Sunday, February 3, 2013

Attacking the Root (On Violence in Oakland)

     Rise In Power to the Kiante Campbell, the young man who was murdered in the middle of First Friday, on February 1st, 2013.  May his spirit forever reside with our ancestors.

     Colonial Violence, or violence of the colonizer.  This violence results in an annihilation of the body of the colonized, the psyche of the colonized, and the culture of the colonized. This kind of violence is rooted in the very structure of colonialism and occurs across multiplel domains: economic, cultural, psychological, physical, and spatial.
     Fanon proposes that its colonial violence and its trauma that leads to the second form of violence- that from the colonized's side. This violence is an attempt on the part of the desperate, frustrated and alienated colonized subject to retrieve a certain dignity and sense of the Self that colonial violence had destroyed......Pramod K. Naya

     Violence in Oakland has been at the forefront of the news in Oakland lately. (Well crime is all they ever report on in the Black Community)  But now the city says its serious about stopping the crime and its a "state of emergency" says Council member Larry Reid.   The Chief of Police has made it a point to appear at numerous shooting scenes in the past few weeks with news cameras. The local churches have came out in support of a contract to pay a police consultant $250,000 for advice on how to bring crime down, as well as millions more for new police academies.  As usual, i'm quiet sure that the homicide rate in Oakland is on track to reaching its annual rate of well over one hundred murders. So lets talk about stopping the violence that all the community members, activist, non-profits, public officials, gentrifiers, and church members are so concerned about.
     While continually fighting against State sponsored terror, I am constantly confronted by community members, worried about violence, who ask me, "Your so worried about the police killing our people...when are you gonna do something about about all this black on black crime!?" Like these two issues are not different symptoms of the same disease.   Nevertheless, Pac expressed this thought clearly when he said, "They say its the white man I should fear, but its my own kind doing all the killing here."    Anyone who is truly serious about stopping violence in the community is going to have to start with the root and ask themselves, "Where does violence come from?" They should also ask themselves why are none of the solutions working that our leaders in the community come up with? Without a doubt, the violence that plagues every inner-city community across the country is a direct result of local, state, and federal governments not prioritizing and providing resources to solutions that have been proven to prevent crime. Instead, they create an outrageous budget with our money, allocating millions to militarized police departments, prisons, and wars, at the expense of our schools,  jobs, housing, and all sorts of desperately needed social programs that are always on the chopping block.  Austerity measures are what causes crime.  A city, state, and country that under-serves certain segments of our society, and then blames the consequences of this under service on the under-served themselves is what causes violence.
     In the most recent copy of the Oakland Post, there is an article describing how the City of Oakland just sent back $600,000 allocated to them to provide training for the unemployed because they could not think of anything useful to do with the money, but ironically they can give a quarter million to one police consultant.  The Oakland Unified School District closed five schools last year. with plans to close thirty more.  One of the schools, Santa Fe, is currently being rented to the City of Emeryville for $500,000 per year. The Oakland Unified School District has a track record of ushering in gentrification by closing schools and turning our public schools into charter schools. The attack on public education in Oakland wrecks havoc on our communities and is directly connected to violence.  Prescott Elementary, which has been in the Lower Bottoms neighborhood for over 40 years is currently battling to keep  Vincent Charter school from taking 8 of their classrooms, which the School District is offering to them because they say the school has unused, nonacademic space that is not being used , which is untrue. Some of the unused space they are proposing taking is a teachers lounge, a space used for one on one sessions with academically struggling children, portables used by an after school program, and a Pre K space.  (I have alot more details on this subject for a future blog post) Prescott served over 1200 hundred students at its high point, now it only serves a little over 200.  Anybody who is concerned about stopping violence in Oakland is going to have to start by addressing the attack being waged on education in this city.  It is a fact that educational opportunities prevent crime.  So why is Oakland closing so many schools, if it is concerned with the violence of the city? This is only one example of many, which demonstrates the hypocrisy of the City of Oakland when it says it is concerned with stopping violence, but all the moves they make suggest otherwise. (For anybody who wants to address the School Board about these issues, good luck at finding their next meeting place which is not on their website. Due to a "suspicious accident", where a janitor left a water faucet running, which caused so much water damage that OUSD Main Office on 2nd St. will not be opened for a year, and consequently all the departments are at separate locations throughout the City of Oakland)
     So now the question is...Who really is concerned about stopping violence in Oakland? Is it our elected officials  who control a massive budget that should be used to really stop violence or the Oakland Police Department? The Church surely thinks so.  Is it gonna be stopped by a "Silence the Violence" movement where a bunch of us get together and try to  sell our c.d.'s to the community?  I am a firm believer in Malcolm X's ideology of the social aspect of Black Nationalism, which stresses that we ourselves are responsible for the critical task of ridding our communities of all the vices that hinder our complete liberation, because nobody else is going to willingly do this for us.  For this reason, stopping the violence in the Oakland Community rest in the hands of those who truly want to see a society where violence and death is not a reality for our community.  Therefore, we are gonna have to be very creative and come up with a strategy to divert the hundreds of million dollars  being misappropriated and wasted by our public officials in Oakland,  into our schools, employment,  housing, and all other social programs which will transform this city, provide hope for our communities, and silence the violence once and for all.

Thursday, December 20, 2012


The Laney Black Student Union is a strong supporter in the struggle to receive justice for Alan Blueford, Raheem Brown, Oscar Grant and all other brothers and sisters who have been unjustly executed by police.
We call on the city of Oakland, the Oakland District Attorney, and the soon to be appointed Compliance Director, to fire and press criminal charges against Miguel Masso for the murder of Alan Blueford.
The Laney Black Student Union supports the Blueford family in their struggle to receive justice because we fully understand how hard it is to get public officials, investigators, lawyers, judges, police chiefs, and even community members to look past the same standard, tired, cover-up story that some pig felt threatened by an unarmed citizen, as a justification for murder.
We support the Blueford family in their struggle for justice because we fully understand that if we do nothing, a murder, on paid leave, will walk free, unchecked, with no consequences, able to murder another member of our community at will.
We support the Bluefords in their struggle for justice because we are more than just a student organization at Laney College.  We are deeply concerned members of the Oakland community.  Communities where black, brown, and poor people are under direct attack from a neo liberal state.
  50% of black youth are unemployed in Oakland, a concentration of wealth in Oakland is drastically changing the demographics through urban removal, biological warfare has destroyed the black community through the cocaine trade and the war on drugs, public school closures, mass incarceration, racial discrimination, and homelessness are just a few of the attacks our community faces.
The Laney B.S.U. not only recognizes these attacks on our community, we also refuse to lie down silently as it takes place.  We seek to organize with all those who are willing to actively combat and resist these attacks.
The Laney B.S.U. fully understands that police are not here to defend our communities against these injustices.  On the contrary, they are here to keep this system running, and in doing so have declared themselves enemies of our community.
This is the reason why Alan Blueford was murdered.  He was murdered to send the message to the rest of our community that resistance is useless, change is impossible, and we should just submit to the unjust conditions of our community.
But we refuse to accept this passive fate, and refuse to continue to look to a corrupt city government, which is incapable of holding a corrupt police force responsible for a clear murder and cover-up.
When Oakland does nothing but charge the Bluefords for a coroner’s report, makes them beg for a police report, while locking the doors to a public meeting, and giving an estimated time of two years for a complete investigation, they have exposed their true nature and intentions.
So no matter what they come out and say, no matter how hard the try to convince the community that they are on our side, we know that they are liars, and the B.S.U. strongly stresses the need for direct action.
Direct action, such as port shutdowns, city hall takeovers, and D.A. sit-ins are proven tactics that produce much desired results.  These are tactics that are gonna take sacrifice, nevertheless direct action is the way forward.
Why should we play by the city’s rules when they have already shown their unwillingness to seek truth and justice?
To get justice for our brothers and sisters some rules are gonna have to be broken.  To hold these murdering police accountable, some laws are gonna have to be broken.
Out of all the police murders in Oakland, from Lil Bobby Hutton to Alan Blueford, Johannes Meshelie is the only one ever charged.  And a few squad cars had to get burnt, and a few windows had to get busted. The people had to take direct action.
So why the city of Oakland was telling the People that “Violence is not Justice” and how wrong we were, and how brainwashed we had been by outside agitators, a jury was being convinced that Mesherlie was just reaching for his taser, a judge was giving Mesherlie  a two year sentence,  Marysol Domenici was receiving her job back, Mesherlie tried to get his job back, all officers involved in Oscar Grants murder are currently seeking immunity from any civil liability, and the city of Oakland has allowed every police officer who has murdered someone since then to walk away free.
This is why we support the Bluefords in their struggle for Justice for Alan Blueford, and believe that we should do whatever is necessary to receive justice for all of our fallen brothers and sisters. 

Saturday, November 19, 2011


     The last three weeks of the Occupy Oakland movement have been very eventful.  I left Oakland, CA three months ago, but I traveled back from Illinois to participate in Occupy Oakland.  I have spent the night three times at the second camp, visited everyday for two weeks, and participated in almost every action since I been here.  There are many good things about O.O., but it is far from perfect.  As with anything worth fighting for, there are changes that would make O.O. stronger.
Problems of Diverse Political Agendas
     Occupy Oakland would be stronger if it prioritized and waged a tireless fight for Oakland's concerns first. Specifically concerns that affect all of Oakland, such as school closures, unemployment, homelessness, criminalization of our youth, and a massive police budget, which is a big part of Oakland's financial woes.  The task of getting everyone to fight for local issues is difficult because of the diverse political agendas.  For instance, when the Stop the Gang Injunction Coalition requested that Oakland show up for a City Council Meeting, it was reported that less then 20 people from O.O. showed up.  O.O. consist of liberals who still have faith in this system, Anarchist. Socialist, Communist, Nationalist, people who are new to politics, and people who could care less about politics.  On top of all these political beliefs there are racial divisions, social divisions, and economic divisions.  With such diversity in O.O., each persons reason for participating is different.  Some participants have goals specifically for Oakland, such as stop closing schools, stop gang injunctions, or recall Jean Quan.  Some goals are directed at the State of California, like refund the billions cut from public education.  Others want to see national change, such as prosecution of Wall Street.  Finally, some want to see International change, like stopping Israel from colonizing Palestine.  Every single one of these goals are equally important, but how can we change the world if we can't change our neighborhood or community?  How can we hold are government responsible if we can't even stop the Oakland City Counsel?  This is why we should concentrate our efforts on Oakland.  Once we change Oakland, then we can move on to bigger targets.
     Tactical Mistakes
     Occupy Oakland would also be stronger if we became more militant and strategic with our tactics and actions. The tactics being used, such as marches and days of action, do not accurately display our serious determination to get our demands met.  In fact, such weak tactics reveal a weakness in our movement that can be exploited at will.  We must plan unrelenting, offensive tactics around changes we want to see in Oakland, and unwavering in our efforts to bring these changes about.  
     If you look at past movements anywhere, nothing was won by one day of action.  For, example the fight to start the Ethnic Studies Department in San Francisco, in 1968, was not a one day fight, but was won over several months.  When remembering this struggle Melanie Young said, "The strike had three major demands. The right of third world students to an education. The formation of Ethnic Studies curriculum and the hiring of third world faculty."  The struggle to get these demands met consisted of a sustained strike. Young states, "That strike was marked by violence, hundreds of arrest, months of disrupted classes, and dozens of faculty firings." In comparison, the tactic of non-violent, one day actions being used in the Occupy Oakland Movement is the exact opposite of the tactics that had to be used in San Francisco in 1968.  The demands of Occupy Oakland might not be the same as the Ethnic Studies struggle but the enemy is.  Except , in 2011, the enemy is much stronger, and the tactics we are trying to use to defeat this beast are much weaker.  We have to be more bold and determined to bring about change.
     Shutting down the Port of Oakland was brilliant, but the powers that be knew it was coming, in addition, they knew it was for only one day.  It is incomprehensible that the people of Oakland did not have one demand they deemed worthy or were serious about getting met.  Any demand we would have put forth on November 2nd, 2011, would have been met, if we would have been relentless with our action and did not declare such an easy victory.  We had the fifth largest port in the country at its knees and we let this 1 percenter get up.  If O.O. would have shut the Port of Oakland down indefinitely, then our general assemblies would not be about what the next step in the movement is, but the G.A. would be about what demand do we want met first and for who.
Racism in the 99%
      There has been a lot of talk about racism in the 99%, and how there is no way for "people of color", especially the black community, to participate.  Yes, its is true that a lot of the participants in the Occupy Oakland movement are "so called"  progressive whites who have gentrified Oakland.  It is also true that these  whites would never address the issue of gentrification on their own freewill.  With this fact being known, we should not expect them to or be mad at them for fighting for their issues.  These white people are participating in Occupy Oakland to fight for their own grievances, which will secure a better future for themselves and those who they represent. 
     The black community in Oakland has to fight for what's important to us.  Marcous Garvey once said,"If you want liberty, you yourself must strike the blow. If you must be free, you must become so through your own initiative."  The great freedom fighter Ella Baker said, "My basic sense of it has always been to get people to understand that in the long run they themselves are the only protection they have against violence or injustice...People have to be made to understand that they cannot look for salvation anywhere but to themselves."  Are community cannot be angry that these white progressives are not speaking up for our issues in Occupy Oakland.  We should be speaking up for our damn selves.  We should organize ourselves around a set of demands, that allows us to speak with one voice so loud that nobody in the 99% could ignore it.  As the saying goes, "A closed mouth does not get fed."
     Despite our current silence, our people have not always been quite.  We have played major leading roles in every movement for justice in America that you can name.  Starting with the Abolitionist and Underground Railroad movement, The Civil War, The Reconstruction Era, The Garvey Movement, The Communist and Socialist Partys, The Civil Rights Movement, The Free Speech Movement, The Black Power Movement, and the Anti-War Movement, to name a few.  You can find our leadership, presence, and contributions in every one of these struggles.  The Black community has a duty to participate in the destruction of this system. Preferably, strike the fatal blow.  We cannot sit on the sidelines talking shit.  O.O. is like a puzzle and the black community is the missing piece.  We have not only been missing from O.O., we have been missing from the Stop the Gang Injunction Coalition, the fight to stop cuts to education, foreclosure takeovers, and the Death Penalty campaigns in Oakland.  We are so affected by these issues that we cannot find the energy to resist.  Well, the time has come for us to stand up and take our rightful place at the forefront of this fight for freedom, and we should not be confrontational with our newly awakened class comrades, but we should show them how it is done.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Its like the whole worlds blind! and only I see
Looking through my third eye, and its clear as can be
Looking for the sunshine, through the cloud and the trees
Better dreams about tomorrow, while embracing my seed

We forgot who we was, now the enemy got us!
We the prey, and we walking like sheep to the slaughter!
Got a daughter? Better raise her...
Cause our culture don't respect her, and our sons thinking about the quickest way to undress her
Now I ain't Hating on myself, cause i'm speaking this with Love
Living Life for today at the bar and the club
We keep a mug on our face, we to hard to say "whats up?"
Taking out our own soldiers like that's "whats up
So its a must that we cease and dismiss all this bullshit!
And take a good look at what this country trying to pull, SHIT!
Its like i'm singing to choir...
But i'm still in this race, still tempted by trials
And my child? I'ma tell him join the Army
But for Black Liberation, cause these pigs trying to harm me
Disarm me and defeat me, delete me like a text
Cause the only thing i'm banging is Freedom or Death!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

General Strike for Oakland

There are many reasons why the City of Oakland, particularly the Black community, should direct their political, economic, and social energy towards a general strike. The Black community in Oakland has no political voice. There seems to be a blind-eye turned to the suffering and obstacles created by institutionalized racism, and how they materialize in the everyday lives of Blacks in Oakland.
The Black leaders we do have, do not speak for the community. These leaders are more like buffers against the power that we could unleash anytime we chose to. How could these leaders be the voice of the Black community, when they continue to stay silent on issues such as massive education cuts, unemployment for 40% of black teens in Oakland, 17.5% unemployment for Black males in Oakland, gang injunctions, countless police murders, homelessness, mass incarceration, housing foreclosures, and urban removal? These are issues that should be addressed by the Black leaders in Oakland, on behalf of the Black community.
Due to these leaders silence and lack of courage it is critical for the black worker and the black unemployed to unite and form a strong political union to combat these attacks on our community's well being. We have been divided for far too long. A house divided, cannot survive. Once such a union is formed, a foundation will be set to build a General Strike upon.
Even though it is important for each Ethnic Community, such as the Black Community, to organize itself, a General Strike has to be multicultural. A General Strike has to be organized around all of Oakland's needs, rather than just one group who is being affected by this systems failure to govern and serve the people. Economic conditions are worse then they have been in a very long time and every community has been affected, therefore every community should participate in the way that serves them best.
 The demands of a General Strike should crystallize and solidify what we are fighting for. Our demands should call for nothing less then restitution for the crimes committed by a corrupt ruling class who surrenders all of our tax dollars over to a private bank, named the Federal Reserve, and gets nothing in return for it but a $14trillion debt. We should demand jobs that allow each person to have a decent standard of living, immediate reinvestment into our schools, housing and healthcare for all Oakland residents, and an immediate end to Police Terrorism. These are demands that unite everyone of us. These are demands that are worth fighting for.
A General Strike is by far the best solution to get our so called representatives and corporations, who are comfortably in bed together, to listen. A General Strike is the only language the Federal Government, the State of California, or the City of Oakland will understand. A language that hits their pockets and lets them know we want change. A General Strike will give the average citizen a voice, and an even table to negotiate for vital resources that are not being provided. A General Strike in Oakland has to consist of public service workers who have overwhelming support from the community. This overwhelming community support would be a very important part of organizing for a General Strike, because these workers would be sacrificing a lot by going on strike.   B.A.R.T. workers, A.C. Transit workers, and P.G.&E workers, EBMUD workers, Garbage Men, and Taxicab drivers are some of the public workers we would need. It is imperative that we convince these workers that our community's survival is not a separate issue for each individual, but an intertwined issue, that depends on our communities solidarity. Once the working class begin to shed their individual concern, begin to see through the destructive lies told through the media by our politicians, turn to their unemployed brethren and take up the righteous cause of liberation from the social, economic, and political ills caused by those we slave for, then and only then will we see our real enemies and win the war against those who exploit and oppress us.