The brutal murder of Tyre Nichols by five Black Memphis police officers should be enough to implode the fantasy that identity politics and diversity will solve the social, economic and political decay that besets the United States. Not only are the former officers Black, but the city’s police department is headed by Cerelyn Davis**,** a Black woman. None of this helped Nichols, another victim of a modern-day police lynching. The militarists, corporatists, oligarchs, politicians, academics and media conglomerates champion identity politics and diversity because it does nothing to address the systemic injustices or the scourge of permanent war that plague the U.S. It is an advertising gimmick, a brand, used to mask mounting social inequality and imperial folly. It busies liberals and the educated with a boutique activism, which is not only ineffectual but exacerbates the divide between the privileged and a working class in deep economic distress.
So many of us have been marching against the police, challenging them in the streets and organizing massive demonstrations. In 2020, cop cars were set ablaze. A police station burned with an approval rating higher than the U.S. Congress! The consciousness of millions of people was deeply changed in the U.S. and around the world. As the movement waned, our class enemies attacked us. As self-appointed leaders became millionaires, they led the movement to the Democratic Party, a party of police itself, as a backlash against the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement mounted. Both Democrats and Republicans whipped up fear of a non-existent “crime wave” and posed increased policing as the solution. President Biden called for more money for police. The Republicans actually increased police budgets and are currently fighting against any discussion of racism in schools.
Atlanta, Georgia - The city of Atlanta, Georgia is often presented as a “Mecca” for Black people. Every mayor of that city who has held office since 1974 has been Black, and celebrities have made it their home. Major Historically Black Colleges and Universities are located there. Atlanta is thought of as a place where Black people thrive. Except it is like every other major American city, where Black people are more likely to be low wage workers or among the unhoused. The Black people in leadership positions are allowed to occupy them precisely because they have taken a pledge not to upset the established political order. These caveats must be kept in mind when discussing the construction of the Atlanta Public Safety Training Center, known popularly as Cop City. The purported Black Mecca municipality is spending $30 million to construct an 85-acre militarized police training camp in the Weelaunee Forest.
Memphis, Tennessee - Five police officers from Memphis, Tennessee who murdered the 29-year-old Black father Tyre Nichols, were arrested and charged with second-degree murder on January 26. Nichols was brutally beaten for three minutes by Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith following a traffic stop on January 7. He succumbed to his wounds three days later, in the hospital. An autopsy found that he had suffered excessive internal bleeding as a result of the beating. His death provoked mass outrage in Memphis and throughout the country, and many have been demanding accountability for those responsible. Although police violence is prevalent in the US (2022 recorded 1,176 police killings, more than any year in US history), it is extremely rare for police to be held accountable for these crimes. From 2013 to 2022, 98% of police murders did not result in officers being charged for a crime.
Boyah J. Farah fled the war in Somalia arriving in the United States as a refugee with his mother and siblings when he was fifteen. His romantic dreams of America quickly ran into the dark undercurrents of American racism. Living in a housing project in Bedford, Massachusetts he was forced to discover the curse of being Black in America, the daily humiliations and small, but insidious ways he was made to constantly feel an outsider by whites. He watched as other Somali families succumbed to the poison of American racism, writing that although they had survived the war in Africa, American broke them and carried them off. America is democratic, he concedes sardonically, for every Black person is, in the end, simply another disposable Black body. Boyah J. Farah joins The Chris Hedges Report to discuss his memoir America Made Me a Black Man.
D.C. Mayor Bowser’s “Draft Racial Equity Action Plan ” (REAP) is a public relations document which reflects a continued commitment to the systemic foundations of racial inequities. As a follow-up to the empty gesture of painting the words “Black Lives Matter” on 800 16th Street Northwest, Washington, DC and declaring that space “Black Lives Matter Plaza ”, the REAP suggests that the state structures which maintain settler colonialism and capitalism can be a remedy for racial inequity. “It is our charge and our responsibility to put in place policies that are intentional about ending structural racism and reversing the legacies of policies that intentionally locked Black and brown Washingtonians out of opportunity and the ability to build wealth,” Bowser said when announcing the REAP on November 16, 2022 as a first for D.C. of such a plan.
The agenda was set with the Lewis Powell Memorandum in 1971. Written at the request of the United States Chamber of Commerce, probably the most influential structure of capitalist rule at the time, the concern for the Chamber was the need to find a more coherent counter-offensive to the attacks against the system over the previous years. At the center of the anti-system attacks during the 1960s was, of course, the Black Liberation Movement and the Anti-War movement. Powell made the argument that the capitalist class had to recognize that their very survival was at stake and that meant capitalists had to understand that as a class their interests transcended their individual enterprises.
When politicians and corporate media speak of crime they are invariably talking about Black people as a group. The latest manufactured crime panic is following a very old and successful playbook. The dog whistle is very clearly heard by white people, who don’t need very much encouragement to indulge in their worst racist fantasies. Politicians feed the madness and then profit from it, making Black people the face of crime and then winning office as result. In New York state, the incumbent democratic governor Kathy Hochul is having a closer than expected race against republican congressman Lee Zeldin. New York is a solidly democratic state, where a republican presidential candidate hasn’t won since 1984 and where republicans are in the minority in both houses of the legislature.
Our dear brother, leader, confidant, mentor and model servant of our people, Saladin Muhammad, joined our revolutionary ancestors on September 19, 2022 in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. Saladin was 76 and had been battling illness for a while. When our revolutionary elders leave this material world, we often say another giant has fallen as a testament to their contribution and the love that we have for them. But sometimes, that characterization is just not enough. This is one of those times. Brother Saladin occupied a category that only a few have occupied. As one of only a handful of strategic thinkers and organizers of our movement that had not retired (how does a member of an oppressed nation and class retire from revolution?) Saladin continued to provide the leadership that he had given for well over five decades.
Seals was shot to death in 2016, then set on fire in his car in an unsolved murder. Local St. Louis media outlet the Riverfront Times obtained a declassified copy of the more than 900-page FBI report on Seals. The FBI fully redacted approximately 860 of the pages, and partially redacted parts of the remaining roughly 45 pages. In the report, the FBI called Seals “a self-described revolutionary who has espoused somewhat militant rhetoric and has access to weapons.” The Riverfront Times article shows how the FBI used local police to harass Seals. In June 2016, the activist was “investigatively detained” by local police who pulled over Seals in his car on FBI orders. Seals had proudly described himself on his Twitter account as a “Revolutionary, Activist, Unapologetically BLACK, Afrikan in AmeriKKKa.”
For stolen lands to remain colonized, for investments to remain profitable, for white capital to remain ruthless, Black Rage must be neutralized. Black Rage—the omnipresent force radiating throughout the anxieties of the State—is a boundless threat to the capitalist order. Like a Big Bang, Black Rage began its expansion into colonial existence at the exact moment the first African was plucked from their roots and cast down into the sunken dungeon of the European slave ship. Its expansion is the survival of the human spirit, serving as a potential death knell to oppression—ringing its bell with smoldering waves of resistance quietly hissing in infamy. Black Rage finds expression in the assisted asphyxiation of the slave trader (accompanied by the seizure of their ship), the alleviation of the slave master's heartbeat (seasoned by the enslaved maid), the transformation of the settler city-state into a community fireplace (the riot of the unheard).
Congratulations Fam, I hear that you’ve finally secured the bag, otherwise known as reparations. A cool $800,000 to be paid in eight annual installments, the first $100,000 of which arrived in your bank account today. Well, maybe not quite $100k, but about $75,000 after taxes. Still some nice coin. So, how should we get the party started? You say you want to finally buy a house for you and your family? Seventy-five grand is not gonna get you that deluxe apartment on the upper East side, but it’s a nice downpayment on a three-bedroom condo in Teaneck or Tallahassee. All you have to do is pop into the bank and sign on the dotted line . . . but wait one cotton pickin’ minute; is that a subprime mortgage? Perhaps America’s worst- kept secret is that usurious, adjustable mortgages were not designed to help African Americans who don’t have money but to exploit those who do.
Ella Jo Baker will be inducted into the Cooperative Hall of Fame as an “Unsung Hero” at a ceremony at the National Press Club on Oct. 6 in Washington DC. Ella Baker is well-regarded as a giant in the Civil Rights Movement, known for her unique participatory grassroots organizing style and also for her ability to galvanize young people to bring a militancy in the struggle to end segregation. But Baker is less known for her innovative organizing prowess before the 1960s – forming a network of self-help cooperatives to bring economic relief to black people during the Depression. “Ella Baker was one of the most effective, original and masterful organizers of the 20th century,” one scholar noted about the woman who became a Civil Rights legend (Tutashinda, 2010, p. 33).
The March 2020 killing of Breonna Taylor, which caused widespread protest around the country, was the result of police lies to obtain a warrant and racist police violence after officers forced their way into her apartment. On August 4, the Department of Justice (DOJ) announced the federal grand jury indictments of four Louisville Metro Police officers involved in the raid that resulted in Taylor’s death. Three of the officers were accused of violating Taylor’s Fourth Amendment rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure by lying to secure a no-knock warrant. The officers who sought the warrant “knew that the affidavit used to obtain the warrant to search Taylor’s home contained information that was false, misleading, and out-of-date; that the affidavit omitted material information; and that the officers lacked probable cause for the search,” the indictment reads.
On July 29, Louisiana reinstated a controversial abortion ban, which led to the immediate cancellation of procedures in the state. Following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade in late June, a number of states across the country have moved to outlaw abortion, and in Louisiana, women in poverty will bear the worst burdens of the newly reinstated ban. These women are the true experts regarding the fatal risks of taking away reproductive freedom in the state — not anti-abortion politicians. The politicians gutting abortion rights likely don’t understand the pain of holding a friend as she sobs on the bathroom floor, assuming it’s the worst menstrual cycle of her life, only to discover that she is experiencing a missed miscarriage and her life is at stake. But I do.