The Zimmerman Verdict is a Refelection of the Times: People Must Organize

Below is an insightful statement from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement about Trayvon Martin.. They not only give us keen analysis but also put forth sound, practical solutions.. We also sat down with MXGM member Kali Akuno who was in Jackson, Mississippi who provided  additional context to this statement.. The link to our Hard Knock Radio interview is located below.. Please check out the conversation while you read the statement.

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HKR-Kali Akuno intv on Trayvon verdict

The Zimmerman Verdict is a Refelection of the Times People Must Organize

Trayvon-Martin-brownTrayvon Martin was never going to get justice from a courtroom of the United States government. Justice for Trayvon and for the hundreds of other Black women, men, and children executed by someone employed or protected by the US government on a daily basis will only come from our people and the power we are able to wield through the strength of our organization and the resolve of our will. Zimmerman was only put on trial because millions of our people took to the streets in early 2012 and threatened to disrupt the system. The trial was a means to divert our energies and return things to the status quo.

Obama’s statement that a “a jury has spoken” encouraging what he called, “calm reflection”, is just another effort to lure Black people to sleep and keep us accepting the status quo. The status quo of white supremacy has never and will never work for Black people.  As W.E.B. DuBois stated, “a system cannot fail those who it was never meant to protect.” White supremacy and the systems that support and reinforce it like capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy must be defeated and dismantled. We must always keep this in mind and be prepared in concrete, organized ways to ensure that there will be no peace if there is no justice. Now is the time for direct action in the form of organized Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns that disrupt the status quo systems of the US government through massive non-compliant resistance.

We must also be clear that the Zimmerman verdict is a reflection of the times. 17-year old Trayvon Martin was the 31st Black person executed by someone employed or protected by the state in 2012. As we demonstrated in Operation Ghetto Storm, 313 Black women, men, and children were executed without trials by the police, security guards or certified “neighborhood watchmen” in 2012. These extrajudicial killings have by no means stopped or slowed down, as witnessed by the execution of Kimani Gray and dozens more Black people in the first six months of 2013. With the Zimmerman verdict justifying and setting new precedent for the disposal of Black life, we should expect the number of extrajudicial killings to increase. It is now more imperative than ever for us to strengthen the organization of our communities and defend ourselves.

MXGM marchWe must defend ourselves, and we have every right to do so by any means necessary.

Black people are in a heightened state of crisis. Since being brought to the shores of North America as captives from European wars of aggression we have constantly battled one crisis after another. However, there are times that are more critical and intense than others. We are presently living through one of these super -critical periods.

We have been hunted and killed in cold blood by the US government in increasing numbers and herded into prisons like cattle in record numbers. The facts presented in Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People presents us with a deeper understanding of the utter disregard held for Black life within the United States.

The continual practice of executing Black people in the country without pretense of a trial, jury, or judge is an integral part of the government’s current overall strategy of containing the Black community in a state of perpetual colonial subjugation and exploitation. The verdict in the George Zimmerman trial is a testament to the reality that the institutions of the United States uplift and are complicit in the ongoing genocide of Black people.

The only way we are going to defend ourselves against these genocidal challenges is to create a massive social movement. We need a movement that strategically takes on the systemic oppression and exploitation that prevent Black people from exercising self-determination and human rights.

In order to fight effectively we have to organize ourselves on a higher level. One of the critical areas where we have to step up our organizing efforts to be qualitatively more effective is in the area of self-defense. We have to be clear that we cannot and should not count on our enemies – like the courts, and other forces of the US government or transnational corporations – to protect us. We have to protect ourselves.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) believes that an essential part of our Movement for survival must be Self-Defense Networks.

We think there are two types of Networks that we have to build:

New Afrikan or Black Self-Defense Networks are alliances, coalitions, or united fronts of Black organizations whose purpose is to defend the Black or New Afrikan community from external (the police, FBI, white terrorist organizations, etc.) and internal (agent infiltration, intra-communal violence, etc.) threats to its safety and security.

People’s Self-Defense Networks are multi-national (or multi-ethnic and/or racial) alliances, coalitions, or united fronts whose purpose is to defend their communities against mutual enemies and threats and advance a common agenda based on shared interests, hopes, and aspirations.

Oppressed peoples and communities can and will only be secure in this country when they are organized to defend themselves against the aggressions of the government and the forces of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.

The Every 28 Hours Campaign proposes a model for organizing:

 

  1. The formation of Black Self-Defense Networks to defend our people and combat police terrorism. These Networks should seek to build Copwatch programs, engage in mass rights based education trainings for the community, serve as first responders to acts of Police Terrorism, and help coordinate mass resistance to these acts via mass mobilizations and direct action. These Networks should also be encouraged to engage in offensive campaigns, such as referendums to institute Police Control Boards.
  1. The formation of People’s Self-Defense Networks to defend the lives and interests of all oppressed peoples’ and exploited classes against various forms of state terrorism. These People’s Self-Defense Networks would work as multi-national alliances to engage in a broad manner all of the tasks mentioned above to defend oppressed peoples and targeted communities, such as LGBTQ2GNC communities, against institutionalized racism, white supremacy, institutionalized sexism, patriarchy and state repression be it racial profiling, gender profiling, stop and frisk, mass incarceration, or mass deportations.
  1. Waging campaigns for local referendums to institute Police Control mechanisms – i.e. community based structures that have the power to hire, fire, subpoena, and discipline the police on the local level. And waging massive, non-compliant campaigns of resistance employing BDS (boycott, divestment, and sanction) strategies and tactics on statewide, regional, and national levels.
  1. Forming People’s Assemblies, on local, citywide, and regional levels to engage in program and demand development initiatives that will enable the people to engage in the broad implementation of people’s programs for self-defense and mutual aid.

The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement (MXGM) and the Every 28 Hours Campaign seeks to strengthen organizing initiatives within Black or New Afrikan communities for self-defense, by presenting these initiatives with a comprehensive analytical framework and practical organizing tools to ground and unite them.

MXGM offers to Black and other oppressed communities three resources 1) Operation Ghetto Storm, a full report on the 2012 extra judicial killings; 2) Let Your Motto Be Resistance, an organizing handbook for self-defense; and 3) We Charge Genocide Again!, a curriculum for the Every 28 Hours Campaign, to further this objective

Links:

 

Operation Ghetto Storm: 2012 Annual Report on the Extrajudicial Killing of Black People

http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Operation-Ghetto-Storm.pdf

 

Let Your Motto Be Resistance

http://mxgm.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/Self-Defense-Manual-MERGED.pdf

 

We Charge Genocide Again!

http://mxgm.org/we-charge-genocide-again-new-curriculum-on-every-28-hours-report/

For more information on these resources or trainings please contact Kali Akuno at kaliakuno@mxgm.org.

For coalition building and Self-Defense Networks please contact Taliba Obuya at taliba@mxgm.org.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gmJqzEVKwoU

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Why is There So Much Hype About Riots After this George Zimmerman Verdict?

Trayvon Martin signSo as the jury deliberates for a second day around this George Zimmerman trial, talk about Rodney King style riots breaking out is being amped up..

News anchors and pundits along with the police are showing up on TV looking all somber telling us to please keep it peaceful and stay calm no matter what the verdict.. I think I saw a news report with Reverend Al Sharpton telling us not to gloat if Zimmerman is convicted..Seemingly every Civil Rights leader from Jesse Jackson to NAACP head Ben Jealous has been dragged before the cameras to plead for folks to trust in the justice system, even if it far too often, leaves us on the short end of the stick.

In preparing for this possible urban unrest, community leaders have gone out and tapped young people to do anti-violence PSA’s where they plead for peace. The whole scene reminded me of what was done on the days leading up to the Oscar Grant verdict which took place July 8th 2010.. Folks in the Bay Area may recall this PSA shown below:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XqofgXqteuQ

This is what’s being done now around the Zimmerman trial:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8LM2bRU_Tsc

Several protesters lie face down on the ground in front of of riot

Protesters lie face down on the ground in front of riot cops

With respect to this threat of riots/civil unrest, let’s unpack that for a minute. My experience over the years of covering uprisings during the Oscar Grant Movement, the Occupy Movement, various the DNC and RNC Conventions from 2000 on up, to several G20 and G8 summits has led me to the conclusion that we should always be asking the following questions; 1-Who is pushing the assertions that riots are imminent and how are they pushing it? 2-Who stands to benefit the most from the threat of unrest? (key word ‘threat’)  3-What’s the political, economic and social agenda if any, attached these threats?

Personally I think the riot talk is being hyped up to the financial benefit of two main outfits which are corporate media and the Police.. Both thrive off of fear, confusion and mayhem..

In the case of news outlets, a riot is the ultimate reality tv that falls in line with its tried and true modus operandi “if it bleeds it leads’..Trust me many of those anchors and pundits may be sitting up in their cushy chairs pleading with you to stay home, but their overall coverage and over the top on air banter is designed to push emotional buttons, ignite and incite..

OscarGrantChaos in the streets equals ratings, hence if there ain’t some windows being broken and fires being lit after this verdict comes down, you’re gonna have some disappointed news outlets..

The other outfit that benefits from all this riot talk are the police..You start talking riots and civil unrest, it becomes an all hands on deck operations. This means cops are called in on their day off while others have their vacation days cut..

Everyone is put to work as the departments deploy extra patrols and increase surveillance and intel gathering of anyone and everyone who they think might be down to set it off after the verdict is read..

In preparation for the riots..you best believe many departments are dusting off the law books and seeing how they can push the legal envelope.. This means they may do explore everything from mass arrests to pre-emptive raids and detaining of key organizers to shutting down entire blocks and neighborhoods to setting up enclosed ‘protests zones’ and ‘free speech cages’. Many are going over crowd control and kettling strategies

All this is happening to the tune of massive overtime pay for law enforcement.. This is on top of them busting out new weapons, new vehicles and new Star wars-type storm trooper outfits..

I recall during the Oscar Grant and Oakland Occupy Movements, police would hold press conferences warning fearful residents of ‘outside agitators’ and anarchists. They would then bring in as many as 500 cops from 17 different jurisdictions to the tune of 500k to one million a pop..

Police Riot gearThis scenario is playing out in cities all over the country. From Oakland to New York to Chicago to Houston.. Police in Sanford, Florida are not the only ones gearing up for ‘civil unrest’. It’s big business and a lot of folks are fixing to get paid..

The biggest irony to all this all this is while the focus and concern on riots is directed at Black folks who are continuously being demonized, civil unrest may actually come from far-right wing nuts who support George Zimmerman and feel a conviction will be a blow to Stand Your Ground Laws..Black folks do not have a monopoly on civil unrest..

This country has a sordid past where we seen angry white mobs set off some of the most devastating riots’ in history with Black people as their target. from Tulsa to Chicago to Atlanta to Bensonhurst, BK to Boston to Howard Beach.. Even in the riots most associated with Black unrest, large numbers of Black folks were killed often at the hands of the police who used the occasion to go off..We saw this during the Watts Riots in 65 to the Newark and Detroit uprisings in ’67 to Rodney King unrest  in ’92. Many of us deemed those deaths as target practice.. The recent HBO documentary about all those killed by police during the Newark Riots gives a serious breakdown on this.

In recent years we’ve seen a major increase in the number of Black people killed or brutalized by the police. According to the latest reports from the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement, every 28 hours a Black person is killed by police.  You don’t think that hostility won’t play out during a Rodney King style riot?? All one has to do is look at what unfolded during Katrina when there were threats of riots and mayhem to see how the police and folks in power get down.. There were all sorts of killings both by police and vigilante types..

tea-party-gun-advocateOver the past few years we’ve seen the uncovering of plots with white supremacist attempting to find ways to set off some sort of race war.. We’ve seen a rise in militia types who feel like this country is set to collaspe with Black and Brown folks as the blame. This is coupled with the anger and vitriol we’ve seen by Tea Party types who have shown up with guns in tow on to presidential campaign rallies and congressional townhall meetings that they’ve disrupt, who down to bring the ruckus..

During this George Zimmerman trial we’ve had a number of prominent conservative leaning journalists from Geraldo Rivera to Joe Scarborough hawking the ‘Trayvon was a hoodie wearing thug who got what he deserved‘ narrative and that if Zimmerman doesn’t get off its an indication are country is falling. Many have embraced such rhetoric to the point that in all honesty instead of just having a traditional Civil Rights leaders calling for peace, maybe we need to see folks like Pastor Rick Warren or the head of the NRA Wayne LaPierre doing PSA calling on folks to be peaceful and respect the verdict.

What’s also ironic is with many of these so-called riots we’ve seen in recent years from the one in Austin, Texas in May of 2009 when police killed a sleeping Nathaniel Sanders to the recent unrest in East Flatbush, Brooklyn after Kamani Gray was gunned down, they pale in comparison to the unrest we see breakout after sporting events.

Compare the unrest in Oakland after the Oscar Grant verdict in 2010 to the mayhem that engulfed neighboring San Francisco after the Giants won the World Series this past year.

Compare the unrest that occurred on the Penn State campus when went students went buckwyld after learning head coach Joe Paterno was fired with the lack of unrest in Detroit a few weeks ago when a mistrial ‘verdict ‘ came down for SWAT Team member Joseph Weekley who was accused of killing 7 year old Aiyana Stanley Jones while he was ‘showing off’ for a Reality TV show.

Compare the reaction to verdicts of injustice to high profile cases like Sean Bell or Amadou Diallo where officers were acquitted for shooting un-armed men to the riots in the streets we saw after the Lakers Beat the Celtics in 2010 or after the crazy riots in Vancouver after the Canucks lost the Stanley Cup. Where was the nationwide calls for peace or even Anti-riot PSAs from the respective sports stars?

Penn State Riots

Penn State Riots

What’s going on right now with all these impending riot warnings seems like another attempt to resurrect the scary Black Boogey man..It’s the continued demonization of Black folks at all costs.  It was done during this trial where Trayvon Martin‘s character was called into question and he was depicted as a weed smoking violent prone thug vs George Zimmerman who actually has an arrest record, a criminal past and a history of violence.. It’s being done now with the goal of planting fear in the minds of many..

By feeding into that narrative of young African-Americans as the main instigators and sole participants, what gets overlooked is the fact that in many civil disturbances including the Rodney King uprisings which we are told we need to prevent, folks from all sorts of racial and ethnic backgrounds were running around kicking up dust and in the mix. We saw that during the Oscar Grant protests.. We saw that during the uprisings in London and France.. We sure as hell saw that during the Occupy, Anti-war and Anti-Globalization Protests.

What also gets lost is that many times there are no riots after any number of controversial trials.

If there is any sort of unrest after this George Zimmerman trial because he’s acquitted it won’t be only Black folks out in the streets. It’ll be folks of all stripes who are upset with a justice system that they perceive as unfair.. If there is unrest perhaps we should be exploring ways to repair a broken justice system that has left many with broken spirits and broken hearts vs worrying about broken windows which are easily replaced..

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VcSm6EX1coo

Jasiri X: George Zimmerman is a ‘Creepy Azz Cracka’

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bwHhemgXp-Q

George Zimmerman

George Zimmerman

I’m Loving what Pittsburgh rapper Jasiri X just did around this George Zimmerman Trial..here’s what he had to say:

I decided to put my thoughts about the Zimmerman trial, the ruling on the Voting Rights Act, and Race in America into a 16 bar verse:

Oh you was born black welcome to the curse race

Oh you was born brown you sure this is your birthplace

This is America the home of the white man

Where every other American gets a hyphen

People of color police shoot us on site man

And then be like damn I was just frightened

See just the color of my skin is intimidating

Here I’m a criminal just based on my pigmentation

We need God our only mass is incarceration

We need Jesus cause these preachers got the heart of Satan

They toast to our death celebrating with ice cream

Vanilla with the cake cone must be a white thing

They wanna stop us from voting well what do rights mean?

If the end result of our struggle can just be wiped clean

And Zimmerman is a creepy ass cracka

A racist child murdering liar and bad actor