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. 

Weekend Edition
July 10, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Lynnette Grey Bull
Trump’s Postcard to America From the Shrine of Hypocrisy
Anthony DiMaggio
Free Speech Fantasies: the Harper’s Letter and the Myth of American Liberalism
David Yearsley
Morricone: Maestro of Music and Image
Rob Urie
Democracy and the Illusion of Choice
Jeffrey St. Clair
“I Could Live With That”: How the CIA Made Afghanistan Safe for the Opium Trade
Vijay Prashad
The U.S. and UK are a Wrecking Ball Crew Against the Pillars of Internationalism
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post and Its Cold War Drums
Richard C. Gross
Trump: Reopen Schools (or Else)
Chris Krupp
Public Lands Under Widespread Attack During Pandemic 
Paul Street
Imperial Blind Spots and a Question for Obama
Alda Facio
What Coronavirus Teaches Us About Inequality, Discrimination and the Importance of Caring
Eve Ottenberg
Bounty Tales
Andrew Levine
Silver Linings Ahead?
John Kendall Hawkins
FrankenBob: The Self-Made Dylan
Pam Martens - Russ Martens
Deutsche Bank Fined $150 Million for Enabling Jeffrey Epstein; Where’s the Fine Against JPMorgan Chase?
David Rosen
Inequality and the End of the American Dream
Louis Proyect
Harper’s and the Great Cancel Culture Panic
Thom Hartmann
How Billionaires Get Away With Their Big Con
REZA FIYOUZAT
Your 19th COVID Breakdown
Danny Sjursen
Undercover Patriots: Trump, Tulsa, and the Rise of Military Dissent
Charles McKelvey
The Limitations of the New Antiracist Movement
Binoy Kampmark
Netanyahu’s Annexation Drive
Joseph G. Ramsey
An Empire in Points
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
COVID-19 Denialism is Rooted in the Settler Colonial Mindset
Ramzy Baroud
On Israel’s Bizarre Definitions: The West Bank is Already Annexed
Judith Deutsch
Handling Emergency: A Tale of Two Males
Michael Welton
Getting Back to Socialist Principles: Honneth’s Recipe
Dean Baker
Combating the Political Power of the Rich: Wealth Taxes and Seattle Election Vouchers
Jonah Raskin
Edward Sanders: Poetic Pacifist Up Next
Manuel García, Jr.
Carbon Dioxide Uptake by Vegetation After Emissions Shutoff “Now”
Heidi Peltier
The Camo Economy: How Military Contracting Hides Human Costs and Increases Inequality
Ron Jacobs
Strike!, Fifty Years and Counting
Ellen Taylor
The Dark Side of Science: Shooting Barred Owls as Scapegoats for the Ravages of Big Timber
Sarah Anderson
Shrink Wall Street to Guarantee Good Jobs
Graham Peebles
Prison: Therapeutic Centers Or Academies of Crime?
Zhivko Illeieff
Can We Escape Our Addiction to Social Media?
Clark T. Scott
The Democrat’s Normal Keeps Their (Supposed) Enemies Closer and Closer
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
In 2020 Elections: Will Real-Life “Fighting Dems” Prove Irresistible?
Dave Lindorff
Mommy, Where Do Peace Activists Come From?
Christopher Brauchli
Trump the Orator
Gary Leupp
Columbus and the Beginning of the American Way of Life: A Message to Indoctrinate Our Children
John Stanton
Donald J. Trump, Stone Cold Racist
Nicky Reid
The Stonewall Blues (Still Dreaming of a Queer Nation)
Stephen Cooper
A Kingston Reasoning with Legendary Guitarist Earl “Chinna” Smith (The Interview: Part 2)
Hugh Iglarsh
COVID-19’s Coming to Town
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail