By Eleanor Goldfield for ACT Out. Yawn points out that condemning black bloc tactics divides us and that we should not limit ourselves to only permitted protests. He asks: what violence would have to be done to you before you fight back? Is that being done to others in our country? Is it being done by the United States to others around the world? With these questions in mind he points out that opposing black bloc tactics comes from a place of privilege, the privilege of not suffering violence at the hand of the state. Yawn describes how tactics must be analyzed in the context of the situation and the goals of the protest.
By Brianna Acuesta for True Activist. What occurred on Sunday night at the Standing Rock Indian Reservation was a brutal use of force that showed the true colors of the oil companies backing the Dakota Access Pipeline and local police. It’s been clear which side the police have been on from the start, but up until now the assault on protesters has been relatively mild and spread out. However, on Sunday night, chaos ensued when law enforcement pulled out all the stops in an effort to persuade the protesters to end their fight. Police used rubber bullets, water cannons, and concussion grenades to cause “nonlethal harm” to the water protectors, but the damage inflicted was massive. Police reportedly shot a 13-year-old girl in the face with rubber bullets, vindictively shot a man at point blank range in the belly button and knee caps with a smile on their face…
By Jim Naureckas for FAIR – Sorry, New York Times–when more than 470 people have been arrested opposing the pipeline since August, that’s not the news. Nor did the print edition headline—“16 Arrested at North Dakota Pipeline Protest as Tensions Continue”—add anything. No, the news in the story came in the second paragraph, where reporter Jonah Engel Bromwich wrote that “officials also defended their use of fire hoses against protesters the night before, despite the below-freezing weather.”
By Shaun King for the NY Daily News. The protests build awareness, be they on the football field, the basketball court, the soccer pitch, or in the streets — but they don’t build the political and economic pressure required to force the hand of politicians to bring about the change. We need to force their hand. That’s why I just introduced InjusticeBoycott.com. On this Dec. 5, the anniversary of when Dr. King and others began the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott in 1955, we are launching our own Montgomery Bus Boycott to show every city, state, institution and corporation in this country that meaningful, reasonable, achievable reforms on police brutality and injustice are not our long-term dreams. They are our immediate emergency priority. It is going to take the same type of determination and organization that we saw with the Montgomery Bus Boycott over 60 years ago for us to succeed. We’ve done it before. We can do it again. We will do it again. In just a few days, 79,089 people from all 50 states and countries all around the world have joined us. By now, you’ve probably signed many petitions the past few years. This is not a petition. This is you making a pledge that you will boycott cities, states, businesses, and institutions which are either willfully indifferent to police brutality and racial injustice or are deliberately destructive partners with it.
By Julia Craven for The Huffington Post – A damning report from the Justice Department found that the Baltimore Police Department routinely used excessive force, retaliated against citizens for exercising their First Amendment rights and committed other civil rights abuses. Baltimore police officers often stopped, frisked and arrested residents unconstitutionally. The report, formally released on Wednesday, also says officers within the department were purposefully careless in sexual assault cases, used slurs against LGBT people and, in some cases, were told by supervisors to target black residents and “lock up all the black hoodies.”
By Brentin Mock for City Lab – As the nation continues to process the deaths of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and police officers in Dallas and Baton Rouge, it’s worth keeping in mind that the circumstances of those killings were not all the same. And demonstrators across the country aren’t only protesting police violence against black citizens. They’re also venting grievances about their own stifling living conditions, under which it’s often difficult to ride, walk, or even breathe without police suffocating black lives further.
By William C. Anderson for Praxis Center – The last few years have been rough. President Obama’s last term in the White House has given many of us some of the most polarizing times we have ever experienced. It goes without saying that many have felt hopeless after being promised a change. Political disillusionment has clouded the air in a country struggling to find its true identity. In the midst of all this, unrelenting police violence has been in the spotlight driven by organized resistance to police brutality and renewed media interest.
By Michelle Alexander for Moyers and Company – I have struggled to find words to express what I thought and felt as I watched the videos of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile being killed by the police. Thursday night, I wanted to say something that hasn’t been said a hundred times before. It finally dawned on me that there is nothing to say that hasn’t been said before. As I was preparing to write about the oldness of all of this, and share some wisdom passed down from struggles of earlier eras, I heard on the news that 11 officers had been shot in Dallas, several killed from sniper fire.
By Staff of Reuters – SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) – Thousands of people took to the streets in U.S. cities on Friday to denounce the fatal police shootings of two black men this week, marching the day after a gunman killed five police officers watching over a similar demonstration in Dallas. Protesters clogged roadways in New York City, Atlanta and Philadelphia on Friday evening, and events also were planned for San Francisco and Phoenix. Local media reports did not indicate any immediate instances of major clashes or injuries.
By Feisal G. Mohamed for The Huffington Post – Let’s begin with the obvious. There can be no justification for the murder of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling or any other innocent person, and anyone denying that African-Americans suffer disproportionately from police violence is either deluded or disingenuous. Amongst the deluded and disingenuous are those who carry such reactionary banners as “All Lives Matter” or “Blue Lives Matter.” A steady stream of death is not a series of missteps or errors in judgment; it is a willed choice, an approach to policing in action.
By Alicia Garza for Truthout – 2010 marked the beginning of a historic period of Black resistance to police terrorism and state-sanctioned violence. Beginning with the murder of Oscar Grant in January 2010 by then-BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, and continuing with the high-profile cases of Trayvon Martin, Jordan Davis, Renisha McBride, Michael Brown, Rekia Boyd, Tamir Rice and too many others, police violence, particularly in poor and Black communities, has taken center stage nationwide.
By Kevin Zeese and Margaret Flowers for Popular Resistance. Last April after the killing of Freddie Gray Baltimore experienced an uprising. It was not what was shown on television, which highlighted a few hours of burning cars and buildings, but a week long event that brought the city together. People of all ages and races called for transformation of the city so it corrected the injustices of decades of neglect and racism in the poor black communities of East and West Baltimore. As you can hear from our first two guests the problems of police violence continue to plague Baltimore but residents or also organizing to make the call for change a reality. A year later there is a lot of community organizing going on, as you can hear from Derrick Chase and Abdul Salaam below, which will take time to show results. The city is also going through a major local election where a new mayor and city council will be elected.
By John Zangas and Anne Meador for DC Media Group. Families of unarmed Blacks who were slain by police rallied in West Baltimore one year after Freddie Gray died of injuries sustained in police custody. Six families joined protesters to tell stories about family members who had also been killed by police. They marched to the site where Gray had been apprehended and dragged into the police van, paused for a moment of silence and then proceeded four blocks past the local police precinct. “This is 21st-century lynching at its best,” said Reverend C.D. Witherspoon. “And it goes by the name police brutality.” People gathered in front of the CVS at the corner of West North and Pennsylvania Avenue. The store became infamous when rioters smashed the windows, looted and set fire to it a year ago. Today, large signs saying “Now Open” are displayed on the building.