60 people took the streets last Saturday afternoon in a second unpermitted march to demonstrate solidarity with the rebellion in Ferguson as well as distribute counter-information against the lies of the media and police. We are posting one of the texts below that was distributed during the demo.
A note on process for this blog: A number of people have written to us to complain about our lack of coverage of this demo. We have little direct access to these events and rely on contributors to email news, texts, actions, and pictures to us. Get in touch with us and we will post your materials. Instead of complaining, compose your own account of an event if you were there. Give us lots of lead time if you want us to publicize a poster before an event. We also appreciate news links from around southern Indiana.
Ferguson, Bloomington, Everywhere
For two weeks, people in Ferguson, Missouri have fought back against police violence. On August 9, Michael Brown, a black teenager, was shot dead in the street by white police officer Darren Wilson. Witnesses and an autopsy indicate that the killing was execution-style, with the fatal shot delivered to the top of the victim’s head while he was already down. Since the uprising broke out hours after the murder, rebels have attacked the police with everything from water bottles to Molotov cocktails, as well as festively looting businesses that have reputations for exploiting the community. Others have maintained vigils and protests, even in the face of police curfews and the declaration of a state of emergency. The combination of methods brought enough attention to the murder to force the state to suspend the killer cop and convene an investigation. A largely black and excluded suburb that everyone has always ignored has forced the entire world to pay attention by fighting back.
While police regularly murder people, especially people of color, their victims often only become tragic statistics unless the authorities fear the repercussions of sweeping these killings under the rug. On the B-Line last year, Bloomington Police claim that a man named Eddie Callaway who was being held facedown on the ground was able to pull a gun from his waistband and shoot himself. Tall tales like this only get told when the police can count on the compliance and gullibility of the community at large. Likewise, four years ago when Bloomington police officers shot a 16-year old black teenager in the back when he was walking away from them at the transit center downtown. Witnesses were intimidated into going silent, so that the police could change the story into the teenager wildly waving a knife and trying to get shot. Luckily the teenager survived, unlike another black man shot to death last week by St. Louis police, who made a similarly far-flung claim in order to contain popular rage.
Over the past several years, much of the Bloomington police violence has been concentrated against the homeless population. In order to gentrify the city and allow unfettered luxury development, the homeless have to be driven away from downtown. As a result, when the poor hang out in People’s Park, they are subject to constant harassment. Police have regularly beat people in Seminary Square in order to disperse and terrorize them. Developments like the the new luxury Hyatt Hotel require constant, violent policing to achieve an artificial level of “safety” for wealthy tourists. Police also direct their violence against residents of poor communities and communities of color like Crestmont, in order to regulate their movement, and prevent them from feeling safe in downtown shopping areas.
Unfortunately, unlike in Ferguson, we have not had the strength and dignity to fight back in Bloomington. But what Ferguson has demonstrated is that this can change very quickly. Let’s support each other against state violence and surprise each other with our capacity for revolt.
Solidarity with the Ferguson Rebellion.
For Michael Brown, we can neither forgive nor forget.
Boycott the Hyatt Hotel and other luxury projects imposed violently on Bloomington.
Get news and donate to the bail fund for arrested protesters at antistatestl.noblogs.org.