(FinalCall.com) – We cannot allow those in the state of Missouri to divide us in the name of so-called peace when the grand jury drops its decision about Darren Wilson, the White police officer who killed Michael Brown, Jr.
And we should ask this question: Do those calling for peace, really want peace? If so, why are they preparing for war?
Newspapers have published and TV stations have broadcast how much money has been spent militarizing the police. Police have purchased different armaments, tear gas, protective shields, helmets, plastics, handcuffs, and more. It is obvious they are not preparing for peace but for war.
It appears to me if they wanted peace they would be trying to negotiate with the list of legitimate demands that coalitions have issued and openly discuss them, however the authorities dismissed and refused the demands.
The first coalition that issued a list of demands was the Justice for Michael Brown Leadership Coalition whose demands were: We demand that Darren Wilson, the officer involved in the shooting death of Michael Brown be immediately fired from Ferguson police department instead of remaining on paid leave. We demand Darren Wilson be charged and vigorously prosecuted for the murder of Michael Brown. We demand that Missouri Governor, Jay Nelson, under the emergency law clause he issued immediately remove St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert P. McCulloch from the case involving Michael Brown. We call upon the United States Federal Attorney General, Eric Holder and Missouri state Attorney General Chris Koster to investigate the policies and practices of the local municipalities in Saint Louis City, Saint Louis County and other municipalities throughout the state of Missouri that have demonstrated a legacy of racial profiling. Accordingly, we call upon those officials to develop penalties/policies to put an end to those practices. We call for the Missouri State Auditor Tom Schweich to do an audit of the funds of the local municipalities that have demonstrated a history of racial profiling. We demand accountability of how much revenue is being generated from traffic violations and how these funds are being spent. We call for the Ferguson Mayor, James Knowles, and Police Chief Thomas Jackson to immediately resign from their positions of authority and if not we will call upon the people to immediately do a recall of the Mayor of Ferguson. (I am also part of that coalition.)
I recommend strongly that those involved in this struggle identify ways to unify and work together so we can continue to push our struggle in St. Louis as a national struggle against police brutality, police killings and stop police from coming into our communities as if they are hunting young Black men.
I decided to write this article as I watched divisions that have cropped up since we began our protests in the name of justice for the murder of Michael Brown, Jr. As an historian I always look back at what others did in crisis, struggle and battle. Many of us know or have seen documentaries about how West Point studies battle plans of great wars and struggles, some going back a thousand years.
I encourage those seeking to understand our divisions–in many cases fostered by the enemies of our struggle–to study the following excerpt from www.wisegeek.org on “Divide and Conquer” which states: “A divide and conquer strategy, also known as ‘divide and rule strategy’ is often applied in the arenas of politics and sociology. In this strategy, one power breaks another power into smaller, more manageable pieces, and then takes control of those pieces one by one. It generally takes a very strong power to implement such a strategy. In order to successfully break up another power or government, the conqueror must have access to strong political, military, and economic machines.
“Furthermore, in order to maintain power and influence, large governments will often work to keep smaller powers and governments from uniting. In fact, this use of the principles within the divide and conquer strategy is most common. It is much easier to prevent small powers from linking forces than to break them apart once they have aligned.
“Leaders who use a divide and conquer strategy may encourage or foster feuds between smaller powers. This kind of political maneuvering requires a great understanding of the people who are being manipulated. In order to foster feuds, for example, one must understand the political and social histories of the parties intended to take part in the feuds.
“The strategy also includes methods with which to control the funds and resources of the small conquered parties. For example, a powerful leader may encourage a less powerful leader to make unwise financial decisions in order to drain the smaller power’s resources. This is often successful if the leaders of the smaller powers have inflated egos and delusions of grandeur. It is important to note that this form is only effective if the smaller power allows itself to be influenced by the larger power.
“The divide and conquer strategy has been widely used throughout history. Both the Roman Empire and the British Empire played small tribes and groups against one another in order to control their lands and territories. It was used by the Romans when they took Britain, when the British Empire took India, and when the Anglo-Normans took Ireland. A staple political strategy, divide and conquer is still used by many countries today.”
Differences always exist about strategies to be used to move a struggle forward within the same groups. During the civil rights/Black liberation struggle, we differed about our tactics on how we would go forward but many of us maintained a healthy respect for those who would struggle in different ways.
Minister Louis Farrakhan gave me a quote from the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. When some young men met the Honorable Elijah Muhammad in the city of Chicago and asked him, “Mr. Muhammad, will you come out into the streets and fight with us?” The Honorable Elijah Muhammad told them, “No, I will not, but I can teach you how to fight and win.”
The struggle in St. Louis we are involved in is for the thousands who have died as a result of police brutality in communities across America. There is a culture of cover-up in many police departments that protects policemen who wrongfully kill a Black person by criminalizing the victim so the victim will be seen as a menace to society and a Black thug that should have been killed.
This is why the struggle is so important and why we have to fight against division as we move forward to bring an end to these hideous police crimes against the Black community. If we are going to win this battle for our community and all young men threatened by this mentality that exists in these police departments, we must find a way to work out our differences, form alliances and not become divided.
Be careful not to allow the enemies of our struggle for justice to pull you aside, give you money and sponsor your programs thinking your plans will fly in the face of others who are struggling. Communicate with your brothers and sisters and when the enemy tries to isolate you, talk about inclusion of your comrades in the struggle out of respect for their points of view.
Let’s not fall victim to our enemy’s strategy of divide and conquer. Let’s commit to the principled position of united we will stand, and God Willing, we will win.
Akbar Muhammad can be contacted @ [email protected].