Obama's position on Baltimore hypocritical

Monday, May 4, 2015

Press TV has conducted an interview with Ajamu Baraka, editor of Black Agenda Report in Cali, to discuss the clashes between police officers and hundreds of protesters in the US city of Baltimore following days of demonstrations against police brutality in the country.  


The following is a rough transcription of the interview.  For the full video of the interview at PressTV, click here.


Press TV: Mr. Baraka , how much do you think the situation in Baltimore is getting out of hand?  

Ajamu: Well, it is a very dangerous situation right now with the introduction of the National Guard.

We have to remember that when we introduced the National Guard, you are talking about a military force – a force made up of numbers of individuals who have gone off and fought in some of the US's external wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and now they are back for choking the streets of a civilian city within the US.

So as always, there is real possibility of serious escalation - escalation of violence when you have introduction of military forces and a civilian urban environment. So it is a very troubling situation we have in Baltimore.

Press TV: And many say that this is because there is police brutality against the black civilians in America. What changes do you think should be made in the police force?

Ajamu: Well, the problem that the US police forces face is that they have been structured for a repressive containment and control mission. Their task is to control and to contain a populations that have been rendered, primarily superfluous in the new economy of the US.

So we see this escalation of violence because the communities that are being overly policed are vulnerable communities and no one cares about them. So the only way that you can address the problems of policing in the US is to fundamentally transform social relationships and the structure of that society and US authorities are not prepared to do this.

So what we are going to see in the US will be continued repression and continued resistance.

Press TV:  And how would you explain President Barack Obama’s position on the situation going on in Baltimore?  

Ajamu: The president’s position is hypocritical and it is politically backward. For him to basically give a green light to repression by categorizing resistance as criminal, I guess it is somewhat consistent because anyone or any force that opposes the US automatically becomes a criminal.

But it is a irresponsible statement on his part to try to make a distinction between the good protesters, if you will, and the ones who are involved in other kinds of activities.

The real issue in Baltimore is the issue of police, repression, and state violence. If that is addressed then we might have a reduction in these kinds of resistance activities but as I said earlier I do not see that happening any time soon in the US.


Ajamu Baraka serves as Public Intervenor for Human Rights at the Green Shadow Cabinet