Bay of Rage, Anti-cut 2

by

from BayofRage:

//Where: Starts at intersection of Broadway & Telegraph, Oakland//
//When: June 17, 3:00 pm//

This is the second in a series of counterausterity marches and events we have planned for the summer, in order to begin assembling an anticapitalist force capable of combating the current age of budget cuts and economic violence.  This second event is a disruption—a mobile blockade—meant to interrupt, temporarily, the business as usual which economic crisis ever more desperately imposes as the public face of private wealth. For every library and school closure, ten ATMs spring up overnight, circulating ever more swiftly the wealth, looted via predatory lending and home foreclosures. This is not news. Just as globally the US seeks to prop up brutal plutocracies and autocrats in order to maintain its grip on oil reserves and military outposts in the face of popular revolts, so, too, in Oakland we daily confront mechanisms meant to insure our passivity in the face of dispossession: pernicious sit-lie laws, skyrocketing tuition, mounting layoffs and rising unemployment. The city itself is a bank, a dazzling accumulation of wealth, increasingly withdrawn from our lives and stashed in broad daylight, policed with public funds for the enrichment of a few. Join us in jamming, temporarily, these circuits of dispossession.

One Response to “Bay of Rage, Anti-cut 2”

  1. Kevin Keating Says:

    A fairly stupid leaflet was given out at a recent demo in Oakland, CA in solidarity with Pelican Bay hunger strikers, and subsequently posted in a few places online.

    This is a response:

    If I was more generous than I am I’d suggest an ‘A’ for effort to the authors of this leaflet.

    However:

    1. The only people who are likely to make it all the way through this are people with a lifetime subscription to “Fire to the Prisons.”

    This leaflet’s authors might want to hone their communications chops so as to be able to say something incisive and inflammatory that has some likelihood of being read by contemporary, conventional, mainstream working people, not just subjectively insurrectionary drop-outs, and this leaflet isn’t doing that.

    2. Supposing someone does read through this — what practical, concrete, material actions can a reader of this statement take from it and engage in?

    If you offer this analysis to a real person in the real world, like, say, for instance here, a working class 40-year old African American woman and current day Oakland resident, she will most likely think your posturing about destroying the police translates to allwoing total free reign for criminal-minded lumpen mooks who listen to too much hip-hop to prey on her and on other honest working people.

    This leaflet’s author or authors fail to grasp the different between the wage-earning class and lumpens. The only people who can animate a real alternative to all the stuff you complain about are mainstream working people, acting together collectively around struggles that will most likely ignite out of some small mundane everyday life concern; hassles on a mass transit system are, in my humble opinion, may prove to be an extremely fruitful future source of this. While it is true that there is no impermeable firewall separating wage earners and lumpens that doesn’t mean that the working class and the lumpenproletariat aren’t still very distinct social classes. Lumpens are people who have been completely individuated by market relations. They do not have the potential collective organized leverage against capitalist society that the wage earning class does.

    Hunger strikers in Pelican Bay deserve support, but that doesn’t mean having big illusions about either the revolutionary potential of prisoners as such, let alone pretending that every last individual in a maximum security facility is just an innocent victim of “The Man.”

    “This is why we say that all prisoners are political prisoners, their incarceration the product of the machinations of power, the flows of capital, and the structural prejudices of the police.”

    Oh really? In the abstract this certainly has some validity to it — but what doesn it mean in real-world terms? Are you saying that all the men currently incarcerated in Pelican Bay be immediatly put back on the streets?

    In this — at this point wholly imaginary — event of a total revolutionary upheaval, should all maximum security prisons be emptied?

    Should every last individual currently incarcerated be let loose?

    “…one of the most significant narratives in American history, the open resistance of the Black Panther Party and its affiliates in the civil war of the 1960s and 1970s.”

    This part in particular is utter hogwash — there was no “civil war” (!?) in the U.S. in the lae 1960’s and early 1970’s.

    Scrape a thin layer of dirt off many a contemporary-action-faction anarchoid — okay, let’s make that a thick layer of dirt! — (and a Bay Area dweeb naed CAJ comes to mind here) and underneath you’ll unfortunately often find a 1960’s Mao-oid. Here we see a typical servile anarchoid fawning over the pro-Stalin, nationalist, riddled by criminal sociopaths and police agents, politically incompetent Black Panthers. Hero-worship of the Black Panthers is a “most significant narrative” for posturing, overcompensating, ignorant slobs who could do with cracking open a few more history books. Aside from an overwhelmingly negative kill ratio against the police the only thing the Black Panthers had was cool taste in clothes and Ray-bans. The one enduring political impact the BPP had in Oakland, the city of their birth, and arguable the place they had the deepst roots and most intense visibility, was helping to get a pro-business Republican named Lionel Wilson elected the first black mayor of the city.

    Martin Luther King Jr. and his efforts brought about more substantive liberatory change that the clueless Maoists and lumpen thugs of the Black Panther Party. If you are for real in your putative antagonism to capital and if this isn’t just some easily dismissed streety posturing then you need to study actual movements for liberatory social change, like, for example, like it or not, the real Civil Rights movement of King, and not wallow in a self-indulgent and historically befuddled ideological fantasy life worthy of leftist Harry Potter fans.

    KEVIN KEATING

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