Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network expresses its solidarity to the steadfast and struggling people of Ferguson, Missouri, U.S., who are currently facing a militarized police occupation of their community following the police killing of Michael Brown, a young Black man, on Saturday, August 9.
The community of Ferguson have taken to the streets to demand justice, and they have been met with impunity, as the killing police officer’s name is kept secret, and as massive militarized machinery, including rubber bullets, tear gas, and military vehicles have entered their town, occupying it – denying entry, barring journalists, keeping people from their homes, attacking pregnant women for daring to “talk back”. All this has come while the people of Ferguson, and particularly Black people, have been labeled as “animals” and the root of the problem for daring to protest and resist the oppression leveled against them, their children and their community.
The killing of Brown is only the latest in a long line of ongoing police violence and repression directed at Black people in the United States, from the genocide of slavery, to lynching and Jim Crow, to the ongoing racist oppression and police/state violence directed against Black communities and lives. The Malcolm X Grassroots Movement noted in 2012 that “every 36 hours one Black person every 36 hours was executed. This wanton disregard for Black life resulted in the killing of 13 year-old children, fathers taking care of their kids, women driving the wrong cars, as well as people with mental health and drug problems.”
The tear gas, rubber bullets, wooden baton rounds and military vehicles occupying the streets of Ferguson have filled US police departments at the hands of the Department of Homeland Security through the same programs that push Joint Terror Task Forces to infiltrate and spy on Palestinian, Arab and Muslim communities, and to step up repression in Black communities as well as Latino, Asian and other communities of colour. Journalist Antonio French reported that Ferguson, whose population is two-thirds Black, has a police force with 53 officers, only 3 of whom are Black.
The racist logics of militarized police repression in the US, a settler colonial state, are engaged in a joint partnership with racist militarized repression in the Israeli state, a settler colonial state armed and backed by the US. As Kristian Davis Bailey wrote in Ebony, “Since 2001, thousands of top police officials from cities across the US have gone to Israel for training alongside its military or have participated in joint exercises here. Just weeks before Oakland police violently broke up an Occupy rally, they had trained with repressive forces from Israel and Bahrain. In Georgia in 2006, a 92-year-old black woman was shot and killed by Atlanta police who had participated in an exchange program with Israeli soldiers on counterterrorism and drug enforcement. Our governments literally share resources and tactics with each other that directly harm our respective communities.”
Black people in the US are targeted for mass incarceration – one in three Black men is likely to be subject to imprisonment during his life, as are 40% of Palestinian men living under occupation. The military vehicles, the rubber bullets, the tear gas, the checkpoints, the criminalization of resistance, and the closed entry gates are the mechanisms of occupation, of settler colonialism, of racist violence and racist oppression that defines the nature of Zionism and white supremacy. And as we demand an end to Zionist oppression in Palestine, it is critically important to confront, resist and defeat white supremacy and racist oppression in North America.
Just as the Palestinian people have continually resisted occupation and oppression, Black people and Black movements for liberation have continually struggled and resisted. The Black Liberation Movement and the Palestinian liberation movement are struggles to defeat racism, colonialism and imperialism and achieve self determination and liberation.
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network salutes the people of Ferguson, joins their call for justice for Michael Brown and for an end to police oppression, mass incarceration and militarization, and stands in solidarity with Black movements struggling for justice and liberation.