Last week it was Kenosha. This week it was Rochester. Black and white youth clashed with police on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in downtown Rochester after the release of a video showing the March 23, public execution of Daniel Prude.
Meanwhile, protesters returned to the barricades in Portland. BLM supporters in Louisville narrowly averted a bloody street battle after being “set up” by Louisville police, as the “No Fucking Around Coalition” Black militia returned to protest on Kentucky Derby day. Welcome to the era of Black Lives Matter 2.0.
In Rochester, the administration came under fire for concealing the cause of Daniel Prude’s assassination for five months. The video showed Prude walking naked in the street before voluntarily lying face down. The police placed a “spit” bag over Prude’s head and then for two minutes applied pressure to his head before he lost consciousness. The EMS tech who administered CPR on Prude suspended the procedure to have police remove the handcuffs pinning Prude’s arms behind his back. Prude was transported to the hospital on March 23, and died on March 30, when his life support system was terminated.
After the video tape of Daniel Prude’s went viral on Wednesday, Rochester’s Black Mayor Lovely Warren denied a cover-up had taken place, claiming Black Police Chief Le’Ron Singletary told her Prude died of a drug overdose on August 4. Warren suspended seven RPD officers involved in the murder with pay. A medical examiner concluded Prude--who had a mental health history--died as the result of homicide caused by “complications of asphyxia in the setting of physical restraint.”
Mayor Warren apologized for being misinformed: Rochester’s Black community and a lot of others weren’t buying it. Protesters associated with local pro-Black Lives Matter groups demanded the immediate resignations of Mayor Warren and Police Chief Singletary, but they weren’t finished yet.
As NewBlackNationalism.com stated last week regarding the Kenosha revolt, police executions and shootings of Black people are going to be met with serious kinetic resistance in the street. Black people aren’t waiting for the wheels of injustice to grind: they’re delivering verdicts in the streets—verdicts applied with force and political conviction. In the era of Black Lives Matter 2.0., the days of passive responses, and waiting for “responsible civic and elected Black leaders” to negotiate behind the scenes are over.
As was the case in Portland, Louisville, Kenosha, and now Rochester, Black and white youth marched from their neighborhoods or the sites of the murder to directly confront police and the National Guard. In Rochester, close to 400 people left Martin Luther King Park and proceeded downtown, turning over a few restaurant tables and furniture on the way to the Public Safety Building.
The Public Safety Building was heavily defended by police in riot gear who immediately unleashed a barrage of pepper spray on the protesters. The crowd responded with rocks, bottles, and an assortment of projectiles. Three policemen were injured, and eleven protestors were arrested, including one person for “inciting to riot.”
The front line of the march was led mostly by young Black women, dressed in all Black with elbow pads, knee pads, hardened helmet gear, scarfs, backpacks and masks. In short, they were “kitted out” like “Black Bloc” anarchists. Normally, Black protesters don’t show up with umbrellas and shields to block tear gas cannisters and pepper spray shots. But in Rochester, we spotted a number of Black protesters with umbrellas and a few with shields.
Our attention to “radical chic” might seem like a pedestrian concern, but it’s significant that our young warriors are getting schooled in arts of street combat. This has nothing to do with romantic notions of “barricade warfare” but the shift in consciousness that times have changed since the BLM's 1.0 days of Ferguson.
The “Kenosha Effect” was not lost on BLM 2.0 protesters in Rochester, Louisville or Portland this week. The 17-year old white vigilante who killed two BLM supporters in Kenosha on August 26, received the White House’s blessing, signaling a further escalation that America’s settler state is edging into a pre-civil war posture.
This weekend also marked the 100th continuous day of protests in Portland and Louisville. On August 29, Michael Reinoehl, a “so called” member of Antifa killed right-wing Patriot Prayer member Arron Danielson, who participated in a caravan into Portland with others to harass and intimidate Black Lives Matter supporters.
On September 3, police shot and killed Reinoehl, outside of Olympia, Washington. In an interview with Reinhold shortly before his death, Reinoehl said “I see a civil war right around the corner. That shot felt like the beginning of a civil war.” As of Saturday night, the street battles in Portland between protestors and the police continued as fiftymore people were arrested and one officer was injured.
In Louisville, the events marking the 100th day of protests against the stonewalling and cover-up of Louisville’s police execution of Breonna Taylor was exceedingly tense. The Not Fucking Around Coalition (NFAC) Black Militia vowed to return to Louisville on September 5 (Kentucky Derby Day) and “burn the mother….er down,” if city authorities had not charged the officers involved in Taylor’s murder. White nationalist militias announced their plans to come to Louisville to ensure the safety of the city and “aid the police.”
At 3:15 p.m. the NFAC gathered at Moore Park, conducted their weapons inspection and marched to Churchill Downs, arriving shortly after 5:00 p.m. A second group of 1000 Black Lives Matter supporters also marched on Churchill Downs arrived at about the same time. NFAC Commander Grand Master Jay, stated his July 25th statement that the NFAC would return to Louisville and "burn this motherf...er down," was never intended to literally “set buildings on fire.” Commander GMJ said the burning was to the “wallets” of the bourbon and bluegrass elites who lost an estimated $400 million dollars in revenue when spectator attendance was cancelled for the Kentucky Derby horse race.
More importantly, Commander GMJ accused city officials of changing the march arrangements at the last minute by having NFAC and BLM supporters in the same area at the same time. The Commander said the change subjected NFAC to undue risk if other “undisciplined and emotional protesters" encountered difficulties and violence erupted. CMJ then announced that NFAC would vacate the area. They left Churchill Downs before 6:30. p.m.
Not only did NFAC suggest they were “set-up” but so did a third group of 75 Black Lives Matter protesters who gathered earlier in the day at 1:00 p.m. at Jefferson Park. They were confronted by close to 250-armed white militia calling themselves the “Angry Vikings,” who marched from Cox Park, waving American flags and a Trump banner. The white militia confronted Black Lives Matter forces with their rifles and demanded they leave the park.
The intense provocation went on for an hour with the armed white supremists outnumbering BLM supporters who stood their ground. The police, who said they had planned for the September 5 protests for three months were nowhere to be seen. The LPD had all the group's protest schedules, routes and locations but mysteriously disappeared for an hour from Downtown Louisville.
Later on, BLM protesters bitterly protested the police “set-up” that left them exposed like sitting ducks at Jefferson Park. The LPD claimed they were “monitoring events” and didn’t want to intervene because their presence might have further inflamed events. Bullshit! One only has to view the on-line videos of the intense faceoff to see how close this confrontation came to exploding.
Across America’s settler state, political and street battles are intensifying. People are getting killed, and there will likely be more to come before or on November 3, 2020, for the general elections. If things are starting to feel like the country is moving toward a civil war, it’s because Trump is accelerating his confrontationist White Nationalist agenda as a last-ditch effort to win the elections. Moreover, two critical developments have totally unsettled American Empire’s ruling class.
The first issue was the unprecedented outbreak of the largest protest movement in American history that brought 15 million Black-led protesters in the streets. Ironically, it wasn’t the number of Black protestors that unnerved Babylon, it was all the whites who crossed over to condemn police brutality and the carceral state writ large. This was the political equivalent of Bacon’s Rebellion in 1675, led by Black and white free and bond laborers against Virginia’s colonial government. More than any other event of its time, Bacon's Rebellion led to slavery’s legalization and the invention of the "white race" as a social construct.
The second bombshell was the unexpected emergence of 1000 armed Black militia of the “Not Fucking Around Coalition” at Stone Mountain, Georgia on July 4. The NFAC march shocked the country and ignited the growth of open carry Black militia groups across the country.
At the height of the Black Panther Party’s power in the 1960’s no one ever saw this kind of fire power and discipline in the hands of Black Nationalists demanding a Black state and calling out the Klan on their most venerated soil. Controversial and polarizing, they most certainly are, but the Not Fucking Around Coalition has altered the political and emotional calculus on the Black street.
The maelstrom of continuing Black Lives Matter protests and the Black militia movement has provoked an equally unprecedented reactionary backlash. More than eighteen thousand National Guard troops have been deployed to stamp out the BLM 2.0 rebellion. Slightly more eleven thousand people have been arrested, and 16 people, mostly African-American men, have been killed. Curfews were imposed in at least thirty-two cities. Secret national police have appeared on America's streets, wearing no insignia and spiriting protesters away to undisclosed detainment locations without being charged. By executive fiat, "Democratic Party-run" cities not cracking down on protests will be designated as "anarchist jurisdictions," and will be defunded by the federal government.
Amid all these developments, increasingly one hears whispers that civil war is about to be visited on America's settler state. Since Donald Trump announced his intention to run for president in 2015, he has relentlessly orchestrated and personally led a high-octane race-based cultural war. It's purpose was to galvanize a White Nationalists social base as the fascist mob supporting him as a mythic demi-god leading a future one-party state.
The "Apprentice" has one problem: he was also mobilized a larger multi-racial majority that is now led by Black people. In Rochester, Portland, Louisville, and even the lakeshore enclave of Kenosha, Wisconsin, he is sewing the seeds of American Empire's ultimate destruction.
As New Black Nationalists, we continue to assert that the 2020's will witness American Empire spiraling into an existential crisis in which the government will teeter on the brink of collapse. Trump's impeachment; the COVID-19 crisis that has taken 187,000 lives; the loss of eleven million jobs; the abject failure of virtually every major national institution; and the sharpening political polarization marks America's entry into a pre-revolutionary phase.
Civil war: we're not there yet. But if it's civil war they want: let it come.