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Photo credit: Mickey Z.
"Surely it is not our intention to take out bank loans to buy back our world from capitalism. Neither is it our intention to help capitalism run more efficiently."
So it seems Shira Scheindlin, a Manhattan federal court judge, stated the painfully obvious when she recently declared the NYPD's notorious "stop & frisk" program to be unconstitutional.
I say "painfully obvious" because from 2004 to 2011, according to the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU), more than 4 million innocent New Yorkers were subjected to police stops and street interrogations. The vast majority of those being stopped and frisked are black and Latino and roughly nine out of 10 are innocent.
If your blood ain't boiling, you might wanna re-read the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
Now, check out the NYPD "Stop and Frisk" breakdown for 2011:
- 685,724 New Yorkers were stopped by the police.
- 605,328 were totally innocent (88 percent).
- 350,743 were black (53 percent).
- 223,740 were Latino (34 percent).
- 61,805 were white (9 percent).
- 341,581 were aged 14-24 (51 percent).
"They've been talking about the stop-and-frisk thing for five, six, seven years and nothing's changed," said Gregory Campbell, a Brownsville, Brooklyn resident. "They just say it, say it, say it, but the cops come out here and keep doing it. It's going to take a lot more than just talk."
However, despite all this and despite Judge Scheindlin agreeing that the program violated the Fourth (protects against unreasonable searches) and the 14th Amendment rights (guarantees equal protection under the law), she didn't (of course) demand an end to such clear and rampant taxpayer-subsidized illegality. Nope, the judge merely "ordered an independent monitor to oversee the program."
And we're supposed to applaud such "reform"? I'll let Malcolm answer that one:
"If you stick a knife in my back nine inches and pull it out six inches, there's no progress. If you pull it all the way out, that's not progress. Progress is healing the wound that the blow made. And they haven't even pulled the knife out much less heal the wound. They won't even admit the knife is there."
Reminder: Stop & Frisk is an unconstitutional salvo against people of color but it is not some anomalous flaw in an otherwise fixable system. It's a symptom.
Single-Issue = Dead End
The Malcolm X quote above also came to my mind last week when I read some of the responses to my article, "Fast Food = Ecocide: Not All Worker Strikes are Radical."
Besides the usual army of straw men (critics predictably misrepresented my words to accuse me of "victim-blaming"), I also got a few indignant and condescending cries of "oversimplification." (Of course, not a shred of evidence was offered to back this claim but hey, I'm used to that by now.)
Since my point in the article was to illustrate the bigger, crucial connections between fast food joints and the destruction of the ecosystem, I have a sincere question for all of you: Is it literally possible to oversimplify ecocide?
(Take your time. I'll wait")