I was hoping my next update on this site was going to be an announcement for release of new products, but instead I feel it is necessary to talk about the events sweeping the country right now.
This uprising against the state, which was sparked by the death George Floyd, another in a seemingly countless line of black Americans murdered by American police forces, had completely shifted the conversation in this country like I've never seen before. I've been in more protests than I can recall, probably a majority regarding police killing black people, and none of those moments in time ever amounted to anything. The moments are often hijacked by opportunists who want to gain political clout and build a career as an activist celebrity, while leaving all the warriors on the streets to be arrested, imprisoned, beaten, and murdered by the state.
This time around I've definitely seen a number of opportunists, people trying to make this moment about them, whether to gain celebrity or sell records, but there's something more powerful happening right now. There's a bigger, stronger movement. One that will be much harder for the charlatans to coopt and exploit. Before I get into that, however, I want to get into why I think we are seeing what we are.
For so long, I think Americans in particular have been too afraid of the state to strike back against it. The police state we have, with its expansive surveillance apparatus, has kept so many people afraid to actually do something to make a change. We've witnessed for decades as the state has killed community leaders for challenging the status quo. I've personally seen several friends of mine locked away in solitary confinement without charges for not talking during a grand jury investigation over a broken window at a federal courthouse in Seattle in 2012. That was done by now Seattle mayor, Jenny Durkan, who was a district attorney appointed by Obama at the time. The fear of losing your freedom is probably one of the strongest tools the state has against popular mobilization and uprising.
So what changed this time?
I think part of it was that because of the Covid-19 pandemic, people already on the margins of society were pushed even further. We saw the wealthiest Americans become even more wealthy, while at the same time seeing record unemployment, worse than during the Great Depression, certainly the worst anyone presently alive has ever seen. When you take the this blatant flaunting of our class divide, the disregard of the powerful for the underclass, then add in the televised murder of a black man, we reach a boiling point. This is what set things off in Minneapolis. Then when the people in Minneapolis refused to let up, began burning and looting, and fighting back against the police, many more people across the country took notice. Then the turning point for the entire country, I believe, was when the people in Minneapolis overtook the police station, running all the police out, and setting it on fire. I can't recall that ever happening in America. Nobody I know has seen anything like that. People across America saw that, and realized the WE have the power. That night, and for the next couple days, riots swept the nation. Not just in metropolitan areas, either. They even reached North Dakota. Despite the cries of the media and career politicians and political actors, this wasn't just mindless destruction. This was a rebellion. These riots weren't an act of hate, they were an act of love. Love for our black brothers and sisters who've been murdered, marginalized, and dehumanized for centuries. This was an attack against the hate perpetuated by the American system, and the very foundation this country was built on.
In the news, often in statements from politicians, I've heard this moment referred to as "anarchy". The people saying this don't know what that word actually means. What they were referring to was perceived chaos and disorder.
Now, that's not to say the term anarchy doesn't apply here. Just not in the way those people mean. Anarchy means "without leaders", this moment has been a largely leaderless, organic movement. Anarchism also holds at its core the principle of mutual aid. This is what we are seeing in communities across the nation, with people volunteering their time and resources to support the communities in protest. Medical stations, food and water supplies, street medics, live music, and working together without hierarchies. The only police in my neighborhood right now are presently guarding their precinct. Entire blocks have turned into police free zones, with no crime and no violence taking place. Just people loving and caring for one another, and helping each other to keep up the momentum needed to continue protesting.
We appear to be in uncharted territory at this time. What the future holds entirely depends on us, and not the state. We need to keep up this momentum, keep on the pressure against the state, not submit to their scare tactics and intimidation. Be strong out there, everyone, and know that no matter how scary things become, love will conquer.
With love and rage, always remember that Black Lives Matter!