Monday, July 27, 2015

Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists

Cleveland Police Attack Black Activists

by Stephen Lendman

Blacks know Jim Crow remains virulent in America - 1960s civil rights laws did nothing to curb police brutality largely against Black and Brown people.

On Friday through Sunday, hundreds of Black Lives Matter activists from around the country met in Cleveland for the inaugural Movement for Black Lives convention.

Information about the event said it was organized “at a pivotal time for the growing movement for Black lives in the United States.” 

“Black people are facing unabated police violence, increasing criminalization, a failed economic system, a broken education system and the loss of our communities to gentrification and development. Our trans and queer communities face the increased risk of physical and economic violence. The list of indignities regularly faced by the Black community is long and untenable.”

Anti-police brutality street protests reflect resistance against what no one should tolerate anywhere. When federal, state and/or local governments abuse their citizens, activism in their own self-defense matters most.

“(O)ur need for space to begin the creation of a collective mission that matches the intensity, scale, urgency, and promise of the moment” is vital. “This convening presents an opportunity for us to reflect on our histories of struggle, build a sense of fellowship that transcends geographical boundaries and begin to heal from the many traumas we face,” movement organizers said.

“Open, and created by many voices, The Movement for Black Lives Convening will be a space to realize that promise fully on our terms as Black people.” They’re urged to get involved for their own welfare and futures.

When activist movements demand redress for longstanding grievances, uncaring authorities respond harshly. Rampant police brutality needs no explaining. More below on the latest example.

In 2013, an ACLU Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit revealed intrusive FBI surveillance of Occupy Wall Street (OWS) activists nationwide. One internal document called them “domestic terrorists.”

Homeland Security, the FBI, Joint Terrorism Task Force, Naval Criminal Investigative Service, Domestic Security Alliance Council and even the Federal Reserve (representing Wall Street clout) working jointly with state and local police undermined the movement. 

It failed to achieve long sought social justice. Energy driving early activism waned. Organized federal, state and local actions neutralized it effectively.

The same government agencies target Black activists. FOIA obtained documents show Homeland Security began monitoring Black Lives Matter organizers and activities since summer 2014 Ferguson, MO protests against police murdering Michael Brown.

Peaceful protests and gatherings are closely watched wherever they occur. Local authorities are involved - aiming to undermine movements for justice before they gain traction.

First Amendment freedoms are flagrantly violated - including unrestricted expression, peaceful assembly and right to petition government for redress of grievances systematically ignored.

When Black American activists and supporters are considered “domestic terrorists,” police state ruthlessness overrides constitutionally mandated rights. They exist only for rich and powerful elites.

What’s ongoing isn’t new. Decades earlier, COINTELPRO tactics followed J. Edgar Hoover’s orders to infiltrate, disrupt, sabotage, and destroy activist movements for ethnic justice, racial emancipation, and real economic, social, and political equality across gender and color lines.

Secretive, mostly illegal FBI counterintelligence activities targeted political dissidents, including communists; anti-war, human and civil rights activists; the American Indian Movement; and Black Panther Party among others.

Black Lives Matter activists are in the eye of the storm. Cleveland police targeted some of their Movement for Black Lives participants violently.

Hundreds from across the country came to discuss police repression and social injustice Blacks in America face virtually everywhere - in large and small cities, urban and rural areas. 

After concluding Sunday activities, dozens of activists symbolically demonstrated publicly. Video evidence showed police targeted them violently - pepper-spraying them repeatedly without cause. Arrests followed, including a 14-year-old boy, later released to his family with activists chanting “(W)e love you.”

Local organizer Malaya Davis said “Cleveland looks just like Ferguson, looks just like Baltimore, looks just like all of these places (with) high (levels of) oppression. We wanted to highlight that and bring some attention to what's going on in this city and the state of Ohio as well.”

Police brutality in America is longstanding. Killer cops operate with impunity. Violence against peaceful protesters for justice is commonplace. Sunday in Cleveland was the latest example.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

Visit his blog site at 

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