The rulers sense that something has irrevocably changed in the psyche of Black youth, that the imperative for dignity and self-determination — never quashed — is now active, excited, volatile, and ready to make the oppressor pay a price. Ready to “sacrifice,” as Gavin Long put it a few days before his death.
When a Black beauty queen, the former Miss Alabama, calls Micah Johnson “a martyr,” we know that the movement’s values — the values of the Black Radical Tradition -— have been internalized by a broad strata of the Black public. When it becomes difficult to get the average Black person on the street to denounce Bros. Johnson and Long, then you know that a Rubicon of a kind has been crossed.
The Black Lives Matter phenomenon is energized by the system itself, whose very mission provides the rationale for Black resistance. If there is to be even the barest beginnings of a state of peace, it is the cops, the enforcers of the ruling order, the occupying army of the supremely white 1%, that must stand down — not the movement against police repression. The occupation must end, and the Black community allowed to provide its own security — which would be a natural state of affairs in a country that was not in a one-sided state of war. But that would mark the surrender of the mass Black incarceration regime that was installed in response to the mass Black movements of the Sixties, a regime so uniquely vicious and pervasive that one out of every eight prison inmates on the planet is a Black American.
Outrage over the unchecked police killing of people of color continues throughout the U.S. Militant protests surged in July after Alton Sterling in Louisiana and Philando Castile in Minnesota were killed by cops. According to the Washington Post, Castile was the 123rd Black person killed by police in the U.S. during 2016.
Despite attempts to demonize and criminalize the Black Lives Matter movement after police were shot in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., the BLM movement is marching on, with growing community, labor and multinational support.