All of us have been paying close attention to development of black insurgency over the past few years. The power of street protests, new black activist groups, and recent anti-racist demands at universities highlight the direction that the movement’s energy is going. Further, the recent spread of pro black, anti-racist demands at numerous universities following the Mizzou protests demonstrate one possible way in which the movement is cohering: through the development of common demands on college campuses.
Oakland was an exciting place to be, again, during the hot winter weeks of late November and early December 2014. Protests raged nightly, and so many of us found ourselves marching together through the streets, evading cops, and blocking freeways and BART stations wherever was possible. Walking down Broadway, turning right on 7th street and heading toward the West Oakland BART station. Stopping midway and having debates about which direction to go – toward 980? Back toward the 880? Piedmont? The chaotic discussions we had brought that familiar feeling of ungovernability back to our lives. Our militant and disorderly activities were creative and generative to the extent that we got practice in challenging the infrastructure of Bay Area capitalism, attempting to block flows of traffic in ways that at least felt like we were disrupting flows of capital. Celebrating militancy is important, but perhaps more important is pointing out some of the limitations of our courageous actions.
There are three key limits that we want to highlight here.