Oppression Breeds Resistance, Resistance Breeds Repression by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action L.A./People Against Racist Terror
by Michael Novick, Anti-Racist Action L.A./People Against Racist Terror
The night before the verdict came in at the trial of BART officer Johannes Mehserle
for the murder of a young Black father, Oscar Grant III, the LAPD raided the home of
Wolverine Shakur, a/k/a T.A.C.O. (Taking All Capitalists Out), founder of the Black
Riders Liberation Party. Under the authority of the parole officer supervising
T.A.C.O., they lined up and handcuffed five members and an associate of the BRLP who
were present at the time. They detained a 10-year-old child and ransacked the home,
taking personal possessions, a laptop computer and cell phone, and Black Riders
literature. T.A.C.O. was taken into custody for alleged parole violations and taken
to the hole at the Men's Central Jail in L.A., with the intention of transferring
him back into state prison.
The alleged parole violations T.A.C.O. is accused of amount to violations of his
civil, constitutional and human rights of free speech and freedom of association.
They make it a crime for him to have Black Rider literature and Black comrades. Like
the original charges, they are politically motivated and unjustified. T.A.C.O. is
once again a political prisoner because of his advocacy of African Inter-communalism
and self-defense. The parole officer has admitted that he was violating T.A.C.O.
under instructions from higher-ups, and that T.A.C.O. was specifically charged with
“sending the Black Riders to the Oscar Grant trial.” The Black Riders did indeed
smash the media blockade of the Mehserle trial in Los Angeles, turning out in large
numbers to post up outside the court in support of Oscar's family and to organize
community people at the courthouse. They did attract immediate media and public
attention with their strong, disciplined presence.
The LAPD had already announced that they had a “secret tactical plan” to handle the
possibility of any “disruptions” in response to the verdict on Mehserle for the
murder of Oscar Grant. They saw the Black Riders as a threat to the plans to let
Mehserle get away with murder and to contain or deflect people's righteous anger.
Part of the plan was the staged arrest of the so-called Grim Sleeper serial killer
suspect timed for the day the verdict would come in, to distract attention and paint
the LAPD as saviors of the community. The pre-emptive arrest of T.A.C.O. was
designed to disrupt the Black Riders' organizing around the case, which was
channeling people's anger into revolutionary consciousness. But the arrest failed to
accomplish that goal.
The Black Riders continue organizing both independently and within the L.A.
Coalition for Justice for Oscar Grant, which they helped develop. The BRLP, which
had smashed at court the day before, came back strong the next day despite
T.A.C.O.'s incarceration, when the verdict came down after shenanigans delayed it.
Several Black Riders spoke at the community protest in Leimert Park, where a couple
of hundred people came out for the rally that had been called in advance for 5:00 PM
when the verdict came down, despite the pigs' efforts to disorient the Riders and
the community. Everyone there stood with the Riders and understood the transparent
tactics of the pigs in violating T.A.C.O.'s parole.
There is a long history of illegitimate, repressive tactics by the LAPD to try to
squelch community resistance to police violence and abuse of power. Back in the day,
the pigs launched their war on the original Black Panther Party for Self-Defense
with the COINTELPRO assassination of Alprentice Bunchy Carter and John Huggins at
UCLA. The LAPD were stymied in their attempt to assassinate other BPP members by the
military planning of Geronimo ji Jaga. A strong base of community support came out
into the streets when the LAPD attempted to kill the L.A. Panthers on 41st and
Central, as the Chicago pigs had executed Fred Hampton and Mark Clark days before.
After Geronimo and the Panthers were taken down by COINTELPRO, the police
infiltrated the Coalition Against Police Abuse (CAPA) organized by former Black
Panther Michael Zinzun around the police killing of sister Eulia Love over an unpaid
gas bill. One Black pig provocateur who was planted inside CAPA in an attempt to spy
on the community and disrupt or discredit resistance was later rewarded with a
promotion to the FBI. The LAPD was hit with a court injunction preventing such
political espionage, and forced to pay million-dollar damages to Zinzun and others.
Police illegality and criminality continued after the LAPD “red squad” was ordered
to disband and destroy its illegally obtained espionage files. One officer involved
secretly moved the files to his own garage and then turned them over to Western
Goals, a private right wing, pro-fascist “think tank” connected to the John Birch
Society and the white supremacist movement. Still later, police agents infiltrated
communist forces organizing in the projects, entering into illicit sexual
relationships with people organizing against a May Day police killing in order to
carry out their political espionage and dirty tricks.
When that was exposed through lawsuits, the police espionage and infiltration was
then transferred to new anti-gang and anti-terrorist task forces, or to units
steeped in criminality and violence like the CRASH units operating out of Rampart,
Seventy-seventh, and other divisions. CRASH officers were involved in frame-ups,
“bad” shootings justified with drop guns, coerced confessions, drug thefts and even
bank robbery. Yet thanks to the same Judge Perry who presided over the Mehserle
trial for killing Oscar Grant, the only cop who went to prison was the one who blew
the whistle, turning state's evidence after he got caught.
But for a dozen years now, the Black Riders Liberation Party, and especially its
founder, General T.A.C.O., have been the concerted target of police repression,
frame-ups, assaults and COINTELPRO type tactics in Los Angeles and elsewhere in CA.
The LAPD hates the Black Riders because of the Riders' love for the people,
expressed in such concrete survival programs as the Watch-a-Pig program and their
gang truce efforts. They once took T.A.C.O. into custody on traffic warrants, and
threatened to kill him while he was hogtied and handcuffed. LAPD, along with LA and
San Bernardino sheriff's deputies and federal agents with armored personnel
carriers, battering rams, helicopters and assault weapons, staged a raid on the home
of BRLP members in San Bernardino. They sealed off four square blocks in hopes of
provoking an incident in which they could shoot and kill members of the Black
Riders. They pointed guns at little children and their care-givers.
Finally, failing to ever infiltrate or deviate members of the BRLP, they sent an
undercover police agent, posing as a outside Middle Eastern sympathizer who could
provide weapons. They succeeded, through a process of entrapment and frame-up, in
bringing charges of conspiracy to possess (non-existent) weapons against T.A.C.O.
and two other members, known as the Black Rider Three. Even more so than in the
Oscar Grant murder trial, there was a complete media white out of that case, even
though it was brought as a Homeland Security/USA PATRIOT style indictment with
outlandish claims that the BRLP was planning attacks on police stations (never
brought as a criminal charge). It was as a result of a plea bargain on that case,
through which T.A.C.O. obtained the release of his comrades, that T.A.C.O. was on
parole. Thus he was subject to the arbitrary jurisdiction of a P.O. who enabled the
LAPD to stage their raid. But like their previous attempts at repression, this too
will fail. As Chairman Mao said, “To be attacked by the enemy is a good thing.” The
pigs' tactics are a mark of their vulnerability, not their power, and a sign of the
fear they have of the Power of the People!
The Black Riders Liberation Party has raised the slogan of “Free General T.A.C.O. or
the sky's the limit,” and is calling for an Inter-Communal Solidarity Committee, to
organize in defense of T.A.C.O. and all political prisoners. Anti-Racist Action-Los
Angeles/People Against Racist Terror (ARA-LA/PART) is committed to joining and
helping build such an effort. We recognize that people of European descent who
oppose racism and hate oppression and exploitation must fight as allies with African
and other liberation forces against the common enemy of humanity, capitalist
colonialism and imperialism. We urge all people who are tired of this wretched
system to join such an effort