GLEN FORD—Chicago has the most developed movement in the nation for community control of the police. Spearheaded by the recently re-founded National Alliance Against Racist and Political Repression, led by Frank Chapman, the Alliance turned a 60,000-strong list of anti-police protesters into a force that has changed the political complexion of the city council, 19 of whose 50 members are now co-sponsors of the Civilian Police Accountability Council (CPAC). But Chicago’s newly elected Black mayor, Lori Lightfoot, opposes community control and defunding the police, ostensibly because defunding would lead to disproportionate lay-offs of minority officers.
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MARGARET KIMBERLEY—The demand for community control of police ushers in a new stage of struggle, in which “young people are imagining a world where these tremendous institutions of imperialism and the police state are gone,’ said Max Rameau, an activist with Pan African Community Action (PACA), in Washington, DC. The PACA proposal would oversee police hiring, firing and operations by a board chosen from communities at random, like jurors.
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SHANNON KEATING—Sometimes — a lot of the time, really — these performances work. For most (white) Americans, or at least those who aren’t activists or organizers or obsessive politicos, it’s often enough for leaders to at least look like they’re doing or saying the right things. Democrats and Republicans alike who find themselves longing for the guidance of presidents past — who still think there’s a world in which we could conceivably “go back to normal” — aren’t so much hungering for better policies, but for better optics. Trump, though he’s finally lost the support of some Republican leaders who say they won’t back his reelection, has nonetheless faithfully (if oafishly) executed much of the Republican agenda, from rollbacks of LGBTQ rights and environmental protections to flooding the courts with conservatives.
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T P WILKINSON—Malcolm X once made a poignant observation about the power of PR, although he did not use the term. He noted that the US regime between 1917 and 1949 changed the US public opinion toward Germany at least 4 times. Yet in all its history it has never persuaded the “white” population to accept that Blacks be treated equally with them. Instead the regime insisted that such attitudes towards Blacks were eternal, human nature as it were.
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AJAMU BARAKA—The white outside agitator trope. If it wasn’t frightening enough to see images of young white kids marching shoulder to shoulder with African and other colonized peoples, seeing white kids actually engaged in militant engagement with police authorities, which went beyond the approved forms of resistance, triggered a cognitive dilemma almost as serious as when they tried to comprehend and explain how China could escape the COVID-19 with five thousand deaths while the virus was killing tens of thousands in the U.S.