The editor-in-chief of the graduate student newspaper of the City University of New York (CUNY) urges violent protests against what he terms the “white supremacist state” in the wake of the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown and other black men.
“The time for peace has passed,” writes Gordon Barnes in the Advocate. “When a cop kills a civilian, even if the civilian did not have a weapon, the trend seems to be that the officer is cleared of any wrong doing…One needs to only conduct a brief Internet search to see videos of police in the United States wantonly killing people whilst in the line of duty.”
Condemning conservatives whom he describes as using “racialist, if not overtly racist rhetoric,” when discussing the protests, and liberals’ call for peaceful protests as they refer to the “whitewashed legacy of Martin Luther King,” Barnes quickly dismisses any crimes committed by Michael Brown in particular:
It doesn’t matter if Brown robbed a convenience store, or even if he assaulted Wilson. What matters is that the case highlights the depths to which the capitalist state and its police forces will protect their own and attempt to stifle any sort of dissent…
The violence of the police is almost always defensible in the eyes of the ruling elite, as evinced by Barack Obama’s platitudes to liberal desires to the rule of law in the aftermath of the grand jury decision. So, why then is the violence of the protestor so reviled?
Barnes also particularly observes to “progressives” that the protests and riots in Ferguson are “part of the same genealogy as the Deacons for Defense, Malcolm X, Robert F. Williams, and the Black Panthers.”
Removed as well from Barnes’ list of important details regarding the protests and riots is the looting and property damage to store owners at the hands of angry mobs in areas like Ferguson:
While there are opportunists who have used the protests to their own end, the acts of looting, destruction of property, and violence directed towards state representatives is not only warranted, it is necessary. If people could, they would target the police, but the protesters know that a direct confrontation (with what is now a military force in this country) at this time would likely result in their deaths. The destruction of property in the area is the next best option.
With classic radical community agitator rhetoric, Barnes calls on fellow “activist-scholars” to offer their support to organizing the current protests and riots into attacks that will “aim at puncturing the status quo.”
“The demonstration turned riot, turned revolt, is the most effective means to bring about a new, more egalitarian social paradigm,” he writes. “What is needed now is to take the next step from indiscriminate attacks to ones directly pointed at state power as well as at the lackeys and apologists who allow it to prosper.”
Barnes’ column was followed by a disclaimer that “while the Advocate is opposed to state violence and we support the protests on Ferguson, and we do not think that Wilson should be free, this editorial represents the individual views of the Editor-in-Chief, not the view of the Advocate…”
The New York Post called Barnes’ editorial “disturbing,” and notes CUNY Grad Center president Chase F. Robinson denounced Barnes’ piece.
“While freedom of speech must be protected, and the views expressed by the editor in chief of this student newspaper are stated as sole views, we deplore calls of any kind for violence,” Robinson said. “As Martin Luther King’s birthday approaches, we should instead recommit ourselves to nonviolence as the true path to social justice.”