Saturday, November 3, 2007

Another disgusting case of Hate Crimes in the US

I don't know how many of you have seen this , case of the kidnapping and torture of a 20 year-old Black women in West Virginia by six white people, but it is stomach turning. Apparently the prosecutor didn't include a hate crime charge in his case (only sexual assault and kidnapping which carry heavier penalties) so earlier today hundreds of anti-racist activists and supporters rallied at the capitol to support Megan, the victim, and demand that the hate crime charged be added. Despite the fact that this was obviously a hate crime, the NAACP and the prosecutor say it would be 'difficult' to prove this charge because she had been in a relationship with one of her white torturers for several months. Are you shitting me?

From the case of the Scotsboro Boys in the 1930s until today, the NAACP has usually sided with a legalist approach while shunning activism and rallies (in the Scotsboro case the massive rallies organized by the Communist Party ultimately turned up the pressure on the government and the courts to either pardon or parole all nine and which lead to a huge upsurge in Black and white collaborative activism). Interestingly enough, the NAACP refused to defend Black CP members from the McCarthyist witch-hunts in the 50s (as in the case of NAACP founder W.E.B. Dubois). Despite the success of their legal strategy in the case of Brown v Board, which, remains to this day unenforced, the national has shunned activism historically despite the fact that some of it's locals have spear headed such campaigns as the Montgomery Bus Boycott (Rosa Parks was the local secretary). But with this case the strategy seems absurd. With the momentum built up through the victory in the Kenneth Foster Jr case and the mobilizations in support of the Jena Six, how can the NAACP say that activism and rallies will damage their chances of victory? This cuts to the core of how a legalistic and lobbying strategy by themselves are a dead end for winning civil rights. Without the attention brought by the struggle to save Kenneth Foster, he would have been another statistic in Texas' death machine. Covering ones eyes to the rise in hate crimes (nooses in the South AND the North, as well as shit like this case of torture) won't make them stop.

By the way, Al Sharpton was NOT present at this rally.