Tag Archives: johannes mehserle

Fight Police Brutality With the ILWU – This Saturday 10/23!

ILWU Local Ten is shutting down the port on October 23rd, calling for justice for Oscar Grant, with a rally taking place at noon on 14th Broadway. This is significant! The array of organizing that took place — media outreach, thousands of flyers handed out in the streets,

ILWU say Jail Killer Cops

ILWU say Jail Killer Cops

several union endorsements, several community and political organizational endorsements — has now developed a critical momentum for the Oscar Grant movement that was not present on July 8th 2010, January 7th or 14th of 2009. Those rebellions were expressions of raw anger from Oakland youth and young Bay Area working class people of all races. Since then, there’s been a labor-centered development of struggle, where ILWU local ten has publicly stated over and over that their means to fight against injustice will be to shut down the port.

 

In 1912 two IWW organizers, Joseph Ettor and Arturo Giovanniti, were framed for murder. Witnesses saw the murder of the striker committed by the police. But the 30,000 worker strike in Lawrence Massachusets, often referred to as the Bread and Roses strike, was led by Wobblies Ettor and Giovanniti and needed to be stopped by the state. The first phase of the strike won wage increases. The workers went back to work, but then restruck later in 1912, with around 20,000 participating, as a political strike to free Ettor and Giovanniti, as they were politically framed for a murder they did not commit. Philip Foner, the American Communist Party historian, claims this was the first political strike of such kind in American labor history.

It should be seriously noted when the labor movement shuts down part of the industry of commerce as a political means of defending itself as a class against racist state oppression. The ILWU has pushed the theoritical concept “an injury to one is an injury to all,” in practice. If this can develop as a trend throughout the country, then new formations opposed to state oppression and based in labor can rise, giving working people in ghettos and barrios through out the country a method for fighting back against police brutality.

Arturo Giovanniti, an Italian immigrant IWW organizer, was considered one of the best poets of the movement. In 1914, he wrote “The Walker,” that carries within its description of incarceration coded messages of liberation:

I hear footsteps over my head all night.
They come and they go. Again they come and they go all night.
They come one eternity in four paces and they go one eternity in
four paces, and between the coming and the going there is
silence and the Night and the Infinite.
For infinite are the nine feet of a prison cell, endless is the march
of him who walks between the yellow brick wall and the red
iron gate, thinking things that cannot be chained and cannot
be locked, but that wander far away in the sunlit world, each
in a wild pilgrimage after a destined goal.

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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