Police shoot African Americans across the nation. That problem cannot be denied.
The question that sober people must address is what to do about it. So far, we have failed to come up with strategies that would give young people hope of a solution. Our failure resulted in misguided actions on July 7th in downtown Dallas, and we are all going to pay the price.
Prayer and Platitudes
Most of what’s been said so far consists mostly of prayer and platitudes. President Obama’s statement that the shootings in Dallas that killed five law enforcement officers and wounded several others were “a vicious calculated and despicable attack on law enforcement,” doesn’t offer any solution and doesn’t even mention the overall problem.
Just previous to the Dallas tragedy, AFL-CIO President Richard Trumka commented on the two most recent police shootings: “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the two African-American men who were shot by police within twenty-four hours of each other. Racism plays an insidious role in the daily lives of all working people of color…..” He identified the problem accurately, but still, what’s the answer?
What Will Happen In Dallas?
There will be a lot of fear generated in Dallas until the police are satisfied. A lot of Dallasites, especially politicians and white people, are going to be publicly and financially “backing the blue.” Eventually, the most concrete change will probably be an increase in the police budget.
What Should Happen in Dallas and Because of the Dallas Tragedy?
Perpetration of violence against African Americans is as old as America. It’s not a problem easily solved, but it cannot be ignored. On my radio talk show on July 9, I’ll be calling for proposed solutions. As far as I have been able to ascertain, most civil rights organizations believe the problem can be solved with more restrictions and more transparency on police behavior. My own proposal may sound far-fetched, but keep in mind that the problem is very old and very chronic.
The police are an arm of a government that is run by and for the wealthy. As long as that class of people want to continue exploiting African Americans, we are going to see the police carrying out their implicit duties. What we need is a better government. In a more immediate sense, we need to move toward organized communities and away from specialized armed forces. Organizing is long, hard work, but it’s the answer.
Shooting Policemen Doesn’t Work
Does anybody think they can out-shoot or out-kill the police? Do they think they could grab a few rifles and challenge the U.S. Army? Can anybody point to a single time in history that minority violence brought progress for working people?
I think the best political advice I ever read came from a speech Leon Trotsky made during the Russian Revolution: “It is not sufficient to fight, comrades, it is also necessary to win.”