On Police Brutality

by Gazelle Mba & Author 2 & Author 3 


Fig.1 - Trulli, Puglia, Italy.

It is with a certain degree of hesitation and humility that we begin this statement on COVID-19. A feeling of restraint initially followed our decision to include our writing in the throng of words analysing, dissecting, encouraging action in relation to the virus and its social effects.

Black struggle is international.

At the end of May, a black man was lynched. Before his brutal murder at the hands of a white police officer, a black woman was shot by cops in her own home, and before that another black man was killed by white vigilantes and before that another, and another and another and another

Black death travels. In the time it takes to get from then to now, millions of people around the world have shared news and videos of these killings, their names have fallen from the callous lips of politicians and other enemies of the people. The crows have circled and rain has fallen.

Amidst the pandemic, an abundance of grief.

‘Out of the inhuman black ghettos of American cities, out of the cotton plantations of the South, comes this record of mass slayings on the basis of race, of lives deliberately warped and distorted by the willful creations of conditions making for premature death, poverty and disease. It is a record that calls aloud for condemnation, for an end to these terrible injustices that constitute a daily and ever-increasing violation. We charge genocide.’

We charge genocide.

If we saw each death as a piece of thread, the warp and weft of which spanned our whole globe and gathered it into a bloody tapestry or monstrous net. If we examined the individual threads, studied the nature of their attachments, we would find that to unravel one means to unravel them all.

Another unravelling has begun. Attacks on black lives by fascist and imperialist powers have been met with a fearsome response. The people have said ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. The great and terrible beauty of black resistance has not been confined to the shores of North America, but has spread, across the atlantic, across the pacific. In Mali, Kenya, Sudan, West Papua.  Elsewhere, monuments to slavery and empire, set alight and thrown in the sea where they belong.

At the same time, trans and queer people have been murdered, gendered violence and sexual assault run rampant in our communities. Racist exploitation and violence, the gender binary and misogyny are inextricable and co constitutive. Liberation is impossible without a robust feminist, queer and trans anti-colonial and anti-imperial global movement.

A line has been drawn in the sand. On one end of the line lies abolition, the future. Abolition not solely as policy decisions, or the reworking of budgets that contain wealth culled through the exploitation of workers from the global north and global south by multinational corporations in order to build and expand on occupied lands, but also as the toppling of the epistemological and material foundations of western civilizations colonial projects and its seemingly endless desire to destroy those whom it considers inimical to aims. Abolition as the affirmation of life in all its forms, as the abiding presence of care, as a horizon of as yet unimagined and unarticulated possibility. It is clear that we must burn down all remnants of the slave ship, the plantation, the enclosures of empire wherever they are found, be it in places we learn or work, in prisons and other forms of incarceration and confinement, hospitals and unsafe and expensive housing. But abolition also means reworking the way we live, so that we can build relations not based on vengeance and domination, but on revolutionary love.

In the past month, we have been thinking aloud, alone and together, about what potentials the present holds for the creation of a livable world and future. Could we or someone else someday live through the end of Africom? The end of borders? The end of imperial warfare? The end of hunger, homelessness and poverty?

Thinking and working together requires making space for the unknown, alert to the ever-present ‘if’, ‘but’ or question, while understanding the many ways uncertainty can be useful.

To continue thinking with you, we have compiled three texts that speak for tomorrow’s world.

They and we say:


Gazelle Mba f all kinds. Be it the U.S. state department trying its luck once again at violently deposing Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro (clearing the way for American fossil fuel interests), or the World Bank that continues to bang the drum of the deadly aid-for-austerity doctrine in the world’s most exploited nations –  this crisis calls for dogged scrutiny on those who seek to drain yet more resources and cheap labour from the global poor.

Nommo is a magazine dedicated to anti-colonial and anti-imperialist internationalism of the past, present and future.

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