From Mike Brown to Eric Garner, the Specter of Revolt is Haunting NYC.

ferguson curfew

“A riot is the language of the unheard.” – Martin LutherKing Jr.

Louie Michel

A specter is haunting New York City, the Specter of Ferguson.

Virtually every major news outlet, member of the black liberal establishment, and authority figure in government has been stressing the importance of peaceful, nonviolent protest to the killing of Mike Brown. They say that rioting is counterproductive and accomplishes nothing. They are wrong. Proof of this can be seen in the local and international response to the deaths of Mike Brown in Ferguson and Eric Garner in NYC.

– July 27, 2014, in Staten Island, New York, Eric Garner was murdered by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo’s vicious chokehold for selling untaxed cigarettes. His murder was caught on camera by a brave bystander by the name of Ramsey Orta and uploaded for the world to see. Eric Garner’s murder gained some national news in the United States and outcry from various civil rights organizations but soon after fell out of the 24 hour news cycle. Garner’s death became just another black man brutally killed with impunity by law enforcement despite the incontrovertible video evidence, including Mr. Garner himself pleading, “I can’t breath, I can’t breathe” numerous times before he senselessly died. His death was on the verge of being shelved in the rolodex of “another black man murdered by the cops.” Then Ferguson happened. People began to stand up to injustice by doing something other than just march. They began to defy curfews, expose the militarism of the police-industrial complex, and make history rather than be shaped by it.

– August 9, 2014, in Ferguson, Missouri, Mike Brown is gunned down and killed by officer Darren Willson. The shooting took place not because Brown robbed a helpless person at gunpoint but because he was stopped for jaywalking! As most people in this country now know, Darren Wilson was acquitted by a grand jury that was led by a law enforcement friendly prosecutor, Robert McCulloch. Riots broke out in Ferguson after Mike Brown’s death, as well as when the announcement was made that there would be no indictment of Darren Wilson. These riots sparked protests and mobilizations across the country and spearheaded a 21st century discussion of institutionalized racism, militarism of communities, policy brutality and systemic impunity in the age of Obama.

What did the peaceful protests that took place against the death of Eric Garner accomplish other than a few news pieces and the same old condemnation by the black liberal establishment led by the likes of Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson? Not many people in this country even heard of Eric Garner before Mike Brown’s death. In the end the few days of direct action in Ferguson created more attention and were more effective than the peaceful protest marches on behalf of Eric Garner.

In Ferguson they torched cars and businesses, resisted the police by throwing their tear gas canisters back at them, refused to disperse and courageously made their voices heard to the world on their own terms and no one else’s. And their resistance instantly gained international attention. From France to Russia to China to Iran, Ferguson was front page news around the world   and it wasn’t because people peacefully marched like they did in Staten Island. No, it was because they employed the tactics of direct action to bring attention to the fact that a unarmed black teenager was killed by a white officer and nothing was done about it.

The monopoly of violence that the state possesses should never go unchallenged, particularly when a great injustice has taken place. There is nothing wrong with peaceful marches and nonviolent civil disobedience, but we must not be fooled into the false narrative that direct action and violence as it is defined by the state is always wrong.

Expect resistance!

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Authorities in Ferguson – Expect Resistance!

violence-erupts-ferguson-missouri

The state has a monopoly on violence.

The grand jury’s decision not to indict Deron Wilson, the police officer that killed Michael Brown, further proves what many of us have known for too long: that the state is the only legitimate source of violence in our society. It validates its impunity through a judicial system of kangaroo courts that protect the rich and oppress the poor. Domestically it imprisons black and brown people at astronomical levels via the prison industrial complex and literally obliterates entire cities internationally.

And they expect us to listen to them when they demand we remain peaceful?

Haven’t we remained peaceful long enough? We marched one million strong in opposition to the invasion of Iraq (again) in March, 2003. We peacefully marched to demand justice for Eric Garner, Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo, Ramarley Graham and Michael Brown. To no avail.  While police were stopping and frisking black and brown people in 2012 to the tune of 500,000 in 2012 in NYC not one banker from any of the major financial institutions that caused the financial crisis was put in jail.

Many of us knew when Robert McCulloch, the prosecutor that presented the case to the grand jury, was selected to present the case that the decision was already made. His family ties to law enforcement guaranteed his partiality and commitment to protect the interests of law enforcement. We’ve had enough!

When Eric Garner was brutally choked to death on camera in Staten Island, NY, there was discontent. People marched in protest to his death. But after a few news cycles his death was no where to be seen in the news despite how blatant the evidence of his murder was.

In Ferguson the protesters responded with rage and that rage generated global attention and placed Civil Rights in the age of Obama front and center. Michael Brown’s death became front page news around the world. It also brought global attention to the fact that the Department of Defense is supplying local law enforcement with weapons and vehicles that are used in war, not local policing. What caused the international light to shine on Missouri ? It was the extremely brave activists that defied authorities and refused to do what they were told. Ferguson will be remembered not because people did exactly what the authorities forced them to do but because they defiantly protected the spirit of Michael Brown. His death will not be remembered for the quiet lines of people cowering to the police, but by people at the barricades that fought back to the oppression that the hangs so heavily in the air in America.

Expect Resistance!