Unleashing Rage and Yearning for Liberation: The Real Lessons of Dr. King for Urban Uprisings

By Chris Crass

Let’s be clear, when those in power and their media call for people to be “peaceful” in the face of endemic and sanctioned racist state violence, they aren’t calling for a return to disruptive and militant non-violent direct action unleashed by the Civil Rights movement, even if they insultingly call up Dr. King to denounce the ‪#‎BaltimoreUprising‬. These same forces decried the tactics of the Civil Rights movement as provoking violence, and inviting disorder. They are part of the long, hideous campaign to gut the real lessons of the Civil Rights movement and invoke King as a way to really say: be passive, be quite, stay in your place, use the channels we designed to keep you ineffective, and by all means necessary internalize the brutality of this white supremacist capitalist system and turn it on yourself and your own community. 

We must not let the white supremacist power structure rob us further of the lessons of our people’s movements. We must do all we can to further unleash discontent, rage, pain, and yearning for liberation and stay focused on what the ruling class truly fears – poor and working class people asserting their human dignity and fighting back against a system built on extracting wealth and power from those/our communities – they use violence and devastating cultural assaults against communities of color, and do everything they can to cultivate and celebrate resentment, anger, and fear in white poor and working class communities towards communities of color. For white racial justice activists, let us do all we can to aid and abet, and join with communities of color in liberation struggle, and do all we can to direct white resentment towards the powerful, while cultivating white solidarity with Black liberation and people of color-led struggles.

For disruptive, and militant non-violent direct action in the spirit of the Civil Rights movement (which always focused on the systemic cause of uprisings, rather the persecution of those initiating them), and for multiracial movement building to unite people of all backgrounds for a society organized around the principle that ‪#‎BlackLivesMatter‬, rather then structural Black subjugation and premature death as acceptable conditions for capitalist profit and power.

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