[sixties-l] "Cincinnati Fires" By Mumia Abu-Jamal

From: radman (resist@best.com)
Date: Sat Apr 21 2001 - 20:02:23 EDT

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    by Mumia Abu-Jamal

    "The government is only as lasting as
    your understanding of administration.
    The Army is nothing without people,
    the Air Force is grounded without
    your endorsement, the ships of the
    Navy could never have sailed if
    your leaders didn't have you sail
    'em, and the brutal depravity of
    police would be non-existent if
    you didn't wear the uniform."

    John Africa, On the Move, (1975)

         Black youthful rage explodes in Cincinnati,
    Ohio, and several nights of fire, rebellion
    and pain reminds us that the much-maligned
    and heralded '60s, were really not so very
    long ago.

         For like the riots that rocked the nation in
    the 1960s, the precipitating event was an act
    of brutality and violence by police against
    black folks. Police violence against blacks
    has sparked rampages of rebellion from
    coast to coast, costing hundreds of millions
    of dollars in destroyed property, and hundreds
    of lost lives.

           Over 30 years have passed, and in the
    intervening years we have seen the emergence
    of the black political class, and the entrenchment
    of the black poor in inner cities, projects, and
    ghettoes more desolate, more isolated and
    more hopeless than the 1960s. We have seen
    the explosion of the Prison Industrial Complex,
    at rates that would've been unthinkable in the
    1970s, with upwards of 2,000,000 men, women,
    and juveniles in American jails. The U.S., with
    only 5% of the world's population, has 25% of
    the world's prison population!

         And for black young men and women, the
    horror of prison has become a perverse rite of
    passage, marking one's transition from youth
    to adulthood.

         So, while things have gotten better for some
    African-Americans since the 1960s, things have
    gotten demonstrably worse for millions of other,
    poorer blacks. Public schools, never quite
    outstanding in the first place, have gone into
    decline. City services have declined. Industries
    have fled cities for the South and the suburbs,
    leaving cities with less employment, and with
    remaining jobs paying for less money, while
    costs have gone up.

         Cincinnati, sparked by the police shootings
    of a black man, could have happened anywhere
    in America. The social ingredients are all there,
    in every major city in America.

         In every major city is economic and social
    despair, mixed with a militaristic police force
    that targets black life and liberty. In every
    such city are black politicians who function in
    the role of keeping the restless natives in
    check; keep them suffering in silence.

         Cincinnati represented the eruption of youth
    who see their position in grim, hopeless
    situations. Cincinnati is a harbinger of things
    to come. Cincinnati is the fire next time.

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