There are no silver bullet in Ferguson, however an analysis of the situation presents opportunities for strategic victories, an easing of the day to day pain and a push for resources into the community. Ferguson is a small incorporated city that is 66% black, but yet is dominated by a majority white city council, police department and white mayor. These forces have seemingly huddled together to protect a killer cop by assassinating the character of his victim and to maintain the control of the status quo. There are several ways for organizers to help those already self-organizing. We may not get the rush from being on the ground, but it could have longer term benefits for the community.
1. Money should be raised to support local community organizing. No we can’t raise enough to lift the community out of poverty right, but we can raise enough to give local groups working with youth some added resources for a longer term fight against the status quo. We can also direct all those foundations we know to give to local grassroots organization to build their capacity further and not to further enrich larger non-profits who have no long term stake in Ferguson and never heard of it before the uprising.
2. Support a campaign to ensure that each cop car and cop has a camera attached to them, so we don’t have to rely on a “blue wall” of lies for what is actually happening.
3. Fire the current police chief.
4. Hire a new Black police chief who will hire black officers from the city of Ferguson. No this will not end police brutality, but let’s be honest no population wants to be ‘policed” by folks who don’t look like them or share their experiences. One of the constant complaints about the police is the better treatment received by the white community, this is one step in changing the current treatment.
5. Call for the creation of a community board over the police department in Ferguson made up of Ferguson residents. Instead of being offered a ride along with the police and to act as cheerleaders this community board should be empowered with the task of disciplining and potentially firing officers when reports of misconduct are validated. This puts the department on notice that it should be controlled by the community as opposed to being a militarized occupying force in the community.
6. Build a campaign to have the Sister State Senator Maria Chappelle-Nadal run for mayor (or someone with real community credentials) and get others from the community with solid progressive to left politics to run for city council slots. Again many of us have civic engagement backgrounds it should not be hard for us to support, even from afar. This can lead to directing more city resources to communities in need.
7. For activist and organizers outside of Ferguson in addition to these demands, continue to write, speak, march, and commit civil disobedience on the issue of the militarism of US police forces, which is supported by the federal government. Call for a federal indictment of the cop who killed Michael Brown and be ready to continue the counter narrative against the police and corporate media outlets (something that has already been done with great success) killing black teenagers and then criminalizing them.
These are mostly reformist ideas that will of course get critiqued by so-called revolutionaries as not transformative (that’s the new buzz word so that you don’t have to say the word revolution anymore). However I have come to believe that those who shout about radical and or transformative change the most usually have the least ability to bring it about. Some people will pimp for cash others for ego, neither will create winnable outcomes and community control for Ferguson or the larger community.