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East Bay | Police State and Prisons

Why the Paint?
by Gabe Meyers
Wednesday Apr 15th, 2009 9:08 PM
I am sure that alot of people are wanting to hear me answer this question; so below, I have prepared a statement that might clear a few things up.
Sometimes, when those who sit in control of a major institution or bureaucracy, decide to behave and conduct themselves, and the affairs and business of that institution or bureaucracy, in a way that is in complete contempt of the basic respect for basic humanity, then it becomes a responsibility, and a one's duty in life, to act against such behavior and conduct. Because to not, only allows a wicked air of banality in this world to exist, and ultimately leads society to becoming just as venal as that system or institution. The way that BART, and in particularly the General Manager Dorothy Dugger, have handled the affairs in the aftermath of the shooting of Oscar Grant, constitutes such an institution, and characterizes such a person in control of it. So on April 09, 2009; I had realized what my duty was, took responsibility, and acted.

Since the shooting occurred, BART has continued to lie and mislead the general public in an attempt to cover-up the truth behind what really happened on New Year's morning at the Fruitvale station. This deceit has taken place so that those who are responsible for crimes that led up to Oscar Grant's death, are not held accountable. When confronted, challenged and exposed with their lies and cover-ups by the public demanding justice at open comment meetings, the BART board of directors has arrogantly turned up it's nose and insultingly rolled it's eyes. They have disrespected the family and blamed the victim. Recently, BART has gotten up the audacity to think that they can pass off mendacity as the truth about the events of January 1st, by filing papers in court that say: Oscar Grant was the one who was being violent, and Johannes Mehserle only committed a 'tragic accident'. While at the same time, continuing to protect those who are guilty of crimes of accessory, like Tony Pirone, by saying that his conduct and use of force was acceptable, because Grant was a danger to him and his partner( who is also guilty of a cover-up and should be fired). If BART thinks it can keep adding insult to injury to those who have been victimized and those who demand justice, then they better think again and expect resistance.

If Dorothy Dugger, is going protect those who are responsible for crimes that resulted in a murder (as she has done with Officer Tony Pirone, by not firing him), and protect those who have lied and tried to cover-up those crimes (like Chief Gary Gee by not firing him), then she has become involved in a conspiracy of larger scale; and most important, she has become complicit in covering up the truth. I had concluded to myself that day in the boardroom, when I depleted the tube of red paint on the dais where Dugger’s place is, that it was appropriate and legitimate to focus my actions in front of her where she sits, because it is the seat of the General Manager, and that position of power should of never be abused in the way that she has. It is a message that such unscrupulous behavior from those who head BART, will NOT be tolerated by the people and the community, and we will fight back by any means necessary!

I have decided to take full responsibility for my actions and I want people to know that I had acted on my own accord. I know that some people are upset with me because what I did was not in consensus with the rest of the group. For this I am sorry, but I want people to realize that what I wanted to do, I could not share with the entire group, and I could best carry out and execute my action, without risk of detection, by myself. I have accepted the consequences and am willing to do the time, and I understand that by making statements like these, I increase that chance. If I go to jail, I want people to understand that while I sit locked-up, people like: Officer Tony Pirone, who are guilty of far more serious crimes than throwing child’s washable paint on the desk of a corrupt bureaucrat, and disrupting a “public” meeting, are still free and roaming our streets. Tony Pirone committed a crime, he must do the time!

Some people may say what I did is violent or unacceptable, but the true violence in this case has come from the BART Police when Oscar Grant was murdered. And what is truly unacceptable, is when that violence is protected and condoned by a system such as BART. A situation of injustice and unregulated wrongdoing has evolved in the aftermath of the shooting death and murder of Oscar Grant III. I believe that it is my duty as a human being, and before G-D, to commit myself and encourage others, to keep resisting and fighting against this ongoing miscarriage of justice. It is truly a violation of basic: equity, fairness, and respect for the rights of not just Oscar Grant, but all who are effected by repression in our society. It is only when we make a stand together and in unity, will the powers that hold us down, be no longer able to do so. It is only until then, will we be free.

In solidarity with justice,
Gabriel Mark Meyers

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by a-feminist
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 9:24 AM
"I want people to realize that what I wanted to do, I could not share with the entire group, and I could best carry out and execute my action, without risk of detection, by myself."

At the very least, you need better planning. :P

Gabe, I don't think I know you, but I've been in your shoes -- not in the sense of throwing paint on someone (just so that's clear) but in the sense of feeling that I couldn't share with others. Ironically, the first poster (who doesn't appear to be from "the left", or at least, s/he's refreshingly self-critical) is also correct about your actions. Sometimes you can learn the most from people who aren't coming from the same perspective from you, and as such, have nothing to lose by speaking up. Your actions have consequences, not just for you, but for others as well. If you can talk with others about what you're going through, you have to do it; if it's not safe to do so, you need to ask yourself some questions, such as:

- If I can't trust these people, then why am I working with them? (Helpful hints: feeling guilty or tied to them by obligation is 100% bona fide BULLSHIT, as a justification. So is following your own conscience and fuck everybody else.)

- Is the action I'm going to take the most effective response in the present situation? (This is crucial - *FEELING* that you're right is not enough. Unchecked feelings = mountain of hurt if left unchecked.)

- What is the impact I'm doing on others? Will it potentially backfire, and undermine the intended objective?

- Is it worth the potential price? What could I be doing with the downtime, instead of being on conditional release, or whatever?

In addition, you need to read up on other activists, and see what they've gone through as a result of their actions. It's not always blah blah, fist in the air, at least I did the right thing, rousing chorus of solidarity forever, believe me. Look at Emma and Berkman's lives after Lenin booted them out of the Soviet Union, for example.
by Concerned Person
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 10:21 AM
Hey Gabe,

While I respect your honesty, you need to be careful legally. This post amounts to a confession and is basically making it so the prosecutor can convict you without doing any work. At worst you end up martyring yourself, making it impossible to fight from jail. By your own admission, there's no movement supporting what you did so you'd just be wasting your time.

Just some sympathetic advice.
by an sf-er
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 10:41 AM
Good Job Gabe. Someone had to do it.... Dorothy Dugger is a loser.(period) And so are those Bart cops. The Bay Area is rife with murder, but when it's train cops who do the killin then sh_t needs to hit the fan. I personally feel that police forces in CA need to come up with other strategy's when dealing with the public, or ultimately, I fear, there will be more un-neccesary murders of Moms, Dads, and youth. Oakland residents didn't like it when people rioted in their precious city, so you'd think they'd be in on the activism too, but as far as I am concerned it is mostly outside forces coming to the aid of a dead black man.

Dear DA who reads this: Let Gabe alone. Some of us citizens support his actions.
by and anybody else
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 2:13 PM
"You need to be careful"

Presuming of course that this actually is Gabe, and no, saying "I'm Gabe" is not enough to establish identity; while weirder and more unjust things have happened, using a confession from a website that allows anonymous posting (as is the case with the vast majority of sites on the Internet that allow user comments) raises the possibility of entrapment, if not the possibility of a 3rd party setting somebody up. As such, I'd be wary of accepting this as evidence, if I was a lawyer (which I'm not). Better safe than sorry, though -- caution is usually a good approach, so we definitely agree there.
by say huh
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 4:20 PM
What planet do you live on? Are you a non-Oaklander patting yourself on the back for some "aid" you offered? When and where exactly?

Just so you know, there are plenty of Oaklanders working for justice for Oscar and against police brutality.

In fact, I can't think of anyone without strong East Bay ties who is doing shit about this BART case now, so I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about.

Please clarify your statement, with evidence, or retract it.
by comments
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 5:18 PM
hey, a small request, could we all just check the tone in our comments a bit. before you write, if you can assume that the person you are addressing is at least on the same "less power" for cops side of the issue that we all are, just please address them respectfully, don't talk down to them or chastise them like they are little kids. e.g. rather than saying "thats bullshit, prove it" ask them to "clarify what they mean by X, because it sounds like they are saying Y".

a high level of patronization, venom, and self-righteousness in these comments will hurt our ability as a movement to use this forum as a news and communication source, as there are many forces coming together in this movement who have not worked together and have been marginalized for a long time, and patience is needed while we establish some familiarity with one another.
by a-feminist
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 5:39 PM
"Patience is needed while we establish some familiarity with one another."

Definitely agreed, and sorry if I came off as overly harsh. I do stand by what I said, though.
by primo
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 6:16 PM
Thanks to 'comments' re: checking our tone.
Just a general thanks; your points are good to keep in mind.

>> a-feminist: you affirmed that you stand by your position - "...the first poster...is also correct about your actions."
I'm curious to hear what part of the 1st posters' broad characterizations you agree with.
by a-feminist
Thursday Apr 16th, 2009 6:58 PM
Mostly what I agreed with was this:

"The DA is preparing to go to trial on the Grant case. Murder trials take a lot of prep time. Without proper preparation, the guy walks on a mistrial."

While I think the BART board was probably looking for an excuse to clear the room of pesky protestors (as tends to be the case), I also think that handing them that excuse is unfortunate. Direct action imo needs to be strategic as much as tactical, and as the commenter said, the DA is preparing for trial, and trials have been known to been held in the court of public opinion; if perceptions shift to "protestors, bad", it can give power to the DA, even though it's not supposed to, justice is blind, blah blah. This is of course presuming that the commenter thinks that killer cops walking away on a mistrial is a bad thing. :) It's also presuming that the DA is not overly interested in sending a cop to prison on a murder conviction (he is a DA, after all). If the poster wants Mershele to walk because all cops are good, saintly individuals, then whatever - I read my own opinions about the prison industrial complex into what they said. If that's the case, fuck 'em -- you want cops to walk free when they murder people? Fine then, abolish the prison system (which harms everybody) -- otherwise, too bad, he gets to rot in jail if there's any justice in this situation -- which is doubtful, but still. My first read though was that the commenter was saying, "Hey, chill out, willya? You're making the case for the DA". Could be wrong about that, of course -- he could be thick enough to think that blathering on about how tough DAs, cops, politicians, bankers, and so on have it and how unappreciated they all are would get an ounce of sympathy from anybody but other right wing trolls in these here parts, but hey.

As for the rest of the post: as I said above, I may be reading this into what they said (and please, speak up if you're lurking), but I got a sort of "wise up, ya lunkhead" sort of inflection off the comment, rather than a "ya clueless hippie, get a job" freeper one, and as much as I love y'all, the left is sort of in need of a reality check these days -- too much infighting and navel-gazing, especially in the bay area, so to be honest? I'll take what I can get. It's also been my experience that we have allies in unexpected places at times, and if it's possible to get past differences in tone, then we all benefit. No way to tell without further clarification, though, and I could be overly hopeful in this case.
by junya
Friday Apr 17th, 2009 1:55 AM
This defense of the paint action, authentic or inauthentic, hits the mark - just as the paint did.

"The DA is preparing to go to trial on the Grant case. Murder trials take a lot of prep time. Without proper preparation, the guy walks on a mistrial."

This statement assumes the DA is preparing to win a conviction. That assumption runs counter to historic evidence in cases like this, i.e., a case where someone, whose actions are normally blessed by the state, is brought to trial only by public demand (Please recall that the killer was only arrested after the first Oakland uprising - another action that many "sensible" people condemned as a counter-productive strategy). This case has similarities with the Emmett Till case: see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I7PpVHyHjxw.

In more recent history, I witnessed one Assistant DA's stellar performance in a mock police trial, that was so good that he came dangerously close to winning it - before showing his true colors, and letting the "thugs" (his word, not mine) off with the equivalent of a traffic ticket: see report at http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2005/06/08/17462921.php. A DA who really saw Oscar Grant's killing as a murder would not have let the suspect roam free (and leave the state!) for two weeks - without ever detaining or even questioning him. The DA claims the killing was a murder, yet refuses to consider charges against any of the POLICE that stood there and witnessed the murder, and made no attempt to detain the shooter or help the victim. Just look at the DA's bail motion: it largely accepts police claims as fact - claims made by those that were accomplices to the murder!

Staging a mock trial (held only to appease an angry public) and fixing it to fail takes a lot of prep time. While the DA is busy with that, our job is to continue to expose and disrupt the "wicked air of banality".

Gabe, please contact me at junya AT rocketmail.com to update me on your case and let me know how I can support.


by amen
Friday Apr 17th, 2009 10:38 AM
"It is only when we make a stand together and in unity, will the powers that hold us down, be no longer able to do so. It is only until then, will we be free."

Gabe, sir, with all due respect, that's exactly what No Justice No BART was trying to do. They had held open meetings you could have come to, there were specific plans made for this board meeting, there was a check-in on the sidewalk before everyone moved into the building that morning. The one single demand they wanted to push was for a public meeting *this* month in East Oakland so that the public can actually be involved in shaping BART police policy. Just as the board members were relenting on this demand with April 25th as the tentative date, you struck, making all of the work NJNB put into planning for the meeting moot. BART refused to listen to anything NJNB had to say after the paint incident. NJNB had been working hard holding demos and pickets and so forth, to get a large crowd to the board meeting, and had finally built enough cred that the board was starting to listen and respond. Now that's all largely wiped away. Now BART can move further along and solidify their plans for their phony civilian police review board before anyone from the public gets to say squat.

Putting aside the gender politics of a man "attacking" a woman, if you wanted to throw/squirt paint on Dugger, then it would have been best for you to do at a board meeting where NJNB had not staged a takeover to make specific demands. Instead, you used No Justice No BART as cover to stage your action. You stood amongst the NJNB demonstrators pretending to to be down with them, but you were anything but. You cared more about making your own personal statement than you did about what NJNB was trying to accomplish. That's not standing together and in unity. That's exploiting the hard work of another group to make your own symbolic statement. That's stepping on NJNB's message and showing complete disregard for their work.

You answered the question "why the paint?" But now I am curious if you think the painting was worth destroying months of work of NJNB? How did the painting right in the middle of the NJNB action show unity of any kind whatsoever?
by there
Friday Apr 17th, 2009 4:16 PM
I second that. you hit the nail on the head.
by a-feminist
Friday Apr 17th, 2009 4:34 PM
This is what I was getting at when I posted "Feedback on your post" above, and in my view, it just further solidifies what I was saying. I totally understand direct action as a tactic, as long as it doesn't mess up the work of people who are part of the same struggle. Now, what happens far more often than it should is that some group who has issues with direct action as a tactic will denounce people who commit it, even going so far as to argue for calling the cops when direct action happens (um, say what?); but that's not what I hear you saying at all.

I think sometimes there's a tendency in some parts of the anarchist community, or whatever it is we are, to see everything in terms of direct action, and that everything else is either liberal bullshit or "marxist" bullshit, which is sort of a shame, because it discredits the perfectly fine tradition of direct action on the left while messing up yet another group's business. It really does nobody any good when we go this route; we sort of come off like some anti-authoritarian version of the RCP, with all roads leading to insurrectionary uprising as opposed to the Glorious Worker's State As Prophesied By Chairman Bob (tm), with predictable results.

Again, in case it isn't clear: I'm not critiquing the tactics or intentions of Gabe's actions, just the apparent lack of strategy behind them. Taking into consideration the impact your actions have on others is as critical a part of unity building as is a commitment to diversity of tactics; which is why the principles drafted for the 2008 RNC protests serve as such a valuable model for future organizing.
by deanosor
( deanosor [at] mailup.net ) Friday Apr 17th, 2009 10:33 PM
Note + caveat: In my first draft of this piece i wrote the words "alleged" for every time an act occurred. After reading Gabe's statement again and realizing the fact that he has accepted responsibility for his acts (as he has described them) i am removing the words alleged, but noting that just because one is admitting to specific actions does not mean that person is guilty of committing a "crime" as the penal codes and legal precedent defines them. There are all kinds of defenses to a criminal charge that can be made even if one admits to doing specific acts. Caveat ended. Now on to my thoughts ontthe postings and the comments.

I like Gabe, Gabe's a good person. He was the passive victim of police brutality who then got thrown thru the "justice" system's wringer coming out of a past demonstration. Coming out of that demonstration, there was world-wide support for Josh Wolfe and very little support for Gabe. All of the above probably went into what Gabe did, including knowing how ridiculous the justice system is, first-hand, and the non-solidarity he received when he was a victim of police "misconduct".

I was not there when this action occurred and i don't know what Gabe knew about the plans of NJNB, but this very symbolic act (more on symbolism versus direct action below) of throwing (washasble) paint on the chair of the BART board, is, in my opinion, better than doing it on an underling police chief. It shows that the whole BART system is corrupt and irresponsible, not just the "bad apples" of the police department. It seems that when you can no longer dismiss the actions as just a few rogue cops, the next line of of defense for a power-hungry system is to claim the police department is out of control. And Gabe, in a non-sexist act, redecorated the highest person in the hierarchy there, who happened to be a female. (Consider if Hilary Clinton or Sarah Palin had become President, would people say it was sexist for a male to criticize them?--The alleged "power dynamics" critique is a not an anti-sexist critique, but strikes me as more of chivalry, at best, or a disingenuous critique of an act you disagree with, at worst. Sometimes this is called kitchen-sinking an argument.)

Soem people claim that Gabe's action disrespected NJNB's plan's. It seems to me that Gabe's actions were in the spirit idea of No Justice No BART! whether specific people in a specific organization support(ed) it or not. If the organziation "No Justice No BART" was at a BART meeting to only demand another meeting, then maybe "No Justice No Bart" (the organization) is not in the spirit of No Justice! No BART! (the slogan). (Note: this my own personal opinion and i have not spoken with anybody including Gabe about this.)
There have been examples of controversial individual acts in history, and Gabe throwing pain on someone is not comparable to the assassination of President McKinley, or Alexander Berkman shooting the robber baron and strikebreaker Henry Frick. It is, as someone posted, a childish (child-like?) act, but not in the ageist way the poster used it, but simple and to the point with no mincing of words. An example of this kind of action was the throwing of skunk oil on Mayor Shirley Dean in support of People Park a few years back by Professor Carolyn "Blue Sky" Johnson. People may disagree whether we're at that point yet, but when BART lawyers say that Oscar Grant was in effect responsible for his own murder, a "temper tantrum" may be what is called for. Some people have also claimed tha the rebellions of the days after Oscar Grant was killed, were also "temper tantrums".

Some people here have called Gabe actions "direct action". I disagree. They were symbolic protest actions-good ones in my opinion, but symbolic (as symbolic as holding up a sign or wearing a black armband). They were pointing out a situation using the symbolism of paint on a director of BART. a militant action can be symbolic or direct. A direct action does not have to be militant. The grape boycott was a direct action, to directly affect the pocketbooks of the owners who hired the scab workers. Direct actions might have also included blocking, or chasing away the scabs or burning down offices of the company. It would nto including lobbying them or throwing paint on them. In a struggle, many tactics, both direct and symbolically indirect might take place, but we shouldn't confuse them.

Now as i wind this comment up, an aside: Someone mentioned Emma Goldman being kicked out of Russia. Emma did not get kicked out of the Soviet Union. She could see the USSR becoming the police state that Stalin consolidated and typified later. This can be read about in her book, "My disillusionment with Russia".
by a-feminist
Saturday Apr 18th, 2009 12:26 AM
I'm not dissing Gabe, I'm questioning whether engaging in a symbolic act (as you noted, not a direct action, I stand corrected) in this context was strategically effective. I'm not putting this forth to get on Gabe's case, honest.

As for Emma: when I said booted out, I didn't mean that to infer that it was her fault. While she did leave of her own accord, she did so because it was clear that she was going to be booted out, or worse. From Chapter 52 of Living My Life:

"In the first weeks of Sasha's anguish that followed the massacre of Kronstadt I had not dared to mention the idea of definitely leaving Russia that had come to me during the siege. I feared it might add to his agony. Later, when he had bravely pulled himself together, I broached the subject to him, not at all sure that he would want to go, but certain that I could not leave him behind under the murderous regime. I was therefore immensely relieved to find that Sasha had spent many sleepless nights brooding over the same idea. After we had discussed every possibility for making our lives count for more than mere existences in Russia, we had come to the conclusion that no word nor act of ours would be of value to the Revolution or to our movement or of the least help to our persecuted comrades. We might proclaim from the market-place the anti-revolutionary nature of Bolshevism, or we might hurl our lives against Lenin, Trotsky, and Zinoviev and go down with them. Far from serving our cause or the interest of the masses by such an act, we should be merely aiding the dictatorship. Its skilful propaganda would drag our names through the mire and brand us before the world as traitors, counter-revolutionists, and bandits. Nor could we continue gagged and chained. Therefore we decided to go."
No offense, but frankly you have no idea what you are talking about. You weren't there, you haven't been involved with NJNB, and you haven't even spoken to Gabe about this. From your armchair, you're going to tell NJNB what their mission or "spirit idea" is or should be? You're going to tell the activists, community members, and family of Oscar Grant and his friends involved with NJNB that you and Gabe know better and that Gabe is righteous for stepping on their hard work? That's ridiculous.

While I feel for the consequences Gabe has yet to face, Gabe's actions accomplished nothing other than making himself feel better that he "did something." That it effected zero change other than it likely causing him to lose his freedom doesn't seem to matter. Yet apparently it gives you something to cheer about from the sidelines.

Direct actions, symbolic acts, whatever, are not the be all and end all, as exciting as they may be. All movements require actual *campaigns* to achieve goals. Symbolic actions may very well play important and even key roles in pushing justice forward, but on their own they accomplish little other than making statements of dissatisfaction with the status quo. There have to be organizations pushing things along where the rubber meets the road, sustained campaigns that outlast the fast and furious direct actions. NJNB is not some namby-pamby NGO looking to quell anger at BART. They have been very confrontational, moreso than any other organized group out there. They took over the BART meeting, for pete's sake. They took it over with real strategic demands. Yes, for a public meeting, a public meeting set at a time working people could attend, with BART paying for outreach to publicize the meeting, so that the public can be involved in shaping BART and BART police policy. BART had agreed during the NJNB action to a meeting at a venue NJNB had arranged in East Oakland. BART had agreed to post notices in BART stations and to pay people to flier about it in East and West Oakland. About the only thing that was not 100% settled was the date, but things were leaning strongly toward the date NJNB pushed for, this very month. If anything, Gabe's action not only accomplished zippo in the real world, but it was highly counterproductive. Now the community will be denied the chance to be heard any time soon. The community has been denied the chance to have input and contribute to the shape of the justice that it demands. It will be BART that gets to declare what "justice" looks like, at least for the time being.

Seriously, what real things did throwing paint on someone accomplish? What was the strategic goal? Is BART going to all of the sudden come up with the perfect plan for justice on their own because one of them got a dash of paint on their jacket? No, it's not going to happen like that. The Oakland community deserves to be heard on what it wants to see from BART. Gabe's action stepped on all of those voices. You can blather all rough and tough and stuff in comment threads about how NJNB's demand was "just another meeting" but it was an important meeting whereby the community could be heard on what it expects from BART.

Lastly, if you truly support what Gabe did, and it's not just meaningless blither-blather you spout in comments here, then get out there and do similar things yourself. You know where BART trains and stations can be found. You know when board meetings will be held. Get out there for fuck's sake and actually do something. Disrupt the shit out of them until there is justice. Do all the symbolic and direct actions you want. Just don't be some kind of punk that sits back and cheers others on to jail. Do it yourself. By all means, do it. Do it as soon as you can put a sensible plan together. Do it daily, weekly, whatever. But do it. The sooner the better. And for crying out loud, keep enough of a head about you not to do it in the middle of someone else's action and silence the community from having their say in the shape that justice takes.
by a-feminist
Saturday Apr 18th, 2009 2:21 PM
"Lastly, if you truly support what Gabe did, and it's not just meaningless blither-blather you spout in comments here, then get out there and do similar things yourself. You know where BART trains and stations can be found. You know when board meetings will be held. Get out there for fuck's sake and actually do something. Disrupt the shit out of them until there is justice. Do all the symbolic and direct actions you want. Just don't be some kind of punk that sits back and cheers others on to jail. Do it yourself. By all means, do it. Do it as soon as you can put a sensible plan together. Do it daily, weekly, whatever. But do it. The sooner the better. And for crying out loud, keep enough of a head about you not to do it in the middle of someone else's action and silence the community from having their say in the shape that justice takes."

Sometimes, I think much of what goes on these days is a bit like watching Life of Brian - small, splintered sectarian groupings arguing over The People's Front of Judea vs. The Judean People's Front, and when someone comes into the Important Meeting, full of passion and life, and declares, "For god's sake, do something, there's a whole world of highly disillusioned people out there", it's like they've spouted a third head.

I don't know much about No Justice No Bart, other than observing your actions - but it seems like you're trying to push beyond the usual BS, and as long as you're not a front group, I support your efforts, and am glad to see a group of people stepping forward intelligently and coherently, without confusing incremental wins with the actual goal, and advocating for both action and structure. Given that anarchism is not about structurelessness, but organizing in communities rather than via the state (or at least, it should be), you would think people would be happy about this; on the other hand, I wish I could say that this was only a problem that anarchists have, because then we could isolate it as an internal problem and figure out solutions together, but it's not. Groups that focus more on organization building frequently get mired down in some sort of NPIC-like bureaucracy, which then leads to self-preservation and power-brokering -- which is every bit as bad as people acting autonomously in ways that undermine sincere attempts to empower communities. We're losing our ability to be self-critical, and when that goes, you've pretty much lost - at least until people start to regroup and honestly assess again. In any case, best of luck to y'all.
by Gabe Meyers
( styrofoam [at] riseup.net ) Sunday Apr 19th, 2009 2:15 AM
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Well, I wanted to make at least one comment on here, before my posting disappears off of the front page of Indybay. First, I wanted to say thanks to all of my supporters =) It brings me a sense of joy and a smile to my face to see that there are people who think what I did was right on. People like 'concerned person' are wrong! There is a movement supporting me, which is part of a bigger movement to demand justice. I am most grateful for everyone who has showed their solidarity or stood up for me, thanks a million. When we are united, we are strong!
I suppose now I should turn my comments to those who have criticized me. There was quite a bit of criticism, but some of the stuff I wanted to comment on inparticularly, was the comments made by 'amen' and 'ahem'. Like I said in my statement, I understand that people are upset because I did not go along with what had been decided by the NJNB group, and that there are people, like yourself, who feel that I destroyed what NJNB had set out to accomplish, which was have a community meeting---'Now the community will be denied the chance to be heard any time soon. The community has been denied the chance to have input and contribute to the shape of the justice that it demands. It will be BART that gets to declare what "justice" looks like, at least for the time being'.
Well, I have to respond by saying that to let the BART Board say that they are no longer going to go agree to something that they said they would in Feburary, because of what I did, is BS(period). If BART tries to use, and misappropriate the paint incident to reneg again, or back out of a promise of a community meeting, then NJNB and the community needs to call them on it, and hold them to their word. They have no right to use what I did as an excuse, so don't let them.
Also, I do not think that it is fair to say that I am the one who is going to be responsible for any sort of civilian police review oversight board not being implemented--" Now BART can move further along and solidify their plans for their phony civilian police review board before anyone from the public gets to say squat"-- Look at this article on indybay: Glacial Pace of BART Oversight; AB 312's Civilian Oversight Committee Dead on the Tracks. There are things going on in Sacramento that are keeping a civilian oversight committee from forming. I really think that is an absurd accusation to say that I am the one who is responsible.
But the most absurd thing said by 'Amen', was that what I did was some kind of mysoginistic attack because Dorothy Dugger is a woman---" Putting aside the gender politics of a man "attacking" a woman." ---I did what I did because she's complicit in covering up a murder, not because she is a woman! Are you serious when you say this?????? That is really outrageous to imply such a thing!
To say as well, that NJNB's organizing of demos at BART stations in Oakland was what brought a large group of people out to the meeting is not totally true either---"NJNB had been working hard holding demos and pickets and so forth, to get a large crowd to the board meeting, and had finally built enough cred that the board was starting to listen and respond"--- What brought a large group, was that public was responding to BART recently filing papers in court in response to the lawsuit; saying that Oscar was the one who was violent and provoked the cops, and asshole only comitted an accident. At least that is why I know I came all the way from Sac for the Board meeting. Com'on, you know that. You know that is why everyone showed up that morning. There where all sorts of people there because of what BART had filed in court, not just NJNB people.
I was not trying to ruin or stamp out what NJNB was doing and what I did does not have to. Like I said, if BART tries to use this to once again reneg on a promise on a community meeting, tell them to eat shit and start protesting. They do not have that right and I am sure that alot of level minded people would agree.
I was not part of the NJNB organizing for this board meeting and just pretty much was there as a concerned citizen; like many people. I respect that NJNB got together before the board mtg., and set a plan and made a demand: to have BART have a community meeting with the public. Well, I think that BART needs to face the public somwhere other than they Kaiser building and answer questions, but in light of what BART had recently said in court about the case, I think that a stronger demand should of been made. The board can ostentiously show up at a meeting a blow smoke up everyone's ass just like they do at the BART Board meetings( and that is if they show up at all). To have a community meeting was a promise they made in Feburary at a board meeting, and they broke it. If I was at the NJNB organizing and planning meeting for this last BART Board meeting, I would of pushed for something as simple, but powerful, as a demand such that: the BART board publicly applogize on the spot at the board meeting and also in writing. As well as, retract what they said in court; if that is legally possible. Not, 'let's give BART a second chance on a promise they already have broken'. We need to show some teeth. The things that BART said in those papers, and the way they have been handling the issue of Oscar Grant from the start, is TOTALLY unacceptable and in my opinion, criminal . To be polite and try to get them to come to talk about it at a community meeting can be somewhat dangerously naive. No real justice will come out of that! I felt that a serious direct action approach needed to be taken.
My intentions was to not sabotage any effort made by NJNB or any one else, but I want people to realize that if we do not play hardball here and set demands, that are a hanging curve ball over the plate, then we are going to get roped. I thought that NJNB was supposed to be about disruption because of the injustice and uscrupulous behavior by BART in the aftermath of Oscar Grant. Well, I decided engage in that disruption and now some people from NJNB are slamming me. That's dumb.

That is about it for my comments and responses to criticisms. I guess that I covered what I want to. I might of left a few things out, but that is ok. My advice to everyone is to beware of what you read on here, you never really know who is writing, and form opinions for yourself. With that said, I want to assure everyone that what is written is authentic and that this is me speaking. I attatched a pic of me at graduation from college with my dad and step mom to prove it is me and some personal info in which people who know me will recognize. I am originally from Sac, lived in Az., lived in the E. Bay for 5 and half years, cooked with FNBs, use to hang out at the Long Haul, stayed at the Helarity house, have a bananna tattoo on my back. People who know me will know that this is me. If you are skeptical, write.
by welp
Sunday Apr 19th, 2009 1:04 PM
Now we know. Gabe does not believe in the work NJNB is doing. It's too timid, wrong demands, whatever. So he feels fully justified to this day in completely disrupting their action, shutting it down - as of course the cops would take over the meeting after the painting and the NJNB agenda would be squelched right then and there. Not a single bit of remorse or apology to those who organized to take over the board meeting.

Yet I have to admit I am confused when you say demands must be made. Who exactly is supposed to make such demands? You didn't make any. You just made a statement and got arrested. When demands are made that you don't totally agree with, you just shut them down. The family, the public, in solidarity with NJNB, were in the middle of making demands when you acted. So if it's not your exact demands being made, but whom exactly is to make them remains a mystery since you have no respect for the folks who *were* making demands (http://nojusticenobart.blogspot.com/2009/01/demands.html), then there will be no demands at all apparently.

All of this is good to know, though, in case you ever show up at any events in the future and pretend to stand in solidarity with groups holding actions. You might secretly disagree, have your own independent agenda that you feel takes precedent over what the group is trying to do, and you may in fact be using their action as cover to stage your own.

Thank you for your honesty, Gabe.
by Gabe
( styrofoam [at] riseup.net ) Tuesday Apr 21st, 2009 9:39 PM
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This is going to be my last comment that I am going to post in response to the criticisms being posted on here about me and my action.

To 'Welp': I do believe in the work that NJNB is doing. Like I had said before, I was not trying to squelch what was trying to be achieved. My intentions were to make a statement of protest in front of the board, not thwart what NJNB was out to accomplish that morning. The meeting went into recess, and the demand that NJNB was making was never finalized. It was not my intention to have things work out that like that, but that is the way it happened. With that being said, I felt that I should give my opinion on this demand that NJNB was making; of getting the BART board to hold good on a promise they made in Feb. for a community meeting. I feel that it was not a strong enough demand in terms of confronting BART and their recent filing of papers in court that said that Oscar was the one who was violent and Mehserele only comitted an accident. A fresh coat of white-wash can easily be painted by the BART board at a meeting like that. They show up, have people yell at them( like people do at meetings), say: ' we have talked to the community', and go home. In the end, things are back to square one, and nothing has really been accomplished. No real justice can come out of that; others posters have made the same comment. Why do you think the BART was going to agree to this meeting, and had said to do so in Feburary? I felt the demand was kind of a softball pitch and I wanted to let people know. Despite that, I still respect what a group has come to an agreement on( although people are saying that I don't) and was not trying to disrupt or step on what NJNB was doing; once again, that was not my plan.
I have decided to give my opinion about this demand and state my intentions of my action, because of all of the accusations that have been made. I know people are angry with me and probably will be for awhile. I want to be straight up and tell everyone what my intentions were, and have the ability to respond to criticisms. Alot of outrageous accusations have been made such as: I hate women because Dorothy Dugger got splattered, or that I am some kind of agent provocateaur working for the police or the govt. Hopefully, when people read this, they can see that it nonsense and not have bearing on their judgement of what I did. Like I said in my last comment posting, you never really know who is writing this.
I really hope that the events at that board meeting, do not discourage people from further organizing to demand justice for Oscar Grant; this is a crucial time. Protest needs to keep happening and presence should be made at board meetings, at BART stations and this upcoming Police Review Committee on the 27th. Keep organizing and don't think that things said by: 'amen', 'ahem' or 'welp', or whoever it is, should stop you. What I did should NOT have to mean that the movement to demand justice for Oscar Grant needs to come to a halt. It seems that's what was being suggested by some, and my reply to that is: HOGWASH!
by Chet
Saturday May 9th, 2009 7:03 PM
I read with interest how Gabe Meyers seems to think (along with many others) he is above the law. He uses big words to try to impress people he is smart and grown up but in acutuality he's juvenile and immature. It appears he's trying to make a name for himself with the anarchist at the expense of Oscar Grant.

Let's cut to the chase... You know and I know that this whole thing was very unfortunate but I guarantee you that if it was a black officer that shot a white man that night this whole thing would have been over within a week. No riots, no juvenile behavior from the college students etc.

Non-law abiding people, like Meyers, are out for a lynching and cannot stand to let judicial law seek justice. They do not know the all evidence in the case but they automatically know everyone at BART is guilty. They call for justice but they won't let justice take it's course. (Strange isn't it?) I'm glad the other millions of US citizen's allow our government and judicial system to work. Imagine if everyone acted against justice like Meyes and his friends... We would be left with total anarchy! Just what Meyer's and the like's of him are promoting!