Wed, 8 October 2014
There Will be a Reckoning, from Ferguson to Gaza
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by BAR executive editor Glen Ford
“One murder charge against one white cop in one small town doesn’t even begin to address America’s crimes against a whole people.”
Thousands are expected to gather in Ferguson, Missouri, this weekend for four days of protest, agitation, entertainment, and training in how to conduct non-violent resistance. A march is scheduled for Saturday, and unspecified acts of civil disobedience are set for Monday. In the classic, Martin Luther King sense of the term, “civil disobedience” involves the breaking of at least some laws, either because the laws are unjust, or to show that a community is prepared to break the rules to make its point.
One unjust rule the police will almost certainly not try to enforce this weekend, is the arbitrary requirement that protesters keep moving, or face arrest. It’s commonly called the “five-second rule.” This week a federal judge, acting on a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, ruled the police practice unconstitutional. The Ferguson City police last week handed over responsibility for protests to the county police department, which says they won’t force demonstrators to keep constantly moving.
Ferguson has become a place where people tell time by the days since August 9, when 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead by officer Darren Wilson. From the beginning, a core demand has been that the white cop be indicted for murder, but a grand jury is not expected to act until at least mid-November. However, by now Ferguson has become an important juncture in the African American journey, one that demands a reevaluation of Black people’s relationship to the U.S. society and State. There may be hell to pay in the Black community if Officer Wilson isn’t indicted, but one murder charge against one white cop in one small town doesn’t even begin to address America’s crimes against a whole people.
Ferguson was a world story. The scenes of militarized police repression instantaneously called forth images from Gaza and other sites of desperate struggle against white supremacy and unjust occupation. Ferguson made us remember Malcolm X’s admonition to bring United States crimes before international forums, to air America’s dirty linen in front of the whole world, and to join with the legions of other peoples that the U.S. has killed and exploited.
This weekend, In the spirit of Malcolm’s revolutionary internationalism, hundreds will gather at the place where Malcolm was assassinated, in 1965 – the former Audubon Ballroom, now the Malcolm X and Betty Shabbaz Center, in Harlem. “The World Stands with Palestine” rally will trace the many parallels between the oppression of Blacks in the U.S. and the plight of Palestinians in their native land under Israel’s system of ethnic apartheid. It is a system that is quite familiar to Black Americans, because it has never gone away here in the United States – and the day of reckoning cannot be delayed any longer.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com and sign up for email notifications of our new issues, each Wednesday.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.