“A system cannot fail those it was never built to protect”.
– W.E.B. DuBois
As I see how the demonstrating public lashed out in Ferguson against the state of their community, and I see the prevailing national reaction to the local reaction – “violence/looting/burning buildings isn’t the answer”, I think back to #Occupy 2011.
I remember the police abuses of young white Occupy protesters, from New York to California. I remember how the police were defended by those who decried Occupy as “dirty”, “lazy” “thugs” and “trust-fund babies”.
I remember how they were exceptionally othered by those who are incredibly addicted to their own comforts and distance.
I remember the gross class resentment against college students, from people in a likely-similar income bracket as those protesting. I remember some bastard who screamed “stop raping people!” for his online fans’ shits and giggles.
And when Zucotti Park was forcibly cleared, signifying a formal end to the Occupy period, the police were cheered for “bringing law and order back to the streets” and “allowing businesses to function again”.
That moment was about class inequality. This moment – Ferguson – was about racial inequality.
And yet the militarized police, once again, show their ugly head. And their groupies itch for the police to save them from those who would “bring down America” through upsetting the status quo.
It was Martin Luther King, Jr., who said it best, so long ago:
And I must say tonight that a riot is the language of the unheard. And what is it America has failed to hear? It has failed to hear that the plight of the negro poor has worsened over the last twelve or fifteen years. It has failed to hear that the promises of freedom and justice have not been met. And it has failed to hear that large segments of white society are more concerned about tranquility and the status quo than about justice and humanity.
Most concerned about tranquility. Damn the urban peasants, especially those “colored” ones. Damn the college students. “Get out of our country if you don’t like it.”
The “Founding Fathers'” Revolution can’t repeated with these defenders of the status quo. Another Constitution can’t be drafted with these people.
The folks who defend police conduct toward unarmed protesters/AAs are likely the same folks who decry jackbooted government thugs elsewhere. I find this comfort for hyperviolent forces of the favored status quo to be funny, in a gallows-humor kind of way.
Stop inconveniencing the thugs in black and blue. Stop inconveniencing their slavish, status-quo-defending groupies. Stop disrupting the flow of traffic, of capital, of bigoted values, of firearms, of military training.
Worship our agents. Accept your inferiority. Do what we tell you. Appear how we want you to appear. Never resist us.
Then tell yourself: I AM FREE.