Reflections on the Extrajudicial Killing of 17 year old Michael Brown, Oppression, including Oppression through Food: From the Illusion of Democracy to Fascism
Ferguson Police officer shoots an unarmed young man of Black African descent at least six times, killing him, apparently with no cause, 17 year old Michael Brown of Ferguson. Ferguson police left the body in the steaming heat for at least 2 hours. Community members, including his mother and father, tried to investigate his condition to see if he was still alive but the police shooed them away.
An eye witness recounts the officer drove over Michael Brown's shoes with no apparent provocation. Young Michael raised his hands in the air when this happened. The police officer, says the witness, still in the car, then shot Michael Brown, who fell to the ground. The police officer then shot Michael again 6 times, says the witness to local news, from his car. Here is her video interview.
Our love and condolences go to Michael Brown's parents and siblings, extended family and community.
A major concern is that we protect ourselves from getting
carried away by the collective energy of bitterness, hatred, rage,
anger, and violence aroused by these events while we seek to understand, stop them and build a just, peaceful and loving society.
This killing is yet another in the hundreds. (in 2012, the Malcolm X Grassroots Movement reported 350 such extrajudicial killings of Americans of Black African descent by police officers, security guards and armed vigilantes.) Such extrajudicial killings are the tip
of the iceberg of the oppression of poor people in the US and around the globe, especially poor indigenous, Black, Latino and some groups of Asian communities, as well as some middle class communities. From mass incarceration, police killings and harassment, lack of police
protection, abject poverty, no jobs, slave labor or low wages, to oppression through deadly food and self-care products, substandard
housing, no and substandard education, and substandard or no health care, lack of public transportation, and mass shutoffs of water, poor and middle class communities face systematic oppression that increases
human frustration to intolerable levels.
Trapped in economic and/or
racial and ethnic segregation, people and communities furthermore have no opportunity to influence society or
voice their concerns because we exist in only an illusion of democracy. (A democracy for the few is not a democracy by its very definition.) http://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/princeton-experts-say-us-no-longer-democracy
The recent events in Ferguson, the military response to the people of Ferguson's peaceful rallies and candlelight vigils in honor of Michael Brown and calling for an accounting for his killing, illustrate that furthermore, our nation has gone from an illusion of democracy to fascism.
The oppression our beloved communities
face includes: (not complete) police killings, mass incarceration,
housing oppression including the mortgage foreclosure crises,
victimization by crime and lack of security, (in fact as we see people
are victimized by those who are supposed to protect them--the police themselves) ; un and underemployment, virtual and real slavery, child labor, low wages, temporary and part-time jobs, (many of these horrendous working conditions are present in the food and agriculture systems which make -up in large part the sector where employment is increasing. As well, such jobs are held predominantly by Black and Latino Americans and some groups of Asians), no or miseducation, no and poor health care, targeted with
deadly food and personal care products, victimized by drugs, sex offenders, and
other human behavior hostile to humanity, sadism, toxic environments including air and water, withdrawal of basic human services including water, and climate injustice. Poor and many middle class people are targeted by all our systems and oligarchies for
exploitation from the physical to the psychological.
beloved poor (and many middle-class) communities are in essence living
in open-air prisons. Our political, economic and other systems appear to be well-controlled by an equally well-militarized oligarchy with the apparent power to know our every move and thought. (Snowden) These systems and oligarchies (Or is their only one?) appear to be
creating social, economic, spiritual, food, health, environmental and human degradation in order to exploit humanity, our earth and universe in order to enrich and empower themselves.
To make matters worse, all this is being done in the name of a
man of Black African descent--Barack Hussein Obama--(who raised "Hope" from the local to the global levels) to rub salt into a festering wound of the
illusion of democracy, covering up fascism, as my Mexican colleague,
Miguel Angel Guzman, explains to me. This makes people even more frustrated when "Change" is promised but not delivered by a political figure who stirred up "Hope" in so many here at home and abroad.
This is Ferguson, Palestine, Mathare, Kibera, Soweto, Detroit and so many other ghettos, slums, townships, here in the US and around the world that we human beings have created and maintain.
The tactics, people, and organizations appear to be the same or to overlap. As well, the reasons and out comes appear to be the same as well : oppression of the people so that a
few, the oligarchy, maintain power and they and their children and
descendants enjoy the fruits of this Earth and Universe and our human potential.
Yet the actions of these local to global oligarchies appear to be leading us all, themselves and their families included, to an ultimate destination of destruction of all. (See Gustave Speth's (former Dean of the Yale School of the Environment and Forestry) work on the environmental degradation and injustice our future holds if we do not change. He will be a guest on kkfi.org Food Fight! radio program the last Saturday of September at 4. Tune in at kkfi.org or in Kansas City, 90.1 fm. )
Furthermore, the transcendent Thich Naht Hahn, global peace and Zen Buddhism spirtual leader points out to us that they, the rich, members of the oligarchy, are not happy themselves; many commit suicide he says softly.
Thich Naht Hanh's Plum Village, Marta Benavides of El Salvador, the Zapatistas of Chiapis most inspire with their messages to "be peace, be love" and to be the better world now that we want.
More thoughts to come, comments appreciated.