The following was written by my friends in the Fire Next Time network (with some group discussion in which I participated) upon the murder, tonight, of ex-LAPD rebel Christopher Dorner, just in time so as not to compete for TV time with President Obama's state of the union address. It originally appears on the FNT website here.
As we write, Christopher Dorner is most likely dying or dead, as the cabin in which he was trapped burns around him. A huge manhunt involving local, state and federal officials has culminated in what can only be described as an extrajudicial execution. We condemn Dorner’s murder at the hands of the state.
People cheer Dorner because, whatever his motivations, he exposed the workings of a vicious white supremacist system that goes quietly unacknowledged most of the time. He declared war on a system that has waged an undeclared war on us, every day, for years; a system that holds millions of poor people and people of color in prisons, and guns them down in the street. He did what every young person of color in Los Angeles dreams of, when he or she comes home after getting fucked with by the cops, and starts a shootout on GTA V. He was celebrated for doing what many of us could not.
Christopher Dorner was a contradictory figure. He served the system in the U.S. military and LAPD, but then waged armed struggle against the blatant corruption, brutality and racism of the police force. He lauded ex-president Bush and Colin Powell in his manifesto, but also wished death on George Zimmerman. He targeted lesbian officers for belittling men, and killed the family members of his enemies; but he also shot and killed two members of a police force that terrorizes thousands of young people every day. Via twitter hashtags, his last stand is being compared with the bombing of the black militant #MOVE house in Philadelphia in 1985, as well as the assault on the Branch Davidian compound in #Waco in 1993.
Despite these contradictions, many people across the U.S. cheer Dorner on, and are no doubt doing so now even as the state moves to kill him. And they are right to do so.
It will take more than isolated rebels to defeat the police force and overthrow capitalism. It will take a mass revolutionary movement declaring unceasing struggle against the state, not in ones and twos, but by the millions. We see the potential for such a movement in the popular opinion that welled up around the Dorner case. Had such a movement existed not only in aspiration but also in the streets, Christopher Dorner might have joined it and been transformed by it, another Geronimo Pratt. Let us commit ourselves to building this movement, starting today.