Culture Education Repression

The Racist and Imperialist History of the Police

By Duncan Riley and Marco Dávila

The great problem with the police is not the supposed “bad apples,” rather, it is that the police exist as an institution to maintain a political and economic order that is profoundly racist and unequal. The first police departments in the United States were founded during the 19th century, growing out of two primary sources. In the large cities of the north, during the epoch of emerging industrialization and the subsequent massive increase in inequality, the big capitalists needed a regular and organized force to watch for signs of discontent and repress strikes. On the other hand, on the plantations of the south, slave owners needed patrols and guards to control their slaves and chase after runaways. As such, from these two economic necessities of the ruling class, distinct but interrelated, the police were born (Vitale, 37-39; 45-46). Considering this, when we talk about the police it is impossible to separate them from their role as the violent enforcers of the hierarchies of race and class in current capitalist society.

Culture Repression Solidarity

Unpacking the Chicago race war during the George Floyd protests

By Maya Zazhil Fernández

As Chicago makes international headlines with its images and stories of extreme turmoil, it is imperative that we examine the history and context that led to the events which transpired from May 30–June 1, 2020 in the historically Mexican neighborhoods of Pilsen, Little Village, Back of the Yards, and in Cicero, IL. While it may be painful to acknowledge that members of our community took part in the violence we’ve been experiencing the past few days, we must always remember that the central culprit has and will always be white supremacy and all of the systems that support, protect, and perpetuate it. We must also all step up to the task of unpacking what happened, who was impacted, who benefited and why it was able to occur in the manner it did.

Repression Solidarity

A worldwide uprising condemns the police murder of George Floyd

In this number of El Enemigo Común, we offer some commentaries on the rebellions in the world against the police murder of George Floyd and a list of gains made during the first 20 days of struggle edited and fact checked by @Paul Lazear.

Autonomy Indigenous Land Defense

Indigenous Nahua Community Removes Politician, Forms Self-Government to Defend its River

On January 19, the Indigenous Nahua community of Zacatepec, Puebla, removed its mayor and replaced him with a Council of Elders in response to his failure to stop a toxic drainage system that is part of the Mexican government’s neoliberal Morelos Integral Project. Shortly thereafter, on January 24, Miguel López Vega, the community’s representative to the National Indigenous Congress and its Indigenous Governing Council, was detained moments after delivering official notice of this action to the state government, setting off protests and highway blockades that won his release five days later. The following day, January 30, the municipal government temporarily suspended construction of the drainage system.

Text and photos by Daliri Oropeza, Pie de Página
Translated by Scott Campbell

While forming lines, residents of the Nahua community of Santa María Zacatepec look at one another. They smile. They check who is in each line, which one is the longest.

Facing the threat of a toxic drainage system emptying into the Metlapanapa River, they have decided to practice self-determination and choose their own government according to their own internal system.

Prisoners Repression Solidarity

Summary review of SOLITARY by Albert Woodfox

Albert Woodfox: Solitary: Unbroken by four decades in solitary confinement. My story of transformation and hope. New York City: Grove Press. 2019.

Summary review by Carolina Saldaña (A brief synopsis of the full Spanish language article)

Albert Woodfox got out of prison on February 19, 2016, after spending 43 years in isolation, that is to say, in solitary confinement.  Robert Hillary King had been released on February 8, 2001, and Herman Wallace on October 1, 2013, three days before he died of cancer. They are known as the “Angola 3” for organizing a chapter of the Black Panthers in a prison widely recognized as the most violent in the country on a former slave plantation in Angola, Louisiana, which continued to function in much the same way.

In this autobiographical work, Albert Woodfox tells us of his childhood and youth in the Black community of Tremé in New Orleans, his incarceration in Angola and other prisons, his dawning consciousness, and the work of the Angola 3. He writes about what they achieved in conditions of torture and white supremacy as well as the support they received from the New Orleans Panthers and others. At every step of the way, he reflects on his anxieties, hits and misses, and what he learned.