Jared Ball explains the history in ‘Black August and the Unmasking of the US Police State’, telesur english
“Black August, paradoxically, shines a light on the contradictions of a country that never was, yet must always be.
“The reason you call the police is because you’re in a police state.”
– Dhoruba bin-Wahad
“Before our eyes and ears, a ‘web of business relationships that now defines America’s media and culture’ has one particular business raking in billions of dollars while another defines the culture of a specific demographic as criminal.”
– Homeboy Sandman
Much like a credit card that finances a lifestyle far beyond our means, prison has long been central to maintaining a certain racial, social and class structure in the United States and masking social contradictions. Mass incarceration helps to obscure stagnant wages for labor, and enormous profits for bosses and owners and a low-wage, captive workforce — quite literally — that answers our customer service calls, produces our furniture and clothing and, with their ancillary associates in policing and the courts, exists as fodder for TV cop dramas, sitcoms, movies and documentaries.
All of that product makes a ton of money for the prison, media, and other industries, and, just as importantly, helps sharpen the cultural narratives which defines who is “good,” and who is “innocent” and who is “guilty” just by their mere presence.
Black August refers to the coordinated efforts of U.S. political prisoners — or more accurately prisoners of war — to “unmask” their jailers and the interests on whose behalf they toil, and to commemorate, study and learn from the history of Black liberation struggles in this country. Specifically, as recounted in the history of Black August by the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement:
Black August originated in the concentration camps of California to honor fallen Freedom Fighters, Jonathan Jackson, George Jackson, William Christmas, James McClain and Khatari Gaulden. Jonathan Jackson was gunned down outside the Marin County California courthouse on August 7, 1970 as he attempted to liberate three imprisoned Black Liberation Fighters: James McClain, William Christmas and Ruchell Magee.
It is a time to fast, train, study and reflect on the importance of past examples of struggle that may inform the present. It can also be a time to recalibrate standards by which we assess both our progress and our peril. Black August challenges the very nature of the state and its claim on human beings as colonial subjects, and its insistence, in word and deed, that this, is the natural, almost divine order of things.
For this reason, Black August is all that the state abhors; humanity, dignity, principle and adherence to so many of the state’s hated isms; pan-Africanism, socialism, communism, intercommunalism. To a ruling elite, Black August is an uncomfortable, repressed memory of the traditions, militancy and robust responses to injustice and oppression–and therefore a reminder of their depravity– in a state that insists on only sanctioned forms of resistance.” (the rest is here, including current political prisoners of color, both Clintons’ relevant histories, and three excellent videos.)
for THD who may even have been there:
Jared Bell: “Black August reminds us that too little has changed in the lived experience of African people in this or any hemisphere. It is, as Bob Marley once sang, a call to “Want More!” Our expectations have been unacceptably downsized. Want More!”
From Black Agenda Report:
‘Washington: A One Party State; by Danny Haiphong
“The two corporate parties agree on almost everything of substance. “The one-party state doesn’t negotiate police brutality, mass incarceration, or any other manifestation of white supremacy. Nor does it think twice before enforcing sanctions on Syria or Venezuela.” They can’t change Obamacare, simply because it is the perfect corporate bill. “Both parties agree that the profits of the rich must be maximized by any means necessary.”
‘Mumia Abu-Jamal Speaks About Black Lives Matter and Police Violence’, by Tasasha Henderson
“A new book of essays by Mumia Abu Jamal sheds light on the historical roots of police violence. “The state will always utilize its ‘law” as a tool of repression, but movements must create and expand the space to raise contradictions.” Huey Newton, says Mumia, “called for deep transformation of police, to bring forth Citizen Peace Forces, designed to solve problems, not bomb them.” Body cameras and better training for cops “is a bourgeois mirage.”
‘Tell Trump, and the Democrats, Too: We Demand Black Community Control of the Police’, by Glen Ford
Dunno Glen; while I can honor your faith in blacks, all too often we’ve seen that when people of color zip on the uniform, they become ‘the police’ writ large.