By Erinn Carter and Traci Harris
In the early morning hours of New Year's Day 2009, BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit) Police Officer Johannes Mehserle shot Oscar Grant in the back as he lay face down on the ground in front of a train car filled with people. He died several hours later. Uprisings in Oakland – including the killing of four cops by 26-year-old Lovelle Mixon - led the Alameda County District Attorney’s office to argue that while an impartial jury couldn't be found in Oakland, one can be found in Los Angeles.
When Mehserle goes on trial this May, Los Angeles will once again be the central location for a fight involving police brutality against communities of color.
The circumstances surrounding the Oscar Grant murder trial have produced a sense of déjà vu: police are charged with using extreme violence against a person of color and once again these violent acts were recorded and broadcast for the entire country to watch.
By Joel Olson
In the midst of the Arizona state government passing the most outrageous anti-immigrant law since the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882, several happenings pass unnoticed by the national media. At a packed Flagstaff City Council meeting discussing the law, waves of people declare publicly that they are undocumented, practically daring law enforcement officers to arrest them. At the same meeting, a member of a radical immigrant rights group receives thunderous applause for demanding the repeal of all anti-immigrant laws and declaring the right of all people to “live, love, and work wherever they please.” Even the most conservative city councilman admits he liked the notion. Down in Phoenix, high school students spontaneously organize a school walkout through mass texting, without direction from the established immigration reform organizations. This infuriates the organizations because it pre-empts “their” planned protests. And then these same students chuck water bottles at cops when they arrest one of their own.
Welcome to the new Arizona.
Since last fall, we've seen the facade of legitimacy surrounding policing and the liberal establishment in Portland collapse in on itself. Since the Portland Police Association’s (PPA) November 24th march in defense of officer Christopher Humphrey's violent attack on a 12 year old girl, we've seen two police murders and numerous scandals involving off duty officers.
The most recent murders and police road rage cases do not exist as aberrations, but their visibility within the public eye marks the emergence of a new political moment, one in which normally submerged contradictions have been forced to the surface.
Between the impunity and hubris of the PPA and the failure of the liberal establishment in controlling the crisis, a political opening has emerged. As but one piece of the crisis of legitimacy emerging around both the police and liberal politics in this city, the actions of the Black Block and various anarchist tendencies in organizing street protests have stood as exceptional contributions to the exacerbation of this crisis.
BTR members have supported, help plan, or participated in every action that has been organized by predominantly by anarchist forces in response to the recent police killings. We believe that these activities have expanded the terrain of struggle we operate under.
Originally published by Rose City Antifascists
Shortly after midnight on Saturday, March 27, a man was brutally attacked in the heart of downtown Portland. His attacker shot him and left him lying in the street. He is currently fighting to overcome extensive injuries.
It is no secret that this man, Luke Querner, is a long-time anti-fascist activist. He has devoted over a decade of his life to opposing the most vicious elements of our city’s white supremacist movement. Rose City Antifascists, the Portland chapter of the Anti-Racist Action Network, believe that the local neo-Nazis whom Luke has opposed for years attempted to murder him on Saturday morning.
Luke is proud to be an anti-racist skinhead. The true skinhead movement has always been anti-racist, tracing its origins to the cultural intersection of Jamaican immigrants and working class whites in England during the 1960s. After racists and the far-Right attempted to hijack the skinhead movement in the late 1970s and ‘80s, a movement known as SkinHeads Against Racial Prejudice (SHARP) emerged in 1987 to reaffirm the anti-racist roots of the subculture. As with many other anti-racist skins, Luke is deeply committed to racial equality and social justice. This commitment has caused Luke to be targeted in the past.
Chris puts this piece forward as a tentative position. It is our hope that this piece will spark a hearty debate on a subject around which Chris states,"I actually think they're the only thing resembling a social 'movement' right now."
by Chris, AZ
At the first tea bagger convention this weekend in Nashville Tom Tancredo – noted white supremacist and former Congressional architect of scads of anti-immigrant legislature – opened with a speech that would have made David Duke or Bull Connor proud. He called for a return to segregationist policies using all of the thinly-veiled white-supremacist rhetoric that he and his ilk are known for, letting the tea baggers know that “because we don’t have a civics literacy test to vote, people who couldn’t even spell vote, or say it in English, put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House named Barack Hussein Obama”. This, of course, can be read as “because we let people of color vote, we ended up with Obama” and the ‘therefore’ is “we should not let people of color vote”, but the subtext is so obvious that I need not point it out.
I wrote a draft of this in early December that had some limited circulation. This version moves the focus away from criticisms of the left responses to the Obama Afghanistan policy towards the policy itself. In some ways it’s a restatement of arguments I made about Iraq five years ago that tries to incorporate the impact of a global economic crisis and of a different political face for the ruling class. I hope to open up two discussions: the first concerns the origins, objectives, and implications of the policy - particularly with respect to the ruling class flexibility to reconsider and change it. The other concerns the development of a more useful conceptual framework for the left.
Obama has made his speech on Afghanistan and we should think about what it entails and implies.
The majority of the U.S. left looks at these issues in the context of classical conceptions of imperialism, emphasizing the interests of U.S. capital in maintaining and extending its dominant position: in the first place against popular anti-imperialist movements; but with increasing frequency also against purported imperialist rivals.
The following debates have developed on various forums over the past months. Both Hamerquist and Harvey argue that the crisis Capitalism currently faces is not merely a cyclical (or self-correcting) crisis, but a one reflecting Capitalism running up against the limits imposed by its internal contradictions. Their arguments hold drastic implications for the priorities and tasks of those who see the need for systemic alternatives, and are worth examination.
David Harvey,"Organizing for the Anti-Capitalist Transition:
Don Hamerquist,"Lenin, Leninism and Some Leftovers"(and various responses):
So, I went to see a movie called “Collapse.” I read about this movie a little bit before seeing it (full disclosure: I get caught it weird Internet spaces and was reading an article about Mein Kampf. This movie was mentioned in the article for some reason). The premise of the movie is pretty simple: Michael Ruppert believes that he know how and why the US and global economies are currently collapsing (Get it? That’s the movie title…and the country…). The ticket was like $4, which in LA is pretty much like highway robbery.
What is Repeal?
The Arizona Repeal Coalition is an organization committed to repealing over 60 anti-immigrant laws and bills that have been passed or considered by Arizona politicians in the past few years. We demand the repeal of all laws—federal, state, and local—that degrade and discriminate against undocumented individuals and that deny U.S. citizens their lawful rights. We demand that all human beings—with papers or without—be guaranteed access to work, housing, health care, education, legal protection, and other public benefits, as well as the right to organize. Our strategy is to help build a grass roots social movement that can repeal these laws, change the terms of the national debate on immigration, and expand the freedom of all people—documented and undocumented.
originally posted at Imagine2050.org
By Joel Olson
I recently reviewed The Rise of the Ku Klux Klan by Rory McVeigh (University of Minnesota Press 2009) for the academic journal American Studies. The book is a little dry, but there were some notable lessons in it for understanding anti-immigration organizations today.
The Klan originated after the Civil War to restore white supremacy by terrorizing ex-slaves and antislavery whites during Reconstruction. This generation of the Klan ended when Reconstruction did in the 1870s. McVeigh’s book studies the second generation of the KKK, which started in 1915 (coinciding with the release of D.W. Griffith’s famous pro-Klan movie The Birth of a Nation) and exploded in growth from 1920-1924, with a membership of over four million people at its peak.
McVeigh argues that this version of the Klan emerged as a white Protestant response to the rise of large-scale manufacturing and retail, which squeezed small businesses and farms, diminished the political influence of the heartland, and strengthened the power of the cities—and the ethnic communities that lived in them. Klan organizers successfully mobilized White Anglo-Saxon Protestants (WASPs) by playing on their fears of losing their economic, political, and social power as a result of these economic and political changes.