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United States of Emergency: from Ferguson to Jalalabad

For over 100 days, a black-led movement for justice in Ferguson, Missouri, has come out every single night in response to the murder of Michael Brown. Today, 400 National Guard troop members stand ready—under the “state of emergency” banner— as a militarized force ready to repress and intimidate a peaceful resistance movement.

This “state of emergency” has allowed for the Department of Homeland Security to spend over $3 million dollars in the St. Louis area through the Urban Area Security Initiative. These millions have allowed more than 1,000 officers to undergo some 5,000 hours in crowd control trainings, and have outfitted these officers with $172,000 worth in riot gear, tear gas, grenades, pepper balls and plastic handcuffs (Democracy Now!)

The people of Ferguson have given the United States a model for how community should respond to state sanctioned murder: by naming police violence and state repression as our real state of emergency.

Michael Brown. Akai Gurley. Eric Garner. Alan Blueford. The shooting of an unarmed young black person every 28 hours by law enforcement or security; the criminalization and state violence against black and brown young people, immigrant and poor people, queer and trans people has normalized the power of police, the justice system: our real state of emergency.

As an anti-war and anti-militarist movement, we know this normalization of death runs parallel to the mentality of militarism that has facilitated the mass murder of Afghans, Iraqis and other occupied people. When domination degrades the value of human life: our real state of emergency.

This past weekend Obama extended US combat missions in Afghanistan, while the new Afghan President Ghani lifted the ban on night raids. Night raids are similar to SWAT raids across the US—happening 100 times a day across the country. From night raid testimony in Jalalabad, Afghanistan: “A few minutes and a few bullets were enough to turn Abdullah from an 11th grade student with dreams of becoming a translator to the despairing head of a family of more than a dozen”: our real state of emergency.

War Resisters League knows that the justice system and its Grand Juries will never provide a solution to these real states of emergency: militarization, policing, repression, mass murder. Movement-building is how we end this. And how we begin anew. See you on the streets! http://fergusonresponse.tumblr.com/

War Resisters League - National Office