To Begin A Day Of Reckoning by Steve Clemens. May 5, 2021
In the wake of the guilty verdict for the slow-motion murder of George Floyd, voices around the nation have been raised for a day of reckoning and police accountability. Such a day and time, however, must begin at the top: the nation's top law enforcement building must be re-named.
J. Edgar Hoover embodied a pathological racism and his obsessive harassment of the Civil Rights and anti-war movements thoroughly disqualify him from having the FBI Building named after him. This is not a fashionable "cancel culture" whim; it is a necessary step in accountability and an end to the white-washing of the history of the US in the 1950s until present day.
Hoover specifically targeted Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X, Daniel and Philip Berrigan, and countless others in making the FBI under his control one of the most lawless institutions (along with the CIA) disguised under the rubric of "national security". Hoover threatened to unleash secrets about various US Presidents in order to retain his authoritarian grip on power as the longest serving director of the FBI.
If President Biden and/or Congress wish to end the era of police impunity, a clear signal they could send would be to remove the Hoover name from the building which should stand for justice. If not for the courage of the US Senate committee headed by Frank Church, we might never have known the lengths US government agencies went to in order to discredit both the Civil Rights and anti-war movements in this country - as well as the destabilization efforts for many progressive movements around the globe that threatened corporate profit-making.
This should be a day of reckoning, repentance, and re-evaluation. This era of white supremacy, American imperialism, police impunity, and other symptoms of a system of domination must end and be replaced by a culture of hospitality, inclusion, and humility.