died down after two months. People don’t seem to want to give the right amount of emotion and rawness and energy towards conversations about pure Blackness.
MC: Capturing an image in 2014 was an act of empowerment. It was something that people were doing to reclaim a narrative, to tell a story that was not being told. But telling a story is not the same thing as changing that story and being able to reclaim it in terms of voice – it doesn’t mean that power relations have shifted. It doesn’t mean new policies are in place. It doesn’t mean new practices are at hand. It doesn’t mean institutions have been dissolved or budgets have been reworked. It doesn’t mean any of that. It’s just one piece of a much larger strategy that would need to take place.
JFK: That’s right. MC: But for the first time in hundreds of years, we’re talking about a whole new way of thinking about security and accountability in terms of institutional policing. And we’re understanding the sophistication of the police state in a new way, that it’s not all just about officers. Because there was a period where we was like, ‘Fire this officer, jail that officer,’ and I think we’ve gone past that as a movement. You know what I’m saying? We understand that actually we need to eliminate the institution and rebuild from the ground up towards a new vision.
TA: People are now saying ‘defund the police’, and before people were saying ‘fund diversity training for the police’. But ‘defund the police’ is an abolitionist phrase. It’s so funny because there are all these allies who are saying defund the police, but then they’re saying that they’re not abolitionists, as if defunding the police isn’t on the road to abolition! Something that people would look at you sideways for a couple of years ago, and now people are like, ‘No, I don’t believe in sending police to jail. I don’t believe in jail. I believe in building Black community and investing in Black futures; I believe that is justice. I see that as growth.’ It’s really interesting. It’s really beautiful in my opinion.
JFK: Yeah. And in this iteration, it’s been fascinating to witness things move. It might be that, under this particular administration, under these specific conditions of the pandemic, more of our realities are aligned than previously. And our job is to create as many cracks, as many wedges as we can, and get as many people through as we possibly can. Because, as Mac said around victory, success looks different under this kind of sophisticated, highly adaptable system. And we are highly adaptable too. To that end, I feel a shift. We understand now more than ever that revolution isn’t just the end of something, it’s the beginning of something. I see Black Lives Matter as an invitation into this new way of being, a new world; the movement for Black lives, abolition as those things. And that’s going to be true no matter what system we’re under.
MC: Can I just throw in on that point? Because I think that vulnerability is so important. Just saying ‘Black lives matter’ is so simple. And yet it’s like this simple truth that we need, because this is a period of transition, you know? What we’re in is a period of instability – political instability, social instability, and there’s going to be more of it. There’s going to be a backlash we can’t even predict yet. (We need) to hold on to that basic truth, that simple, basic truth, you know? Black Lives Matter. “Anyone who (says) their approach is the right way,
and the only way, they’re not interested in victory, they’re interested in being right. And I’m not interested in that. Our lives depend on us being able to win” – Malkia Cyril
DAZED AUTUMN 2020
HOPE IS A DISCIPLINE