Dems “go low”; using mothers of children felled by police & racist violence

mother of the movement 2

Watching the very dignified Black mothers of young people felled by racist and police violence being paraded on the DNC stage was heartbreaking considering they appear to have been used simply to get Hillary Clinton elected.  And watching them share and revisit their pain was cringe-worthy considering it may be all for naught.

Used may be a harsh term, but these mothers are still grieving and to have them share it with the country without an inkling of “real” change promised or otherwise is just downright shameful.

And most of us if we are honest know that not a daggone thing is going to be done by the next administration to bring an end to police brutality, misconduct and violence.

Let me be clear I have deep and lasting respect for these mothers.Without question the women have been courageous, steadfast and absolutely unmovable in their quest for justice for their children and others.

I have met a few of them at protests and I know them taking a stand on behalf of their children and the community has been hard, but they have handled with a dignity and grace seldom seen. They have never stopped reminding this nation that police should be held accountable for their crimes.

The women who lost their children to racist violence and State violence lost their children under Democratic administrations primarily President Obama’s. And nothing has been done unless one counts the speechifying, ABC and CNN after school specials/ town halls and the “I feel you” speeches on the part of the president. They have been promised nothing, by the Democrats. No legislation has been proposed to reign in the police. There is no platform plank that promises to hold the police accountable for their actions.

“So many of our children gone but not forgotten,” Sandra Bland’s mother, Geneva  Reed-Veal said. “I’m here with Hillary Clinton because she is a leader and a mother who will say our children’s names.”

“Hillary Clinton isn’t afraid to say Black lives matter,” said Lucia McBath mother of Jordan Davis the Black youth who was shot and killed by a white guy because his music was too loud. “She isn’t afraid to sit at a table with grieving mothers and bear the full force of our anguish. Not only did she listen to our problems, she invited us to become part of the solution.”

Unfortunately sloganeering, saying their names and being sympathetic won’t be enough.  No doubt Hillary feels bad for the women.

But I suspect that when Clinton told the mothers they could become part of the solution, what she meant was helping her get elected.

Incredibly, right on cue the heartless harlots, who lead the Philadelphia police fraternity didn’t miss an opportunity to show that many are indeed chosen from the ranks of the socio-pathetic.

Revealing they have little sense of decency, the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police wrote, “It is sad that to win an election, Mrs. Clinton must pander to the interests of people who do not know all the facts.”

But the Dems were sufficiently mush mouthed and double minded, as they sent the Pittsburgh police chief up before the still grieving mothers whose children died at the hands of the police and racists, to remind everyone once again that Americans should, “respect and support our police officers.”

BLM or somebody should explain to these sisters how this works. If you are going to give something to one of the party’s of Big Business and Wall Street, you have to get something in return.

However, Tamir Rice’s mother Samaria Rice, hasn’t fallen for the okey doke, she hasn’t endorsed any candidate not even Senator Sanders. “No candidate is “speaking my language about police reform,” she said in an interview with Fusion, saying she wants “a lot on the table, not a little bit of talk, or a lot of talk. She said of President Obama, “He may mention something about it, but he’s not really going to go into details about it and hold the government responsible for killing innocent people.”

The Mothers are aptly characterized as “Mothers of the Movement.”  However, Movements historically,  have made demands on the system and that is best done by standing outside of the system. Talking about police accountability is not the same as making police accountable.

Hillary may  be as she has been advertised,the candidate who is less worse than Trump

Incidentally it was Senator Sanders who proposed a concrete solution. “If a police officer breaks the law, like any public official, that officer must be held accountable,” he said.

Of course the ugly truth is that the institution of policing is a vital part of this social, economic, political system and the only way that it will hold any cops accountable is to change the system that deems their behavior necessary.

Those who are organizing these sisters (in grief and struggle) should be careful not to waste their capital. They absolutely do represent something real, a very real problem, a very real stain on the American pretense of democracy.

justice then peace

 

Cleveland Convention, Trump distract from the issues while revealing the real America

trump

cleveland

The liberal mainstream media was falling all over themselves denigrating the scary conservative wing of the US one party system, which masquerades as two separate gangs. But while the Republican convention was a bit frightening ( the microphone was dominated by a parade of clowns, liars, haters, racists, Uncle Tom’s, thieves, charlatans and narrow nationalist xenophobes), the show and Trump were merely distraction. A look behind the curtains exposed the real US and its real priorities.

Speaking of priorities, holding the circus, oops, convention in Cleveland and spending $50 million in a city whose abandoned inner city enclave with its boarded up homes reminds one of Detroit was as repugnant as Rudoph Guiliani’s speech and probably meaner.

And to have this demagogue call “Black Lives Matter” racist in the same city in which 12 year old Tamir Rice was killed by police in a virtual drive by shooting is surreal.  It’s as if the federal government were teasing the urban Clevelanders, ‘ look we got money but we aren’t going to spend it on you.’

As one young Clevelander put it, “this is a slap in the face. It’s insulting.”

“[They’re] putting $50 million [feds] into the city, but not putting $50 million into the city,” said Tatyana Atkinson in an interview with Intercept.com. Atkinson and other Cleveland young people and students created  #CLEoverRNC to express their displeasure.

And free speech, nor the right to free assembly were all that free as Cleveland was turned into nearly an armed camp, a virtual police state as nearly 3,000 cops were on hand, some in riot gear and 4,000 National guardsman were in reserve.  According to people in attendance, the police presence effectively discouraged many Clevelanders from coming downtown to join the protests

During the protests a woman attempted to burn the US flag and was stopped and arrested by police, who were enforcing their prejudices rather than the law. The Supreme Court has already ruled that even flag burning is protected under the First Amendment.

Some of the protests opposing racism, anti -immigrant and anti- Muslim prejudice seemed to be focused on working class white people as the problem, rather than the system that encourages and foments it. But we can’t go forward by simply hating and disparaging and shouting invectives at our misguided fellow workers. No doubt some of them are lost, but they aren’t the “real” enemy.

Consequently, the us against them narrative plays into the hands of our real enemies.

Incidentally, Trump isn’t as scary as advertised, considering most of what he is promising is already a part of US society.

Consider this:

  • *He proposed more law and order; we already have police violence and mass incarceration.
  • *He talked about kicking out immigrants; the present administration has been doing it at a record pace.
  • *He promised to put the press in its place. Well, no need the press censors itself. While simultaneously confusing the issues, like they have done with the issue of police violence, pretending police are under attack and projecting it as a purely racial issue, while ignoring the class aspect as police kill white folks too.
  • *He promises to go it alone on foreign policy; does anyone remember the invasion of Iraq and the “Coalition of the willing.” The US went in on its own and bribed a few allies to help.
  • *He promises to make life hard on Muslims; that is already being done as the government presently spies on mosques singles Muslims out in airports and encourages Islamaphobia with selective and over prosecution of young Muslims suspected of wanting to join terrorist groups
  • *He promises to not let Muslims, especially Syrian refugees into the country. Presently the US has only allowed a handful of Syrian refugees into the country. Ironically they are fleeing from a mess the US encouraged.
  • *He was probably disingenuous with his concern for the lives of LGBQT and black folks so is the current administration, it just makes better speeches.

At the end of the day this “show” also exposed just how far the bourgeoisie, the power structure is willing to go to keep us divided and distracted from the real source of our problem and real solutions. By projecting the Trump gang as incorrigible, unreconstructed, unrepentant enemies of racial and social progress it made the Clinton gang more palatable, though it too holds little promise of actually bettering the lives of everyday citizens.

But as terrifying as Trump and “Trump-ettes” are, the system as many know it is already scary.

Those without “real” money experience a perilous journey through a capitalist jungle, where every official crook has his hand in your pocket, while we are confronted daily by potential pitfalls and schemes at every turn. And some of us Colored folks and “Others” sometimes find our freedom, our liberty and sometimes our very lives in peril.

justice then peace

National teachers union protest in Minneapolis for prosecution of police in Minneapolis, Baton Rouge

Yesterday’s march through downtown Minneapolis by the American Federation of Teachers in support of justice for Philando Castile specifically and victims of police violence in general, was a big deal and gave a much needed boost of solidarity  from the labor movement to the movement against police violence.

Hundreds of teachers who are in Minneapolis for their annual convention helped fill the streets lifting their voices and joining locals including Black Lives Matter activists in demanding that the St. Anthony, MN cop who killed Castile be prosecuted.

Proving the protest was a step in the right direction Minneapolis police federation head Lt Bob Kroll and St Paul federation head Dave Titus, wrote a letter protest. “The one-sided message of blatant disrespect for law enforcement these educators are sending our young people is horrifying…Educators should demonstrate more common sense than rushing to judgment along with radical activists hell-bent on destabilizing our communities,” they complained.

Teachers left the Convention Center and tied up traffic for about two hours marching and chanting. Teachers were included among the 21 who were arrested for blocking traffic near US Bank headquarters in downtown Minneapolis.

The teachers targeted Wells Fargo and US Bank as well as police violence in the protest.

Chicago Teachers Union  Recording Secretary, Michael Brunson addressed the crowd and made the connection between police violence and violence visited on the community by Big Banks.

“The highest and most sophisticated form of violence is the impoverishment of a community. That’s why we need to make everyone aware of the connection between high level finance and the low level violence that comes from jobs being lost, homes being foreclosed, schools losing resources, and investments being made in prisons because we have these financial “geniuses” and bankers that have found clever and ingenious ways to starve our communities, our government, and our schools. Follow the money and a path leads right here to U.S. Bank.”

More specifically St Paul AFT local 28 had written that, “It should not be okay for a bank like Wells Fargo or US Bank to give a few thousand dollars to our school foundation and be considered a good ‘partner’ while those same banks are foreclosing on our district’s families, and spending fortunes to lobby against  adequate funding for our schools.”

Brunson continued, “Now they are trying to erase Black Lives Matter, by saying “All Lives Matter.  I look at it like this: If the house on the corner is burning, you don’t call the fire department to hose down every other house on the block. You deal with the house that’s burning.

Our house is burning! Unarmed black men are being shot down by law enforcement officers in our streets: Philando Castile, Alton Sterling… Innocent black women are dying under mysterious and suspicious circumstances in the jails: Sandra Bland, Symone Marshall… Our house is burning! And if you don’t put out that fire it will spread and burn down the rest of the block.

Once everyone understands the importance of why we say Black Lives Matter, it goes without saying that all lives matter, just like it goes without saying that if you don’t deal with that burning house the fire will spread to the rest of the block.”

Kimberly Keiko White Colbert a St Paul Central High teacher,(pictured) who taught Philando Castile was one of those who chose to get arrested yesterday, showing her solidarity with her former student and those demanding that his killer be prosecuted. She is a beloved teacher and was showed with praise all over Facebook and social media by current and former students who say they aren’t surprised by her actions because she was always dedicated and compassionate.

“We really need to start building through the unions as the fights start to interconnect, which will allow us to become more confident and thus more stronger,” said one local protester.

St Paul teacher and former teacher of Philando Castile (Kimberly Keiko White Colbert)

Black Lives Matter organizer Kandace Montgomery said teachers are getting involved with the cause for some very practical reasons. “If we really want to push forward education, if we want to do all these things around closing the achievement gap, we need to actually address the systemic issues that are getting in the way of young students of color — in particular black students — from being able to learn, which at this point is being able to just live.”

Baton Rouge/Dallas vigilantism: The violence that violence produces

Yet another instance of violence “despicable” violence in the US and yet another round of handwringing but if we are honest this can’t really be a surprise to anyone. We live in a violent nation, violent in every sense of the word. While preaching non- violence to the masses, the US government and its armed bodies of men/women solve almost all of its problem with violence. Yet when someone goes off VIOLENTLY it’s a shock to the system.
The former H.Rap Brown said that violence is as American as cherry pie. While the mainstream press and others try to disparage Micah Zavier Johnson and now Gavin Long. They were the embodiment of the most American of values: violence and rugged individualism.
So why is it that the only time death is despicable or horrific is when someone kills one of the armed bodies of men? Why isn’t that term used when Walter Scott is shot in the back for all to see or Eric Garner is choked to death on film, or unarmed Michael Brown is shot until he stops breathing or lately Alton Sterling, Philando Castille? And in Fresno California young white Dylan Noble was shot down like an animal for all to see, yet no one used the word despicable.
Is there a message in this? Are our public officials and talking heads trying to tell us that some lives are more valuable or important than others?
Violence is Americana. There is domestic violence, drug violence, gang violence, sexual violence, violence against Muslims, violence against the LGBQT community and anti- black violence has always been a staple of American life. And there is police violence. It seems that a month doesn’t go by without a video of a gruesome killing or an abusive attack on and African American by police.
Then there is the violence that Black people experience when others incessantly seek to justify and excuse black murder at the hands of law enforcement. The last thing many fellow citizens seem to want to do is empathize with Black pain. When a black person is killed by police many always assume the victim did something to deserve it, ‘she didn’t answer in the right tone, he had the wrong look on his face, he was breathing, they seem to say.’
Even saying Black Lives Matter invokes a violent response from people who fear that Black people demanding that they be acknowledged and treated the way the Constitution has promised, is somehow a put down of them, since everything including history is almost always about them and them alone.
Consequently violence does have a traumatizing effect. The constant drip, the constant micro-aggressions, the absolute refusal to have fellow citizens view you and your kind as fellow humans wears at people. It tears at what holds us together and tempts and encourages desperate people to take desperate measures.
Speaking of desperate, in a desperate attempt to undermine the effort to end police violence, some poor misguided souls (140,000) have signed a petition to have BLM designated as a terrorist group
It’s a wonder more people haven’t just snapped. It’s likely a lesser people would have by now.
Curiously, the press has not considered the possibility that Long and Johnson may have been suffering from Post-traumatic Stress disorder (PTSD).


Instead the corporate press has tried mightily to demonize them and tie the shooters to Black nationalist groups and Black Lives Matter but the shooters themselves have said they are lone wolves. BLM whatever folks may think of their strategies and tactics have declared themselves to be non- violent and have sought to solve the problem of police violence through organized peaceful protest.

If blame has to be placed, place it on the US military, which is the violent organization that trained both killers and taught them that the way to solve their problems was through the barrel of a gun.
Further blame can be placed on the US government, which gave rise to their grievance by not protecting its citizens. In a grotesque kind of way the vigilantes may have seen themselves as defending American citizens by killing members of an institution that claimed over one thousand lives last year.

But individualism won’t solve the problem of police violence nor will it aide us in changing or replacing the system that supports police violence which is a kind of domestic terrorism.
In fact nothing short of organizing ALL working class people to recognize our COMMON ENEMY will solve the problem of police violence.
When looking for the reason two seemingly same individuals resolutely decided to lose their lives while taking the lives of US law enforcement, this system has to only look at itself. These shooters were creations of this political economic social system.

justice then peace

Philando Castile funeral; A Homegoing and a Protest

Philando Castile funeral pall bearers

Dateline:St.Paul,MN
By Mel Reeves

It is understandable that parents of those killed by the police ask that there be no protest during their funeral and sometimes they ask, (or are pressured to ask) that no protest be held on the day of the funeral, as was Mike Brown Sr, after his son was needlessly killed by the coward Darren Wilson. And its right that the family’s wishes are honored. But what they in their grief fail to recognize, is that the funeral of those gunned down by the authorities is a protest in and of itself.

Attending the funeral of those who have been deemed unworthy of respect, or life and expendable by the occupying force we refer to as law enforcement, is a protest, because we come to say Philando Castile was our brother, a fellow citizen, a HUMAN BEING.

It was a protest because we came to say we deem him worthy, even more worthy than you. Try as you might to convince us of your legitimacy and the rightness of this wrong:we prefer him over you. We choose this working class, everyday brother, over you and your system.

So it was right that the first person who spoke today kept repeating his name and the crowd stood to their feet and gave him a standing ovation, as if it was a protest, a rally. Some put their fist in the air as the family and the body processed to the front of the church. They were right to put the fist in the air because it is an acknowledgement : we are still here!

“The Sounds of Blackness,”which originated in St Paul sang “Optimistic” which was fitting.“Don’t give up and don’t give in, although it seems you never win… be optimistic,” they sang. We can win, indeed we can if we don’t give up or give in.

Not allowing the officials in attendance to speak (Governor Dayton, Senator Franken, or Rep Keith Ellison) was a protest. Shutting them out, said we know you didn’t do this, but you are a part (like it or not) of a system that did. One that only offers platitudes, hallow apologies and insincere promises and talk of change and more cups of tea with the president.

Even the press was kept out, oh yeah this was a sort of protest. It pushed back on the corporate media’s feeling of entitlement their right to sensationalize our lives even our grief.

Reverend Steve Daniels Jr. of Shiloh Baptist Church in St Paul, tried to strike a middle chord by saying we have to overcome our divisions. But to say this is about division is to obscure the fact that Philando was killed by the State. IT’S NOT US versus THE POLICE. IT’S THE POLICE versus US! I would say we want them to do their job and stop the profiling and terrorizing and killing our folks, but judging from the number of funerals, that appears to be part of their job.

The eulogist hit some right chords dismissing the idea that so-called black crime should be focused on when there is white and black crime. I would take it further and call it law-breaking. The real crime is committed by those who run this country, who allow us to be overworked, overtaxed, overcharged, over- imprisoned, over-policed and overlooked, while at same time under-utilizing, underserving and undermining our humanity.

He rightfully pointed out that Philando had done nothing to deserve his fate.

But the reverend struck a sour note when he gave a nod to law enforcement, saying they are here “to serve and protect us.” Well this funeral and so many others should have dispelled him of that notion by now. He also said “we have to respect the law;” there was little to no applause.

James Baldwin once said that, “to respect the law, in the context in which the American Negro finds himself, is simply to surrender his self-respect.”

“His death is not in vain. It is a catalyst that will bring about reformation, justice and peace,” wrote his Aunt Shirley in the obituary. His mother wrote, “Philando you were quiet in life, but you making some noise now Baby!!!

We might be crying now during the night of our perilous journey, but we if we keep fighting, our mourning will come and our tears too will be dried.

Philando Casile: Presente!

justice then peace