Had a very serious and heavy conversation last night on Laquan McDonald, Ferguson, Resistance & Liberation on Miss Geraldine Smith’s Radio Show. Was a pleasure and honor to sit with brothers and sisters who have done time behind those walls, now on this side fighting in the struggle together. Thanks to Brian Nelson of Uptown People’s Law Center and Roosevelt Burrell for inviting me. I had just come back from out of town and didn’t know I would even be speaking, and the show is fairly freewheeling, but I tried to make some serious, salient points. As did all of the guests. We had some differences on ultimately what it is going to take to address this, but a real agreement that people need to continue to come together and stand up, that this system cannot keep doing what it is doing to people. Any system that murders people on a daily basis is completely illegitimate. We will not be swayed by frantic calls for calm in the face of these daily murders by the enforcers of this system, or backroom deals with those responsible for the policies and practices that count the lives of Black folks as less than worthy of the same humanity and respect that every person deserves. We will continue to stand firmly for liberation, and against the daily State violence inflicted by the U.S. upon us here and on our brothers and sisters around the world.
James Kilgore is a writer, an educator, and a social justice activist who teaches and works at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He spent six years in prison, during which time he drafted his three published novels. He is the author of Understanding Mass Incarceration: A People’s Guide to the Key Civil Rights Struggle of Our Time (The New Press). He currently lives with his family in Urbana, Illinois.
Bill Ayers is University Scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago (retired), member of the executive committee of the Faculty Senate and founder of both the Small Schools Workshop and the Center for Youth and Society, taught courses in interpretive and qualitative research, oral history, creative non-fiction, urban school change, and teaching and the modern predicament. A graduate of the University of Michigan, the Bank Street College of Education, Bennington College, and Teachers College, Columbia University, Ayers has written extensively about social justice, democracy and education, the cultural contexts of schooling, and teaching as an essentially intellectual, ethical, and political enterprise. He is a past vice-president of the curriculum studies division of the American Educational Research Association.
Cook County Jail’s 30-year long ban on all newspapers has been ruled unconstitutional today by Judge Matthew F. Kennelly in a lawsuit I brought specifically challenging this policy: Koger v Dart, Case No. 13 C 7150. I must convey my great thanks to my lawyers and friends Mark Weinberg and Adele Nicholas for their work on this case. Importantly, I should emphatically note that the assertion beginning the opinion, that I was ever a member of the “Ethical” Humanist Society of Chicago, is factually incorrect. The “Ethical Humanist Society” was responsible for my 4-year long political prosecution and ultimately 300-day jail sentence for videotaping a statement against censorship by Sunsara Taylor, who had been disinvited to speak by the Ethical Humanist Society, on an iPhone. That aside, I’m glad that a policy that I knew to be patently unjust has been declared unconstitutional and I will continue to be on the frontlines of the struggle against the United States’ historically unprecedented system of mass incarceration and the New Jim Crow on many fronts.
speaking in person on Monday, April 6, 7:00pm
Watch the Livestream here on April 6, 7pm Eastern
Monday, April 6, 2015, 7:00pm
St. Paul & St. Andrew Church
263 West 86 st. at West End Avenue
New York City
Come hear Cornel West and Carl Dix in person, speaking about what needs to be done and massive national outpourings on April 14. #ShutDownA14
Special Messages from Alice Walker & others (to be announced)
After the protests of last year, after promises were made and investigations were launched, after hundreds of protesters were arrested… the police are still getting away with killing people, especially Black and Latino people. This must STOP!
To my brothers and sisters locked down behind the walls:
One important dynamic that developed during the historic uprising in Ferguson, Missouri, that began last August after the police execution of 18-year-old Michael Brown for “walking while Black” was that brothers and sisters who the morning before were into it with each other in rivalries between different street organizations and other conflicts, courageously and defiantly stood together in the face of racist pigs desperately trying to repress the rebellion. The world watched the people of Ferguson stand boldly and unrelentingly in the face of old-school Jim Crow tactics like threatening people with snarling, vicious police dogs straining on leashes held by white cops, to the New Jim Crow-era tactics of armored assault vehicles with snipers atop aiming down their sights at women and children holding hand-lettered “Justice for Mike Brown” posters, body-armor and desert-camo-clad SWAT teams with assault rifles and no ID tags, and the flash-bangs and tear gas of advancing police blockades attempting to push the overwhelmingly Black protesters out of the streets — their utterly failed attempts to get people to “go away” and get this rebellion off the streets and out of the view of the world.
In the face of all of that — and I was there personally on those front lines in those first days, in that tears gas with the people of Ferguson — many, many young brothers and sisters who live every day with the boot of these racist pigs on their necks for the first time saw and experienced the power of standing collectively against the real enemy — the police, the armed enforcers of this whole racist, oppressive system. Blue, red, Crips, Bloods, GDs, Vice Lords, Folks, People — it didn’t matter what organization they represented, or who they rode with — what mattered was that for the first time in way too damn long the people refused to accept another police murder of another Black youth, and the daily repression of police-state New Jim Crow America.
And those of us who have spent time behind the walls, many of us have had similar experiences when we are locked down with brothers and sisters who are in different street organizations, or of difference races. We’ve had the chance to stand together and put those differences aside in the face of our real enemy. Many of you, I’m sure, know of (and some of you, like myself, took part in and/or supported) the California prison hunger strikes in 2011 and 2013. Tens of thousands of prisoners, of all different racial backgrounds, from many different street organizations, came together and put their lives on the line to demand an end to the torture of solitary confinement and demand humane treatment. In fact, the lead organizers of the California prison hunger strike collectively issued an Agreement to End Hostilities in August 2012, in which they called on brothers and sisters locked up across California — as well as on the streets — to put aside their differences and direct the struggle towards the oppressors running this system.
These examples show the power and potential of what we can collectively accomplish when we stand together and recognize who our real enemies are. And look, we know the youth are far too often engaged in rivalries and violence against each other, all of us locked on the bottom of this society, fighting over crumbs or for a little respect. Many of us have been caught up in and been part of that ourselves, myself included. This must be transformed, we must be part of transforming ourselves, and the world.
I’ve been through that struggle myself. I was never no “big time shot caller” or anything, but during my time in prison — particularly during the years I did in solitary confinement — I began to see how all the shit we were going through to try to survive on the bottom of this society was part of how this capitalist system operates. And through a lot of study and struggle, in which this newspaper (Revolution) was very integral, I came out of prison and got involved in the movement for revolution. Because nothing short of revolution is going to end this — the world doesn’t have to be like this and can be radically different.
But you don’t have to be a revolutionary to see and know that if we put aside our differences, especially those of us in street organizations, we can be a powerful force in the struggle to push back the New Jim Crow, the pigs fucking with and trying to lock us up every day, murdering Black and brown youth every fucking day.
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network has called for April 14 to be a nationwide day of shutting this system down, to take forward and heighten the struggle that kicked off in Ferguson and spread nationwide through the end of the year. An important component to that would be for those youth and O.G.’s and others in street organizations to make a formal call for nationwide cessation of hostilities with each other and to take up being part of the struggle against the New Jim Crow. So we are calling on those of you locked down to take this up. Write to us — and to everyone you know on the streets, as well — and give us your thinking on this. I know you have been watching and reading and keeping keenly abreast of the historic uprising that has been going down nationwide since Ferguson kicked it off in August. Many of us have been in the streets a lot, and one shortcoming has been getting the voices of the brothers and sisters behind the walls into the mix of this. A nationwide Call for a Cessation of Hostilities between street organizations could play a monumental role in taking this struggle to a higher level.
Send your letters right away to:
Prisoners Revolutionary Literature Fund
1321 N. Milwaukee #407
Chicago, IL 60622
Originally published in the March 2, 2015 edition of Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
SAY NO MORE TO THE SYSTEM GIVING A GREEN LIGHT TO KILLER COPS!
This Call for a day of massive resistance all over the country on April 14 was adopted at the national meeting hosted by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network in Atlanta on February 7 and 8. Everyone needs to get on a mission to work from now to April 14 to make the day of stopping business as usual as powerful as possible to end the system putting its stamp of approval on police murdering people.
The people have stood up. Beginning in August with the youth in the streets of Ferguson and continuing through the end of the year, all across the country, thousands and thousands of people took to the streets to stop the murder of Black and Brown people at the hands of the police. People blocked highways and bridges, marched through shopping malls stopping commerce as usual, did die-ins everywhere, walked out from school, and shook this country to its core, opening the eyes of millions around the world to the brutal reality that time and time again police kill Black, Brown, and other people of color with impunity. For many people, this was the first time they had ever marched and demonstrated. This outpouring was long past due and was a real advance in the people’s struggle to stop this horror.
Now we are at a crossroads: will the authorities succeed in suppressing our resistance, or will we move forward on the offensive and bring even more massive waves of struggle to STOP the murder of Black, Brown, and all people by the police?
WE WILL NOT GO BACK!
On April 14, we will take our movement to STOP wanton police murder to a whole new level. NO SCHOOL! NO WORK! STOP BUSINESS AS USUAL!
On this day, thousands of students must walk out of school, take over buildings and go on strike at colleges and high schools nationwide. People must gather and march in cities all across the U.S. The normal routine of this society includes wanton police murder of Black and Brown people. Everyone must disrupt that normal routine.
Our demands are clear:
* The murder of Black and Brown people by the police MUST STOP.
* Justice for all the victims of brutal, murdering police.
* Indict, convict and send killer cops to jail—the whole damn system is guilty as hell.
* Stop the repression targeting the protests—Drop all the charges against all those arrested.
The business as usual of police killing our people and never being punished is a concentration of an overall program of mass incarceration and all its consequences that has tens of millions of people living their lives caught up in the criminal “injustice” system of this country. A hidden part of this program is the demonization, criminalization, deportation, and murder of immigrants. This must stop. Will our righteous protest and the people’s determination to STOP this be suppressed with threats and empty promises? Will that business as usual continue? Or will we retake the initiative to lead, YES, millions back out into the streets, not stopping until the police murder of Black and Brown people stops? This is the challenge we face. All of us must act on April 14 to loudly declare we will not go back, stop the police murder of our people.
Come to Atlanta on February 7 & 8 and Be Part of Planning to Take the Resistance to Police Murder to a Higher Level!
If you took to the streets in outrage after police murdered Eric Garner, Michael Brown, John Crawford, Ezell Ford, Tamir Rice, Mayra Cornejo, Akai Gurley, and so many others in the past few months alone…
If you live in the communities targeted by brutal, murdering police, or are a young person, or a student, or someone who believes in justice…
If you are in an organization, new or old, or a faith-based group, or not in any organization at all…
If you stood up in the fall or winter against police murder, or if you felt you should have stood up…or if you are just someone who feels that all this is INTOLERABLE..
If you want to see what began this summer and fall go to a higher level…
If you are determined to make this STOP…
Then YOU are Invited!
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network (SMIN) invites you to participate in a meeting to map out plans to build on the powerful, beautiful and very necessary outpourings of people all across the country calling for an end to the system putting its stamp of approval on police murdering people. This meeting will be held in Atlanta on Feb 7 & 8.
If 1000’s of people across the country hadn’t stood up and said NO MORE in response to the grand juries refusing to indict the cops who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner, those murders would’ve been swept under the rug. But because we stood up, millions of people were challenged to look at how police kill people all the damn time and how the system never punishes cops for their murderous acts.
The authorities have worked desperately to recapture the offensive from the movement of resistance. They have arrested 100’s of protesters and tried to demonize the protests. They seized on the killings of 2 police officers in Brooklyn on December 20 to call for the protests to stop. We must not back down in the face of their offensive. The police haven’t stopped killing people, and the system hasn’t stopped giving killer cops a pass. So we must continue to take to the streets and call for these horrors to end. People have been doing this. But we must take our resistance to a higher level.
To that end, SMIN has issued a draft Call for a Shutdown Day on April 14, a day of massive resistance all over the country, with students at 1000’s of schools going on strike, taking over buildings and more; and people gathering in cities nationwide to disrupt America’s business as usual. And SMIN is developing a plan of resistance to build up to April 14.
If you want to see the horror of police wantonly murdering people STOPPED and are ready to get down to serious work to STOP it, come to this planning meeting in Atlanta. Be part of enriching and further developing the plans for the Shutdown Day in April. And be part of developing a plan for resistance that builds up momentum to a powerful day of resistance in April.
The authorities have declared that the normal routine of this society will continue to include wanton police murder of Black and Latino people. This normal routine must be disrupted.
Come to Atlanta on February 7 & 8, & be part of planning out how to do that!
Yeah, 2015… 2014 was quite a year. I won’t waste a lot of words here. But bottom line: #Ferguson. #MonthofResistance gets #2. But plenty much love to all the young and old brothers, sisters and (inclusive of and no disrespect to any queer or questioning or whatevs) peeps worldwide who stood up.
But yeah…. Something definitely shifted. From my lowly and humble position on the top tier globally, something moved in the superstructure. From channeled opium of the mass media to broadband handheld simulcast livestreams from Cairo to Quito to #Ferguson. #Trayon to #MikeBrown to #EricGarner to #RekiaBoyd to #Gaza and back again, #BlackLivesMatter.
No footnote to that.
We movin’ on towards a liberated future for all humanity. Believe that. We movin’ to the barricades, my brothers and sisters (and whatevs).
I stand, from the bowels of the belly of this imperialist beast, with you on the front lines. Keffiyyah tight, from W. Florissant to Gaza to Cairo to Roosevelt Rd. to Hong Kong, the people demand liberation. We will struggle on.
I don’t have all the answers, but what we living under – capitalism and imperialism globally – is the death of the globe. Liberation lies in the path toward socialism and communism. From the belly of the beast of U.S. imperialism, I stand with all those on the front lines of the struggle for liberation. If my life means nothing else, I stand with those that this world considers as refuse and irrelevant. Because this system considered me worse than that.
Another world is possible – and in birth. We can and must collectively craft another way forward. Let us collaborate and conspire together to bring this liberated future for all humanity into being.
Take to the Streets When the Ferguson Grand Jury Announces Its Decision
IF THE MURDERING PIG WALKS, AMERIKKKA MUST BE BROUGHT TO A HALT!
Carl Dix | November 17, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us
The grand jury investigating the police murder of Michael Brown in Ferguson will announce its decision any day now. All indications are that it will let the killer cop, Darren Wilson, walk free. This would amount to the system giving its stamp of approval, once more, to police wantonly murdering Black youth. This would be an outrage—one that we must refuse to accept.
When the decision comes down, people need to pour into the streets immediately. If the authorities let this murdering pig walk, America must be brought to a halt. Major streets and highways should be blocked, and traffic should be unable to proceed on bridges and tunnels. Professional athletes should join the response by refusing to play. Musicians should cancel appearances. Students should walk out of school when they hear that another murdering pig has gone free. If the decision is announced at night, the next day should be a day of NO BUSINESS AS USUAL at schools. Buildings on campus should be taken over, classes should become teach-ins on police murder of Black people. All this and more should be done.
Nixon’s State of Emergency: Illegitimate and Outrageous
On November 17, Missouri Governor Nixon declared a State of Emergency—mobilizing the National Guard, and authorizing violent suppression of protest—even before there is an announcement from the Grand Jury on whether they will indict Ferguson cop Darren Wilson for the murder of Michael Brown. For all the sanctimonious lies we are fed about “protecting free speech,” the “bottom line” for those in power is armored personnel carriers, rubber bullets, toxic gas, violent assaults on news media—which Nixon’s press release calls “steps toward peaceful change.”
Nixon’s “State of Emergency” is an outrage on top of outrages—it violates this system’s own Constitution, and is completely illegitimate suppression of righteous protest. And it must be OPPOSED by anyone with any sense of justice!
Governor Nixon of Missouri has declared a state of emergency and mobilized the National Guard. The emergency we must act to stop is the murder of our youth by police. Nixon’s actions underscore the need for us to step up and step out to say NO MORE to police murdering our youth.
If the grand jury does indict Wilson, we still need to act. If it’s anything less than murder, that would be the system telling us Black life doesn’t matter much. Even if they indict him for murder, justice hasn’t been won yet. Zimmerman was indicted for the murder of Trayvon, but he was allowed to walk free after a trial where the prosecutors acted like they had forgotten how to prosecute.
What we do when the grand jury decision comes down has to be more than a one-day thing. It must be part of bringing into being a movement of millions of people who are determined to STOP the murder of Black and Latino youth by police and racist vigilantes. The day after Thanksgiving should become “Black Lives Matter” day instead of a black Friday of getting a jump on Christmas shopping. Walmarts should be a focus of protests because a young Black man, John Crawford, was murdered by police in Walmart in Ohio, and a grand jury let those killer cops walk free.
And all this has to be aimed at delivering a message to one and all that THE KILLING OF BLACK YOUTH MUST STOP! People must come together and say this in a loud and united voice. We must mean it, and we must act accordingly immediately when the decision is announced and going forward from there till the murder of our youth by police and racist vigilantes is truly no more.
TAKE TO THE STREETS AS SOON AS THE GRAND JURY DECISION IS ANNOUNCED!
JUSTICE FOR MICHAEL BROWN, ERIC GARNER AND ALL THE VICTIMS OF KILLER COPS!