See also : From Anarchists to Tibetan Monks, Here Are Some of the Outsiders Joining Protests in Ferguson, Josh Harkinson, Mother Jones, August 20, 2014 | Ferguson. Over one week in., Anti-State STL, August 20, 2014 | Love Me, Ferguson, I’m a Liberal, Douglas Williams, Jacobin, August 21, 2014.
Blah. Blah blah. Blah blah blah.
The police murder of black teenager Michael Brown on August 9 in Ferguson, St Louis triggered a wave of angry protests — which in turn has created a media storm. One of the curious aspects of this reportage was the claim by St Louis police on late Sunday night/early Monday morning August 17/18 that:
Molotov cocktails being thrown at police. Tactical units on scene. Please leave the area!
— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) August 18, 2014
This was soon picked up by CNN, among others: “Late Sunday night, a day of peaceful protests devolved into a night of gunfire, Molotov cocktails and tear gas”. The claim re Molotovs was disputed by others (‘Missouri national guard to be deployed at Ferguson protests’, Jon Swaine and Rory Carroll in Ferguson, Teh Grauniad, August 18, 2014):
Police launched their first barrage of gas and smoke at about 9pm on Sunday after fearing an advance on their command post – in a mall parking lot just south of the centre of the clashes – by a largely peaceful protest march, according to Johnson. He said several molotov cocktails were thrown by those taking part in the march, which included children.
This was sharply disputed. “You need to pull these officers back,” Renita Lamkin, an episcopal pastor who has been trying to control the protests, told a police chief by phone, as teargas fell on the march. “There were no molotov cocktails,” she said.
Curiously, journalist Sarah Kendzior tweeted:
Eyewitness told me last night's Molotov at the chop suey place was thrown by white "anarchist" group. This been going on all week.
— Sarah Kendzior (@sarahkendzior) August 18, 2014
I’ve been unable to find any footage or stills of any white “anarchists” throwing Molotovs at either police or restaurants, but The New York Times uploaded footage from several days previous which shows a black man (an “anarchist”?) throwing one. See : Standoff in Ferguson by Brent McDonald (August 13/14).
The ‘chop suey place’ Sarah tweets about may be a reference to the fact that on August 11: “At Northland Chop Suey on West Florissant, Paul Fletcher helped owner Booen Jang sweep broken glass from the restaurant. Nothing was stolen from the restaurant and the interior was left intact. But the bill just for boarding the windows came to $2,700. Fletcher said the total cost for replacing the windows is expected to reach $10,000.” Then again, given the distance of a week (August 11 > August 18) between the broken window and the burning, maybe not.
As for (white) anarchists, a few Twitter users have made reference to whites being bad, but others appear to confuse “anarchists” with the followers of cult leader Bob Avakian, a/k/a the Revolutionary Communist Party.
Which, if nothing else, is at least mildly amusing.
Otherwise, the media machine grinds on.
For news and views from anarchists in St Louis, see : Anti-State STL.
Sarah Kendzior works for Al Jazeera – this is the network that reported Tahir as a ‘coup’. So if you like Russia Today you may like Al Jazeera English.
So he makes a show about a book he has not yet read?
Nonetheless, I would say anyone who justifies the murder of a non-white by police is calling for violence. Anyone who supports a colonial war is calling for violence. The difference would be their violence is one of white supremacist greed, whereas the book’s writer’s alleged violence is righteously against white supremacy.
Glenn Beck is hilarious. He says that people should be like Gandhi and Martin Luther King. The problem is, though, that it was people who think like Glenn Beck who shot them both. He also correctly locates Thomas Paine on the Left and as someone who took up arms, but he has tried to appropriate him for his far Right crusade while simultaneously denouncing what he sees as Paine’s modern inheritors. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone contradict themselves so often in less than ten minutes.
On the topic of “The Coming Insurrection”, however, I find that I get highly irritated by people who think that way. Your average insurrectionist has a very good class analysis – but only uses it to identify who is on what side. They don’t use their class analysis as a guide to action, as something that lets them decide what revolutionary activity really IS.
Veteran agitators ‘whipping up hatred in Ferguson’
August 20, 2014
Criminals and outside agitators who threw bottles and brought weapons to the troubled streets of Ferguson were accused today of attempting to hijack peaceful protests.
Communists with decades of experience of trying to foment disorder in America have been identified in crowds that have clashed with police in the days since a black teenager was shot dead by a white police officer in the St Louis suburb.
Ferguson had one of its calmest nights since the shooting of Michael Brown, although in the early hours of this morning bottles — some containing urine — were thrown at police.
Instead of resorting to tear gas, officers corralled demonstrators as a minority of troublemakers embedded themselves among journalists.
Officers in riot gear staged a series of snatch arrests to pull agitators out of the crowd, including one man from Texas who was arrested for the third time in days. Another white protester, his face covered with a Stars-and-Stripes bandana, was pulled out.
A total of 47 people were arrested, including two who were stopped in a car after making threats to kill a police officer. They were found to have two semi-automatic handguns.
Captain Ron Johnson, the chief of police, today praised those who had heeded advice to demonstrate peacefully then go home. “They protested early and went home and allowed us a better visual look at those criminals and agitators that are roaming the streets for their own agenda,” he said.
“I believe there was a turning point made, by clergy, the activists, the volunteers and the men and women of law enforcement who partnered together to make a difference.”
Some of the most aggressive demonstrators are young black men from the neighbourhood, but they are being egged on by outsiders.
One man caught on video stirring up the crowd this week is a veteran revolutionary communist named Greg “Joey’”Johnson, who set fire to the US flag during a protest in Texas in the 1980s.
Mr Johnson, who is white and in his late 50s, was caught on the front lines on Tuesday morning using a loud hailer to urge young black demonstrators to defy police who asked them to disperse.
Wearing a Revolutionary Communist Party of America T-shirt, Mr Johnson shouted: “Why should we obey them? We have inspired people all over the world. The people set the terms here, not the National Guard.”
Other footage circulated by activists, including Antonio French, a city councillor who helped to point out agitators to police, showed a self-appointed local peacekeeper challenging Mr Johnson, yelling at him: “We are peaceful, man. We got to live here, you don’t live here. Get the f*** out of here.”
Elsewhere in St Louis, police were contending with the fallout from another fatal shooting of a young black man. Kajieme Powell was shot dead by two police officers after he was seen behaving erratically and brandishing a knife. A police chief got out on to the streets quickly and seemed to address community concerns. Witnesses said the man was clearly disturbed and had shouted: “Shoot me! Shoot me!”
The latest killing did not cause problems after dark last night. Demonstrators had staged a protest march up and down West Florissant Avenue until midnight without disruption.
Protesters chanting: “We young, we strong, we marching all night long,” created an almost festive atmosphere as a makeshift sound system arrived in a van with a No Shoot, No Loot logo stuck on the side. As midnight neared, a Thomas the Tank Engine train appeared, carrying some demonstrators and blaring out Marvin Gaye protest songs.
One woman carried a banner that said: “If you are not here for peace you must cease. Provocateurs go home.”
St Louis county jail records suggest that of 78 people arrested by Tuesday, 93 per cent were not from Ferguson and 27 per cent not even from Missouri.
Today Eric Holder, President Obama’s attorney-general, arrived in Ferguson, promising a fair investigation.
On a pivotal day for the inquiry, a jury met in secret to decide whether police officer Darren Wilson should face murder charges. A lawyer for Michael Brown’s family called on the federal government to take over the case.
Statement from The Revolutionary Communist Party, USA On the Arrests of Carl Dix, Travis Morales and Joey Johnson
August 20, 2014
On Monday night, August 18, Missouri police singled out and arrested RCP members and supporters Carl Dix, Travis Morales and Joey Johnson, along with 75 other people during the course of that night. While some of the people defended them, the “peace police” community leaders worked with the police to get them arrested. Joey Johnson was blindsided and punched in the face by St. Louis politician Antonio French. Police Captain Ron Johnson, head of the operation, personally fingered Carl and Joey to get additional, higher charges. Carl and Travis were held overnight, and then released. Joey was also released that same day.
Their sole “crime” was attempting to read the RCP’s statement “To the Defiant Ones” to a crowd that had gathered. The politicians and news mouthpieces justify their arrests and call them agitators. Well, since when is “agitating”—which means nothing but speaking and bringing out sharply the facts of injustice—since when is it some kind of horrible crime to speak the truth about what this system does to people, and why people should stand up and fight against it? In fact, we need MORE agitation like this. As the great fighter against slavery Frederick Douglass said, power concedes nothing without a struggle. Maybe these people think Frederick Douglass was a “criminal”—in any case, they are definitely acting like modern-day overseers!
This then was followed by a well co-ordinated media barrage—and a media blackout. The barrage was one where almost every mouthpiece on the media attacked “outsiders” and “agitators,” with some specifying “revolutionary communists.” Every politician and preacher who would agree to denounce “the outsiders” and “plea for peace” was given a platform. At the same time, despite tremendous efforts to speak directly to the media, and despite their easy availability, no major press outlet has yet let them tell their side. And let’s be clear: all three of these so-called “outsiders” have decades between them of standing in the forefront of the fight against police murder and repression, each of them having had to stand up to the threat or reality of prison for their political activity, and each of them active right now in building for a month of resistance to this whole agenda in October—with Carl having initiated the call for that month with Cornel West. (For more on the Month of Resistance and how to get involved go to the Call for the Month of Resistance and stopmassincarceration.net)
Meanwhile—there has been NO JUSTICE in the police murder of Michael Brown. There has been no letup in the police intimidation and terror and brutality against people who DO stand up. And while these bootlickers talk about “organizing” and “making progress,” in reality they are pacifying people and easing the way for yet another sell-out. These people who are now declared the “responsible leaders” are working to marginalize the rebellious people whose voices are never heard. All their so-called “organizing” is just about gaining favor with those who really run the show, and getting in on the plunder of this system—and opposing anyone who wants to do away with that system… or who just wants justice in the case and knows that it would already be under the rug if people had not fought.
Just think of it—going to the lengths of not just slandering people who they know will not be given a platform to respond, of not just informing on people to the very police who have answered people’s demands for justice with brutal repression of their basic rights, of not just trying to pacify people with the same old stuff… but actually fingering people for the pigs and going so far as to carry out a cowardly physical assault on the revolutionaries—only, of course, when they are backed up by the armed force of the state!
The repression of Carl, Travis and Joey is part of a bigger picture. The powers-that-be say that what is going on is criminal activity. First off, there is nothing criminal about people defending themselves from outrageous police attack, coming on top of years of oppression and repression. Second, why should ANYONE believe anything these murdering pigs say? Ron Johnson is just a figurehead, just someone put there to quell the anger. In fact, for all his wild claims about “crimes” and “looting,” 75 of the 78 people arrested on Monday night were charged with “failure to disperse.” What does that tell you?
What all these politicians and tools for the rulers really fear is the fact: one, that people who have been demonized and cast off and consigned to an early grave or a life in prison are raising their heads and standing up, directing their anger where it needs to go; and two, that the people who are doing this, along with many others, are finding out about the Party and its leader Bob Avakian—the leadership that represents their highest interests and aspirations, and that actually has the strategy to LEAD a struggle to make revolution.
We will not back down. We will not go away.
HANDS OFF CARL DIX AND OTHER REVOLUTIONARY FIGHTERS!
STOP THE REPRESSION OF THE BRAVE FIGHTERS IN FERGUSON!
1. It’s difficult to tell what the RCP is actually doing in Ferguson – the capitalist press is quite unreliable when it comes to reporting the activities of people on the Left. So, instead of either endorsing what the RCP is doing or criticising it, I’ll just say what political activists should be doing.
Basically, if you’ve come in from the outside, you don’t call the shots on tactics. The locals have to live with the consequences of whatever happens, so the role of outsiders is to participate in events that locals have organised, using the tactics of the locals. The two major contributions outsiders can make are:
(a) Providing solidarity; and
(b) Engaging in political discussion with people who are interested in looking at the issues behind the obvious one in front of everyone’s nose.
In both cases, you’d be looking to hook interested people into wider networks.
2. Regardless of what the RCP has done in Ferguson, the reaction of the coppers and the capitalist media has been unjust and repressive. When you take a look at the charges laid and the way the coppers have singled out people based on their affiliation rather than any law-breaking, you see the State’s agenda and methodology. They’ll come after the Anarchists, too, if we ever become a threat. The RCP’s silly cult of personality has nothing to do with the repression and Anarchists would be stupidly sectarian to refuse support to arrested protestors just because we disagree with their politics.