Friday, May 1, 2015

A Long Time Coming

Today's charges of murder and other very serious felony charges against six Baltimore cops for the murder of Freddie Gray marks the third time a district attorney has filed murder charges against law enforcement officers since police violence entered the public's consciousness in a big way during last summer's Black Lives Matter uprising in Ferguson, MO.

Those three sets of charges are now three things that stand between an innocent victim and a cop's gun, and we'll see how big they come to be in the imagination of police officers around the country in the months ahead.

But remember, it all started when Bernalillo County DA Kari Brandenberg charged two Albuquerque cops with the murder of James Boyd. That was followed by murder charges against a North Charleston, SC cop for the murder of Walter Scott, and that was followed by today.

Before Brandenberg stepped out of line and stood for something, going way back, every police officer who felt like pulling out his gun and ending someone's life got away with it, and every DA looked the other way, including Brandenberg. For whatever reason she changed, and now the country is on the cusp of very significant change as it regards the relationship between law enforcement and the public, and, perhaps, who knows, maybe even between the public and the power behind law enforcement, that quasi-legal and illegal manifestation of Capitalism's power, that combination of government, institutions, social norms and fear called the Establishment.

I pointed out a few posts ago that a shift had taken place in how the media was talking about police violence. It'll be awhile before police union presidents and Fox News change their tune, but if there's a significant shift in overall attitudes toward the police their tune will change, too. The reason being there's no good reason for police violence. The fact that it happens at all is only the result of how people see themselves in relation to power. Or you might say, how scared they are of authority. There's a sliding scale, a correlative relationship between the legitimacy of power and the amount of fear required to maintain it, and fear is about all that keeps our establishment in power at the moment. People are pretty much fed up with all of it and only lack knowing what to do about it.

When I stopped at Speedy's at the state line to get fuel last night the TV was playing Fox News, which was still doing 24/7 streets of Baltimore coverage, three nights after the "riots" and two nights after a curfew had been in effect, hoping something would happen that would give them one more chance to feel superior to some Black people, one more chance to get Black folks on camera and try to make them condemn "rioting" by other Black people. If you've seen any of Fox News' coverage you know that's most of they've been doing. It's that little game the media plays when a Muslim does something they don't like and every other Muslim is expected to go through the same public shaming ritual to pay for it, the only difference being it's socially unacceptable in some quarters to do it to Black people. We're some sick bastards, folks. We need to find some way to heal ourselves.

You can tell how little police violence has to stand on by reading this statement issued by the Baltimore police union president this afternoon. It's pathetic. There's nothing to it, just some standard phrases people who represent illegitimate autority string together when they have nothing left to say. When you're done reading it listen to the great Sam Cooke to get the foul taste out of your mouth.

By the way, Happy May Day! International Worker's Day, as it's called in some places. It actually began in the USA, then became almost completely forgotten here, and now, more and more people here are rediscovering what it is, as part of a rediscovery of radicalism by young people who didn't grow up having their heads stuffed crap full of nationalist anti Socialist cold war propaganda.


  1. I hope your right. I also never watch Fox News. they're so predictable you know on any topic what the take on it is going to be before it even comes out of they're stupid mouths

    1. True true. Fox News Watching gets to be an obsession with some on the Left, with examples posted all the time of social media. It's what a good share of the country is hearing though so that's my excuse.

  2. (2nd try, the first dissapeared after a couple paragraphs)
    Like TB, I hope your right. My optimism is tempered by seeing apparent upwellings of action like this simply fade away after a few weeks or months. Our national attention span seems around a week.

    My oldest, Kate (she sometimes comments or writes on my blog) remembers the May Day's we had in Anchorage in the mid 70's when she was in the first and second grades. She'd prepare May Day baskets the previous evening with some tidbits of salmon we'd smoked, or candy, and copies of the IWW songbook. Around 4am we'd distribute them to our friends and neighbors.

    A lovely morning here in Montana, nearly 50 already at 9am.

    1. I'd imagine more folks up in your neck of the woods know what the IWW is, and even a few remember when it was big in that part of the country. The IWW songbook! I'll be damned. I guess Joe Hill would have been in there. Great comment.