The US Supreme Court ruling on California’s discriminatory Proposition 8 and cases related to the federal Defense of Marriage Act is expected to come Monday or later, dashing the hopes of many who had hoped equality would be won by now. That inclludes, of course, couples who wish to wed, citizens desperate to be equal under law for the first time in their lives, and businesses who believe marriage equality will mean a financial windfall.
Consider a brief snapshot of the past year in New York:
On Sept. 7, 20-year-old Reynaldo Cuevas was working at a grocery store where a robbery was taking place… Reynaldo runs out of the store believing that he was running into the hands of safety, but instead he gets murdered by police officer Ramysh Bangali from the PSA7 precinct, who failed to follow protocol and disregarded hostage procedures.
On Feb. 2, 18-year-old Ramarley Graham was murdered by police officer Richard Haste inside the bathroom of his Bronx home in front of his grandmother and 6-year-old brother.
This year, we have seen what the NYPD really thinks of the people when it comes to stop and frisking, police brutality, spying on Muslims, etc….
WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH.
These instances are not exceptions to the rule, but the necessarily violent norm of policing. The excuse of ‘a few bad apples’ is a myth; the tree is rotten- the institution of policing is itself the problem. Police systematically use, and grossly abuse the power at their disposal to criminalize, and otherwise brutalize queer and trans people, communities living in poverty, activists, indigenous and African-American and Latino communities, those without status, people living with disabilities, drug users, and those living with mental health issues.
Under the ruse of ‘to serve and protect’ the police operate as a tool of social control - they are armed thugs who patrol our neighborhoods and streets to enforce an oppressive social order based upon exclusion, violence and mass exploitation. The interests they serve are those of the powerful; the protection they offer is the protection of an unjust status quo.
The police do not protect us. On the contrary, we must organize our communities to protect ourselves from the police. We are heartbroken at the misery they cause poor people and their families, and furious when we bear witness to their sickening impunity. We will not sit by, and allow this to go on unchallenged.
2013 is set to be the year of the insurrection. Stayed tuned for more details as March 15th approaches—we’re taking it to the streets.
Imagine a United States in which the government can deny protest in any public space it deems fit. Where wearing a dissenting shirt around an elected official could be construed as a felony. Where First-Amendment protections become privileges subjectively doled out by the state. Sadly, that US is pretty much here.
In March, Congress passed HR 347, a bill that limits citizens’ ability to protest in public and on government grounds. Mainstream media didn’t raise a peep, but now there’s finally some anger building. The bill, passed almost unanimously, makes it a federal offense punishable by up to 10 years in prison to “knowingly" protest in the vicinity of the Secret Service—that is anywhere the Secret Service “is or will be temporarily visiting.”
It also makes many public events impervious to lawful protest. Any “National Security Special Event” (NSSE) requires Secret Service protection. NSSE-designated events have proliferated since 9/11 to include Super Bowls, concerts, campaign events, and now any public event that Very Important People want protest-free.
Most dangerously, it criminalizes protest. Under the bill, “disorderly or disruptive conduct” or activities that “impede or disrupt the orderly conduct of Government business or official functions” could warrant felony charges. What constitutes such “disruptive conduct” rests in the eye of the beholder—or in the eye of Eric Holder. To put it plainly: the government can decide where and when free speech is allowed and severely prosecute any “disruptive” activity, while we’re confined to “free speech zones.” We can help fix it, however! Sign the petition to protect free speech rights!
My kneejerk reaction was to be upset, but giving it some thought, I think AP is on the mark. Call antigay hatred or anti-Muslim hatred or any type of discriminatory attitude what it is: Hate. Evil. Immoral. Wrong.
Let’s not give bigots the comfort of thinking they are stricken with a mental illness for which we should pity them.
Blast from the past! Found this while tooling around on the ‘Net and thought this an appropriate way to inaugurate The Armchair Activist’s new Tumblr blog home. Thanks again to the great journalist-activist Rod Amis, who passed away in 2010, for giving me the distinct pleasure and privilege of chatting with him six years ago and for being my friend. Miss you, Rod; this new Armact home is dedicated to you.