The New York City Police Department is a racist institution, organized to repress people of color, immigrants, and the poor.
Residents of our city are not stopped and frisked for their supposed possession of drugs and guns, they are stopped and frisked because of their skin color and ethnicity, their gender and their age (91% are people of color, most are male, and most are young). Stop and frisk is not about making the city safer; it is about intimidating, harassing, humiliating, and terrorizing specific communities.
On the streets of New York, the greatest danger to low-income communities and persons of color, and to those engaged in political protest, comes from the police. To live under capitalism, under a perpetual state of crisis, is to be afraid of what they might do, when and where they might appear, how they might react to our existence.
To keep us in a constant state of fear, this band of armed brutes may strike out at any time, asserting their dominance and reminding us that in this world, we’re condemned to obedience and submission.
This situation is of course not unique to New York. Last weekend, two young Latino men were murdered by police in Anaheim, California, sparking off waves of righteous rage. These killings can’t be considered accidents or mere “abuses” – they represent the methodical terrorizing of the oppressed, and must be responded to appropriately.
During the last year, when ordinary people took to the streets and reclaimed spaces as a way to challenge economic inequality, the NYPD cracked down in the most vicious fashion, beating and arresting protestors. Simply protesting injustice was enough to endanger one’s physical safety. The NYPD treated campers and sympathizers as enemies to be destroyed, and Zuccotti Park was literally razed to the ground.
These experiences within Occupy should now lead to its participants forming new alliances, developing new solidarities, with all those who have experienced police brutality and state violence across generations, beyond this particular economic crisis. The violence of capitalism does not just exist in the Financial District, it is at its most brutal, most oppressive, in neighborhoods all over the city. To continue our struggles against this failing system, we must confront what it really means to not be white in America, and what it means to be poor in New York City.
The organizers of this march write on their blog (anarcho-queer.tumblr.com), “blacks and latinos have to develop a sixth sense to survive. We know to stay away from white people in sports jerseys (cops) and look out for DT’s in tinted cars (and even taxi cabs). Paranoia is survival. Why not fight it? What do we have to lose? The NYPD continues to spy on muslim communities and send undercover officers inside of places of worship. They stop and frisk hundreds of thousands of black/latino teenagers despite the fact that only 10% of stops result in a violation or arrest. But if we organize a Fuck The Police march, we are criticized by pacifists and privileged white people who don’t understand police oppression because they are held at a higher standard. Fortunately, we don’t give a shit about your opinion, we just want to liberate ourselves from the racist pigs who terrorize our community. We respect a persons decision to protest how they see fit.”
The call for this march is just a beginning, a procession to celebrate a growing force against those who choose to brutalize us. When we say “Fuck the Police,” we are talking about righteous rage, with no permit, route, or rules. We come together against mediation, and allow for people to act, to react, to the conditions of their own lives, in the ways that they want. This is all autonomy, self-organization, can mean.
Cops out of our streets, our neighborhoods, our lives!
27 July 2012