Black Activists Demand Biden Administration
Abolish 1033 Police Militarization Program
Black Alliance for Peace
(February 1, 2021) — The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) calls US President Joe Biden’s executive order to alter the Department of Defense’s 1033 program because of his supposed commitment to racial justice an affront. The gratuitous militarization of police forces across the United States through this program has helped to turn these agencies into brutal weapons of repression. Therefore, nothing short of complete abolition of this program is acceptable.
BAP has demanded abolition of the 1033 program since BAP’s 2017 founding. It now asks the public to sign a petition demanding the Biden administration and Democrats commit to abolishing this racist and brutal program.
“Here in the belly of the Deep South beast, we understand the harsh and irreversible effects measures like 1033 have had and continue to have on those who languish in poverty, forced to live in shanty shacks and tenements,” according to Jaribu Hill, executive director of the Mississippi Workers’ Center for Human Rights and member of BAP’s national Coordinating Committee. “Our communities are under siege and on dusty back roads, we are accosted and brutalized by the military militia known as the police.”
“Weapons of destruction are used to terrorize our people,” Hill said. “Therefore, we cannot accept band-aid solutions to institutionalized terror under the color of law.”
The National Defense Authorization Act of 1997 that then-Senator Joe Biden (D-Delaware) supported and President Bill Clinton (D) signed into law created the 1033 program by expanding on a previous program.
Responding to outrage about the heavily militarized police response to protests after Michael Brown’s murder in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama enacted a policy in 2015 that appeared to limit the program, but made little difference in any department’s ability to acquire and use military weapons.
Even with the scale-back, the Obama administration managed to transfer a $459 million arsenal to police agencies. In fact, during the Obama administration, the 1033 program expanded 24-fold (2,400%).
President Donald Trump came into office and reversed Obama’s cosmetic changes. What the Biden administration is now proposing by reversing Trump’s reversal to the Obama policy is not enough, as reverting the policy to Obama’s altered version is not justice.
BAP National Organizer Ajamu Baraka says what is needed is “demilitarization and an end to the police occupation of colonized Black and Brown communities.”
The Biden administration and Democrats do not admit this program is the latest form of militarized repression deployed to control and contain the Black and Brown colonized and working classes of the United States. If Biden and Democrats were really committed to racial justice, they would support abolition of the 1033 program.
Copyright © 2021 Black Alliance for Peace, All rights reserved.
Biden’s First 48 Hours Affirm US ‘Greatest Purveyor of Violence’
(January 24, 2021) — Every year, we fight a battle on the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
On one side is the US state. Forced to offer a concession to the middle-class elements of the Black civil-rights movement in the form of a birthday observance for Dr. King, the state has suspended Dr. King from the movement that produced him and reduced his legacy to banal statements made by Black misleaders like Barack Obama, which only reinforce the fantasy of US exceptionalism.
On the other side is the Black resistance movement. We counter with a Dr. King in transition, one who was being influenced by the analysis and politics of the radical Black Liberation Movement that was grounded in the realities of the urban and rural working classes and poor.
In this annual ideological battle, those of us attempting to define Dr. King’s legacy highlight one of his statements because of its poignance and continued relevance: He said the United States is the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world.”
After elements of the Black Liberation Movement (the real BLM) spent years opposing the Vietnam War and US imperialism in general, Dr. King finally broke with the pro-war Democrats, embraced an economic-justice program with the Poor People’s Campaign, and openly questioned the viability and ethical legitimacy of capitalism.
And in making that declaration during a Democratic Party administration, liberal Democrats, members of the civil-rights community, the press and almost every major institution in US society — including most faith-based organizations — turned against Dr. King. This pivot in Dr. King’s politics likely cost him his life. When he was murdered, polls showed Dr. King was one of the most unpopular people in the country.
Liberals hated Dr. King then — as they likely would have hated him today if he was still alive — because he exposed their hypocrisy and collaboration with state violence. Today, they probably would condemn or most likely attempt to ignore Dr. King, who we can imagine would point out how in less than 48 hours after the Biden administration assumed powers:
1) more US troops were deployed to Syria,
2) NATO announced plans to expand its presence in Iraq, and
3) the violent US campaign to undermine the right of the Venezuelan people to determine their political leadership, free from external interference, is being continued.
We speculate Dr. King would have to ask the question about how one can claim to be opposed to something one calls “fascism” in the United States, while supporting fascist political movements in Bolivia, Honduras, the right-wing opposition in Venezuela, the Saudi attack on Yemen, and the brutal occupation of Palestinians — just to name a few.
King likely would raise those questions today. But, in reality, he also supplied the answer close to 54 years ago:
“I am convinced that if we are to get on the right side of the world revolution, we as a nation must undergo a radical revolution of values. We must rapidly begin the shift from a thing-oriented society to a person-oriented society. When machines and computers, profit motives and property rights, are considered more important than people, the giant triplets of racism, extreme materialism, and militarism are incapable of being conquered.”
That radical revolution of values did not happen. The spiritual rot at the center of US culture only worsened with the politics and policies of the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations. We are compelled to act because we are certain these policies will continue with the Biden administration.
The Black Alliance for Peace (BAP) is adamant we will not allow the US peace and anti-imperialist movement to disarm and demobilize ever again. We are not confused. We know the legitimation crisis of neoliberal capitalism will deepen and the reliance on force and repression—including ideological repression—will increase.
We are preparing and urge you to do so, too. Peace and human rights are threats to the rulers. But they are our only means for survival, and so, we must be prepared to fight for them.
Posted in accordance with Title 17, Section 107, US Code, for noncommercial, educational purposes.