By Louise Michel
Dec 12, 2014
We've marched. We've "died-in." We've disrupted traffic. We've organized.
Now it's time for increased intensity to our actions.
On Saturday, Dec 13th, NYC hosted the largest organized protest to date in solidarity with Mike Brown and Eric Garner. We can now add names such as Darrien Hunt and Akai Gurley, among many others, to the long list of victims of police violence against unarmed black men. The "Day of Anger: Millions March NYC" Facebook page had over 43,000 attendees and there were well over 25,000 people that attended the protest. This event and those like it have the potential to be truly significant in the fight against state violence, whether it is in the form of police murdering unarmed black men, CIA torture, foreign occupations, or the violence of financial capitalism.
Our fight for justice for Mike Brown and Eric Garner has hitherto existed in a curious paradox. Eric Garner was murdered before Michael Brown. His death was caught on camera for the world to see and the injustice of what happened is unquestionable. 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. In Eric Garner's case one would think that even though law enforcement would naturally side to protect one of their own that the video evidence would be enought to get an indictment. It wasn't.
What is most important to point out is that the main difference between the two cases is that in Eric Garner's death people passively and ineffectively marched and pleaded for justice in hopes that the corrupt NYPD would listen to them. 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. The resisters in Ferguson were not deluded by the priveliged snobbery of nonviolence.
The protests thus far in NYC have been dominated by organizers that are unfortunately victims of the racist, ineffective ideology of nonviolence by any means necessary. It is their go-to tactic to vilify anyone that does not adhere to their authoritarian version of passivity in the face of immense violence. The nonviolence proponets have the police carry out the violence with their unofficial stamp of approval.
They will even go as far as do the NYPD's work 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 by both black and white organizers alike. 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 privileged white middle-class suburban 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, they cater to the state's demands thus validating a system that is predicated on injustice and exploitation.
Do these people not realize that it is thanks to the rebellion in Ferguson that we have even arrived at this moment? 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. Activists fail to see the effectiveness of the riots and the so called "violence" that the citizens resorted to.
If oppressed peoples are suppose 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? Let's face it, pacifism is a luxury afforded to people that already have their basic needs met and basic rights enshrined to them. Oppressed people have no other options other than to take direct action.
So if you see any of your brave comrades decide to do something other than hold a sign or walk on the sidewalk please commend 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 Mike
Justice for Eric