Eric Garner’s final words before being choked to death by police for selling cigarettes
Back in the 90’s Michael Jordan was asked if he would support Democratic Party challenger Harvey Gantt, who was running for a North Carolina senate seat against incumbent and strident racist Jesse Helms. Jordan refused and reasoned, “Republicans buy sneakers too”.
Fast forward 25 years to Lebron James demonstrating a similar ambivalence when asked to take a position on the racist police killing of Tamir Rice. Tamir Rice was twelve years old when police officer Tim Loehmann shot him in the stomach for playing with a toy gun; he could have been wearing the latest Lebron sneakers as he was murdered. In seven years, Tamir could have been Lebron James’ teammate.
Tamir Rice was 12 years old when gunned down by police
We’ve been a little dormant lately, but we have a number of events and writings on the way. Please come reconnect with us at our upcoming event on farmworkers struggle in Mexico. Below is a description of the event and the event flyer. Please spread the word!
Do you know who picks your strawberries, cucumbers and pumpkins? Have you heard of the Driscoll’s produce company? Did you know that workers just hours south of the Bay Area are getting paid starvation wages? Did you hear that these workers waged a historic strike demanding dignity earlier this year?
Join us at a forum to hear a reportback on the struggle of agricultural workers in the San Quintin Valley of Baja CA, Mexico. A delegation of bay area activists along with a local San Quintin organizer (via Skype or in person, depending on their travel schedule) will present information on the historic strike that happened earlier this spring and how you can connect with and learn from the ongoing organizing of farm workers just across the border.
Wednesday Aug. 12th 6:30-8:30 PM
La Peña Cultural Center, 3105 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA
Sponsored by Advance the Struggle
Facebook event page: https://goo.gl/sy2OVi
Click for high res flier
To the theoretician of capital and it’s destruction, the founder of the First Communist International, and father of modern communism, we wish you a happy birthday!
For as soon as the distribution of labour comes into being, each man has a particular, exclusive sphere of activity, which is forced upon him and from which he cannot escape. He is a hunter, a fisherman, a herdsman, or a critical critic, and must remain so if he does not want to lose his means of livelihood; while in communist society, where nobody has one exclusive sphere of activity but each can become accomplished in any branch he wishes, society regulates the general production and thus makes it possible for me to do one thing today and another tomorrow, to hunt in the morning, fish in the afternoon, rear cattle in the evening, criticise after dinner, just as I have a mind, without ever becoming hunter, fisherman, herdsman or critic.
– Karl Marx, The German Ideology
This reflection was written by a comrade of the Advance the Struggle crew on November 29th, a day after the Black Friday shutdown of the West Oakland BART Station. It was not published because it provoked some internal debate and discussion within our crew that we wanted to have prior to putting it out online.
We offer it here in its rough and unfinished form as an artifact of what some of us were thinking of in the beginning of the national rebellion against the non-indictment of the police officers who killed Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
Riots, Freeways, and BART Stations: Reflections on How We Attack White Supremacy
The police execution of Mike Brown is not simply another example of black youth experiencing a state sponsored murder. In addition to the tragedy of another black life stolen by the white supremacist state, Mike Brown’s death has called into being a nationwide movement against police brutality. This movement has further impressed upon many people’s consciousness the delegitimization of the state that the murders of Oscar Grant, Trayvon Martin and others have left. Further, the rebellions and direct actions that have been carried out by individuals, communities and organizations have demonstrated an expansion in the repertoire of resistance tactics that new and experienced militants are willing to carry out in order to disrupt the white supremacist capitalist economy and its racialized state.
So far, the two main forms of militant action that people have taken have been street rebellions characterized by informal, decentralized and evolving leadership structures as well as targeted direct actions featuring highly organized, formal and centralized leadership structures. The rebellions that happened in the streets of Oakland on the the three evenings after the announcement of the non-indictment of Darren Wilson were examples of the former, while the Blackout Collective’s shutdown of the West Oakland BART Station is an example of the latter.
Both sets of actions were successful in disrupting sections of the economy during the holiday season, inflicting high value damage to a capitalist economy during its peak season. Further, both actions played a role in developing the leadership capacities of young black militants, and secondarily other militants of color and white militants, though in very different ways. Reflecting on these experiences may help us to begin thinking through how we can build upon the successful acts of resistance we’ve taken, and move forward together in continuing our organizing operations.
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!
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
Event sponsored by: IWW Whole Foods, Advance the Struggle, Just Wages Network (JWN), NLG L&EC
Oakland, CA – On September 4th, 2014 at 14th & Broadway, a key site for the Oscar Grant rebellions and Occupy Oakland, fast-food workers and organizers were arrested after rallying and protesting for $15 an hour and demanding unionization of their workplaces. This was part of a national day of action. This day of action was the 7th strike since this campaign started in Chicago 2012 by SEIU and other political forces, with 150 similar protests taking place in major urban cities. Through polls and other media forms, the public has shown serious support for higher wages in the fast food industry, thus opening the possibility of a public and political campaign to organize fast-food workers. Consequently, in the 1 year and 10 months since its inauguration — this effort has generated notable worker actions with repression mostly kept in check. Working off of the Fair Labor Standard Act of 1938, the campaign utilizes many legal avenues and creates favorable conditions to breathe class struggle life into the fast food workplace, potentially opening windows for thousands of these workers to be armed with a ‘politics of struggle’ in the workplace. The combination of advocating unionization of the low-wage workplace through direct action, and publicly fighting for a higher wage can be a functional framework for getting working class struggle off the ground. Not surprising, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour has been a position generating national momentum. These positive developments still face the politics of the campaign and its organizations. Service Employees International Union (SEIU) is a central political force of the campaign, and in short has built a movement set on union expansion that subordinates the potential working class power in the workplace. Continue reading
Our recent event, “From the Freedom Summer to Ferguson,” was a great success and many have asked for a video from that night. After working through a few technical difficulties, we are happy to provide a video from our event below the jump.
There was a range of topics discussed, from the experiences in the Freedom Summer to how these lessons relate to contemporary struggles for racial liberation. If you are interested in bringing this event to your campus or community, please feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Enjoy.