Sprout Distro

Ferguson and Further


Ferguson and Further

Over the past two weeks, there has been a considerable amount of discussion about what has been happening in Ferguson in response to the police killing of Michael Brown. In many ways, the act is representative of how police function everywhere, both in terms of its daily brutality and in the brutal response to those who rebelled against the police that occupy their neighborhoods.

Among the many essays that have been written on Ferguson, two pieces by Crimethinc stand out in their discussion of the events. The piece “What They Mean When They Say Peace” does an excellent job of analyzing the authorities appeals for “peace” on the streets:

“This is the same narrative we always hear from the authorities. First, we must submit to their control; then they will address our concerns. All the problems we face, they insist, are caused by our refusal to cooperate. This argument sounds most persuasive when it is dressed up in the rhetoric of democracy: those are “our” laws we should shut up and obey—“our” cops who are shooting and gassing us—“our” politicians and leaders begging us to return to business as usual. But to return to business as usual is to step daintily over the bodies of countless Michael Browns, consigning them to the cemetery and oblivion.

Governor Nixon’s peace is what happens after people have been forcefully pacified. His justice is whatever it takes to hoodwink us into accepting peace on those terms—petitions that go directly into the recycle bin, lawsuits that never produce more than a slap on the wrist for the killers in uniform, campaigns that may advance the career of an activist or politician but will never put an end to the killing of unarmed black men.”

In another essay, called “The Making of ‘Outside Agitators’” the authors explore the way in which the police and other authorities use the rhetoric of “outside agitators” to control militancy and limit rebelliousness:

“…we have to understand the deployment of rhetoric about “outside agitators” as a military operation intended to isolate and target an enemy: divide and conquer. The enemy that the authorities are aiming at is predominantly black and brown, but it is not just a specific social body; it is also an aspect of our humanity, a part of all of us. The ultimate goal of the police is not so much to brutalize and pacify specific individuals as it is to extract rebelliousness itself from the social fabric. They seek to externalize agitation, so anyone who stands up for herself will be seen as an outsider, as deviant and antisocial.”

In the case of Ferguson, rhetoric about “outside agitators” has been used to weaken resistance and bolster calls for the aforementioned.

Beyond these two pieces, a project called “Ferguson and Further” has produced a zine collecting early anarchist accounts and perspectives on what happened in Ferguson, as well as posters. In addition, the project has collected a number of zines published on anti-police rebellions over the past ten years or so.