Obscured by the white noise of the run-up to the Super Bowl, U.S. culture’s 21st century version of the Roman circus, reports began to circulate that despite the massive demonstrations calling for the Federal Department of Justice to render something called “justice” for Mike Brown in the notorious execution case in Ferguson, Missouri, the Justice Department concluded that there was insufficient evidence to bring an indictment against Darren Wilson, the officer who killed Michael Brown. The reports suggest that the Feds are only waiting for the most propitious moment to make the official announcement.
And in New York, Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, an advocate and one of the strongest executioners of the controversial “broken windows” and “stop, question and frisk” policing that many critics argue unfairly targets individuals in poor minority communities, unveiled a plan for a 350 member “Strategic Response Group” to bolster the departments’ “anti-terror” capabilities. Explaining the rationale and mission of the new unit, Bratton said that the unit will be “designed for dealing with events like our recent protests, or incidents like Mumbai or what just happened in Paris.”
With these two decisions, the government position is clear: the security apparatus designed to “protect and serve” capital has been given a green light to repressed and even murder us.
The message for the protectors of the white corporate and financial elite is that it does not matter if you execute a kid in cold blood on front of a dozen witnesses and leave his body in the street for four hours as a message to everyone in the community or you are caught on video murdering Eric Garner or 12 year-old Tamir Rice, you don’t have to fear prosecution from the state. It is now open season when it comes to policing and controlling the dangerous class of poor and working class black people.
What this means for us is that we are the racialized” “other,” the enemy, like the enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan. We also should understand now, if we didn’t before, that even when we mobilize to resist, to demand that “Black lives matter,” that the response from Bratton and the capitalist, racist state could easily result in us and our allies being designated domestic terrorists and thus potential targets for repressive state violence.
Marshawn Lynch’s “shout out to the real Africans” generated days of conversation on the meaning of his statement. We will never know what he meant by that shout out until he clarifies it for us. But until that happens I will take the license to provide my meaning of his statement.
The real Africans that Marshawn refers to are those black people who understand their oppositional relationship to the racist U.S. settler-state. Who understand and embrace the concept that they/we are part of the colonized world and as people from what became known as Africa, we/they are now and should be considered “new Africans” or simply Africans. But more importantly, that as Africans with an oppositional relationship to the U.S. state and its racist, colonialist legacy and history – we must understand that we are at war. That the very nature and structure of the social order is organized to deny us our fundamental human rights and dignity. That when we say that black lives matter, we are not centering white opinion but are positively asserting that black lives matter to us and that we will organize and struggle against all forces that deny us our humanity – all forces- including the U.S. state and its repressive apparatus.
Marshawn might not have had something like that in mind. But in this month in which we remember the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Malcolm X, we must let Bratton, the Department of Justice and all those who continue to deny us our human rights that for many of us “no justice, no peace,” is more than just a slogan we shout at a march, it is a political principle that informs our fight for our fundamental human rights. A principle that we are committed to realizing “by any means necessary.” That must be our shout out!