|Photo of Twitter user @eyeFLOODpanties taken by Robert Cohen|
First, for the background details of what's happening in Ferguson, I'd recommend the article Ferguson is Fighting Back from Socialist Worker, which, unlike corporate media outlets, recounts the story from the perspective of the oppressed rather than the militarized police that have been terrorizing a small town for over a week. In particular, it is worth considering this quote from the article:
"Eavesdropping on questions asked of residents by the mainstream media was instructive. Again and again, reporters wanted to know about "looting" and "violence," entirely missing the main point of what was unfolding before them: every resident, if asked, could have told them about the routine police violence they've experienced." --Socialist Worker: Ferguson is Fighting Back
Instructive indeed. That framing is important to the questions I want to consider about the way this is not merely a war waged materially but waged with symbols. This is a battle of words, and corporate media has sided with state terrorism in this battle.
In the interests of contextualization, it's worth taking note of a few other stories about images, image sharing, and the desperate iconoclasm of the militarized police. From Tech Dirt comes a story of a police campaign in Washington to (incorrectly... illegally?) get people to stop filming them with a remarkable statement about responding to smartphones the way they respond to guns; from Z-Net comes a story about Apple's new patent to kill cell phones automatically, because hey, another week, another instance of Apple or Microsoft furthering corporate fascism, and lastly, from Medium, comes an excellent analysis of the way Ferguson represents proof positive of the dangers of a non-neutral Net, as Facebook algorithms systematically sank information about the atrocities being committed against civilians while Twitter sank the #ferguson tag in the US despite it trending globally.
If you want to get involved in pushing back against the militarization of police and the state terrorism on display in Ferguson, here is a list of resources (updated 4:08 Eastern 8/19):
- This Tumblr post provides a list of ways to get involved and spread information
- This petition requests that Obama actually do something leftist for once in his life and work towards enacting federal anti-police laws.
- Similarly, this petition involves having police wear cameras, and while it's on the ridiculous pseudo-democratic site We The People you might want to sign that too. You know, in case you want to get a limp, Good Liberal, noncommittal placatory response from some aide you've never heard of.
- This petition, in contrast, involves demanding a special prosecutor to investigate Mike Brown's death, as the current prosecutor has demonstrated bias in favor of the police.
- And this bill would put a stop to the military's sale of equipment to police. Keep an eye on this; it'll be worth raising some hell with our representatives over this.
- Anti-State STL is raising money for bail for the Ferguson protesters. I have no idea how I'd begin going about vetting this organization, but this is a way to get involved.
- Similarly, no vetting here but someone has set up a wishlist for getting supplies to the protesters via Amazon.
- Here's yet another post with various other links that might be useful to you (there is some overlap between this and other lists obviously)
- iwriteaboutfeminism has been covering the events in Ferguson extensively, largely by pulling from Twitter, which is useful for those of who who, like me, find the flood of information on Twitter to be utterly overwhelming.
- Twitter user @SheSeauxSaddity has been tweeting information about how you can get involved, and among other things seems to be leading an effort to sell t-shirts to raise money for the protesters under the name #OperationHelporHush
- As school has been cancelled in Ferguson, a Ferguson teacher put together a funding site to get food to the kids who depend on school lunches.
- Feel like supporting the community at large? The Ferguson Youth Initiative is one place to start.
- And perhaps most importantly, the gofundme campaign for the Brown family is still live. Although they've reached their goal, I can't imagine that they WON'T have a use for more money, and in a country where the law is determined by the free market by way of lawyer fees, justice might very well depend on every extra bit of cash the family can get.
With all that said, let's get to the secondary content of this post. Let's talk about the man in the photo at the top of this post, that photo, and its use.
I want to frame this discussion with these three tweets:
Please consider not purchasing shirts of my image. None of that money is going to me or the #MikeBrown family.
— Your New Friend (@eyeFLOODpanties) August 15, 2014
Salute to @eyeFLOODpanties for being practical AND political. We don't waste lives or chips. That shot of him is EVERYTHING.
— Princess of Zamunda (@Artemis_J) August 15, 2014
Yo @eyeFLOODpanties ----> the new Captain America. I thought of this when I saw your pic. #Ferguson pic.twitter.com/2si2t8V4k5
— dj spydermann (@djspydermann) August 15, 2014