Attention Black Brothers! (In Case you had any Illusions):Prisons & the Imminent Murder of Troy Davis

Attention Black brothers, in case you had any illusions,  the Georgia criminal justice system grants us no protection in the United States of America. On September 21, 2011 at 7pm the state of Georgia will carry out the execution of Troy Anthony Davis. Years and years of campaigning has failed to stop the murderous and racist ambitions of the Savannah police force, and the cold indifference of the Georgia Board of Pardons and Paroles. At this point it is impossible for us to place our confidence in Georgia’s criminal justice system without becoming a party to mass fatricide.

We should understand that the case against Troy Davis is just a microcosm of a much larger institution of repression directed at creating the conditions for social death in Brown, Black, and poor White communities. This fact is hard to overlook in lieu of recent revelations that the number of Blacks in prison at this point and time is equivalent to the number of slaves in 1850 or the facts published by the Pew research institution that the median income of White families is twenty times that of Black families. All this, I should add, is the residue of the historic inequalities in American society from the centuries of slavery to the vicious apartheid rule of the Jim Crow south.

Attica prison 1971

These gruesome details are accompanied by an unemployment rate among young Black males at 46% and 16% among Blacks as a whole. Lamentably, these insights easily slide off the backs of the most staunch supporters of capital punishment, people like Texas governor Rick Perry who was able to garner applause on national television for his murderous deeds. The words of James cone resound loudly: “Racism is possible because whites are indifferent to suffering and patient with cruelty.” Take for example newly released audio recordings between notorious racist, Richard Nixon, and then New York governor Nelson Rockefeller during the Attica prison uprising in 1971. This state sponsored bloodbath inspired Nixon to coldly ask  Rockefeller if it was “primarily blacks that [he was] dealing with” to which Rockefeller responded “Oh, yes, the whole thing was led by the blacks” easing the conscience of the 37th President with the fact that the lives lost were superfluous to the empire.

And this frightening patience persists as the bloodthirsty police and politicians watch as the state of Georgia lowers the noose for this modern day lynching. Foremost, our black-skin-white-mask President, Barack Obama, has not uttered a single word about this case but has ample time to listen to the suggestions  of multimillionaires like Warren Buffet and even market “job bills” named in their honor. America’s most famous political prisoner and next candidate for the state’s killing machine, Mumia abu Jamal, was right when he commented that “job bills are but band aids on bullet wounds.”
I point out these facts to illustrate that the imprisonment of Black people is not exclusive to the wall and bars of the penitentiary. Indeed, this systematic incarceration of young Black men is part and parcel of a larger social structure designed to create an imprisoned culture, a culture where all forms of solidarity are subordinated to avaricious aims of “success”, where coarse indifference is seen as a necessary attribute to protect oneself from exploitation, and where every human interaction is reduced to predatory market calculations and all is blindness beyond profits.

Author of the classic The Fire Next Time, James Baldwin once said that “to be a Negro in this country and to be relatively conscious is to be in rage all the time.” And that is where a large part of America’s communities stand today from the Muslim communities in New York unjustly subjected to routine surveillance by the New York Police Department’s “mosque crawlers” to the burgeoning immigrant communities regularly vilified in the mainstream media and political discourse. The powers that be have been relentless in their efforts to marginalize these communities, to box them into a situation so oppressive and suffocating that often the only escape is Baldwin’s “rage”. Incidentally, this is the same rage that swept through the streets of London after their designated superfluous peoples decided to reject the edicts of privilege and wealth.  Or more appropriately, this is the rage that sweeps through the Gaza Strip where its people resist a brutal US-backed occupation that President Obama is fighting to preserve at this very moment. This is the sociological backdrop necessary to understand the case of Troy Davis and now that these centers of privilege have exhausted their vials of, what Frantz Fanon called “denigrification serum”, they have resorted to the most foolproof method of oppression: murder.

On tomorrow, at 7pm, I will be in my physics class surrounded by docile unsuspecting faces while the state of Georgia pierces the dark flesh of Troy Davis, and watches as the deadly dose of pentobarbitol flows through his veins. The lethal fluids that flow through the veins of Troy will be waiting for our veins and our fathers veins. The tears that will drip from his loved one’s eyes will remain latent in our eyes, our father’s eyes, and our mothers eyes. Attention Black brothers! What else can we do to keep our hands unbloodied but dismantle this system that routinely bloodies us? Tomorrow Troy Davis may die but the unceasing spirit of resistance will build. Through our lives we will do justice for Troy, his family, and the countless other oppressed people of this oft-wicked world.


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