No Justice! No Peace! Getting Wild in the Streets

14 Jul

Riots in Oakland, CA, following verdict in Trayvon Martin’s killing by George Zimmerman

from Earth First! Journal Cascadia Office

“The only justice that can come is by organizing in our communities to dispose of this perpetual crime against nature known as the US…”

The nation is in an uproar and the whole world is watching. Zimmerman, clearly the murderer of a black boy, was acquitted and we all watched it happen like a terrible train wreck. But justice coming out of the trial was impossible from the beginning. There can be no justice, no peace.

As one Facebook meme stated, “Zimmerman is a predator zone.”

Zimmerman killed Trayvon in cold blood, having judged Trayvon as a “punk” based on the color of his skin and the fact that he was wearing a hoodie.  Zimmerman was not policing Skittles and hoodies, he was policing the boundaries around what people acting out of white supremacy are capable of doing to others. We all know and feel in our hearts that this is a crime that reflects a deep crisis in our society, and the entrenchment of color lines that is getting deeper every year.

The establishment press has made such a big deal out of the fact that Zimmerman is “Hispanic (white).” What we have found in the streets today is that this crisis is not a Latino-versus-Black issue—we have seen in the streets our Latino and Black friends united against racial hatred, against the polarization with which the ruling elite seeks to strike us down.

It is reflected by the largest hunger strike in the history of the prison industry currently rocking the complex to its core, because black people, white people, latin people, arab people are all coming together. Because this is about life.

If the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) was a place that white people would go if they committed crimes out of white supremacy, it would not exist as such. Free them all!

The only “positive” that could have come from the Zimmerman trial was a kind of settling of scores and statistics—Zimmerman gets sent to the PIC for 20 years, and that would seem more equitable within our perception of the Justice Department, the courts, etc. But what if this judgment proves that the problem is the PIC, and that’s why Zimmerman will not be sent there; it is the Justice Department, which is why people like Zimmerman usually don’t even have to go through this kind of process? 

The problem must be white supremacy as it is institutionalized in the destruction of the world.  In 1973, there were 300,000 prison inmates in the US. In 2000, there were 2 million. In 2000, there were only 5 private prisons. Today, there are at least 100 (not counting detention centers), and the private prison population has exploded thirty times over in that decade.

A prison is an enclosure. Rural towns devastated by Walmart and the rupture of small farms invite the prison industry to build units nearby. The prisons stock their cells predominantly with people of color, many of whom suffer from the same pangs of neoliberalism in urban environments, such as capital flight, factory closures, and joblessness. The prisons promise to employ local folks and use local products, but often cop out. The crisis of the rise of prisons in the US is a spacial crisis, one of rural/urban relations, capitalism, and the police state.

Meanwhile, the detention centers have cropped up around the country in secret—in some areas, people can not even tell a detention center from an office park. They blend in with the suburban/exburban sprawl, which is fitting, because they feed off of the spacial crisis of urban expansion. As the urban requires labor to continue its outrageous pace of development, it consumes ever greater swaths of land, relying on the cheapest labor possible for construction, farming, service, and industry. These jobs demand the employment of migrant workers, who most often come from rural areas of the Global South utterly destroyed by the invasion of capitalist “free markets.” It is a destructive cycle where indigenous lands are obliterated abroad, sending those people to work in the US in the most toxic of industries, under constant threat that they will become fodder for the private detention center complex.

The story of the prison industrial complex, like that of the detention centers, is a story of an ecology foreclosed. 

So if Zimmerman had gone to prison, would we have rejoiced? Hell yes. Would it have been right? Conditions are too complex and chaotic to answer that question.

What we have now is rage in our hearts. The only justice that can come is by organizing in our communities to dispose of this perpetual crime against nature known as the US with its unjust institutions that disguise their true purpose as political instruments of white supremacism. 

As the Chicago Surrealists wrote after the 1992 riots, “As eco-activists, radical feminists, point-of-production rebel workers and ghetto/barrio street-fighters begin to understand each other, to find their common ground and to pool their resources in united struggle and mutual aid, we shall begin to see a movement that might just be capable of toppling the inhuman structures that are killing us all.

“Steeped in humor, open to poetry, aiming at a fundamental reintegration of humankind and the planet we live on and the creatures with whom we share it, this new global revolutionary movement naturally will be the most playful and adventurous of all time. How could it be otherwise? […]

“The struggle for wilderness is inseparable from the struggle for a free society, which is inseparable from the struggle against racism, whiteness and imperialism, which is inseparable from the struggle for the liberation of women, which is inseparable from the struggle for sexual freedom, which is inseparable from the struggle to emancipate labor and abolish work, which is inseparable from the struggle against war, which is inseparable from the struggle to live poetic lives and, more generally, to do as we please.

“The enemies, today, are those who try to separate these struggles.”

We pledge so much love for the Martin family, and can’t imagine what it would feel like to loose your child, with all your hopes and dreams for that child’s future—a future of love, success. The small-scale riot in Oakland last night was only the beginning. There were rallies in every major city, with hundreds, thousands of people marching together chanting, “No Justice! No Peace!” together as one. People across the world are fuming right now, and for good reason—it’s time to shut it down.

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