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By Lamont Lilly | @LamontLilly | with thanks to NewBlackMan (in Exile)

 

 



Wednesday, April 29, 2015.

 

 

We could smell the tear gas a mile away. Thick clouds of burning smoke spread city-wide. The police, the tanks, the helicopters, all present and fully armored. From the moment I stepped off the train, you could feel the resistance in the air. At approximately 5pm, it was straight from the station to the streets, live.

 

When you take your time and walk by foot, the intense degree of poverty will completely paralyze you. It shocked me, and I’m from the hood. The absurd amount of boarded homes is absolutely ridiculous. The makeshift neighborhoods comprised of trash and forgotten debris – the countless number of dilapidated buildings, an absolute travesty. The lack of grocery stores, playgrounds and recreation facilities. The community’s once beloved primary school that was recently closed last year. The wasting away of Black bodies, good people and buried hope. The emphasis of protecting property over suffering people. While Freddie Gray was laid to rest today, these are the images that still remain.

 

For those who aren’t poor or never have been, tonight is April 27th (the end of the month), which for many people means that food stamps and EBT have run out. At least tonight, poor folk can eat well. Thankfully, the rice and pork chops were sponsored by the people, their courage and the Baltimore Rebellion.

 

For those who were glued to the corporate media (as in CNN, FOX News and CBS) unfortunately, you were force fed a pallet of lies, stereotypes and propped up images – a ruling class narrative that intentionally did not capture the spirit of strength, unity, resistance and perseverance. Truth is, we didn’t see any hoodlums and thugs tonight. We didn’t see any thieves, looters, nor rioters. All we saw was liberators – parents, workers and youth who heroically chose to liberate the bare necessities denied to them for months, years and several decades now.

 

So what people were taking some goddamn medicine! Pharmaceutical companies are making billions off the poor and could care less about them. Yes, poor people were taking pampers and toilet tissue, tube socks and boxes of cereal; these are the basic needs they’ve been denied. I don’t blame them for taking fresh food, new shoes, clothing and water. These are the basic needs capitalism refuses to provide.

 

After needs, there were also wants and desires that were met. Contrary to popular belief, poor people like televisions too, just like the rich folk do. Think about it, home appliances and laptops surround you every day, yet you have no means to acquire any of these things. You see them on billboards and watch them advertised on commercials, but you, no! You get nothing. So when human need is denied by brick walls, two-inch glass windows and security cameras, do excuse me, but something will have to give; and I can you assure it will not be the oppressed!

 

What people saw tonight on their Channel 6 News were the youth and families capitalism, U.S. greed and elected officials have thrown away. You can’t deny jobs, justice and self-respect and not expect rebellion. The Black masses are burning tonight because Amerikkka has burned them – excuse me, has burned “us” for centuries now.

 

This is bigger than Freddie Gray, Walter Scott and Rekia Boyd – much bigger than Baltimore and Ferguson put together. This is the underclass reclaiming their human existence from a country that denies them the right to breathe, the right to live without police occupation living on their front door step. We are not thugs and hoodlums; none of us are. We are tired of being tired.

 

The oppressed have spoken in their own language, loud and clear. The question is who will hear us and join the fight?


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Lamont Lilly is a contributing editor with the Triangle Free Press and frequent contributor to Truthout, Dissident Voice, The Durham News, and Black Youth Project. He is currently serving as a visiting organizer with the Baltimore Branch of Workers World Party.

 

Not Looters, Liberators: Baltimore Rebels

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