Monday, November 14, 2011

This is Madness...

This year the city of Oakland closed 13 schools in an attempt to save 2 million dollars. With last nights eviction of Occupy Oakland, the city of Oakland has now wasted 5 million dollars quelling democracy.
This is madness.
This is madness.
This is madness.

The angry music hour presents...

I heard this cut from Scottish Artist Finley Quaye for the first time today, and the bass run has stayed with me, moving me, rolling on, and on, and on... It also takes away some of the frustrations I feel about the shortcomings of the movement, the stumbles, the naivete... Hope you enjoy it too

Finley Quaye
Even After All

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Reflections on St. Louis

Last night, The Mayor of St. Louis ordered the eviction of Occupy St. Louis from Keiner Plaza. This story has, of course, played out in many other American and European cities. However, look at the two pictures below:

Do you notice anything different from the pictures you've seen from other cities? NO RIOT GEAR. Hell, these cops aren't even wearing helmets. No batons, no pepper spray, no concussion grenades... just their standard issue police uniforms. They aren't even standing in a defensive position - in the bottom photo, one of them has his hands in his pockets. Now, look at the picture below:
If you want to know who's looking for a riot, look who came dressed for one.

I don't know where the above picture was taken, but it doesn't matter - In Oakland, that is how they came to clear Oscar Grant Plaza. In Seattle, that is how they came when we protested Jamie Dimon at The Sheraton. In Paris, that is how they came to clear the plaza at La Grande Arche de la Defense.

The cops are the rioters - they are the instigators. The state is the source of violence. Everytime...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Boots Riley Statement on the Oakland General Strike

In the wake of Oakland's successful general strike, there is of course some internal struggle over tactics and the role of the small handful of windowbreakers at the march. Now I think it is safe to say that the vast majority of people in the movement view reckless adventurism as pointless and damaging. Pointless actions like random petty destruction are a distraction, and do nothing to advance the cause. Hoever, if those who are willing to take more radical action are shut out, then you have nothing but the same toothless, pointless, ineffective rallies we have suffered through for decades. I'll let Boots take it away:
The truth is that while almost everyone I know in Occupy Oakland (including myself) thinks that breaking windows is tactically the wrong thing to do and very stupid, many people do not agree with non-violent philosophy. If you kicked those folks out then you would have a body of folks that wouldn't have been radical enough to even call for a General Strike. Occupy Oakland, on the whole, has a radical analysis that leads us to campaigns that others wouldn't and which also capture people's imagination. For instance, as I've said before, Gandhi was vocally against strikes because physically stopping someone from what they want to do is violent. Occupy Oakland has called for a diversity of tactics- which is different than our New York comrades, however I don't think that is supposed to mean that you use every tactic every time. We are so large here precisely because our actions have teeth. If the police blockaded at the port- we would have had 2 choices. The first would have been to let them stop us from getting there- with them thereby calling a victory against OO. The second choice was for us to quietly push through them with the shields we had in the front of the march and using our power in numbers to get through. That would, technically, not fall into non-violent philosophy. I think it is the fact that police knew that we had tens of thousands and we would push through there if necessary, that caused them to stay away. Also, everyone here seems to be inspired by Arab Spring, Greek movements, and other similar movements in Europe. None of those were non-violent in nature. The Egyptian folks burned down a police station, for instance. Everyone I know thinks that tactics like that here would cause the movement to be crushed, so those tactics are not on the table- I'm just pointing out that people are saying that this is emulating a movement which was pretty violent. But, I think the discussion is about tactics, not about adopting non-violent philosophy. On November 2nd, a large group of people with many contradictions successfully shut down the city in the biggest action with an overt class analysis in 60 years. People all over the world, all over the country, all over Oakland- are excited by this. If you are threatening to leave because, in the midst of this mass action some people broke windows and we are all trying to figure out how to work together, then you're missing the point and you'll be missing out on history. Don't let the media frame the discussion. The average everyday person was empowered by what happened on November 2nd. Every movement has contradictions, we aren't told about them so we think this movement should be different- there was violence during the Civil Rights movement. The pastor that had MLK's job before him at Ebeneezer Baptist Church had just made all of his congregation buy shotguns. The NAACP had an ARMED chapter in North Carolina. You can wait 50 more years for your perfect movement, or you can realize that it's here.

And that, as Carol Burnett used to say, is the truth.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


Will the folks in Oakland pull it off? It looks that they might - if they do, this will be one of the most historically significant days in our lifetime. Here's Boots Riley of The Coup on the events that led to the call for a general strike:

And here's Boots throwin' down with The Coup.
We Are The Ones

Oakland, show us how it's done!! You are inspiring a whole movement!!