Chanukah Flier-Spread the Miracle: Abolish the Police
This text was written for an anti-police brutality, Ferguson solidarity Chanukah ritual/action that was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace and others in Seattle on 12/16, the first night of Chanukah.
“You will smash the roof of the villain’s house,
Raze it from foundation to top. Selah.
You will crack the villain’s skull with Your bludgeon:
Blown away shall be his warriors,
Whose delight is to crush me suddenly,
To devour a poor man in ambush.”
Spread the Miracle, Abolish the Police!
Every 28 hours, the police shoot a black man. The recent revolts against the murders of Michael Brown and Eric Garner have reignited the continual fight against racism, injustice, and the police. In Seattle, the police execution of John T. Williams, a native man, Oscar Perez-Girion, a Latino man, and others, are burned into our collective memory.
“Mai Chanukah? What is Chanukah?”
Chanukah tells the story of the victory of a few warriors against an empire; the momentary triumph of light over darkness. Quickly though, the victors - Hasmoneans (Maccabees)- reconstituted themselves as State power, reigning as kings, against those they had supposedly liberated. Chanukah is the possibility of a miracle - the triumph over enemies no matter how great. It is also a warning of what happens when a struggle does not recognize that all those who take power are its enemy; In today's terms, that this is a struggle against the police, prisons, borders, and all those institutions which keep us in chains. So, Mai Chanukah? the possibility of the impossible, eight days of light when there could only be one, the possibility of true freedom in the face of the ‘all powerful’ State.
The Jewish history of expulsion, genocide, and ghettoization bears witness to the fleeting nature of rights and privileges. On this continent, the persecution of colonized peoples; native people, black people, and all others who do not fit into legality and rights as determined by the State will not be resolved through an appeal to the state for rights and privileges because those in power can take and give as they see fit. The mere history of the police as slave patrols for black people shows the complicit nature of the system in white supremacy.
For non-POC Jews who would welcome an identification with whiteness: Has the lifting of quotas, the end of ghettoization, the removal of structural anti-Judaism at the end of the 1960s in the US really erased a history a couple thousand years in the making? There is a difference between acknowledging white privilege and identifying with the oppressive apparatus that is white supremacy. The importance of this ‘privileged’ moment is not just to question our role, but also to be openly opposed to whiteness by aligning with insurgent aspects against white supremacy - comrades of color, anti-fascist Jews, and rebellious white people.
“Eitz chaim hi, lemachazikim ba”
From Morocco in the Melahs to Lithuania in the shtetls to Poland in the ghettos Jews have created autonomous and self-sufficient communities of mutual support. The Jewish values of the celebration of life, the quest for survival, and Tikkun Olam grant us the ability to pursue the light of justice; the foundation of all existence.
For the destruction of the police and the white supremacist system they protect!
Happy Chanukah! Black Lives Matter.
Rest in Power: Mike Brown, Eric Garner, Oscar Perez-Girion, Oscar Grant, John T. Williams, Tamir Rice, Aiyana Jones & all victims of the police, borders, and States."