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Indybay Feature
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 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

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by link
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 9:07 AM
audio from the event here:
by Zachary RunningWolf (zacharyrunningwolf [at]
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 9:44 AM
Mayor Dellums putting such an effort trying to stop justifiable violence against a racist injustice system. Where was our house Negro mayor in the shooting of a innocent black youth (Oscar Grant) when they tried and eventually moved the trial. Ron Dellums has done good work in the past but now should just slide into retirement. If violence does happen look at and blame the system that set up this result and do not blame the people seeking justice for Oscar Grant. We should all be in the streets if this goes down wrong.
by Gabe Meyers
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 3:12 PM
"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."

Thanks A.G. for making that comparison of me for going to jail, but really if people don't think that Mesherle should be convicted and serve time, then the hell with them and I don't think it is important what they think about me doing weekends at Glen Dyer anyways.

As for this meeting with the Mayor and the non-profits, well I suppose that the city is trying to prepare and like they did on the 14th, put civilian citizens on the streets in the red vests to try to keep people at bay and doing the cops jobs for them; acting as the buffer. I assume that these red vest/ non-profit people will be in the streets the reading of the verdict. I am not sure how people will react to them. But I think that regardless of the non-profit's and Police's presence, their will be unrest if there is a not guilty verdict.

And hey Runningwolf, watch what you say on here. Dellums may be another Mayor out here in Oakland with the police and the system in his interests rather than of justice, the people or the community, but I don't think that put's you in a position to call him a " house negro". You are not Black and that statement just kinda came off racist if you ask me. Something that I have talked to you about before. Anyways, just wanted to comment.
by WTF
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 3:27 PM
For anyone interested: The next meeting between the non-profiteers and Mayor Dellum's Office is set for tomorrow
June 24th 2010. Sources have confirmed that Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police Department will also be in attendance.

Below is the contents of an email from Nicole Lee of the Urban Peace Movement. Very typical!


Dear Friends and Allies - (Please Forward Widely - Please Forgive Duplicates)

As many of you know, the trial of the officer who killed Oscar Grant is currently underway in LA. The prosecution has rested their case, and the defense (Mehserle's attorney) is currently making their case. The trial has moved much faster then many had anticipated, and folks speculate that a verdict may come down in the very near future (possibly as soon as next week).

If a "not guilty" verdict comes down (which is a significant possibility) it will inspire widespread outrage, and many, including myself, are concerned about the potential consequences of that outrage.

As someone who is BOTH committed to social justice and an end to police brutality AND a peaceful and thriving Oakland, I wanted to suggest some ways for us to proceed:

1) Organizations, CBO's, and Public Agencies should be thinking of ways to create organized events or avenues for young people and community members to express their frustrations with the system in constructive and peaceful ways. If people have no outlets then it may be easier for folks to be pulled toward more destructive impulses.

2) We need to begin 'innoculating' our bases and the community at-large so that when the verdict comes down, people are prepared for it, and so that the 'outside agitators' who were active during the initial Oscar Grant protests are not able to incite the crowd so easily.

To be clear, our main concern is the safety and well-being of Oakland's young people. We do not want to see them get taken to jail or hurt as a result of violent or destructive behavior brought on or encouraged by 'extreme-fringe' groups coming into Oakland from the outside.

Below are some suggested talking-points to begin engaging community members. (scroll down) Please forward the talking-points widely amongst the staff and leaders of your organizations so we can get the message out far and wide.

I have been in preliminary conversation with some of our partners an allies up to this point including the Ella Baker Center, Youth UpRising, Oakland Rising, BWOPA, The Mayor's Office and the City of Oakland regarding these suggestions. Let's continue to be in dialog and hold each other close in the challenging days ahead.

In Peace and Solidarity,
Nicole Lee / Urban Peace Movement

Talking Points: (General Audience)

* There is no question about it violence & brutality are wrong - whether at the hands of community members or at the hands of the police. While many of us are outraged, we must find a way to move forward in peace.
* OAKLAND IS OUR HOME, and we want all Oaklanders to think carefully about how to respond, even in the face of our own anger and outrage.
* There are peaceful and constructive ways for us to demonstrate our frustration with the system, but beware of outside 'agitators' many of whom don't live in Oakland, who will try to insight the crowd to violence. They won't be there for you if YOU end up getting taken in by the police, and they don't have to live in the aftermath, they can just go back to their neighborhoods, far away from Oakland.
* This is a city with a rich history and a sense of pride from the East to the North to the West, and we don't back down when times get tough.

Talking Points: (Youth Audience)

* There's no question - Police Brutality is wrong.
* We are all angry, but the question is what do we do with our anger? Do we use it constructively to make changes like the Martin and Malcolm did, or do we use it to destroy each other and our community?
* There are constructive ways to have your voice heard - join a speak-out or make music to express yourself.
* Beware of 'outside agitators' who are not from Oakland and who will try to incite violence. Oakland is OUR HOME, but it's not theirs, and so they don't care if we mess our city up. And, they won't be there for you if YOU get caught-up by the police.
* Let's not let these agitators make a bad situation worse.
* Instead, let's hold our heads high and throw up our fists in solidarity like Huey did!!


Nicole Lee , Executive Director
Urban Peace Movement
610 - 16th St. Suite 409
Oakland, California 94612

510.444.5405 (office)
by anon
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 4:48 PM
It’s obvious Nicole was not on the streets marching on Jan 7 2009 or she would know that the very first people to jump up on the police car on Madison were local youngsters from Oakland. No one dared them to do it. They just spontaneously did it when police abandoned their car as a large crowd marched up. In short, Nicole, you have no idea what you are talking about. I don't see a single thing in your email about the police violence against demonstrators last January -- from beatings to tear gas -- as if when the police do such things to anyone they please they are justified because someone broke a window somewhere. I saw a cop taser a young man (of color from Oakland) for nearly 5 minutes as he lay there not resisting. Yet protestors did not hurt a single person last January. Hurting people is violence.

This whole myth about “outside agitators” is total BS and demeaning to Oakland youth. Do you really have such little faith in them that you think they can be led around by anyone who shows up into town? You apparently think they have no spine or wisdom. It’s also insulting to act like their anger is not genuine, but instead “instigated” by others with ulterior motives.

Pah-lease. Was it outsiders who “instigated” the Rodney King rebellions? Anarchists flew in from posh neighborhoods elsewhere to stir up the natives in LA??

I'd like to add that if there ARE any outside agitators in Oakland, it's the OPD. something like 90% of them don't even live in Oakland (even as they empty like over 60% of our treasury), so they have no problem dropping into town, cracking heads, and taking their paycheck back to the burbs somewhere.

think about it

You want to provide “constructive” activities, fine. But if anything pops off, don’t assume for a minute that Oaklanders are not leading the charge.

Seriously, if you weren’t there on the streets in January, which you weren’t, then stop spreading this myth about weak-willed Oakland kids and outside agitators. Talk with people who were actually there, or read their reports online (and not just what you find in the corporate media).

And speaking of “inoculating” the youth – that’s just sick. They don’t need to be inoculated from the truth that the powers that be don't respect them, from their genuine and righteous feelings. You should be demanding OPD not physically harm Oakland youth right now. Instead you take on the role of OPD apologist, act as an arm of the state, and worry about what the youth might do to property.

Lastly, your interests in ending police brutality ring hollow when you so obviously seem more interested and invested in preventing a few broken windows. If you don’t already, KNOW that it was those broken windows on the 7^th that led to Mehserle being arrested – authorities were afraid of much worse coming if they didn’t arrest him before the large rally was scheduled for the 14^th . No broken windows, no visible anger in the streets, no charges, and we wouldn’t be where we are today on the verge of a potential historic victory. Your definition of what is “constructive” may not in reality actually be the most constructive means of effecting real change. Once Mehserle was in jail, things inevitably calmed down. Duh.

You want peace? Well, that obviously requires justice first, not the other way around.
by Tinkerin' Tom
Wednesday Jun 23rd, 2010 9:31 PM
DA Tom Orloff laid down a charge of Murder One on Mehserle. The trial might well come down to conviction on that charge or acquittal. You can't expect an ordinary jury to conclude as you might that a conviction for Murder One would be just although false.

by _____
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 12:14 AM
second degree murder fits the bill. it is a killing caused by dangerous conduct and the offender's obvious lack of concern for human life.

im not a lawyer but it seems to me that the DA is arguing this wrong, focusing on proving that Mehserle meant to pull his Taser. a taser is still a lethal weapon. if he had drawn his taser and it had killed Grant, it would still be murder, because he said "fuck it" and just decided he could disregard a cooperating "suspect's" safety and get some gratuitous punishment in. so, if, as it stands, he drew the wrong weapon to gratuitously and extra-legally injure Grant, then that's his mistake... but the intentional dangerous conduct was there and the disregard was there. i didnt mean to kill him is not an argument against second degree murder.

its too bad, too, because in defending with the "I meant to taser him" defense, it seems to me Rains is actually still making the case for a conviction on second degree murder. the DA could bring this up in the final arguments and it would be quite a twist in the case, i think.
by _____
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 12:15 AM
the DA is focusing on proving Mehserle meant to pull a gun.
by ftp
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 10:11 AM
the nonprofits have lost what little credibility they might once have had!
by Afro
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 2:47 PM

Yo, Gabe! I couldn't help but notice the "advice" you had for Brother RunningWolf:

"And hey Runningwolf, watch what you say on here. ... I don't think that put's you in a position to call [Mayor Dellums] a 'house negro'. You are not Black and that statement just kinda came off racist if you ask me. Something that I have talked to you about before. ..."

Now, I don't know you, Gabe, but I did look you up on Facebook and if that's your photo you look pretty damn WHITE to me! RunningWolf is plainly an indigenous North American, so where does your white ass get off telling a member of an oppressed community how to speak about sellout leaders from oppressed community backgrounds?

The term "House Negro" is an objective scientific term, not a racial slur. It has an precise definition within the Black left. It was defined and given substance by none other than Brother Malcolm X himself, and it has been used ever since as a term to describe Black leaders (and leaders in other oppressed communities, for that matter) who work for the other side ... especially those who claim some "movement" credentials but then use their power against the interests of their own people. Brother RunningWolf has every right to characterize Mayor Delums--right along with these "left-wing" nonprofit police-collaborator whores--as "House Negroes", and that goes for each and every one of them regardless of their color!!!

Check it out! Here's Malcolm:

And, for another take on this same phenomenon, the neo-colonial Black elite class, check out "Fat Cats and Bigga Fish" by Oakland's own The Coup:

So, before you mouth off in a bossy, arrogant tone like you did to another person of color, ordering them to "watch their language" when they are describing racial oppression (which Mayor Dellums, among others, is definitely perpetrating on behalf of his white corporate masters!), maybe you should take a minute to educate your own ignorant white ass first!

Oh yeah, Gabe, one more thing: RACISM = PREJUDICE + POWER. So can you tell me how the FUCK a Native American or any other person of color or representative of an oppressed group dispossessed by the WHITE POWER STRUCTURE in this society could be "RACIST"?!!!!

I don't think you're TRYING to be racist, Gabe. You obviously THINK you're being anti-racist. I realize you have a good heart and you're really trying to fight the power and destroy racism. Good for you. But take the time and effort to shed your ignorance, READ A BOOK and TRY and be a little more respectful of your People of Color comrades in the struggle!

by Gabe
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 3:41 PM
To Afro........All I was saying was don't think that Runningwolf really should call another Black man a "house negro". He isn't Black, and maybe that criticism of someone who is Black should come from only someone who is Black too, especially to use a word like "negro". What if I, who am White & which you seem to be making an issue of, used that word to describe Dellums? I do think that he is a sell out, but I wouldn't go and call him that or write it on the internet. I would probably get alot of criticism for it because I am White. People would say that is racist, it is! Sorry if I criticized Runningwolf for it, I know he is Native and his people have been oppressed by the White Man like African people have, but I don't necessarly think that gives him the right to say something like "house negro"; like you have suggested. Maybe he could of toned it down some and at least called him an "Uncle Tom." Anyways, I just want to say one thing here before I end this, I am not the enemy and maybe your criticism is a little bit to harsh Afro, Sorry =(
by Afro
Thursday Jun 24th, 2010 4:48 PM
I didn't say you were the enemy, I said you are misinformed, and even as I said this I recognized that you're a good person with a heart to fight this racist system. And no, I got no problem with you cause you're "white".

But "House Negro" is a term used all the time in the Black movement, and it has a specific meaning. Black people who knows its meaning say, if the shoe fits... Other third world people have as much right to use this term as Black people do, as I said ever since Malcolm it's been part of the vocabulary of oppressed people struggling for liberation to describe a particular type of turncoat or traitor to the cause.

So all I was saying is, I don't think you should disrespect the brother's choice of words until you know a little more about how this term has been used in historical context. Did you even bother to listen to Malcolm's explanation I provided you a link to?

Please don't react so defensively, if you're an ally (and I believe you really are) then you should learn the lingo of the movement you want to work and fight side by side with, and not come at others--particularly POCs--with a value judgement based on the preconceptions of white middle-class mainstream "politeness". White people do not have the right to censor Black or other oppressed people's ways of describing their struggle. The racist system has caused the pain, and as Jesse Jackson once said, "nobody's got the right to tell the person who's had the pain inflicted on him how to holler".

And please, if you have a problem with something somebody says, don't come at it arrogantly, that made you sound like "Ole Massa"! "You know, boy, I done had this talking-to with you before" is how it came across to me. Another way you could have addressed it might be something like, "You know, my brother, the way you're using that term House Negro makes me feel uncomfortable. Can you explain why it's an appropriate term to use about Dellums, from your perspective?"

So welcome to the movement, Brother Gabe, where we learn humility and how to treat comrades in the struggle with dignity and respect, and where we accept constructive criticism. I wish you all the best.
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