Involuntary Destruction: Oakland After the Verdict

by

OAKLAND, California – On January 1st, 2009, BART police officer Johannes Mehserle shot and killed Oscar Grant while he lay on the ground at the Fruitvale station in Oakland. Within a month, numerous protests and riots broke out throughout Oakland demanding justice for Oscar Grant. After a year and 6-months, the historic trial of Mehserle for the murder of Grant commenced. However, the trial was ridden with bias and favor for the former BART officer. On July 8th, 2010, a verdict from the trial was announced; Mehserle was charged with involuntary manslaughter.

On the day of the verdict, some 2000 activists, community members, youth to elderly, gathered at 14th and broadway in downtown Oakland, some as early as 5pm, while the main rally began at 6pm. As several helicopters buzzed overhead, the crowd swelled at three intersections all along broadway at 12th, 13th, and 14th st. At 12th and broadway, hundreds of police surrounded protesters, at the next intersection a street orchestra played music with chants demanding justice as even more police looked on, and at 14th and broadway activists from non-profits and some community members took the stage. Dozens of speakers went up to the mic, all proclaiming the unsettled feeling the so-called justice system invoked that day by what seemed to be just a half empty gesture at any sort of real justice. Many spoke to the crowd about peace, disturbingly merging property destruction with violence, assault with self-defense in the rhetoric they used to control the crowd. While some of the crowd surrounded the audio system, much of the people talked amongst themselves as the blasting voices of rightfully outraged speakers were lost in the dense mass of bodies. Some were able to hang a large banner reading “OAKLAND SAYS GUILTY”, and others migrated from 12th to 14th and back again, looking for the crowd they belonged in. No one knew what to do, no one knew how to express their distress. Those speakers attempting to manipulate the crowd, and the activists attempting to quell and police the “unruly youth” were unable to provide a reason, or an alternative, or an analysis that was capable of satisfying a mass of people swept away by the injustice they sought to amend.

As the rally ended and the sound system removed, only a handful of people left the area. For nearly an hour, the crowd remained confused and unsure what the next step was. People milled about, discussing what had happened, reacquainting themselves with friends, and figuring out what to do. Much of the sentiment in the crowd seemed to wish a march or a collective escape from the intersections. Instead we stood around, as police forces continued to encircle the crowd. Eventually the crowd felt a sense of rush, away from 12th st and back to 14th and broadway. There we stood again, dense as sardines in a can without a collective escape from the looming police. As the anticipation rose, waves of excitement and fear hit us. Those of us in the middle and back of the crowd near 14th st felt bodies rush past us and then forward again north on broadway. Finally something snapped, people began spraying graffiti on walls and smashing windows. The footlocker on broadway was smashed, but the metal security fence behind the glass held no one back; the crowd pushed through and the merchandise in the store was looted. The bounty was shared by all as looters liberated shoes and clothing and jettisoned much of it into the crowd. For the next several minutes, what seemed to be hours, the crowd milled around, caged by police with nowhere to go. Shoeboxes were lit, small fights broke out between activists trying to stop “violence” and the rioters. Slowly the crowd realized the encroaching police. Wall to wall police had surrounded the intersection; the 12th and 13th st intersections had fallen to the riot police and eventually a 300 strong squad of cops pushed through the crowd from 14th st. Much of the crowd dissipated, others sat in the grassy area in front of city hall adjacent to the intersection (Frank Ogawa Plaza).

An image posted on indybay in response to claims that outside agitators are responsible for rioting.

 

Another half hour rolled by and the dimming crowd began leaving at a faster rate. A smaller contingent of about 200 people eventually broke off from the intersection of 14th and broadway, ran around the block, and ended up behind police on the north side of broadway (around 16th st). For the next hour, they smashed windows and lit trash cans and dumpsters, rolling some into the street. Eventually the police regrouped, the majority marched down broadway flushing out the remaining rioters, but not before a standoff began at the intersection of broadway and 19th st. Police had locked down streets parallel to broadway as well, including Telegraph and Franklin, but had not yet encircled the 19th st intersections. Those 100 or so that remained at 19th and broadway stood resolutely until street lamps were shut off. All that remained were burning dumpsters and the roar of a crowd. Some fled in fear of a raid; gunshots were fired into the air as warning to other protesters, and loud explosions could be heard a few blocks down. Only a few streets down other windows continued to be smashed, but the intersection of 19th and broadway became the focal point for police. The police boxed in rioters from either side of 19th st, leaving rioters only the ability to run north on broadway into a thin fray of police. Some appeared to be arrested, others seemed to make it past them. Within the next half hour, the crowd appeared to completely diffuse throughout the area.

Some activists are expecting the next action to take place after Mehserle’s sentencing on [November 5th]. More information on the day of the Verdict in Oakland is available at oscargrantprotests. More videos:

40 Responses to “Involuntary Destruction: Oakland After the Verdict”

  1. Verdict Protest Coverage — Berkeley Copwatch Says:

    [...] OccupyCA blog [...]

  2. Emily Montan Says:

    ITEMS LEFT OUT FROM FIRST BLOG:
    Store owners, who supported the Grant Family and were just as upset about the verdict, were threatened and their property was damaged by mostly gang members. The looters left their signs spray painted on store fronts.

    The object of many Oaklanders’ anger, were left unscathed. Now many of us have to figure a way to deal with the verdict AND the result of people who took advantage of a moment to hurt Oaklanders who did not shoot Mr. Grant nor did they serve as a jury member.

    I hope the first blogger lives and works in Oakland as I do so s/he has to look at this injustice and damage everyday.

    • * Says:

      The purpose of the post was to present the atmosphere of the event and report the ongoings, not really to justify this action or that.

      However, I think its a dangerous assumption that the looters and the vandalizers were merely outside agitators. Neither way can really be proved (who started the property destruction), but it would be certainly a safe assumption that of the 2000 or so people present, a significant portion of them would be locals/community members. Aside from that, I think its dangerous to somehow demean the presence of people from outside Oakland. Are businesses and private property what forms a community? No, a community is formed by people affected by the same problems and with a vested interest in justice and compassion. It’s not a local business association.

      Certainly the political aftermath is of considerable difficulty as different opinions will take a foothold in the thoughts and imaginations of people that weren’t there and people that were. But the destruction of private property, of inanimate objects, a contentious issue on its own, should not be elevated to the physical, brutal, racist violence the state imposes daily, manifested in the death of Oscar Grant last year.

      Your comment seems to imply that this article lets the rioters “off easy”, but the more pressing issue is that the police and the state started the violence, and then redoubled and reinforced it with their presence that evening. There is a larger political force that should be rebuked for Thursday: the police, who pushed and incited the crowd with the threat of real violence, not just on that evening, but every day. Your comment seems to say that somehow the justified rage, then the collective feelings its bound to stir thus producing an arguably difficult repercussion for the community is somehow more of an issue than the police forces, the state, and the judicial system that provided the fuel, that brutalized the public?

      The riot will certainly be a flash point in the community, and probably many people felt financially damaged by it, such as those uninsured local businesses that really do scrape to get by, that can’t help but to attempt to survive in a unjust system. Yet, if people are going to try to find a way to react, try to find a way to tear down an unjust system, damage and pain will occur. It’s not an excuse, it is deeply unfortunate. Even if there are better ways to revolt, only through experience can new strategies and methods develop and new opportunities created. Uprisings aren’t rosy images of a happy new generation, but its better than standing by, bearing the cruelty for a chance at a safe reprisal. If we struggle in this society, then we all face injustice and damage every day, long after the dumpsters simmer and the windows and merchandise replaced.

  3. James Bliss Says:

    The initial article and your response to Emily’s comment show that you’re likely not an Oakland native and that you don’t have to live with any of the fall-out from last night’s protest. And, more importantly, you don’t have to live with the same vulnerability to state violence that black folks do. You seem (although one can never be 100% sure on the internet) like a parasite and an opportunist, using Oscar Grant’s murder to mount some milquetoast critique of State and Capital.

    Personally, I don’t take issue with destroying property or rioting on principle. Since I’m also a white radical, I don’t need further explanation of revolutionary violence and property destruction and all of your other boring talking points. What upsets me is that you would go into Oakland, KNOWING the police have been training specifically for the response to the verdict, and KNOWING that the police have been using videos from protests to arrest and convict (poor black and brown) people, and not have any strategy for the heightened police and media presence.

    And that’s stupid. It’s also short-sighted and totally characteristic of what happens when white radicals try to use Black anger for their own purposes. And no amount of poesy or regurgitated situationism will change that.

    • tiny Says:

      wait…so white radicals should’ve made a plan to “save” the poor black and brown people from the police?

      stop acting like black and brown people can’t fucking think for themselves. as a nonwhite radical there of my own volition and arrested last night, i find these kinds of responses extremely “short-sighted”

      i have to say most people arrested were from Oakland and black and they were thoroughly capable of thought.

      i’m not going to shed any tears for banks being smashed in.

      • James Bliss Says:

        I don’t know of anybody crying for banks being smashed in, I’m certainly not. I didn’t say anything to indicate that I was. And I’m certainly not suggesting that black and brown people can’t think for themselves, I’m saying that white radicals don’t (and won’t) let black and brown folks lead them. The best thing that those white folks who traveled to Oakland could have done was act as a buffer between the cops and the crowd, to absorb the violence of the state and create a safe space for the crowd to do whatever it felt was appropriate. Better yet, they could have allowed the crowd to tell them what to do, rather than insinuate themselves into the crowd as though it was some stupid multi-cultural, ‘one-love’ protest about how ‘we all get screwed by the cops.’

    • * Says:

      Generally speaking, you’re right in your critique of taking advantage of folks, specifically people of color, that must deal with the fall out. That’s true outside of race as well (class, gender, etc). In fact I would go as far as say, white radicals were probably present and using their privilege without thought. However to assume that the article or my comments depend on an argument ignoring that privilege is just that, an assumption.

      If white people, radicals or not, (or rich kids or others with privilege) began the conflict, if they began the fight I wouldn’t have argued my point to Emily as I did. If what I saw were people consciously manipulate the crowd on a megaphone or manipulate/influence the crowd by starting the property destruction or starting to antagonize the police, that would have been a different discussion. However, being in a crowd so thick, its difficult to see who did what; the dynamic changes in a shroud of uncertainty and in a continuously shifting mass. On the other hand, I did see some of the people that began smashing windows and looting, people of color were right there too. Again, I can’t speak for class or their place of origin, but the argument you present seems to ignore the variety of people actually involved that were indeed going to face the fall out directly. With that said, I think we all feel the aftermath, the rhetoric by police, politicians, non-profits, etc is reapplied in every city and massive police presence of future demonstrations surrounding this issue is felt just as much in Oakland as in LA, Santa Cruz, San Francisco or elsewhere.

      Its certainly true that the increased scrutiny felt in the community by police may not follow you home, but it doesn’t negate that no matter what, the police will crackdown. Who called for a riot? The police and the media did, the police prepared for a riot that may or may not have happened. The media and non-profits claimed that outside agitators would no doubt cause a riot, but no such evidence was presented. Rather a story was played and replayed and made believable. Perhaps “outsiders” were involved in the riot, but simply assuming that to be the default is the real stupidity. Its an excuse to bring in hundreds of riot police.

      • James Bliss Says:

        I’m going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume that you’re not deliberately misreading me. I’m going to assume that you’re so accustomed people approaching you with the argument that you’re not taking your own privilege into account (which is pretty telling, in and of itself) that you accidentally read that into what I wrote.

        To be more clear, then, I didn’t say anything about you “ignoring” your privilege (nor did I use the word “privilege” in any of my posts). I said that you (the collective ‘you,’ ‘you white radicals’) aren’t subject to the same violence (nor are you open to the same *potential* for violence) that black folks are, and that your tactics, or lack thereof, and that your analysis of police violence against blacks, or lack thereof, reflects that.

        I don’t care about your commentary on what happened, I’m talking about what happened, and I’ve articulated two critiques: 1) The parasitism and opportunism of white radicals, and 2) The lack of planning on the part of white radicals heading into Oakland (naturally, the second results, in part, from the first).

        So, first, white radicals took the (highly unethical) action of trying to subsume the response of Oscar Grant’s murder into their own critique of State and Capital. Which is what you (asterisk) did when you deployed the tired old leftist argument about how businesses and property don’t a community make. It’s what you did when you placed antiblack racism/police violence (which are synonyms) into a chain of equivalents with gender and class; if you don’t have any conception of the singularity of the oppression experienced by blacks, how can you presume to be the chronicler of communal expression against antiblack racism? The answer is simple: by being a white radical.

        Second, and more to my original point, there were media reports more than a week ago about the police preparing for the community response to the verdict. And if you cared to pay attention to the last ‘riots’ in California (after the Lakers won the championship), you’d know that the media have been used to arrest and convict people of participating in ‘riots’ and ‘looting.’ And even with all the so-called organization of the anarchists and other white radicals, there was no concerted effort to act as a barrier between the police/media and the community. You all didn’t keep the police from arresting Oaklanders, and you certainly didn’t keep photographers from collecting evidence against any of the folks who liberated the Foot Locker’s merchandise. Indeed, you produced some of your own!

        So, again, I don’t care about whether or not you’re conscious of your privilege. I’m not blaming ‘outside agitators’ for property damage (which is why I’m not ‘ignoring’ that people of color broke windows, I’m being totally uncritical of them for doing it, and there’s a difference), or for ‘starting’ a riot (or starting anything, for that matter). And I’m certainly not saying that police violence effects everyone.

        Rather, I’m saying that white radicals are parasitic, opportunistic, and tactically stupid, and they are because they refuse to recognize the singularity of antiblackness as a source of oppression.

      • * Says:

        How is it that recognizing privilege and recognizing that “white radicals” aren’t subject to the same violence, not in anyway the same thing? Recognition of how state violence affects people of color is one way of recognizing white privilege. That doesn’t mean recognizing one privilege in contrast to another means that I am equating them.

        Your argument was clear enough and no, I didn’t misread anything. Your claim of parasiticism and opportunism are bunk and I argued that point, regardless of your ultimate disagreement with it. Somehow you’re only qualified to express your outrage as an individual affected by this if you’re the same color as the person that was brutalized? (I know that sounds oversimplified, but its not) How is state, capital, gender and class not related to what happened? By saying that first and foremost this was an issue of race is your political perspective, but to me, as a person of color, I don’t see them as separate entities, and I see class as an issue in this specific case, I see police brutality and by extension the state as a part of this case, I see capitalism as a part of this case. In no way do I make race and gender or any other system of oppression equivalent, but only because they manifest in different ways. Oppression in any form, any where, is illegitimate and to suggest that antiblackness, simply because it aesthetically is more precipitous in this scandal, trumps the incorporation of discussion of other forms of oppression will continue to be divisive. Your argument allows the identity of specific aspects of an issue control the direction of the struggle, rather than uniting it on all fronts. White radicals have just as much right to outrage as any other people, doing so, without being a “buffer”, without them being from fruitvale or wherever, WHILE they critique the state/capital for its involvement, does not make them opportunistic inherently.

        ‘White radicals should’ve organized themselves better for Oakland knowing a massive force of police were going to be present?’ Why would someone out of town necessarily understand the local geography well enough or police strategy to assume any form leadership role in organizing themselves? Why should anyone be sacrificial martyrs for anyone? The realistic scenario that will emerge with almost complete certainty is that no matter how careful white people are in watching the backs of people of color, that the police will still target people of color. The call for action in response to the verdict was an open call. Selectively assigning roles, whether automatically or by an authority, negates the point of collective will. At the same time, people that have privilege better recognize it and check themselves. But to outwardly condemn white radicals, for what superficially appears to be poor planning skips any real analysis and begins to play an advocate role for people of color rather than to recognize joint efforts between all races, skintones, places of origin, gender, sexual orientation, class and so forth in the events of thursday (and to note: advocacy sucks).

        Last of all, your critique of people taking video footage and the footage that is featured on this site is a moot point. You’re in a riot, not in an organized march, what’s happening isn’t clear and hundreds of people have their phones and cameras on, this isn’t organized, thats sort of the point. The video featured in the article does not show the looting clearly, its taken at a distance, both to avoid exactly your point of incriminating footage, but more poignantly because of the jostling of the crowd, its difficult to see what’s happening.

        Your argument, while it may have valid concerns are entirely based on vague assumptions. Somehow your argument confuses an organized, well thought out action as something to be favored, as something necessarily the only path to justice and pushes spontaneity and its pros/cons aside in favor of debasing it on select elements of it. It is the spontaneity of a riot that can help create an atmosphere of change. To accept a riot on principle is to accept the fact that spontaneous events will always have tactical flaws.

      • James Bliss Says:

        On the matter of white privilege, I’m going to reiterate that I haven’t said anything about anyone “recognizing” any privilege. I am, in no way, participating in a privilege discourse. It doesn’t matter to me whether or not anyone “recognizes” their “privilege” because “recognition” and “privilege” are such ill-defined abstractions that they’re practically meaningless. That is, “recognizing privilege” means 11 different things to 10 different people, so I haven’t said anything about that.

        What my argument rests on, instead, is the differences in the structural positions of blacks and whites. This is an important hair to split because focusing on privilege leads to such politically toxic ideas as “black people are killed by the police and white people are not; because I am white, I will not be killed by the police (although they still oppress me as agents of an oppressive capitalist state).” So we’re all oppressed by the police, just in different (better or worse) ways. On the other hand, focusing on structural position, like a growing number of folks are doing, leads to an analysis along the following lines: “black people are killed by the police, and the rest of society (the many skin tones which are not marked as ‘black’) defines itself in relation to the death of blacks; because I am white, I am always already a police officer.”

        Of course, this isn’t a new idea. The classic Marxists were adamant that there was no such thing as a revolutionary bourgeoisie, they were prohibited by virtue of their structural position from being a properly revolutionary subject. Frantz Fanon was on to something similar when he opened his ‘The Wretched of the Earth’ talking about colonizers and natives as different “species.” A number of contemporary theorists (Frank B. Wilderson, III being the most prominent among them) argue the same thing: black suffering is singular and incomparable to the suffering of any other group. Beginning with the Atlantic slave trade and continuing, without interruption, to the present, blacks (defined as those bodies who were either enslaved or open to enslavement) have been accumulated and killed, and non-black (and non-indigenous) people have been exploited and alienated.

        That is, black people and white people exist in the world, in the most fundamental sense, as beings defined by totally different experiences. Classic Left/Liberal analyses, which are so useful for understanding the suffering of workers (whites), are totally incapable of understanding, much less addressing at the level of praxis, the suffering of blacks.

        You, asterisk, have an analysis grounded squarely in the classical Left/Liberal tradition. Your emphasis on the individual, your knee-jerk animosity towards leadership (since somebody, according to you, would have to take a leadership role to organize the masses of white radicals who traveled to Oakland for the protests), and the “who farted?” face your writing made when you asked “Why should anyone be sacrificial martyrs for anyone?” suggests that you may belong to some strain of anarchist thought indebted to classical Liberalism and (maybe) the easy-to-read European and American radicals (Foucault? Debord? Goldman? Chomsky?), and suspicious of the collectivist bent of Marxist thought.

        So it’s no surprise that your responses to my posts have been so self-righteous and incredulous. And why they keep missing the point. So I’m going to return to the more salient points of my earlier posts.

        – The role of white folks who want to participate in a truly revolutionary movement is to donate themselves to the political will of blacks. Just like the only thing a bourgeoisie or colonizer who want to be revolutionary can do is allow themselves to be directed by the political will of the group that they (by virtue of their very existence) oppress.

        -That is not what happened in Oakland. The white radicals who traveled to Oakland chose to insinuate themselves (and their political demands) into groups of black protestors. They parasitically consumed the energy of the moment for their own purposes, they opportunistically used the death of a black person to further their own political agenda. Really, all those white radicals were motivated by was the desire to participate in a black person’s death (if only after the fact).

        -What happened in Oakland did not have to happen. Those white radicals could have (if their motivations were ethical, and they never are when it comes to blacks) acted in a number of different ways, which I have already outlined. I’m not saying, in some authoritarian way, that they HAD to do any of those things (i.e., act as a buffer between the police and the crowd), only that that would have been the ethical thing to do. And ethical and mandatory are not the same thing.

        -Rioting is a perfectly legitimate tactic. I never said that it wasn’t. My whole point about whites acting as a buffer between the crowd and the police was that it might allow the real Oaklanders to do whatever they wanted free from police interference. Whether or not it would have worked isn’t the point, the potential for success has never been a precondition for radical action, as you well know (“demand nothing!” ring a bell?). Of course, you’ve been so eager to romanticize the ‘rioting’ outside the Foot Locker, that you can’t really be that interested in the efficacy of any tactic.

        -Finally, it is not that State, Capital, gender, class (and sexuality, ability, and so on and so forth) are not “related” to antiblackness. We are at odds over the nature of the relationship. You might hold, according to a simplified intersectionality, that the ‘forms of oppression’ exist on a (more or less) horizontal continuum. They are implicated in each other, and none is more or less important than another. My point, throughout, has been that antiblackness is so central to every other category, that antiblackness has shaped not only gender, sexuality, race and class, but also State and Capital (rather than the other way around), and that an ethical politics must center itself on and against antiblackness.

        All I intended to do in responding to this post and this thread was to identify for others what happened in Oakland and what happened on this blog and what happens in every contemporary leftist movement. To describe, with some clarity, the failure of your (you white radicals’) politics.

      • * Says:

        “black people are killed by the police, and the rest of society (the many skin tones which are not marked as ‘black’) defines itself in relation to the death of blacks; because I am white, I am always already a police officer.”

        I think that needs a bit more justification, mainly because I don’t know where you’re lifting that idea from and therefore can’t really understand what you mean. Obviously you don’t mean we’re all literally cops because we’re not black.

        Your characterization of me—guessing my politics and the reading I’ve done—while it may aid the way you respond and organize your thoughts, its also ridden with a stench of intellectual snobbishness that your otherwise cogent argument could do without (I don’t need to be treated as a child because I don’t understand your complex critique with a handful of paragraphs. You don’t need to be a jerk to make your point).

        I’m certainly not as well read as you on the singularity of antiblackness, and what you say is certainly interesting, but all it seems to suggest is that because I say there are different levels of oppression (and privilege), I don’t understand that its structurally different?

        I don’t want to reproduce a reverse version of that structure in order to confront oppression. I may be entirely incorrect in my interpretation but it seems to me that your saying: the worst or fundamental oppression, an antiblack social structure that has surrounded itself with other forms of oppression in order to complete its domination over blacks… can only be undone when revolutionaries objectively organize themselves to confront this theme in some queue of more important struggles to least and then submit themselves accordingly to best fit the scenario.

        You say you’re talking about “what happened”, but you weren’t even there, so you’re assuming this or that about white radicals present, you’re assuming your (and others) analysis of antiblackness trumps the affinity (and thus the views) shared by black people, other people of color and white people that were present. I’m not saying your reproducing antiblackness by feeling your analysis is correct and that the analysis of some black people present at the riot is incorrect, but I think its bad to assume that black people at that riot didn’t take into account your type of analysis, but still push forward for other communities to participate autonomously. Is strategizing around, “one people are more oppressed than the other” going to unify people in struggle? I figure the intention of an analysis of the singularity of antiblackness is directed at pointing out structural flaws and suggesting we attack those in order to unravel a system thats generally oppressive—that this method will work the best and that because of the uniqueness of the black struggle the same analysis for one struggle can’t be reapplied in symmetry. But I think its irrational to carte blanche vilify subjective interpretations of struggle and tactics based on a theoretical framework.

  4. stinkson Says:

    wuz they thinking for themselfs when they stole nike dugs from footlocker

    i believe so

    engage

  5. Fernando Says:

    i definitely agree that antiblackness needs to be interjected in this discussion to understand the different relations we have to state and revolutionary violence. while people of color, generally, suffer the brunt of state violence, black people have a particularly special relation to state violence (especially in the US) because antiblack violence and domination are absolutely the bedrock of the system.

    this is especially obvious when we see that the contradictions within the system are fixed–by the system–by reasserting the State’s control over the black body. incarceration or the economic/ political drafting of black people into the military & police are examples of this control, and the direct or indirect murder of black people (i.e. Oscar Grant or the death penalty for the former and Katrina for the latter) when control fails. this is not to deny that people of color who are non-black (or even working class white people) aren’t EVER subject to this treatment; this is to say that the sheer gratuity with which it happens to black people rather than us illustrates the degree to which the current system is bedrocked (dependent on its continuation and reproduction) on antiblackness.

    as a result, james’ critique about white radicals’ messed up handle on revolutionary violence stands solid. other reports’ claiming that white radicals wore blackface while confronting the cops demonstrates this sharply. it’s not a critique that is ONLY applicable to white radicals, but it IS a critique that is ESPECIALLY (fucking TURBO-ESPECIALLY) applicable to them. i agree with james.

    this means there has gotta be a SERIOUS discussion about how dangerous the aftermath of spontaneous violence is to black communities because that’s who the State would naturally (as a result of antiblackness) blame and use–read as: police and kill–to reestablish its power everywhere and anywhere else. this is both a serious conversation white radicals need to have and a serious conversation black organizers (and other working-class organizers of color) need to have. this, however, has to do with my own critique of riots and other spontaneous outbursts of revolutionary violence versus organized revolutionary violence. i’m no anarchist–that’s for fucking real. hammers and sickles/ machete all day, motherfuckers.

  6. Asa Dodsworth Says:

    Whats with everyone calling angry local black rioters, “out of town White Anarchists”

    Whats with all these white “so called activists” repeating the OPD/News Company Line that White Anarchist Infiltrators Did the Property Destruction that the footage clearly shows was done by angry blacks,

    Whats with all these whites crying about businesses losses,
    There’s a Multi-Culti Direct-Action Rob’nHood Rebellion a foot,
    White Anarchists Battling the Cops And Getting Arrested,
    while the Angry Black Youth Smash on Capitalism!!!

    I was in the middle cutting “Liberated” Footlocker T-Shirts into bandana’s, getting the various participants ready for tear gas.

    They’d Tear this Mutha Fu#!ker up if they really Loved you.

  7. A little skepticism please Says:

    Fernando —

    You believe the MSM reports about blackface (black face paint)? You realize that cops lie, right? If you don’t realize that there’s a PR campaign underway — one that was prepared for weeks before the verdict — then you’re a fool, and have no place in a struggle against police violence and the lies cops use to cover it up. . .

    As for James, I think his account of “antiblackness” and his messianic desire to self-sacrifice for the sake of a victimized, weak group of black youth (incapable, apparently, of protecting themselves) is about as racist as they come. I’m sick of this racist anti-racism that always paints people of color as exploited victims. It’s bullshit. And how, James, do you know what happened on the street, who protected whom, who worked with whom? You’re just trotting out the same tired talking points the MSM and the Oakland non-profits handed to you. I’m sure that most of the people on the streets that night would tell you to go fuck yourself with your patronizing bullshit. Go play messiah somewhere else.

  8. Report on the Speak-Out in Oakland following the Mehserle verdict « SF Gray Panthers Says:

    [...] here. You can also read a complete and non-sensational account of protest activities that evening here. This account is good because it describes the frustration people felt after the speak-out at being [...]

  9. Fernando Says:

    @ a little:
    the white radical (anarchists in particular), with whom i’m forced to share the same organizing geography, pull off political blackface all the time (i.e. the appropriation of black revolutionary figures, the legitimization of non-black political claims through empty rhetorical parallels to the black condition, etc.). so i’m not skeptical at all that their theoretical blackface could easily substantiate itself into literal blackface. that speaks to the HEART of the white anarchist problem.

    white anarchists fetishize non-white struggles (like Oaxaca or UNAM whenever they DON’T fetishize black struggles) to legitimate, or make COHERENT, their own claims against the system and “radical-ness” given their whiteness. what’s even more disgusting is that this fetishization goes so far as to manifest itself even in their personal relationships with people. they tokenize people (intentionally or unintentionally). they literally build their legitimacy (their cred) on the brown and black bodies they can accumulate around themselves. it’s like fucking body-snatching. it’s disgusting, and it causes distrust in other, more savvy organizers. maybe my generalization is going too far (other people would have to let me know whether the white anarchists around me constitute a bad batch that shouldn’t be generalized from), but it is NOT inaccurate. unfortunately, i don’t think it’s just this batch.

    moreover, the second point you made against james shows how DEAD the discourse of “racism” has become. when racism got appropriated by whites to start protecting whiteness, they transformed the function of the discourse of “racism” from one that CRITICIZES white supremacy to one that ADVOCATES white supremacy. now, when a white organizer gets called racist (or accused of racist-antiracism) for advocating a method of organization that explicitly looks to challenge antiblackness in the organizing space, you’re LITERALLY proving his point. he’s not saying black organizers (or “people of color”) are weak; he’s saying that antiblackness is an ever-present phenomenon, and you respond by denying that antiblackness exists in any organizing space (whether it’s a spontaneous space or an organized one) and denying antiblackness outright (“I’m sick of this racist anti-racism that always paints people of color as exploited victims.”).

    the focus of the argument isn’t “were black people (or even “people of color”) involved?” it’s “what is the role and relation of white radicals to struggles involving black people?”given the experience that james (and I) have seen in our organizing, our answer is: it’s a relation of opportunism and parasitism. fucking NO reason to think that shit in oakland is any different from the shit in L.A. or O.C. ZERO reason to go against the null hypothesis on this one. the strategy of “solidarity” against police violence by going to oakland (or wherever else since we’re abstracting), fighting cops, and then leaving is a strategy seeking to start an escalation on the BODIES of black people in the aftermath of something like a riot. it COUNTS on the existence of antiblackness to validate their politics/ political claims:

    Step 1: claim the system is fucked up
    Step 2: riot in black area
    Step 3: fascist backlash from cops in black area
    Step 4: claim the system is fucked up
    –repeat–

    escalation bedrocked on antiblackness and the bodies of black people.

    so get out of everyone’s face with that bullshit-ass argument. i might be a fool, but at least i’m not fucking delusional and making incoherent, crazy-fuck, white-supremacist claims against a legitimate point. we’ll see on whose side history falls. i highly doubt it’ll be with y’all since we’ve already got a minimum 50 years of examining this problem.

    BTW, thank you for killing the discourse of racism again. i didn’t think it could be more dead, but then i read your rant. white supremacist logic is white supremacist, and you don’t actually need to wear a hood if you wear it on the inside.

    • * Says:

      @Fernando

      Idk, I think your archetype of an anarchist is too generalized.

      As far as your analysis of a “black area,” I think that’s really debatable. It’s true Oakland has a higher proportion of black people, but that doesn’t make the whole city automatically into a black area. You’re defining black area by the fact that some black people live in the same area that the OPD patrols in as well as where the riot took place: downtown. But downtown, while probably home to black owned businesses, isn’t an area (alone) that anyone gives a fuck about, because downtown is a hub of capital, where all the expensive shops and restaurants are. What I’m saying isn’t that black people and black communities aren’t affected, but that its not an isolated issue of blackness. The MSM may mention blacks in their articles, but at least all the ones I’ve read have made accusations at anarchists, distinctly pointing out a political view as the instigator. The crackdown is shared on all fronts. Look what happened in Santa Cruz after they had their riot downtown, their local anarchist infoshop was the first to be harassed. That isn’t to say people of color weren’t also targeted along side, as the city then called in ICE to deal with “gangs” (that is, they already were complaining about gangs before the riot, but then they used the riot as an excuse to do what they already wanted to do). And one last thing, OPD weren’t the only cops in Oakland that night, police from all over the area were there, experiencing and stereotyping blacks, browns, and the political left; they’ll bring that same shit back home all over the bay. So how do you isolate one aspect of oppression (despite structural differences, despite differences in degrees of historic violence, against black people specifically) when oppression merges and the backlash merges?

  10. ! Says:

    James says:
    “- The role of white folks who want to participate in a truly revolutionary movement is to donate themselves to the political will of blacks. Just like the only thing a bourgeoisie or colonizer who want to be revolutionary can do is allow themselves to be directed by the political will of the group that they (by virtue of their very existence) oppress.”

    This is pretty vulgar. As far as I know, there is not a singular, monolithic “political will of blacks.” So, which “political will” should white folks “donate” themselves to? How should white folks determine this without falling into a paralysis by analysis and not doing anything worthwhile at all? I hope you will answer this with some specific ideas and examples.

    • Asa Dodsworth Says:

      james is tldr, & his analysis is paralysis,
      don’t wast your time on these fools Dogma,
      they weren’t at these protests
      you are a human being first and foremost,
      there is no scientific basis for race, we are all one species.
      Race and Racism are culturally manufactured,
      Additionally Racism is Objectively Defined
      make your own mind up about what is racist or not,

      analyze yourself, asses your actions, and keep on building momentum.

      The so called “white anarchists” that the news media, the cops, and their parrot puppet citizens keep referring to, were not looting. Anarchists don’t want nike’s. I’m not saying that some anarchists don’t get involved in property destruction, but at the Oscar Grant Protests, the Black Block isn’t white kids with black clothes, it’s black kids wearing what ever they fucking normally wear while they tear some shit up!!!

      Anarchists want to stop the cops from brutalizing, And that’s where they were on the front lines with the cops. Desperately trying to stop the cops from charging the crowd, and they probably kept the cops from creating a melee. And that’s why so many of the arrested people were white anarchists, they were the buffer/barrier, between cops and protesters.

  11. James Bliss Says:

    Before I say anything, I have a rhetorical question to ask: why do white radicals disguise their identities (as though anyone gives a shit who you are) behind punctuation marks?

    That aside, though, I’ll defer to Fernando’s extensive comments on the bad faith cries of ‘anti-racist racism’ made by radicals who refuse to engage critically with antiblackness.

    At any rate, you’re confusing ‘the political will of blacks’ with ‘the political views of black individuals.’ My comment wasn’t erasing, in some ‘vulgar’ way, the range of views articulated from Assata Shakur to Star Parker. Rather, it was, at the level of parallelism, describing the political demands of blacks in the same way that one would describe the political demands of the working class or of a colonized people. Nobody would bat an eyelash if I was talking about the demands of the working class, even though working class individuals are, in a goodly number of cases, extreme reactionaries, jingoists and xenophobes. Because as proper leftists, we know that the workers demands are to put an end to their exploitation and alienation vis a vis State and Capital.

    So, if we understand–following the intellectual path traveled by Fanon, Wilderson, and numerous contemporary activists and theorists–that blacks are accumulated, (literally) objectified, and killed at every level of civil and political society (from mass transit to mass imprisonment and beyond), which is to say that blacks are enslaved, then the emancipatory political demands of blacks are an end to the structures that accumulate, objectify, and kill them.

    Is there anything paralyzing about that? Sure, if you are invested in denying the political demands of blacks because you are invested in the accumulation and death of blacks (that is, if you are a non-black person). On the other hand, though, one might find a plethora of worthy causes, from the prison-industrial complex to child ‘welfare’ programs to universities to k-12 public education to public health….

    My most specific idea for white radicals, though, is as follows: Stop it.

    • * Says:

      In fact, people do “give a shit” who we are, and by people I mean authority. This isn’t just a hypersensitive security culture or paranoia, its just obvious that the more public you are the easier it is to profile you. Sometimes a thin veil of disguise (i.e. even one that isn’t 100% effective all the time) helps you maneuver around a little better.

      The problem with your parallelism is that you specifically point out reactionary, jingoist, xenophobic working class individuals while the parallel black individuals are self-identified revolutionaries, activists, or theorists of some kind. I do bat an eyelash when people are talking about the demands of the working class, precisely because the working class has no homogeneous demand. The assumption when speaking of demands is that some members of an oppressed identity hold consciousness of their struggle. Even when speaking about revolutionary working class individuals, presuming a summary can be made is a mistake; instead, you analyze through your political framework and through that apply what would be most justified for emancipation. Even still, its problematic to presume your framework alone can be generally applied uniformly.

      On the note of parallelism, not to sound snarky (really), your argument seems to harken back to Marx’s “On the Jewish Question”. How is it that what you’re defining isn’t simply complete political emancipation (for blacks)? To be honest, I’m conflicted here, to suggest that capitalism could exist without racism seems a bit illogical to me, as by its existence, capitalism needs to exploit any form of oppression it *can*. It feeds on racism, on antiblackness, and on other forms of oppression to create necessary divides.

    • Asa Dodsworth Says:

      Dear james,
      if that is even your name.
      Here are some facts on race in the USA,
      http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/ACSSAFFFacts?_submenuId=factsheet_0&_sse=on
      White 74.3
      Af Am 12.3
      Asian 4.4
      native 0.8
      other 5.8
      Hawaiian 0.1

      *Hispanic is 15% of population, as many Hispanic identify as white.

      And you want white radicals to “Stop It”, to have nothing to do with anything?!?!?!

  12. James Bliss Says:

    Since you spent two paragraphs saying nothing, I’ll limit my response to your third paragraph, the matter of political emancipation and the relationship between antiblackness and capital, because this is the biggest sticking point for conventional leftists.

    To repeat from an earlier post: ‘antiblackness is so central to every other category, that [it] has shaped not only gender, sexuality, race and class, but also State and Capital (rather than the other way around).’ That is, it isn’t that antiblackness is deployed by capitalism to keep the working class fragmented, but that capitalism itself grew out of antiblackness.

    Allow me to quote at length from Wilderson’s ‘Gramsci’s Black Marx: Whither the Slave in Civil Society?':

    ‘Capital was kick-started by the rape of the African continent. This phenomenon is central to neither Gramsci nor Marx. The theoretical importance of emphasizing this in the early 21st century is two-fold: First, “the socio-political order of the New World” (Spillers 1987: 67) was kick-started by approaching a particular body (a Black body) with direct relations of force, not by approaching a White body with variable capital. Thus, one could say that slavery—the “accumulation” of Black bodies regardless of their utility as laborers (Hartman; Johnson) through an idiom of despotic power (Patterson)—is closer to capital’s primal desire than is waged oppression—the “exploitation” of unraced bodies (Marx, Lenin, Gramsci) that labor through an idiom of rational/symbolic (the wage) power: A relation of terror as opposed to a relation of hegemony. Secondly, today, late capital is imposing a renaissance of this original desire, direct relations of force (the prison industrial complex), the despotism of the unwaged relation: and this Renaissance of slavery has, once again, as its structuring image in libidinal economy, and its primary target in political economy, the Black body.’ (2005; 6)

    Thus, one cannot say that a revolutionary assault against antiblackness is not always already a revolutionary assault against the State, Capital, the Cartesian subject…. and on and on.

    Now, this isn’t proscriptive, and I haven’t articulated a party programme in anything I’ve said. I’ve suggested two courses of action that could have been pursued on Thursday in Oakland (1. acting as a buffer, and 2. approaching native Oaklanders prior to planning your trips to Oakland and doing whatever they asked of you). I’ve offered a general idea of an ethical politics (i.e. allowing your political will to be directed from the black subject position). And I’ve made some generic comments about areas to give attention to (the list near the end of my previous post). So your statement about my presuming that my ‘framework alone can be generally applied uniformly’ is a total non-issue because I’m not talking, in a general or uniform way, about how to apply this idea at the level of practice, nor would I presume to.

  13. A little skepticism please Says:

    James,

    It’s obvious that you have no idea what you’re talking about. Like you, I happen to believe that white supremacy is crucial to the functioning of capitalism in the US (and elsewhere) and if it were true that white anarchists from out of town had rolled in to Oakland, fucked shit up, and fled while black and brown people bore the brunt of police violence, it would have been execrable. But this wasn’t what happened. For one, there are lots of political perspectives within the black community in Oakland (there is no singular “black subject position”). Secondly, many “anarchists” and other radicals live in Oakland. And lastly, many of these anarchists and radicals are black, brown, etc. . . But you elide all of these facts in order to make your argument — one that requires a “native Oaklander” who is duped, tricked, victimized by “outsiders” and who, you imply above, is also incapable of mounting a radical critique of politics and the state or, say, smashing a bank.

    I consulted with lots of people (yes, some were black and from Oakland) before the events — people who’ve been involved in the Oscar Grant movement since the very beginning, and I had a pretty good idea what was acceptable and what wasn’t (again, there wasn’t one perspective on this). I also know lots of people who came down there and handed out masks and earplugs, maalox solution (for tear gas), information on legal support, etc. . . Unsurprisingly, no one suggested that whites should act as “buffers,” which should tell us something about your own petty martyrdom fantasies. And, again, how do you know what happened out there? Who de-arrested whom? Who helped whom? Who told photographers to stop taking pictures, etc? On this last point, anyone who’s ever tried to fight off a flock of journalists with cameras will know that it’s pretty difficult.

    So seriously, shut the fuck up. I’ve heard you and others like you make the same mechanical argument in virtually every situation, regardless of whether or not the facts warrant it. . .

    • James Bliss Says:

      In fact, you don’t believe what I believe, because I never said ‘white supremacy is crucial to the functioning of capitalism in the US (and elsewhere).’ Nor did I say that all black people have the same political beliefs or have the same view on what is or isn’t acceptable in any one situation. Nor did I suggest that there aren’t radically-identified blacks, in fact I’ve made several references to radically-identified blacks. Nor did I ever, ever suggest that anyone in Oakland was ‘duped’ by anyone. Nor did I ever demand ‘martyrdom’ from whites, that would suggest that I think whites are deserving of sympathy and/or honor.

      If I did any of those things, I challenge you to quote me on it. You can romanticize what happened on Thursday all you want, in fact, all this blog has ever been is a romantic masturbatorium for white radicals with delusions of grandeur, but not a one of you has been able to refute my argument. You just shadowbox with all the nasty things you pretend I’ve been saying, just so you can maintain the illusion of an ethical white radical.

  14. ass tricks Says:

    how is your “belief” that “white supremacy is crucial to the functioning of capitalism” taken into account in your “activism” or “resistance”? what does this realization mean for you in terms of your relationship to others in “the movement”? so far, all you white anarchists have done is proclaim that “ofcourse white supremacy is central” while you have evaded any implications of this on your self and your daily doings, particularly when these doings involve protesting/rioting/breaking shit in communities that are subjected to hell on your behalf and at your behest. so rather than (or in addition to) attempting to respond to james’ critique, lets hear the self critique. is their one? i’m not interested in your practical self-critique (for example, “we should have brought more spraypaint”). do you have an ethical self-critique? is “anti-blackness”, in your understanding, relevant in any way here other than in the most general abstraction?

    if there is no single “black subject position,” (allowing your misunderstanding of this term to stand for the moment), then how did you take this into account during your “consultations”? who did you consult? on what terms? how did you gain clarity on the question of “what was acceptable and what wasn’t?” what wasn’t acceptable? what information was sufficient for you to settle this question?

    did not white anarchists come from afar to Oakland? did not they fuck shit up? did not they eventually leave? did not they enjoy a certain compassion and solidarity from the police on the basis of their non-blackness? does not the black population “bear the brunt of police violence” before, during and after smelly white folks went back to eugene and madison. yes we all know that some white anarchists live in oakland, some of us know why. and yes, we all know that there are non-white anarchists. are you exempted from criticism in your big white brain by virtue of their existence? were you congratulated for your bravery? did it feel good?

  15. Asa Dodsworth Says:

    @Ass trixie
    @james Bliss
    @fernando

    in fact the anarchists did not do most of the property destruction,
    watch the footage, it’s free on the internets,

    in fact the so called “white anarchists” were local black looters,
    Are you saying they are white on the inside.
    Are you calling them Oreo’s.

    Is that because you won’t even offer them the dignity of looking at the evidence before you smear your stupid comments all Over the Internet like racist “anti racist” sh!t stain.

    You need to take your war with anarchy home,
    sleep on it,
    and do some research.

    • fernando Says:

      @ Asa Dods

      no. i’m calling you stupid.

      given the stats you presented, that’s even more reason for white radicals to critically think about their relation to black people/ organizers and “revolutionary” violence. if we’re saying there’s a strong antiblack undercurrent in their organizing, their mass participation (if it continues being uncritical) would only structurally reinforce antiblackness and white supremacy. if the tire’s popped, to simply continue driving like the tire isn’t flat isn’t going to fix the fucking tire. stupid, fool.

      fuck, way to miss the WHOLE boat on this one. that’s fucking dumb. at least the others are arguing their politics against questionable readings (or misreadings) of james’ posts. the only things you picked up on in the conversation were “white,” “anarchist,” “racist antiracism,” and “stop it.” i wonder why. go back to playing world of warcraft and going outside the lines of your coloring books, you lame-ass troll. there’s grown people in the room talking about real shit.

      • Asa D Says:

        watch the vids fern, when you see the OG masks you’ll know my work.

        And I am very frustrated with the mischaracterization of that protest as white anarchy, it’s the line the cops started, and it’s not the truth.

        Plus The arguments ya’ll have been spinning are ungrounded dogma. ya’ll are using a real local movement that ya don’t seem to know anything about but what the news anchor tells yo, to demonize anarchism…. the dogmatic drool around hear is sickening.

        p.s. that rally wasn’t organized by white radicals, it was organized by cops, and city officials to preempt radical actions. and guess what white anarchists and black residents showed up in storm.

  16. WhiteAnarchist_Sh!tPolitic Says:

    I seriously don’t know who is frighteningly racist: James, who continuously emphasizes the importance of recognizing the structures of anti-blackness or this white anarchist clown Asa Dodsworth. Asa, you better watch your racist language, especially when it comes to describing whites as ‘liberating’ footlocker junk and contrasting this to “LOCAL BLACK LOOTERS”. For more examples on the blatantly anti-black racist myth of ‘black looters': http://www.flickr.com/photos/firewall/38725768/

    Also, I don’t know whose arguments are more mechanistic and fucking beat around the bush/don’t really engage shit. It seems to me that the lil’anarchists keep repeating over and over the ‘blacks have a free will argument’, without ever actually answering/attempting to answer the critiques thrown at them. Can it be that the oh so revolutionary anarchist can’t answer these critiques? Too busy putting circleA stickers on phone booths and calling it ‘the coming insurrection’, im sure.

    “I believe in uniting with white revolutionaries to fight against a common enemy, but i was convinced that it had to be on the basis of power and unity rather than from weakness and unity at any cost”
    -Assata Shakur

  17. * Says:

    Please keep comments civil, you can argue your point without insulting people.

  18. James Bliss Says:

    “Civility” discourse is another one of those things that whites (or anyone protecting white interests) use to police the style and/or content of non-white or poor folks’ political expression. It’s similar to the thought process behind Asa’s characterizing of whites as anarchists or activists (foregrounding their political agency and rationality) and blacks as ‘youth’ and ‘looters’ (completely erasing their political agency, foregrounding their reckless, romantic, desperate violence).

    • * Says:

      Yes, because insulting someone you’re trying to convince is so effective (other than manipulating their emotions)? I’m just trying to avoid trolling, flaming, and ad hominem attacks. This comment goes both ways.

    • Asa D Says:

      you got some other term for looting?? cause i watched it happen live. And it was kinda exciting.

      and yes the “youth” took over the city sponsored rally Microphone and said that no one over 30 can speak anymore, cause they had heard enough about peace and harmony in the street.

  19. Niaj Lamok Says:

    Before I continue typing, I want to list a few incontestable points:

    -Black people die at rates disproportionate to others in the United States because they are deemed black, not brown or any other skin tone. This is not to say that other people of color don’t die as a result of their skin color, but blacks do at grossly disproportionate rates.
    -Oscar Grant suffered this fate.
    -This murder being as gratuitous as it was, without any cause or reason, represents the persistence of lynching as the primary form of terror in the United States, manifested by mass incarceration of Black people, the death penalty, and wanton police violence against Blacks.
    -In turn this gives way to the model of anti-blackness, that is, the practice of distancing oneself as much as possible from blackness or from association with blackness.
    -Capitalism can exist without racism, as it only requires the exploitation of the proletarian class that lack capital. Black people were denied accumulation of wealth historically, and thus constitute that class disproportionately.

    When you find that Bliss’ highlighting of antiblackness (given it is the cause of Oscar Grant’s death) “trumps the incorporation of discussion of other forms of oppression” and that it will “continue to be divisive,” you do indeed demonstrate your complete and utter refusal “to recognize the singularity of antiblackness as a source of oppression.”

    Can you, Asterisk, see that anti black racism is what ALLOWS other forms of oppression and racism to occur? Seeing as how, the darker one is, the more associated with being black or with blackness one is, and the more associated with a slave subject position one is in this country. As a result, would not an approach that gets at the root of oppression in the United States be most effective?

    However, man social movements and organizing spaces do not take this potentially effective approach, as it is in the interest of all non-black peoples to distance themselves from blackness. Whether it be in the form of organizing around migrant’s rights (somehow, forced migrants and their descendants are left out of such a discussion), worker’s rights (as black people have historically been denied access to employment and work, exemplified in the Immigration Act of 1965 which was meant to create a service labor class of non-Blacks), or even abortion rights (given the evidence that Black women have systematically been subject to forced abortions, while white women have the ability to demand the right to an abortion and are encouraged to give birth), seemingly radical agendas are highly characterized by antiblackness.

    So I’d like to know what issue you take with, just for one blog, simply talking about antiblackness. It was the reason for Grant’s murder, and thus your reason for being at, and documenting, the action in response to the verdict of his murderer. Are not the other forms of oppression present in this country symptomatic of the historical trajectory of racism put in motion by the practice of racial chattel slavery? You see I get the impression that fellows such as yourself in “incorporating other forms of oppression” push aside, if not leave out, the cause of those oppressions: antiblackness. This is evident in your saying that Bliss’ mere suggestion of anti black racism somehow “trumps” discussions of other forms of racism, as opposed to giving way to discussing them as symptomatic of anti black racism.

    As a result Asterisk, you come to no fruition in critically discussing racism, but only add to the opportunism and parasitism of white radicals as articulated by Bliss. See how it happens here: http://wearemany.org/v/2010/07/legal-lynching-in-america
    How is it possible, you ask, to talk about Lynching in America without a mention of being Black until 14 minutes in, and even then to not be able to say that Projects are overly policed because they intentionally warehouse Blacks? By being a white radical. By using Black death as an opportunity to conflate anti black racism with all other forms, and leeching off its hype, you further a self-righteous agenda, and hinder the only ethical political project possible.

    To avoid being characterized as such, one would have to turn the parasitism not into mutualism (which isn’t possible anyway), but into commensalism, with white people radically prepared to accept their historical position in society as oppressors and deflect police violence. Until you are prepared to accept that white radicals are not subject to ANY state violence, and by that I don’t mean that white people don’t get physically injured by the police, I mean that they are not subject to any specific state violence for the sheer fact of being white, you Asterisk have no business titling your chronicle an “Involuntary Destruction.” Because really, the destruction to Black livelihood was not only voluntary but desired.

    • * Says:

      You make some interesting points, but I guess I just disagree.

      ‘Capitalism can exist without racism’, yes its theoretically possible, but I think practically you’ll never see that happen. Then again, I’m not saying with that statement that its the epitome of all oppression.

      I just feel like its a massive jump in logic to go from recognizing the singularity of antiblackness to, white radicals = police, white radicals present at a riot without buffering is somehow not recognizing the singularity of antiblackness. It may make sense to you, but not explaining it clearly just immobilized your argument.

      So antiblackness is what paved the way for other forms of oppression, okay, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t organize around other forms of oppression, right?

      I’m not saying your historical analysis is incorrect, as much as the conclusions drawn from them seem to be leaps of faith. Furthermore, practicing this kind of commensalism is fine theoretically, but practically its gonna burn people out; just because your analysis may be true doesn’t necessarily mean your theoretical conclusion makes sense. Its not mandated in struggle that those that are less oppressed must self oppress themselves based on assumptions (even educated assumptions) about the other more oppressed identity, because that leads to unnecessary, inaccurate, and furthering racist stereotyping and essentializing. One shouldn’t act without critical thought, but you’re suggesting a self-disabling act.

      As far as the title of this piece goes, someone graffiti’d a wall on 14th and broadway saying: involuntary property destruction (probably more as an ironic pun than a full blown critique). So don’t read too much into it.

  20. Asa D Says:

    @”WhiteAnarchist_Sh!tPolitic”
    UR an Idiot and your picture is irrelevant to the issue.
    local blacks got pissed at the situation in Oakland and looted some crap.
    cops, newsmedia, and idiots liek you called them white anarchists.

    you dont know hat ur talking about, cause ya wernt there.
    yer an armchair troll

  21. Oakland 100 Benefit Saturday « occupy california Says:

    [...] party benefit this saturday (10/23) for the Oakland 100, (arrested after the Mehserle Verdict in July). It will be held after the ILWU Oscar Grant rally, and will be starting at 8pm. The location is [...]

  22. Mehserle Sentencing Friday « occupy california « Parents 4 democratic Schools Says:

    [...] Grant was laying on his stomach at the Fruitvale train station in Oakland. Mehserle was charged withinvoluntary manslaughter on July 8, 2010, followed by thousands in the streets and rioting that evening in protest.Mehserle [...]

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