I have participated in the heroic protests in Ferguson, Mo. As the media goes on the offensive against Michael Brown’s character and grossly distorts the nature of the Ferguson uprising, I wanted to share the following thoughts with you:
(1) The protests in Ferguson are being led by the community, not by so-called “outside agitators” or “criminal elements”. The militancy and resolve of the Black community of Ferguson and the St. Louis area in the face of overwhelming force comes directly from the outrage at the execution of Michael Brown and the severity of their collective treatment at the hands of a white racist establishment. When a white cop from a racist police force murders a young Black man in the middle of the street in front of numerous witnesses—then the cops and the state close ranks around the killer cop and the cops attack the protesters—well, the cops should be met with millions of protesters from all the around the country marching on Ferguson to shut down their assault on the people and arrest and indict Michael Brown’s murderer, Darren Wilson.
(2) There are NO “outside agitators.” Ferguson is in the United States. Besides, if traveling to Ferguson, Mo. from another state to join in the struggle to jail Darren Wilson is agitating, then outside agitating is exactly what I and millions of other people should be doing. From every corner of the country, we should all march on Ferguson.
(3) The cops are lying. A lot. They have outright fabricated stories about Molotov cocktails and shots being fired at cops. They call the people “looters” and of a “violent” nature and so much more—all to provide cover for their unprovoked and coordinated military-style assaults on non-violent protesters. In fact, the cops are not deployed on the streets to stop “looting.” Not at all. They are being deployed to repress the protests.
(4) The real perpetrators of violence in Ferguson are the police forces. A number of police officers are on video using racist slurs and death threats to try to intimidate people at the protests. Thousands of people have been tear gassed, shot and brutalized by the police over the last ten days. The cops have deployed tanks, tear gas, rifles, grenades, sound weapons and dogs. Every single one of the confrontations in Ferguson has been started by the police.
(5) The police forces deployed in Ferguson in a military fashion are treating the Black community as the enemy. That is the fact on the street. Look at the pictures on the internet. The cops come to the protests with their weapons drawn and aimed at the people. The governor has called out the National Guard. And watch their press conferences: they actually have the nerve to try to portray themselves as the victims and the Black community as the aggressor after they have turned numerous peaceful protests into war zones. They have point-blank fired on children, the elderly and the disabled.
(6) The real law breakers in Ferguson are the police. Not only have they violated the people’s constitutional, civil and human rights on a truly massive scale, they have absolutely sought to terrorize the community into submission, showing no regard for the community’s safety or well-being. They have repeatedly fired on defenseless protesters without warning.
(7) The people of the world must not allow the local and national authorities to get away with the war they are waging on the people in Ferguson. Our real enemies in this situation are the racist police forces, the state that sanctions them and the billionaires who profit off so much oppression and misery. We must keep fighting until the people of Ferguson win.
John Beacham is a community college teacher, union member and anti-war organizer based in Chicago. He is running for alderman in the 49th ward.