Wednesday, April 8, 2009

African people have a right to resist!

The New Year’s Day murder of young Oscar Grant who was shot at point-blank range after he was subdued by BART police in Oakland sparked large demonstrations expressing popular outrage.

Grant’s brutal murder followed on the heels of countless instances of police murder, harassment, profiling and general disrespect directed towards the African community in Oakland and throughout the U.S.

On March 21 in Oakland twenty-six-year-old Lovelle Mixon decided that he would not be a victim. For what ever reason he fought back against the oppressive police force bearing down on his community.

The police murders, torture, brutalization, harassment and frame-ups of thousands of African men and women in this country are not the result of a few bad cops.

Many police may be friendly, nice, religious, gay or female.

Whether a cop ever actively participates in the brutalization of the African or other community or not, is irrelevant.

Every cop is an arm of the U.S. state. The state is the institution of violence and coercion of the ruling class. The purpose of the state is to protect the status quo and maintain existing relations of wealth and poverty, power and oppression.

Other fronts of the state are the U.S. army, the courts and the prisons.

The state works to maintain a monopoly on violence.

We live in a country whose state was built on the enslavement of African people, on the genocide of the Indigenous people and theft of their land.

The U.S. state and capitalism itself are built on a pedestal of colonialism, the domination of oppressed peoples inside this country and around the world for the benefit of the white power system.

All branches of the U.S. military carry out the interests of the U.S. state abroad. All branches of the U.S. police carry out the interests of the State inside U.S. borders.

Both the U.S. military and the U.S. police carry out popularly-supported wars of aggression against oppressed peoples, enabling the U.S. to continue to plunder their resources, land and labor.

Every police officer in this country is a soldier of the imperialist state, no less than a U.S. marine in Afghanistan or an Israeli soldier in occupied Palestine.

The African communities of Oakland and the U.S. are communities under siege, occupied by a hostile, military force, just like the communities of Gaza or Fallujah.

Police in East Oakland are trained in the same Special Ops and counterinsurgency tactics as military forces in Iraq.

SWAT teams break down doors intimidating families, the elderly and children alike, while helicopters circle above. Police profile, beat and murder citizens. Discriminatory sentencing and Three Strikes laws lock up young African people for life.

In New York City last year the police stopped and searched five hundred thousand people last year, eighty percent of whom were African and Latino men.

Just like a soldier in the unjust U.S. army occupations abroad, a cop in the U.S. domestic force must prepare for the possibility of returning home in a body bag as the result of the resistance of the oppressed.

To denounce the resistance of the oppressed African community is to uphold the state’s right to a monopoly of repressive violence against the African community.

The African People’s Solidarity Committee supports the right of African and oppressed peoples to national liberation.

If their land, labor, oil, diamonds or coltan have been stolen from them through the violence of the imperialist state, they have a right to get it back.

The U.S. state violently enforces the interests of a parasitic system where 50 percent of the world’s resources are enjoyed by white society—only 5 percent of the world’s population.

The current economic crisis of imperialism makes it clear that this parasitic system built on the enslavement and oppression of most of humanity for the benefit of the tiny minority is not viable.

Peace and sustainability on this planet are only possible when Africans and all other oppressed peoples of this earth once again regain power over their lives, destinies and resources.

For white people there is no future for us in our self-imposed alienation from the rest of humanity.

We have lived on a pedestal at the expense of others, a privileged gated enclave surrounded by armed security guards.

Such an unjust arrangement doesn’t work for long.

All people on this earth have a right to self-determination, land, resources and a future for their children. As Malcolm X said, they will ultimately take that back “by any means necessary.”

African and other people are fighting for the right to forge their own destinies in a way that benefits the collective whole. Only in the process of liberation from this oppressive system will the oppressed peoples of the earth create a new and better world.

Join in solidarity with the movement for African national liberation—the movement that is actively bringing about positive transformation for everyone on the planet.




3 comments:

Dr. Renee said...

Uhuru Penny

You write:

" For what ever reason he fought back against the oppressive police force bearing down on his community."

I do not know what happened in this case. I do know how brutal the Oakland Police can be. And I do agree that they play the role of an occupying army in the black community.

Yet doesn't it matter why he killed 4 officers? Are you suggesting that any oppressed person who shoots Police becomes a hero regardless of the specific context.

I have no problem when an officer is injured due to legitimate resistance. (Actually I do feel for the person as an individual and it saddens me that we live in a world where violence is so prevalent) Still resistance is necessary and at times violence unavoidable

But your post seems to imply that any violence toward police in the black community is automatically a form of justified resistance.

So I am thinking about that idea and about why, exactly, it does not sit right with me given my agreement about the role of police and the need for resistance.

The easiest way for me to explain my view would be to consider Palestine. Given the role of Israeli forces and the systematic genocide against the Palestinian people I certainly can understand and have sympathy with any act of violence against an Israeli Soldier. At the same time I am very aware than random and unorganized acts of violence do not advance the fight for a free Palestine. I am also aware that in the midst of the terrible poverty and destruction there are those who are just criminals and have as little respect for Palestinian lives as they do for the lives of the Occupiers. It is one thing to support the PFLP, and the intifada...it is another to assume any act is automatically justified resistance.

It seems to me that the same would hold for the black community in the US. There are forces in the black community who are participating with the oppressor's in feeding drugs and guns to the community. They may also shoot a cop. Yet I would not automatically consider that resistance. or the person one who is a hero or should be given solidarity and support.

Again I do not know the specifics of this case. Yet your post implies that given the reality of the police role the specifics do not matter.

Is this actually your position or have I misunderstood

(It is good to see you guys online)

Best

Renee

Miss Milo said...

Violence in any form is wrong. "Resistance" is not the same thing violence. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in peaceful, non-violent resistance as a form of protest in order to achieve a goal. This form of "resistance" was thoughtful, just, and empowered the people and their entire community. It comes in many forms including labor strikes & picketing, boycotts, subversive literature,art, music, poetry and education, to name only a few.

The person who killed those 4 Oakland police officers did not give a damn about his community. Blaming society & the status quo may be justified, but I ask you: What GOOD will it do for the oppressed people and their community? It only serves to further divide and perpetuate oppression.

Instead of promoting violence and hostility, we should focus our energy & effort on coming together and coming up with solutions. That is the only way to empower ourselves!

Just a Person said...

Hi Miss Milo! I love this blog. Hopefully we will not drive Penny nuts :)

The college teacher in me cannot resist this Martin Luther King and Violence Topic. It is one I have studied and lectured on :)

You write: " Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. believed in peaceful, non-violent resistance as a form of protest in order to achieve a goal. This form of "resistance" was thoughtful, just, and empowered the people and their entire community. "

About Martin Luther King and ViolenceIf you are talking about King's early writings that is correct. In his early works he saw the job of black resistance as being an attempt to "prick the conscience of White people. He was sure that when White people would see the horrible violent reaction of the police to peaceful protest they would come in great numbers to support black people. He was convinced that no human being could allow such gruesome and inhumane treatment of another human person.

He was rather shocked when year after year the white community seemed unmoved by these protests.
In his later work he gives up this idea that non-violence could be passive and that he could expect any response from the White community. His later works reflect this change in his understanding.
A great source for understanding the basis of his change which has fueled speculation that he was moving away from non-violence as a position can be found in the Black Liberation Theologian James Cone's book "Martin and Malcolm in America : A Dream or a Nightmare" (It is by the way a great source of understanding Malcolm X's differences with Martin Luther King. Cone explains that what King failed to understand is that White people did not view African/black people as PERSONS. Therefore, there was no conscience to be pricked. There were however a lot of beaten, jailed and even killed African people as a result of their peaceful struggles. While we praise these NOW it is not clear that these gained much for the African community beyond the bruises from police batons!

What Good Does Spontaneous Resistance Do?Your second question is very interesting : You write

"The person who killed those 4 Oakland police officers did not give a damn about his community. Blaming society & the status quo may be justified, but I ask you: What GOOD will it do for the oppressed people and their community? It only serves to further divide and perpetuate oppression."

OK, so it sounds like we can both unite with the understanding that resistance is always justified. I was hedging some on this one... but I can see that I was making an illegitimate distinction between Palestine and African communities.

That said, you raise the question "What good does it do?" and you ask whether this creates tensions that do not forward the struggle-- am I understanding your concern correctly? If so I would love to hear what others here would say (and I can share a lot from the experience of the Palestinian people.

Just A Person