'The colonized subject discovers reality and transforms it through his praxis, his deployment of violence and his agenda for liberation' 1
We are writing to express our unconditional support of the Rebellion in Ferguson, MO, a working class city of 67% Black residents and 94% white police force. On Saturday August 8, 2014 Michael ‘Mike Mike’ Brown, an unarmed 18 year old Black teenager, was executed by an unnamed police officer. Following the execution by multiple gunshots, the people of Ferguson— friends, neighbors, and family of Michael Brown— converged to mourn their beloved and express their rage in a uprising that began with powerful, documented analysis and agitation.1
We support the rebellion and uprising of the people of Ferguson, MO because, in the words of DeAndre Smith2, this type of response is “exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community.”
We want to be perfectly clear that we believe resistance to police is always justified. The police exist to protect and serve whiteness, an ideology of supremacy that needs to be abolished in order to obtain freedom. Ferguson has given us evidence of this straight from the horse’s mouth, as police with riot gear and barking dogs yelled to demonstrators: “All you fucking animals, bring it.”
We reject the notion that the unnamed officer who shot dead Mike Brown was a bad apple, a case to be reviewed. The problem is not of a rogue police officer acting out of line; the problem is the police. The modern police force evolved from slave patrols in the 1700s and continue to systematically control, assault, and murder Black communities. As DeAndre Smith recognized, this is a problem rooted in economics. This country was built by enslaved Blacks on the plantation and made possible by the theft of Indigenous land, and continues to thrive in the neoliberal present day with more Blacks now in prison or confined in ghettos, being killed by police. Indeed, as Frantz Fanon says, ‘the colonist derives his validity, i.e., his wealth, from the colonial system.’
Furthermore, we reject the bourgeois myth of respectability that claims Michael Brown’s life is not worthy of being mourned unless he was in some way ‘innocent’, when our racist society has systematically stripped Black bodies of innocence and marked them as ‘criminal’. We celebrate each existence and mourn the death of every Black life lost. We stand against the ideology of whiteness that allows for the devaluing of Black lives.
The government response in Ferguson has been to create a barbaric, militarized police state working to sustain itself and quell the people. They have been trained by the Israeli Defense Force which maintains an Apartheid state and a genocidal program of forced removal of Palestinians from their historical land.3 Media blackout, rubber bullets and teargas deployed on assemblies of people and directly into residential neighborhoods, warzone gear, ear piercing crowd control tactics, cancelling the first day of school. These responses are the direct responsibility of the police, and we strongly reject media claims that state otherwise. Police declared a no fly zone in Ferguson for the reason of “providing a safe environment for law enforcement activities” —- they have made their interests clear. That is why the people of St. Louis and Ferguson have not backed down. They militantly retain their dignity and continue to fight back with efforts resulting in St. Louis Police having been pulled from the ground in Ferguson.
How many more black lives? — Michael Brown, shot dead by police on 8/8/14; Ezell Ford, shot dead by police 8/11/14; John Crawford, shot dead by police 8/7/14; Eric Garner, killed in a chokehold by police on 7/17/14: lives stolen, Black August.
Renisha McBride, Islan Nettles, Trayvon Martin: killed in the name of white supremacy, misogyny and transphobia. Lives stolen, Black August.*
The lines have been drawn, we refuse to turn down in the face of racist, capitalist violence. The people of St. Louis are standing up, this rebellion is part of an agenda for liberation— and through organizing, rebellions can become revolutions. Communities everywhere are working against violence, criminalization, and displacement of working class people; this is the time to build connections in struggle. Once again we look to DeAndre Smith, “I mean, I don’t think it’s over, honestly. I think they just got a taste of what fighting back means.”
1) Quote from Frantz Fanon’s “Wretched of the Earth”. Photo of Ferguson protestor returning a teargas canister to sender
2) Link to video of pre-riot agitation
3) Link to video of Smith’s analysis & transcription
”I’m DeAndre Smith. And this is exactly what’s supposed to happen when injustice is happening in your community. When you have kids getting killed for nothing, when they’re out here minding their business… you can lock ‘em up, you can teach them, you can mold them, at the same time, you ain’t got to kill them. He ain’t got no gun in his hands. Why you kill him? You said Trayvon had a hoodie on, you didn’t know what was going on with him. He didn’t have no hoodie on. His hands was up when you shot him! So what’s your excuse?”
“I was here, I was out here. That’s all I can say. I was out here with the community. That’s all I can say. I was out here standing side-by-side with the community. I mean, I don’t think it’s over, honestly. I think they just got a taste of what fighting back means. I think they got a taste of… (other voice inaudible) … IN St. Louis. The last state to abolish slavery. And they think they still have power over certain things? I believe so, cuz they doing stuff like this, and getting away with it. People ain’t sayin nothing! They not doing nothing, across the country. They not going for it here! Saint Louis ain’t going for it!
“This is how they eat here. This is how they receive money. Businesses. Taxes. Police stopping people. Giving ‘em tickets, taking ‘em to court, locking ‘em up. That’s how they make money in St. Louis. Right? Traffic…everything is all about money in St. Louis, right? So when you stop their flow of income. When you stop their…their, their, whole everything, their business, what they organized, they have certain things in a certain way. Right, (making quotation marks with fingers) “secret society” type of deal, right? We’re gonna eat and you guys are gonna starve. Gentrification, put you in a certain neighborhood by yourself, and see if you can starve in a proper way. It’s not gonna happen, not in St Louis.”
4) Report on St. Louis Police Department visit to Israel
5) Sentence structure referencing Marilyn Buck’s poem ‘Black August’