By Louise Michel
Apr 29, 2015
MLK said a riot is the language of the unheard. Thank you Ferguson and Baltimore, maybe they are starting to listen now. . .
Our pursuit for justice for Mike Brown, Eric Garner and now Freddie Gray, along with hundreds of others, has hitherto existed in a curious paradox when it comes to debating the effects of nonviolent pacifism versus direct action and confrontation. In terms of Mike Brown and Eric Garner, Garner was murdered before Michael Brown. His death was caught on camera for the world to see and the perverse violence and culpability of Daniel Pantaleo's chokehold is undeniable. In Michael Brown's case Darren Wilson had the benefit of the prosecutor and law enforcement on his side and no video evidence of what happened. The main difference between the two cases is that in Eric Garner's death people passively and ineffectively marched and pleaded for justice by the state. In Mike Brown's case an entire community rose up, fought back, literally stood their ground, and succeeded in building one of the largest protest movements in recent history. Freddie Gray's death and ensuing protests have focused the world's attention back on the U.S. and its racist, militarized police forces and institutionalized racism. The authorities are running out of fabricated explanations as to why they haven't brought these thugs in blue to justice and the uprisings and anger, not the pleasantries and marches, are helping to drive this reality home.
Many of the protests thus far have been dominated by activists that are unfortunately victims of the racist, ineffective ideology of nonviolence by any means necessary. It is their go-to tactic to vilify and riot shame anyone that does not adhere to their authoritarian version of passivity in the face of immense violence. They will even do the authorities jobs for them by becoming citizen cops and reprimand anyone who decides to employ a "diversity of tactics" while protesting. The institutionalized, white supremacist ideology of nonviolent acton is religiously adhered to even by the majority of black organizers. Nelson Mandela did not believe this. Malcolm X did not believe this and even MLK understood the reality of rioting.
The delusion of nonviolence and pacifism stems from the notion that oppressed peoples do not know anything about liberating themselves or fighting back against state brutality. Nonviolence comes from the idea that safe and often times privileged white intellectuals that have never had to deal with issues of racist cops wontonly murdering them know best how to lead and organize on behalf of the colonized. This is a dangerous road to traverse if we want to truly revolutionize social relations in our society. Nonviolent activists maintain that the "violence" of, say, breaking a window, is somehow commiserate with that of the structural violence of institutionalized racism and imperialism. Furthermore, nonviolent advocates incessantly cater to the state's demands and blindly obey their illegitimate authority, thus validating a system that is predicated on the very violence they are speaking out against. They ask why the the protesters are resorting to violence as if we weren't already living in a society in perpetual violence, both in our local communities as well as abroad where drone strikes and occupation seem to operate with the same amount of impunity.
Do these people not realize that it is thanks to the rebellion in Ferguson and now Baltimore that we have even arrived at this inflection point? If Ferguson would have amounted to nothing more than a few marches and vigils similar to what happened after Garner's murder then we would not have arrived at this moment the way we did. Many people fail to see the effectiveness of the riots and the so called "violence" that the citizens resorted to because they mythology of of nonviolence has been so deeply embedded into the national psyche despite the evidence to the contrary.
If oppressed peoples are supposed to be the ones leading such movements then why are we allowing the movement against police brutality to be dominated by tactics that come out of the privileged bourgeois tradition of nonviolence? Most of the time supporters of pacifism have been afforded the luxuries of have their basic needs met. Oppressed people have no other option other than to take direct action against such abominable oppression, especially when as MLK stated, they voices are unheard.
So if you see any of your brave comrades decide to do something other than hold a sign or walk on the sidewalk please support them and understand that we are all allies of the same cause with the same goals, some of us believe in using different tactics at different times rather than always adhering to the state's prescription of nonviolence.
Time to fight back against police impunity!
Justice for all those of police brutality, racism, imperialism.