Thousands of Black Lives Matter Activists Protest During the DNC
March organizer Morgan Malachi tells TRNN’s Kwame Rose the Democratic Party has not improved education, housing, or policing in Philadelphia
KWAME ROSE, TRNN PRODUCER: Kwame Rose here live for the Real News Network in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at the Black Resistance DNC March.
I’m here with one of the organizers, Morgan.
MORGAN MALACHI: Malachi.
ROSE: Morgan Malachi. Morgan, tell me the purpose for organizing this rally here today.
MALACHI: Yeah, the purpose is just to expand upon the work that we’ve been doing for years and that is against police terrorism, specifically here in Philadelphia and also issues of stop and frisk, gentrification, and just the economic disparities that exist in the African American community.
ROSE: Well Morgan, obviously the Democratic National Convention is going on here in Philadelphia. What are some of the issues that the community in Philadelphia is tackling as thousands of lawmakers and delegates are here for essentially a celebration for Democracy?
MALACHI: Well we’re tackling everything that we’re talking about in this march. Again police terrorism, we’re tackling issues of gentrification which is you know very pervasive here in Philly, also issues with our education system that is being crazily defunded, issues with just economics in general in terms of high unemployment and lack of jobs.
ROSE: Megan you and your colleagues, we had a conversation earlier about an incident that happened in Baltimore where you felt as though the voices of women and transgender folks involved in the black lives matter movement were being silenced and weren’t being allowed to have a platform. Is the black lives matter movement, is it one of inclusion for the groups you all said were being not represented in Baltimore?
MALACHI: I think that the black lives matter movement, and I think that we need to be clear about speaking about the organizations that exist but then also the broader movement that has other organizations other than BLM. But I think a lot of them are just reflections of society. So I think in a lot of ways we’re still battling with misogyny, misogynoir as I like to call it. We’re also battling with transphobia and heterosexism just like the broader community. But I think as revolutionaries and as activists it’s our duty to truly be intentional about tackling those things here in the coalition and other organizations here in Philadelphia we have explicitly stated that we’re against misogyny, we are against transphobia, and we are against heterosexism. So that’s something that we are truly intentional about fighting for here in our space.
ROSE: Morgan last night Michelle Obama talked about the fact that her two black daughters will now be able to see a woman become president essentially in Hillary Clinton. I don’t know if you had a chance to watch Michelle Obama’s speech. What are your thoughts on her essentially saying my black daughters and then endorsing Hillary Clinton who we know hasn’t responded the very best to the black lives matter movement or folks involved in the larger movement?
MALACHI: You know I think it’s unfortunate but I don’t think that Hillary Clinton or honestly Michelle Obama, really speaks to the conditions or the aspirations of the black masses. You know Michelle and Barack Obama; they are part of the black exceptions. People who have made it, people who have a certain level of economic privilege and I don’t think they’re really truly connected to what is happening to people living in the worst conditions in our society. So yea it’s amazing for Michelle and her daughters that they can see this white liberal feminist in the White House but that’s not going to do anything to a poor and oppressed black, Latina, and Asian women do not have that type of access. So I don’t see any reason why those groups of women would be proud to see Hillary. In fact, I think it’s kind of a slap in the face for them.
ROSE: And who would you like to see as president, that you think would represent the issues best.
MALACHI: I think that right now we have some great third party candidates. A lot of people are really excited about Jill Stein’s campaign. But personally I’m really in favor of the Moorehead/Lily campaign. They’re with Worker’s World. They’re just a really dynamic group of socialist minded, economic justice minded, and also racial justice minded comrades that we have who are really speaking to the issue that we’re talking about tonight. But I think in terms of us electing third party candidates, even fourth or fifth party candidates will definitely take a long time. But this is part of the political education that is a major aspect of what we do in organizing here.
ROSE: And finally, we’ve noted that several times that the RNC protestors were met by police officers dressed in like Robocop riot gear. How are police relations with organizers here holding protests in Philadelphia. Not just this week but in previous weeks. Is it aggressive? What’s the atmosphere and the community relationship like that?
MALACHI: I think that whenever you’re out in the streets of a major city speaking out against police terror, the police are going to respond in a violent manner and that is traditionally what we’ve seen here. People have another view of Philadelphia because of Charles Ramsey and his whole like Barack Obama and 21st policing initiative. But that hasn’t really meant anything to those of us that are on the streets. The police are very antagonistic. Police have beat our people. The police have arrested people unjustly and also just know they typical repression that of course we saw in Baltimore is something that we deal with here in Philly on a daily basis.
ROSE: I talked to one black police captain the other day who referenced that the police have made significant improvements since the bombing of MOVE in Philadelphia. 31 years ago Philadelphia police essentially dropped a bomb on a house where activists lived. Women, children, and men were killed during that. How do you think the police relations since then have progressed? Or has it at all?
MALACHI: I think that when people who are in charge of policing have to reference the MOVE bombing to judge how far we supposedly have come with policing is kind of ridiculous. Like you literally had the police district who was being funded by tax payers, drop a bomb on someone. We’re supposed to be happy that okay you guys have stopped dropping bombs on us but you’re doing other things in a more covert manner that are equally as suppressive and equally as bad. And so even though we might not have the image of black people being bombed out of their house like we did back in 85, in Philly the police are still operating in very oppressive and very violent ways that every Philadelphian knows about. It’s quite clear this is just a part of their public relations campaign to make themselves seem as if they are protecting the rights of protesters when they’re actually working against us every step of the way.
ROSE: Thank you, Morgan Malachi, here from Black Resistance DNC. Kwame Rose for the Real News Network.
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