Saturday, October 08, 2011


long before there was an Occupy Wall Street
Much has been made by some by the lack of participation of People of Color at Occupy Wall Street sites around the country.  It's true, People of Color have been staying away.  It isn't hard to figure out why and the young folks in this new movement need to figure it out. Anyway, I've been there before so I will not bother you with my thoughts right now.  I will just say until the new movement begins to deal with issues of significance to People of Color, until it realizes the differences between being a middle class white person trying to pay back their college loan and the plight of African Americans in America, until it recognizes the need to not talk to People of Color, but listen to them, not try to tell them what to do, but take leadership from them, People of Color ain't coming down...and neither are lots of people like me.  This movement cannot make real change until it understands what race means in America and takes on white supremacy, white privilege and racism directly...with other white people.  I hate to be such a grouch, but its time to grow up folks. The short comment below from Midwest Mountain Mama speaks volumes.


the point to me is not that they are not including us—because that accepts the white supremacist media narrative that this is the first time protests against capitalism have happened. 
the point to me is that we are including THEM.  WE laid the ground work for this moment in time with our bodies, communities, love and stregnth. WE created the critical analysis for this moment, WE created the models of resistance and transformative change, WE have been organizing for the past 500 years, and WE have been the ones organizing especially hard in the post-911 world—THEY are joining the rest of us. THAT is the point to me—to make sure the question does not get rewritten to “where are all the people of color” when we all know the real question is “where have the white folks been?”

Friday, October 07, 2011


I wrote this in the winter of 2009.  Since I have been running my mouth about the OCCUPY MOVEMENT lately, I am going to print it again, since I think it explains where I am coming from and I think is still relevant. Some of what it says certainly has to do with how I would see still building a mass movement of any kind. It also demonstrates that I did not see the OCCUPY MOVEMENT coming.

By the way the two main issues discussed in this piece remain, despite it all, my focus...though sometimes you would never know it, huh?




I’ve spent forty years of my life as a serious activist. I’ve been to prison as a result and I’ve also had fun. I’ve been involved in one way or another in about every “issue” to come down the left wing pike during that time. I’ve seen some changes. I haven’t seen nearly enough. I’m tied of hearing about past movements. Though I was there, I’m tired of hearing about the 60s. The suggestions I’m about to make are aimed at folks one hell of a lot younger than me. Young activists have the energy, the spirit, the strength to make things happen. Young activists have not become cynical like so many of my compatriots. 

I should note that I come from a framework which I would describe as anti-racist, anti-imperialist, and Marxist. For me, what we used to call the primary contradictions are race and class. It is through that prism that I view the world.

Today we have people working on a multitude of different issues. Most of them are perfectly worthwhile, need to be dealt with and all that. However, when we focus all of our energy on our own particular cause we are spread too thin. We accomplish too little. We need to create a mass movement. We need a couple of major causes upon which to concentrate. This doesn’t mean you, your friends, or your organizations cannot continue to work on and organize around your own issue whatever it may be. Not only can you, but you must. Again, there is much to be done. However, to build a real mass movement that results in sustained change we need to line up on a few core issues. I’m suggesting two major causes that all of us can organize around.

It is not the anti-war movement. Why? Unlike the anti-war movement during the Vietnam era, today there is no good guy. Back then, we could all rally around the struggle of the Vietnamese people for national liberation. Well, hopefully we are not about to rally around the Taliban or Al-Quieda. Not too many people are going to sign up for that assignment, including me. This, of course, does not mean we should stop calling for US troops out of Afghanistan, but it does mean we aren’t out chanting “Tal, Tal, Taliban is gonna win.” If anything, we should be supporting some sort of true liberation movement in Afghanistan, a progressive one. If it isn’t there, it isn’t there. The people of Afghanistan, of course, deserve OUR support. Unfortunately, at the moment, they don’t have anyone substantial in the fight, so to speak. It is going to be impossible to build a huge anti-war movement when neither side of the warring parties offer anything progressive. We can’t create a progressive struggle for liberation in Afghanistan, but we can encourage one and that is what we should be doing while trying to get foreign troops the hell out.

It could have been anti-globalization. I think it almost was. The evil of globalization was something to build a militant international movement upon. The only problem was that it was pretty complex for a whole lot of people to understand – most especially Americans who like things very simple. Still those organizing around the issue did a hell of a job and were making tremendous headway creating a truly international movement. Then, however, just as that movement was gaining real strength along came the invasion of Iraq and the anti-war movement which ended up sucking the life out of the anti-globalization movement. Had the anti-war movement latched onto and become a part of the anti-globalization movement something very interesting might have resulted. 

This isn’t to say there should not be an anti-war campaign. Of course there should. This isn’t to say there should not be an anti-globalization campaign. Of course there should.

However, in my humble opinion, it is going to be impossible to build THE MOVEMENT upon these smaller movements. 

As I said, I am going to present you with two major causes with which to rally around. These causes are distinct, yet must be linked. 

Fighting racism is a cause we must all embrace. Until we confront all forms of racism, until whites confront their white skin privilege, nothing we do is ever going to be truly revolutionary or even progressive. Until our movement confronts racism and white supremacy there will never be real change. Racism is engrained in our psyche, in the fabric of our being. In the U.S. at this time in history we must continue to and increase the struggle against racism. This is simply our duty. Without confronting racism and white supremacy any mass movement we create will degenerate and become reactionary.

In America, it is racism directed at African Americans that has been most primary. We cannot forget this. We cannot pretend it is no longer true. We are not living in some post racial America.

At the same time as their population increases in the U.S. we are and will continue to see increasing racism directed at Hispanics. The anti-immigration forces are merely the beginning of what is no doubt to come.

Whites must act under the leadership of people of color in this aspect of the struggle. African Americans don’t need whites to organize them, neither do Hispanics, or American Indians or any other people of color. White people must strive to become “race traitors.” White people must strive to learn from the likes of John Brown. Whites must organize other whites. White people must be on the front lines fighting white supremacy, everyday, everywhere.

So what is this other big issue you ask me? I am talking about global warming and the environmental destruction of our planet. It will eventually devastate us all, whites, Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, all of us. Men and women, gays and straights all of us. And not just us. All the free wild animals of the planet are being destroyed right alongside us. It is the creatures of the planet, the fish of the sea, the birds in the air, the great cats, the wolves, the bears that are the ones dying off right now. Not tomorrow, right now. They are being poisoned today. Their habitats are drying up, melting, dying even as I write this. 

This is an issue tinged with all the others as well. Who is and will suffer first and the most amongst us – people of color, the indigenous, people in the developing countries, working people, the poor. Who will suffer last amongst us? You guessed it – white folks, the wealthy, the United States, Western Europe. Who causes most of the suffering – the rich, the powerful, the huge corporations, mostly white, mostly men, mostly the big developed countries. What has to go to save the planet? Capitalism has to go, traditional states have to go, racism has to go, the way we organize our societies has to go, our current way of thinking itself has to go. We have got to understand that ultimately we, and the animals, the plants, and water and the air – we are all connected, all essentially one. We all live or we all die.

I am not for going quietly into the night. The movement we build must be one that convinces more and more people to look beyond tomorrow morning and beyond the end of their nose. That is particularly difficult here in America. But we, you and I, must know time is simply running out. We either get this done in the next few years or we might as well throw in the towel. It is possible we are already too late. I’m 60 years old. I’ll probably live a relatively normal life span (which doesn’t mean I don’t care about what happens, which doesn’t mean I don’t want the Earth to live on after me). I’ll tell you what, if you’re twenty, if your two, if your one of the famous unborn, well, you ought to be mad as hell at the rest of us. And you sure as hell will be one day. Only it may be when it is hot and dry, when there isn’t much to eat or drink. It may be while wars and civil wars rage across the planet as nations and regions run out of water, or food, or land, or power. When it gets like that people will fight back and with each other. However, it’ll be for nothing then.

And by the way, the future is now. People are starving now. Islands are sinking now. Coastlines are going away now. Deserts are expanding now. Rainforests are disappearing now. The ice caps are melting now. Greenland is becoming green now. We can no longer look at record floods in the north of England and say, “well you can’t blame any one incident on global warming.” The “one incidents” are adding up too quickly. We can’t just shrug off the fact that every fish in the damn world is carrying carcinogens in their systems right now. We can’t shrug off the fact that mother’s milk is turning to poison right now. We can’t pretend that the great aquifers under the Great Plains States are drying up now. Tomorrow is today.

We must act now.


All progressive forces should be on board – whether you call yourself a revolutionary, a communist, an anarchist, a socialist, a liberal, a pacifist (or not) – this movement needs you. There is no room in such an undertaking for anti-communism and there is no need that everyone subscribes to the exact same “line.” The truth is that debate within the movement is a good thing, not a bad one. The truth is that a little ideological struggle is not something to fear. The truth also is that all of us have to be willing to understand who are our friends, who are on the same side as us. We have to realize that in a mass movement no one grouping can hold sway over everyone else. That just won’t work.

Further, no one has to stop doing what they are doing now. No one has to stop being an animal rights activist, no one has to stop fighting for gender equality or gay rights, no one has to give up the class struggle or the women’s movement, no one has to stop fighting police brutality, no one has to stop trying to abolish the prison industrial system, no one has to stop organizing workers, and no one has to stop trying to free political prisoners. All of that needs to be done. I believe that a mass movement will actually benefit every one of these battles and more. If we can build one large mass movement based upon the issues I am putting forward, each of us will also be aided in our own individual work. I’ve seen it happen. It has happened. It always happens.

However, I’m not talking about the smallest common denominator politics here. I’m not for rallying everyone around the lowest level that we can find. One of the problems encountered by the anti-globalization movement was the troubling reality that there were those on the right, even racists, who latched on for their own reasons and with their own agendas. We do not want those people with us. Just because someone says they are against global warming does not make them our friend. Just because someone is against globalization, does not make them our friend. We must be watchful and we must make constantly clear that we are about justice, freedom, equality. We must be clear that we are against racism, nationalism,sexism, religious bigotry, exploitation, big power hegemony and what I would call imperialism (but you may call something else). We are against needless wars. 

Some of you have probably noticed that I have not discussed tactics. That is intentional. There are a number of reasons why I have made that choice. They include:
• The internet is no place for such a discussion. 
• In earlier drafts I did in fact include a section on tactics. What resulted was the centering of the discussion on tactics at the expense of everything else. That was my fault, but it was not something I wanted to happen. 
• In all honesty, I am not that comfortable with my ability to develop a rational position on tactics. I believe that future conversation with many more people involved will be necessary to even begin that discussion.
• We do not need to decide tactics right now. 

When the discussion of tactics does happen what we need is to find ways to effectively organize and educate ourselves and others in a manner which can most effectively at this time move forward the agenda of fighting racism and saving the earth. 

What I have presented here I present with all humility. I could be way off base. I recognize that. What I most want to do is get the discussion to move forward on how to build a true mass movement so that we can begin creating it. I do not believe that discussion can last forever. I believe that time is crucial. 

If you have other ideas, and I’m sure you do, you should put them forward. 

December 1, 2009

Thursday, October 06, 2011


This piece from Black Commentator actually sent chills down my spine.  I won't even bore with a spiel from me.  It is time to Storm the Bastille!

Storm the Bastille!
Represent Our Resistance

By Dr. Lenore J. Daniels, PhD Editorial Board

If we do not dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, recreated from the Bible by a slave is upon us: God gave Noah the rainbow sign. No more water, the fire next time.
-James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time
U.S. citizens renamed Wall Street Plaza, Liberty Plaza. They came; it was spontaneous at first. Then a chorus of Yes! We’ve have seen enough. Whose government is this, anyway!
The heavy-hand presence of the NYC law enforcement is a challenge: maze, isolation of a citizen protester from others, arrests. But the numbers of citizens continues to swell.
Fourteen days and counting…
Radical when he arrives at the state mental institution in Oregon in 1963? No. But that changes. The confident trickster, Randle Patrick McMurphy, to use the words of Marxist philosopher, Georg Lukacs, is awakened and discovers he is “lost to himself” (History and Class Consciousness).
So who is Nurse Ratched really, but one more lost to the ideology and mechanics of confining others who’s Freedom is forfeited in the belief that the “authorities” know what is best; who’s sense of “belonging” derives from the knowledge that the other, too, is subjected to fear of the same “authority?” For Ratched and McMurphy’s fellow patients, Freedom is danger, uncertainty. Designated spaces offer order and ultimately comfort for those who voluntarily submit to the will of the institution, the State.
The marble fountain is impossible to move. The other patients tell him so. McMurphy stands before the fountain. Lift it; carry it to the window, and aim it, and freedom.
But you can’t do it, those patients tell him. You can’t.
McMurphy readies himself. He struggles and struggles, pushes and pushes until he is forced to give up.
We told you.
“But I tried, didn’t I goddamnit, at least I did that” (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest).
A lobotomy for McMurphy! Professor John Henrik Clarke used to say, if the leader falls, turn the page and move on! What is the threat from the Chief who echoed the “powers” and has been assisting in implementing the death sentence on his spirit to resist. But now he, long alienated from even an image of his own power, remembers! Chief remembers.
He “frees” McMurphy before he lifts the marble fountain and “awakens” the other patients to the possibilities for living free...
Someone show the people that the impossible is possible!
At 11:08 p.m. on September 21, 2011, the U.S. justice system executed Troy Anthony Davis whom a half million people, including Arch-bishop Tutu, Former President Jimmy Carter, and Former FBI Director William Sessions believed was innocent of the murder of police officer Mark Mac Phial. Thousands around the world signed petitions and protested on behalf of Davis. His family dedicated the last 22 years to appealing to local and federal authorities, to the Supreme Court, to the White House, to anyone who would listen.
But did anyone listen?
That is it, isn’t it? This U.S. government no longer listens to its citizens, to the people of the world. The plutocrats, the heads of corporations, the 1 percent wealthy and “powerful” merchants of death have lifted the veil. No more illusions, our dear people!
And now we know what Douglass, Wells, Goodman, Debs, Fanon, Newton, Malcolm, and King knew.
Ask the thousands of dead children and adults buried in Iraq, in Afghanistan, in Pakistan. Ask the survivors of U.S. aggression living in Korea and Vietnam. Ask them in Chile and Argentina, in Guatemala about the CIA-backed personnel that assisted and trained native police and soldiers to imprison, torture, and kill innocent men, women, and children.
Ask the thousands, many of whom gave their lives for decent working environments and wages, for civil and human rights, for the right of mother Earth.
Slain leaders of the people…
Corporate take over of the basic resources for survival…
Fifty percent of the U.S. budget is consecrated money for the propagation of war…
Berate the uninsured and the unemployed while praising the executives for receiving “well-deserved” bonuses…
There is only the Empire’s “just war” led by the current Emperor, and he has yet to respond to the will of the people.
A mile from the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison entrance and some distance from protesters, independent journalist, Amy Goodman, producer, camera person, assistants, standing hours within a police-designated space, without food, ordered to remain or lose the right to return and communicate to the public, the world. Witness here! Protest here! Another area is designated for the family, close friends, civic and political leaders. Mourn and speak here!
Let us entertain you! Ride our rollercoaster: Here comes a Stay. No here comes an execution. A Stay? No! The camera pans to area behind the journalist and zooms in on protesters in the dark. Sirens sound and a stream of blue lights. More troopers and local police!
“The application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented to Justice Thomas and by him referred to the court is denied.”
We have given him a physical and we are giving him a little cocktail now: sodium thiopental, pancuronium bromide, and potassium chloride.
And remember: We have the maze, the tasers, and the bullets - the keys to the prison!
Are we not the people of the United States or are we on Death Row too - sentenced to harassment, torture and death if we dare think, question, witness and protest? Look world! Look at what democracy means in the United States! Look at Fascism in the United States! Look at what happens, as Angela Davis notes, when a “political event is reduced to a criminal event in order to affirm the absolute invulnerability of the existing order!” (If They Come in the Morning).
Storm the Bastille!
“Thanks to the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, the expanded powers Congress granted to the NSA, and the new constellations of law enforcement, our First Amendment rights and Fourth Amendment rights have taken a big hit,” writes Matthew Rothschild, The Progressive, September 10, 2011). The “warrantless spying” of the NSA under Bush II, “has now become legal by an act of Congress. The Foreign Intelligence Court is even more of a rubberstamp than ever before.” The Joint Terrorism Task Forces “have turned campus police, city cops, and sheriffs essentially into FBI agents,” and Fusion Centers “combine the most local law enforcement with the FBI, the CIA, and the NSA into what the ACLU calls ‘the total surveillance society.’”
We killed not only Troy Anthony Davis, with each installment of repressive measures, we are each receiving our sentencing: the Death Penalty! Some of us are on Death Row! The wonton disregard for the health of citizens has sentenced many to death by cancer-inducing chemicals that contaminate our water and air or from the lack of employment, housing, food, the Empire’s trade in drugs and weapons, and its enlistment of our young to fight in its arenas of war.
And yet, we have protested and witnessed the atrocities of the Iron Heel in designated spaces while it has dared us to move!
Storm the Bastille!
Imagine if in the dark, on the grounds of that Georgia prison, U.S. citizens straightened up and moved collectively forward - in the dark, U.S. citizens approaching the prison doors. Hundreds of thousands of angry workers before us, hundreds of thousand civil rights marchers before us, joined with millions around the world.
Storm the Bastille!
If we had the courage to move beyond the barricades, if we had the courage to defy the plutocracy and its legions of armed thugs, if we had the courage to defy the senseless rage of the Empire, we would say no more petitions and pleading to the deaf. We are organizing with our brothers and sisters in Germany, in Spain, Portugal, Greece, Iceland, France, England, Chile, and Guatemala.
There we are, among the world’s millions! There we are strong in numbers! We are organizing, organizing, organizing to create a government that serves the people! We are organizing, organizing, organizing until one day, to echo Sergio Vieira, “colonialism and imperialism/are only words which are found/in a dictionary of archaic terms” (“Four Parts for A Poem on Education”).
And not any one of us dies in vain on our watch!
When they tell you
I’m not a prisoner
don’t believe them.
When they tell you
they released me
don’t believe them.
they’ll have to admit
it’s a lie
some day.
-Ariel Dorfman, “Last Will and Testament”
Citizens of the U.S., we don’t hear you! We don’t fear you! We don’t have to listen to you!
And we will answer: No longer Empire of the world, do you hear us? Your application for stay of execution of sentence of death presented by us, the people, to the peoples’ court is denied!
Storm the Bastille!
Storm the Bastille!
Note: Thanks to journalist Amy Goodman, her producers, and assistants at Democracy Now!, the only media broadcast courageous enough to broadcast live from the Georgia Diagnostic and Classification Prison on September 21, 2011.
Thanks to journalist and host, Robert Knight, (The Five O’Clock Shadow, WBAI) for his two-day coverage of Troy Davis’ murder, including his interview with a representative Maya Foa from Editorial Board member, Lenore Jean Daniels, PhD, has a Doctorate in Modern American Literature/Cultural Theory. Click here to contact Dr. Daniels.


I'll start by saying I think that it shows fairly remarkable courage for this young women to so publicly and completely accept responsibility, regret, and to openly apology for something she posted on the OCCUPY KANSAS CITY facebook page.  Those original comments, as you know, were first reported and commented upon here. They were then picked up elsewhere.  

I will also add that since that time I have been in contact with another of those mentioned and I have tried to make it clear to SCISSION readers and others that they now completely understand the errors of the original comments.  I have also tried to make it clear that while I will continue to strongly oppose what those comments imply politically, I do not feel that any of those involved or the Kansas City IWW are racists.  I have called and will renew my call for people to halt the emails to them.  Again, they get it.  They are sorry.  Won't happen again.

Unfortunately, I do have to add here that while they get it, others unrelated to them, still don't.  I am still having arguments with people from that site who still think everyone, and I mean everyone, should be invited.   Mostly, they boil down to one of two arguments.  Either they think it is best to have these folks around so "we" can talk them out of their racism with reasoned discussion, or it is the old "lowest common denominator" approach.  You know, find the one thing "we" can all agree on and worry about the rest later.  I ADAMANTLY REJECT BOTH ARGUMENTS.  They are simplistic, naive, and down right dangerous.  

There are, of course, also Ron Paul folks all over especially one of the two Kansas City Occupy facebook sites...and they have their own agenda.  They are big defenders of let everyone come and join.  Well, I take that back.  They don't want any commies or socialist involved.  I believe it is another gross error to include Ron Paul supporters, for all the obvious reasons, as legitimate members or participants in any OCCUPY group. 

This sentiment of letting EVERYONE who expresses any sort of anti-corporate feeling participate as allies, is NOT confined to Kansas City. Neither are the Paul supporters  You can find it and them all around the country at various Occupy groupings.  

All that said what you will read below comes directly from the web page of One People's Project (one of, if not the best, anti-racist, anti-fascist, anti-nazi sites around.  You should check it out.


There are some folks who have said that the anger over the comments made by a Kansas City IWW member iworking with Occupy Kansas City that implied we all work with racists and tea partiers were blown out of proportion. We don't think so. We think anyone that is doing so is treading on some very dangerous ground when you do that. We have seen it throughout history, and we have seen it regularly as people active in our respective political scenes. And we as an organization have made it clear that you can be the biggest antifa in the word, or the most respected progressive ever known to humankind. If you make excuses for white supremacists within the ranks of those on the left, we will take public issue with it. That being said, it is good to see that the KC IWW member in question is apologizing for those comments, and we thank her for it. We are sorry she is going through all this. She may be a great person otherwise and someone that people can work with regardless of this,  but that kind of advocacy is a problem. A HUGE one. That is why so many people, most recently South Side Chicago Anti-Racist Action, had a problem with the remarks. Look, intentionally throwing one major concern to the wind for the one you are concerned about the most may work for PETA (exploition in the name of saving animals...c'mon), but we can't do this, and we have to nip this in the bud just as quickly as it starts.

Brianna Holmes-Burton, Kansas City IWW

I, Brianna Holmes-Burton, when making the statement below, was not speaking for the IWW as a whole, nor was I speaking for the Kansas City Branch of the IWW:
"KansasCity Iww Occupations, please do not fall for divide and conquer tactics! this is not about partisan politics, this is about class solidarity among the 99%. Tea Party members are part of the 99%. If we reject each other based on political affiliation, we will fail. We need to focus on what we have in common as 99% of the world population who is suffering at the hands of the 1%. Find one demand that we can all embrace. It is there. Find it. Turn no one away. Explain to the racists why race is not the problem, explain to liberals why the Tea Party is not the problem, explain to conservatives why Obama is not the problem. Tell everyone, the 1% is the problem. We are the 99%"
I have asked other branch members if someone else can manage the Kansas City IWW facebook page and will not be using it except to check for IWW inquiries so that no one is ignored while we are waiting for someone else to volunteer to keep up with the page. I consent to being named publicly as the source of this problem and concede to all points against my statement. I offer no defense for any contested point whatsoever. This is entirely my fault and I should never have posted a personal opinion on the Kansas City IWW page. I did not seek input from my branch or any member of the IWW before making the statement.

Also, on a personal note, I do not condone racism or any other similar forms of hate in any way whatsoever. That was not my intent in any shape, form or fashion.

I am so sorry.

Please contact me if there is anything else I can do to help fix this


Wednesday, October 05, 2011


Finally, you say, SCISSION goes somewhere besides OCCUPY WALL STREET.  Yes, I go where I know best to the struggle against white supremacy and racism.  This time I take you to Washington DC where African American and other employees of the USDA are continuing the what times seems a never ending struggle for justice.  You probably won't read about this anywhere else, although obviously you could if you really looked.  But that is what I am here for.  Anyway, the following story comes to us from the Washington Informer.

Black Farmers, Employees Protest Outside USDA BuildingPrintE-mail
Bllack-Farmers-300x200A Man with a Purpose. Lawrence Lucas, president of the U. S. Department of Agriculture Coalition of Minority Workers, walks past protest signs as he prepares to talk a small crowd gathered about black farmers and minority workers issues in front of the USDA Building in Southwest on Tues. Oct. 4./Photo by Khalid Naji-AllahPresent and former U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) employees and minority farmers gathered on Tuesday (Oct. 4) for a non-stop demonstration in front of the agency's Washington, D.C. office.
The protest served as kick-off day for the "Filibuster for Justice" event which was held to address the lack of accountability at USDA.
"The primary purpose of this event is to continue to bring attention to the American public, the Obama White House, the Congress, and the leadership team of Secretary Tom Vilsack at the Department of Agriculture of the unceasing sexism, racism, reprisal, intimidation, sexual assaults, and other civil and human rights violations that must end for thousands of USDA employees and minority farmers," Lawrence Lucas, president of the USDA Coalition of Minority Employees, said in a statement issued prior to the protest.
According to a 2008 Government Accountability Office study, the USDA "has been addressing allegations of discrimination for decades and receiving recommendations for improving its civil rights functions without achieving fundamental improvements," the statement further read. In addition, according to some present and former USDA employees, Joe Leonard Jr., USDA's assistant secretary for civil rights, has contributed to the inefficiency of USDA's complaint processing," it continued.
"Undisputedly, internal discrimination within USDA continues to negatively impact our communities," said Tanya Ward Jordan, founder of the volunteer organization comprised of former and present employees, who have been injured or ill-treated due to workplace discrimination and/or reprisal, according to the statement.


I'm passing this along for the obvious reason that I think it is raising very real questions which must be addressed sooner or later...SOONER.  Hey, a little self reflection can't hurt Occupy Wall Street, can it?  Occupy Wall Street can't just ignore centuries of struggle by African Americans, American Indians, Latinos, and other People of Color.  Personally, I believe that no movement for social change can succeed in this country without real participation and leadership of African Americans and people of Color in this country.  But that's me.

Anyway the first is from something called DisOccupy.  The second from Zashnian Daily

Call for Entries (Updated!)

From New York to California, and everywhere in between, Occupy has created a massive and media-savvy movement that has captured a lot (perhaps too much) attention. While white author/activists have written that “Occupy Wall Street rediscovers the radical imagination,” we feel that such celebratory rhetoric effectively erases the endless efforts on the part of people of color to dismantle oppression–in fact, we can think of nothing less radically imaginative than surviving under the multiple layers of systems created to destroy us as people of color. Similarly, when other white author/activists write that we “Either [...] join the revolt taking place on Wall Street and in the financial districts of other cities across the country or [...] stand on the wrong side of history,” they discount the many ways in which Occupy has created a movement that not all people of color want to take part in.
Let’s begin by approaching the name of the first encampment, Occupy Wall Street, by stating what we feel should be obvious: every city on the continent isoccupied indigenous land. Wall Street was built on Algonquian land, and has been occupied ever since. After African slaves built Wall Street for European settlers, it was home to the slave market, and eventually became an African burial ground for up to 20,000 bodies. Since its arrival on this continent, capitalism has always been a system of exploitation based on race. Wall Street is one example of usurped land and slave labor, stolen to quell the desires of European colonizers. To attempt to create a movement that ignores this reality is fundamentally flawed, and it is not clear to us that it will ever move forward. When white Occupy Wall Street activists say they want to dismantle capitalism, they should realize its origin and understand why a slouching economy disproportionately affects people of color.  We feel that if these issues had been consciously integrated from the start, people of color in various Occupy locations (including Wall Street) wouldn’t be feeling the heat of white supremacy today, and believe that Occupy’s white organizers bear the full burden of this reproduction of oppression.
This blog seeks to aggregate radical critiques about Occupy around the continent (including Canada, of course). We’ve begun posting links to some of the most relevant existing analysis from people of color who have been disenfranchised from this movement, but we’re also seeking your links and/or direct entries to this blog. For the moment, we’re interested in providing an outlet for people of color who have had to fight to have their voices heard by the white mass that now controls this movement. If you consider yourself a white ally, we ask that you keep your entries to yourself at this time, and instead read these posts and only comment when you feel it is necessary (there’s already plenty of space for your voice at Occupy, and we want to create an online site for, by and about people of color); you can also consider volunteering to run errands and cook a meal or two for a person of color for a day so that they have the time to sit, think and write about their experience for an audience. A few exceptions to this rule: we want to hear from disability rights activists of any identity, to begin to understand what your experience with Occupy has been as well. We also welcome photographs from anyone.
We doubt you need ideas, and would love to simply provide a space for you to share your experiences. But there are many other potential topics of inquiry:
  • One idea includes analyzing the General Assembly and Facilitation model, who it works for, and who it silences. We think that Human Microphone and Stack, and other forms of culturally-white communication can sometimes work in oppressive ways. Because white people enter Occupy as teachers already possessing these “skills,” people of color are left with no choice but to take the place of students who are eager to mimic an often foreign process, and have no room whatsoever to challenge it.
  • Another topic includes challenging Occupy’s notion of police brutality, and the way white folks hog up an issue that so unevenly affects people of color after getting roughed up once or twice by the cops during a protest. Police brutality and state violence are everyday realities in communities of color, but Occupy has made it seem like white kids are suddenly the ones suffering. The day that 700 people were arrested on the Brooklyn Bridge, we heard that “the whole world [was] watching.” Is that the reason the whole world wasn’t watching the 1,000 mostly black people who attended Troy Davis’ funeral that Saturday?
  • We also want to hear from those of you who want to examine Occupy’s branding. Aside from the problematic nature of the word “occupy” itself, we’re worried that calling this the “99%” whitewashes reality. As shown by the many blog links we’ve already posted, few people of color feel this is a “democratic” and/or “horizontal” process. Why does Occupy choose to use so many words that obscure the way people of color have been marginalized at this encampment?
We seek writing in the form of short blogs, lists of demands, poems, journal entries, long-form essays (we have no word minimum, but ask that essays be no longer than 1,500 words before discussing this with us), as well as art work, recordings, photographs (we have a feeling a lot of you have taken photos that reflect some of the very misguided signs with racist slogans, white activists wearing “war paint,” endless streams of ridiculously offensive Guy Fawkes masks etc., and we really, really need them, so please send them over!). Please send all questions and entries to, and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!


An Open Letter to the Occupy Wall Street Activists

Thank you for your courage. Thank you for making an attempt to improve the situation in what is now called the United States. Thank you for your commitment to peace and non-violence. Thank you for the sacrifices you are making. Thank you.

There's just one thing. I am not one of the 99 percent that you refer to. And, that saddens me. Please don't misunderstand me. I would like to be one of the 99 percent... but you've chosen to exclude me. Perhaps it was unintentional, but, I've been excluded by you. In fact, there are millions of us indigenous people who have been excluded from the Occupy Wall Street protest. Please know that I suspect that it was an unintentional exclusion on your part. That is why I'm writing to you. I believe that you can make this right. (I hope you're still smiling.)

It seems that ever since we indigenous people have discovered Europeans and invited them to visit with us here on our land, we've had to endure countless '-isms' and religions and programs and social engineering that would "fix" us. Protestantism, Socialism, Communism, American Democracy, Christianity, Boarding SchoolsResidential Schools,... well, you get the idea. And, it seems that these so-called enlightened strategies were nearly always enacted and implemented and pushed upon us without our consent. And, I'll assume that you're aware of how it turned out for us. Yes. Terribly.

Which brings me back to your mostly-inspiring Occupy Wall Street activities. On September 22nd, with great excitement, I eagerly read your "one demand" statement. Hoping and believing that you enlightened folks fighting for justice and equality and an end to imperialism, etc., etc., would make mention of the fact that the very land upon which you are protesting does not belong to you - that you are guests upon that stolen indigenous land. I had hoped mention would be made of the indigenous nation whose land that is. I had hoped that you would address the centuries-long history that we indigenous peoples of this continent have endured being subject to the countless '-isms' of do-gooders claiming to be building a "more just society," a "better world," a "land of freedom" on top of our indigenous societies, on our indigenous lands, while destroying and/or ignoring our ways of life. I had hoped that you would acknowledge that, since you are settlers on indigenous land, you need and want our indigenous consent to your building anything on our land - never mind an entire society. See where I'm going with this? I hope you're still smiling. We're still friends, so don't sweat it. I believe your hearts are in the right place. I know that this whole genocide and colonization thing causes all of us lots of confusion sometimes. It just seems to me that you're unknowingly doing the same thing to us that all the colonizers before you have done: you want to do stuff on our land without asking our permission.

But, fear not my friends. We indigenous people have a sense of humor. So, I thought I might make a few friendly suggestions which may help to "fix" the pro-colonialism position in which you now (hopefully, unintentionally) find yourselves. (Please note my use of the word "fix" in the previous sentence. That's an attempt at a joke. You can refer to the third paragraph if you'd like an explanation.)

By the way, I'm just one indigenous person. I represent no one except myself. I'm acting alone in writing this letter. Perhaps none of my own Nishnaabe people will support me in having written this. Perhaps some will. I respect their opinions either way. I love my Nishnaabe people always. I am simply trying to do something good - same as all of you at the Occupy Wall Street protest in what is now called New York.

So, here goes. (You're still smiling, right?)

1) Acknowledge that the United States of America is a colonial country, a country of settlers, built upon the land of indigenous nations; and/or...

2) Demand immediate freedom for indigenous political prisonerLeonard Peltier; and/or...

3) Demand that the colonial government of the United States of America honor all treaties signed with all indigenous nations whose lands are now collectively referred to as the "United States of America"; and/or...

4) Make some kind of mention that you are indeed aware that you are settlers and that you are not intending to repeat the mistakes of all of the settler do-gooders that have come before you. In other words, that you are willing to obtain the consent of indigenous people before you do anything on indigenous land.

I hope you find this list useful. I eagerly await your response, my friends.

Miigwech! ( ~"Thank you!" )

JohnPaul Montano