On August 27, the MCG-generated Initiative for a Central Brooklyn Struggle Committee held an educational discussion in Bed-Stuy titled, “Against the Pigs in Ferguson, Against the Pigs in NYC.” Approximately 20 people who live in the neighborhood came together to discuss the recent uprising in Ferguson, MO, systemic racism, police violence and the need for a struggle committee.
After a spirited open discussion that lasted over an hour, there were two inspiring performances by Street Poets NYC, followed by informative presentations by the Initiative for a Central Brooklyn Struggle Committee, Organization for Black Leftist Unity, Maoist Communist Group and New Yorkers Against Bratton. After the speakers, a second open group discussion elaborated on the topics from each presentation. People in attendance contributed valuable insights on how we can struggle together against the white-supremacist, capitalist state.
We would like to share a few of the comments and testimonies from the event:
• A woman, who has lived in the neighborhood since the 1940s, stood up and testified to the difficulties of single motherhood, struggling to find work and putting her children through school. She left the group with a powerful message: the neighborhood has changed over the years and meetings like these are what we really need in order to build unity and strength among the people.
• One mother said she was so worried for her son being attacked by the cops in Brooklyn that she sent him to a rural town. But, she added, Ferguson has demonstrated that there is no place where Black people are safe from the racist police in the USA. She also said that she would walk behind boys in the neighborhood and look out for cops in order to observe the police in their interactions with young Black males.
• The images of Mike Brown lying dead in the street for several hours reminded one participant of the images of lynched bodies hanging from trees in the South. Violence against Blacks in America may have changed in form, but is the same in essence …
• One presenter talked about ‘respectability politics’ that blame Black youth culture for oppression at the hands of the white-supremacist state. In response, one participant said that when elders in the community judge the youth for the culture they adopt, such as sagging pants or listening to hip-hop, they are actually justifying racist police violence.
• Another presenter talked about the forging of the Black nation in the Black Belt South based on the history of slavery through semi-feudalism and capitalism, the relationship today between the national question and capitalist exploitation, and the non-correspondence between the rise in the incarceration of Blacks and the crime rate since the mid-1970s.
• A third presenter told a story from his childhood, when he lived in a building with a strong proletarian community. He remembered that one day the cops were beating up a kid in the street outside of his building. People from the building could see the violent scene unfolding from their windows. The entire building quickly emptied into the street, surrounded the cops and rescued the kid. He cited this as an example of what can be achieved when the people unite against the institutions that oppress us.
• One participant shared a harrowing story of a violent interaction with the police. He stressed that we need to take the group to the streets in order to mobilize the broad masses to self-organize and defend themselves against the armed detachments of the state.
The meeting concluded with the discussion of plans to continue holding more group conversations, with a view to developing and reinforcing the process of building a struggle committee.