Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Amy Brown speaks for Black Lives Matter 5280/nonviolent direct action on MLK day

      At the Martin Luther King day marade this year in Denver, several thousand people broke away and came early to Civic Center Park.  They, not the leaders who have made this STATE FARM Martin Luther King day, spoke (roughly, the difference between Hillary Clinton and as we will see, an even more forceful version of Bernie Sanders speaking).  Several young black woman from Black Lives Matter 5280 led this demonstration and the statement, given powerfully, by Amy E. Brown, demanded Justice for Michael Marshall - a black man, homeless and mentally ill, killed in prison by six police officers - part of the horrific tape has now been released, see here and here - the end of the camping ban which gives the homeless no right even to sleep on the streets, the renaming of Stapleton - the KKK mayor of Denver and organizer of rallies, lynchings, and the demilitarization of the Denver police. See here.   In addition, Natalia Marshall, Michael Marshall's niece who was on a hunger strike, spoke out.  For tapes of them speaking check out my Facebook page for January 18th-19th and Brother Jeff's (the films were taken by Brother Jeff who does an indispensable job in celebrating creativity but also chronicling racism in Denver).


     The two women were amazingly heartening (as was Soul who was also doing the hunger strike).  For the breakaway march and seizing the stage was mass nonviolent direct action, something embodying the radical spirit of MLK.  Brother Vincent Harding would have celebrated this action...

     In contrast, Mayor Hancock showed up to mention Michael Marshall but also sympathize with police officers and refuse to release the tapes (pressure has since resulted in their release).  He himself, with Councilman Albus Brooks among others, is responsible for the camping ban though he couch surfed with his mom as an impoverished child - and needs desparately to remember himself...There is something particularly awful in the way he speaks.

      If the protestors spoke from the heart, Mayor Hancock made a three dollar bill look genuine.  Though he showed up, the crowd rightly expressed discontent/contempt at his words.

    And District Attorney Michael Morrissey who has never once prosecuted police for a murder naturally declined to do so this time (alleging medical insight about when, being manhandled ,Michael Marshall had a heart attack).  District Attorneys are generally corrupt, dependent and watched over by the police, and have a miserable, corrupt record.  See  democratic-indiividuality here and why American cops - in contrast to others - claim a license to kill, Jan. 11, 2016.

  But Morrissey, distinctively terrible, will not be exceeded in this regard.


     Here is part of what Amy Brown said:
MLK MARADE RECLAIMED: Monday January 18th 2016
Black Lives Matter 5280 family and Denver community reclaims MLK Day and takes over the MLK Marade from Corporate Sponsors and Government Officials. Mayor Hancock turns back on crowd and refuses to take the stage as the women of Black Lives Matter 5280 call out the following demands:
The Black Lives Matter 5280 family stands before you at the feet of this giant, this RADICAL, Dr. Martin Luther King. We stand because we have come to reclaim truth, and we have come to unapologetically declare that Black Lives Matter.
And if you think that this man, this radical would disagree with this proclamation, please go back and read beyond “I Have A Dream.”
The women of Black Lives Matter 5280, who I stand with, come for our own reclamation. As the mothers, daughter, sisters, protectors and warriors of this movement we have come for what is ours- ASHE
We stand united with our communities to demand leadership. And if you refuse to lead, we refuse to follow. If you refuse to lead, we refuse to follow
Mayor Hancock- will you honor Dr. King by immediately releasing the tapes showing Denver Sheriff’s Deputies murdering our brother, Michael Marshall?
1. Release the Tapes
Will you honor him by immediately dismissing those deputies involved in this brutal homicide?
2. Dismiss the Deputies
Mr. Mayor and Councilmembers, as you pledge to honor Dr. King’s fight for the poor, will you return to work immediately and repeal the urban camping ban?
3. Repeal the Urban Camping Ban
Stop Criminalizing Homelessness. Homelessness is the fault of your government’s policies.
4. Decriminalize Homelessness
Mr. Mayor the people who build this great city can’t afford to live here. Honor Dr. King and your residents by holding developers accountable to the city’s promise of affordable housing.
5. Affordable Housing Now
Stop allowing developers like Forest City to build communities like Stapleton- named after a Klansman- to hurt residents by providing a pathetic 5% of housing at an affordable rate.
6. Change the Name Stapleton
Finally in case you think we didn’t notice, $24 millions dollars of taxpayers money was given to the sheriff’s department. The sheriff’s department is militarized enough. Our communities already live in fear.
7. Demilitarize the Police
Honor Dr. King’s commitment to community by diverting 12 million of that to rehabilitation programs, to decreasing our prison population, and providing mental health resources for the incarcerated.
8. We demand resources, not retribution
This is the leadership demand by our community. And as long as you refuse to lead, we refuse to follow.
Black Lives Matter! And Mayor Hancock, your Black life Matters too.


   Neil Haverstick sent me a question on Facebook which opposes civil disobedience and defends any reactionary order.  Despite his sympathies, he fails to see the profound issues of justice involved, what makes Black Lives Matter, including on campuses all over the country - see the protests against Woodrow Wilson at Princeton here - so morally vibrant.

Neil Haverstick What if another people's group had got in front of Black Lives Matters, and pushed them away from the mic as well?
LikeReply14 hrs
Alan Gilbert Neil, civil disobedience is often disrupted by another group i.e. the police. Whether it has a good effect politically depends entirely on whether the protest in fact confronts injustice. About racism I doubt that a single protest has ever been wrong...As for the consideration or moderation of the system, the rulers have only changed through protest, riots or rebellions in American cities being major contributors to the admission of nonwhite students to lily white colleges in the 1960s, or to the hiring of nonwhite people for jobs. The future is with nonviolent protests of the sort Black Lives Matter organized with such vigor - against the reactionaries of Michael Hancock who at this moment will not release the tapes of Michael Marshall or change his mind on the campaign ban or think about Stapleton or...Let us hope, given civil disobedience and other forms of [ressure, he changes his mind (recovers himself from being so important and "powerful"...

Neil Haverstick Yeah, I'm an old fart, so I've seen many many protests...and I was not referring to police here. I agree about the Stapleton issue, and the release of the police tapes...
LikeReply4 hrs

Alan Gilbert I know you weren't. But anyone who tried to grab the mic from Amy Brown would have been demented, racist and/or working with the police...Civil disobedience, as you know, is very hard to organize, takes a huge effort often with great risk (consider King in the South and in a lesser vein, what happened to many anti-war protestors on college campuses, thrown out or suspended. I haven't seen competing acts of civil disobedience largely for this reason...
LikeReply4 hrs

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