Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
August 20, 2014

Malooga On Ferguson - The Bigger Picture

by Malooga
lifted from a comment

@154 luca kasks: "Why don't you people wait for all the facts to come in?"

Facts are not like beloved relatives coming in to visit on cherished holidays; facts are like murdered ex-collaborators, to be secretly disappeared and buried deep in some dank forgotten hole in the ground.

Facts, for the ruling class, are dangerous beasts. Myths and stories are far safer fare.

Facts may escape unexpectedly at the very beginning of an event, before proper control systems are in place, after that all one is likely to get is the official story, or if that fails, the official fall-back position.

How could one get what is going on geopolitically by following this blog, and not get that the same conditions and principles of domination, control and brutalization operate similarly on a local scale?

Perhaps it might be helpful to detail those conditions and principles in order to remind ourselves what the theater in which these events take place is truly like, both for the residents of places like Ferguson, and for the police who manage those residents.

The war on drugs was not a war against drugs. It was a war for the ultra-rich rulers to control and profit from the cash streams of illegal drug profits, to finance un-sellable illegal wars, a method of destabilizing other countries through drug addiction, and a method of criminalizing the intentional poverty and hopelessness of the bottom 30%, or more, of the domestic population. (See: US protection of heroin in southeast Asia and Afghanistan, CIA crack distribution in US cities, Gary Webb, etc.)

The "War on Terror" is virtually the same thing: An outright war on the poor, and a destabilization of territories the empire does not control outright. Additionally, like drugs, the “war” is largely synthetic, that is to say, fake and victimless, where the perpetrators have to be secretly sponsored to create an artificial enemy, with what Rowan Berkeley accurately termed “pseudo-gangs.”

These wars are not real, in the sense that the problems as described are not real; and, such problems as may exist, are intentionally handled so as to exacerbate them, and reinforce the problem-reaction-solution dynamic.

Drugs are not a problem to be eradicated, rather, they are a medium to be employed, a means to an end. Terror, as we know, is not even a thing, it is just a tactic. You can’t criminalize a tactic, but you can employ it as a means to an end.

I don’t need to remind you that the US, the “land of the free,” has the largest -- in absolute and relative terms -- prison population on the planet. And the vast, vast, vast majority of those who are imprisoned are there for victimless crimes.

But that’s not all. Because if you grow up in the projects, and you raise your kid right, and miraculously manage to keep him away from guns and gangs, you still face two more daunting hurdles: poverty and police violence.

Let’s start with poverty. Official unemployment rates are lied over, real rates can be many times higher, and many in the projects can find no work at all, or only part-time work, without benefits, in a fast food joint. Lack of work equals lack of money, which equals lack of education, which equals lack of opportunity and work, and so on, in an endless vicious cycle.

Domestically, a new war is underway: an outright war on the poor, where those who can’t -- because of unemployment or other reasons -- keep up with their financial obligations are threatened with imprisonment for non-payment of bills, taxes, child support, court fees, parking tickets, etc. Indeed, we as a society have regressed to the days of Oliver Twist and workhouses. Prisoners must work for their keep these days as low cost producers for corporations, and quaint notions like labor laws or minimum wages do not apply to them.

Prisons have been privatized, and prisoners are just another commodity to be profited from in the capitalist system, like pork bellies, or wheat futures. Judges, like police, have been proved to have quotas: they are expected to meet a production goal where, like a factory worker, a certain number of people must be imprisoned each month or year. After all, the owners of these prisons are top campaign contributors, and they provide “jobs” to the local economy, so they must be kept happy. Cops, like judges, are under pressure to do their part in maintaining prison occupancy rates.

Any fool can see that this is not a description of a society, as anthropologists might have studied 100 years ago, but of a catabolic process, whereby a sick or diseased body (politic) greedily consumes itself on the way to the grave. And, as they quietly lament around my way, “it is what it is.”

And yet, it is worse: for those that escape these first three evils -- drugs, the “war on terror” and poverty -- which I have briefly detailed, there is a fourth evil to be circumvented: what the sociologists call “structural violence.” And this takes two forms. The first comes in the form of what psychiatrists term “frustration aggression.” Watch industrially raised chickens, confined to 2/3 of a square foot of cage space, artificial lighting, and a diet of drugs and GMO feedstock engage in vicious acts of cannibalism, and you will get a sense of what that is. The ghetto is a similarly sociologically confined space, and frustration and the inability to cope or escape can lead to misplaced violence or acting out against others.

The second type of violence is institutionalized violence, where, in an intentional process of social engineering, one group or class of people is taught to hate and fear another group or class. This is the process that I, employing Gregory Bateson’s insights, term schismogenesis. It is divide and rule at its most base level: Civil wars, genocide, pogroms, mob violence, etc.

And yes, the police are deeply inculcated in perpetuating institutional violence. They are trained to both hate and fear the public they lord over. And the system is not accidental, by any means. The police on the beat, the SWAT teams, the civic snipers, etc. -- these are people of rather limited intellectual abilities in understanding how the entire geopolitical system works. They are, by nature, not curious in that way -- rather, they are ordinary people who value fitting in, convention, tradition, and law and order in society. In other words, they buy into the myths of our society, its “freedom," and “liberty," and “goodness of purpose," and “rightness of heart," and “exceptionalism," lock, stock, and barrel. And they expect others to buy in as well in order to be “good" patriotic Americans. After all, “if you are not with us, you are against us," as George Bush Jr. explained in one of his few elegantly articulate formulations. Therefore, the police are vulnerable to being easily propagandized.

They are then compartmentalized in knowledge, grouped into subgroups, and endlessly trained and drilled in hate and fear of the official "enemy" of the day, and then trained in techniques of the highest level of violence in thwarting the alleged goals of these enemies. Police no longer make use of bobby clubs, they are now given the elite weapons of war that our soldiers use in combat. They watch movies to see how these weapons are employed. And to seal the deal, they are given special classes, trainings and drills from the same “specialists" on “terror” that train our military because the American way of subversion always includes making people feel special. Now, they are not dumb cops anymore, they are well trained, and they are told that they are our elite guard protecting the “homeland” from those who hate our ways of freedom.

They are also economically privileged compared to the people of places like Ferguson. Police have unions, and theirs are probably the only labor unions in America today not under constant attack from the ruling class. So they get generous overtime, benefits, can buy houses and raise kids in safety outside of the leviathan that I am describing. They also, to a certain extent, benefit from the inequalities of society. So they look down on those they are policing and look up to their betters: The wealthy and those who are experts in the “threats facing society today.” Go to a real wealthy neighborhood, and the cops don’t have that same smug attitude. They address you as “Sir” or Ma’am.” If they have to pull you over for having a headlight out, they can be downright apologetic -- after all, you may be a judge or a city councilman. They know who their betters are, and now they act like public servants, albeit a little falsely servile. This is obviously not the case in Ferguson, where the number of police stops annually is greater than the population of the town, and arrests are similarly elevated.

Finally, police on the force for any length of time must face the complete corruption of our society: They know that justice is a farce. They know who the drug dealers are, the money runners, the pimps, the bought politicians, and judges -- the whole nine yards. And they know that there is no will to change any of this. Moreover, they have no power over any of this: They can either choose to be complicit in the corrupt system, or keep to themselves and hope for the best not to be set up one day as a patsy.

Thus, police in our society live in a state of total cognitive dissonance, what one might call an ethical double-bind. They are forced to see that on one hand, we are supposedly the greatest society ever; on the other hand, life is hopelessly brutal and corrupt. They must believe in, or at least publicly pay lip service, to the myths they are sworn to uphold: the wars on drugs and terror; the promise of progress and a quasi-religious kind of civic and moral redemption -- that if you just keep your nose clean and work hard, you can escape the poverty of the ghetto they police; and that we live in a just society in which they are the protectors of that justice. Meanwhile, they like everyone else in America, watches as the whole system is rapidly breaking down. They know that there are no real jobs for the people of Ferguson, and that, like in the movie, “TheTruman Show,” the residents cannot escape the set.

This double bind is of course unresolvable. So police themselves, under tremendous internal strain, resort to the same frustration-aggression, and unexpected violent lashing out, in order to cope.

Under these conditions, the only power police have is over the people in the community they are supposed to serve. And the only way they can demonstrate that power is by acting out brutally and violently.

Sociologists and criminologists know that the methods police are taught and trained in don’t work, just as economists know that “trickle down” really means “flow up.” Gentler methods involving community involvement, restorative justice, etc. have all been worked out and proved to work. But the new methods actually do work, only for different purposes and to different ends: they frighten and cower populations, they allow one group to dominate another, they isolate people and pit them against each other in fruitless zero-sum games, and they destroy human lives, values, and charitableness. In sum, they control people, and allow them to be selectively harvested for profit, like a slowly maturing cash crop in the sweltering St. Louis summer heat.

And, community policing, bad as it is these days, does not even compare to the violence perpetrated by the new elite SWAT teams. These groups are as brutal as the teams used to clear houses in Iraq -- and no surprise there, for they are taught the same methods: If it moves, take it out.

And that brings us back to the police. Under the conditions I have just detailed, under the impossible constraints they forced to endure, how can they not be violent, at least some of the time. And how can they, as an organized force, not be violent in a systematic manner. Perhaps not all the time, but more often than not the social forces which police work under these days force violence to be propagated down in a systematic and totalizing manner.

And it is the awareness of all that I have described that causes many commenters here to reflexively assume police lies and violence to be ubiquitous. I hope that this is more understandable now. It is not a judgment of an individual’s (the cop who shot Michael Brown) -- who one obviously doesn’t know well -- moral value, rather it is an holistic appraisal of the social and material conditions of our society today, in which the American underclass, and their handlers, seek to operate.

Therefore, as for the police themselves, yes, perhaps out of the many hundreds of cases a year like this of police murder, corruption, assault, brutality, cover-up, bribery, theft, etc., there are possibly a few that were accidental, unintentional, or even false charges. If that were to be the case -- which appears practically impossible -- the facts would get out -- unless the cop were being intentionally set up. But, to focus on this petty detail, and insist upon its importance to the bigger picture, is to miss that bigger picture altogether. I hope we can all see this.

Posted by b on August 20, 2014 at 10:49 UTC | Permalink

Comments
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The black community in Ferguson is demanding three things:
1) arrest Wilson
2) remove the current prosecutor, Mccullough and replace him. File charges against Wilson.
3) remove the Chief of Police and replace him.

These demands are concrete, reasonable and correct.

The only way to change things is by concrete, specific actions that move in the direction of justice for ALL.

Posted by: Linda Amick | Aug 21 2014 12:27 utc | 101

A very well written piece. The question to ask, is it describing society accurately to be able to predict the future?

That the elements Malooga describes exist in society is true but are they the only elements at play? Life is just not that black and white (no pun intended). Here in the St Louis metro area two days ago we had a second shooting death of a young black man by a police officer. But in this case almost everything has turned out different. 1. There is a video, 2. When the protests took place instead of a response of force the police chief for that municipality actually talked with the protestors (going unarmed in their midst!) to talk and explain things. 3. There was no selective release of information to disparage the victim, 4. More information on the case has been released with much greater speed and perhaps most importantly 5. The demonstrators have been appreciative of the police effort and distance themselves from the response in Ferguson.

If we are to extrapolate from what happened in Ferguson then Malooga's dire predictions would occur. And here we do have to learn lessons from Ferguson and overcome them but there is a counter movement as well. I see value in Malooga's piece in pointing out what will happen if we ignore this kind of behavior. But there are strong counter movements that should not be ignored. The response to the 2nd killing shows that.

Posted by: Khalid Shah | Aug 21 2014 12:43 utc | 102

Kiev convoy marked "PRESS" carrying combatants http://youtu.be/V2cKm-jBm78 -Bn Donbass hides behind civilians in school https://twitter.com/VagelisKarmiros/status/502226920525004800

Posted by: brian | Aug 21 2014 13:15 utc | 103

You can't have a unified and therefore powerful and effective anti-police violence or even better anti-rich pro-working-class movement when your central demand seems to be railroading a non-black guy against whom the evidence is weak. Yeah, that's gonna really get working class and poor whites and Hispanics to stand with working class and poor blacks ...

Why oh why does the revolutionary left tie itself to shaky cases -- pushed by the Democratic Party & corporate media -- with minimal reliable evidence or, worse, full of contradictory evidence? The Rodney King videotaped beating was clear, THIS (which happened in St Louis a couple days after Michael Brown) is f@kcing clearly police murder. Such clear and compelling evidence might get us what we want, large-scale cross-racial anger and protests that might have some chance at actual success.

Not this case. Michael Brown's case is not clear. Neither fwiw was the case against Hispanic George Zimmerman, which is why he was properly found not guilty. You're wasting your time by building the large-scale social democracy and anti-rich movement we need on quicksand, when you follow the media and Al Sharpton's lead and latch onto unclear cases such as this. And this b.s. happens over and over and over in the US, seemingly every damn summer when the media needs a ratings boost ...

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 13:25 utc | 104

" 3. There was no selective release of information to disparage the victim" @101

Is that true, Khalid? I have not followed this story closely but at Press TV there is a piece today, featuring a new video, which shows a completely unarned and apparently an aimless casual pedestrian suddenly killed by police.
The original information, as I recall, described him as having been threatening with a knife and acting aggressively etc. This was clearly an attempt to justify the killing and a tissue of lies.
Perhaps you could comment? It seems to me that there is prima facie case to be made for the arrest of the officers involved and murder charges.

On the general question, I offended some readers yesterday by questioning the pacific nature of the popular response to the Brown killing.
The problem is not unlike that in the Donbass struggle. In both cases the leadership seems to be coming from very conservative elements. I have dealt with the Ukrainian situation several times in the past months so I will not repeat myself here.

But the situation in America needs to be understood: there is no future in popular demands for black people to be allowed full membership and equal citizenship in the imperialist metropole. Indeed the demand is self contradictory: America is what it is not despite of but because of the ill treatment of coloured peoples and the immiseration of working people.
That is the path which Obama and Holder took and respresent, the call for blacks to be admitted into society on the same basis as whites. This is a profoundly reactionary demand. It is also hopeless for all but a token few.

Don Bacon reminds me of the dignity of black civil rights struggles over the centuries and the refusal of black people to descend to the same levels of violence as their oppressors. He reminds us of the MLK example and alludes to Ghandi. But the reality, as King saw in his last months, is that equality in the USA comes at the price of becoming complicit in the state's murderous practises and bloody history.

What is missing, on the surface and at a distance, from the Ferguson situation is the articulation of clear political demands which imply the transformation of America. The first of these is a demand for power, not just the right to vote but the right to vote in a system in which the votes of poor people count, as they rarely have in US history. And the right to vote over basic questions of power, including the expropriation of corporate and private property. And there has to be a demand for an ending of the arms and security state and its replacement by a real welfare state.

And, from the black point of view, there must be a serious demand for reparations which any student of US history, both north and south, will realise involves an economy that was largely constructed by slaves and their descendants in semi-slavery.

It is a sad paradox of US history that the exclusion of the black masses from any share in the state, their reduction to wealthlessness, unemployment, incarceration, early death, poor education and hopelessness can only be ended when the United States itself is ended in revolution.

And that, willy nilly, is where the protests against police murders are leading because crone is wrong, the problem is not that policemen are psycho but that capitalism in the United States is, and the policemen are no more than tools in the hands of a vicious and greedy ruling class which has been eating poor people for centuries.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 21 2014 13:30 utc | 105

Although often inconvenient, moral law is simple to understand. My right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. My desire to take what is not mine is wrong and constrained by the ownership rights of others. I'm not free to murder even if the other guy richly deserves it. I'm not free to lie just because the truth is uncomfortable.

Moral law is universal. Left handed people with blue eyes and black hair don't get a special exemption. Having a particular job or wearing a uniform or achieving high rank does not grant immunity. Moral law contains no fine print for the few.

It is no secret that some occupations are fraught with moral hazard. In the USA nobody is conscripted into the military or law enforcement or high political office. Men and women seek these roles voluntarily knowing the odds are elevated that some day they'll use deadly force against another person either directly or indirectly. They get no special exemption, no license to kill. This is clear to them when they seek the occupation.

Shall we have sympathy for those who act as if moral law does not apply to them, especially considering that they were free to choose another occupation? What is the point of trying to snatch complexity from the jaws of simplicity? How hard is it, really, to understand that thou shalt not kill?

Posted by: SingingSam | Aug 21 2014 13:42 utc | 106

Posted by: bevin | Aug 21, 2014 9:30:31 AM | 104

But of course some black people can be admitted to the exalted PTB in the US. Not "as white people" (a nonsense phrase) but as members of and strong defenders of the capitalist ruling class. It's called a class system. America has changed over the last 75 years or so, and now the share of oppression attributable to class is much larger and the shared attributable to race is much smaller. Are you willing to recognize that? And Ferguson is mostly about class, which explains why the mainstream media, but not why the 'left', are fighting passionately not to let people say or hear that.

Anyway, Malooga has some excellent insights, but the most insightful thing I've read on Ferguson is this, miraculously in the mainstream media: Ferguson is not just about systemic racism — it's about class warfare and how America's poor are held back, says Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

This fist-shaking of everyone’s racial agenda distracts America from the larger issue that the targets of police overreaction are based less on skin color and more on an even worse Ebola-level affliction: being poor. Of course, to many in America, being a person of color is synonymous with being poor, and being poor is synonymous with being a criminal. Ironically, this misperception is true even among the poor.

And that’s how the status quo wants it.

The U.S. Census Report finds that 50 million Americans are poor. Fifty million voters is a powerful block if they ever organized in an effort to pursue their common economic goals. So, it’s crucial that those in the wealthiest One Percent keep the poor fractured by distracting them with emotional issues like immigration, abortion and gun control so they never stop to wonder how they got so screwed over for so long.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 13:54 utc | 107

@ 63 "Ummmm, I'm gonna go out on a limb here and guess the most massive and refined propaganda system in the history of human civilization, Jim."

And that massive, refined propaganda system has had no influence on whether people become killer cops?

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Aug 21 2014 13:59 utc | 108

"But of course some black people can be admitted to the exalted PTB in the US. Not "as white people" (a nonsense phrase) but as members of and strong defenders of the capitalist ruling class. It's called a class system. America has changed over the last 75 years or so, and now the share of oppression attributable to class is much larger and the shared attributable to race is much smaller. Are you willing to recognize that?" fairleft @106

It surprises me that you have to ask your final question. Unless my post is more muddled than usual it should be quite clear that that is my point. As to the "nonsense phrase" I am obviously referring to the bargain that liberals are offering, and of course liberals like to believe that there is no such thing as class. Please re-read what I wrote.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 21 2014 14:06 utc | 109

@76 "Quit the act... you know who kill most black men in Zamerica?
Other black men. This is a FACT.

If a person is armed - in Kajieme Powell's case a knife - and the
person threateningly aproaches the police of course they are going
to shoot! That's NOT an execution. If Powell had not aproached the
cops with a knife he'd be alive."

And if Brown had not approached the cops with... his head?

Posted by: Snake Arbusto | Aug 21 2014 14:18 utc | 110

In regards to Ferguson;

It should be pretty clear to anyone interested in objective analysis that the shooting of Brown was justified. Trying to smear the cop who shot and the DA is just lame when looking at facts. Too many people being ruled by their own emotions which have been stirred up by the MSM.

That being said there is also no question that the US Police force has been way over militarized, and that the USA is in fact a police/fascist state.

But these are 2 separate discussions.

Was the shooting justified? Yes, based on facts available to the public at this moment it was (autopsy, witness descriptions, corpse photos, described circumstances).

Is the US Police over militarized? Yes, absolutely. Is the show of force in Ferguson justified? Actually it is unless you want a permanent Maidan-esque society.

Personaly I no longer travel to the US because I dislike how the US society in general has changed.

Posted by: RobertB | Aug 21 2014 14:33 utc | 111

"And if Brown had not approached the cops with... his head?"

What a completely moronic statement. He was a 6`4" 300 lbs agressive man. Have you ever been bumrushed by a guy that large? Rushing from 30 feet away is a very short distance and the cop only had a second or two to consider action. All the shots fired were likely fired in very rapid succession hence the left to right upward angling of the hits.

If you sincerely believe that a big man isnt capable of killing another with his bare hands you might be in for a big surprise one day when someone smacks you in the face. You might want to look at the UK case where a negro punched a white (retarded in a medical sense) man in the face and killed him due to cranial damage from his head hitting the asphalt.

Posted by: RobertB | Aug 21 2014 14:39 utc | 112

"Personaly I no longer travel to the US because I dislike how the US society in general has changed."


We haven't changed


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaS2bRGS86c

But you do seem to miss the point on Ferguson. It's not about one person. It doesn't matter if he's a pot-smoking cigar thief whose height might cause fear in a cop. To focus on one incident when hundreds of such incidents occur every year is myopic.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Aug 21 2014 14:45 utc | 113

I didn't misunderstand you:

But the situation in America needs to be understood: there is no future in popular demands for black people to be allowed full membership and equal citizenship in the imperialist metropole. Indeed the demand is self contradictory: America is what it is not despite of but because of the ill treatment of coloured peoples and the immiseration of working people. ...

It is a sad paradox of US history that the exclusion of the black masses from any share in the state, their reduction to wealthlessness, unemployment, incarceration, early death, poor education and hopelessness can only be ended when the United States itself is ended in revolution.

Para 1: But of course some black people do have "full membership and equal citizenship in the imperialist metropole." Why? Because 75-80 years into the civil rights movement, many blacks are rich and upper middle class.

Para 2: The reality is that "the black masses" (another 2014 nonsense phrase, though 50-75 years ago it had far more validity) are split into classes. Some are in the PTB, many are in the upper middle and middle classes. The majority are working class and many are poor. There is a "black masses" no more if you understand the U.S. reality as a now predominantly class-based reality.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 14:49 utc | 114

Posted by: RobertB | Aug 21, 2014 10:33:57 AM | 110

I think you're stating things too strongly, and unnecessarily so. We don't know whether Wilson is guilty of a crime, we don't know whether the shooting was justified. The evidence is contradictory and weak. In such cases not guilty verdicts should be rendered. Period.

There was a much clearer case of police 'murder' a couple nights later in St Louis, when the police without hesitation shot and killed a man that they said was threatening them with a knife. The video shows that was not the case.

It's always pathetic when an ephemeral "cause celebre" is built on weak and contradictory facts and evidence. just another sign of another kind of US dysfunction.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 14:54 utc | 115

bevin @ 104: "the problem is not that policemen are psycho but that capitalism in the United States is, and the policemen are no more than tools in the hands of a vicious and greedy ruling class which has been eating poor people for centuries."

Yep.

Posted by: ben | Aug 21 2014 15:00 utc | 116

Some kinda crazy country:

Aug 20, 2014
Officer to protesters: 'I will f--king kill you'

At roughly 11:55 PM CDT, a Ferguson police officer was spotted randomly pointing an assault rifle at protesters. This event was captured by the citizen journalist Rebelutionary_Z. The officer pointed his rifle at Rebelutionary_Z's companion, identified as Josiah (an African-American), and said "I will fucking kill you, get back." When asked for his name by Rebelutionary_Z, the officer responded "Go fuck yourself."

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3AFia3Uo0TQ#t=24

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 15:01 utc | 117

@104. In the second shooting the Videos and eyewitness accounts show very unbalanced behavior and a knife. The question of the police was why didn't they taser him instead. Sorry cannot give more detail now but will upload links tonight.

Posted by: Khalid shah | Aug 21 2014 15:32 utc | 119

Posted by: Khalid shah | Aug 21, 2014 11:32:15 AM | 118

The second video shows mentally ill behavior but I don't think it shows threatening behavior. I don't think it shows a knife, but if it does show a knife it doesn't show any threatening with it. The victim is walking away and then parallelwith the officers' position, turns toward the officers a half-second before the shooting starts, all at a normal pace, with his hands down at his sides, and then the rapid-fire shooting begins. The incident happens very quickly: he shouts "shoot me now" at the officers at 1'25'' and the shooting starts at 1'40'' of the video, which you can find here: http://rt.com/usa/181772-deadly-st-louis-shooting-video/

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 15:45 utc | 120

SingingSam @ 105 said:

"How hard is it, really, to understand that thou shalt not kill?"

remember this story from last year?

Posted by: john | Aug 21 2014 16:03 utc | 121

@104 bevin


And that, willy nilly, is where the protests against police murders are leading because crone is wrong, the problem is not that policemen are psycho but that capitalism in the United States is, and the policemen are no more than tools in the hands of a vicious and greedy ruling class which has been eating poor people for centuries.

Transaltion ONCE AGAIN: THE COPS ARE JUST FOLLOWING ORDERS so cut them some slack.

And all this anti-capitalist rhetoric from a poster who has OVER AND OVER AGAIN adamantly preached AGAINST revolutionary Marxism for fear that we would NECESSARILY have another Reign of Terror on our hands.

HELLO! We are ALREADY living in a Reign of Terror, fake lefties!!!

Oh, I get it we need - like all good fake lefties - to work WITHIN THE SYSTEM - the SAME system that employs murderous cops to beat and kill us, the same system that is lead by unrepentant war criminals and which which employs THOUSANDS more - to change said murderous system?!!!!

And I'M called UNREALISTIC for wanting people to first get their minds in the right place by unplugging from MSM poison that conditions people to violence and killling?

Um, excuse me, Mr. Murderous Policeman and the rest?

If you haven't noticed, we on the fake left have been waving the WHITE FLAG for decades now?

How about AT LEAST a reach-around?

Pathetic.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 21 2014 16:20 utc | 122

@104

can only be ended when the United States itself is ended in revolution.

Hey, bevin, do I really need to go back through all of your old MOA posts to show what a incredible HYPOCRITE you are with this statement or will you just type the following out for me:

JSorrentine, I AM SORRY for being such a dick to you all of the time on MOA. You were right from the beginning and I've FINALLY come around to you adopt your thinking.

Please forgive me.

Signed,

bevin

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 21 2014 16:25 utc | 123

Hilarious! fairleft is doing the usual fake left dance of trying to dismiss race in favor of class as if "driving while black" cares whether one is drving a BMW or beatup rust bucket or "stop and frisk" cared whether you went to Harvard of the University of the Streets or how much money your parents did or did not have.

And as always, there must be the "right" black victim to get behind so as not to potentially offend others who might otherwise join together in the great class only based struggle against Da Man! Because, as we all know, the only thing keeping us apart is that old hustler Al Sharpton. Bouns points for mentioning the crazy nut Zimmerman though it's probably time to let that go because when even the likes of Frank Taffe drop him, you should know it's time to just hush and move on.

The overall reality is that in this country race and class oppression have always been intertwined and used by THTB. The exsistence of a sliver of relatively well off blacks, which has for the most part always been around, doesn't change that. Trying to pretend that class trumps race is a fool's errand doomed to failure.

Posted by: ks | Aug 21 2014 16:40 utc | 124

@121 JSorrentine,

Simply put, they have the luxury of having high minded debates about capitalism and class because the cops are't being their asses.

Posted by: ks | Aug 21 2014 16:51 utc | 125

@121 JSorrentine,

Simply put, they have the luxury of having high minded debates about capitalism and class because the cops are't beating their asses.

Posted by: ks | Aug 21 2014 16:52 utc | 126

Oh, I get it, what bevin and the fake lefties want is the best of both worlds so that they can argue out of BOTH SIDES of their mouths on Internet forums.

So, it will be like this revolution kind of like thing but there will be no violence and like we will calmly explain things like to the murderous architects and their myrmidon war criminal servants that like we are like gonna vote them out of office or something and like then we will have this like party and it's gonna be AWESOME!!

No.

It's starts with having some moral clarity about the absolutely INSANE society we live in and that means using the CORRECT WORDS and LANGUAGE - i.e., labeling MURDERERS as MURDERERS, WAR CRIMINALS as WAR CRIMINALS, PROPAGANDISTS as PROPAGANDISTS, etc - so that we can AT LEAST begin to wrap our minds about what it is we are in fact witnessing day-in/day-out.

It begins with our heads. If you don't start drawing non-negotiable lines somewhere then you will be easily co-opted by TPTB as has been shown time and time and time again. That's what I was getting at in my earlier post. Don't start to talk about the political machinery/mechanisms BEFORE you draw the line. Again, as a Marxist I'm even eschewing mentioning class at this stage of the game in USA 2014 because it's too esoteric for people to grasp and we are too far down the spiral in this hellhole.

Again, starting easy:

First line: you don't effing kill/beat unarmed people NO MATTER WHAT.

Oh, but JSore FIRST we have to build a welfare state and a national support system and enact fair labor laws and reorganize the judicial branch and redo the electoral process and....

No, we just stop EFFING KILLING UNARMED PEOPLE NO MATTER WHAT and REGAIN a sense of our OBVIOUSLY LOST humanity for eff's sake before we destroy the goddamned planet.

Posted by: JSorrentine | Aug 21 2014 17:05 utc | 127

@ks #123:

Trying to pretend that class trumps race is a fool's errand doomed to failure.

So having a man who is considered by most people to be black in charge of the killing machine know as USG has changed nothing? A so-called black man could not have been elected president in the US in the 1950s or 1960s. So clearly discrimination against blacks is significantly less of a roadblock to success than it was just a few decades ago. So where do you get your certainty that race still trumps class in America?

This debate about what is more significant in America as a determinant of one's life chances, race or class, is just the usual leftists quarreling among themselves about metaphysical issues. This is a contemporary equivalent of arguing about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Posted by: Demian | Aug 21 2014 17:12 utc | 128

ks @123 Right on, brother. And dont forget it's FBI informant Al Sharpton.

bevin @104 said

the policemen are no more than tools in the hands of a vicious and greedy ruling class which has been eating poor people for centuries.

Sorry, police also have their own agency, their own agenda, their own power.

A black man is killed by police/security every 28 hours---at least that much, statistics are incomplete. By age 23 50% of black men have been in jail. In America, with its violent history of slavery and apartheid, there is something more going on than the oppression of poor people.

Posted by: ess emm | Aug 21 2014 17:53 utc | 129

Question for all who wants to answer:

What do you think will happen if the officer is not charged or convicted?

Posted by: really | Aug 21 2014 18:18 utc | 130

"What do you think will happen if the officer...."

Really they seem like two questions. If he's not even indicted...Rodney King. If it gets to trial, and they change the venue (most likely) and he's not convicted, there will have to be a clear path to reforms in Missouri before the verdict comes in, then maybe no Rodney King.

Posted by: Ben Franklin | Aug 21 2014 18:29 utc | 131

@ 133

Burn baby burn.

Posted by: SingingSam | Aug 21 2014 18:46 utc | 132

J.Sorrentine and the Fake Left

I would like a little clarity on how you define your own will to power.

First of all do you acknowledge that you are actively engaged, as I believe all of us are, in your own will to power on this blog?

Do you see your own will to power as both dominated by the will to mastery and also against who you perceive as intellectual rivals?

Is part of your agenda to achieve a leadership position in what you define as the real Left?

Are you part of a nascent organizational structure which considers itself the real Left?


Posted by: Jim | Aug 21 2014 19:21 utc | 133

J. Sorrentine, I'm not going to waste my time with you. My advice is not to waste your, or anyone else's, time with your idiotic feuds.

Fairleft you refer to para 1 of my post and comment:
"Para 1: But of course some black people do have "full membership and equal citizenship in the imperialist metropole." Why? Because 75-80 years into the civil rights movement, many blacks are rich and upper middle class."

Personally I doubt that any members of the black sections of the ruling class can be said to have full membership. I imagine that they and their progeny are always liable to run into racism from cops etc. But these are a tiny and token minority.

"Para 2: The reality is that "the black masses" (another 2014 nonsense phrase, though 50-75 years ago it had far more validity) are split into classes. Some are in the PTB, many are in the upper middle and middle classes. The majority are working class and many are poor. There is a "black masses" no more if you understand the U.S. reality as a now predominantly class-based reality."

The vast majority of the black masses are poor and working class. And all are subject to racism. That is the paradox to which I referred that it is beyond the power of the ruling class to call off racism and begin again integrating strategically, a thin layer of the black population including potential leaders with the ruling class a la Obama and Holder. It won't work and Ferguson shows why.
A more subtle analysis close to your viewpoint is at the WSWS:
http://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/08/21/pers-a21.html

One view is that any revolution in the US will be led by black people whose struggle will quickly draw the support of the rest of the working class, for whom racism is an increasingly fragile and brittle construct. It is not that it isn't there but that ordinary people, particularly among the, increasingly angry, young see through it and beyond it. It will be led by black people because they are most likely to be provoked and least likely to be fooled by the Establishment'a tactics, because they've seen it all before.

Posted by: bevin | Aug 21 2014 19:37 utc | 134

@131 Demian,

?"So where do you get your certainty that race still trumps class in America?"

Didn't say that. Re-read my post. I said they were intertwined and further said that trying to pretend that class trumps race is a fools errand which meant that given the history, and I'd argue the current reality as well, ranking one above the other is pointless. Also, imo, "black faces in high places" is one of the shallowest form of progress.

Posted by: ks | Aug 21 2014 19:37 utc | 135

My responses to people finally got posted back on comment 97, if anyone is interested.

yes, bevin, just ignore jsore. When he chooses to drop the name calling and ad hominems and begin the journey up Graham's pyramid of argument he can be engaged.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 21 2014 22:56 utc | 136

Thanks Malooga for all your work. It's really good to see you posting around here again.

Posted by: Copeland | Aug 21 2014 23:14 utc | 137

Posted by: ks | Aug 21, 2014 12:51:30 PM | 128

Keep dancing to the tunes MSNBC and Al Sharpton play for you every summer. That'll get something done. Hasn't so far but with hope and all-caps ...

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 21 2014 23:21 utc | 138

@139 malooga

Thanks for the clarification.

Posted by: really | Aug 21 2014 23:38 utc | 139

Posted by: bevin | Aug 21, 2014 3:37:36 PM | 137

Thanks for your response, but the very important racial aspect of the long-term political crisis in the US is not very complex. Here's what's basically happening: the Republicans and their media use fear and distrust toward blacks to split the working class and corral far too many whites into their corporate right pen. The Democratic Party and their media use fear and distrust toward whites to split the working class and corral far too many blacks into their corporate right pen.

Ferguson is a textbook case. Race uber alles media celebrities quickly made it into Ferguson in support of the great cause of finding Wilson guilty without need for a trial or evidence, supported by most of the media focused on and fake sympathetic to that narrative. Meanwhile, the Republican right media also focused on Ferguson, pointing out and exaggerating the big holes in the anti-Wilson case and throwing in its racism and fear-mongering toward blacks. Obama and Holder, black leaders of the Democratic Party, became involved, sympathetic to the now standard 'justice for Michael Brown' narrative and keeping the focus and rhetoric entirely on race.

All the polling shows that the politicians and media have been effective, and distrust between the races, disbelief in the truth or value of the perspective of "the other side" is worse now than it was before Ferguson. Divided and ruled we are still, just more than ever. Obviously there's absolutely nothing progressive about the preceding. Instead what you have is an extremely depressing situation in which the media have done their job effectively.

Do you agree with the theory that blacks will lead whites in the next revolution? I disagree to this extent: a socialist revolution won't be led by a race, by MSNBC, or by race baiters.

This has happened so very often: why doesn't the left recognize that we're once again being led around by the nose by the corporate media and race-exploiting politicians?

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 22 2014 0:03 utc | 140

Posted by: Jim | Aug 21, 2014 3:21:00 PM | 136

First of all do you acknowledge that you are actively engaged, as I believe all of us are, in your own will to power on this blog?

"Will to power" is a psychological term, and (I agree with Wittgenstein that) the most important 'insights' of psychology are necessarily pseudo-scientific. But, anyway, I think it's safe to answer "yes" to this question.

Do you see your own will to power as both dominated by the will to mastery and also against who you perceive as intellectual rivals?

No. I don't consider this a "rival" game. I don't consider my "will" as being toward "mastery," which seems to me to be a loaded term. I'm trying to stay close to the truth as I understand it, trying to get a little closer over time, but "mastery" is too extreme a goal.

Is part of your agenda to achieve a leadership position in what you define as the real Left?

No, it is not a realistic goal in current real world case.

Are you part of a nascent organizational structure which considers itself the real Left?

No and that's depressing. Wanna start one? See my Twitter page for my basic stance: "FAIR (treat everyone the same, anti-identity politics) LEFT (pro-U.S. workers, anti-imperialist, no more rich people)." https://twitter.com/fairleft

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 22 2014 0:17 utc | 141

Still believing the system is workin'
While half of my people are still outta workin'
Anonymous notes left in the pockets and coats
Of judges and juries from 'Frisco to Jersey
Threats and protests politicians mob debts
Trumped up charges and phoney arrests
Stage a lethal injection, the night before the election
'cause he got donations from the prison guard's union

[...]

You can make a life longer, but you can't save it
You can make a clone an then you try to enslave it?
Stealin' DNA samples from the onborn
And then you comin' after us
'cause we sampled a James Brown horn?
Scientists who's God is progress
A four-headed sheep is their latest project
The CIA runnin' like that Jones from Indiana
But they still won't talk about that Jones in Guyana
This ain't no cartoon
No one slips on bananas
Do you really think that that car killed Diana
Hell I shot Ronald Reagan, I shot JFK,
I slept with Marilyn (Monroe) she sung me happy birthday [...]

Michael Franti

Posted by: Juan Moment | Aug 22 2014 0:55 utc | 142

malooga, I read your comment @97 and what the hell are you trying to say about Kajieme Powell? That you think it's a hoax? Really?!

Totally irresponsible speculation.


Posted by: ess emm | Aug 22 2014 1:15 utc | 143

Melville said it best in White Coat-

When with five hundred others I made one of the compelled spectators at the scourging of poor Rose-Water, I little thought what fate had ordained for myself the next day.  Poor mulatto! thought I, one of an oppressed race, they degrade you like a hound.  Thank god! I am white.  Yet I had seen whites also scourged; for, black or white, all my shipmates were liable to that.  Still there is something in us, somehow that, in the most degraded conditions, we snatch at a chance to deceive ourselves into a fanciful superiority to others, whom we suppose lower in the scales than ourselves.

Poor Rose Water!  thought I;  poor mulatto!  Heaven send you a release from your humiliation!(277)


Events in Ferguson provide Americans with both the opportunity to be further divided racially and more conditioned to the threat of military violence from the police. Well done.

Posted by: Nana2007 | Aug 22 2014 1:21 utc | 144

@146:
will get to this tomorrow.

Posted by: Malooga | Aug 22 2014 9:01 utc | 145

@141 fairleft,

You're still playing with the Sharpton bogeyman and MSNBC zombie? Sad. Anyway, you're the worst type of petit bourgeois that JSorrentine has lambasted here. You don't really care about the actual people or moral issues involved in cases like this. For you, it's just a vain intellectual exercise where the working class is merely a chess piece you move on the board and, if it all works out, they are fodder to be used...er, I mean your "allies"...in the great upcoming class war.

Also, who do you think you're fooling? I've seen enough of your posting at places like FDL to know that you only comment on high profile cases like this when the victim is black and suspect is white in order to wag your finger at your bogeyman/zombie bad liberals who you think might be offending working class whites with their passionate calls for justice. It's not like you really care about fairness or justice per se, you're just pouting that they might be hindering your imagined great working class reunion and subsequent battle that you hope they will fight for you.

The sheer obnoxiousness of it is staggering. As if the working class are merely sheep or chess pieces who have no agency of their own.

Posted by: ks | Aug 22 2014 16:11 utc | 146

Posted by: ks | Aug 22, 2014 12:11:52 PM | 149

Mostly, all I can say is that what I said was clear and you haven't responded to any of it. Of course everyone has agency. In our manipulated media environment people make mistakes. It's not your job to go along with them. Justice for Kajieme but let's wait for the evidence in the case of Michael Brown. That approach wouldn't exacerbate black/white or 'conservative'/'liberal' tensions, so why isn't it the approach any sane and humane person would push?

Well, because the PTB controls what approach is taken, and for whatever reason almost all 'liberals' and 'leftists' -- in this kind of black/white racial case only -- fail to recognize that and instead become devout MSNBC braindead sheep.

Al Sharpton is an important and smart role player in a divide-and-rule system. GE/NBC provides Sharpton his massive mainstream media presence, and he decided very early to jump on the railroad Darren Wilson bandwagon, just as he decided early to jump on the railroad George Zimmerman bandwagon. These decisions were good for him, MSNBC's ratings, and divide-and-rule interracial hatred.

Note that just as in the Zimmerman controversy, the protesters have many good and excellent motivations and goals. Too bad the mainstream media and Sharpton control the megaphone and too bad we passively allow them to determine that Ferguson centers on the only divisive aspect of the controversy. Which is assuming Wilson is guilty of murder and then attacking anyone who wants to wait for the evidence.

And no, about your specific accusation, I've commented on the need for justice in the Renisha McBride case, where the evidence was clear and it was a case that seemed to get almost no recognition or play in the mainstream media. (Is there a misogynist element to the cases that get chosen for cause celeb status, and McBride wasn't the right gender?) Properly, McBride's killer was convicted of 2nd degree murder. I've commented on the Kajieme Powell case, where the video is clear. There are plenty of cases where the evidence of murder is clear and we should make sure racists and/or the cops get punished severely. And on which we might build a multi-racial movement based on the larger issues Ferguson mostly represents, inequality and poverty. Never happen if MSNBC controls the agenda.

Motivations are always open to speculation, especially on the internet, but a productive conversation has the best chance of happening if you attack or question what I've actually written.

Posted by: fairleft | Aug 22 2014 22:59 utc | 147

@150 fairleft,

Please. For people like you "wait for evidence" means wait for evidence that casts doubt on the victim. The notion that the officer is being "railroaded" is absurd. He's not even a defendant yet, will be allowed to testify before the Grand Jury and his department is engaging in a brazen and obvious coverup of the situation. The reality is that we have plenty of evidence in the Michael Brown case. We have 2, soon to be 3, official autopsies, several eyewitness statements, tweets, texts and cell phone pics and video of parts of the incident, several statements from the police chief and an almost blank incident report from the police. We even have an incident report and video from the unrelated theft and a thirdhand account of the officer's story. The only material difference from the Kajieme case is that we don't have a video of the full killing.

Of course you "supported" justice for Kajieme and McBride because, like I said previously, you only support the "right" black victims whose cases are very black and white (heh) and who can't really be slandered by the media and/or the rightwing. Thereby those cases won't "upset" working class whites and hinder your desired working class solidarity and subsequent revolution against the rich. Yes I know, the normal concerns of minorities, women and LGBTers are merely "identity politics" and just "distractions" that are getting in the way of the "real issues" whereas the concerns of the white working class are the universal concerns of the "average hard working American" that we should all strive toward. Got it.

Also, this may come as a surprise to you but neither Sharpton nor MSNBC are important and the notion that they are some sort of pied pipers leading leftists astray is laughable. It's funny that you don't realize that Sharpton really makes his bones off of people like YOU who vastly inflate his importance. People like YOU made Sharpton a media figure and celebrity. If it wasn't for your "grade inflation" of him, he'd still be the fat guy in the track suit running low level hustles and very occasionally doing something worthwhile on a local level. He's played on your outraged disdain all the way from the NY Post, Mort Downey Jr. show thru Politically Incorrect and so on all the way to the big house and fancy suits. Suckers.

Btw, do you even know what his actual reputation is in the black community, especially in NYC? Go read Blackagendreport or if you prefer an animated version, watch "The Boondocks" character Rev. Rollo Goodlove.

Finally, what does George Zimmerman have to do to make you quit him? How much more of his ass does he have to show you? I mean dude is rubbing your face in it. He was last sighted sitting in his truck in the back of a store as a volunteer security guard waiting for something to happen. Wonderful. Goodness, you'd think that his more "intellectual supporters" would be too embarrassed to even mention his name at this point. Even Frank Taffe!! has let it go. I guess when, not if, he kills or hurts someone again, we can start talking about Sharpton and the good but misguided protesters who are being led astray by him and Zimmerman being railroaded again.

Posted by: ks | Aug 23 2014 18:31 utc | 148

@JSorrentine

C-O-L-L-A-B-O-R-A-T-O-R-S you say?

I have never learned a thing from you I didn't already know --

Now I understand why.


Posted by: Where-Wolf | Aug 24 2014 1:41 utc | 149

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