Tag Archive: Michael Brown

Accomplices Wanted: A few notes on race, legitimacy, and solidarity with the struggle in Ferguson

CAM01615-1

On August 9th, a white police officer murdered an unarmed Black teenager named Michael Brown (“Mike-Mike”) on the streets of Ferguson, MO, a couple miles north of St. Louis. Nothing about this was abnormal or newsworthy in any way; it was simply another reminder of the cheapness of poor Black life in the United States in 2014. Typically, such tragedies are swept under the rug with ease, by the usual combination of go-nowhere state investigations, mild officer reprimands, and calls for calm, prayer, and peace issued by Civil Rights and church leaders and echoed by the liberal media.

But in Ferguson, something different happened. Black residents, along with a few white people from the immediate and surrounding areas, fought back against the white supremacist authority of the police. They took over the main street of town, pushing police out of the area entirely. Pavement was broken up for projectiles, stores were looted and attacked, the QT where a customer had called the cops on Mike-Mike was burned to the ground. Until it was fenced in, the QT lot became a kind of gathering place, covered in spraypainted anti-cop lyrics and references to revolutions of the past. (more…)

Missouri Prison Newsletter #6–Ferguson

newsletter-6-image1From Anti State STL

Issue #6, September-October 2014

The Missouri Prison Newsletter is distributed to (about 150) people in prisons across the U.S., but focusing on those incarcerated in Missouri and Illinois. This issue focuses specifically on the recent uprisings in Ferguson, MO, and contains original personal accounts of the riots, analysis and a timeline of the uprisings as they unfolded.

The previous five issues are available here:

Issue #1, January-February 2014

Issue #2, February-March 2014

Issue #3, March-April 2014

Issue #4, April-May 2014

Issue #5, May-June 2014

Ben Turk and Alexander Abbasi on The Final Straw

ferguson-palestine_0From Asheville FM

Streaming at AshevilleFM from 3am EST on August 25th through August 31st, 2014, then podcasting atradio4all.net. Also airing this week on KOWA-LPFMin Olympia, WA, KWTF in Bodega Bay, CA, KXCF in Marshall, CA, and WCRS-LP Columbus Community Radio 98.3 and 102.1 FM

If you’re in the asheville area, there will be a vigil at Pack Square in downtown at 6pm tonight, Sunday the 24th of August for those who’ve lost their lives at the hands of pigs, such as Michael Brown, the unarmed black man gunned down by pigs in Ferguson and A.J. Marion, gunned down by asheville pigs who’ve just been cleared of charges.https://www.facebook.com/events/696569130391969/

This episode features two conversations. The first is with Ben Turk, anarchist, playwrite and prison abolitionist. We chat briefly about the upcoming North American Anarchist Black Cross conference in Colorado, about what folks can expect if they go and how to support the event. https://fundrazr.com/campaigns/ek5vc/ab/f3E260

After that, a conversation with Alexander Abassi. Alex is a palestinian-american from Los Angeles, an activist in the BDS (That’s boycott, divest and sanctions movement against the Israeli occupation of Palestine) and a student at Harvard’s divinity school. We talk about decolonization, the uprisings in Ferguson, the struggle to liberate Palestine from the occupation by Israel and what solidarity and liberation might look like. (more…)

The Making of “Outside Agitators”

This illustration is available in poster form from artist Corina Dross, to raise funds for arrestees in Ferguson.

This illustration is available in poster form from artist Corina Dross, to raise funds for arrestees in Ferguson.

From Crimethinc.

On August 19, ten days after police murdered Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, a slew of corporate media stories appeared charging that“criminals” and “outside agitators” were responsible for clashes during the protests. CNN alleged that “all sides agree there are a select number of people—distinct from the majority of protesters—who are fomenting violence,” quoting a State Highway Patrol Captain, a State Senator, and a former FBI assistant director to confirm this.

Today’s militarized police understand that they are operating on two different battlefields at once: not only the battlefield of the streets, but also the battlefield of discourse. So long as most people remain passive, the police can harass, beat, arrest, and even kill people with impunity—certain people, anyway. But sometimes protests get “out of hand,” which is to say, they actually impact the authorities’ ability to keep the population under control. Then, without fail, police and politicians proceed to the second strategy in their playbook: they declare that they support the protesters and are there to defend their rights, but a few bad apples are spoiling the bunch. In this new narrative, the enemies of the protesters are not the police who are gassing and shooting people, but those who resist the police and their violence. When this strategy works, it enables the police to go back to harassing, beating, arresting, and killing people with impunity—certain people, anyway.

Sure enough, a few hours after these articles about “criminals” and “outside agitators” appeared, the St. Louis police killed another man less than three miles from Ferguson. Here we see how defining people as “criminals” and “outsiders” is itself an act of violence, setting the stage for further violence. You can predict police behavior at protests with a fair degree of accuracy based on the rhetoric they deploy in advance to prepare the terrain.

So when we hear them say “outside agitators,” we know the authorities are getting ready to spill blood. All the better, from their perspective, if people buy into this rhetoric and police themselves so no officer has to get his hands dirty. This is often called for in the name of avoiding violence, but self-policing returns us to the same passivity that enables police violence to occur in the first place. How many people would have even heard about Michael Brown if not for the “criminals” and “agitators” who brought his death to our attention? Self-policing also preserves the impression that we all choose this state of affairs of our own free will, reinforcing the impression that anyone who does not is anoutsider. (more…)