Today in Dublin, there were three solidarity protests with the Black Lives Matter movement in the United (Disunited) States. That’s three in just this one city, and there were other demonstrations taking place in Cork, Galway, Derry, Belfast, Limerick, Waterford, Drogheda and Cavan. In Dublin all the demonstrations started at three in the afternoon, and so I found myself outside the Ambassadors residence for the second time in a week where a crowd of about sixty people gathered to do some chanting and listen to talks on an open mic provided by the organisers.
At that same time there was a demonstration outside the GPO at the spire, and there appears to have been a sizable crowd at the US Embassy in Ballsbridge.
The message is the same – Black Lives Matter, the world is watching closely where this President and the heavily militarised state go next. Last week he ended up in a bunker whilst imposing curfews on the population and generally threatening all protesters with the full might of the law. “Political power grows out of a barrel of a gun” to begin with, that’s usually how republics get formed. This President might be a white supremacist thug, but thankfully there are many people in that massive big country that are not, and they are the people who have flocked out in their millions to say ‘Enough is Enough’. By their actions they are also saying, that whilst there is no justice, there will be no peace. What happens next is the massive question that hangs over the world. Is the tactic of shooting people back into their homes going to continue? Whatever about the impeachment hearings, now the actions and decisions of this white supremacist have called into question the legitimacy of this president. If you rely on guns to maintain order you’re already lost as the leader of the ‘free’ world. When the end comes for such men, none shall mourn.
It appears like the great american adventure is at a fork in the road. Susan Neinman, a moral philosopher had this to say back in September when she spoke with Alex Clarke at the Guardian
What African Americans are currently withstanding – radically poorer health outcomes and inequality in education, judicial and incarceration systems, and police brutality directed predominantly towards young black men – is, Neiman argues, part and parcel of white America’s inability to face up to its past, and to the crimes it has committed against African Americans and Native Americans. Only, she says, when you decide to be and adult can you begin to effect change. [Nazism, slavery, empire: Can countries Learn from National Evil, Guardian Review, Interview, 13.09.2019]
At at time when she is talking about America being an adult, we have a petulant spoiled child in the white house. What the thousands who took part on this island are saying is that we stand with the people in the streets who are seeking justice. We are urging the United States to grip the nettle of its past. It is only possible to have this reckoning, once the oppressor is grown up enough to admit to the atrocities of the past. That past is integral to how that empire came into being, built as it was on the broken bodies of slaves and indigenous people.
James Baldwin promised The Fire Next Time [published in 1963] is this it? What he also wrote in that great book was this and it feels particularly prescient, wise and apt to close
‘ Hatred, which could destroy so much, never failed to destroy the man who hated, and this was an immutable law.’