No More Water

Ferguson and the brokenness of America’s “Justice” System

Ian Welsh

2014 November 26

At this point, in America, calling the police for anything short of a murder is more likely to make your situation worse than better if you aren’t solidly middle upper class or better, and white.  If you are black or Muslim, you might not even want to call them for murder.

Police can beat your, rape you or kill you, and the odds are very high they will get away with it.  In far too many cases they are nothing but the strongest gang.

The police are so militarized that they amount to a domestic army, stationed in every city.  The civil forfeiture laws, RICO statutes and the cost of an effective defense, plus the removal of most judicial discretion and the fact that the vast majority of cases are plea bargained, not tried, means that for most accused of a crime there is no justice.

The police have huge incentives to charge people with crimes, because they can seize the assets of those charged (well, strictly speaking, they can seize your money without ever charging you, and do.)  For profit prisons and prison guard unions support prosecutors and judges who will imprison more people, not less.   The incentives in the system are almost all towards incarcerating more people and seizing more assets, because that’s how police and prosecutors improve their personal situation.

Prisons are rural support projects where poor whites are paid to lock up poor blacks.

Ferguson: It is Right to Resist, By Any and All Means Necessary

Glen Ford, Black Agenda Report

Wed, 11/26/2014 – 16:44

The Mass Black Incarceration State, or the New Jim Crow, as Michelle Alexander calls it, has methodically criminalized a whole people. When Walking, Talking and Breathing While Black is punishable by death – a sentence carried out daily in the United States – then organizing for genuine social transformation is beyond the pale of civil protections. The only defense is a militant people’s movement that exacts its own consequences when the state exercises its claims to, essentially, limitless powers. There must be some kind of payback; otherwise, as we have witnessed over the past 40-plus years, the people succumb to self-destructive diversions, demoralization and despair, while the state steadily expands its machinery of social and physical death.

You know the state is worried when it suddenly starts assuring the oppressed that they have certain, limited rights that will be recognized. President Obama, who early in his first term succeeded in legislatively abolishing due process of law, has responded to the threat of a genuine people’s movement by endorsing peaceful protest – by which he means protest within parameters of time and space and behavior laid down by the very same police against which the grievances are directed. This constitutes “ways of channeling your concerns constructively,” says the president.

Six years into the Age of Obama, it has finally dawned on Black people that Frederick Douglass was right when he said: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never has, and it never will.” Douglass did not say: “Power concedes nothing without the consent of the legislature and a nod from Democratic Party hack in the Oval Office.” Had Obama not been sharing the screen with the youth of Ferguson, few would have watched his speech. It has required a mass movement in-the-making to focus Black people’s attention on the war waged against them by the state, rather than living vicariously with the family in the White House.

No sooner had the fires and looting commenced in Ferguson, than Obama henchman Al Sharpton and the entire multigenerational cadre of handkerchief heads and New Age opportunists sprang into action, to delegitimize the youth and funnel Black peoples energies into official channels that go nowhere.

CNN’s Van Jones denounced the “small number of knuckleheads” that “are causing the problem.”

Local Black clergy met with the white mayor of Ferguson and tried to shame the youth involved in Monday night’s rebellion. Then they bowed their heads and asked God to solve the problem, as always.

Congressman William “Lacy” Clay, who misrepresents the district and was among the 80 percent of the Congressional Black Caucus that opted, back in June, to continue the Pentagon’s transfers of weapons to local police departments, denounced The Race as a whole for the destruction of 12 businesses, the night before. “It hurts me to my heart to see what we have turned into,” he said.

The burned-out businesses, some of them Black-owned, are collateral damage in a grossly asymmetrical struggle – one in which the insurgents must battle a murderous state, a pervasively racist white society, plus the most backward, opportunistic and comprador elements of their own community. It is true that, in a small town like Ferguson, the loss of jobs, investments and amenities associated with these small “martyred” businesses is significant. In comparison, however, the costs inflicted on African Americans by the Black Misleadership Class since the demise of the last mass people’s movement, in the late Sixties, have been catastrophic. Black family wealth is one-twentieth of median white family wealth, the lowest since slavery. Great Black metropolises have been turned into wastelands, bare of employment, affordable housing, recreation, adequate education, cultural enrichment, and even healthy food. One out of every eight prison inmates in the world is an African American – an arguably genocidal outcome arrived at with the full collaboration of much of Black elected officialdom and the preaching class. Absent a fundamental change in power relationships in America – which can only come about through mass action, within and outside the law – the destruction of the Black social and physical environment can only escalate.

By attempting to delegitimize Black youth – who definitely will break the law and destroy property in their enthusiasm for immediate payback as well as lasting change – the Misleaders seek to corral and, ultimately, kill the movement.

In the coming days and months, activists must be diligent in drawing lines between those honest elements that counsel against violence for moral or tactical and strategic reasons, and those who, like Sharpton, Van Jones and Rep. “Lacy” Clay, seek to destroy the budding mass movement by ostracizing and alienating its youthful core.

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