FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE April 22, 2022
The callous execution of Congolese immigrant Patrick Lyoya by a Grand Rapids police officer in Michigan demonstrates the domestic colonial situation African people are faced with inside the U.S. settler state. Lyoya’s case in particular is an example of both the violence the U.S. empire perpetrates against African people domestically as well as abroad. Lyoya had fled the violence of U.S. neocolonialism in the Democratic Republic of the Congo only to be met with the racist and reinforced U.S. police.
Just days after Lyoya was murdered by Michigan police, Stockton, California police released body cam footage of them shooting 30 times into the vehicle of 54 year old Black grandmother, Tracy Gaeta, killing her instantly. This ongoing pattern of police murder is a blatant disregard for the lives of African people; state-sanctioned violence.
Over the course of two years following the high profile murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, U.S. white supremacist capitalilsm has worked profusely to maintain its colonial order against African people. By capturing the militancy of movements that were sparked by police murders the ruling class has steered the people’s justified indignation away from radical transformative solutions.
Both the Democratic and Republican parties have maintained their position of calling for more police even as cops continue to kill Black people frequently and disproportionately. This is a clear indication of where these parties align and of the police state they wish to maintain. The Biden administration recently proposed a budget that would allocate at least $30 billion in new police spending.
Since Biden has become president several cities across the country have had a boost in their police budgets. As repression against colonized people increases domestically it also increases internationally, with the administration also requesting a new $813 billion dollars in spending for the Pentagon.
In Washington D.C., the capital city of US settler colonialism, Mayor Muriel Bowser has moved to beef up the Metropolitan police force. Bowser has proposed the MPD increase its budget to add on 347 additional officers to their force. Bowser links increase in police with a decrease in crime. This assertion by Bowser is faulty, because police by and large arrive after a crime, rarely before crimes are committed and no correlation can be made between larger police forces and the prevention of crime. The move by Bowser to bolster police units is actually a move to keep the Black working-class (African people) in a position of powerlessness and to continue allowing us as a whole to be subjects of the state rather than a people with the human right to self-determination.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams has proposed a $98 billion dollar budget for NYPD. The NYPD has 35,000 sworn officers, yet none of those officers could prevent or track down the suspect of the recent Brooklyn subway shooting. It was in fact a civilian who spotted him on his store's private security cameras before flagging down officers to apprehend the gunman. Both Mayor Adams and Mayor Bowser serve the interest of the establishment elite class of this society. Therefore, they fund their armed agents to maintain the colonial subjugation of poor and working-class African people.
As police budgets increase so will the brutal repression of colonized people. Acts of state-sanctioned violence against working-class Black people will continue in the U.S. as long as our fight is kept within a framework of appealing to the state, rather than fighting for power.
Pan-African Community Action (PACA) opposes the ramping up of local police agencies. PACA believes that the people’s money paid in taxes should be under democratic community control. We value an approach that centers poor working-class Black people to have power in determining how public safety should look for our community.
The fight of colonized people must be one for power, not for begging the state to defund its armed agents or to reform its ways of enacting capitalist oppression. In order to erode the ongoing genocidal process the U.S. is inflicting upon African people we must organize for control over our communities and a central component in having autonomy is community control of the police. Fundamentally transforming the community towards a dual power that is accountable to organized poor and working-class people. Once the most impacted sectors of our community are organized and in control of how public safety functions, we will continue our protracted struggle for power over other institutions.