What is the State?
The state refers to the legislature -parliamentary control- an the familiar state organs - the courts, the army, police, and the wide of administrative services. Also included in the state is public education, policy-making organisations and such state organs that control the economy, such as the national banks. According to Karl Marx, it is the"centralised State power, with its ubiquitous organs of standing army, police, bureaucracy, clergy, and judicature...[and]parliamentary control.. the national power of capital over labour, a public forced organised for social enslavement". Peter Kropotkin claims, "The State..includes the existence of a power situated above society, but also of a territorial concentration as well as the concentration in the hands of a few of many functions in the life of societies..A whole mechanism of legislation and of policing has to be developed in order to subject some classes to the domination of others". The power vested in it, places the state above and alienated from society, serving the interests of the upper class. It is a structured hierarchy objectively at the service of the top layer of the bourgeoisie or upper class.
The state therefore serves two purposes. One as it's role as an coercive and repressive institution. Which, the police and military being the forefront of those operations. The other role is the organising of bourgeois democracy: through the combination of certain institutions, laws and policies.
As a capitalist state, the state functions to repress worker's power and pursue interests of the upper class and maintain social harmony. As a racist state, the state functions to repress black power, black organisation and movements which can cause social upheaval to the detriment of the power elite, which is for the most part white male. The state of black America, therefore ironically, is due to 400 year old battle...The State vs Black America.
Legislature, Judiciary and the Prison Industrial Complex
Blacks represent 13 percent of the population, but comprised 35 percent of drug arrests, 55 percent of drug convictions, 74 percent of drug prisoners and 50 percent of those waiting on death row. Prosecutors sought the death penalty 70 percent of the time when an African American killed a White person, but only 19 percent of the time when it was reversed. Another telling statistic is the fact that blacks constitute 13 percent of the population, but were 67 percent of the juveniles in adult courts and 77 percent of the juveniles in adult prisons. In the Jena 6 case, Mychal Bell was originally charged with attempted murder, which was later brought down to aggravated second degree battery, with the "dangerous weapon" used in the attack was argued to be his shoes. After legal manoeuvring, rallies, appeals to have him free on bail, Bell was subsequently sent back to juvenile detention for "violating his probation".
Under the infamous Rockefeller Drug Laws it was a 5-year minimum sentence for possessing 500g of powdered cocaine, while the amount of crack needed for a five year sentence is only five grams, a 100:1 ratio. Being that crack cocaine was a cheaper drug to produce and buy, it was popular in the urban ghetto. Which in turn caused Blacks to represent 84 percent of crack cocaine convictions, causing further harm towards the state of Black America.
The Police and Military
The fact that Blacks comprised 17 percent of drivers on the state of Maryland highway, but 70 percent of drivers stopped by police is a powerful example of racial profiling and repressive tactics utilised by the Police on Black America, and Black males in particular. Police brutality, is a term used to describe the excessive use of physical force, assault, verbal attacks, and threats by police officers and other law enforcement officers, and is a term well understood in Black America. There exist numerous documented cases of the police's function as a coercive and repressive institution through the usage of police brutality.
On Halloween (2007) Rayshawn Moreno and other teens hit an unmarked police car with an egg. The Officer grabbed Rashaywn Moreno into the cop car, where he was taken to a secluded, remote area, stripped of his clothes, beaten by the officers and left for dead. While, Sean Bell died in a hail of 50 bullets fired by undercover police officers after hitting an unmarked police car. Likewise, Amadou Diallo, died from the 19 of 41 bullets fired at him because cops mistook his wallet for a gun. In March 1991, Rodney King was brutalised by 3 cops as 23 other officers watched as he was beaten with batons and shocked with stun guns.
Police brutality, in some cases, especially in regards to the urban riots of the 60's, have had to rely on the coercive and repressive functions of the military to quell social upheaval. For example, a patrolman's' attack on Marquetet Frye in Los Angeles led to the Watts Riots. The conflict resulted not only in 34 deaths and $40 million in damage, but also the National Guard being called to control the riots.
This was just a brief example of how a few apparatuses of the state are used in a coercive and repressive way against Black America. It highlighted, legislation specifically targeting black men in the urban ghetto, in the form of Rockefeller Drug Laws. Which resulted in a explosion of inmate population and added to the disproportionate number of African Americans incarcerated. It showed many cases of recent police brutality and harassment centered in the Black Community, which has a psychological effect on it's residents. It also, showed how when the police cannot contain urban unrest, the military(our troops?) are ready to contain the rebellions.
There are many other state organs, such as policy forming organizations, that play a role in the repression of rights of Black America and it's continual exploitation. More also can be said of public education and it's role of perpetuating the cycle of violence in poverty in the black community. For example, 40 percent of African American males are illiterate and research indicates that illiteracy is the biggest predictor of crime, 90 percent of African-American male inmates are illiterate.
All in all, the evidence makes a compelling case that the state is not only against workers, but disproportionately against blacks more so than whites. Thereby, drastically affecting the state of black america in the realms of politics, social, and economics.
Comment by our Legal Correspondent: This article has been published following the recent brutal attack by Police during the arrest of a Ghanaian youth resident in Italy. Police brutality and harassment of the black community has a psychological effect on us. Some of our youth are so angry about the blatant discrimination, racism and disproportionate force used by Law Enforcement Agencies. The police should treat everyone with dignity, courtesy and respect, regardless of their race, gender, religion, age or disability.
Power to the People