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East Bay | Police State and Prisons | Racial Justice

Non-profits and Mayor Dellum's Office meet to prevent "violence" from Mehserle verdict.
by A. G. Tater
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 2:31 AM
On June 21st several non-profit organizations met with Mayor Dellum's office to discuss strategies in which more "violence" can be prevented, should the verdict of the trial be in favor of Mehserle and his defense team.
Flashback to January 2009. In the days immediately following the murder of Oscar Grant III by a BART police officer, the Coalition Against Police Execution(CAPE) formed to organize against this horrific act. The following is an exerpt from Advance the Struggle's analysis on the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement and specifically the role the non-profits played. An apt analysis considering the meeting that took place this past Mon.

"Through their “buffer” tactics and diversions from confrontational struggle, Bay Area nonprofits effectively acted as an extension of the state. Nonprofit funding from foundations suffocates the development of a real revolutionary formation, keeping the politics of the nonprofit organization safely within the bounds of the rules of the system."

From the same analysis - also important when considering the non-profits relationship to the state:

"The power of the state exists in places well beyond the police and the mayor; its ideological influence extends into institutions, such as churches, schools, trade-unions, and nonprofit organizations. Nonprofits may temporarily act against certain persons and decisions of the state, or even denounce certain laws. However, as a whole their political practices are colonized by the logic of the system, both through their material funding and their ideological visions." To read the entire analysis go to advancethestruggle.wordpress.com/ click on Justice for Oscar Grant

Back to the meeting that took place this past Mon. June 21st. Several non-profit organizations met with Mayor Dellum's office to discuss strategies in which more "violence" can be prevented should the verdict of the trial be in favor of Mehserle and his defense team. The meeting was attended by representatives from the following orgs: Ella Baker Center, Causa Justa, Oakland Rising, Urban Peace Movement, Youth Uprising - and there may have been others. Ideas and possible outcomes of the meeting include: Holding Community Meetings in different areas across Oakland both before and after the verdict of the trial, creating public service announcements, and warning youth that there will be outsiders advocating "violence".

A few things to keep in mind

- For those that have fully participated in this Justice movement from the beginning until now, we have heard over and over again that the rebellion in downtown Oakland on Jan. 7th and 14th was lead and carried out by "outsider anarchists" Bullshit! Completely untrue! CAPE was the first to voice these lies. And ironically, the latest reactionary to repeat this nonsense is allegedly from Youth Uprising. (However not surprising considering the recent visit from U.S. Attorney Gen. Eric Holder to Youth Uprising).

-To a certain extent, yes it is true that there were outsiders carrying out violent acts on the 7th and 14th, they are commonly referred to as the police(over 90% of OPD lives outside of Oakland), and rest assured they will always play this role when the righteous anger of the community leads to destruction of property/vandalism, but in no way shape or form did the people of Oakland participate in any violent acts on the 7th and 14th.

-Although the Mayor's office and the non-profits will never admit it - it was the united contingent of Oakland Youth and Radicals that made sure city officials got off their reactionary arses and put that cop in jail on Jan. 13th - one day before another rally and demonstration was planned for downtown Oakland.

-Lastly, it was the sustained effort of the Justice for Oscar Grant Movement that organized to make sure that for the first time in the history of California a police officer is being tried for murder while in the line of duty, and CAPE as a coalition of non-profits did not participate in this sustained movement for justice. There are still individuals from that coalition who participate and do integral work in the pursuit of justice.

-But the non-profits are seemingly looking to pick up right where they left off and play the same role in the end as they did in the beginning. But whatever role any of us play, if this former police officer is not sentenced to spend a considerable amount of time in jail for murdering an unarmed man as he lay face down with another officer's knee on his neck, there is no series of community meetings and no PSA that will prevent the people of Oakland from expressing their anger about another young life taken far too soon by a cop whose salary is paid with public funds.

And if you don't think this cop should be forced to serve time in jail. Consider the following:

Gabe Meyers was sentenced to serve time in jail for pouring washable childrens paint on general manager Dorothy Dugger of BART. No one was hurt in this symbolic act. Dorothy Dugger went home, still breathing, and all she had was a little red paint on her business suit.

Oscar Grant III never made it home on Jan. 1st 2009. He doesn't get to see his daughter grow up. He doesn't get to marry his fiance. He doesn't get to spend another moment with his beautiful family. So maybe at the next meeting, rather than discussing ways to prevent corporate property from being destroyed, the mayor's office and the non-profits will discuss ways in which they can ensure that this police officer is put where murderers belong - in jail.

A final quote.

"Until the killing of black men, black mothers' sons, becomes as important to the rest of the country as the killing of a white mother's son. We who believe in freedom cannot rest until this happens." 1964 Ella Jo Baker