by Minister of Information JR
There 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 operation.
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 BlockReportRadio.com 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 impulses.
“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 police.
“* 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 did!!”
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 demands.
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