September 22, 2016
It is time for something different. According to the Charlotte Observer,, the killing of Keith Lamont Scott makes the sixth in Charlotte and with Terence Crutcher, makes the 163rd killing of a Black person in the U.S. in 2016 by law enforcement or sanctioned extra-legal forces .
On the one hand, the Black (and Brown) Community is told that the problem is bad community relations, inadequate training by police to be more “sensitive”, bad equipment and that its a “few bad apples.” On the other,there is righteous outrage as yet another Black man woman father mother sister daughter son cousin is snuffed out; shot down in the street. And the youth escalate the push back — pushing back against institution, symbolic or otherwise, of the exploitation, oppression or occupation of our community. Then, the sanctioned -so-called leaders are trotted out to “call for calm,” sensitivity training and body cameras for the police. Then another Black person gets shot down in the street, and the scenario starts all over again.
The youth are tired; the elders are tired, the whole community is tired.
There must be a clear shift in the power relations between the Black Community and the police. The issue is Power and the Role of the Police in this society, in general, and the Power relation to the Black Community specifically.
The roots of the police in the U.S., especially in the South, came out of the paddy roller, or slave catcher system during slavery. It evolved during uS apartheid (Jim Crow) into the prison, chain gang system: keeping a captive and suppressed community in check, under control, contained.
The Black Community has the same relationship with “the law” in 2016 as it had during the 1900s as it was during the 1800s.
The struggle of Black people is not simply for representation at the table — especially if that table’s agenda is to maintain the suffering and exploitation of the community. It is to change the nature of the table, the agenda, and the nature of the folks at the table — but while we change the table we must change the agenda and which people come to the table. The struggle is to change the balance of power in favor of the people; and away from the police and the 1% property owners they swing the clubs for.
Police departments, in fact, all community safety — police, fire, first responders, must be accountable to the communities they serve. This can only happen if they are made to answer to a Community Safety Control Board: local, independent, elected, with subpoena, hire and fire authority. And police should live in the neighborhoods, at least the city, where they serve.
Elected, independent, local, Community Safety Control Boards with hire, fire & subpoena power would not be beholden to any police chief, city manager or mayor, but to the district (preferably) or city population that elected them. With hire, fire and subpoena power, it would not simply “review” some finding that the SBI, Internal affairs, police chief or commissioner might hand them. With police forced to live in the district or city, they might think twice before shooting someone down in the street because they would have to answer to the local Community Safety Control Board.
Groups, who have as part of their agenda, working to end police murders and repression, should come together with the efforts to build develop the Freedom Manifesto/ Assembly for Black Liberation and the various People’s Assemblies to craft an agenda/ plank and programs to END the War On Black America. We should consider how to move and engage even more people by stepping up our resistance with a One Day General Strike —BLACK SOLIDARITY DAY…. no school, no shopping, no work — to demonstrate to the powers that be that we want real change NOW!
Black Workers For Justice • P. O. Box 1863 • Rocky Mount, NC 27802