They have broken in and are attempting to run away with the work intended to save our lives like thieves in the night. They have come to tear down the bulwarks and return with the killers we have chased out, to lay our fate back at their feet.and say the police have apologised and promise to treat us better this time. But this time is different.
Those who would can no longer be said to represent us. Those who campaign for an adjustment in state violence, who believe that some state repression will always be necessary, do not speak for us. We have now heard abolitionist speak. We have heard that prison scholar ‘s work is being read outside of the bantustan of universities and that is becoming a household name.
Our freedom fighters drown out the noise of those who would sell us a new and improved colonial repression. They can no longer rip our life-saving work from our arms and invite the police to search the house. We will not be turning back from . We will not compromise with our killers.
We have torn down the gaslighting of reform, thrown it into the bay to lie with their monuments to . No last-minute defence cobbled together to paint the colony’s instruments of repression as our misguided saviours will last. Abolitionists have flooded social media and are pushing through the gates of public discourse. They have come to loot a revolution. They have found themselves in a revolution.
It was always a hard sell, the “good apples”. We have seen the photos of police making with their good apple colleagues . The good cops like who decided not to shout “Jews will not replace us” but marched alongside Nazis just the same.
It was always hard to spit and polish an institution that drew such enthusiastic, and one with so many who . It was always difficult to explain why the quintessential American racist organisation would always call for the defence of the police; there are not many ( ) terrorist groups that protest in defence of government.
the , or why this institution, in particular, seems to attract men like , the racist police detective involved in the O J Simpson trial, and , the neighbourhood watch who shot Trayvon Martin, when other institutions of protection and service, like child care and gardening, have failed to do so.
Or why an institution equipped with detectives, surveillance technology, investigative experience and a putative dedication to weeding out criminality could not seem to discover the bad apples who clinked beer mugs with them at their good apple cop bars.
The claim that the people who are supposed to possess a superhuman, inexplicable “cop instinct” could not manage to Sherlock together a pattern of of or did not have their suspicion of foul play aroused by the frequency of the discrepancies between and , and , was always difficult to accept. Difficult but that would not stop the apologists for state terrorism, however “ “, to feel against the in search for good apples to present to us, spit-polished and shining.
No matter how many Nazis now bend to give the little girl flowers, it is hard to forget Auschwitz. It is hard to forget the police whips of Selma, the deaths in police custody, the evidence planting, the frisking in the slave cabins, the “arrest” of Emmet Till, the and the , the genocidal after enslaved peoples’ revolts, the and cotton fields, the jails permeable by but not by .
They may try to sell us flowers, to tell us that the police profession is no less a service than the postal service, to fling the words “imperfect” and “flawed” at us, but we have seen our children flung against the wall, we have heard rumours of officers blackmailing youth to sell drugs for them, we know what every white supremacist knows – that the best way tois to join the police force.
We hear no distinction of note between the “” and the “ “. We know that the entirety of the colony’s anti-Black culture – the press, television dramas, politicians etc – praise the people that promise to put down our freedom.
They will say change is on the way, knowing that asking us to wait for change is the same as demanding that we prolong the era of our torture.
It is too late to offer . It is too late to negotiate limits set to the settler’s flogging of the native when the is seen on the horizon. Too late when the , when the Kenya Land and Freedom Army, when in her sagging pants and hoop earrings has had enough.
It is too late to anti-aparthied’s musical or to agree that a will be given before uniformed mob killings when the people have grown tired of singing . in our blood.
Those who have come to swipe the hope of an end to colonial violence and replace it with the hope that settler-colonialism will finally learn to be kind will find the door shut. Colonial hope and revolutionary hope are not of equal weight, and those who offer cheap imitations of revolution are being caught out and directed outside.
“The elite of the colonized countries, those emancipated slaves, ” wrote Frantz Fanon. We are prepared for them.
so that it looks like they died on their knees, in supplication, begging for America to “live up to its ideals”, rather than simply killed by the racist state; no matter how many times they ventriloquise our killed to make them mouth “I love you” to the state that killed them, we will not be distracted. We will not fall for their .
We will not consider the argument that new laws and policy will this time deter racists – racists who strike, armed with in one hand and the in the other. We will take no substitutes for liberation. We are not here to hold hands with a white supremacist settler-colony. We want our freedom.
We are done with the hope-peddlers. Finished with those who would condemn us to that purgatory of eventual change where the days are measured in the capital, accumulated from our exploitation, and the nights are measured in smartphone-recorded killings after stops for the perpetually broken taillight. No more waiting. We are done. The brutalised will no longer be by colonial hope. Colonialism’s hope is a parole hearing; revolutionary hope is the .
We have thoroughly lost our hope in a brighter day in colonialism and this – contrary to the warnings of liberals, the affable spokespeople of colonial order – does not mean the end of the world but the beginning of a new one.
And if they require from us our blueprint for the new world post-police-state before we set out to build it, they will find that we are no longer seeking their permission. We are no more ashamed for having no map for imagining systems outside of policing than the fugitive of the slave plantation is for having no guidebook for life outside of slavery.
Our difficulty imagining systems outside of policing cannot be used as an argument for a police-state – it is evidence against it. The atrophying of our imagination after centuries of militarised state occupation is a consequence of policing, not a reason for it. As every Maroon knows: No way forward is better than staying here.
In any case, histories before police, and imaginations beyond police exist. is .
Policing is not only enacted upon bodies but upon imaginations. It tells us that we cannot live without it. It paints the world in which it is absent as a world of carnage.
As if the is not just a few years older than the lawnmower. As if when the uniformed police first arrived, it was not resisted as a tyrannical force by the London poor that still remembered the 1819 massacre at St Peter’s Fields when they demanded political rights.
As if white conservatives in Louisiana in the 1830s did not think of the new institution of the “civil police” as an army of occupation reminiscent of British rule – one which bore the “badge of slavery”. As if they themselves did not ask in their newspapers: “” If it were not for the spectre of Black freedom, all conservatives would be abolitionists.
This is the last stand for the . No matter how many liberal and conservative arms link together to salvage it, the levee has broken. Future generations will no more comprehend the ethics of shooting someone for running from a “ ” charge than they will a world without the internet.
They will have to record our stories. We will be asked to tell them how it was. Handcuffs will be put on display in museums. Old batons will reappear in art projects. Elderly Black people will reveal bullet holes in their stomachs like .
And those who are now seeking appeasement and to reform the overseer class and spirit away our freedom struggle, will, when policing is over, steal our story instead. They will tell their grandchildren that it was they who fought for the abolition of chattel society. That will be fine.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.