Saturday, August 16, 2014

The two assassinations in Ferguson Missouri

by Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

We have in Ferguson Missouri two assassinations.  The first was the actual killing itself.  It is clear that Michael Brown was executed as he had his hands up in the air.  He had already been shot in the back according to more than once witness.  As the cop approached him, he shot him at least another five times until Brown fell to the ground. Tiffany Mitchell told reporters that she saw the cop and Brown arm wrestling through the cop car window until a shot rang out and Brown took off. She told the KMOV TV:
“After the shot, the kid just breaks away. The cop follows him, kept shooting, the kid’s body jerked as if he was hit. After his body jerked he turns around, puts his hands up, and the cop continues to walk up on him and continues to shoot until he goes all the way down,” 

We also know that Brown was left to die in the street, his body lying there another three hours or so.  He surely would have bled to death were there any chance of him living at all. An hour after the shooting, a local Hip Hop artist who goes by the name Thee Pharoah and who witnessed the shooting outside his window, tweeted:

The response to the shooting was national and indeed international as Palestinians also sent messages of support.  But there were also protests in Chicago, NYC, Oakland CA and across the country. 

In response, we now have the second assassination, the character assassination aimed at swaying public support with regard to the first assassination that ended Brown’s life.  The cops released a video of a man they claim was Michael Brown robbing a liquor store not long before being shot.  

This should be seen as what it is, a diversionary tactic, an attempt to discredit Brown and justify the shooting. We are supposed to conclude that the cop's life was in danger.  Here in the US the cops have a license to kill if they feel their life is in danger, not disable, but kill, and kill they do without recrimination. Michael Brown was assassinated, we do not care what he did prior to his murder. He was assassinated and left to die in the presence of authorities whose actions might have saved him.

Here is a picture Rapper, Thee Pharoah took of the scene shortly after the shooting
The rapper tweeted again:

Right after the Brown shooting, a mentally challenged 19 year old black girl was shot and killed here in San Jose CA. She was waving what turned out to be a drill in her left hand.  The cops warned her, told her to drop it from behind their cars etc.  But she refused and was shot. 

I have to ask myself: "How come a police sniper can’t shoot someone in the leg?"  She was obviously mentally impaired. But what am I thinking of? The US executes children and the mentally impaired.   Sure there may be a time when such choices are limited, but not very often in the case of the police.  In most cases they have time to decide not to kill but to disable, they shot 40 times at Amadou Diallo who was sat on his porch with his cell phone in his hand.. The reason they don’t is that they are encouraged to shoot to kill and legally allowed do so based on their personal feelings about the situation. And black lives, especially young black, working class  males are not valued much here in the land of the free. The object of the activity is to warn people to keep their mouths shut and accept what society dishes out without objection.

I commented a few days ago about my involvement in the Jerrold Hall case many years ago.  The young unarmed black man shot in the back of the head by a transit cop while walking away from him.  The bosses' media here in the Bay Area used the same tactics to discredit Hall, pointing out that he stole a Walkman, and punched one kid, maybe slapped his girlfriend around etc.   This is their MO and we must reject it, we must recognize it for what it is.

While the shift change back in Ferguson, a black cop for a white one, the highway Patrol in place of Ferguson cops, was partly due to the protests erupting around the country, an effort to contain them before they get out of hand, we must also recognize that while poor communities and communities of color are the primary victims of the increasingly militarized police force, no workers will be exempt as the US capitalist class is driven by their system to put the US working class on rations. The armored vehicles and AK47's will increasingly be used to drive back the US working class as it responds to the capitalist offensive.  We commented on this in an earlier blog.

There is another point I must stress here.  Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are down in Ferguson lending their support.   These are not two of my favorable politicians by any means, and if the protests spread and the issues become more general and politicized as other groups would link up with it, it can be certain that politicians like these will be used to temper the movement, divert any move toward class independence and working class unity in to the Democratic Party politically and ensure the system is stable.  Jackson played this role after black folks practically shut down the NYC subway system after Yosef hawkins was murdered or it might have been the shooting of Amadou Diallo, but the readers gets my gist I am sure. We must work within the system, is the message.

I hear some white folks announce their displeasure at Sharpton.  Some of this is undoubtedly racially motivated.  But a black politician that refused to condemn these murders would not fare well.  The point I want to make though, nothing new here for this writer, is the shameful absence, the deafening silence, of the heads of organized Labor in the US.

AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka should be in Ferguson. So should all the top figures, heads of the International Unions like Afscme, to which I belonged.  They should be publicly condemning the racist police force and the racist justice system here in the US that has some 2.4 million workers incarcerated, a huge percentage of them people of color. They should link these attacks to the assault on the working class in general. They are a disgrace, they must be called out for their cowardice in the face of this increasingly brutal capitalist offensive against against US workers, especially the poorest among us.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Thank you for your very good post Richard. This new black cop they have sent in is going around and hugging protesters to stop the outcry of anger. Here is what i think should be done by the protesters. No hugging. Put demands. The first that all the military vehicles and snipers be either put out of town or put under control of democratically elected committees of working people. These vehicles and weapons are sitting somewhere and this cop who is supposed to be the understanding face of the cops is saying nothing about this. They will be brought out and used again if the situation gets out of control of the nice cop who hugs. All snipers and their weapons and all the military vehicles out of town or put under the control of democratically elected committees of working people. Sean.