The Black People’s Grand Jury is a contest for State power!

Editors note: The following is an excerpt from statement by Chairman Omali Yeshitela at the Black People’s Grand Jury in St Louis, Missouri, January 3-4, 2015. Chairman Yeshitela served as Lead Prosecutor and People’s Advocate at the InPDUM initiated grand jury hearing. In this presentation Chairman explains the role of the State in the grand jury process.

 
Brothers and sisters, as you know from your own experiences here in St. Louis County and as someone able to see what’s happening throughout the world, the matter that we are discussing today around Darren Wilson and the execution of Mike Brown is something that is bigger than St. Louis, bigger than Ferguson.
 
It speaks to the conditions that we experience in this country and in this world today.
It’s not good enough just to come here and pretend that there is no context for what happened to Mike Brown.
 
It is not good enough to come here and pretend that we are not accustomed to white men killing black people and going free for having done that.
 
We’ve seen that historically. We saw that with Emmett Till, didn’t we?
 
We saw that since then with the four children killed in Birmingham, haven’t we? So we’re not looking at something new – it’s historic.
 
But it’s really important for us in this meeting, this session, to understand something about what it is that we are dealing with.
 
Everybody is in motion throughout the country. Everybody is concerned about twelve-year-old children being shot down.
 
In Detroit seven-year-old Aiyana Jones was killed by police in her bed.
 
This is something that is happening throughout the country and it will not serve us to simply come here and talk about how the “police need more training,” or they “don’t understand,”“there needs to be more black police,”“they need to have body cameras” and that kind of thing.
 
That doesn’t get to the essential question.
 
The essential question
 
It might get to the essential question if Ferguson was the only place where we’re looking at the problem.
 
But it’s something that we’re looking at throughout the country–in Cleveland, Ohio, in St. Petersburg, Florida, in Houston and Dallas, Texas–everywhere you look we are facing this situation.
 
So clearly it’s bigger than training and it didn’t start on August 9, 2014.
 
So it seems that when we talk about this process, one of the things we have been clear about is that we want to indict the grand jury process. I think we’ve done that relatively well up to now.
 
We’ve used the same basic evidence, and you will have an opportunity to sit down and discuss this and come up with some kind of determination.
 
We see that there’s something corrupt and tainted about the entire process of the grand jury where the prosecutor put some liars on the jury and let them testify over a matter of days.
 
We are supposed to accept the conclusion that they’ve come to based on lies that allow dismissal of credible testimony and evidence that come from people in our own community–including from one person who was actually with Mike Brown when he was murdered.
 
I think it’s important for us to understand that even as we point to Robert McCulloch, as we should,that doesn’t explain what happened with Eric Garner in New York.
 
McCulloch wasn’t the prosecutor there, where a grand jury ruled that despite video evidence of Garner being choked to death, there would be no indictment. 
 
So McCulloch can’t be blamed for that. He wasn’t there. Something else is happening here.
Something else is at work and I just want to speak to that briefly.
 
The police and the State
You know that yesterday someone testified here before the Black People’s Grand Jury and he gave his opinion that we can’t do without the police.
 
He said if there were no police there would be anarchy.Well, he didn’t produce any evidence of that.
In fact I believe he’d be hard-pressed to show any case where the police had solved a problem in our community.
 
There is an origin of the police! They come from a particular place!
 
Any time society is dividedbetween haves and have-nots, when societies are split for a long time between those who have and those who don’t have, and those who do have, for the most part, get what they got from those who don’t have you have the emergence of this thing that is called the State.
 
The police come from an organization called the State
 
The State is an organization of coercion, of oppression, something that you must have to maintain the relationship between the haves and the have-nots.
 
What is it that keeps a sick person from simply running down to the hospital and hopping into an empty bed? The police are called and they take you away.
 
It might even be Darren Wilson who shows up and takes you away and puts you before another institution of the State called “the courts.”
 
And if the offense was serious enough there’s another institution of the State that they might involve called the “grand jury.”
 
The purpose of the State
 
One can go to the Internet or go to a television and see all the wealth created—concentrated wealth.
 
I don’t mean it was just created today. I’m talking about value that is concentrated from yesterday in what you see today.
 
The cotton that was picked in Mississippi or Arkansas yesterday is concentrated value in the iPad that you have today. 
 
Darren Wilson was an instrument of State power. Robert McCulloch was an instrument of State power.
 
The purpose of the State is to maintain the status quo and protect the interest of those who are in power. That’s what the State is for.
 
When the police kill in our community, it’s not an accident, that’s what the State does.
The State was organized in places like France and Germany and throughout Europe.
 
Even though there are contradictions as to how it came into existence, America is different in this regard.
 
America, like Australia, like Canada, is a place where foreigners came and took the land from the people who were indigenous to this land, millions of whom have disappeared.
 
Genocide was committed against them and the survivors are mostly in concentration camps that they call Indian reservations. Half of Mexico was stolen to be what is now the southwestern states of this country.
 
In America the State was formed by groups of people who organized to kill and control what they call Indians.  It has always had what they call Indians in the cross hairs.
 
That is why even today, these people live on what they call Indian reservations. They have lost all their land and have a life span in the forties.
 
Africans in America are colonized people
 
Bob McCulloch didn’t do that. It was institutionalized and this entity called the State is responsible.
It is the vehicle through which the ruling class demands a monopoly on violence. 
 
There are more than a hundred FBI agents in this St. Louis area now. One would think the FBI would be concerned about the fact that white people gave Darren Wilson at least a million dollars reward for killing Mike Brown.
 
Surely the FBI should investigate that, but I didn’t see that happen. What I saw was the FBI do a sting and arrested three people with the New Black Panther party who were protesting what happened to Mike Brown and what was happening to black people here.
 
You know why? Because Eric Holder and the FBI are a part of the State. And in our case the State has this particular look because black people and so-called Indians and Mexicans are oppressed as a people.
 
We are colonized people and colonialism works and looks the same way wherever it is.
Darren Wilson isn’t the only one who “makes mistakes.” Read your newspaper and see the last time they “made a mistake” in Afghanistan by bombing a wedding or a funeral or something like that, where they are under U.S. occupation.
 
Colonialism is colonialism and we are colonized. The State is an institution of oppression.
We are not fighting against the feelings that white people have about us—racism. It is our responsibility to fight for State power
 
We are fighting colonialism—the power that white people have over us. That power is reflected in the State. So, if we want change what we have to do is move the white people’s State out of our lives, and create a State power of our own.
 
That’s why we have a Black People’s Grand Jury.
 
It is the beginning of the process of seizing State power over our own black people. I think it’s really important for us to understand that. We have a critical mission here today. 
 
We are not just running around demonstrating—and I believe in demonstrating! I’ve spent my life demonstrating and going to jail for demonstrating, but it has to go beyond demonstrating. 
“Demonstrating to what end?” is the question we have to answer.
 
So everybody is demonstrating but this meeting on today has historic significance because it points in the direction toward our responsibility to achieve State power.
 
I didn’t say our right, which is a legal term. I said our responsibility!
 
It’s our responsibility because of Nat Turner—you’ve heard of Nat Turner.
 
What did he do? He led a slave uprising under the slogan, “Strike at night and spare none.”
 
Nat Turner led a slave uprising. They captured Nat Turner and after they captured him they put him on trial for escaping slavery.
 
You heard what I just said, because slavery was legal.
 
And then the judge said, “I find you guilty.” Nat Turner said, “I don’t feel guilty.”
 
“I don’t feel guilty.” So, we are simply following the trail that people like Nat Turner blazed before us.
The slave master makes laws to protect slavery. Whoever heard of a slave master making a law to protect the slave? That’s crazy.
 
The slave master makes the law to protect slavery.
 
It is the responsibility of the slaves to rise up and protect themselves.
 
The Black People’s Grand Jury is the way forward.
 
Uhuru!

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