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Don't Mourn Sean Bell
30 Apr 2008
This past week, the New York City police officers who sent bullets ripping through the body of Sean Bell were acquitted. The judge in the case criticized witnesses and family members as insincere players in the tragedy.
Some leaders have called for protests to shut down New York City. Political activists have called this travesty a symptom of a broken system. No one wants to call the slaughter of Sean Bell what it really is.
The police acquittal of Sean Bell’s murderers is no surprise to anyone who understands this white supremacist system and its criminal justice iron fist protects its own. Sean Bell was guilty of being Black. The police were doing what they always do — serve white supremacy by beating and killing people of color to keep the slaves in line. And only an anarchist revolution will do away with these pigs and their racist masters once and for all.
To hell with marching around with signs, bellowing three-word chants and standing around so cops can take our photos and harass us and our families later. Black and Brown people are tired of the demonstrations and teach-ins and nonsense every time a brother or sister is killed by this white supremacist system. You can yell ‘the people united can never be defeated’ from now to your dying day and it will never bring Sean Bell, Amadou Diallo or any victim of police murder back or make this system budge one inch in its ongoing counterinsurgency against its internal colonies of color.
AfroSpear says it plain:
"Many people in the black community continue to think that the best bet for our survival is to do our best to try and integrate, to live among the dominant society where people on a regular basis are acquitted of the crime of killing and abusing black people at any time for any reason. In today’s socially charged atmosphere of racial disparity and discrimination it is a feat of the highest legal skill, experience, and knowledge to get a court to recognize discrimination in the business environment. Now, the courts are making it just as difficult for a black person to get some kind of justice when we are gunned down when minding our own business. We are convicted for trying to defend our homes from angry white drunks. Our word means nothing in the court room. But let one of us say goddamn America and black people are the ones being divisive."
Anarchism has long been opposed to the fascist police and the dictatorial machinations of their operations. Anarchists call for upending this white supremacist system completely. For such outspokenness and organizing, cops attempted to silence many anarchists. Yet our rebellious spirits cannot be stopped. So long as every cop, from the ones who butchered Sean Bell to those who harass and abuse young people of color, is given the overseer’s pass they have, people of color cannot be duped into thinking this white supremacist system can change, that police violence is isolated, and that we have any other stake in this system beyond seeing its demise.
Sean Bell’s murder and the cops’ freedom is exactly how this dirty government was set up to work.
In his book Our Enemies in Blue: Police and Power in America, Kristian Williams argues police violence is not an issue of “bad apples ” or unusual circumstances. In reality, killer cops are a beloved and welcomed part of the law enforcement establishment. Brutish, bigoted pigs ensure the people of color they have been around to abuse since colonization and slavery stay intimidated. Killer cops help maintain police power and police relationships with the white supremacist system they were hired to protect.
New York City is a big-stage look at how police around the United States and the world operate: beat, mistreat and kill the most oppressed people in society and serve the privileged majority.
Don’t mourn Sean Bell. The cycle of mourning then moving on must cease. Sean Bell’s senseless death, like the deaths of thousands of young Black men at the hands of white-power-mad swine, must not be forgotten.
People of color especially need to understand the importance of not shrugging off the killing of Sean Bell. For our communities, people of color have seen too many Sean Bells, Little Bobby Huttons and so many others. This white supremacist system wants you to be passive and disempowered. It wants you hopeless. However, resistance is part of an essential tradition among communities of color. Hope does exist.
Anarchism calls for a fundamental transformation of society. No messianic leader guides the flock to the promised land, where the government tries to kill them all. With anarchism, no shadowy leadership clique calls the shots for our community. An anarchist solution means people are all taught the lessons and go forward to teach our own lessons so that everyone in the community can lead the struggle. It is a radical departure from the power politics that have been at play in many communities of color. Anarchist revolution is what is needed for people of color now.
People of color are in the crosshairs of this system every single day. Now is not the time to mourn, but to build with determination for anarchist revolution.