Political Overview For April Conference on Black Community Control of Police

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The following is the political overview that will be presented to the April 18-19 Black is Back Coalition National Conference on Black Community Control of Police. It was written by Coalition Chairman Omali Yeshitela and approved for publication by the Coalition Steering Committee. 
Attendees of the conference will be asked to vote on whether the overview will be accepted as the Coalition’s position on the spontaneous struggle that has unfolded in the U.S. since the resistance sparked by the August 9, 2014 police murder of 18-year-old Mike Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.
The Steering Committee of the Black is Back Coalition for Social Justice, Peace and Reparations invite comments and criticisms of the document.

The police are an arm of the State no matter what the circumstances or situation.

Whether it is a matter of the police ruthlessly gunning down unarmed Africans as in the cases of 7-year-old Ayana Jones in Detroit, 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, or Eric Garner and Mike Brown in Staten Island and Ferguson, or a matter of the cops chasing bank robbers and serial killers—we are talking about the State in action.

This is what we must remember when discussing the direction of the spontaneous movement sparked by the resistance to police murder by young working class Africans in Ferguson on August 9, 2014.

The state is an organization of coercion that includes the police, court system, grand juries, jails and prisons, etc. It came into being as an instrument of ruling classes to protect the system of haves and have-nots and the class in power.

In the U.S. the capitalist State has its origin in genocide and land theft from this continent’s traditional custodians who are called Indians. It also got its identity from capturing and holding enslaved Africans in domestic colonialism and stealing half of Mexico and repressing the Mexican people on both sides of the illegitimate border.

The State is the necessary instrument of coercion that protects a society constructed on genocide and slavery. It is an instrument of violence that is absolutely necessary to prevent the oppressed from rising up, slaying the oppressors, winning our liberation and recovering our stolen resources.

The ideological foundation of capitalism is racism, the unbridled hatred of and disdain for Africans and other capitalist victims. Racism is part of the ideological superstructure of white power resting on an economic base of slavery and colonialism.

The ubiquitous presence of police in African communities has nothing to do with crime unless it is recognized that anything that challenges the monopoly of power and resources in the hands of the white ruling class is the essential definition of crime.

The State deploys its forces in society where the class contradictions are sharpest. And, since the real class struggle in the real world is concentrated in the colonial contradiction it is natural that the police presence in African and other domestic colonies of the U.S. would be as pronounced as in the external colonies like Afghanistan and Iraq at the moment.

This is why we must understand that the murders of Africans by the police within our oppressed communities are not really accidents. They are not due to the absence of police body cameras or a lack of training.

Like citizens of the white oppressor nation the police recognize Africans as the “Other.” We are the colonized. It is upon our freedom and resources that the entire social system rests. The oppression of Africans, Mexicans and so-called Indians are what makes up the DNA of the U.S. colonial State.

This is not a relationship that can be fixed by reform. Civilian police review boards cannot fix it or special government sponsored or endorsed discussions on race relations. It cannot be fixed by sensitivity training and cultural awareness within police departments.

In the final analysis, we will only be able to fix the relationship existing between Africans and the police and other instruments of U.S. colonial State power through total destruction of the oppressor’s State apparatus that contaminates every aspect of black life from the cradle to the grave.

In the final analysis it will take revolution the change the relationship we have to the police.

However, even while we are building toward revolution there is a correct and incorrect way to fight for reform. One way, the method being promoted by the government and its servants, is opportunism.

Opportunism is the practice of sacrificing the long-term interests of the oppressed for some short-term advantage for a sector of the population–the middle class or petty bourgeoisie that will be provided with plush jobs within the State apparatus.

It is opportunism that claims that police cultural and sensitivity training, body cameras, more black policemen or police review boards are the solution to the public police executions of our people and the willingness of the judicial system to condone them.

This is why the demand for Black Community Control of the Police is so important. Unlike the opportunist demands, which ultimately seek to perfect the U.S. colonial state apparatus and tighten its noose even more around the throats of our oppressed people, the demand for Black Community Control of the Police deconstructs the colonial relationship between our people and the white power colonial State.

Black Community Control of the Police is a democratic demand that pushes our struggle forward toward self-determination, the highest expression of democracy, which for a colonized people begins with placing limitations on the ability of the colonial State to intervene in the lives of the colonized.

The revolutionary struggle of African people for self-determination within the U.S. is heating up as never before since the military defeat of the Black Revolution of the Sixties.

It is a spontaneous struggle that up to now has defied the U.S. government’s assassinations of our revolutionary leadership, the destruction of our revolutionary organizations and mass imprisonment of revolutionaries during the period of mass struggle in the 1960s.

Up to now this nascent movement has defied slander, neocolonial misdirection and the wholesale poisoning of our communities with drugs pumped in by various arms of the U.S. colonial State.

The consciousness of this movement must be informed by revolutionary science. It must be informed by the fundamental task placed before Africans since our capture and subjugation as colonial slaves in the U.S. and elsewhere.

This is an historical moment that cannot be squandered with mealy mouthed supplications by mealy mouth supplicants who assume justice and equality can be attained within this system, that it is possible for the colonizer to provide justice for the colonized and that the State in the form of the police is a neutral, benign arbiter depending on our willingness to act reasonably.

The demand for Black Community Control of the Police is a profound criticism of the U.S. colonial white power State. It is a declaration that the oppressed cannot rely on the oppressor State to function as a disinterested institution capable of serving the interests of the oppressed African community.

The demand for Black Community Control of the Police is a democratic demand that recognizes the responsibility of African people to build a movement that has the capture of black State power on the agenda.

The struggle for Black Community Control of the Police assumes the ability of African people ourselves to redefine the role of the police so that it no longer functions as a agency imposed on us from the outside.

In one fell swoop Black Community Control of the Police gives our people the opportunity to require police to become one with the people, to require that its functions include solving the fundamental problems of our colonized community.

This starts with the poverty, joblessness, poor and non-existent housing, healthcare, etc. It gives the African community the ability to change the look of the police from that of an invading army dressed in ski masks and military gear.

It is the community that will hire, fire and determine the training of the police. We can develop a transparent and democratic process for the selection and deployment of police. A person would become a police officer because of his/her reputation within the community, whether they are servants of the community, etc.

Monies previously provided from taxpayer’s dollars to fund the colonial police occupation of the African community could fund Black Community Control of the Police.

These monies could be diverted to a designated body of the community, a Black Community Control of Police Council elected through unrestricted black universal suffrage regardless of property ownership, education or criminal record.

Clearly the demand and struggle for Black Community Control of the Police is a revolutionary demand. It is a demand that is required by these times of rising consciousness of Africans and the oppressed of the world.

And, like every revolutionary demand during historically critical moments the demand for Black Community Control of Police will have to be a consciously wielded ideological and political weapon directed at all forms of opportunism that would misdirect the energies of a newly awakened colonial mass.

The momentum achieved already in the struggle against colonial police violence and judicial collaboration must be captured and put in to work in the interests of our colonized people to defeat the white power colonial State and capture black State power in our own black hands.

Black Community Control of Police now!