Tag Archives: oscar grant

Oakland Demonstration After Darren Wilson Verdict!

demonstrators-defy-curfew-ferguson

On the day of the verdict, whether or not the grand jury decides to indict Darren Wilson – the cop who killed Mike Brown – we will be out on the streets at 14th and Broadway at 7pm. We do so to show our solidarity with Mike Brown  and the militants of Ferguson, who withstood the brute force of the state while bravely fighting the white supremacist power structure that treats black life as disposable.  Their actions have inspired a movement all across the country and the world to challenge the daily oppression faced by black and brown working class people.

Whether or not this cop is indicted won’t change the repressive nature of the state and capital, but what this tragedy has shown is the revolutionary potential of concerted action in the street.  The militants of Ferguson have  directly faced the state, have rejected community and business leaders’ calls for pacification, and, when the cameras left, continued to do the intensive community building to keep the movement strong.  But where will they and the national movement against police brutality go from here?

The experience in the Oscar Grant struggle has shown the need for an organized struggle that moves beyond merely reacting to moments of outrage and court dates, and develops a sustained movement and organization of black and brown proletarians that can challenge all instances of police brutality that occur in our city and beyond.  This isn’t done by pandering to the state and it’s courts, non-profit leaders, self-appointed community leaders, or the “business community,” but by developing a revolutionary organization composed of working class militants who are steeled in the day to day struggles in the streets, their communities, and their workplaces.

When a black life is lost every 28 hours by the hands of cops and racist vigilantes, when stop and frisk is becoming the new normal, when prison populations are overflowing with black and brown people,  families broken up by deportation, and jobs are few and far between, this movement seems more relevant then ever.

Below the jump, check out a dope track entitled War Cry by Tef Poe, a rapper who has been on the front lines of the struggle in Ferguson.  This is sure to be a protest anthem.  See you in the streets..

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#HoodiesUp: All Out to the Justice for Trayvon Rally and Community Speak Out (7/15)


Here is a copy of the flier.  Please Distribute far and wide!

Here is a copy of the flier. Please Distribute far and wide!

Another Black youth murdered in cold blood, and the murderer, according to the courts, is not guilty! The case of Trayvon Martin is an example of what America is composed of, the racism that deeply penetrates its veins, and the state that overseas its process. Trayvon Martin was vilified by the courts as a thug, and its murderer was defended as a noble citizen. How many Black and Latino youth have to be victims of such violence? When will we build a movement so powerful that can challenge such violence? When will the working class be organized to shutdown the system when such racist violence occurs? These are the critical questions of the day. We have experienced the Rodney King movement, the movement around the murder of Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Kenneth Harding, and Oscar Grant. Yet these murders continue unchallenged.

Our strategy against such murders shall be, in the short term, organizing militant protests when such verdicts are executed and organize the working class in the long term as preparation for such moments. Only until the working class, located in strategic industries, that shutdowns components of the system, will we see a viable movement challenging the system. In the Oscar Grant movement we experienced a wave of rebellions on January 7th, and January 14th, 2009, as well as ILWU local 10 shutting down the port on October 23rd, 2010. The combination of street rebellions and shutting down industry are effective tactics against the state. The state, a concentration of power, will not take anything seriously, until there is a force that challenges such power ascends in the field of political battle. Our history of struggles against police brutality has been paralyzed between disorganized bursts of anger coupled with nonprofit lead forces that channel anger back into the system.

We need a militant organized movement of the working class who utilizes its position in society against state supported racist violence. The racist nature of American society will never be challenged until the working class begins to shutdown the system as a political response. A political organization with such explicit aims is needed to accomplish such tasks. Now is the time to organize for justice.

Come support the rally occurring Monday, July 15, 2013 at 14th and Broadway in Downtown Oakland.

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Zimmerman: Guilty or Innocent, still a Racist Vigilante

Trayvon
For the past week, I’ve been glued to the television screen watching as much as I can of the George Zimmerman trial. Accused of second-degree murder, the state of Florida is prosecuting Zimmerman for racially profiling and then shooting to death African-American seventeen-year old Trayvon Martin. Since those reading this will surely be acquainted with this infamous and racially-charged event, I will only briefly recount the happenings of that fateful night.

On the night of February 26th, 2012, Trayvon Martin was on his way back to his dad’s home in a gated town home community in Sanford, Florida, in the central part of the state. Carrying a bag of skittles candy, a can of Arizona iced tea, and wearing a hoodie on that rainy night, Trayvon Martin was walking through Zimmerman’s neighborhood as the latter followed him in his car, suspicious of the young man because of the color of his skin and due to a series of robberies committed in his area in the previous months. The prosecution holds that Zimmerman needlessly followed and then provoked Trayvon into a scuffle that ended in the teen’s death at the hands of Zimmerman’s pistol from point-blank range. The defense has an easier road to follow; while the state must prove beyond reasonable doubt to the jury (9 women, 8 of which are white) that Zimmerman murdered Trayvon with “malice” and “ill will”, all the defense team has to do is sow enough doubt in the case against their client and uphold Zimmerman’s theory of self-defense. They’ve done this with some success. They’ve poked holes and sought to deligitimize every prosecution witness from Trayvon’s friend Rachel Jeantel, who was on the phone with Trayvon during the initial stage of his confrontation with Zimmerman, to the Sanford police investigator of the crime, and the medical examiner who diagnosed Zimmerman’s head injuries as essentially insignificant.

The trial in itself is fascinating in the way in which the opposing sides meticulously scrutinize every detail of the situation to reinforce their story. The media outlets broadcasting the trial routinely take breaks in which commentators of various backgrounds chime in and give their viewpoints on how the case is proceeding and usually betray their sympathies for the defense or prosecution. The entire spectacle is fixated on the whether George Zimmerman legitimately feared for his life due to Trayvon Martin’s aggression and employed his self-defense right to “meet force with force” (as the Florida self-defense law dubbed “Stand Your Ground” Zimmerman claims to have based his killing on states.). The defense seeks to build up Zimmerman as an honest and trustworthy American who fell upon an unfortunate situation that required the use of lethal force. Several of the defense’s 18 witnesses know Zimmerman personally and went on and on about his concern for his community, his work with small children, etc., all in an attempt to influence the jury’s perspective on Zimmerman. This strategy, for the defense, implies framing Trayvon as just another street thug, a good-for-nothing criminal who asked for what he got. They’ve honed in on his tattoos as an example of that, although when Trayvon’s mother took the stand she told the defense lawyer Mark O’Mara during her cross-examination that those tattoos were in honor of her and his grandmother. The defense rejects any accusations of racism against their client as they employ typical stereotypes of Black men to slander Trayvon’s legacy and justify his death.

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Who you calling an Outside Agitator: Rebellion in Brooklyn

Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

Justice for Oscar Grant: A Lost Opportunity?

On March 14th, Brooklyn had a rebellion against the NYPD killing of 16 year old Kimani Gray.  He was shot in the back. The community of East Flatbush rose up and 46 people were arrested from the rebellion. As usual, the establishment is blaming the outside agitator for the rebellion. The usual forces who do this are politicians of color who have decade long roots in the established components of the “community,” accumulating political power to rise higher in the state power structure. These people are our political enemies for liberation.  

 

In Oakland, the politicians of color, and the capitalist media, blamed outside white anarchist for the Oscar Grant rebellions. This was a joke. The anarchist could not pull off actions of such caliber. It was an organic rebellion made by largely the Black working class and dispossessed sections of society. It was youth of color who had enough.  What did not exist in Oakland during the Oscar Grant rebellions, nor in Brooklyn with the Kimani Gray rebellions, is an organization that speaks to, and coordinates these particular rebellions. These rebellions are not to turn into non profit permitted protest, nor ideological stages for demagogues, but fluid anti-permitted actions that are organized by Black and West indie youth.

 
As austerity is forced on us and the welfare state is eroded, the state has become almost a solely disciplinary force; one that’s focus is to terrorize and police the predominately black and brown  surplus populations of the city in order to ensure the smooth functioning necessary for capital accumulation.  With this in mind, struggles around police violence in communities of color will increase in number and importance.  We have written extensively about these experiences and the lessons we have drawn from them, and would encourage others to check it out.    

Here is a 10 point program to propose to our NYC comrades for the development of such a movement. These are the crystallized lessons we learned from the Oscar Grant movement.
 
 1) Coordinate unpermitted struggles in the streets in general terms. No permits.
 2) In particular, have successful snake marches that can make quick turns at moments notice against the state.
3) Have a spatial analysis of your landscape in order to do this.
 4) Have general assemblies in the street, to deepen the participatory character.
5) Play music in the streets that keeps the energy going.
6) Develop organic leaders through democratic means from these movements so its moves beyond the “tyranny of structurelessness .”
7) Link with Ghettos and Barrios across NYC and beyond.
 8) Orient towards the unionized working class of color, who are sympathetic to this rebellion. As the majority of ILWU local 10, who is majority Black, was sympathetic to the Oscar Grant rebellion, they shut down the port on October 23rd, 2010.
9) Politically struggle against the politicians of color, clergy and NGOs who will seek to co-opt this struggle for their own political capital.
10) Publicly advocate a revolutionary organization in these high times of struggle, to explain to the masses in struggle why spontaneous struggle is not enough.  
 
Hopefully, this movement in NYC, coupled with an increase of organized rebellion that maintains an anti-statist character, armed with a vision of a building a revolutionary working class movement, a new force for liberation can emerge in NYC.  With all that said, we would like to re-post Fire Next Time’s piece.

East Flatbush Rebellion, Not “Outside Agitators”

The following is a brief reportback from Will, a member of FNT who witnessed two of the last three nights of protests in East Flatbush following the police killing of 16-year old Kimani “Kiki” Gray.

eastflatbush

The “outside agitators” are back!

The legend of the outside agitator has returned. Clowns like city councilman Jumanee Williams and the leadership of Occupy the Hood are fueling the myth that last night’s rebellions was led / caused by white people or outside agitators.  I was there at last night’s rebellion, and let me tell you: there were fewer then 10 white people involved in a rebellion of hundreds of young Black militants.  Last night was led by young Black militants. Period.

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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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Bay Area Class Struggle History: Panthers at Peralta Colleges

The roots of the Black Panther Party (BPP) lie within student struggle for fully-funded public education reflecting Black history, culture, and struggle. The founders of the party, Huey Newton and Bobby Seale, met at Merritt College in Oakland and began to struggle for education together with other black students. But unlike liberal forces in the movement, Newton and Seale saw the necessity to connect their struggle as black students to structural oppression in working-class black communities. Police murder and beatings combined with a deadly lack of jobs, healthcare, food and affordable housing; the BPP saw that the struggle for control over our schools must be connected to the revolutionary struggle for control over our communities. Looking to the present not a whole lot has changed in Oakland: the BART police murder of Oscar Grant and the numerous murders committed by OPD before and after him demonstrate that state-sponsored racism and violence continues to oppress and kill us; East Oakland has some of the highest rates of foreclosures in the state creating more and more homeless families; health clinics and other vital social services continue to get cut back or completely eliminated; free after-school youth programs and daycare centers continue to close down placing more burdens on working-class mothers, who struggle to find ways to make sure their children are cared for when they attend work and/or school. A central difference between then and now is the lack of an organization like the BPP striving to connect these issues and build community control. There is however a growing student movement, which is trying to fight the budget cuts and demand affordable quality education. There are also BPP sun, flag, fistindividuals and organizations who, like Bobby and Huey, are trying to connect the student struggle to broader issues affecting the working-class as a whole. One of these is the militant student organization Student Unity & Power (SUP), which exists at San Francisco State University, City College of San Francisco, and Laney College. The Laney College branch has put forth a very important analysis demonstrating their radical perspective while drawing from the rich local history of one of the most inspiring and influential revolutionary organizations of all time, The Black Panther Party. This analysis will be useful as we move forward in our struggles for freedom, peep game!

 

Panthers at Peralta

by Laney College Student Unity & Power

SUP draws inspiration from the birth of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in October 1966 when Huey Newton and Bobby Seale met as students on 57th and Grove St. (now Martin Luther King Jr. Way) at Merritt College. Unliketoday’s view of Peralta as a job training hub, the Panthers saw the campus as “not a typical institution for so-called higher learning. Grove Street College is what is called a community college: a place where, for a variety of reasons, people who don’t have an opportunity to attend larger colleges and universities go to seek knowledge and hope for a better life.” The Grove Street campus also represented a base for organizing the neighborhood and a place to demand self-determination for Black and all oppressed people via community control of the curriculum, operations and facilities of the College. While engaged in militant resistance to the District, rank-and-file Panther women built counter-institutions to reproduce their culture of struggle.

This piece is an effort to remember the lessons of their struggle. Continue reading

Start Building for 10/23 – Work Stoppage Against Police Brutality

Recently the ILWU called for a rally on October 23 and expressed interest in a work stoppage to ensure that Johannes Meserle receive the maximum sentence for the murder of Oscar Grant. The ILWU have a long history of taking a leading role in periods of mass struggle and of engaging in political strikes. The San Francisco General Strike started when state and private police killed 2 longshoremen as they tried to break picketlines that had closed not only SF ports but all of the ports on the west coast for 2 and a half months. In 1973 the ILWU refused to ship munitions headed for Chile following the military coup and suppression of the Cordones (workers councils). In 1984 the ILWU shut down the ports for 11 days in a political strike against aparthied in South Africa.

ILWU Local 10

The ILWU is able to take such militant action without being destroyed by the ruling class because the longshoremen occupy such a strategically strong position in the production of profit – the unloading of the majority of commodities headed for consumption. Harry Bridges, along with a rank-file committee organized and led a strike in 1934, quickly growing into a general strike through all of San Francisco and even Oakland, it continues this militant historical legacy into an array of other struggles long after. The ILWU is now throwing their weight into the struggle for justice during a period of racist state murder and mass incarceration marked by the deepest economic crisis in capitalist history. On May 1, 2008, International Labor Day, they shut down all of the west coast ports in a one day political strike against the war. On June 20 of this year the Longshoremen refused to cross a picketline blocking the entrances to the port to stop an Israeli ship from docking in the wake of the Freedom Flotilla Massacre. Now they are calling for a rally on the 23rd of October at Oakland City hall and may shut down the ports.

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