Historically, the police force has been the breeding ground for racist white men looking for a socially sanctioned arena for inflicting violence against black people. This is not a side effect of a flawed institution; it is a necessary weapon for maintaining an exploitable race-caste in an capitalist economy built upon the accumulated capital generated by slavery and colonial genocide.
While an organized body of violence is permanently entrenched in the structure of this increasingly fascist government, racist attack is not limited to these state sponsored thugs. The black community has been the target of racist white opinion, white supremacist hate groups, and brutal state repression. All of these violent dynamics contribute to maintaining white socio-economic hegemony.
Where tensions have risen and black communities demonstrate the strength of their solidarity against racist repression, the state has been forced to relinquish and dissolve exclusionary and repressive methods under the pretense that we live in a democratic society. Most notably, the abolition of Jim-Crow segregation and the establishment of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 represent a serious reduction and limitation of institutional racism.
Following this action, federal involvement in southern communities introduced a powerful mediating body capable of checking local police forces.
Today, in Ferguson, we see the association of black citizen rights evoked alongside federal intervention in the St. Louis Police force due to the extreme brutalizing tactics deployed by the police following the police lynching of Mike Brown.
Racist White Citizens and Bloodthirsty Police are mobilizing around the right to murder black citizens without consequence which has been a long standing trend with a strong legal precedent excusing cops who commit murder.
Where the racism is similar in some ways, several things are different, as the police have gained access to new weapon technology and the media has become more sophisticated in its structuring of political perception.
- The media attention around this incident and many others like it, focuses around the conduct of community protests and reactions to these racist attacks while refusing to acknowledge that the right to assemble is increasingly restricted, denied, and at all times subjected to the presence of a highly militarized modern police force.
- The communities mobilizing peaceful resistance are characterized as silent martyrs overshadowed by the few people involved in looting or resistance to the increased police presence.The media suggests that justice would be had were it not for these few. The dangerous implication here is that destruction of for-profit private property is more significant than the murder of black people. To take it a step further, those who challenge the oppressive economic conditions are deserving of extreme violence if we follow this line of reactionary thought to its logical conclusion.
These dynamics all have a number of consequences in the growing political movement against racist police violence. With St. Louis police under the supervision of the FBI during a latent investigation of the murder, we can expect more efficient and restrained tactics for dispersing protesters. This will likely involve strategic arrests and collusion with media journalists (if they are receptive to collaborating) as they are good points of contact for securing information on “volatile” protesters.
Aside from on the ground tactics, the spontaneous reactions by the community are united around the demand to Jail Killer Cops and end police violence against black people. These are very modest, but perhaps too limited in scope. If these are the demands to be sanctioned by the federal forces, protesters with demands and criticism outside of this investigation can expect to face repression.
The call made by Lewis for martial law to be called in collusion with the federal forces to protect protesters seems to be a bit naive given the circumstances and the aim of such a “protected” movement would no doubt be narrowly enforced.
The telling circumstance in all of this is the fact that ONLY the ST. Louis Police department is being investigated. This matter is being restricted to a localized concern in a southern neighborhood with a defined and apparent racial divide. However, this is a nationally systemic trend that is observed in even the most ostensibly liberal neighborhoods.
This is not to say that a better demand is to call on the FBI to suspend police enforcement nationally for such an investigation (although this itself is an absurd color-blind fantasy).
Moving forward, we should be standing for and supporting a movement to Abolish the Racist Prison industrial Complex because these issues are systemic and the racist disparities in police enforcement are necessary for the growth and maintenance of prisons as we know them in a fascist country that has created the largest population of prisoners on Earth.