Wednesday, December 02, 2009

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Oakland Without Us, Against Us, For Us?

East Oakland is no paradise. But it is my home, my future, my struggle, my community, my family of families and my poetic. Hope and despair commingle in a single easterly horizon of Oakland,

During the last seven months, more or less, six teenagers have been killed at the hands of other teens and adults not much older than their victims in my neighborhood. Most of them probably thought they were old; felt old maybe even felt time was running out and did. There have been as many -- probably more -- failed attempts at killings.

Although violence among and between Latino youth is not the only thing happening, it is there latent, lingering, a trend, a possibility. Enough to make you think a couple of times if you want to go out, walk around, maybe go jogging, or walk or take the bus home after school, and risk violence. The police are the only ones actively, thankfully too, who are going after the armed troublemakers.

Violence Is Not Random, Not An Equal Opportunity

Violence, however and unfortunately, is not random. Lack of resources, opportunity, cell-phones, tennis shoes, i-pods, and other niceties is not random. And who preys on those who have are those who have not? Who is poor, unemployed, perennially unemployed, profiled, who has police when you need them, who has services, who has cafes, bookstores, botiques, cinemas and restaurants?

Violence is not a drive-by. Violence is unemployment, violence is underfunded schools, violence is the lack of bookstores. Violence is the lack of hope and mentors. Violence means it's easier to get a gun than a book in east Oakland streets. Violence is the lack of cultural centers, art galleries, bowling alleys and other spaces that are user-friendly, relevant and affordable to those who now live in east and other parts of Oakland who share the same fate.

Oakland is a whole, yet only parts of it in the so-called North benefit from the whole. We in east Oakland suffer for it.

Poverty is not random; the economic crisis and who shouldered the brunt of the crash was not random. Neither is the coercion and the threat of jail, the threat of punishment by banishment. So-called gang violence is the segue to either more abandonment, flight of investments out of the barrios, or more push outs, gentrification. It's still a toss up in the short run which option will take the day.

In the long run, neither pushing out the working poor or gentrification are viable, sustainable or desirable.

Strangling California Public Schools
Strangling Poor People's Imagination

How do you do this? The Governor cuts the budget for public services. No, he doesn't cut; he gouges. No he doesn't gouge, he strangles the budget for public services and goes first for the future, our schools.

Our schools are readying for the massive cutbacks on the same horizon. They are already reeling from the cutbacks. In my east Oakland, schools are no longer just centers of education. They offer safer spaces, provide food, stability and a proverbial finger in the dike to ward off the devastating floods the California and federal governments have in store for education. The children of the working poor of all colors, immigrants, women-led families, the homeless, the day laborers depend on at least one meal, sometimes the only meal they'll get, from the school kitchens. The food nutrition is below Mc-Donald's par.

In this mix, the schools are superheroes doing the impossible every day. Principals and teachers, what remains of after-school program teachers, artists and other support systems, are frayed. Their job is to teach and prepare critical minds, to practice creativity and boldness in making and creating choices and taking on obstacles. Yet they battle a over-funded pipeline that goes from the classroom to the jail cell, a pipeline fed and organized by three-strike laws, criminalization, powerful politicians and prison guard unions and others who believe safety and stability requires policing first. Even the best politicians are complicit in this decline and juncture, when they organize investments into our neighborhoods that demand our expulsion.

We need police; yet policing alone is a recipe for gentrification and destabilization of the existing members of my community. Police alone cannot and will not solve the problems facing our communities and their neighborhoods. Policing alone is akin to throwing gasoline on a fire.

The options cannot be endure policing, jails or poverty. The poor are not just poor, we are impoverished. Our poverty is not the same as our culture. Mexicans have a communal soul and ceremony for almost every day, month and season of the year. But the economics of poverty and survival means we are stripped of our souls and our flesh is subjected to the daily grind of those who are profiting from our work. Where community is still and barely alive, there is hope and no one goes hungry or despairs or resorts to desperate measures where you gamble away your freedom.

We are not poor because we do not work enough. Mothers, fathers, sons and daughters work two, three jobs and the family suffers for it. Children are left alone to their own devices, including survival.

We are poor because we are underpaid; our labor and our values are exploited or demeaned. We would pull ourselves up by our bootstraps if the jack-boot of employers, landlords and others who coerce us would be taken off our backs.

Guns, Schools & Street Corners

You have Latino youth taking it out on Latino youth; Blacks on Blacks; and the young men target the young women in their vistas and circuits. This has a domino impact on friendships, brothers and sisters, cousins, mothers and fathers, the grandparents. Even if it is not a direct experience of your family and loved ones, you suffer the consequences. Families are being ruined by the violence of everyday survival. Children left alone end up forming "gangs," that then imagine a turf of their own that requires power. They believe what they see: power is violence or the threat of violence.

Community or Chaos

Gangs? Are they all bad? Do they provide a "family," respect, power, safety? Are our or anyone's families created by domination and threat or by love and cooperation?

What happens to our children and families when the core members, the parents or older adults, have to work two, three jobs? Who guides the children, who watches over them, feeds them, comforts them, gets them to read, gets them to dream a different, sustainable, rich life?

Is it domination, control, coercion of a small corner, not of hope, stability, family, relationships, or even of a liberating vision? Or is it just plain meanness, fists, beatings or the threat of beatings, guns flashed for good measure, selling drugs, getting high for the sake of getting high, prostitution and survival?

Every day a child, teenagers on the verge of legal age, goes to jail. Sometimes these jails are better than their neighborhood. I feel crushed by these losses. Would we have a different neighborhood, if instead of the detention center for children that has basketball courts, safety, meals, decent bedding spaces, if instead these resources were invested in my neighborhood -- where we could have a basketball court, a gymnasium, sports, workshops on physical education, art and writing, fully staffed and safe? Where would you want your child to be? At this center or in the jail center? It's not a rhetorical question. Families are losing their sons and daughters to the anguish of prison and prison-like detention. The pipeline is a colorline: female and male Latinas/Latinos, African Americans, Asian Pacific Islanders, Indigenous people and, of course the minority, white working poor.

How will we transfer the resources of the prison-industrial complexion, imprisonment and policing, strangling of public schools and other services, to make our neighborhoods safe again? Safe for culture and her people of all colors?

We have come again to that fork in the road. As our great Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked, we have a choice, everyone does: community or chaos.

Chaos is neoliberalism, the extension of politicis by other means (wars), gentrification, criminalization, the strangling of public services and education, the big government of Reaganomics.

Community or chaos, health or the disease of private property and public bailouts, culture with class, race, color, gender, roots or the prison-industrial complex(ion)? It's not black and white, it's complex, we can have our own community of chaos -- my chaos would be to divest from prison-building and criminalization, divert funding from the military to the multicultural and invest in culture, education, industrial, virtual and actual telecommunications and servcies skills and job creation.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

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The Presence of World Culture, starting in East Oakland

There's a something culturally afoot in Oakland and it promises to shake, rattle and roll you. Let's take a quick tour.

Shake: Corazón del Pueblo, literally "Heart of the People," is a locally owned store whose nondescript status ends at the sidewalk.

Corazón del Pueblo is a sanctuary of art and culture. Corazón offers fine art, handmade jewelry, huipiles (hand-embroidered Mayan blouses) and ceramics and books from Latin America. Corazón also has an incredible gallery space in the rear that has showcased local Chicano, Latino and Indigenous painters and cultural shows and performances.

Corazón del Pueblo is the place to hang out, buy gifts for your loved ones or for yourself and talk with the owner Josefina Lopez about what’s happening in the neighborhood. Afterwards, treat yourself to a delicious meal at any of the local restaurants or taco trucks featuring Mexican cuisine.

Visit Corazón del Pueblo, located at 4814 International Boulevard, in the heart of east Oakland.

Rattle: On any given night, the EastSide Cultural Center, at 2277 International Boulevard, is featuring world class acts of poetry, music and art.

EastSide Cultural Center is the place where you can listen to David Murray blowing wildly on his saxophones or the international tour de force, Amiri Baraka, reading his poems for a different more just, peaceful world living in color.

Every Thursday night, EastSide Cultural Center busts open its doors and turns on its microphones to broadcast the voices and words local and featured writers, slammers performers, musicians and poets sharing their stories and craft.

EastSide features documentaries and films that hold back their political punches on Friday nights. The EastSide Cultural Center also offers on-going workshops on hip-hop, art and writing. There's always great photography and paintings exhibited on their walls, too.

Roll: Let's roll! From east to west, north to south, Oakland’s artists, poets, writers and musicians are changing the colors, imagination and sounds of our communities. Without the work and vision of cultural workers in Oakland, our neighborhoods would be less livable, less vibrant.

Shake, rattle or roll – Oakland is teeming with a dynamic art and cultural movement that is creating the new there here in Oakland!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

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Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937 Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937 by Jim Coddington

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Joan Miro undoubtedly changed painting. He re-visualized space for us, recombining colors and non-colors, adding matter to the surface, add contorsion and torsion, with grace and a new aesthetics. I am not familiar enough with the timelines of development in painting. In any case Joan Miro reinterpreted and "assassinated" illusion, perspective, central image, re-shaped the relationship between viewer and canvass or surface of the artwork in a way that predates Picasso. (Picasso in the last years of his life interpreted "Las Meninas" (by Velazquez?) in his signature style.) But Picasso like Miro re-interpreted generations of virtuoso painters before him to create their own masterpieces.

Miro worked on this for a decade, creating his "anti-painting," to develop, gestate his signature in artwork, covered by this awesome book, Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937. For painting or any other cultural (or even political) work to have depth and sustainability, the artist has to cast or grow profound roots in his ancestors and predecessors with and through his contemporaries and community.

Miro did not set out to re-interpret past generations' artwork, he set out to supercede them, destroy them or at least put them in their place, their historic place. In the process he has become our target and mountain to climb or flatten, the challenge that won't go away.

Miro, along with his contemporaries, re-figured art to the point of animation, to such a high level of synthesis and abstraction that meaning and details have gone deep and wide. Artists and designers, consciously and indirectly have benefited from their revolution. Through countless paintings and abstraction, now we can collectively "see" in different modes. For example, cartoons and animation seem to be the offspring of Miro (and Picasso) style painters.

I don't know if Joan Miro: Painting and Anti-Painting 1927-1937 is a must read. Everything around us vies against reading, much less learning such detailed history, the socio-economic system has revolutionized the absorption of culture, as well as its debasement and destruction -- or at least invisibilization through different modes of privatization and commodification -- so that consciousness, knowledge at a new level, practical and utopian are not your daily meal. But reading Miro, visually always, in text and in color, is a must for a new way of seeing this old world that conspires in every way against art and the artist in you.

View all my reviews.

Friday, February 13, 2009

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Driving from East to West Oakland
to See Our Walls Speak (part 1)

One Sunday a week after the BART police killing of Oscar Grant III I took a drive from Oakland's eastern edge with San Leandro, driving down Foothill and then turning right on 103rd or so and driving west on East 14th, aka International Boulevard, all the way to West Oakland, to drive a bit on Mandela Parkway and the surrounding neighborhoods.

I took photographs of murals, graffitti and other commercial and non-commercial art on walls and in windows.

This is the visual record of that Sunday morning driving east to west with a beautiful sun shining on our tragedies and daily tribulations of work, family, community and survival.

There is a battle between art, graffitti, tagging and commercial art, decorative art that advertizes. The contradictions abound.

Our walls speak whoever writes or paints on them. Like the mural above, tagged with some "consideration," that is making the tag almost a part of the mural, blending it like streaks in her hair? A second tagger or color however disrupts and mars whatever was friendly in the first tag.

What does this mural depict? This is the legendary myth of Popocateptl, "the smoking mountain" (the "warrior" on the right) and Cicihuatl Chicihuatl Itzaccihuatl, the sleeping mountain (I can't remember the spelling right now, I'll correct it later!).

This is the personification of two volcanoes that are in the Valley of Mexico and have been depicted as a Aztec warrior watching over his "sleeping beauty." This is the eurocentri interpretation. This myth is painted and protrayed everywhere, from restaurant and grocery store calendars given out free every new year to countless those paimted by anonymous community muralists on public and private walls in the Southwest, in Mexico and other parts of the Mexican-friendly world.

Here's a close-up
The figures do not look "Indian" -- although undoubtedly there are Mexican indians that can pass and are off-spring of Europeans who forced themselves on Indian women, some inter-married, many didn't.

Popocatepetl continues rumbling and is linked up and down the Pacific rim of the Americas with what's known as "the ring of fire" -- active volcanoes, the last major eruption was back in May of 1980 when Mt. St. Helens blew up. Now there's a volcanoe in Alaska spewing and melting a glacier in the process. Global climatic change at home.

With this new knowldege, then the myth of Popocatepetl and Iztaccihuatl takes on a different story. When sleeping beauty wakes up she's gonna make us pay!

Here's another close-up of the mural:
Here a tagger placed his/her spray on his leg, a clumsy attempt at blending or just plain defacement, as the artists or painters of this work would not-so-gently or nicely say.

I kept driving east, sometimes dangerously, as I pointed my camera in the direction of art on the buildings along East 14th/International Boulevard.

More art on the walls, of varying quality and skill:

I messed this shot up because I didn't pay attention to the stop sign's shadow over the portrayal of the girls playing jump rope.

Here's a mural at the East Oakland Youth Development Center wall, on 82nd and East 14th.

All these shots were taken while driving.

Further down East 14th:
She was a beautiful apparition from Michoacan or Africa.

This is a student mural done by students at Melrose Leadership academy, defaced by taggers and then the tagging was painted over. This mural is particuarly significant because MLA students organized a protest demanding a traffic light for community safety. MLA students did an action, taking over the street, creating a human chain and stopped traffic. And they got a traffic light installed! This happened about 2002?

Mural on the two floor facade of the Catholic Worker building:

This mural depicts Latin American heroes, Che, Bishop Romero of El Salvador and others.

Here's a blend of commercial and cultural mural on the facade of the Corazon del Pueblo:

This is a much better version of Latin Americanist Indigenist-oriented mural theme, which inspires Chicano mural painters and others, and has its long roots in the Popocatepetl/Iztaccihuatly theme and imagery.

The mural atop Corazon del Pueblo is developed and stylistically speaking in quite great form.

Corazon del Pueblo us my type of shop, it has Chicano/Mexicano "kitsch" and fine art, including music CDs, postcards, earrings and other jewelry, ceramic pottery, Virgen de Guadalupe and Frida Khalo pseudo-devotional art that I love to hang on my doorways and walls, huipiles, guayabaeras and posters of Mexican revolutionary icons and lots of knick-knacks for all occasions ! And on top of all this, Corazon del Pueblo truly is a cultural center, with a back room, a speakeasy of a new type, where the owner opens to community meetings, mounts fine art shows and allows many of us to put on poetry readings, musical offerings and other cultural activities inside and in front of her store.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

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To President Barack Obama


You are invited to sign the National Network for Immigrant and Refugee Rights "Open Letter to President Barack Obama," which calls on his Administration to end immigration raids and suspend all detentions and deportations as the first step to restoring due process rights and implementing humanitarian policies, measures and practices in the treatment of all immigrants.

To read or sign the letter, please visit


Friday, January 16, 2009

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Three Poets, Four Poems for Gaza

Note from Arnoldo Garcia, EL FEO: These poems were sent to me by Miriam Ching Yoon Louie, author of Sweatshop Warriors and co-author with Beth Ching and myself, Arnoldo Garcia, of XicKorea: poems rants words together.

These four poems denounce the Israeli war against Palestinians and Palestine in Gaza. There are two poems by Suheir Hammad, noted Palestinian poet; one by Miriam Ching Yoon Louie and Janine Mogannam.

Why must these poems be written, read, disseminated, memorized, exchanged, lived? Israel launched a military invasion of the Gaza Strip on December 27, 2008, a seige that continues to this date and with no end in sight. Over 1,000 Palestinians have been killed (a third or more of the casualties are women and children) and thousands more wounded, maimed and traumatized. Israeli F-16 jets are bombing Gaza cities and towns into rubble, tanks and soldiers follow with shells, mortar fire and weapons firing against the people, whether they are in mosques, schools, homes, apartments, U.N. buildings and schools. Israel is carrying out a massacre, with the deliberate intention of a holocaust. The carnage must stop; Israel must be disarmed and driven back, driven out. Gaza must live.

Here are three poets aiming their words, their only weapons, for peace, justice, for those who have been buried and are dying in Gaza under the rubble of Israel. What will last longer? The Israeli siege and destruction of Gaza? Palestine? These poems? Who will remember forever, who try to forget today the Israeli killings? If Gaza is destroyed, I will rename Oakland, Gaza. I will name my home Gaza, my mourning, my happiness, my migrancies, my displacements, my love, my tenderness -- all Gaza.


Miriam Ching Yoon Louie


White phosphorous means
Napalm means VietGaza means
Child aflame run Korea

Survive Holocaust/ how
Collective hungerment/ can you
Smell charred flesh again?

Scorched root still grows
Bay night luminous with kaffiyah moms
Hoarse chanting babies

Eyelash boys beat buk thunder
Drum witness big bros rippling Leila
Wings from bus shelter roofs

Red black green white prayer
Cape catches my drumstick—kung!
End—the occupation

Now—a lil bit louder
Stop—the genocide
Free—free Palestine!

Hope pray hope
March hope please hope means
Stop burning children want peace.


Suheir Hammad


a great miracle happened here
a festival of lights
a casting of lead upon children
an army feasting on epiphany

i know nothing under the sun over the wall no one mentions
some must die wrapped in floral petroleum blanket
no coverage

i have come to every day armageddon
a ladder left unattended
six candles burn down a house
a horse tied to smoke
some must die to send a signal

flat line scream live stream river a memory longer than life spans
the living want to die in their country

no open doors no open seas no open
hands full of heart five daughters wrapped in white

each day jihad
each day faith over fear
each day a mirror of fire
the living want to die with their families

the girl loses limbs her brother gathers arms
some must die for not dying

children on hospital floor mother beside
them the father in shock this is my family
i have failed them this is my family i did
not raise their heads i have buried them
my family what will i do now my family is bread
one fish one people cut into pieces

there is a thirst thefts life
there is a hunger a winter within winter

some must die to bring salvation
i have come to end times always present

the woman lost parents her children and screams
my sister i have lost my sister i want to die
my sister’s eyes were honey her voice mine
i can’t face this only god only god my sister

medics killed schools hit convoys bombed
the injured are dying the dead are buried in three
hours the people pray together and curse the people
mourn loud and quiet always too loud not enough

some must die because they are the vicinity
some must die because it was written

no army does not apologize has never
apologized authority chases paper assembly
occupation settles deeper

a great miracle here
the living are dying and the dying living

a festival of lights
a strip a land a blaze
the sea a mirror of fire

a casting of lead upon children
their heads roll off their shoulders into streets
their tops spin in hands

an army feasting on epiphany
driving future into history
carrying torches into women


Janine Mogannam

for gaza

ya allah what
is there is anything


scream cold into cobalt darkness
frigid breath cannot temper
the fury of earth betrayed
ablaze her children only human
orphaned to her now

land of ghosts hollow
cost of growing up cactus
fruit people knew
what the war
saw replanted advantage over
wheat and olive
people always without

i know that cool midnight
sky navy royal
purple alight by
stars struck the gash
of rockets mortar fire
and brimstone paradise
lost children and limbs
reaching for home phantom
fragment gory spilling
insides endless vultures
circling for the kill

the city
in shambles city
of the dead gaza
a graveyard tumbled
walls are tombstones
marking graves anonymous
babies mothers scream
into the sunlight i
can't believe
in the sky anymore

but the light
persists waiting to be
found the sun
still rises in gaza nablus jenin
haifa ramallah bethlehem points
in between stars
still twinkle unknown
signs in three
languages point nowhere
into the trees or into
the sea the river rebirth
its children false witness
history rewritten
so that every town bears
a different name
a different scar slashed
swift and sweet into
the skin of this land

bring me to her break
my heart in two
bury it half
here half within me
so i always feel
her pain always
remember fortune born
on the right end
of the flat earth
as i return
in my mind faces
at qalandia expressions
cannot be translated
into words eyes
wide as the moon or
fallen trees lips parched
feet cracked and
aching to return
to remain
still and i am speechless
with sorrow with guilt pushing
away the sesame jerusalem loaves
warming my lap there is
no bread enough
to feed those eyes
those feet these memories
these horrors push
bodies push away my hand my chair
away from the table the television terror
i remember i cannot DO anything
push away palestine push

make use
my arrow at the stars
make light rain onto her
take the pebbles splinters
shrapnel (once home)
mix with water
mix with blood mix
until hands are crimson
and raw as hearts as insides
laid bare and open flesh
wounded against rocks feeding
the soil
the rage feeding
another day


Suheir Hammad


a woman wears a bell carries a light calls searches
through madness of deir yessin calls for rafah for bread
orange peel under nails blue glass under feet gathers
children in zeitoun sitting with dead mothers she unearths
tunnels and buries sun onto trauma a score and a day rings
a bell she is dizzy more than yesterday less than
tomorrow a zig zag back dawaiyma back humming suba

back shatilla back ramleh back jenin back il khalil back il quds
all of it all underground in ancestral chests she rings
a bell promising something she can’t see faith is that
faith is this all over the land under the belly
of wind she perfumed the love of a burning sea

concentrating refugee camp
crescent targeted red

a girl’s charred cold face dog eaten body
angels rounded into lock down shelled injured shock

weapons for advancing armies clearing forests sprayed onto a city
o sage tree human skin contact explosion these are our children

she chimes through nablus back yaffa backs shot under
spotlight phosphorous murdered libeled public relations



a bell fired in jericho rings through blasted windows a woman
carries bones in bags under eyes disbelieving becoming
numb dumbed by numbers front and back gaza onto gaza
for gaza am sorry gaza am sorry she sings for the whole
powerless world her notes pitch perfect the bell a death toll


Thursday, January 08, 2009

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We are all Oscar Grant! ……………&, BTW, can we please not vilify the vandals?

My thoughts on today’s protest, while they are fresh…

11pm, January 7

By Rise Up [continues below]

Here are a couple of posts written on the evening of the January 7 gathering at Oakland's Fruitvale BART Station to protest the BART police shooting and killing of Oscar Grant, which turned into a confrontation with the Oakland police. Oscar Grant was killed on New Year's Day at the Fruitvale station and was videotaped by various passengers who were on the stopped train as the BART police were handcuffing several young men involved in a fracas. Oscar Grant was on the ground face-down with three police officers on top of him, when one of them stood up, unholstered his gun and shot him in the back.

See the video documenting the police shooting Oscar Grant at:

Read a report by Davey D:


We are all Oscar Grant! ……………&, BTW, can we please not vilify the vandals?
My thoughts on today’s protest, while they are fresh…

11pm, January 7

By Rise Up

So, wow. I’m listening to the ghetto birds still outside my Oakland apartment while I listen to them on the live news at the same time. I’m nursing the blister I got marching and running around 5 or so miles. I’m charging my phone ‘cause I over texted with people coming to or worrying about the protest or trying to decide what to do next at the protest.

At 11pm, they started to make mass arrests. Before that, there were 14 adults and 1 juvenile arrested. Supposedly, someone is being charged with “assaulting an officer” tho the news reports no officers were hurt. Half of us stayed at the BART station and half of us marched, putting 500 or so people in each place at some point in the evening by my estimation and the estimations of my friends.

A cop car got jumped on and its windows broke and some folks tried to flip it. Some dumpsters and garbage cans caught on fire. Later, some restaurant windows were broken and a few people’s cars were smashed up and burned. Here’s some video: KTVU Video of cop car getting tore up

After the window of the MacDonald’s on 14th & Jackson got broken, Mayor Ron Dellums, Black man and old school activist turned politician, came to that spot to try to talk to the protesters and calm them down. That was actually a pretty smooth move for a mayor I must say. Alas, after a few handfuls of folks listened to him and followed him like the Pied Piper back to City Hall, they decided that his words were not so consoling, booed him, and went on to tear up Oakland some more…

But, back to the beginning……
I loved the people who showed up! We were so diverse and beautiful, and all of us there, UNITED against that police murder, all of us, regardless of background, really angry and fed up with the mistreatment of black (and brown) people by the police from our different perspectives on that.

I loved the connections drawn between Gaza and Oakland. I loved that we were reminded that the Black Panthers started as a self-defense group against the police. I loved the young people and I loved all the heart and heat from the stage. I loved the sign that said “fuck the police, no army in the streets!” I loved the defiance of people lying in the streets on their bellies as if hog tied in front of the cops and telling them to shoot. I loved the fearless emotions cutting loose, and I loved it when we all chanted, “We are all Oscar Grant!” every time the police tried to face us down in the street. “Whose Streets? Our Streets! No Justice, No Peace!”

The news from 9pm or so kept saying that the protest was so dispersed and disorganized that the cops were struggling to contain it. For hours, in fact, the police really could NOT contain it. I have to admit how much I love that. I mean, it’s not really an end point or anything, but it’s so empowering for us to see some of the possibilities! “Ain’t no power like the power of the people and the power of the people don’t stop!” Here’s to a lack of organizing or whatever you call that!

There was a little internal conflict over whether we should have marched. That’s too bad since we really need all kinds of protest. I was personally not sure which group to hang out with. In the end, I marched.

Already on the news they found someone to say that it was “the anarchists” who weren’t part of organizing the protest who were responsible for both the march and for the bulk of the “violence”. But by now we expect this, no? I assure you, both groups were diverse in the end.

So we did this beautiful thing today and the unity was deep and it really had a feeling, like someone said from the stage earlier in the day, that we were at the beginning of something new, or something renewed, like the next round of a serious civil rights movement. And really, to me, this is what will “fix” it more than anything very immediate, like $25mil, or jail time for that cop. Those things should happen too, of course, but we need some very serious and deep ass change and that’s gonna start with movements of people, if you ask me, not with electing Black poster boys for president or putting bandaids on things. I have to say again, tho, how we were really diverse. I think that this will be a marker of the difference between the 60’s & 70’s and “the next movement”, whenever it is we feel able to claim that title.

But I left when folks started messin’ with people’s personal property. Well, actually, my cell battery ran out and I lost my folks so there was no one I knew havin’ my back, plus that blister on my heel was starting to get to me and I was starving and I really had to use the bathroom… but I still, I left because I didn’t really wanna be a part of attacking other peoples personal stuff or even messing with small businesses.

OK. So, someone might assume that I wanna call those people crazy, and certainly the media is going to tear into them a lot; someone will press charges, and someone will discredit the whole action due to the fact that some people expressed their rage more carelessly than others. Even parts of the left are gonna be really mad at those folks, I know.

But does anyone remember Reginald Denny? Wikipedia on Reginald Denny [ ] Well one of the people whose car got burned has already said on the news – an elderly white man – while he is upset about his car, he is really upset about Oscar Grant being murdered and understands.

It’s controversial among the people who were at the march and sparked discussions about what kinds of property destruction is ok and what kinds are not.

I want to call on people to think out this issue of “violence” and keep in mind that this was PROPERTY destruction, and not PEOPLE destruction like shooting Oscar was. And I want to call on people to keep the high spirit of ALL THE FORMS OF PROTEST AND RESISTANCE we were a part of today and tonight, and not to feed those who chose to destroy property of individuals to the wolves. We should seize the opportunity to talk among ourselves about the difference between someone breaking the windows of a City Hall or BART headquarters or a cop car, and someone breaking the windows of small restaurants and stores. We should use this as an opportunity to teach that breaking the windows of the cars of individuals doesn’t really send the message we want to send. But lets not feed those people to the wolves. OK? We have youngsters and noobs in our midst. I don’t wanna treat them like “agent provocateurs” [ ] unless they actually are and in the meantime, we need to embrace them and teach them.

Yeah, I’m kind of responding there to some specific things I heard out of some particular mouths tonight, but it’s important.

The news was also showing things I saw myself but didn’t have the camera to record – a young black man lifts his shirt to bare his chest to the police and yells to shoot him now. And that young woman who said, “We live our lives in fear and tonight we want them to be afraid!” How many did she speak for?

there will be more.....