I hope this isn't elfin controversial, but the people who are busting up Berkeley & fighting with other protesters -- including bonking one with a hammer -- in the name of protesting police murders, are THUGS plain & simple who are playing into the mainstream media's narrative...I'm gonna say that the folks doing the busting up & store-jacking simply aren't helping either the poor black store owners in Oakland or advancing the movement against police violence.
...Chicago, 1969; a panther conference in Oakland 1969 with SDS factions literally fighting each other in the street; the Weather Underground; Seattle 1999; Greece, Italy, etc.; and any old "riot" over the past 50 years in which stores have been attacked and/or looted. And that's just for white people. You may be right, of course, but I would hesitate to label anarchists (I'm assuming that's who is involved in this stuff) THUGS, just because in this instance that word has become a meme for racist attacks on black resistance, even though the folks you're talking about are probably white.
Agree that the word thugs has tended to be a racist meme. There is a complex set of realities going on: activists organize demonstrations & draw a fairly diverse crowd; the anarchists (are these really anarchists or are they something else?), see an opportunity, run wild & the police crack down -- or vice versa ; the meme becomes violent demonstrations; the public withdraws & the headlines trumpet violent demonstrations and the cases of michael brown and eric garner disappear into the ether....The anarchists or whoever they are, helped destroy a very popular Occupy Movement in Oakland. As the violence increased, the crowds diminished & it became an argument over who was more violent, the black bloc or the police. Occupy is now a distant memory.
ADDED LATE: I JUST RAN INTO THIS VIDEO. SEEMS WE HAVE THUGS IN UNIFORMS OUT IN BERKELEY...CHECK IT OUT... https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=CVmyMKtmwU4 OR CLICK HERE.
A MORE PERSONAL NOTE FROM ME TO YOU: Remember that the other side is not playing games. Don't say stupid shit (I did when I was younger, sometimes still do, I am afraid), don't do stupid shit out of frustration. Prison ain't worth it (take it from me, I've done time) and there is little to be gained by going there..I do have one little tidbit taken from my personal experience. The most militant sounding guy I ever knew ended up copping a deal and singing the government's song while testifying against me and others in a bombing conspiracy case years ago. Just something for everyone here to keep in mind. All that said, we can't allow any of that to totally rule what we do or do not do. Also, oftentimes shit just happens because people are really pissed, not because this or that faction organized them, or influenced them, or took over their activity. Sometimes no matter how any of us may judge it, analyze it, or think about it, some just feel they have had enough and they "can't breathe" ...
“I understand it. I agree with it,” said Betty Hechavarria, who was late for a nail appointment and running out of gas in Miami in traffic stopped by a die in.
Monday, June 16, 2014
Theoretical Monday and I have a bit of angry "theoreticalness" to share with you. As I always say, I don't agree with all of it, but I get the anger, and I get the idea, and I also don't disagree with all of it. From the days of my youth back in the 60s to right now there have always been amongst us those who said enough of this shit, the time has come for fighting in the streets, yo. I was one of those nuts back in the day who just didn't want to wait any longer, who wanted to inflict some "damage," who wanted the other guys to feel the pain, who wanted to deliver "blows against the empire." Rage has never truely left my psyche, not really. I know a lot more today then I did yesterday or forty years ago, I think. I understand more, I think. But then who knows. I keep having this troubling thought in my brain that the more I learn (and grow, as it were) the closer to death I am, and the closer to death is the Earth itself. So yeah, sometimes I just want to scream, "Stop." Sometimes I still want to say to those who always ask, "well, what will you replace IT with," we will freaking figure that out when the time comes. Sometimes I take Negri more seriously then I think he takes himself when he WRITES about people creating communism every day, every hour. I look at my young comrades with their abundance of energy and pissed offness, and I feel it...
Sometimes Revolution really is for the hell of it, of course the hell of it is very deep, and sometimes you don't feel like diving deep, if you get my drift. Sometimes you don't need a weatherman (or even a weatherwoman) to know which way the wind blows, the gusts are high enough to make all that redundant. Sometimes the fact that something may be detrimental in the long run (or even in the short run) just doesn't work to dissuade (youth - and even others). Sometimes even an autonomous Marxist crosses the line for a moment into anarchism...
Sometimes someone comes along who is angry like that, but stops for a minute, for some unknown reason, out of some sense of who knows what, and tries to explain how come he/she is pissed off.
That is, I think, is what a fellow by the name of Phil Neel does below.
So yeah, I don't buy everything you are about to read, but I think i get where it is coming from...and I am not going to spend even one minute sitting here writing a more reasoned response, a more Marxian approach, a more historical analysis, a real plan, blah, blah, blah.
Later this afternoon I will sit down and rapidly finish my reading of Capitalism in the Twenty-First Century and be glad I did (warts and all). Tomorrow I will probably post a much more thought out, ideologically, philosophically, politically cogent analysis of this that or the other, but right now, instead, and for whatever the reason, I give to you, from something called ULTRA...This is anger, thought out, anger with an explanation, anger with a rationale, but still...at the end, you will feel...anger.
Monday, September 15, 2014
SUBURBS BURNING: BEAVER CLEAVER DOESN'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE
|Children watch from their home in Ferguson as people march to the police station to protest the shooting of Michael Brown.|
It is Theoretical Monday and I am returning to Ferguson with an analysis that takes us a little beyond most of what we have read. I am not saying this is the most intense, in depth, out of sight thing you are ever going to read, but it does provide some actual thought to what is going on and how Ferguson relates to a world of change beyond itself. It relates Ferguson to the growing phenomenon of suburban poverty in America.
Ferguson is “emblematic” of the wave of rising poverty in the suburbs of all of America’s metropolitan centers, suburbs both mostly white and mostly black. Ferguson is an example of a suburb where the middle class is being squeezed into poverty by America’s yawning income gap.
As cited by Confronting Suburban Poverty in America:
Within the nation’s 100 largest metro areas, the number of suburban neighborhoods where more than 20 percent of residents live below the federal poverty line more than doubled between 2000 and 2008-2012. Almost every major metro area saw suburban poverty not only grow during the 2000s but also become more concentrated in high-poverty neighborhoods. By 2008-2012, 38 percent of poor residents in the suburbs lived in neighborhoods with poverty rates of 20 percent or higher. For poor black residents in those communities, the figure was 53 percent.
Like Ferguson, many of these changing suburban communities are home to out-of-step power structures, where the leadership class, including the police force, does not reflect the rapid demographic changes that have reshaped these places.
Suburban areas with growing poverty are also frequently characterized by many small, fragmented municipalities; Ferguson is just one of 91 jurisdictions in St. Louis County. This often translates into inadequate resources and capacity to respond to growing needs and can complicate efforts to connect residents with economic opportunities that offer a path out of poverty.
And as concentrated poverty climbs in communities like Ferguson, they find themselves especially ill-equipped to deal with impacts such as poorer education and health outcomes, and higher crime rates. In an article for Salon, Brittney Cooper writes about the outpouring of anger from the community, “Violence is the effect, not the cause of the concentrated poverty that locks that many poor people up together with no conceivable way out and no productive way to channel their rage at having an existence that is adjacent to the American dream.”
If you live in a large or medium sized city like me, take a look around and see if what is described above is not a reality.
Sometimes we forget that things change. What we saw in Ferguson is not merely a simple continuation of what we saw in the inner city riots of the 60s, of the uprisings of that time. What we saw in Ferguson is something else entirely, well, not entirely, but certainly different.
Charles Laurence points out at The Week,
Ferguson was once a new, white suburb. Then black Americans moved in from the city, bringing with them the same middle-class aspirations as their white predecessors, who now, with growing affluence, moved on to a new ring of suburbia, with newer, larger shopping malls and newer, larger houses.
The curious phenomenon which has emerged from the Ferguson riots is that in this process the white power structure stays behind as the community turns black. The result is a white police force in power over a black community – “serving” would be the wrong word – with a white mayor, and five white councillors out of six. Even without America’s history of ingrained racism and violent law-enforcement, this would make the police look like an army of occupation.
Tomaso Clavarino adds,
In the American suburbs, like in those in France, Great Britain, Italy and other countries, violence is the political means. Violence is, almost always, the effect and not the cause of the concentrated poverty that locks many poor people up together, as in Ferguson, with no imaginable way out and no productive move to channel their rage for not having an existence similar to the American dream.
America is lucky it hasn't seen more of this.
What has happened, is happening still, in Ferguson has broad implications for cities across the nation. What is also of much interest is that as the suburbs change and become new battlegrounds, the battle, the tactics, the everything changes with them. The type of "riots" we used to see are not the type of "riots" we are now seeing. The "occupation" has changed, the police tactics have changed, the insurgency and the counter insurgency has changed. You can't help but notice that (and as the post below will make even more clear).
When I was growing up the suburbs were a place where mostly middle class whites moved looking for a little green space, a little island of refuge from the reality of the world. The Cleavers lived there, along with Ozzie, Harriet, David, and Ricky...a driveway, a garage, a hedge maybe, No problems...wheeeee.
Something like those suburbs still exist, they are now much further out, however. Way way out there past the last ring of the interstate, that's where they went. The people who inhabit these places have more money than the people who first moved to the suburbs back in the 50s. They are a different class. Most of the class that moved to those old suburbs have disappeared. There is no room for them anymore in America. Imagine, no room for a group of white people in America. My, oh, my.
Meanwhile, with urban gentrification a historic reality, with unemployed and poor working people forced to move out of the city to an area of old suburbs sometimes following jobs, sometimes following the children of the more affluent for whom they care, sometimes because there is no where else to go, that inner ring of suburbs of the old days have become something else. They have become a trap, a new type of ghetto. Reihan Salam writes:
Towns too small or too starved of sales tax revenue to sustain their own local governments stay afloat by having local law enforcement go trawling for trumped-up traffic violations, the fines for which can be cripplingly expensive, and which only grow more onerous as low-income residents fail to pay them. Those who can afford lawyers know how to massage a big fine into a smaller one. Those who can’t dread their run-ins with local police, who often come across less like civic guardians and more like cash-thirsty pirates.
You know what is amazing about what I have written, especially since I have written it? Did you notice I barely mentioned things like police killings, or even more importantly, race. Hey, that doesn't mean those factors are no longer significant. After all this is America. It just means, there is even more going on below the surface then what many of us often see.
And that brings us to today's post from Ultra.
New Ghettos Burning
|SERVING WHITE SUPREMACY AND CAPITAL|
PROTECTING WHITE SKIN PRIVILEGE AND PROPERTY
For today, I have decided just to copy a conversation I had on Facebook yesterday with Ajamu Nangwaya. Briarpatch magazine describes Ajamu as,
...an educator in Ontario’s post-secondary sector and an organizer with the Network for Pan-Afrikan Solidarity and the Network for the Elimination of Police Violence.
You can find his writings here, there and everywhere. He is a man for whom I have much respect.
The conversation below followed a posting by me of a video discussing the uprising in Ferguson, Missouri (and what it means) following the police killing of Michael Brown, another young African American man gunned down on the streets of America by cops. I am sharing our back and forth unedited, so their may well be typos, etc. I am taking some of it off my page and some of it off his. Make of it what you will
Following our discussion, I will post a piece by Chicago Surrealist Group which appeared in Scission in May of 2013, but which was written following the uprising in LA back in 1992.
Here we go: