Skip to content

One Four Seven: some notes on tactics and strategy from Durham’s recent anti-police marches

December 11, 2014

ONE FOUR SEVEN

some notes on tactics and strategy from Durham’s recent anti-police marches

On Friday, December 5th, ten days after hundreds of protesters took over the Durham Freeway in response to the ongoing murder of Black and Brown people, Durham took to the streets again. This protest was most immediately a reaction to the decision of a New York Grand Jury to not press charges against the cop who murdered Eric Garner, but it was clearly part of the same trajectory initiated by the August uprising in Ferguson, Missouri. A movement against the police has begun. This thing we are experiencing contradicts itself constantly, expressing itself simultaneously with molotov cocktails, flipped police cruisers, and outright hostility to police on the one hand and platitudes about peaceful protest and demands like body cameras and racial sensitivity training on the other. Nonetheless, a movement it has clearly become. At this point demonstrators have blocked highways and bridges in over 170 cities around the country, sometimes violently confronting police and burning or smashing entire city blocks. The East Bay has not stopped rioting for three weeks. Smaller or less spectacular actions—rallies, die-ins, teach-ins, etc—have occurred probably in the thousands. For many of us, this has become the most important social struggle of our (young) lives. Skills we learned in earlier movements apply now with urgency, and new skills and new ideas take hold at a rapid rate.

This movement was catalyzed and has been led by the uncompromising revolt of Black people, initially from those in a small, poor midwestern suburb few of us had ever heard of. Its central expression is an antagonism towards the white supremacy that defines modern American policing, echoed in the common chant “Black Lives Matter,” but its roots also reach deeply into other realms of class, economy, and gender. These deep roots, and the fact that continued demonstrations are no longer responding to any one single killing but rather a deep-set pattern, make cooptation or recuperation by authorities difficult. What could a single police chief or politician possibly do to assuage enough people’s concerns? What responsible Black leader could possibly lead the country into an era of “humane” policing? Realistically, there are no demands to be made, no leader or party who could “fix” the police, because the police are not broken. They’re doing exactly what they have been historically designed to do.

In line with such a perspective, we’ve focused this account of Durham’s most recent march not on questions of “the political” like making demands or pressuring city officials, but rather on how we can continue building our own power as a diffuse but growing crowd-in-motion. When we blockade or occupy the streets or buildings of our city, what makes us powerful? What are the strategies used by the police to contain our rage during protests, and how can we defeat them? These are questions of social relations, the trust and communication we have or have not built between us, and they are also questions of infrastructure, tactics, tools, movement, and space. Even for those still committed to reforming the police as an institution, with whom we firmly disagree, these questions are crucial, as the only way even modest reforms will take hold will be if we can succeed in becoming an actual threat to those in power. Read more…

On New Year’s Eve, Bring the Noise!

December 10, 2014

demoFrom Amplify Voices

New Year’s Eve Prisoner Solidarity Noise Demo

For all humans locked up and their efforts to resist
Against prisons and the world that creates them

For the 4th year in a row, the hundreds of people held captive inside Durham jail — who are getting just two sandwiches for dinner and are freezing in their cells with no heat — will hear us on the outside and know that they are not alone and that their struggles will not be forgotten in 2015.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014
7:30PM
Meet at CCB Plaza (Corcoran & Chapel Hill Sts.), then march to the Durham County jail @ 217 S. Mangum St.

canibalBring signs and banners, drums, buckets, pots and pans, and anything that makes noise and light.
Bring your love and support for prisoners, your hopes and visions for liberation in 2015, and your rage and anger for a system that locks up our family, friends, and comrades.

LET’S KEEP MAKING NOISE.

For more about what’s going on inside the Durham jail, visit amplifyvoices.com.
Need a ride? Email insideoutsidealliance@gmail.com or call 919-666-7854

Dec. 25th, Annual Christmas Caroling at Central Prison

December 10, 2014

christmasThursday, Dec 25th, 10am Christmas Caroling Outside Central Prison- Meet under the railroad trestle on Western Blvd. Enter Boylan Heights through Boylan Ave.

All are invited to the Fr. Charlie Mulholland Catholic Worker House annual Christmas morning witness and caroling at Central Prison at 10 A.M.  We will  rally around the perimeter of the prison on Christmas morning to sing carols. Drummers will also be there to make a joyful noise. We hold a big Merry Christmas sign and bring the only cheer the inmates get on Christmas (The warden does not allow visiting on Christmas to give more guards the day off).  Singing starts around 10 am.  Believe me, this is a great way to remember what the season is about.  Peace and Blessings, Patrick O’Neill

Isaiah 61:1

The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

 

The Nature of Police, the Role of the Left

December 9, 2014
by PETER GELDERLOOS

A young black person was killed, many people brave enough to take to the streets in the aftermath were injured and arrested, and the only real consequences the police will face will be changes designed to increase their efficiency at spinning the news or handling the crowds, the next time they kill someone. Because amidst all the inane controversies, that is one fact that no one can dispute: the police will kill again, and again, and again. A disproportionate number of their targets will be young people of color and transgender people, but they have also killed older people, like John T. Williams, Bernard Monroe, and John Adams, and white people too. The Right has seized on a couple cases of white youth being killed by cops, like Dillon Taylor or Joseph Jennings, throwing questions of proportion out the window in a crass attempt to claim the police are not racist.

Essentially, the point being made by right-wing pundits is that the cops are killing everybody, so it’s not a problem. The fact that they can make this argument and still retain credibility with a large sector of the population shows how normalized the role of the police is in our society. The true meaning of the evidence used manipulatively by the Right is that the police are a danger to anyone not wearing a business suit.

In a serious debate, however, it would be hard to deny that the police are a racist institution par excellence. They kill young black, latino, and Native people at a disproportionately higher rate than white youth, and the institution itself descended from the patrols created to capture fugitive slaves in the South and police urban immigrants in the North, as masterfully documented in Kristian Williams‘ landmark book, Our Enemies in Blue. What’s more, the criminal justice system that the police play an integral role in, both feeding and defending the prison-industrial complex, grew directly out of the 13th Amendment’s approval of slavery in the case of imprisonment, illuminating the path by which the United States’ advancing economy could leave plantation slavery behind, first with the pairing of sharecropping and chain gangs, and more recently with the pairing of a precarious labor market on the outside and booming prison industries on the inside. Read more…

Prison captain fired over inmate death wants job back

December 8, 2014

kerrFrom WRAL

A corrections captain fired earlier this year after a mentally ill inmate died of thirst appeared in court this week to fight for his job.

Shawn Blackburn, formerly a captain at Alexander Correctional Institution in Taylorsville, N.C., was dismissed for “grossly inefficient” job performance in April amid an investigation into the death of inmate Michael Anthony Kerr. Correction officials found Kerr dead in the back of a van March 12 after the inmate was transferred from Alexander to Central Prison in Raleigh. The state medical examiner later found Kerr died of dehydration.

The former captain is one of at least nine Alexander employees fired in the wake of Kerr’s death. At least two others resigned, and the N.C. Department of Public Safety says close to 30 people have been disciplined or demoted in some form. Like Blackburn, many are appealing their dismissals.

Although the hearing is a quasi-judicial process that takes place in a courtroom environment, it is not a trial. Rather, Blackburn was making the case he should not have been fired for Kerr’s death. Others investigating the matter for possible criminal conduct include a federal grand jury and the State Bureau of Investigation, which is overseen by the same administrative department as the prison system.

Corrections officials say Blackburn violated policy and demonstrated poor judgment when he left Kerr, who suffered from schizoaffective disorder, confined in handcuffs for five days in solitary confinement, where the inmate had been segregated for more than a month.

“Yes he was an inmate, but he was a human being,” Assistant Attorney General Tamika Henderson, arguing for the state, said. “It comes down to fact that while in control of the Department of Public Safety, a man died after being handcuffed for five days in a segregation cell sitting in his own urine and feces.” Read more…

Mississippi: Prison health faces poor quality accusations

December 8, 2014
View from the door at blood on the floor at East Mississippi Correctional Facility where a mentally ill inmate had cut himself.

View from the door at blood on the floor at East Mississippi Correctional Facility where a mentally ill inmate had cut himself.

From Corporate Media

State corrections officials disregarded risk to the health and safety of young prisoners at the Walnut Grove prison, U.S. District Judge Carlton Reeves concluded in a scathing March 22, 2012, report on the then GEO Group-run facility.

The sum of “these actions and inactions” by those officials, GEO and Health Assurance, which was contracted to provide medical and mental health care, “paints a picture of such horror as should be unrealized anywhere in the civilized world,” he wrote.

Despite these words, the Mississippi Department of Corrections gave Health Assurance a contract to provide health care at East Mississippi Correctional Facility, paying the company $12 million over the past three years, according to state records.

In a lawsuit filed against MDOC in September, the ACLU called conditions at East Mississippi barbaric with a “callous denial of prisoners’ serious medical and mental health needs.” Read more…

MTV Releases Video Supporting Anti-Police Riots

December 8, 2014

From Mask Magazine

You know shit is getting crazy when even MTV’s viral-video sex educator is like: let’s talk about riots. Yesterday, Laci Greene posted this short video “Is Ferguson like Mockingjay?”

In a clever bait and switch, Laci entices us with The Hunger Games, and then 30 seconds in starts talking about the legacy of riots in the US. She discusses the Haymarket and Stonewall Riots, taking what otherwise might be seen as boring history and makes it accessible to MTV viewers.

This video signifies the shifts happening in discourse around tactics as the frequency and brutality of police violence becomes harder to explain or comprehend, with major publications and cultural institutions defending rioting – even militantly anti-police riots – in unprecidented ways.

Read more…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 566 other followers