According to the grandmother, her family often sought to visit her through her back door because it was known that there were issues with the front doorbell. The police claim that Stephon was running away from them and despite their offering an infrared video of this, their story, of course, doesn't make sense to anyone with cognitive capabilities.
I'm not one to believe anything the police say about anything. If they said the world was round I would have to question it because I know that they lie as policy. I'm also not someone who can be convinced that their purpose for existing serves any objective beyond protecting the capitalist system for the super rich. As an institution, they evolved from the slave patrols that terrorized my people during and after slavery. So, you will never be able to convince me that the police were ever, or can ever, be here to "protect and serve." My beliefs have nothing to do with your brother, sister, friend, or neighbor who unfortunately happens to "serve" as a police officer. 500+ years of empirical evidence guides my analysis. For example, the question in the Stephon Clark shooting was raised as to why the police took so long to bring in medical help for young Mr. Clark after they shot him dozens of times before confirming that all he had in his possession was a cell phone. An equally interesting question was why Stephon's grandmother was questioned for a considerable amount of time without ever being informed of the shooting (she apparently didn't figure out it was her grandson until she happened to look into her backyard and saw his body).
I'm envisioning the police taking all this time to contact medical personnel because they were using that time to collaborate their stories with one another. Something they do systemically after criminally shooting someone and being unable, for whatever reason, to plant a weapon to justify the shooting. I'm also envisioning them waiting to ensure Mr. Clark expired since him doing so would greatly assist their ability to make up whatever type of story they wanted.
I know that some of you reading this are still (amazing as it is) convinced that the police are here to protect us and that whatever "glitches" exist in this so-called "service" can be ironed out with a few reforms here and there.
To be clear, this piece isn't about debating the facts surrounding Mr. Clark's killing. There is far too much evidence for us to disrespect our people by engaging in that argument. For us, its a given, that the police are state terrorists who exist to repress the African masses. Police are here to represent the U.S. capitalist empire. Since the African masses, who's backs the empire was/is built and maintained upon, therefore represent the largest threat to the continued existence of this empire, its imperative that the state has an organized apparatus in place to prevent us from rising up and seeking our long deserved justice.
Although I live here where this terrible tragedy occurred, I never had the opportunity to meet young Mr. Clark, but I've known hundreds of young Africans like him. I was one myself once. As a result, my responsibility is to him and the millions like him, not to this system that exploits and oppresses us. As a result, I'd like to focus here on thanking all of the activist organizations here, and everywhere else we face this terrorism, who take time to protest and raise hell about these injustices. I thank them, but I proceed to suggest that its far past time for us to operate as if our only options are to pursue justice from the very system that facilitates our oppression. Its time for us to take our destiny into our own hands. And, yes, we can organize (not just mobilize) against state terrorist police. We know we can do it because its been done before. Many people have heard of the Black Liberation Army (BLA). Some of you even know the names Assata Shakur, Sekou Odinga, Sundiata Acoli, and many of the courageous soldiers from that period, but most people couldn't tell you concretely what the BLA actually did. One of the many wonderful things they did was organize to protect our communities from police terrorism. There are countless old time people and documented stories, particularly in areas like New York City, during the mid 1970s, where it was common for our people with issues to seek out support from the BLA, not the police. Issues like domestic violence, neighborhood bullies, and all types of crimes against humanity imaginable, were addressed by the organized mass known as the Black Liberation Army.
What we are saying here is its far past time that we revisit those organizing techniques. If we listen to people with no organizing experience, of which there are plenty of them always ready to express their blind opinions, we would believe this type of organizing to be impossible. Why so many of you listen to these people is beyond me. Possibly, its because part of you believes we cannot successfully organize this way and these people validate your secret desire to release yourself from this responsibility? I don't know, but for those of you who have faith in our people, we need to be clear that we can organize in this way and doing so isn't nearly as difficult as so many people want to make you believe it is.
The first step is for us to target communities where we want to engage in this work. The communities are chosen based on African density, class characteristics, and other demographic elements like poverty levels, police penetration, etc. Once we have the appropriate communities in mind (finding these communities is like finding the sun in Africa), we engage in intensive community engagement e.g. door to door work designed to identify people who desire to see our communities eliminate the fear and devastation that plagues wherever we live. If you think the results of this exercise will be no one wanting to talk to you or people not expressing their desire to see change take place, you are again exposing your complete lack of experience organizing among our people. The response to have something, anything, happen, to alleviate the suffering will be overwhelming. The next step is raising a very clear and simple question to these residents; what role are they willing to play in building this process? The responses you will get from people are they will do pretty much anything (because most of the time, people won't necessarily know what needs to happen). At this point, we rely on the information people have provided us which will indicate that they want services and support like counseling and protection. Our response discussions to this have to be that no one is going to protect us except ourselves. We have to have clear, political education driven discussions that make it plain that our objective is to create self sufficient communities that not only don't rely on police, but see them as agents of the very people responsible for our suffering.
Resource building work is done. For example, what people who are skilled and licensed to provide counseling services to our people will commit to doing so free of charge? Let's meet with them, have that political conversation, and establish a mechanism to plug them into our process. Then our discussions with the community residents who expressed a desire to do something will be that we need to do more door to door. We need to organize community events. Organize donation drives to have block parties. Its at these events that we announce our objectives to the community. We introduce the service providers to the community and we explain that if people are domestic abusers (for example) we have services to help them and we will do everything in our power to support them receiving help, but what we will not permit is for them to continue to terrorize people in our communities. We take the same approach with drug dealers and others. Remember, this is not reinventing the wheel. These tactics have been tried - successfully - many times before. We are just implementing what our ancestors provided for us previously. We announce self defense classes and we continue to organize around creating teams that will hit our streets to ensure our people are safe. We advance two extremely clear and precise messages to our people. The first is that everyone is welcome in our communities provided they respect our communities. Second, that if you disrespect our communities we will not be calling the police. We will develop processes to address you, specifically. And, once those processes are developed, if you intend to prey on our people, you will probably eventually wish someone had called the police on you.
The political work has to take place so that these messages come from the community, not a few organizers. The role and job of the organizers is to spark this work. We work to build up the capacity of this organization with the goal of moving to a point where people see more value in relying on each other in the community than calling in state sponsored terrorists because we just think that's the only option that we have.
Obviously, there is so much more to developing this model, but you hopefully get the point. We can organize for a world where we aren't disorganized. Where we aren't gunned down like rabbits in the street. Don't waste my time talking about what isn't possible when our people are being cut down like flies. There are many of us willing to do this work and we can create many, many, more who wish to build this capacity.
Or, with all due to respect to all those who make sincere efforts, we can continue to react, going to our slave masters and begging them to respect our lives. Based on history, we should see that we definitely deserve better than that, but of course, we will only ever get what we are willing to work for. As we lay young Mr. Clark into the ground. As we prepare to bury our next young person, don't you at least think its time we think seriously about all of this? Just speaking for myself, I have extensive experience with what I'm talking about here. I have a page on this site that offers services to help anyone with community organizing. Like most revolutionary organizers, I'm under-ultilized while hustlers and pimps who want to prey off our people can't get enough requests to rip us off. Is it just me, or is something terribly wrong here?