by Bilal Mafundi Ali
“We want an immediate end to POLICE BRUTALITY and the MURDER of Black people.” – The Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
The recent police murders of Stephon Clark, a 22 year-old shot and killed on the evening of March 18 by two officers of the Sacramento Police Department in Sacramento, and Saheed Vassell, 34, murdered by Brooklyn police in New York on April 7, again reminds us that Black Lives have never mattered to state-sanctioned organizations popularly known as police departments.
The mass responses to the murders of the two young Black men will initiate a familiar and repeated mass ritual that we have become accustomed to. I refer to this ritual, which characterizes the actions and activities in response to state-sanctioned executions of Black and Brown lives, as the Sisyphus Syndrome. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was a king who pissed off the gods and was punished for his chronic deceitfulness by being compelled to roll an immense boulder up a hill, only to watch it roll back down, repeating this action forever.
The Sisyphus Syndrome, or ritual, commences after settler-kkkops execute an unarmed Black or Brown member of our community, setting in motion a series of reactions that involve a rising up of the people in righteous indignation, followed by demonstrations, protest, press conferences and town hall meetings that are nothing more than venting sessions. Social media activism and hash tags are created, meaningless reforms are discussed, such as body cameras and tasers, and “community leaders” are trotted out with the purpose of chilling out and derailing the people’s legitimate anger and disgust, at the behest of their white supremacist benefactors.
The mass responses to the murders of the two young Black men will initiate a familiar and repeated mass ritual that we have become accustomed to.
Contributing to this ritual are local elected officials making promises of transparency and accountability, while ambulance chasing attorneys rush in offering their services not seeking real justice but instead financial settlements in which blood money is paid out to relatives of the victims at taxpayers’ expense. The joke is on us; after all, it is the people who are paying the Blue Klux Klan to execute us through these lawsuits. Afterwards, life catches up with us, and our indignation, anger and frustrations subside until our actions are reduced to “a moment.” The same chants … same signs … sore feet … hoarse throats, while we await the next atrocity committed by these killer kkkops.
If we are to break out of this pattern, it is imperative that we understand the relationships that exists between state violence at the hands of the police and oppressed Black and Brown communities. First and foremost is the recognition that amerikkka, the home of the thief and land of the slave, is a settler colonial state and the police act as colonial settler-kkkops, serving as an occupying army that maintains this colonial relationship in Black and Brown oppressed communities.
Settler-state sponsored reforms and any other pacifiers will not alter this existing colonial relationship and its deadly consequences visited upon people of color. This is the root (core) issue at stake. Understanding the true role and nature of policing in racist kkkapitalist amerikkka can aid us in articulating the correct path we must undertake in order to protect our communities against the rabid swine that terrorize and murder us with impunity.
If we are to break out of this pattern, it is imperative that we understand the relationships that exists between state violence at the hands of the police and oppressed Black and Brown communities.
Until we end the colonial relationship between the larger White society in general and the Black and Brown community, in particular, economic and social injustice will persist. Until we end the occupation of Black and Brown communities by a hostile police force, hyperactive arrest rates, police brutality and the killings of Black people will continue.
“What you don’t control will be used as a weapon against you,” Imam Jamil al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown taught us.
Oppressed peoples and their communities can and will be secure in this country only when they are organized to defend themselves against the aggressions of the government and the forces of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation.
People’s Commission for Human Rights
An example of a pro-active and organized approach against state-sanctioned police terrorism is the call for Black and Brown community control of the police, through efforts led by those most impacted by police terrorism in our communities. Community control would involve the establishment of a People’s Commission for Human Rights that is elected, not appointed.
It will have an elected “special prosecutor” and hired staff, independent of mayors, police departments, city attorney offices and boards of supervisors. The People’s Commission for Human Rights will have the power to examine complaints of police terror and impose penalties that include suspension and firing of officers, as well as the power to review and change police department policies and procedures, with control over the police budget, along with full subpoena power and access to shooting sites.
Community control would involve the establishment of a People’s Commission for Human Rights that is elected, not appointed.
This commission will not operate as a rubber stamp board as the many so-called police commissions and review boards act presently.
A People’s Commission for Human Rights and community control cannot eliminate all police terror in our hoods, any more than it can resolve the underlying conditions of poverty, racism, crumbling health and education, drug addiction, homelessness and joblessness. But it will make it a lot harder for the police to get away with acts of violence and other forms of terrorism. Community control of the police is a first step to gain community control over our lives.
Dis-empower, Dis-band, Dis-arm the Police!
Black and Brown Community Control of the Police.
Organize to Win!
Bilal Mafundi Ali, legendary activist, advocate and human rights organizer, can be reached at email@example.com.