September 22nd, 2020
Thinking for Ourselves
Chief Craig Joins Trump
This week, Chief Craig made national news, appearing on Fox News program “Town Hall.” This is a program that frequently promotes Donald Trump and right wing propaganda. It is the network favored by Trump and his supporters. It turns out, Chief Craig is one of them. Or at least he is saying the very same things that Trump is saying.
Consider this. In a recent brilliant essay on right-wing violence in America, Ibram X. Kendi wrote:
“Adherents of Trumpism think they are facing a choice between white male supremacy and “anarchy.” And right now, Trump’s federal agents, Trump-supporting paramilitary domestic terrorists, and Trump-supporting police officers from Kenosha to Austin believe they are fighting against anarchy. Which is to say, they are fighting to maintain white male supremacy. Which is to say, they are defending law and order. Defending their America—where white men can rule and brutalize without consequence.”
As Chief Craig likes to say, sometimes it’s not about race. Over the last few months Trump has consistently called people marching for freedom “anarchists,” “thugs,” “terrorists” and “left wing extremists.” Since June 3, the Trump campaign has run more than 2,000 ads fearmongering against what it calls “Dangerous MOBS of far-left groups,” according to Media Matters for America.
And now it can add Detroit Police Chief Craig to its list of supporters. Craig said of the protests stretching to every corner of America, “it has little to do with racism and more to do with ‘anarchists and Marxist ideology.’”
“I can tell you that this group that’s marching, like so many across the country, the anarchist factions of these groups are promoting violence and attacks on police officers. They don’t speak for Detroit.”
“I can tell you: Detroiters don’t like it. They support this chief.”
“The real issue is not as much about the race,” the chief told the website. “The anarchists and the Marxist Ideology, they have no support for anybody in government. They want to undermine that so it doesn’t matter what race your race is. It’s less about that.”
Chief Craig is entitled to whatever political opinions he wants as a private citizen. But he is the primary spokesperson for a city that is more than 86% African American, that has a proud history of resisting policies, practices and governments that dehumanize people, destroy and disrespect life. We are a movement city that has been in the forefront of human rights struggles since our very beginnings. And we are also a city shaped by the sensibilities and actions of many anarchists, Marxists, Stalinists, Maoists, Wobblies, Revolutionists, Garveyites, Kingians, feminists, liberation theologians, activists, theoreticians and sensible people who recognize that violence in America comes from its history of genocide against indigenous people, the enslavement of African people and the protection of white power and privilege. We know such a history must be challenged if we are to change our futures.
Chief Craig is not speaking for Detroiters. He is speaking for Donald Trump. He is echoing Trumps words and sentiments. He is fostering fear. He knows his budget depends on it.
By early July there had been 7,750 anti-racist demonstrations in 2,400 locations across all 50 states. More than 26 million people participated. More than 93% of these demonstrations have been peaceful. Typically violence emerges in response to excessive force.
This week, Detroiters joined suburban friends in a demonstration to show support for an African American family in Warren whose home was vandalized. They were met by a group of “law and order” counter-protestors. At the end of the march, the mother of the family that was attacked, Candace Hall, thanked the demonstrators for their “outpouring of love.”
She said, “It’s not just about me and my husband or our children, but it’s about each and every one of us so that we can live neighbor to neighbor, heart to heart. … We don’t believe in hate or violence, we just want to live peacefully among our neighbors.”
These demonstrations are about love. Chief Craig is about protecting power and supporting Trump.
|Boggs Center to Nurture Community Leadership
Detroit, Michigan 48214