Race, Identity, and Solidarity in the Fight Against State Violence

Photo: 'Millions March' in Downtown Oakland

Photo: ‘Millions March’ in Downtown Oakland

December 13th and November 24th

The Millions March, a national solidarity event with the Black Lives Matter movement that took place on December 13th, compels me to address the political dynamics of that nationwide event in order to open a dialogue about the objectives and tactics of the movement.  At the beginning of the march, one of the leading speakers called on White Allies of Black people to refrain from speaking on the bullhorn and from marching at the head of the protest; the purpose of this rule was to ensure that black and brown voices were emphasized throughout the march – a theme that was present throughout the march and throughout this movement as a whole.

When we arrived at the Oakland Courthouse, the leaders urged black and brown protesters to stand together on the steps leading to the courthouse and for white protesters to remain at the bottom. When the list of speakers was over, the lead speaker of the march implied in her words that the march was over and that people should head back to the site of the initial convergence to engage in Healing Circles. As the mass of protesters began to move, a black protester announced to the marchers that the march was not over. Indeed, the majority of protesters remained on the streets of Oakland hours after the spectacle at the courthouse.

Now – let’s pause for a moment and rewind three weeks to November 24th, 2014 – the night of the non-indictment of Darren Wilson. On this night we also experienced a powerful display of black, brown and multiracial solidarity; this night, however, was slightly different than the Millions March.  People, more or less spontaneously, filled the streets the night of November 24th; during the beginning of the rally on 14th and Broadway, black protesters lead chants of “Black Lives Matter” while people danced in a circle; electricity filled the air as protesters carried out an unpermitted march from downtown Oakland to the 580 Freeway entrance on the north side of Lake Merritt; at some point in the evening, a brave group of young people took over the 580 Freeway, blocking the westward flow of traffic.  The people who carried out this first freeway blockade were a mixed racial group of people; black protesters were certainly represented in the mix, contributing to the dynamism of the action; brown, asian and white protesters also filled the gravel laden lanes of the highway.  All protesters were clear in their messaging: black lives matter, and police violence must end.

Our intention is to explore the way in which movements such as that experienced by us in the winter of 2014 can contribute to the development of a revolutionary situation in the US; further, we see the questions of racial empowerment, identity and solidarity to be of central importance in building movements against state violence and building revolutionary organizations.

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How do Movements become Revolutionary flyer

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How to get involved flyer

Here is a flyer that we have been using in the Bay Area that seeks to continue and center the conversation of these protest around: How do movements become revolutionary? It seeks to provide some tips and ideas of how the community can get involved and how to ‘generalize the activities from the movement into other spheres of society’.

Hit us up so we can come up with more ideas together, share resources, and collaborate!

Video: Oakland Protests for Justice for Eric Garner & Michael Brown

We wanted to share this great video that has footage from multiple marches in Oakland over the course of 2 weeks.  It really captures the dynamism of the past few weeks.  We are still working on the finishing up some pieces for our series reflecting on the last few weeks of mobilizations, so keep checking back!  Video after the jump. Continue reading

Dope Video from Yesterday’s #FreeOakland High School Walkout in Solidarity with #BlackLivesMatter

An independent grouping of students and school workers came together to organize an action against police violence.  Young people of color are constantly surveilled and harassed by police in their communities and schools, so it’s inspiring to see a spirited action done in a militant and structured way.  Our friend John Reimann has produced this video of yesterday’s action, which you can see after the jump.  We will be sharing more strategic reflections on the organizing involved in this shortly. Enjoy the youth energy in the meantime. Continue reading

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WALKOUT FOR A #FREEOAKLAND TODAY, 3:30 PM, FRUITVALE BART

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AS Hosts Analyses & Debates on the Movement against Police Violence

We will be hosting a special debate on the most recent cycle of struggle against police violence sweeping the nation in the wake of the Mike Brown and Eric Garner decisions.

watch this space for updates!

JOIN IWW WHOLE FOODS AND ADVANCE THE STRUGGLE FOR A FUNDRAISER EVENT 12/12, 6PM in SF

There are rallies and protests currently raging across the Bay Area in solidarity with all those killed by police murder, but it is important to take a little time out of the week to attend this very important fundraiser to support great class struggle organizing occurring here in the Bay.  We have a number of pieces lined up that will clarify some of our ideas on the current wave of protests so please check back soon.  See you at the fundraiser and in the streets!

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Friday December 12th, 6pm-9pm
@1243 Potrero Ave. @ 24th Street in San Francisco
Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/303501446512608/304512473078172

Last month, a group of courageous workers at Whole Foods in San Francisco announced their union to management and demanded a much-needed wage increase for all Whole Foods workers. Taking on a corporate chain with 400 stores in three countries ain’t easy, but these workers have already won a wage increase for workers in San Francisco and have put the spotlight on Whole Foods’ doublespeak about social responsibility and the “happiness of their employees.

But the fight is far from over. The Whole Foods workers have vowed to pursue the full $5 an hour raise they demanded and will be forging ahead for better scheduling policies, paid time off and more. They have come far in a short period of time BUT NEED YOUR HELP!

The fight at Whole Foods is the fight for a better life for all workers. The industrial Workers of the World has a tested record of organizing workers iwth an eye toward organizing all workers as a class.

There will be speeches from workers involved and we’ll be providing food and entertainment. We are asking for a $20 donation, and the event is free for Whole Foods workers. None will be turned away for a lack of funds, but please donate what you can. All money raised will go to the workers’ organizing fund. Let’s build a working class movement that can win, together!

For more information about IWW Whole Foods campaign see: wfmunite.com
Contact: 415-985-4499(4IWW) or wfmunite@gmail.com
Event sponsored by: IWW Whole Foods, Advance the Struggle, Just Wages Network (JWN), NLG L&EC