By Fazal Rahman, Ph.D. July 10, 2016
Philando Castile’s racist murder by cops in Minnesota
Alton Sterling murdered by White cops in Louisiana
“Would this have happened if the driver and the passengers were white? I don’t think it would have. So I’m forced to confront that this kind of racism exists, and it’s incumbent upon all of us to vow and ensure that it doesn’t happen and doesn’t continue to happen.” (Minnesota Governor, Mark Dayton, on the police killing of Philando Castile, in his state.)
“I was already fuming when I woke up this morning over Baton Rouge, but for it to happen here again just pushed me right over the edge,” said truck driver Thomas Michaels, 42, who was among the protesters in St. Paul.
“We live in a racist society where black lives don’t matter, my kids lives don’t matter and I’m sick of it. I don’t even know if it can be fixed,” he said.
Another protester, retail worker Tanya McDonald, 28, said: “What gets me is how many people are failing to see that this is happening almost every day. We’re dying, we’re being killed off by people hiding behind a badge and no one’s doing anything to stop it.” (1)
The killings of blacks by the police in the US continues unabated. According to information published in the Washington Post, so far in 2016, 123 blacks have been killed by the police (2). The Grand Juries’ decisions not to even indict the killer cops, and their acquittals by the courts, have sparked nationwide protests by the Blacks and their supporters, against such monstrous classist-racist injustices. Obviously, it has also encouraged the so-called law enforcement establishment to continue these cross-institutional crimes. Blacks and their supporters are focusing on a single issue in these cases, that is, the racist police brutality and killings of Blacks with impunity. However, it is essential to also place these within the context of political economy of the interactions of racism and classism in this society, and identify and understand the precise causes that are created by these interactions, which produce all the various classist and racist institutions, including those of the law enforcement agencies and the police departments. The police departments are not alone in inflicting monstrous injustices and atrocities on the Blacks and other minorities, even though, these become glaring and become widely publicized, because of their very nature, and the large scale protests that these provoke among the victimized and oppressed communities in the country. Incomparably larger numbers of professional, economic, and judicial injustices and atrocities are committed against the Blacks and other minorities by almost all the various public, private, government, judicial, and other institutions, also with impunity, in most cases. The classist and racist police brutality in the US is a product and reflection of the classist and racist politico-economic, mass psychological, and cultural brutality.
Single issue foci cannot even make a dent, much less solve these colossal and complex problems. Only when the single and individual issues and problems are comprehended in their accurate politico-economic and social context, the discovery of their real meanings, nature, causes, and solutions becomes possible. The powers-that-be and the status quo want to prevent this from happening at all costs, as their continued domination and control depend on the continuation of fragmentations and mutilations of and disconnections between various parts of reality, problems, and issues. The single-issue approaches play right into their hands.
Blacks and other minorities are facing huge problems of multidimensional oppression, repression, discrimination, impoverishment, and criminalization in the classist-racist politico-economic structure of this society, as well as betrayal by the organizations and leaders that claim to represent their interests. When these organizations and leaders are allowed to cross the class barriers and become part of the upper economic classes, they melt into that class structure and, both consciously and unconsciously, strive to preserve that classist status quo. By doing that, objectively, they end up also preserving the racist status quo, whether they realize it or not.
At this stage of the developments, it is essential for the minorities to create new organizations, new leadership, new unities, new programs, new strategies and tactics, new strength and vigor-all on the basis of new insights, knowledge, and understanding of the classist and racist politico-economic structure, which objectively generates all the problems, issues, causes, and effects and that are then reflected, on the subjective level, in the mass psychologies and cultures of various institutions, as well as in the mass psychologies and cultures of various classes and races, in this society.
During 2015, I updated my 1999 report on the cross-institutional racism and discrimination in the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), US Department of Justice (USDOJ), and the Federal Court system, which concretely documents and analyzes the nature and causes of these sinister problems in this sinister classist and racist political economy, system, and society. This report also includes a section on the economics of racism in the US. The report can be accessed with the following link:
As the most recent murders of two black men by the white police officers, that of Alton Sterling, 37, in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and of Philando Castile, 32, in St. Paul, Minnesota, with a short interval between them, are very important social, interracial, and justice issues, it is necessary to analyze and understand these as truthfully and objectively as possible. Both men had committed no crime. Sterling was brutally killed late at night when he was selling some music discs to support his family, including five young children. Castile was killed in a traffic stop for a broken tail light, when he was in his car and was attempting to get his drivers license to show it to the cops, who had demanded it.
Following are some of the essential objective requirements for an accurate and objective understanding and analysis of these and other such events:
1. These must be understood and analyzed on the basis of all the available videos and other information, like the testimony of the eyewitnesses, including that of Abdul Muflahi, owner of the Triple S Food Mart, in front of which these events occurred. This should be taken for granted. However, I have seen some attempts by some phony white pseudo-intellectuals to restrict their “analyses” only to the videos, and some of them, only to one video, attempting to rationalize the actions of lying racist cops, by adding their own biased subjective speculations to the contents.
As opposed to the white phony pseudo-intellectuals and innumerable other ignorant, complacent, pro-establishment, pro-status quo, and racist Whites, the Black communities fully realize the historical, social, and institutionalized nature of racism and racist murders in this society, even if they do not have the detailed academic knowledge and information about these problems. They identify them as such and come out en masse to demonstrate and protest against these. It is also obvious by the shootings and killings of five police officers and wounding of many others by a sniper in Dallas, Texas, as a result of the anger at recent shootings of two blacks by white cops in Louisiana and Minnesota. That anger also certainly includes the systemic nature of these problems.
The following link contains detailed and updated information, in which, one of the eyewitnesses, the above-mentioned store owner, Abdul Muflahi, among other things, stated that Sterling just wanted to know what was going on. Why are they coming to arrest him? He was asking them: “What’d I do wrong? What’s going on? What’d I do wrong? Why you messing with me?” This detailed information was published in a UK newspaper, Daily Mail. I did not find such detailed information in any of the American mainstream newspapers or other media.
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2. Police in the US has been given almost dictatorial powers of intimidation, coercion, violence, and killings, which many of its members use differentially and discriminatorily against the blacks and other minorities. Too many of them have become extremely arrogant and violent.
3. These must be placed and analyzed within the context of numerous other such killings, especially during the past couple of years, which have similar nature and causal bases. According to Washington Post, so far just in 2016, 123 such killings of blacks have taken place in the US (2). Not to examine the individual killings within that context and, instead, fragmenting and abstracting them from that, prevents the identification of real objective social meanings and causes of such problems, and constitutes subjective reductionism that selectively, deliberately, and subjectively annihilates the social and institutionalized nature, meanings, and causes of these, reducing them to dishonestly fragmented individual cases, as if these occurred in a social vacuum. Such deliberate anti-objective approaches are widespread in all the various mass media, judicial, and other institutions of this dishonest and hypocritical society, dominated by the culture and mass psychology of the Whites. This approach is used to cover up the institutionalized and social nature of such problems.
4. Both the current individual and social problems of racism, racist violence, and discrimination are rooted in and are conditioned by the entire sinister history of slavery and white racism in this country, which continues unabated, albeit in different forms than before. A truly objective and scientific approach to such problems requires placing and analyzing them within the context of that history, and not in isolation from it.
US has a long diabolical history of genocides-starting with that of the Native Americans and theft of their whole country-, slavery of and discrimination against the Blacks and other minorities, constant invasions and robbery of the resources of numerous Third World countries-most recently of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya-, plunder of the resources of other nations through neocolonialism, globalization of classist and racist injustice and inequality, and transformation of Homo sapiens into Homo dollarus in its own territory, as well as globally.
One of the fundamental causes of this demonic reality is the mass slavery to totalitarian capital and capitalism and, in the state of extreme alienation and reification, experiencing it as freedom, when, in fact, the whole individual being-mind, body, and soul-as well as the whole social being, are engulfed and regulated by the totalitarian capital. Mass and individual human mental apparatus in such conditions becomes a reflection of the relations of capital and things and their alienated and alienating powers. There is very little, if any, free and unalienated and unreified space left there. The more developed capitalism is in a given society, the more predominant and engulfing this particular type of slavery is in that society. Throughout the known human history, numerous great philosophers, psychologists, and religious figures have identified alienation as the greatest problem of human nature, which alienates humans from their own essence. They have done that in variable ways, some having used even different terminology for it. Such alienation has reached its historically maximal levels and has become multidimensional and all-pervasive in the Advanced Capitalist-Imperialist Technocratic Societies.
5. The political economy of racism in this country is the real objective basis, on which all the other subjective and objective forms of racism develop and manifest themselves. Therefore, it is also important to take that into consideration, when dealing with the problems of racism and racial inequalities. Some excellent books have been written on that, among them, those of the late Victor Perlo (3, 4).
6. Racism is a product of classism in class-divided societies. As class inequalities are extreme here, so are the race inequalities and racism, based on those, as well as its various manifestations. Both Sterling and Castile, as well as numerous other poor blacks, were the victims of both classism and racism. Also, this is one of the most violent societies in the world, and racist and hate crimes here are also extremely violent.
7. Another great problem in the Anglo-American societies is the domination of various varieties of the extremely anti-philosophy “philosophy” of positivism, which has played a powerful role in the academia, as well as in the intellectual culture in general, with vast multidimensional consequences and effects on the types of knowledge and information that are being produced in all the various areas of the so-called social sciences, which have been, by and large, turned into tentacles of the capitalist-imperialist-racist politico-economic system. Positivist modes of thinking also pervade the general populations. Even most of the leftist media and writers are molded into it. Needless to say that the mass psychological and cultural effects of the dominant White Anglo-American culture molds almost everyone in these societies, regardless of class, race, religion, and gender etc., to variable degrees. Dialectical modes of thinking, analyzing, and writing are alien to and extremely rare in these societies. Related to that are widespread utilitarianism, pragmatism, empiricism, and sensationalism, which generally either do not place and connect the empirical facts to any theoretical frameworks or place, connect, and interpret them in the erroneous theoretical frameworks, hence distorting and falsifying their social, politico-economic, and philosophical meanings. The same empirical facts can acquire different and variable social, politico-economic, and philosophical meanings, if placed and interpreted in different theoretical frameworks. For example, the young black man, Micah Xavier Johnson, ambushed and killed five police officers, and injured many others, in Dallas, Texas, and was killed by the police afterwards. That is a fact. All the evidence shows that he did that because he was angry at the recent brutal killings of two innocent black men by the white police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, as well as at the historical injustices and brutalities inflicted on innumerable blacks by the whites in this country. Hence, the accurate theoretical framework for that fact consists of current and past historical racism and racist brutalities against his fellow African Americans. Considered within that framework and also in the related framework of arrogance, hypocrisy, self-righteousness, and denial-of-reality of the whites-dominated politico-economic, legal, and other institutions and establishments, the nature of his individual actions would appear to be that of heroic martyrdom for social and racial justice, in face of impossible odds, against the incomparably more powerful forces of law enforcement establishments. However, within the legalistic framework and from the one-sided perspectives of the law enforcement authorities, he is considered to be a murderous criminal, a very bad and evil person. I have also seen some comments by some anti-Black-Lives-Matter movement blacks, on the Black Agenda Report web site, which posit still another very illogical framework, speculating that the murders of the above-mentioned two black men in Louisiana and Minnesota, and enhanced demonstrations by the Black Lives Matter organization, have been deliberately orchestrated by the authorities, in order to help the presumptive Democratic Party presidential candidate, Hillary Clinton, win the elections, by massive support of the black voters. Within that framework, the actions of late Johnson acquire different meanings, of having been fooled and used in the service of Hillary Clinton’s election campaign.
8. The following has been extracted from my paper on the epigenetic and biosocial relativity of human nature (5).
Capitalist Human Nature + Capitalist Democracy = Demonocracy
Real democracy will only become possible when humans are freed from the slavery to and domination of The Capital and the Capitalist Class, when the greatly eroded and damaged parts of their human nature, involving both the Human Soul and Human Reason, are repaired, made wholesome, and restored, and when they become de-alienated and de-reified. That will only become possible under socialism and communism. Under various stages and forms of capitalism, they are condemned to remain mutilated and eroded, and to live only under the façade and illusions of “democracy”. Capitalist democracy and human nature, mutually and dialectically, erode, distort, and pervert each other. This process greatly intensifies and accelerates in the Advanced Capitalist-Imperialist Technocratic Societies (ACITS), in which advanced technology and technocracy inextricably intertwine and combine with the advanced capitalism and create the most powerful macro-level social forces of dehumanization; inhumanization; erosion, perversion, and transformation of the Human Soul and Human Reason; mass alienation, and mass reification, all under the façade and illusions of “democracy”. Capitalist Democracy under these conditions inevitably transforms into Capitalist Demonocracy. Racist police brutality against blacks and others is one of the innumerable symptoms of that.
The diabolical problems that have developed and accumulated in this society are far worse than anyone can imagine. Continuing to float on the surface of these problems, without penetrating to their deep nature and origins, will continue to make them bigger, more complex, and multiply them.
3. Perlo, V. Economics of Racism II: The Roots of Inequality, USA. 1996, International Publishers, New York.
4. Perlo, V. The Economics of Racism, U. S. A.: Roots of Black Inequality. 1975. International Publishers, New York.