Monday, May 4, 2015

Baltimore civil disorder is protest against racist poverty and police brutality

The 164 urban rebellions in the 1960's in the US, like Baltimore today , are spontaneous guerrilla theater protest demonstrations against white supremacist police brutality and higher poverty and unemployment in ghettoes and hoods.

It's important to emphasize that the protest is against police brutality AND greater poverty and unemployment in predominantly Black or Brown communities . The Kerner report on 164 civil disturbances in the 1960's concluded that. There are socio-economic roots to riots. Even the greater police brutality in those areas is part of a complex of poverty , crime , police "occupation". The destruction of private property is a crude way of protesting poverty.

I'm not really trying to fit this into the "Society of the Spectacle" theory  , Nigel Niles. This is more of an empirical description, and even more a response to the monopoly media characterization of them as riots. Back in 1967 when Detroit's went down , we took to describing it as a rebellion. But it's not really a full rebellion. Then there were peaceful PROTEST DEMONSTRATIONS famously led by ML King and others. These are really protests, too. There is no intent of "taking over" anything. It's just an expression of anger at living conditions by the poor.

The point is it is not just a bunch of thugs and criminals and low lifes who irrationally disrespect private property and the authorities . They have legitimate complaints about capitalism. “Our Nation Is Moving Toward Two Societies, One Black, One White—Separate and Unequal”: Excerpts from the Kerner Report

President Lyndon Johnson formed an 11-member National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders in July 1967 to explain the riots that plagued cities each summer since 1964 and to provide recommendations for the future. The Commission’s 1968 report, informally known as the Kerner Report, concluded that the nation was “moving toward two societies, one black, one white—separate and unequal.” Unless conditions were remedied, the Commission warned, the country faced a “system of ’apartheid’” in its major cities. The Kerner report delivered an indictment of “white society” for isolating and neglecting African Americans and urged legislation to promote racial integration and to enrich slums—primarily through the creation of jobs, job training programs, and decent housing. President Johnson, however, rejected the recommendations. In April 1968, one month after the release of the Kerner report, rioting broke out in more than 100 cities following the assassination of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. In the following excerpts from the Kerner Report summary, the Commission analyzed patterns in the riots and offered explanations for the disturbances. In 1998, 30 years after the issuance of the Report, former Senator and Commission member Fred R. Harris co-authored a study that found the racial divide had grown in the ensuing years with inner-city unemployment at crisis levels. Opposing voices argued that the Commission’s prediction of separate societies had failed to materialize due to a marked increase in the number of African Americans living in suburbs. "