Don’t just be mad about the Trayvon Martin verdict. Be mad about the totality of America’s creeping techno-fascist police state and its non-creeping (i.e. Been here forever), institutionalized, normalized-to-the-point-where-most-people-(especially whites)-don’t-even-notice-it Racism.
Did you know that America, 2013 America, the “land of the free,” imprisons more blacks than apartheid South Africa? I got snagged in the net of the prison-industrial complex in Illinois, where blacks constitute 13 percent of the total population but 76 PERCENT of the prison population. Every single person at the prison was forced to have a job. The average “pay” was about $0.25 an hour. You read that right—twenty-five (25) cents an hour. This is so close to slavery that it might as well just be called slavery. And there are some three million Americans in prison or on some form of parole/probation. There are Black Panthers still locked up for crimes most of them didn’t even commit. Think Mumia Abu-Jamal. Think the MOVE 9. Geronimo Pratt was framed by the FBI for murder, and it took 25 years for him to be exonerated and released. Can you imagine even spending a single year in prison for a crime you didn’t commit, let alone 25 of them?
If you are white, ask a black friend (if you have any) what it’s like to take a walk in an even just moderately decent white neighborhood. Or what it’s like to go shopping. Or what they feel when they see a cop car.
And please, please remember that while we’re all getting so outraged about George Zimmerman (I’m outraged too, don’t get me wrong), the U.S. government and its military is dropping bombs on and machine-gunning innocent people of color, murdering them by the hundreds of thousands, and have been doing so with only short intervals of cessation since the country’s very inception.
Demand justice for Trayvon Martin. But if we get it, don’t stop there. It is not a matter of isolated incidents, of “accidents” by police officers and the military. It is a basic function of the dominant culture. It is a fundamental characteristic of industrial civilization, which is, as Derrick Jensen perfectly and pithily states, “based on, requires, and would collapse very quickly without persistent and widespread violence” (Endgame, Volumes 1 and 2, Premises).
We are not living in a broken System that can be reformed and fixed. This System (i.e. industrial civilization) we are living with is, rather, a gangrenous limb, the toxic and murderous nature of which is spreading; you don’t try to put a Band-aid on a gangrenous rotting limb, you don’t try to put makeup on the thing to make it appear slightly less ghastly; you cut the fucker off. You stop it from killing the entire organism—in other words, from killing the life-support systems of the Earth, which we depend on for our very survival, as do millions of other species of animals (of which we are just one, and no better than any other—far far worse, in fact). Don’t just demand that George Zimmerman be held accountable. Demand that our entire culture be held accountable for its Racism, Sexism, Violence, Anthropocentrism, and Wanton Destruction of the Natural World.
And then act accordingly.