Monthly Archives: June 2012

Oakland to Seattle: Solidarity Against Police Brutality

This statement was written by participants in the Justice for Oscar Grant movement in Oakland, including the group Advance the Struggle.  Please distribute widely, to help build for tonight’s demonstration against police brutality in Seattle.  For more info about the events leading to this demonstration, check out Jomo’s article “It doesn’t get better, we rebel to make it better.” 

STATEMENT OF SOLIDARITY WITH THE LGBTQ COMMUNITY AFTER THE JUNE 24, 2012 POLICE BRUTALITY INCIDENT IN SEATTLE, WASHINGTON — written 6/28/12

Dear Comrades,*

It was recently brought to our attention by members of the Black Orchid Collective that during the end of the Gay Pride weekend (6/24/12) LGBTQ youth organized an anti-racist and anti-heterosexist street dance party. This unpermitted gathering was assaulted by the Seattle Police Department (SPD), who unleashed unjustified brutality at the participants. Six young people were arrested.

Lt. Greg Calder was filmed pepper-spraying a youth at close range, and then physically abusing this young person. The victim was then arrested for assaulting the police despite video evidence that clearly proves the cop to be the aggressor. First off, we now know due to extensive documentation and experience that so-called “non-lethal weapons” (pepper spray, tasers, tear gas, etc.) have led to the death of far too many people. Secondly, the SPD in particular and the American police in general routinely blame the victim and frame up innocent people in these situations. The police only serve the rich and protect the conditions in which oppression thrives.

Down in the Bay Area, we have police departments that claim to be on the side of queer communities just as in Seattle. SPD’s actions on June 24th only prove what we should already know: police are not queer allies. Even if they are themselves gay, lesbian, or transgender, they are our queer enemies.

On April 29th in Oakland, a black trans-gender woman named Brandy Martell was murdered in Oakland in a homophobic hate crime. Police arrived on the scene and did nothing to help the dying victim. In fact they even turned an ambulance away while a passerby did CPR that he learned at Occupy Oakland’s medic training. As long as police attack people for dancing in the street for the cause of liberation, we can be guaranteed that they will stand idly by in the face of homophobic violence from the community.

We support all struggles motivated by love, striving for true freedom, and battling oppression, as these are the basic ingredients of a future society in which equal rights exist for all, and everything is provided for everyone. Radical queer movements will be amongst those advancing the struggle toward the society of the future. We can be assured that the police will be there every step of the way to try to prevent such a society from smashing out of the one we are imprisoned in today.

REMEMBER STONEWALL!

DROP ALL CHARGES AGAINST THE SIX PARTICIPANTS ARRESTED BY THE SPD!

QUEER STRUGGLE IS CLASS STRUGGLE!

* The greeting was changed from “Brothers and Sisters” to “Comrades” so as not to gender people within that binary (done with permission of statement authors).

Advertisements

The Taking of Lakeview

The sight of young children digging into a planter box full of soil and sprouts is nothing new – an activity that happens at any given summer school for elementary school aged kids. The difference with this picture is that the gardening activity is taking place at a school site, Lakeview elementary, that’s been taken over by parents, teachers, community members and radicals. On the last day of school, June 15th, this motley mix of people held a bbq that marked the end of the Oakland Unified School District’s 2011-2012 school year and marked the beginning of the transformation of the Lakeview elementary campus into the People’s School for Public Education. This initiative is led by a committee of activists, parents, and teachers that formed out of the struggle against school closures in the fall of 2011; this struggle was itself intimately bound up within the context of a general strike called for by Occupy Oakland one day after 5 elementary schools were announced to be closed by the OUSD. The purpose here is to document and explore some of the context behind this current struggle, the complexities and contradictions involved in its organizing, and thoughts on moving forward.

Continue reading

La lucha por la Educación Pública en Oakland / The Struggle for Public Education in Oakland

EL Distrito Escolar de Oakland está fallando a los niños de Oakland, la creación de un futuro para ellos es ir a la cárcel o ser trabajadores de comida rápida. A principios de este año Superintendente Tony Smith del Distrito Escolar Unificado de Oakland (OUSD) anunció el cierre de 25 escuelas en dos años, y 5 escuelas primarias de este año. Él está haciendo esto para “equilibrar el presupuesto.” La razón por la cual el presupuesto debe ser equilibrado se debió a la estatización de OUSD en 2003. Durante la toma del poder estatal, la deuda de OUSD se incrementaron en $ 70 millones – de $ 37 millones en 2003 a US $ 107 millones en 2009. OUSD debería haberse negado a pagar esos $ 70 millones, pero no lo hizo. La solución de OUSD es cerrar 5 escuelas primarias de este año. Estarán permanentemente cerrado 15 de junio 2012. Tres de las cinco escuelas primarias que estan cerando se encuentran en el este de Oakland: Parque Maxwell, Marshall y Lazear. Estas tres escuelas son en gran medida los jóvenes inmigrantes latinos y los jóvenes de la clase obrera Negro. El cierre de estas tres escuelas primarias más va a desestabilizar al este de Oakland, haciendo que las condiciones aún más duro y opresivo.

¿Dónde terminaran los jóvenes ? ¿Qué pasará con ellos?

El Distrito Escolar Unificado de Oakland hiso la decisión de pagar una deuda de Sacramento en ves de luchar por la educación pública de calidad para nuestra juventud. La decisión de OUSD ayudará a impulsar a estos jóvenes a la cárcel o en el trabajo en los restaurantes de comida rápida.

El 15 de Junio, el último día de escuela, los padres y los maestros de Oakland se sentará en la primaria de Lakeview exigiendo que el distrito mantenga todas las escuelas de Oakland abiertas.

El distrito no ha escuchado a los pleitos, las súplicas de los padres y maestros, o protestas. Sabemos que el dinero existe, pero aún así insisten en el cierre de las escuelas que atienden a niños que son predominantemente negros y latinos en Lakeview Primaria, que se encuentra en 746 Grand Ave., al otro lado de la calle del Grand Lake Theater.

Venga a las 1:30 pm hasta la noche para luchar contra los cierres de las escuelas.

Los trabajadores inmigrantes que limpian los baños, lavar los platos, conducir los camiones son la clave en hacer que estas escuelas funcionan. Si los trabajadores inmigrantes organizaron su fuerza de trabajo a parar estos sistemas, como el Primero de Mayo de 2006, se puede plantear una fuerza más fuerte que los políticos liberales, los iglesias y NGOs (organización no govermental). Esto es el camino a seguir para organizar por la justicia.

The Struggle for Public Education in Oakland

Oakland Unified School district is failing Oakland’s children, creating a future for them to go to jail or be fast food  workers. Early this year Superintendent Tony Smith of Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) announced the closure of 25 schools in two years, and 5 elementary schools this year. He is doing this to “balance the budget.” The reason why the budget needs to be balanced was due to the state takeover of OUSD in 2003. During the state takeover, OUSD’s debt increased by $70 million — from $37 million in 2003 to $107 million in 2009. OUSD should have refused to pay back that $70 million but didn’t. OUSD’s solution is to close 5 elementary schools this year. They will be permanently closed this Friday, June 15th 2012. Three out of the five elementary schools closing are in East Oakland: Maxwell Park, Marshall, and Lazear. These three schools are heavily Latino immigrant youth and working class Black youth.  Closing these three elementary schools will further destabilize east Oakland, making conditions even harder and more oppressive.

Where are these youth supposed to go? What will happen to them?

Oakland Unified School district rather close these schools and pay a Sacramento sponsored debt than fight for quality public education for our youth. OUSD’s decision will help push these youth to jail or work in fast food restaurants.

On November 19th, 2011, Occupy Oakland organized a massive march of 3-4 thousand people to Lakeview elementary school. Some say this was one of the biggest rally for public education in Oakland. A committee has been working very hard to continue such work through this whole year, http://education4the99.wordpress.com/.  Parents from Lakeview elementary school are standing up and want working class community support. They are leading a struggle to keep Lakeview elementary open. On June 15th, tomorrow, the last day of school, Oakland parents and teachers will sit-in at Lakeview Elementary demanding that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The district has not listened to lawsuits, pleas from parents and teachers, or protests. We know the money exists, but still they insist on closing flatland schools serving predominantly Black and Latino children at Lakeview Elementary, which is at 746 Grand Ave, across the street from Grand lake theater. Show your solidarity with the Parents of Lakeview Elementary Friday, and come 1:30pm until night-time to fight the closures of our schools.