Repression and Resistance: Week in Protest, November 27-December 3

Cover photo of Grandmaster Jay and Not F**king Around Coalition in July by Brett Carlsen

“Repression and Resistance” is a column from Tribune of the People that highlights rebellions and repression happening in protests across the US each week. If you want us to cover a protest happening in your city, please send us a pitch.

Louisville, KY

This week the leader of the Not F**king Around Coalition John Johnson, better known as Grandmaster Jay, was arrested in relation to a protest demanding justice for Breonna Taylor in September. Charged with federal assault, Johnson was pursued by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for allegedly pointing an assault rifle at local police officers, secret service, and federal agents who were monitoring the protest from a nearby rooftop.

“The United States has a history of hunting down and killing black organizations,” Johnson said in an interview this summer. “So therefore, as much as some people want to be in the spotlight, everyone who has stepped where I am standing has been shot and killed. Everyone.”

The NFAC has shown up in the streets in various parts of the country this year, including at the racist Stone Mountain Monument in Georgia on July 4, but it has always clarified that it is not a protest group. “We don’t want to talk no more,” Johnson has said previously. “We don’t want to negotiate. We don’t want to sing songs. We don’t bring signs to a gunfight. We’re an eye-for-an-eye organization.”

Johnson faces a maximum of 20 years in prison if convicted.

Kenosha, WI

Kyle Rittenhouse, the reactionary murderer of two protesters this summer following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, has been ordered to stand trial. At a preliminary hearing this week, a judge denied the defense’s request to dismiss two of the six charges Rittenhouse faces.

In nearby Germantown, protests have continued to demand the firing of Wauwatosa Police Chief Barry Weber for defending now-suspended police officer Joseph Mensah, who murdered multiple people during his time in law enforcement. A megaphone was thrown at a police vehicle, cracking the windshield, and a woman who yelled “All Lives Matter!” at the march was pushed to the ground.

Kenosha on August 25 outside County Courthouse: (Photo by Tayfun Coskun)

San Jose, CA

An art piece exhibited at the San Jose International airport has been taken down after police apologists demanded its removal, asserting that the image advocates violence against law enforcement. The painting features a figure holding an upside-down flag on top of a police vehicle, with what appear to be blood splatters on the windows.

“The core emotion of the artwork is rooted in the anger from seeing [George Floyd] lose his life so publicly after being choked for 8 minutes and 46 seconds,” Eric Bui, the artist of the work, told the bourgeois media in response to the outcry. “America watched a man die, and we all saw how the country reacted.”

Photo from NBC Bay Area

In nearby La Mesa, a man was arrested this week related to the torching of the Randall Lamb and Associates Building downtown during the May Uprising. Several other buildings were also set ablaze that night, when the people expressed their anger not only for the police murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis but also the brutal arrest of local Black man Amaurie Johnson which had occurred a few days after. Bail was set at half a million dollars for the La Mesa man.

The Chase Bank was also set on fire on May 30 in La Mesa, photo by Nelvin C. Cepeda

Los Angeles, CA

Protests have continued against Mayor Eric Garcetti for over a week in response to President-elect Joe Biden considering Garcetti for his cabinet. Also this week, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva officially permitted his officers to hide their names while repressing protests. Several deputies were filmed at a protest last week using duct tape to obscure their last names displayed on their uniforms.

Hudson County, NJ

This week, small group of protesters confronted a fundraiser for Anthony Romano, one of the local elected officials for Hudson County who had approved a 10-year agreement with Immigration and Customs Enforcement so that the federal agency could continue using the local jail. Activists knocked over a table for the event and chanted at attendees as they walked into the restaurant.

Photo by Matt Katz

Cleveland, OH

The Cleveland Police Department published an extensive report this week chronicling the events of the May Uprising. While the police’s intention is to request even more funding to repress and terrorize the people with this document, it also paints a picture of the outpouring of revolutionary violence that rocked the city.

By the early afternoon on May 30, over 1,000 people filled Lakeside Avenue and proceeded to march to the city’s Justice Center, where they clashed with police. Over 70 were arrested and 20 officers were later investigated for misconduct.

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