[Two hour archived video of the protest action and police response in Berkeley on Saturday. There was a similar protest and police response last night as well. This video can be difficult and frustrating to watch because of poor lighting and frequent hand-held shakiness, but it gives an idea of what was going on and it gives the lie to the nearly universal media premise that protesters somehow "become violent." It is the police who unleash violence on non-violent protesters.]
Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream
Thousands gather in Berkeley, California, take it to the streets, and express their displeasure with the lack of justice in this country. Police hunker down at The Fort (the Berkeley police station.) Demonstrators call police "cowards; murderers!" Police react with violence.
Concerned Officials say "We need a conversation about race...."
We need more than a "conversation" in the wake of the civil disobedience these last several months. Much more than a "conversation."
We need the killing to stop.
We need police to cease fire.
That's it. Right there. Non-negotiable. The necessary pre-condition to "talks." Stop the killing.
It's not about black on black or white on white crime. It's about police killing. That's the issue. It's been about police killing all year long.
This is the primary social issue in America -- and it has been for the whole year. It didn't start with Eric Garner and Mike Brown. There had been protests of police killings for years; police killings were averaging around a hundred a month, and it was unacceptable.
Police were almost never held to answer or account at trial for their killings of too often unarmed or mentally ill suspects. They simply killed and killed and killed. Many times, their killings led to protests in the streets that were widely ignored. The police had -- and in many cases still have -- a lock on the media's attention, and whatever they say happened is broadcast as if it were truth and fair and right and just.
But the People have long known otherwise.
They've known about police impunity, police lies, police violence, murder and misconduct for as long as they've been alive.
This year, however, finally, police outrages became the principal social issue in the United States.
And that's led to numerous mass protests and civil disobedience in cities all over the country, some of the initial ones in Albuquerque over police misconduct and killing that had been going on unchecked, even "unnoticed," by city officials for years. "There's nothing wrong here. Albuquerque has the BESTEST police in the whole damn country!"
In many cases, again starting in Albuquerque, the protests have been met with highly inappropriate militarized police -- shooting grenades and gas and rubber bullets at non-violent but angry crowds of citizens and residents who are fed up with police violence and demand that it stop.
There were many, many precursor demonstrations to the widespread protests and persistent civil disobedience Authority is facing now throughout the land. Authority chose not to pay attention. Authority demanded compliance and went about its business of looting, pillaging and killing as if nothing had happened. Authority was deaf to the pleas of the People. Authority was blind to the suffering. Authority had no answer but the back of its hand or a gunshot to the head.
Authority was at war with the People.
This had to stop. Making it stop seemed nigh unto impossible.
But it's not impossible.
And the killing will stop.