October 10th-13th s the “Weekend of Resistance” in Ferguson, MO, organized by black activists and their allies to make sure not only that we don’t forget about the police killing of Mike Brown – and the countless stolen lives he has become a symbol for – but also to make sure that justice is done.
Mike Brown’s name joins Oscar Grant, Eric Garner, John Crawford III and now Vonderrick Myers, Jr. in the ever-growing list of black youth killed by police violence. Eighteen year old Myers was killed just twelve miles away from Ferguson in nearby St. Louis, almost as if the police were doing their best to make sure everyone understands that these are not just “isolated incidents” but rather symptoms of a broader and deeper systemic problem.
Just a few examples: the grand jury assembled over the death of John Crawford, killed by police at an Ohio Wal-Mart for the terrible crime of checking out a toy gun, decided not to indict the police. Another grand jury deliberating Mike Brown’s death at the hands of Darren Wilson decided not to indict, either. The decision making process in both cases are suspect, to say the least.1 The odds seem stacked against people of color in general; the idea that these killings represent a few “bad apples” in an otherwise decent justice system is getting harder and harder to believe.
That’s why thousands of people are descending on Ferguson this weekend to reinvigorate the movement, and that’s why so many more are organizing for justice in their own communities. There are some rumblings of a recall election, with elements of the liberal establishment claiming that the street protests are a diversion, a waste of energy, and demonstrators should instead set themselves the task of recalling Ferguson’s (nearly all white) mayor and city council, replacing them with politicians who more accurately represent the population’s demographics and desires. In other communities, they say we need to elect “progressive” (read Democratic) sheriffs, councillors and mayors to turn the tide.
But building a movement isn’t a diversion, it’s the only way we can win. Martin Luther King, Jr. knew that very well, which is why the 1960s Civil Rights Movement worked hard to build links with organized labor and why the early gay rights movement was supported by the Black Panthers – because our strength lies in unity. We need to reach out, dispel the racist myths2, break down the barriers between all sections of working people, the poor and the oppressed, and unite. Like the old saying goes, “an injury to one is an injury to all!”
(From The Red Vine.)
- Detailed in Socialist Worker: http://socialistworker.org/2014/09/17/obstruction-of-justice-in-ferguson and http://socialistworker.org/2014/10/08/shot-for-being-black-in-walmart
- I can’t believe it even needs to be said, but black people do not have a cultural or genetic predisposition toward violence or criminality: https://www.jacobinmag.com/2014/09/the-poverty-of-culture/