the subjugated individual into the poisoned ranks of the exploiting classes. Instead of these non-solutions, all those struggling against the effects of American colonialism should return to the source. The battle against police murders of black children, and mass incarceration should take us to the forefront of the fight against American colonialism as a whole, and should encourage genuine struggle, over the liberal notions of “creating dialogue” between the oppressor and the oppressed. This is not simply a struggle for representation in the media, or in politics, but the liberation of a captive nation from their colonisers. No amount of superficial police-reform or token media representation for black individuals will end the subjugation of the black communities by American settler-colonialism and capitalism, only the organised and revolutionary action of the oppressed peoples themselves can do that.
Justice for David Joseph and all other victims of US white settler-colonialist imperialism!
BLACK LIVES WILL ONLY MATTER WHEN THE COLONIALISTS ARE AFRAID TO TAKE THEM!