This looks to be the start of a running list, in the coming days, of things that recent events have proven true:
1.) Racism + militarized policing = nascent fascism.
I know: it's the much-ridiculed f-word, something that reasonable Americans are taught cannot happen here in our ostensible democracy. Problem is, though, that it is already happening to selected groups of Americans nationwide.
Consider fascism's necessary ingredients:
- A chilling national fear about the safety and future of the "homeland."
- Sinking national self-esteem.
- Deprivation and desperation in a nation of people who believe they deserve better.
- Designated scapegoats for the threats of crime, treason, and national ruin.
- Military-style police who target these scapegoated groups – both in the communities where many of them live and in their movements in the larger society – and who enforce upon these groups a daily regime of random street stops, questionings, beatings, arrests, payoffs, assaults, occasional murders, and brazen judicial injustice.
- A colossal national project of incarceration that warehouses these groups in wild disproportion to their numbers.
That is the time-honored recipe. And that is what we now have in selected areas and populations of the United States. Call it Stop and Frisk, call it broken windows policing, call it immigration enforcement. Call it what you like. But see it for what it is. It has already regimented the daily lives of millions of poor Americans of color for years. And, one quiet act of "national security" and "public safety" at a time, it is making itself at home in every community across the country.
That is why the defiantly non-quiet response to the atrocities in Ferguson and Staten Island, both among the long-targeted and the recently-enraged, is a good thing for every neighbor on every street in America.