Brutal Reality, by Jeff Thomas Black
It's time for a winning strategy
The Portland Police Bureau in riot gear on June 30, 2018 - photo by Jeff Thomas Black
Editor’s Note: This piece was first published in 2018 by the Multnomah County (Portland, Oregon) Democrats. Partisan commentary has been removed for the republishing in 2023.
As we watch in abject horror the loss of the Supreme Court of the United States for a generation, the politics of the nation must undergo a revolution of both tactics and strategy to remain relevant. Our two-party system, as we knew it is, dead and gone forever. Outside of the two-party system, the rest of us — the rest of America — residents, immigrants, and refugees alike are in the anti-empire movement.
Remember the “big tent?” Today it’s called “humanity.” Civil rights in America have been degraded to the point where they’re subject to the approval of the state, and thus don’t really exist at all. As we work, hope, and even pray for a “Revolution,” so to speak, I’ll tell you now: it can’t and won’t be enough to save us. Are you scared? You should be.
The proletariat can become powerful and relevant only by moving forward in a manner previously rejected, criticized as “divisive,” and ignored— by giving up all attachments to past power and oligarchical control, and by joining together in a mass peaceful uprising. The only other course of action will include sectarian violence and a second Civil War — both too horrific to imagine, although many Americans today fantasize about violence as their preferred solution to the authoritarian rule of the establishment. However, most of us have no real or emotional concept of what a war on our home soil would cost us.
First, I’ll tell you why this is true. Then, I’ll tell you how we, the proletariat, can win and take our country back from the oligarchs and kleptocrats that literally own us today. Such a peaceful revolution will be incredibly scary, hard, painful, and dangerous, but we can “Just Do It” together, without mass civilian death. A true, “party of the people” can emerge, but only if The People choose to lead the revolution. Otherwise, irrelevancy awaits us all.
At fifty-five years-of-age, I’ve been abducted and tortured by police in Centralia, Washington. I’ve looked down the barrel of a gun in Oaxaca, Mexico. I’ve experienced fear as father, watching my wife give birth to my two children. Yet, I’ve never been more scared in my life.
We are the voice of our brothers and sisters that are heinously enslaved and imprisoned by our wholly unjust justice system. We are the voice of both innocent and guilty prisoners — those tortured in America and on foreign soil. The 13th Amendment reads, “Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.” It’s a good read and nice words, however many of our prisoners today live in conditions that can only be compared to concentration camps of the Holocaust. The Lee Correctional Institution prison riot of April 2018, was a manufactured slaughter by the monstrous South Carolina Department of Corrections. Collectively, we are the family of those murdered by police without any recourse, justice, or even accountability.
American police are the militarized occupation force that already control our streets and act with impunity. Who says so? The Supreme Court and your local district attorney. No amount of protest, legal action, or societal anger can change it. We can only change the laws that are the source of our tenuous and subservient existence. Killing cops — as any grief stricken human might fantasize about in the wake of such horror — is a death sentence. We can’t fight police forces armed with weapons of war and trained as soldiers, who are fully installed in every American jurisdiction and ready for violent action against the people at a simple request of the empire.
Let’s look at today’s justice system, and what has been slipped into our American life without most residents of this stolen land mass noticing the loss of their right to liberty and life. Without noticing that freedom is an illusion and equal protection under the law doesn’t exist.
Excerpt from Emma Andersson, Senior Staff Attorney, Criminal Law Reform Project — April 9, 2018
“The Supreme Court just ruled that a police officer could not be sued for gunning down Amy Hughes. This has vast implications for law enforcement accountability. The details of the case are as damning as the decision. Hughes was not suspected of a crime. She was simply standing still, holding a kitchen knife at her side. The officer gave no warning that he was going to shoot her if she did not comply with his commands. Moments later, the officer shot her four times.
‘Shoot first and think later,’ according to Justice Sonia Sotomayor, is what the officer did.
As Sotomayor argued in dissent, the court’s decision in Kisela v. Hughes means that such “palpably unreasonable conduct will go unpunished.” According to seven of the nine Justices, Hughes’ Fourth Amendment right to not be shot four times in this situation is less protected than the officer’s interest in escaping accountability for his brazen abuse of authority. According to Justice Sotomayor, ‘If this account of [the officer’s] conduct sounds unreasonable, that is because it was. And yet, the Court … insulates that conduct from liability under the doctrine of qualified immunity.’”
Qualified immunity isn’t new, but it’s now being used to perpetrate a genocide upon our people — particularly, but not exclusively upon people of color and the poor. Your civil rights exist only in your mind. In reality, any police officer — on or off duty — may be your judge, jury, and executioner. How about children with toys or that are simply caught in the crossfire? Yes. What about the eleven-year-old girl who allegedly carried a snack out of a Cincinnati grocery store? She was tased in the back. How about seniors in their 80s with garden clippers? Them too. Twelve-year-old Tamir Rice died before the eyes of his family, who were held back from giving him aid.
Picture captured from video taken of the police murder of 12-year-old Tamir Rice in Cleveland, Ohio
Young men of color might as well wear shirts with a bullseye at their “center mass.” That’s where cops will empty their magazine-load full of bullets. You may not know this truth yet, and you’re lucky. I work daily with families that were drafted into unbearable grief, and a lifetime of advocacy, by the murder of their loved ones. By claiming FEAR, cops may do anything to beat, subdue, or kill those humans unfortunate enough to be caught in their brutal and murderous sights. No person or people can defend themself against a cop. What if the cop is wrong? Take it up with a judge, if you survive the encounter.
Add to these grave injustices, the fact that “good cops” are an illusion. American police are the biggest and baddest gang on the planet. The gang culture turns well-intentioned rookies into brutal thugs and merciless murderers. Strong words? Terrifying — but all true. Gang culture requires obedience and comes with an iron-clad code of silence. Individual thoughts and desires are immaterial, and any honest cop will admit it. If cops want to break the code of silence, they will be personally threatened, endangered and ostracized until they leave the force. Most cops that are unwilling to work within gang rules take buyouts and sign confidentiality agreements. Some ex-cops stand with the people and become whistleblowers who provide us with a horrifying look inside the gang. Either way, the gang culture is real and no amount of public outcry can change it.
Where does our much discussed dream of “Police Accountability” fit into politics and policy? It doesn’t. Qualified immunity and accountability are mutually exclusive. They can’t exist together. Cops have qualified immunity for beating, brutalizing, injuring, stalking, threatening, harassing, lying, and murdering you, me, your children, your parents — anyone. Grand juries are a farce perpetrated upon the people to label every action by cops as “justified.” It’s pure gaslighting, as any civil rights attorney will tell you.
Justice is almost impossible to achieve and when victims “win,” it’s often only through a multi-year civil rights lawsuit against both the police and the jurisdiction. The damage and loss of life are never undone, however. Most victims and families can’t even get a lawyer who will attempt to help them. Civil rights attorneys work on contingency and simply can’t afford to finance losing cases. The laws are stacked against them — against you. Add to that, the inevitable pain of patently false and emotionally terrorizing police narratives about their dead family members — the innocent victims that will never speak for themselves. The horror for the surviving families never ends. Having a loved one summarily executed by the state is the cruelest fate imaginable. I’ve seen it too many times, and it changes you. The horror!
Police are known as “professional liars” to those of us who study them daily. Cops don’t have to follow the law. They are trained to lie about facts, the law, witnesses, and everything else — and it’s all legal. Police narratives to the media and incident reports should be considered as wholly falsified and fictitious. If you lie to a cop even once, it’s an offense that will get you jail time. Do you see the imbalance we face — one that’s both completely insane and beyond recoverable?
How full of hubris and power are the police of the United States? They created “Blue Lives Matter” as their nasty, racist, fascist, and scurrilous dumping-ground propaganda for violent cops and their enablers — a nauseating and vile response to the peaceful “Black Lives Matter” movement.
The police employ lies as weapons, with impunity. We have no recourse today. Justice is for the wealthy — those who are statistically far less likely to be targeted by police in the first place. Police are now in the process of further limiting the people’s access to evidence by threatening, stalking, and even killing people who film them on the job. Nevertheless, many civil rights advocates persist in fighting to expose the reality of police behavior, while a entire government cabals conspire to criminalize and destroy them.
Behavior is the only thing that counts. Nice words from a police chief, or a coffee forum with their cynical foot soldiers will change nothing. It’s all meaningless talk. Of course, cops can choose to be nice to you. They can choose to come to your aid. They might help you — or they might kill you. Ask any parent who has watched their unarmed child murdered before their eyes during a welfare check, or as a result of a reported mental health crisis. Their answers will give you a lifetime of nightmares.
As long as qualified immunity is the law of our land, we are but victims in the waiting. You don’t have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. None of us do. Why don’t more cops turn whistleblower or leave the force? They know what would await them and their families — and they don’t want to be you, me, or one of us. They know too much.
When we all “know too much,” we may be able to force a change at the source — the law and gang culture that today makes We The People subject to the whim of any violent, drugged up, steroid-taking, racist, fascist gang member in blue. When the “good cops” are bound by the same code of silence and gang culture as the worst monsters amongst them — there are no good cops to be found. At this point in our history — good cops can only leave the force to stand with the people. Many do — but few do it publicly.
As final proof of how far we have fallen, we can review two recent civil rights atrocities that occurred during the presidency of Barack Obama, whom many people still love and respect as a great American and political leader. The militarized occupations and human rights violations of Ferguson, Missouri and Standing Rock both occurred on Obama’s watch — on our watch! Both events included heavily observed heinous and brutal attacks upon peaceful protesters who stood against tyranny. Ask yourself — why? Why did the Obama Administration allow such horror? Maybe they had no power to stop it. Are you scared yet?
We are being murdered daily and we simply can’t continue to make rich folks richer. Colin Kaepernick knows that being owned by rich white oligarchs is an abomination. NFL, NBA, and MLB players must not only kneel, but also strike for the people before it’s too late. Or hell, just ignore the brutal reality of our lost America and go enjoy some sports until your kids or grandkids are murdered by the militarized cops who occupy our country. Or wait for the inevitable civil war that will come, if you don’t stand for peace. As a people, we can no longer support and enrich the “Owners” and the advertisers that support our genocide. “Normal” American life is over. Grieve your societal losses quickly and get to work, if you want to live.
To survive as a nation, We The People must lead a peaceful revolution that causes the oligarchs massive financial pain— the only kind they care about. We must take our money back by refusing to purchase their products, procure their services, and attend their events. Stick a pin in the fascist establishment and refuse their sports ownership — imagine the horror of “Owners” without the owned! Fight for your damn lives and the lives of your children. We won’t get another chance to, “Just Do It!”
Peaceful action is not just a winning strategy — it’s the only winning strategy. However, peaceful action is not necessarily polite, nice, safe, or without serious power to destroy oppressors and oligarchs like the fascist establishment. As a people, we must accept that we have failed to provide effective opposition to our police occupiers and their heinous crimes against humanity. Of course we must register, vote, help register others in our community, and help others get to the polls. Voting is one critical tactic, but it can’t and won’t be enough to reinstall a government of the people, by the people, and for the people.
Is there a “good team?” Yes. You’re it. Congrats!
We must lead and support a “General Strike,” that brings the business of our nation to a halt. This general strike must be so pervasive and complete, that the oligarchs and kleptocrats flee our country to protect their ill-gotten wealth. It’s then that we can get our civil rights back, and live in never before experienced safety and peace. It’s your choice — our choice.
There’s no happy ending in store, unless We write it into history by leading a heroic struggle. Go forward.
Read, “On Minimum Wage, in 2023,” published July 5th
📕"Full Dashclosure, Awakening from the human exploitation of DoorDash Singularity;" Author, Podcaster, Economist, Duke MBA, Human; writing about consciousness, artificial Intelligence, and civil rights
"The Full Dashclosure Audiobook & Podcast" is a free companion audiobook; plus additional commentary and discussion on civil rights, economics, AI & “Full Dashclosure, Awakening from the human exploitation of DoorDash Singularity,” by Jeff Thomas Black.