Monthly Archives: June 2010

Nonprofits Defend the State – Need More Proof?! 

On June 23rd, 2010, in the midst of Oscar Grant’s murder trial, one of the leaders of the nonprofit organization, Urban Peace Movement, wrote in an email (in full below):

“We need to begin ‘innoculating’ our bases and the community at-large so that when the verdict comes down, people are prepared for it, and so that the ‘outside agitators’ who were active during the initial Oscar Grant protests are not able to incite the crowd so easily.”

The paternalist and racist assumption made by non-profit sector activists portrays those who participated in property destruction as child-like noble savages easily corrupted by superior beings from afar (read: “outside agitators”). This should come as no surprise to anyone, seeing as how the non-profit organization is historically rooted in colonial assumptions that the oppressed are mindless brutes that require, for better or for worse, intellectual guidance (read: “inoculation”) from above.  The non-profiteers see their role as missionaries, saviors, and saints that carry the burden of pity for the downtrodden.

Who is really the outside agitator? And what does the state and the politically interventionist non-profit sector object to most, the outside part, or the agitator part?

During this past week’s phase of the trial, leading Bay Area journalist JR Valerie observered:

“. . . 4 out of 6 black males under the age of 40 were kicked out of the courtroom in the 2nd day of Meserhle testifying . . . .” (rough transpcription from Hard Knock Radio archive, June 25th, 2010, min. 32:20-32:48, http://kpfa.org/archive/id/62141)

As Mehserle ran through a rehearsed emotional display, one black male courtroom observer from Oakland stood up and called out “save those tears.”  He was promptly jumped by Deputies, removed from the courtroom and now faces charges. Did any “outside agitators” incite this black male to speak out against the false cries of a murdering agent of the state? Would the Urban Peace Movement give this man credit for calling out the courtroom process, which is structured against the “biases” of the people’s sense of justice? Or for them, is the bourgeois white supremacist legal apparatus the legitimate carrier of justice? Continue reading

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Dope Quote: Marx on Housing and Crisis

In light of another study showing the racialized impact of foreclosures on communities of color (where 17 percent of Latino homeowners, 11 percent of black homeowners and 7 percent of white homeowners were foreclosed), check out this dope quote from Marx . . .

Race and Foreclosures

From Capital Vol. 2

“Anyone wanting a new house picks one from among those built on speculation or still in process of construction. The builder no longer works for his customers but for the market. Like every other industrial capitalist he is compelled to have finished articles in the market. While formerly a builder had perhaps three or four houses building at a time for speculation, he must now buy a large plot of ground (which in continental language means rent it for ninety-nine years, as a rule), build from 100 to 200 houses on it, and thus embark on an enterprise which exceeds his resources twenty to fifty times. The funds are procured through mortgaging and the money is placed at the disposal of the contractor as the buildings proceed. Then, if a crisis comes along and interrupts the payment of the advance instalments, the entire enterprise generally collapses. At best, the houses remain unfinished until better times arrive; at the worst they are sold at auction for half their cost . . .”

Rank-and-File Marxist Theory: The Sojourner Truth Organization Workplace Papers

A new generation of students and workers has inherited the crisis of capitalism.  Capital must always expand, but now it finds itself in one of its inevitable crises of reproduction that annihilates “the future and constructs the youth as a subject of social protest.”1 A new generation is seeking tools for coping with crisis and cuts, and some are turning towards political struggle as a solution.  The question then arises: what political method do we use for battle?  Which traditions do we draw from heavily and which do we mostly leave aside?  Huey Newton for instance dealt deeply with this question when he found no group he wanted to work with and decided to create a new method.

Click on the image to download the Full PDF

Reading revolutionary militant and decolonial theorist Frantz Fanon as well as Karl Marx and Mao Zedong transformed his political thinking, providing a framework for why and how to build the Black Panther Party.  The Panthers spread like wildfire through the US because the fighting history and readiness of the Black working class met its reflection in an anti-imperialist Marxist theory developed and propagated by Black militants.

Another US attempt to build a new approach was the Johnson-Forrest Tendency (JFT) started in 1940 by Trotskyist militants CLR James and Raya Dunayevskaya.   Continue reading