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Looking at the Mehserle trial from New York
These supporters of justice for Oscar Grant and the police evidently assigned to watch them were outside the Los Angeles courthouse July 1 as the trial of triggerman Johannes Mehserle moved into closing arguments. Word about this historic trial is spreading in Los Angeles, putting the jury, which is not sequestered, on notice that, as graffiti in Oakland is saying, “LA better get it right – or else.” – Photo: Nick Ut, AP
As a matter of fact, most people’s first question was “How did that case go?” because of the corporate media white-out on the everyday resistance to the murder of Oscar Grant, police terrorism and government sanctioned violence that was going on in Northern and Southern Cali, which is where Mehserle’s murder trial was moved.
Part of the reason why I was on the East Coast was to spread factual information about the case through a series of interviews and events that were held primarily in Manhattan. I also traveled and hung out in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Everywhere I went, the people were thirsty for what corporate news was not telling them about the tension that was heating up between the police and the people in Northern and Southern Cali as the verdict in this case draws closer.
New York is the home of one of the most notorious police forces in the country and also of police murder victims Amadou Diallo and most recently Sean Bell, among the many, so there was a certain amount of sympathetic rage in their eyes as they listened to why the people spontaneously rebelled in the streets of Oakland in response to this case and held the city’s feet to the fire literally. It was interesting to be in New York City, home to 8 million people, but also the home of Al Sharpton and the “parade protesters,” who sign up to protest, as was done in the aftermath of the New York police murder of Sean Bell. Where did the signup sheets go?
I explained to many that the Al Sharpton-Jesse Jackson ambulance-chaser types in our communities – Oakland and surrounding cities – were either run out or exposed in this Oscar Grant campaign. People in the beginning like Dereca Blackmon, formerly of Leadership Excellence, who wanted to work with the murderers (the city government apparatus, including the police) and the murdered (the masses of regular people who were getting murdered by the police) to bring about city government approved solutions that did not include indicting all of the officers involved, were exposed.
Oscar Grant poses with his fiancee, Sophina Mesa, in this photo that his mother, Wanda Johnson, is using in Facebook as her profile picture. What a wonderful young man he must have been! Minister of Information JR, as he travels to show his film, "Operation Small Axe," is introducing Oscar and the movement he inspires to audiences around the country.
Lee used the word “inoculate,” which is usually used in reference to vaccines and viruses. What was interesting about the use of this word in this way, it was being used as if the rebels are the virus, the non-profits, the government and their funders are the doctors, and the masses are the ignorant sick children who are in need of a doctor to protect them from the virulent ideas of the rebels and protesters.
I thought that this was a very interesting analogy. It illustrated, to me, the mindset of a non-profit pimp, which is what we call these government sanctioned non-profit “progressives.” More was being said in Lee’s email about smothering the rage of the rebels than about the justified anger and frustration of a people who are being consistently murdered like cattle in a slaughterhouse. She talked more about “violence” towards property than she talked about the Black life that was violently and unjustifiably snuffed out.
That brings me to the question that I asked in New York often – “Who’s on what side?” – because with friends like these, who needs enemies? In a book that I read about a decade ago, called “The Choice,” which is about how lawmakers and law enforcement in the U.S. have come close many times to trying to kill off the rebellious Black population in the U.S. who were demanding human rights, there is a chapter that talks about the role of the non-profit organization, which is to work within the agenda of the elite to enforce the status quo and thwart the Black Power movement’s progress.
The book details how, with a little money and a progressive front, the government, corporations and foundations have created a way to siphon off some of the best young budding organizers into well paid non-profit jobs. To make it easy to digest, the book detailed the government’s policy, which basically turns would-be revolutionaries into government and corporate mercenaries, who have no problem chasing grants and pleasing funders rather than fighting for real political, social and economic change in this country and in the world.
Oakland, unlike most cities around the nation, is on the front lines of bringing in a new consciousness to the masses of people who are not fooled by the modern forms of government and corporate puppetry. To put it bluntly, I told East Coast audiences that the rest of the country has a lot to learn from the long-time crown jewel city of Black revolutionary struggle in fighting the many aspects and collaborators of the government agenda. Oakland may not have it all right, but we are definitely in the ring battling these big trees with our small axe, and everybody has to admit, whether we win or lose in court, the people of Oakland have declared once again that we are a force to reckon with.
I concluded most of my discussions on the East Coast by saying that people need to judge a tree by its fruit. In other words, people need to watch who is serving what interests. And Oakland is getting better and better at doing that.