An unprecedentedly broad, decentralized, confrontational, and leaderless movement has arisen in response to the police murders of Michael Brown, Eric Garner and too many others. With the back-to-back non-indictments of Officers Darren Wilson and Daniel Pantaleo, we have witnessed a powerful rage against the impunity of the police and their disrespect for Black life that has sparked a surge of activity not seen in recent times in NYC or across the US. What began as an isolated outburst in Ferguson has surpassed initial concerns about the longevity of the protests by quickly becoming one of the most profound American social upheavals in recent decades.
Many have said, "People are mad today, but will they still be mad next week?" Massive mobilizations over the past few weeks—taking over streets, bridges, tunnel entrances, places of business, train and ferry stations, sometimes with planning, other times with no prior planning at all—have allowed us to answer that question with a resounding YES.
But if we don't expand the struggle, there will come a week when the answer is 'no,' and we risk a return to normal. Or if we are seduced into believing that the police can be reformed into submission with superficial policy initiatives like body cameras or civilian review boards, we may believe that we have fixed the problem only to witness more Michael Browns, more Eric Garners. At the end of the day, the police are the physical extension of the state and capital. So how can we continue the momentum while targeting the underlying systems of oppression behind the white supremacist state violence that has outraged millions?
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