Protesting for Jayland Walker

UNAC Editor American Exceptionalism, Anti-Imperialism, Police Brutality, Racism, White Supremacy

Protesting for Jayland Walker

by Margaret Kimberley, published on Black Agenda Report, July 6. 2022

The number of bullets used to kill Jayland Walker have sparked an outcry, but police kill one Black person every day in this country. If systemic change is not the demand all protest is for naught.

Jayland Walker was killed by police in Akron, Ohio when he was shot more than 60 times. The nature of his death, and the brutality of his killing, made headlines. But lest anyone forget, the police kill an average of three people every day in this country and one of those victims will be Black.

We do forget while the police snuff out more than 1,000 lives every year . We awake from the slumber of semi-denial when a case comes to public attention that is especially egregious. It can be George Floyd begging for his life or Jayland Walker being executed by a mob. There are times when we can’t look away.

Police killings do not occur in a vacuum. They are a key part of the state’s plan to keep Black people under physical control. Of course there should be community control of the police, but that can’t happen unless there is a truly democratic state, one that gives the people control over every aspect of their lives. Obviously police should be prosecuted when they kill, but those instances will always be few and far between. The system can be counted on to act as it was intended.

When Black people declare that they will get justice on their own, they too are killed, as happened to Micah Johnson in Texas and Gavin Long in Louisiana in 2016, the year that Philando Castille and Alton Sterling died at the hands of police in highly publicized cases. Long and Johnson chose to act when no one else would but their choice is not one which makes sense in a country with a history of brutal reaction.

We also know that philanthropy from ruling class forces doesn’t work either. The Black Lives Matter organization imploded amid financial scandals, self-dealing, and cooptation. Raising money from foundations leads to well paid gigs and goodies for the already well connected while the body count remains unchanged.

It is time to look at our own past in this country and to other countries in order to determine strategies of action. While the era of the civil rights movement, the liberation movement, is fetishized, its lessons are rarely heeded.

A mass movement did bring about change. The people who struggled had no political friends, which was actually a good thing. They were under no illusions that politicians would advocate on their behalf. Yet they made demands anyway, knowing that people in power did not want to hear from them. Now we have “activism” that involves bad actors from the Black political class, which was created in response to the liberation movement, and which does the job that a buffer class always does….

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