Posts Tagged ‘police violence’

Why State Violence Displayed in Immigration Raids, Sean Bell Case May Build Black-Latino Unity

May 21, 2008

Just look at those beautiful young people who united for something beyond Benetton. Will the media report that these black and Latino youth were at each other’s throats as they were hauled into the paddy wagon for protesting the violence perpetrated by the criminals who shot Sean Bell 50 times? Look. Look at them and what do you see? What does the press see?

I see how these young people involved in the civil disobedience, marches and other responses to the Sean Bell killing, the immigration raids and the deaths of immigrant detainees are marking a much-needed political and moral response to the very dangerous normalization of official violence on the part of local, state and federal law enforcement officials. The 50 bullets pumped into Shawn Bell by the NYPD and the devastation wrought on the 66 immigrants killed by the neglect and violence of the ICE and it private contractors, make painfully transparent that law enforcement is doing the 3 things it does best in times of profound economic crisis: repress, repress, and repress.

But in the process, the increased violence of local police, ICE agents and other government officials may help us move beyond the myths of “black-latino tensions” manufactured by the media.

Nicole Bell (wife of Sean Bell), Rev. Sharpton and the growing numbers of those taking on the state’s ongoing war on crime should accelerate discussion with those combating the army of interests undertaking -and profiting from-the war on immigrants. Making the connection between these two intersecting wars will do much to bypass the inanities and distractions of the “black-Latino tensions” manufactured by mainstream media as if it were a state-sanctioned propaganda ministry. Who benefits from diverting our attention from these commonalities in the black and Latino communities? Just look at this growing list of commonalities in our communities:

increased and ongoing official violence against unarmed members of our communities

imprisonment of large numbers of youth, men, women and others from poor communities

stock-indexed companies profiting handsomely from the industries that feed off of and plan for the incarceration of generations (ie; the future value of some prison stocks is projected out based on the grades of black and Latino 3rd graders)

rural communities in decline grow addicted to the economy of prisons

politicians reaping votes, campaign contributions and patronage from “get tough” politics targeting blacks and Latinos

Black and Latino elected officials in the Democratic party unwilling to say, much less do ANYTHING about the plague of violence and incarceration for fear of losing elections and appointments

These and other commonalities may, indeed, provide something of a foundation for a more informed and less infantile discussion about blacks and Latinos in the U.S.

Much more to follow on this, including stuff on what is to be done. So, please share your thoughts, plans, ideas and dreams. Now is the time.

Sharpton, 216 New Yorkers Arrested in Citywide Protests Against Sean Bell Verdict

May 8, 2008

As promised, the Nicole Bell (wife of Sean Bell) Rev. Al Shapton and hundreds of New Yorkers were arrested in citywide protests against the Sean Bell verdict. According this story in the New York Times,

The demonstrations, described by the Rev. Al. Sharpton as “pray-ins,” played out on a bright spring afternoon as boisterous displays of civil disobedience in which people signed up to be arrested, assuring organizers and lawyers that they were carrying proper identification to show to the police.

Once positioned at the intersections, demonstrators dropped to their knees or sat and prayed briefly before hundreds of police officers escorted them to buses and police vehicles.

These protests come at a critical time as local, state and federal elites – including black, Latino and other elites “of color” who constitutionally avoid dealing with police and other state violence- gear up to further ratchet up the already repressive legal and law enforcement structures they see as necessary to maintain order-and profits.

So, saludos to Nicole Bell, Rev. Al Sharpton and the hundreds of activists here in NYC for responding to such injustices with civil disobedience. May more of us follow your example before the increased state violence and repression that looms alongside the economic meltdown.

In the face of growing government violence, civil disobedience is not an option-it’s our duty.