Anyone that has their ears and eyes to the world, has heard about the protests in Baltimore regarding the death of Freddie Gray while in police custody. Some people took advantage of the protests and used it as a way to loot and set fire to local businesses. As expected, neocons and “real” libertarians (who really are neocons under the guise of libertarianism) jumped straight to the same overused narrative of “See what these protesters are doing?! Disregard this whole social issue because of a small group of agitators!” But this energy was absent when police were murdering blacks, and only arises when black people stand up for their rights.
Neocons continued to do their typical dance of glorifying heavy-handed policing. You know, the big-government stuff that they are supposed to deplore. Character assassination of Freddie Gray soon followed. While Freddie Gray did have a sizable record (mostly non-violent possession/distribution), it in NO WAY justifies his death at the hands of police. Especially, after the police department admitted their policy was not followed. As expected, protests followed. The police responded with heavy-handed ‘law enforcement.’ Including a snatch-and-grab arrest of a peaceful protester that only broke the law of curfew. Very reminiscent of kidnappings and other tyrannical governments.
Like Michael Brown’s incident, people are very divided. More right-wing types jumped to demonizing the individuals who were looting and destroying property and aligning that to the group as a whole. The same way they blame PoC for all of the rest of society’s ailments. Another common argument is that they should peacefully protest:
Cause that worked so well last time
The white-right-wing also went straight to appropriating MLK to attack the protests:
No, MLK did not die for this. MLK was an advocate for peaceful demonstrations.
— Jarett Scott (@JarettEverett) November 25, 2014
what MLK Jr did was express an empathetic explanation for why people are driven to riot. what he didn’t do was condone the act of rioting.
— The Palmer Squares (@PalmerSquares) April 30, 2015
Hey Baltimore, remember when MLK looted local businesses, set fires, and then burned American flags to end racism? Yeah, me neither. Merica.
— Southern Quotes (@SouthernQs) April 29, 2015
You know, because direct action and destruction of private property never amounted to anything. OH WAIT:
They CONVENIENTLY forget that one of the instigating actions to the Revolutionary War(you know, the war that helped us steal the US and gain independence from Great Britain) was Sam Adams appropriating the Mohawk people’s clothing, boarding the Dartmouth, and destroying the East India Company’s tea. Also know as, the Boston Tea Party. The SAME event modern neocons named their political groups after. Talk about cognitive dissonance.
Not only that, they cherry-pick quotes of his to attack black direct-action. Forgetting other quotes from MLK:
I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that law and order exist for the purpose of establishing justice and that when they fail in this purpose they become the dangerously structured dams that block the flow of social progress. I had hoped that the white moderate would understand that the present tension in the South is a necessary phase of the transition from an obnoxious negative peace, in which the Negro passively accepted his unjust plight, to a substantive and positive peace, in which all men will respect the dignity and worth of human personality. Actually, we who engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive. We bring it out in the open, where it can be seen and dealt with. Like a boil that can never be cured so long as it is covered up but must be opened with all its ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must be exposed, with all the tension its exposure creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured.
I contend that the cry of “black power” is, at bottom, a reaction to the reluctance of white power to make the kind of changes necessary to make justice a reality for the Negro. I think that we’ve got to see that a riot is the language of the unheard.
So before the privileged (like myself) start to use black role-models to attack black direct-action, please shut the fuck up and read a little more history.
Thankfully, the police officers involved are now being brought up on charges that range from assault to murder. A tip of the hat to #BlackLivesMatter and the concerned citizens of Baltimore for their grueling efforts for this light at the end of the tunnel. Hopefully, we can see these officers in jail so that justice will be served.