by Bob D., a member of First of May Anarchist Alliance and an eviction defense activist in Detroit
“We can’t reform white supremacy; we must destroy it. It is time to face this. We can fight for reforms. We can fight for justice. But we will not end the police murders of Black people and other innocent people until we end and destroy the system of white supremacy, until we end the system built on the wealth created by genocide, murder and slavery, and until we bring down the USA and the capitalist system, once and for all.”
Baton Rouge and St. Paul now are added to the list of cities where Black men are executed by the police for the “crime” of being Black men. The list of men and women and children of color murdered by the police across this country is long and growing longer. The cops, primarily white cops, who carry out these executions are, in most cases, not indicted or ever charged with a crime. Those who are charged, in most cases, are acquitted or convicted only of a minor violation.
We all know the drill: it’s too complicated or it will take a long investigation or the officer feared for his life or it was really an accident or, and most often, the killing was justified. Philando Castile’s mother had it right: the police are hunting down and executing Black people.
In the police executions of the past week, both men were armed. Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge was selling his CD’s in the store parking lot and he had a gun on his person. He didn’t pull the gun or attempt to use it, but the 911 call said he had a gun. The two cops arrived, but he probably didn’t know why they were there. One cop went behind him and did a violent take down, once the two cops had him on the ground, they put their guns on his chest and his back and shot him point blank five times. What was clear is that the cops were afraid of him. They could have said hands on your head and taken his gun and then talked with him. Instead, the cops chose to take him down and murder him. Can anyone believe that Alton Sterling would go for his gun, down on the ground with two cops on top of him with guns drawn and where he had done nothing wrong?
In the suburb of St. Paul, Philando Castile was pulled over for driving while Black with a taillight allegedly at issue. The cop approached, Philando said he had a permit to carry and was carrying a gun. Again, the cop could have said put your hands on your head or on the steering wheel and removed the gun and proceeded with the traffic stop. Philando had his girlfriend and her four year old daughter in the car. Can anyone believe that he would jeopardize his own life and theirs over a traffic stop? The cop was afraid of a Black man with a gun, the cop shot him five times, again, point blank, as Philando attempted to comply with the cop’s request for license and registration.
Philando Castile’s girlfriend, Diamond Reynolds, had the presence of mind and the courage to use her cell phone to videotape the death of her boyfriend, while the cop/executioner stood at the window with his gun still pointed at Philando . In Baton Rouge a brave person in the parking lot captured the police execution of Alton Sterling on their cell phone and spread it. In St. Paul, Diamond Reynolds, used her cell phone to live stream her interactions with the killer cop and kept it going, asking for help while the killer cop stood at the window of the car with gun still drawn. According to her, the other cops then “consoled” the cop/executioner, before any attempts were made to assist Philando Castile who the cop had shot five times and who was dying.
Police around this country are hunting down and executing Black people and people of color. Police had stopped Philando Castile more than 50 times for traffic violations, for driving while Black. In this final stop, allegedly for a broken taillight, Philando did everything to cooperate. He told the cop he had a permit to carry and was carrying, he attempted to comply with providing his driver’s license and registration. He was cooperative and not a threat, but the cop executed him anyway. The cop was that afraid of a Black man with a gun, even though it was a stop for a minor traffic violation and Philando had his girlfriend and her 4 year old daughter with him.
In Baton Rouge, Alton Sterling was selling CD’s in the store parking lot, which the store owner said he did regularly. Apparently another man was harassing Alton Sterling, and Mr. Sterling showed that he was carrying. The man then made a 911 call claiming falsely that Alton Sterling was “brandishing” a gun. It appeared the cops arrived ready to kill Alton Sterling. They approached, threw him to the ground and pumped five shots into his chest and back point blank within a few seconds. Alton Sterling never had a chance. Philando Castile never had a chance.
In both situations, the system of white supremacy, the history of white supremacy was at work. The white cops assumed that the Black men involved were dangerous. The cops assumed the Black men who were armed were a “threat” to the cops and that somehow the very fact that the men were carrying made the cops fear for their lives. There is absolutely no evidence that Alton Sterling or Philando Castile threatened the cops who killed them; the opposite is true. Both Alton Sterling and Philando Castile had done nothing wrong and attempted to comply with the police. These cops and the whole system of white supremacy killed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile.
This country, the USA, is built on white supremacy. From the early settlers stealing and privatizing the land of the indigenous people and enslaving African people to do the work on this land, Europeans used the philosophy of white supremacy to explain and defend genocide and slavery. The great wealth created by stealing the land and turning it into private property and by stealing African people from their homes and turning them into slaves and private property is based on the philosophy of white supremacy, so that the great wealth of the rulers and the billionaires in the USA was accumulated by exterminating indigenous peoples and enslaving and exploiting African people.
We can’t reform white supremacy; we must destroy it. It is time to face this. We can fight for reforms. We can fight for justice. But we will not end the police murders of Black people and other innocent people until we end and destroy the system of white supremacy, until we end the system built on the wealth created by genocide, murder and slavery, and until we bring down the USA and the capitalist system, once and for all.
Two things stand out in these most recent executions. First, the cops who carried out the executions brought all the accumulated assumptions of hundreds of years of white supremacy with them to the encounters. These cops executed Alton Sterling and Philando Castile at the drop of a hat, in large part because of the assumptions of white supremacy which they brought with them. That’s why it didn’t matter how much Mr. Sterling and Mr. Castile cooperated or were not threatening; the problem was not Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the problem was the cops who killed them and the assumptions those cops brought with them and the history and the continuing life of white supremacy.
Second the right bear arms depends on who is carrying the arms. The USA has this constitution and this second amendment and people have the right bear arms and blah blah blah. But like most everything else in this country, the constitution is based on and built on explicit white supremacy. Alton Sterling and Philando Castile were armed and had the right to be armed. Half of the countryside is armed. Philando Castile was licensed to carry. None of it mattered. They were Black men with guns, and the cops killed them for it.
How many time have we seen white folks carrying guns and open carry and armed demonstrations and actions and how understanding the police and the government are. The cops or federal agents don’t kill them, they talk with them. They leave them alone. They appreciate their second amendment rights. It’s a different story for Black people with guns. Not so much on the second amendment stuff. That doesn’t apply. The cops kill Black people with guns and discuss it later or don’t discuss it at all.
We have to learn these lessons and act. This system of police executing Black people, this system of white supremacy and exploitation cannot be reformed away. It must be overthrown and brought down. It takes all of us to do this. This system attacks and kills all of us. This system destroys the land and the water, it kills our people and our children, it fills its prisons with our people, it drives people from their homes, it fails to educate and value our children.
And the system and those who support it and those who profit from it will do anything to save the system and protect their wealth. The rulers and the billionaires will do anything to defend themselves and their system by trying to scapegoat other people as the source of the problem. That’s what is going on now as the rulers and their media outlets struggle to squash our resistance and convince people that the police are not the murderers, the police are the victims. We’ve seen it all before. The rulers want people to focus on race war or war against immigrants or war against Muslims. We understand this is class war, and our class, the working class, includes the great mass of people and people of all colors and nationalities and religions and from all parts of the world.
Our goal now must be to build the revolutionary movement and revolutionary organizations which can bring down this system, destroy the system of white supremacy and capitalist exploitation and end the USA and capitalism once and for all. Against white supremacy and murders and calls for race wars and wars against immigrants and building walls, we say unite our forces and tear it down. Unite our forces to destroy white supremacy. Unite our forces to bring down the government and the state and the police and the courts and all of it. We say no nations and no borders, and we mean it. Our future is with the alliance of all working people, and the working people of all nations, races and regions, uniting to end this system and to build a new future.
Against the police and the state,
For Anarchy and Revolution.