Black Lives Matter

The very fact that it has to be said, for years, for decades, for fucking centuries. The very fact that some whites shriek “all lives matter” in response, as they also demand the right to risk infecting the people who do their hair, and miss the point entirely.

It’s hard to put together a post these days. The Republican attack on democracy has morphed into a strike against civil society itself — and all the while the GOP assaults the future of the planet and our health. That’s one reason I’m political in this nature blog: the ruling party is opposed to life, rushing to poison the air, water, and food we eat as they drive hard to destroying the planet for quick profits.

“What we’ve seen from rioting police, in other words, is an assertion of power and impunity. In the face of mass anger over police brutality, they’ve effectively said So what? In the face of demands for change and reform — in short, in the face of accountability to the public they’re supposed to serve — they’ve bucked their more conciliatory colleagues with a firm No. In which case, if we want to understand the behavior of the past two weeks, we can’t just treat it as an explosion of wanton violence, we have to treat it as an attack on civil society and democratic accountability, one rooted in a dispute over who has the right to hold the police to account.” ~ Bouie.

It’s an old playbook, seen the world over: beat them until they give up. With this kind of thinking, there are no “good apples” in the barrel because one rots all the rest. All the Buffalo storm-troopers quit their very special unit after two of them were suspended and then charged for pushing down a 75-year-old and then continuing to march past him as he bled; they’re protesting the suspensions because they were just following orders and want the city to continue indemnifying them against the consequences of a brutality they evidently can’t control. Motherfuckers following orders didn’t work at Nuremberg, so fuck it to hell in Buffalo.

But here’s the thing authoritarians like Trump and his thugs — majority of white police voted for him — don’t get: the amount of force necessary to destroy us is enormous. Because the more you beat down, the more rise up.

The subjected peoples of this land know this in their bones. Libertarian creep Rand Paul choose this week to hamstring a federal anti-lynching law a century in the making, giving us yet another nasty reminder of this violent history. Lynch culture encompassed the ritualistic maiming of victims before and after death. They tortured and burned human beings alive in communal celebrations. Racism if firstly a denial of humanity of the other, but it is also a warping of the racist’s humanity. Lynch culture put castrated genitals on display in windows on their nightmare Main Streets, down the street from their nightmare churches. Yes, some Americans know and can’t ever forget, but others are learning — though one fears that horrorshows like Paul, whose didn’t fall far from his ghastly father’s influence, just carry on the sickness another generation.

But I mean to be positive for a change. It actually does seem like it would take Tom Cotton’s wet dream of a military coup d’etat to finally kill off democracy here. Yes, this post is actually going to be more optimistic than you thought. Trump, Barr, and their conspiracy-psycho echo-chamber rave about “antifa,” but black lives matter demonstrations are spreading in very white neighborhoods. Maybe not in eastern Oregon, where crackerjack box paramilitaries are waiting for… well, it seems they’re waiting for Soros-funded busses ferrying looters to them for the race-war they’ve been fantasizing about in their basements. And maybe not in the revived klanocracy of the old Confederacy, either…but even here.

But in swing districts.
***

Solnit makes some good connections.

4 Responses to “Black Lives Matter”


  1. 1 Chuck McAlexander June 7, 2020 at 1:24 pm

    I couldn’t agree more. You don’t mete out broken ribs and concussions for curfew violations. Ketteling protesters is almost a guarantee of violence. Beating them while they are trapped is foolproof if what you want is to harden the resolve of the movement. Unwarranted police violence was the trigger for these demonstrations. Systemic racism is the poison that must be removed from our society.

    • 2 mthew June 7, 2020 at 4:38 pm

      Thank you! The surest guarantee of violence at a protests is police over-reaction. In the Bronx recently, there were reports that when when actual property damage was taking place (criminals may certainly exploit these conditions, as will undercover state operatives; history being replete with examples of official agent provocateurs), merchants begged the police standing around to do something and they wouldn’t. The inevitable conclusion must be that they want things to burn, to prove they’re needed. Obviously policing is necessary, but not this form of it.

  2. 3 Laurie McIntosh June 8, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Thank you, Matthew. I greatly appreciate all of your posts, nature-oriented and political. Thanks for sharing the article about Vidor, TX – very encouraging. I look forward to sharing it with friends who organized a remarkably well-attended BLM rally in my rural, predominantly white county (Delaware Co., NY) which voted overwhelmingly for Trump in 2016. My optimism is somewhat renewed. The long work lies ahead. I hope like hell we all dig in.


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