I’m here at the Left Forum conference of 2015 in New York City at John Jay College.
This second workshop at the Left Forum was very different from the last in that the speakers were professional organizers, one a self-described old Black Panther and the other a white man from Kalamazoo with a southern black accent.
The Black Panther obviously hated cops and hopes to see them gone and replaced with community peacekeepers who will peacefully resolve community disputes which he believes encompasses the majority of issues in which police are involved.
He wants peace and liberation zones set up without cops. They would be run by the residents which would of necessity include gang members and Black Panthers. He told the story of one community problem with a drug dealer that was resolved through community mediation. The result was that the community drug dealer is now the community barbecuer. He’s also still a drug dealer.
He quoted Malcolm X, Ché Guevara and he was an admirer of anyone interested in eliminating the military and the police.
Both speakers see the police as killers and both want the police force disbanded. The police, they say, were only formed to protect royalty originally. Mostly what they do now is combat domestic abuse and the community can handle that.
Their big idea was to have community monitors control the federal funds going to police through a monitoring and reporting procedure.
They are looking for an alternative to prison. They see prison as unnecessary and something that only makes people worse.
We have destroyed the planet and it makes it impossible to live, the Panther said, adding that seniors don’t have water.
They hope to get rid of capitalism with creative technologies such as digital fabrication. People will be able to duplicate anything without the capitalists making a profit.
They have pondered the question – how do you make revolution irresistible? They concluded that it’s not only through anger, it’s by building a framework in every neighborhood.
They did say police are people too though they also believe police declared war on the people.
The friend who went with me to the conference talked about the need to get back to God to which the Panther replied something to the effect, You come here to the Left Forum and talk about God?
My friend ran into the Panther at the booksellers’ exhibit afterwards and got a hug from him. He said he also believed in God.