By Ben Forstenzer for U.S. Uncut – In the last 10 days, five black churches have been set on fire in the St. Louis area. And unlike the last wave of black church fires this summer in which weather played a role in some of the fires, these all appear to be the work of arsonists. The lack of media coverage about these fires is highly-noticeable, given the media’s hyper-intensive coverage of rioters in Baltimore setting fire to a CVS earlier this year. “It is arson,” St. Louis Fire Department captain Garon Mosby told Fox 2 Saint Louis. “These are being intentionally set.” This most recent wave of church fires are taking place in North St. Louis, near Ferguson, where racial tensions have been particularly high since the August 2014 shooting of Michael Brown. The department of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms is investigating the arsons.Continue reading
Black-Palestinian Alliance Confronts Global Violence & Racism
By Michaela Whitton for Anti Media – United Kingdom — Over 60 leading Black and Palestinian artists released a video on Tuesday affirming Black-Palestinian solidarity. Describing the project, renowned civil rights activist Angela Davis said, “Mutual expressions of solidarity have helped to generate a vigorous political kinship linking black organizers, scholars, cultural workers and political prisoners in the U.S. with Palestinian activists, academics, political prisoners, and artists.” The two minute video features Ms. Lauryn Hill, Danny Glover, DAM, Omar Barghouti, Alice Walker, Angela Davis, Yousef Erakat, Annemarie Jacir, Boots Riley, Dr. Cornel West, and others.Continue reading
Black Lives Matter Schism: A Vision For Black Autonomy
By Joel Northam in CounterPunch – The Black Lives Matter movement exhibited a schism since the first few days following the first Ferguson rebellion. I remember watching live streams of the rebellion early on as Ferguson’s youth waged small scale urban combat armed with little more than rubble and glass bottles. The heroic resistance to state power, against all odds of victory in forcing a retreat of the occupying militarized police, and in the face of material consequences in the form of a brutal crackdown, was a demonstration of courage that we all should aspire to.
The repression by the armed apparatus of the state in Ferguson (and Baltimore months later) provoked another popular response. But this response took on a different character. It seemed to want to place distance between itself and those who were engaged in combat with the police.Continue reading
Morello On Ferguson: ‘Not A Humanitarian; I’m A Hell-Raiser’
By Brittany Spanos in Rolling Stone – Yeah, there are thousands of cases, countless cases of white police officers murdering unarmed black people and getting off scot-free. What happened in Ferguson was that the community reacted in a way that was newsworthy on a global scale. If there had been one prayer circle and everybody singing “Kumbaya,” that would’ve been completely swept under the rug. The outrage of there being no indictment really cast a global light on the kind of racism that is America’s original sin. The Michael Brown case was the first domino in the 21st Century that we’ve seen. I don’t need to remind you how; all you have to do is turn on the news every two to three days. Horrendous incidents. But now people have their cameras. If there had not been an uprising in Ferguson, there would not have been indictments in Baltimore. There’s a greater vigilance.Continue reading
Ferguson Commission Won’t Bring Social Change – #BLM Will
By Steven W. Thrasher in Occupy – It’s going to get a lot harder to pretend that the suffering in Ferguson, Michael Brown’s death and the explosive reaction after his shooting weren’t all about race now that the Ferguson Commission has bluntly written: “make no mistake: this is about race.”
The commission, which on Monday released its nearly 200 page report Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Towards Racial Equity, can’t easily be written off. It was organized by Governor Jay Nixon, who was widely criticized for his handling of Ferguson in the summer and fall of 2014. It includes high profile voices from the Black Lives Matter movement, such as Brittany Packnett, as well as clergy, academics and even Sergeant Kevin Ahlbrand, president of the Missouri Fraternal Order of Police.Continue reading
Forward Through Ferguson: A Path Toward Racial Equity
By Forward Through Ferguson – As with any organization that works closely together on serious issues, the Ferguson Commission has found itself coming back to several phrases again and again. One of those phrases has been, “The only way forward is through.”
By this we mean that if we are to move forward as a region, if we are to make true, long-term, sustainable progress, we can’t avoid our reality—we must confront it, and work through it. We believe that if we attempt to skirt the difficult truths, if we try to avoid talking about race, if we stop talking about Ferguson, as many in the region would like us to, then we cannot move forward. Progress is rarely simple, and it rarely goes in a straight line. But we are convinced that progress in the St. Louis region runs through Ferguson, and every issue that the phrase “Ferguson” now conjures.Continue reading
Study: Inappropriate Police Tactics Inflamed Ferguson Protests
By Ryan J. Reilly in The Huffington Post – Law enforcement officials responding to demonstrations and unrest in Ferguson, Missouri, following the death of Michael Brown last August used a variety of inappropriate tactics and strategies that often exacerbated tensions, according to a report by policing experts that the Justice Department is releasing this week.
The assessment finds that deploying dogs for crowd control was “provocative,” positioning snipers on top of armored vehicles during daytime protests “inflamed tensions,” tear gas was “deployed inappropriately,” and law enforcement used unconstitutional policing strategies that suppressed First Amendment rights. Such strategies “had the unintended consequence of escalating rather than diminishing tension,” the report states.Continue reading
New Ferguson Judge Finally Doing Something About Abusive Court
By Ryan J. Reilly in The Huffington Post – Ferguson Municipal Court Judge Donald McCullin issued an order on Monday that attempts to address some of the damage caused by St. Louis County’s practice of issuing arrest warrants and harsh penalties for minor violations, a revenue-driven approach the Department of Justice criticized in a March report.
The judge’s order withdrew all arrest warrants issued before this year, and reinstated drivers licenses that were suspended only because of a missed court date or failure to pay a fine.
The move comes a year after after the death of Michael Brown helped call attention to theabusive practices of municipal courts around St. Louis County that undermined relationships between police and communities in the region.Continue reading
Black August, 35 Years Ago, To Black Lives Matter, Today
By Yesenia Barragan in TeleSurTV – Since the Ferguson riots last August, Black Lives Matter has radically shifted the national conversation on anti-Black racism and police brutality through massive protests, demonstrations, and online mobilizations that have galvanized a new generation of youth of color in the United States and around the world who refuse to allow the police to turn them into another murder statistic. Just last month, hundreds of Black activists gathered together in Cleveland, Ohio in a historic meeting for the inaugural Movement for Black Lives Convening, which featured panels and workshops on Black labor organizing, queer and trans justice, lessons from the Black Panther Party, among others.
A new Pew Research Center poll released this month further shows how Black Lives Matter is transforming the racial views of Americans (and particularly white Americans) in astounding ways.Continue reading
Newsletter: The Obvious Blinds Us, Unless The Truth Is Told
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance – It has been a busy two weeks since our last newsletter for #BlackLivesMatter, seeking climate justice, fair wages and stopping the TPP. We have been doing weekly newsletters since Occupy, last week we missed our first week as we were at the Localize This Action Camp of the Backbone Campaign. The reality of our times and of our history is that truth needs a messenger. Truths, especially difficult ones to face, do not become known on their own. Telling the hard to face truths is where movements begin; spreading that truth creates a national consensus for change and is the source for mobilizations that force essential transformations.Continue reading
Cornel West: The Fire Of A New Generation
By George Yancy and Cornel West in NYTimes – The black prophetic fire among the younger generation in Ferguson was intense and wonderful. Ferguson is ground zero for the struggle against police brutality and police murder. I just wanted to be a small part of that collective fight back that puts one’s body on the line. It was beautiful because part of the crowd was chanting, “This is what democracy looks like,” which echoes W.E.B. DuBois and the older generation’s critique of capitalist civilization and imperialist power. And you also had people chanting, “We gon’ be alright,” which is from rap artist Kendrick Lamar, who is concerned with the black body, decrepit schools, indecent housing. This chant is in many ways emerging as a kind of anthem of the movement for the younger generation. So, we had both the old school and the new school and I try to be a kind of link between these two schools. There was a polyphonic, antiphonal, call and response, all the way down and all the way live.Continue reading
One Year Later, Everyone Arrested In Ferguson Being Charged
By Mariah Stewart and Ryan Reilly in The Huffington Post – A year ago, after 18-year-old Michael Brown was killed by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson, police responded to even peaceful daytime protests in the St. Louis suburb by deploying attack dogs and tactical vehicles, pointing sniper rifles at peaceful protesters, arresting people for simply standing still on public sidewalks, flooding demonstrators with tear gas — often without warning — and shooting them with bean bags, wooden pellets and balls filled with pepper spray.
A year later, St. Louis County authorities have decided they’re not done with protesters quite yet. Lawyers representing the interests of those arrested in Ferguson last August say St. Louis County authorities have sent out “hundreds” of summonses to individuals swept up by police a year ago.Continue reading
Mumia Abu-Jamal On The Meaning Of Ferguson
Before recent days, who among us had ever heard of Ferguson, Missouri?
Because of what happened there, the brief but intense experience of state repression, its name will be transmitted by millions of Black mouths to millions of Black ears, and it will become a watchword for resistance, like Watts, like Newark, Harlem and Los Angeles.
But Ferguson wasn’t 60 years ago – it’s today.
And for young Blacks from Ferguson and beyond, it was a stark, vivid history lesson – and also a reality lesson.
When they dared protest the state’s street-murder of one of their own, the government responded with the tools and weapons of war. They assaulted them with gas. They attacked them as if Ferguson were Fallujah, in Iraq.Continue reading
More Arrests In Ferguson As Police And Protesters Clash For Second Night
By Jon Swaine and Oliver Laughland in Occupy – Police clashed with hundreds of protesters in Ferguson, Missouri, for a second night on Monday after a day of intense protests over the use of deadly force by American law enforcement that saw 144 people arrested.
But further gun violence appeared to have been avoided following the ordering of a state of emergency by county authorities and the announcement of criminal charges against a black 18-year-old who was shot by police after allegedly opening fire on their vehicle during chaotic scenes late on Sunday.
Officers in riot gear from St. Louis County police and the Missouri highway patrol snatched several demonstrators from the crowds and made 23 arrests through a hot August evening on Monday.Continue reading
State Of Emergency Declared In Ferguson’s County
By Staff in St. Loius Post-Dispatch – Protesters and police gathered on West Florissant Avenue in Ferguson Monday night. Protesters had walked the streets chanting and police were monitoring, and the scene had remained relatively quiet with some skirmishes between the crowd and police.
Shortly after 10 p.m., protesters began to scatter as police began to make arrests. There were about 50 reporters, 75 cops, and 150 protesters at the scene.
“Unruly crowd is throwing frozen water bottles at officers,” the St. Louis County Police Department tweeted earlier in the evening, shortly after 10 p.m. “Those who choose to act violently will be arrested.” Witnesses said police were using pepper spray.
Police tweeted that the crowd was unlawfully assembled and said those who would not follow orders would be arrested. Department Chief Jon Belmar was on the front lines monitoring.
Police donned helmets shortly after 9:30 p.m. after they reported rocks and bottles being thrown at them. Witnesses said they saw a water bottle being thrown. By about 10:30 p.m., things had calmed down and the crowd began to march again.Continue reading