The Rap-Up: Week of June 8, 2020

The Rap-Up returns with exactly the kind of thing we should be talking about.
By    June 8, 2020

Defund the police, support independent journalism. Please subscribe to Passion of the Weiss on Patreon.

Harley Geffner is down for the cause.

Very few in government have ever been imaginative. While most enter with intentions of genuine change, the levers of bureaucracy wear them so thin that they either give in to the dominant malaise for real progress that plagues our public systems or they quit. It’s designed to weed out visionary ideas like an intro comp-sci class slices off everyone with a soul. The populace takes cues from leadership and our mostly democratic leadership in big cities has been so complacent with a system that works for them, that most people have never questioned why, at their core, things are the way they are. We pay higher prices for lower quality internet, healthcare, and almost everything else than most of the world, black people have to live with a visceral fear of any car even shaped like a cruiser or a glimmer of light from 2 blocks away that might be a badge, and someone who commits three minor, non-violent infractions in California will end up pleading out to 25 years of slavery.

But for the first time in my lifetime, people are starting to imagine better systems.

It starts with looking at the utility of police departments and continues to expand from there. Most black people instinctively know from experience that our communities would be safer without police, but many white people are now having to stare down the barrels of their own supremacy and critically analyze the role of a job that has been lionized through deep-seeded propaganda stretching back to children’s books and elementary school. Even black people who understand in their gut they’d feel safer without “deterrence” patrols are thinking about the more practical ways we can live without the police, and what types of systems could replace their “key” functions.

It’s a new politick of analysis wherein we’re questioning what are the laws that allow something to happen. Things aren’t just the way they are, they were intentionally made to be this way. Can we uncover these backdoor dealings between legalized corporate cartels and public officials that there’s no local newspaper to cover? Can we overturn them? It’s a political mindset that’s secured its first major victory and is only just getting started. On Sunday afternoon, a majority of Minneapolis City Council members announced a commitment to disband the city’s police department and test community measures of prevention and preservation. The larger work remains to be done, and we’ll hopefully be able to look back at this as a test case wherein community resources presented not a single stat that could be used to argue people were safer with police.

We should all be feeling hopeful right now. Though the struggle in the streets for black liberation and the dismantling of our legalized forms of indentured servitude (paycheck-to-paycheck work) and slavery (prisons) is brutal to watch in live time as agents of state-sponsored terrorism use tactical wartime maneuvers on its own people, it’s the kindness and human resilience of the protestors that really jumps out from the ground. In Los Angeles this past week, a multi-ethnic and multi-racial coalition of people made sure the thousands of protestors were all fed, hydrated and sanitized as we peacefully walked and chanted in lockstep. People are building underground networks of safe houses and drivers in every neighborhood to keep us safe from police. And despite many of us being rounded up like sheep and subject to minor forms of torture, we keep coming back.

Every day. There’s powerful sermons and testimonials of personal experience with police, there’s rhythmic deconstruction of the state apparatus through bullhorns, spoken directly to the line of nerds with guns who have less training than I do in Madden, and once the illegal curfew which was used to justify over 1,000 arrests dropped, there was celebration of life with all types of percussion in front of City Hall. These things are happening on their own timelines in every city across the states, and the rest of the world is showing incredible solidarity with their own protests too.

This work will never be over. The battle between those with power and those without will continue long after we’re all dead. But right now, the wheels are turning faster than they have since the 60’s. We’re thinking of alternate uses for the money burnt in the skies on chopper circles, how each unhoused person we pass on the street relates back to the budget our councilmember voted for, or how we can break down laws that were twisted into existence and continue to be wrung out in every semantic direction by a team of the most expensive Ivy league lawyers that other Ivy leaguers hire, and maybe will eventually get hired by. We’re speaking the language of revolution, thinking deeply about unused surplus and artificial valuations. In short, we’re seeing through the bullshit.

We’re done with hugs and kneels amplified by social and the 10 steps back 1 step forward types of goals and solutions set forth by the hoodlums who endorse and stand upon a system of legalized subjugation. We see how organizing works, rioting works, and screaming at the top of our lungs works in making the decision-makers uncomfortable. It took one week to get confederate statues removed that people have been trying to lobby for removal for decades. The Minneapolis police department tried every damn measure of reform and would have kept BSing with new ones and securing additional funding for them had we not stood up to make ourselves heard.

Instead, we have a truly progressive experiment of community accountability about to begin in the city these protests began. 

They’re getting nervous, so now isn’t the time to get complacent with our victories. The protests have to continue, the education of our family members and less politically active friends on “radical” solutions to fix entrenched problems and ideologies must continue, we’ve got to keep educating ourselves, and we have to keep pushing those in power to respond to our concerns even when BLM isn’t trending. It’s on us to push our friends into a lifelong passion for making change and to show them how addicting it is when we get little wins. Just imagine how it’ll feel once the bigger ones start to roll in. We have accomplished more than anyone imagined we could in just two weeks since George Floyd was forcibly removed from our world. Anger has moved real-world action that we could not have pressed through traditional political levers. We have the power to do this and it’s high time we fucking used it.

This politick of critical analysis feels massive right now to those entrenched in this movement, but it has yet to touch most Americans. There are so many more people to get to and as the bug reaches further, our strength grows. Even if they’re not full converts to the church of critical thinking about government systems, the seeds are being planted and they’ll continue to grow with each conversation. 

Our coalition of real ones is large and has already demonstrated the power it holds. We will continue to demand more from those we elect. Some of our real ones are already sleeper agents in government. When our kin of the mind put forward a bill on redistributing waste processing facilities more equitably so we can lower asthma rates in the Bronx, it’s on us to push in the streets harder than the waste lobby does with money so that it doesn’t die in committee. We have to outwork the opposition. We have to stop the Olympics from wreaking havoc on LA with coordinated ground action and a groundswell of support. We have a moral obligation to our friends and communities to keep pushing to imagine a better world, locally first and then nationally. And one thing is for certain — that world can’t and won’t include bloodthirsty swine in paramilitary gear. 

We rely on your support to keep POW alive. Please take a second to donate on Patreon!