Thursday, March 12, 2015

Ferguson police chief Jackson Resigns, No Jail Time for Him.

Tom Jackson: Just loves Ferguson
By Richard Mellor
Afscme Local 444, retired

Thomas Jackson, Ferguson Missouri’s police chief has resigned due to the findings by a federal investigation of rampant racism and illegal practices in the city’s police department.

There were the sending of racist e mails like this one: A May 2011 e-mail stated: "An African-American woman in New Orleans was admitted into the hospital for a pregnancy termination. Two weeks later she received a check for $5,000. She phoned the hospital to ask who it was from. The hospital said, 'Crimestoppers.'" We commented on this in a previous blog.

But in many ways the vicious racist jokes are the least of it.  After the assassination of the unarmed black teenager, Michael Brown, by Darren Wilson, a white Ferguson cop last year, Brown’s body was left lying in the street for four hours. Think about that for a moment.  Think of how inhuman and degrading this was. And think for a minute how angry you, the reader might be if he was your neighbor, if it was your community. If you have, like me, worked alongside and socialized with black folks think about how they feel about it; this is not an isolated occurrence in America.  And the media’s spin-doctors are appalled, and so are many watching it and getting worked up that some people’s anger comes out in all sorts of ways including looting.  In some ways, it’s a credit to people’s humanity that white folks all across the country weren’t being shot at as revenge killings.

But prior to the shooting it comes out through the federal probe (forced on the feds by the protests) that this police force, this “armed body of the state” acted, as black people in the urban ghetto’s are well aware, as an occupying force.  The police force, 94% white, policing a town 66% black and working class, routinely, as a part of policy, targeted black people and harassed them on a daily basis, violating their civil rights according to the report. It harassed them as they drove and harassed them, and this is important in this instance, as they walked.  That’s what Darren Wilson was up to when he stopped and harassed Michael Brown before he murdered him.

Jackson along with other officials, city manager John Shaw and municipal court judge Ronald J Brockmeyer, both of whom have resigned, were the driving forces behind the revenue generation policy, stopping and ticketing black folks in disproportionally high numbers the fed report found. These are poor people these bastards were fleecing, working class people in the main and they boasted about their successes.  An e mail from Jackson to the city manager was published in the media, “Investigators found an email from Jackson to Shaw in March 2011 reporting that court revenue in the previous month was $179,862.50, which “beat our next biggest month in the last four years by over $17,000.” The city manager replied: “Wonderful!”, the Guardian reports.

If you haven’t seen the interview of Darren Wilson by George Stephanopulous after the grand Jury had given Wilson a clean state, it is obvious that Wilson was doing what he did each and every day, find a young black man to harass and bully with state sanction.  Wilson did not stop Brown because he thought he’d committed a crime, and in the light of this report it becomes clear that Wilson got away with murder. It’s sickening to watch Stephanopoulos whitewash Wilson’s crime, he’s a racist too.  Here is the interview:

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So far then, Wilson has gotten away with murder, and the people who gave him and others authority to play the Klan with impunity, are walking away scot free also.  Not only that, Ferguson’s mayor says that the police chief will receive a years severance pay amounting to $95,512 and city manager Shaw will receive his $120,000 salary as severance, compliments of the black people of Ferguson.

These people should be in jail for one thing.  They put people in jail for a lot less than what these people have done; the prison system is full of young black men. These are people in power. And let’s use our imagination.  You can see that Wilson is not too bright. If you want your police to function as a Klan operation you’re not looking for independent critical thinkers and who knows how many young guys have been beaten, humiliated, had to listen to racial slurs being hurled at them by some punk whose power arises out of state sanction and who is legally armed.  Being afraid to resist for fear of one’s life would be the norm but that day last year, Michael Brown had just had enough.

As the police chief walks away with his $95,000 of black folks’ money he becomes quite expressive. It is, “with profound sadness” , that he resigns he tells his buddies. “It has been an honor and a privilege to serve this great city and to serve with all of you,” said Jackson. “I will continue to assist the city in any way I can in my capacity as private citizen.”, he announces to the world. It’s incredible really isn’t it.  He “served” the city!

As I pointed out in an earlier commentary, the Justice Department, has been forced to act by mass protest.  The justice department is no less racist than Ferguson’s police force.  Hatred of the poor, defense of the wealthy, and the continuing of a few hundred years of racial oppression and dispossession of the black population is built in to the capitalist system, we will not be rid of it until we rid ourselves of the system that nurtures it.

And as I have argued before paraphrasing Malcolm X, we cannot have capitalism without racism, without a conscious systematic divide and rule strategy by the 1%. If it wasn’t color, it would be religion like in Northern Ireland, or national identity. The exploited majority always after a greater share of the wealth we create, must be weakened, broken apart, by the minority that control and run society in their interest, whose wealth is based on exploitation pure and simple.   This strategy, historically imposing a system of brutal oppression on the black population has not benefited white workers either. It has in the short term as the privilege of being the same color, and being conned in to thinking our lot lies with the white racist bosses has meant a higher standard of living, better health care, better education for many.  But over the last 40 years the white working class has been savaged.  The economic and political crisis of US capitalism does not allow the ruling class the same leeway, the same ability to buy off the white working class or a considerable section of it as it has in the past. 

Flier we distributed against the BearCat
The small town in which I live is likely buying a military vehicle we are told will save lives. It is a BearCat, will carry an 8 man SWAT Team.  These vehicles and the security apparatus that has been beefed up in the aftermath of the Seattle WTO protests and the Occupy Movement will been seen more often in the suburbs as the crisis deepens and as social unrest results. It is without doubt that when workers go on strike and it appears they're winning, some cop will say, "lets go get the BearCat. " US capitalism can no longer provide guns and butter as it once boasted.  The race card will be played by the 1%.  They want to keep us apart, they want us to see every black youth as a thug. They subtly and not so subtly as things worsen, use their media to convince us that the conditions and poverty in the urban ghettos or the rural communities like West Virginia, are of the residents own making, that the poor are poor because because they are lazy, stupid etc. If we want a future for our children we must reject this view of the world and build solidarity and unity between our own kind, the vast majority of us that are wage workers. Building such a movement would be all the easier were the heads of organized labor to take a lead but their virtual silence in the face of what’s happening is criminal.

Some white workers buy all that racist crap from the so-called conservative TV personalities and hide their racist views behind the “conservative” cloak; they’re just conservative. But they fool no one.  But not all white workers fall prey to this vitriol aimed at dividing and weakening working class unity.  Many simply have no answer to it and try to avoid it all, “better someone else other than me”.  We can all be guilty of this, closing our eyes to the world around us, burying our heads and keeping our mouths shut.  It is not the answer it never was but especially today. 

1 comment:

Raymond Sean Walters said...

Well written and expressed article!