• Monthly
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $other
  • use PayPal

ONE WEEK TO DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!

A generous CounterPuncher has offered a $25,000 matching grant. So for this week only, whatever you can donate will be doubled up to $25,000! If you have the means, please donate! If you already have done so, thank you for your support. All contributions are tax-deductible.
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Black Americans and Police State Fascism

The word fascism has reappeared in the American popular lexicon thanks to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign. The word is used to keep progressive Democrats in a state of fear should he win, but its existence in this country right now is rarely discussed.

If Trump became president and was indeed a fascist he wouldn’t bring anything to the country that is not already in existence for black Americans. Fascism is practiced against them on a daily basis. They are at risk of police interaction, arrest and even death for committing the most minor infractions or for no infraction at all.

Korryn Gaines was shot to death by police in her own home near Baltimore, Maryland. Her five year-old son was also shot and injured. Ms. Gaines came into contact with police initially because of a traffic violation and a dispute with her boyfriend. Every day thousands of people are given tickets or make accusations against one another but rarely do they have an expectation of ending up dead as a result.

Arrest warrants are the first line of defense for the police, who are the 21st century embodiment of the slave patrol. If black people are lucky they may have to pay a fine or suffer some inconvenience, if unlucky they are killed.

The Baltimore police used maximum force and disregarded accepted police practice meant to de-escalate such situations. They broke down Gaines’ door and cut off her Facebook feed. As is typical, their much vaunted body cameras were turned off and the dead woman was deprived of any means of defense or telling of her story. The only version of events comes from the people who killed her.

Death is the worst result but not the only means of keeping black people under physical control and in a state of humiliation. A recent video from a Kentucky courtroom shows an unidentified black woman suffering the cruelties of the police system. She was arrested for not completing a diversion program after a 2014 shoplifting charge. The only logic to arresting someone for this violation is cruelty for its own sake and the proof of that played out in the courtroom.

The woman arrived at court wearing only a pair of shorts. She reported that she had been denied feminine hygiene products and clean pants.  The judge dismissed the charges but not before lecturing the woman. “The fact that you’re in custody is your fault. You gotta come to court. But once you were arrested, the rest of this is completely inhumane and unacceptable and I’m very sorry that you had to go through this.” She added, “This is not normal. I’ve never seen this.” Of course this treatment is normal and happens all the time. Her arrest for a minor offense was normal and so was the denial of her human rights in an American jail. Actually the humiliated woman may be considered lucky. It was recently revealed that 6,900 people died in custody in Texas jails and prisons in the last ten years.

All of the tools which are supposed to protect the public from this system are useless. Paul O’Neal (*link O’Neal) was summarily executed by Chicago police while driving a stolen car. Again their cameras were turned off during the shooting. But once they felt safe, they recorded themselves rejoicing over their kill, giving one another high fives. One complained, “Fuck, I’m going to be on desk duty now for 30 days.”  The nonchalance is logical. The officer has no reason to fear anything worse.

Body cameras and other “reforms” won’t save black people’s lives because they are meant for public relations purposes only. The system in this country spends large sums of money, passes legislation and empowers the police to do what they like to black people. The suffering is quite intentional.

All the videos in the world won’t upend the brutality of the laws enforced against black people. It matters not whether a victim complies, or has hands up, or is armed, or is unarmed, or opens a door, or speaks, or doesn’t, or flees, or stays put, or does or doesn’t resist arrest. The police are a constant threat to black lives because the system demands it.

There will be no end to the body count without serious discussion about the ways in which racism is supported and encouraged. None of the supposedly non-fascist politicians dare lay a finger on the modern day slave system. Occasionally white people die at the hands of police, too. But that is considered a small price to play to keep the racial hierarchy in order. There is no hope of ending the carnage without first understanding the system we have and calling it what it is. Black Americans have always lived under fascism.

More articles by:

Margaret Kimberley writes the Freedom Rider column for Black Agenda Report, where this essay originally appeared. 

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
October 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Trump as the “Anti-War” President: on Misinformation in American Political Discourse
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Where’s the Beef With Billionaires?
Rob Urie
Capitalism and the Violence of Environmental Decline
Paul Street
Bernie in the Deep Shit: Dismal Dem Debate Reflections
Andrew Levine
What’s So Awful About Foreign Interference?
T.J. Coles
Boris Johnson’s Brexit “Betrayal”: Elect a Clown, Expect a Pie in Your Face
Joseph Natoli
Trump on the March
Ashley Smith
Stop the Normalization of Concentration Camps
Pete Dolack
The Fight to Overturn the Latest Corporate Coup at Pacifica Has Only Begun
Jeremy Kuzmarov
Russophobia at Democratic Party Debate
Chris Gilbert
Forward! A Week of Protest in Catalonia
Daniel Beaumont
Pressing Done Here: Syria, Iraq and “Informed Discussion”
Daniel Warner
Greta the Disturber
M. G. Piety
“Grim Positivism” vs. Truthiness in Biography
John Kendall Hawkins
Journey to the Unknown Interior of (You)
Christopher Fons – Conor McMullen
The Centrism of Elizabeth Warren
Nino Pagliccia
Peace Restored in Ecuador, But is trust?
Rebecca Gordon
Extorting Ukraine is Bad Enough But Trump Has Done Much Worse
Kathleen Wallace
Trump Can’t Survive Where the Bats and Moonlight Laugh
Clark T. Scott
Cross-eyed, Fanged and Horned
Eileen Appelbaum
The PR Campaign to Hide the Real Cause of those Sky-High Surprise Medical Bills
Olivia Alperstein
Nuclear Weapons are an Existential Threat
Colin Todhunter
Asia-Pacific Trade Deal: Trading Away Indian Agriculture?
Sarah Anderson
Where is “Line Worker Barbie”?
Brian Cloughley
Yearning to Breathe Free
Jill Richardson
Why are LGBTQ Rights Even a Debate?
Jesse Jackson
What I Learn While Having Lunch at Cook County Jail
Kathy Kelly
Death, Misery and Bloodshed in Yemen
Maximilian Werner
Leadership Lacking for Wolf Protection
Arshad Khan
The Turkish Gambit
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Rare Wildflower vs. Mining Company
Dianne Woodward
Race Against Time (and For Palestinians)
Norman Ball
Wall Street Sees the Light of Domestic Reindustrialization
Ramzy Baroud
The Last Lifeline: The Real Reason Behind Abbas’ Call for Elections
Binoy Kampmark
African Swine Fever Does Its Worst
Nicky Reid
Screwing Over the Kurds: An All-American Pastime
Louis Proyect
“Our Boys”: a Brutally Honest Film About the Consequences of the Occupation
Coco Das
#OUTNOW
Cesar Chelala
Donald Trump vs. William Shakespeare
Ron Jacobs
Calling the Kettle White: Ishmael Reed Unbound
Stephen Cooper
Scientist vs. Cooper: The Interview, Round 3 
Susan Block
How “Hustlers” Hustles Us
Charles R. Larson
Review: Elif Shafak’s “10 Minutes 38 Seconds in This Strange World”
David Yearsley
Sunset Songs
October 17, 2019
Steve Early
The Irishman Cometh: Teamster History Hits the Big Screen (Again)
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail