ACLU Sabotages Police Reform / State Budget Update / White Left Racism

by David Samuels

This column appears in the May 25 – June 1 edition of the Hartford News.

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Community Update
Malloy Concessions Demands, Human Services Cuts
Below are Gov. Dan Malloy’s concession demands.
Union Concession Options
20% Premium Increase
Implement Tiered Deductible $1000 $1500 $2000
Increase Rx Copays
Increase SERS Contribution to 6%
Elimination of Overtime from Pension
10% Increase in Dental Premiums
Emergency Visit Copay Increase for Non-Emergencies ($30 to $300)
Increase Union Employee Contributions for Retiree Health from 3% to 5%
Wage Rate Differential
Elimination of Longevity
Elimination State Funding for Union Work
Salary Reduction
Seven Furlough Days
Accumulated Leave
Elimination of Meal Allowance
Retiree Pension COLA Change (Maximum of 2%)
Medicare Advantage Conversion
Total Potential SEBAC Savings
Fiscal Year 2018: $725.6 million Fiscal Year 2019 $721.6 million
From Department of Mental Health & Addiction Services website: “Additional adjustments to the Governor’s proposed DMHAS budget total $6.7 million and include reductions to Housing Supports and Services, Managed Services System, Legal Services, Connecticut Mental Health Center, General Assistance Managed Care, Young Adult Services, TBI Community Services, Jail Diversion, Discharge and Diversion Services, Home and Community Based Services and Employment Opportunities. These changes reflect annualizing the Deficit Mitigation Plan announced last week with the exception of the reduction to Legal Services.” See the full legislative update  here.
State employees, contact Malloy and your legislators. Tell them we need the Minnesota tax the rich solution here. ;
Gov. Malloy’s office: Phone Number: (860) 566-4840      Toll-Free: (800) 406-1527 TDD: (860) 524-7397
Visit the CT General Assembly website to identify and contact your state representative and senator. Call and email them.

Neoliberalism = Racism 
Gian-Carl Casa of the CT Non-Profit Alliance promoted private providers as an alternative to human services currently provided by the State of Connecticut, during his appearance last Sunday on WFSB’s Face the State. The public sector is the largest employer of Black people and women. Neoliberalism is about privatization and profit.
Pot Calling the Kettle White

Last week I listened to Connecticut Green Party member Mike DeRosa and Hartford Food Not Bombs member Dave Rozza discuss Donald Trump supporters, on DeRosa’s New Focus radio show.
DeRosa and Rozza talked about how Trump used white fear to divide and conquer, demonizing people of color and creating a lily white base of supporters. This was amusing to listen to, considering the fact that the CT Green Party and Food Not Bombs are both overwhelmingly white. Food Not Bombs members also ran the Hartford Independent Media Collective, which included a radio show and website.
I worked with HIMC; the straw for me was a column they wrote where they said that the Tea Party wasn’t racist. The hypocrisy of a group of white people deciding if another group of whites were racist was of course totally lost on them. After I dissed HIMC publicly and made it clear that I had severed my relationship with the group, Rozza called to inform me that they had decided not to work with me anymore. Pure comedy.
I repeatedly confronted Rozza and other group members about their whiteness; Rozza said they were “always discussing” how to attract Black members. Of course there was no discussion about how they could support Black led movements. A few years ago I accepted an offer to organize a Green Party chapter in Hartford’s North End, but quickly changed my mind when I saw the level of racism in the party. Perhaps new party leaders will address this problem.
At least Trump and his supporters are honest about about their racism.
ACLU Contains Communities of Color
ACLU-Connecticut is exploiting the police shooting death of Jayson Negron. David McGuire, the ACLU executive director, is a member of the so-called CT Racial Profiling Prohibition Project; Gov. Dan Malloy stacked the board with political puppets and cops. The board opposes real police reform legislation. The ACLU sold out Black youths in Chicago, who had submitted a strong police reform ordinance, and cut a deal with the city to pass their ordinance, which is much weaker.
I see that folks in the movement who are quick to huff and puff about the police aren’t willing to step to the ACLU, because they think this big national organization is helping them. My message is alright then, DON’T GET ANY DAMN JUSTICE! The ACLU is only interested in helping the ACLU. You’ll be posting R.I.P. buttons and videos of the police killing and brutalizing Black and Latinx victims on Facebook for the rest of your life. The ACLU is containing you, not helping you.
Black Agenda Report commentator Brendan McQuade analyzed ACLU-Illinois selling out Black youths in Chicago.
“The ACLU of Illinois sold out grassroots movements, who had been working to curtail stop and frisk by the Chicago Police Department (CPD). In the summer of 2014, the CPD conducted a quarter million stops that did not lead to an arrest, four times the rate of New York City. Nearly three quarters of those stopped were black. In response to this systemic racial profiling, We Charge Genocide, a grassroots abolitionist organization, wrote the Stop, Transparency, Oversight and Protection (STOP) Act. This municipal ordinance would have required the CPD to collect and share comprehensive data on police stops.
The We Charge Genocide (WCG) name is an allusion to a 1951 report that Civil Rights Congress presented to the UN. The study cited lynching, police brutality, legal disenfranchisement, and systemic inequality as evidence that the US government was engaged in genocide against its black citizens. In September 2014, WCG presented its own report to the UN Committee Against Torture that detailed the Chicago police’s systemic harassment and abuse of minority communities, the failure of existing redressive mechanisms, and the resultant impunity of the Chicago police. For the past ten months, WCG has worked to educate and mobilize youth of color about the CPD’s racially discriminatory stop and frisk practices.
The ACLU used WCG and STOP Act as bargaining chip to advance a narrow policy goal.
While grassroots activists were mobilizing support for the ordinance among Chicago’s communities and alderman, the ACLU entered secret negotiations with the CPD and mayor’s office to broker an alternative agreement. On the very day that the STOP Act was to be filed by three aldermen, the ACLU announced the details of their agreement with city government. Instead of public disclosure, the ACLU-CPD “settlement” names an independent consultant, former US magistrate Arlander Keys, who will issue biannual reports on the CPD’s street stops and recommend policy changes. This is sharp contrast from the STOP ACT, which would have required quarterly public reporting of more comprehensive stop and frisk data: demographic information of those stopped, the badge numbers of officers involved, as well as the location, reason, and result of the stop
In effect, the ACLU used WCG and STOP Act as bargaining chip to advance a narrow policy goal. As the WCG’s public letter put it:
“What you have ‘won’ is fundamentally different from the STOP Act, both in its means and in its ends. Our goals are rooted in the experiences of those most directly impacted; yours are not. Our movement is rooted in a political analysis that recognizes the need to shift power away from police and into our communities; your policy ‘victory’ is not. Our motivation is rooted in a theory of change that prioritizes movement building and centering the leadership of those most affected; yours is not. Now, because of your self-serving interest in pushing simplistic policy changes, we and our allies face a much harder task pushing the critical package of reforms included in the STOP Act but ignored in your settlement. There is no such thing as an easy victory, and yours has come at a high cost.”
The ACLU agreement shifted the terrain of struggle. Their agreement is a half measure that allows the CPD and city government to show that they are doing something, while, at the same time, undercutting a more radical plan that would have subjected the CPD to more meaningful public accountability.
Their agreement is a half measure that allows the CPD and city government to show that they are doing something.
More importantly, the ACLU-CPD agreement denies WCG and the larger Black Lives Movement an important victory. In their letter, WCG acknowledged that the ACLU settlement represents just one of many efforts… to co-opt our movement by engaging with less threatening groups. Passage of the STOP Act would be public recognition of the real, grassroots power of young Black and Brown Chicagoans; instead the City wisely sought to settle into an ongoing relationship with a legal organization that poses no real threat to the status quo. In other words, the ACLU is not an ally. It works to pacify the Black Lives Matter movement by blunting its grievances and overtaking its solutions with half measures.
The ACLU did not become complicit in the pacification of the radical movements because they are part of some crude conspiracy. It’s more subtle. The ACLU is a foundation funded non-profit. It’s part of the web of elite institutions that exercise political power in the United States. By class background, socialization, and worldview, the ACLU’s lawyers and administers have more in common with Chicago Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy than they have with WCG activists.
The overlapping interests of elites in the ACLU and city government highlight the importance of the idea of pacification. In the recent years, critical scholars have recuperated the term pacification from military jargon to highlight continuities between warfare and policing. Both are class projects to eliminate enemies and fabricate social order. The iron hand and the velvet glove work together. To pacify communists in Vietnam or terrorists in Iraq, you need to build a government that enough people can abide. The same dynamic is at work in Chicago, where the ACLU just helped the city government efforts to pacify an ongoing black insurgency.”
From  Democracy Now: “In Texas, a leaked police body cam video from 2016 shows a white police officer in a Dallas suburb using his Taser to electrocute a handcuffed black man who was not resisting arrest. In the video, an unidentified sergeant with the Balch Springs Police Department draws his Taser and shocks 39-year-old Marco Stephenson, who collapses. The sergeant then jabs his Taser into Stephenson’s back and repeatedly electrocutes him. The punishment? The officer was ordered to take a conflict resolution class. This is the same department that initially supported officer Roy Oliver, who lied about Black teens backing up a car towards him when he fatally shot 15-year-old Jordan Edwards. Body camera video showed that Oliver fired at the car as it was driving away. Oliver is now charged with murder.
*Because of developments with the Jayson Negron case and the state budget, we had to postpone our analysis of the Hartford bankruptcy issue. That report is coming as soon as time and space permits.
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