A year after the murder of Michael Brown Jr. there are thousands of transformative stories from a compiled list of unheard voices. The Ferguson Uprising will forever remain a genuine historical moment, exemplifying the determination of a marginalized community. A year later, the system has attempted to co-opt the Ferguson movement by making stark comparisons between Ferguson and other movements uplifting Black peoples cries for self-determination in America.
The Ferguson Terrain of the movement is still very much deeply rooted in a confrontational radical theory of change. Black America has moved into a position of discontent with our current status within America.
The dehumanization of black people in this country has spiraled out of control. We are here at the turnbuckle of a very critical moment for the preservation of Black lives. In America, the state has sponsored the genocide of Black Americans through many different mechanisms. The demise of an entire generation of Black people has been deemed acceptable by the mainstream narrative writers.
The Ferguson Uprising vigilantly fought all forms of respectability politics last August. Today, we sit at the helm of a movement that still needs to be pushed in favor of poor underprivileged Black people. The many lessons learned from Ferguson’s unrest should showcase how quickly inter-sectionality without a firm class analysis can spiral out of our reach and begin to imitate the same exact system in which we seek to dethrone.
Since capitalism is the primary function of America, it is impossible to lead a true revolution in this country without an absolute power shift which empowers the poor. The response ushered in by the community after the death of Brown was the most organic Black American revolt of our time. The people that shifted this conversation and created the moment are the dirt poor women and men of St. Louis , Mo.
Today, as the dawn of Brown’s death re-enters into our lives, we must refocus our efforts and re-commit ourselves to the actual fight which brought us here. We must celebrate the individuals of all genders and sexual preferences that fought the occupation of a militarized police force while 365 days later we are virtually struggling to keep the word “fight” alive in this movement. When each and every person in your army is on one accord, fighting for their life the political minutia of the boardroom does not have much room to prosper.
I know for fact the Ferguson Uprising was created on the shoulders and backbones of the most undesired members of our society. The front liners that never stepped one foot inside the safe house when the drama between the police and the community reached its most combustible point. These are the heroes and sheroes that are seldom discussed or remembered. These same human beings are also our front line of defense against this capitalistic system of governance because they are the working class and they have no other option but to fight like hell to break loose from the oppressive bondage of police brutality. The police are the Gestapo for the state and poor people of color are this societies peasants. I worry that currently in this movement for black liberation we are straying away from the true soldiers that are willing to fight like none other for our freedom. We have an obligation to analyze class and the respective privilege attached to its origin in America.
The Black American freedom struggle is deeply attached to all forms of oppression on planet Earth. Our political education efforts must be purposefully connected to a global worldview that will assist people of color worldwide. We can choose to fight and scream for inclusion into the political paradigm of this country or we can align ourselves with the revolutionary principles of oppressed people all over the world. In my opinion, Ferguson represents the shot heard around the world as poor Black people in America fight to push back against the system and henceforth start a modern day revolution.
The science of Black liberation in this country is the alchemy of liberty for the entire world. The media has overly worked to portray poor Black freedom fighters as nothing more than savage looters and petty thieves. I believe these men and women are the most critical members of our family tree. The fact is one brick being launched through a glass window did more than one single ballot being cast prior to Mike Brown’s murder. We can mystify ourselves with any other type of logic but the reality is poor people are the leaders of our Black uprisings. These working class soldiers were fired from their fast food jobs in the name of resistance. The audacity of poor people is the gasoline of this movement and must be valued above anything else. A year later we have a deeper understanding of the system we are battling and we now know that a movement without serious class analysis is not a movement whatsoever. We desire for our efforts to be viewed as more than a contemporary pop culture moment. Over the course of the next year this will only happen if we are capable of adding a true class analysis to our politics.
Tef Poe is a St. Louis activist and recording artist. You can follow him on Twitter @TefPoe