Friday, July 09, 2010

Politics makes strange bedfellows

July 3, 2010

by Minister of Information JR

Oakland police practice brutal crowd suppression techniques on June 18 in
preparation for what they call “Operation Verdict.” Watch the full video below. –
Video: ABC7There is an old proverb that politics makes strange bedfellows. Last
year, on Jan. 7, 2009, a rebellion broke out on the streets of Oakland in response
to local government not addressing the videotaped police murder of 22-year-old Black
man, Oscar Grant. The day after a coalition calling itself CAPE, the Coalition
Against Police Executions, took center stage and became the media’s sweethearts
after the first day of rebellions.

Its main spokeswoman was Dereca Blackman, the former executive director of
Leadership Excellence, who has since stopped organizing on the issue and disbanded
the group in the spring of 2009, according to their Facebook page, which is still in

CAPE turned out to be the pseudo-activist arm of the Dellums regime in Oakland,
behind the cloak of avaricious non-profit leaders like Blackmon. One of the demands
to help prevent police terrorism in Oakland that Dereca seemed to talk about in
every interview was a healing center in which people could get counseling. How does
that prevent police terrorism? Don’t people get counseling after a traumatic
incident? We are still in the midst of one of the biggest cover-ups in Oakland
police history.

Another bullshit statement that was promoted by Blackmon and the non-profit sector
involved in the Oscar Grant movement was that “the rebellions were caused by
outsiders.” When I was covering the Jan. 7 rebellion in downtown Oakland for and the SF Bay View, I was arrested on a bogus charge of arson,
which the DA moved to dismiss 13 months later.

When I was in the streets and when I was in jail, I met many of the rebels. Most of
them were from Oakland. And most of them were Black and Brown, with a few Asians and
whites sprinkled in.

Why was that lie propagated? I believe that it was put out so that the people in
Oakland and in the world would be given the impression that the rebellions didn’t
have popular support, because the reality is that although a number of Black people
have been killed in high profile cases elsewhere, including Amadou Diallo, Sean
Bell, Kathryn Johnston, and Michael Walker, to name a few, none of those cities went
up in smoke like Oakland, California.

Fast forward to 2010. I recently was made aware of an email that Nicole Lee of the
Urban Peace Movement, formerly of the Ella Baker Center, sent out to her non-profit
allies. Here it is in total:

“Dear Friends and Allies – (Please Forward Widely – Please Forgive Duplicates)

“As many of you know, the trial of the officer who killed Oscar Grant is currently
underway in LA. The prosecution has rested their case, and the defense (Mehserle’s
attorney) is currently making their case. The trial has moved much faster then many
had anticipated, and folks speculate that a verdict may come down in the very near
future (possibly as soon as next week).

“If a ‘not guilty’ verdict comes down (which is a significant possibility) it will
inspire widespread outrage, and many, including myself, are concerned about the
potential consequences of that outrage. 

As someone who is BOTH committed to social
justice and an end to police brutality AND a peaceful and thriving Oakland, I wanted
to suggest some ways for us to proceed:

“1) Organizations, CBO’s, and Public Agencies should be thinking of ways to create
organized events or avenues for young people and community members to express their
frustrations with the system in constructive and peaceful ways. If people have no
outlets then it may be easier for folks to be pulled toward more destructive

“2) We need to begin ‘innoculating’ (sic) 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.

“To be clear, our main concern is the safety and well-being of Oakland’s young
people. We do not want to see them get taken to jail or hurt as a result of violent
or destructive behavior brought on or encouraged by ‘extreme-fringe’ groups coming
into Oakland from the outside.

“Below are some suggested talking-points to begin engaging community members.
(scroll down) Please forward the talking-points widely amongst the staff and leaders
of your organizations so we can get the message out far and wide.

“I have been in preliminary conversation with some of our partners an allies up to
this point including the Ella Baker Center, Youth UpRising, Oakland Rising, BWOPA,
The Mayor’s Office and the City of Oakland regarding these suggestions. Let’s
continue to be in dialog and hold each other close in the challenging days ahead.

“In Peace and Solidarity,

Nicole Lee / Urban Peace Movement

“Talking Points: (General Audience)

“There is no question about it violence & brutality are wrong – whether at the hands
of community members or at the hands of the police. While many of us are outraged,
we must find a way to move forward in peace.

“* OAKLAND IS OUR HOME, and we want all Oaklanders to think carefully about how to
respond, even in the face of our own anger and outrage.

“* There are peaceful and constructive ways for us to demonstrate our frustration
with the system, but beware of outside ‘agitators’ many of whom don’t live in
Oakland, who will try to insight the crowd to violence. They won’t be there for you
if YOU end up getting taken in by the police, and they don’t have to live in the
aftermath, they can just go back to their neighborhoods, far away from Oakland.

“* This is a city with a rich history and a sense of pride from the East to the
North to the West, and we don’t back down when times get tough.

“Talking Points: (Youth Audience)

“* There’s no question – Police Brutality is wrong.

“* We are all angry, but the question is what do we do with our anger? Do we use it
constructively to make changes like the Martin and Malcolm did, or do we use it to
destroy each other and our community?

“* There are constructive ways to have your voice heard – join a speak-out or make
music to express yourself.

“* Beware of ‘outside agitators’ who are not from Oakland and who will try to incite
violence. Oakland is OUR HOME, but it’s not theirs, and so they don’t care if we
mess our city up. And, they won’t be there for you if YOU get caught-up by the

“* Let’s not let these agitators make a bad situation worse.

“* Instead, let’s hold our heads high and throw up our fists in solidarity like Huey

What is really funny about this is that Lee is acting as if the streets listen to
the non-profit and government leaders. If that were the case, the Oscar Grant
justice movement would not have secured an indictment in the case of Mehserle,
because there would not have been any rebellions to put the “or else” into our

And another funny thing is how with her language she is trying to make people think
that Black human rights leaders Martin Luther King Jr., Malcolm X and Huey P. Newton
would have taken her approach of working with the government against the people.
Instead of evoking our freedom fighters, she should have evoked Jim Jones and J.
Edgar Hoover, who were especially good at hypnotizing masses of people to serve the
interests of the elite, who are preparing and telling us through the media that they
have police and National Guard on standby, who are going to beat the hell out of
anybody who voices opposition on the day of the verdict.

“Know your enemies, know your friends; that’s the politic.” – dead prez

Email POCC Minister of Information JR, Bay View associate editor, at and visit

No comments: