The First Step for a variety of meaningful changes in society starts with a handful of people sitting to organise a protest.
The Second Step consists of the best use of main streets in our cities and towns to support a demonstration for justice, rather than just main streets for shopping or driving a car.
The Third Step consists of a clear intention to implement radical or revolutionary change.
Radical change or revolutions consists of a break with the painful past. A basic slogan summaries the protest. For example, the French revolution used Liberty, Equality and Fraternity. The Russian revolution used Jobs, Bread and Land. Today, we have Extinction Rebellion, Me-Too Movement and Black Lives Matter.
Those of us seasoned in street demonstrations know full well that system change and institutional change requires a knowledge of some of the details for a necessary change, their implementation and vision.
All the passion in street demonstrations, non-violent and violent, does not change unresolved systemic issues that blight the lives of millions. We applaud the numbers on the streets worldwide, who rebel against a corrupt and violent system of governance.
The looters on the streets have their political ideology too. They take the view that the wealthy capitalists, and those who govern and control on their behalf, have robbed the poor of a decent wage, a job, health care, decent accommodation and opportunities in education. Some looters feel they are taking back goods that the system has deprived them of because the system left them with near empty pockets. Shop workers of pillaged stores suffer or lose their jobs. Exploitation begets exploitation begets exploitation.
Capitalist governments, billionaires and the superrich have little or no respect for the marginalised except to pay nominal lip service to their needs. So why should the marginalised have respect for the system that kneels on their neck for their entire lives? The policeman who knelt on the neck of George Floyd in Minneapolis on 25 May had his hands in his pocket while his knee squeezed the life out of the Afro-American. A metaphor for the condition of Black Lives and many others.
Violence and Looting in Demonstrations
Violence and looting keep the system in place. The small minority of violent demonstrators claim they are fighting the system. The system IS violent. Violent demonstrations mirror, confirm and sustain the system. The system supports thieves. Without exception, billionaires have robbed the poor through charging excess for their goods and services. They exploit workers worldwide, destroy communities and rape entire environments. More and more billionaires seek to extend their control over the Earth in their lust for name, fame and power.
Consumerism depends upon a violence on the poor, creatures and the environment until there is nothing left but anger, despair and fear.
Black Lives Matter. Poor People Matter. BAME (Black, Asian, Minority, Ethnic) Matter. Women Matter, Children Matter. Animals Matter. Environment Matter.
We face a global violence on human health through the pandemic and a global violence on life, itself, such as systemic racism and the rabid greed of self-interest.
The Hard Core Question
Step Three consists of the application of the demand for change to this wretched state of affairs. This is the important step otherwise Step One and Step Two become pointless and meaningless. We do not hear much about Step Three.
Day after day television, radio and the news/social media rain down on those with the privilege of access to the media on conversations that Black Lives Matter. We have been here before. Tens of millions worldwide protested against our wars on Muslim nations. Bush and Blair took no notice of the eminent UN scientists who concluded that Iraq had no Weapons of Mass Destruction. In the UK, posters on demonstrations summed up the outrage of the view of our Prime Minister – Tony Bliar – not Blair. The wars in the Arab world cost more than a million lives of men, women and children.
Step Three never happened apart from tarnishing the career of Prime Minister Bliar.
Powerful voices claim in the Black Lives Matter movement that that is a critical moment. That’s true. Therefore?
We should not underestimate the power of apathy in a population addicted to the screen of the mobile phone or the superficiality of conversation in social media.
What happens when the numbers on the streets dwindle down to a trickle?
We will hear of a few modifications to pacify the public and BAME communities so the white majority feeling a bit better about ourselves.
Governments and the super-rich even talk of offering a Universal Basic Income (UBI) to the poor so the billionaires can continue to control the resources of the world without the temporary inconvenience of street demonstrations against injustice and exploitation. UBI sounds like being offered a pain killer for gangrene.
The riot gear, weapons and vehicles of police forces appear more like army units on our streets determined to protect the haves from the have-nots.
Black Lives Matter.
10 Radical Proposals to go from Step 2 to Step 3
- Dismantle the police force in its current construction. Between them, local community leaders and respected police officers interview every single police officer in the country to check that every officer resolves to serve All the people.
- Full accountability of police behaviour. Local community leaders hold public meetings to examine complaints with the police officers present who are under investigation. The police can no longer engage in an internal inquiry of complaints of abuse of role of a police officer(s).
- Local community leaders and respected police officers interview every person applying for a job as a police officer or seeking promotion in the police force.
- Every police officer spends two days a week in training, without a uniform, alongside people n the local community to understand the living circumstances of all people on their patch.
- School teachers take pupils to juvenile detention centres, prisons, courts and police stations to meet and discuss issues of law and order, racism, poverty and violence, including systemic, institutional, street and domestic violence.
- To increase length of police training from a few months to a minimum of one year. Every police officer reports weekly the acts of service and benefit he or she has brought to their local community. Public notice boards inform police of local needs. Skilful dialogue becomes a primary duty of all police officers and people in their local community. Everybody has to learn to walk the talk.
- Police officers to receive training to develop skills in facilitation, receiving feedback, changing their behaviour and ending use of abuse, violence and weapons upon citizens. Who in the family is kneeling on the neck of others in the family or on the street or in the workplace?
- Every university/college/training centre/public institution to accept every year 5% of the intake of students with leadership skills. All of these students will come from poor families and BAME. All those selected receive a free education. Financial institutions cover the cost.
- The government passes a law that a CEO cannot earn more than 25 times the wage of the lowest paid worker including bonuses. If the bosses want a bigger salary/bonus then the salary of all the staff goes up.
- The government passes laws that the super-rich and the shareholders support those who lose their jobs, so the economic burden does not fall on the taxpayers.
- 25% of board members in all businesses consist of workers, BAME and environmentalists.
- Leaders and organisers of protests and demonstrations outline the details of Step One, Step Two and Step Three.
You may not approve of all the proposals. Make your own list. Tell as many as you can about your steps, which will contribute to change.
It is not enough to say: “I an not a racist.” That is a passive response. Most people make that claim. That is a glib response.
You say: “I am working to end racism.”
Black Lives Matter. Action Matters.
Be a Caregiver. Be an Agent of Change.
I don’t know if you are speaking about the UK or the USA or both. But in the USA the gun culture makes police work, well, terrifying. Inner cities in this country are filled with guns . . . as is everywhere. Black-on-black violence is a huge problem for inner cities.
Below is an excerpt from an article in the NYT by people who were on Barack Obama’s taskforce . . .
Amid public outcry and violent unrest in 2014 and 2015, President Barack Obama convened what would come to be called the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing. The 11-member task force included civil rights attorneys, community activists, academics and police professionals who came together to develop specific recommendations and concrete steps for improving law enforcement and the relationship between the police and the community.
The task force’s final report in May 2015 outlined specific improvements that can make policing more just, safe, effective and constitutional — and work better for everyone. The report addressed six “pillars.” The very first pillar was building trust and legitimacy — in recognition that they are not just prerequisites for police reform but for policing itself.
The group recommended that police departments have clear, specific policies on when officers can and cannot use force. With the courts for the last 30 years telling officers that they may only use force whenever reasonable under the circumstances, officers are left to their own judgment. Individual police agencies and cities must step in to provide clear, precise guidance and real-world training on when force is appropriate. In helping to fashion reforms in places like Sacramento, we outlined a policy that expressly prohibits any physical maneuver that runs a reasonable risk of cutting off blood or oxygen to the brain. Following that policy would have prevented Mr. Floyd’s death.
The report emphasized the importance of community policing as a principle that “should be infused throughout the culture” of police departments, with law enforcement whenever possible focusing on positive and productive nonenforcement interactions with community members.
We don’t have all the answers to healing the police-community divide. Neither did members of the task force. That’s why we convened public listening sessions and heard testimony from activists, officers, experts and community members from across the country. The report is a compendium of what we know works and needs to happen to reset the relationship between the police and the communities they serve.
Some agencies have seen positive changes as a result of carrying out the group’s recommendations. More specific use-of-force policies have substantially reduced officers’ use of force in Seattle and Cleveland, for example — without increases in crime or danger to officers. Police training academies in many cities are increasingly focusing on decision-making in realistic scenarios rather than focusing more narrowly on firearms skills.
Yet most American police agencies have not incorporated the task force’s reforms. As a result, we see very few agencies that require officers to log all nonvoluntary interactions with civilians — and that rigorously analyze the data to determine whether some populations are stopped more than others. Too few departments meaningfully involve the community in setting policies or designing officer training. The number of departments that provide officers with in-depth training on procedural justice — or the process of ensuring fairness, voice and transparency in police interactions — is far too low.