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An Open Letter to Those Who Criticize and Attack
by Nicole Lee responds
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 1:39 PM
For background on what Nicole is talking about, see:

Justice or Just Us? Beyond the Hype of the Mehserle Trial

A Friendly and Open Letter to East Bay Clergy, Non-Profit Executives, and Elected Official

Lessons Never Learned: Nonprofits and the State, Redux

Join a Speak-Out or Make Music to Express Yourself If a "Not Guilty" Verdict Comes Down

Message to the Community Regarding the Upcoming Oscar Grant Verdict

To Everybody Coming Out to 14th and Broadway on Verdict Day

Racism Fuels the Possibility of Acquittal and Rebellion : Chronicle of a Riot Foretold

Update: Next Non-Profit Dellums Police Collaboration Meeting

Non-profits and Mayor Dellum's Office meet to prevent "violence" from Mehserle verdict


"I will love everyone. I will love the police as they kick the shit out of me on the street."
- Frank Zappa and The Mothers, from "Who Needs the Peace Corps?"


An Open Letter to Those Who Criticize and Attack (Please Forward Widely)

This is an open letter to all of those who have recently launched criticism and attacks against me and my organization, Urban Peace Movement, for my role in calling for peace in anticipation of the verdict in the trial of Johannes Mehserle, the former BART police officer charged with the murder of Oscar Grant.

This is a love letter.

While everyone is certainly entitled to his or her opinion, and we don't all have to agree on everything, many of the attacks of late have gone far beyond healthy debate. They have called into question my intentions as a community organizer and the credibility of the organization that I work for, Urban Peace Movement.

Someone has even gone so far as to impersonate me, sending a very inflammatory e-mail made to look as if I had sent it. I have to admit that I am surprised at the level of anger that has been directed at me for calling for peace in a very difficult and traumatic moment in the history of Oakland, the city in which I was born and raised.

Such mean-spirited tactics are divisive. They stir up confusion, conflict, and mistrust amongst different parts of our movement. And in the 1960s, counter-intelligence operations used tactics like these to violently disrupt movement activities, resulting in the deaths of Bunchy Carter and John Huggins.

After some consideration, I have realized that it may actually have been a blessing that these attacks were directed at me, because I am not going to fight back. I have nothing to defend. I live an incredible life filled with wondrous blessings. And my work stands on its own. The work that I do to bring peace to Oakland neighborhoods is not a 'burden' or even a 'responsibility.' It is an honor and a privilege.

The love that I have for our people far exceeds any hatred that I have for the 'enemy.' This is a love letter; I want to tell you about this love.

It is the greatest love that I have ever known. It is the kind of love that compels me, the kind of love that shatters my heart open, a love so great that I almost cannot bear it. And it is my belief that this love will ultimately bring us to the justice and freedom that we all seek. I will spend the rest of my life cultivating this love and basking in its warmth.

And this love extends to all of our people, even those who have attacked me.

I have had to contend with my own moments of anger and sadness over the loss of Oscar Grant at the hands of BART police, over the loss of young people like the three Oakland youth who died last week at the hands of other young people, and even over my own relatively small pains and trials stemming from these attacks on me and my organization. Still, I am learning to hold my own feelings of anger and the anger of others with compassion and loving kindness. As much as I can help it, I will not feed this ongoing cycle of violence and hatred. And I will do my best to hold all of you with compassion. I know that, at the end of the day, we all seek the same things.

I am wishing you all of God's grace and many mercies.

In Love,
Nicole Lee


Nicole Lee , Executive Director
Urban Peace Movement

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Cupid
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 2:00 PM
There are many different kinds of love. Some don't express themselves just with hugs. Sometimes love is only possible through strife.

Nicole's love isn't this kind of love. It's another kind, called narcissism, the love of self that goes hand in hand with arrogance. Her love is overflowing and indescribably wonderful, everyone else's is empty and bullshit. It's easy to see through her kind of love.
by exactly
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 2:21 PM
I decided long ago, never to walk in anyone's shadows
If I fail, if I succeed
At least I live as I believe
No matter what they take from me
They can't take away my dignity
Because the greatest love of all
Is happening to me
I found the greatest love of all
Inside of me
The greatest love of all
Is easy to achieve
Learning to love yourself
It is the greatest love of all
by The Black Star
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 2:47 PM
To "love" the people enough to sit by and say you want peace with the murders and enemies of the people is the "love" of a traitor, Oscar Grant was murdered and anyone who pays attention to current domestic events here in the U.S. people are getting murdered or beaten by the pigs almost every day (mainly people of color). Nicole Lee needs to stand up and fight the enemy of the people if she really loves them instead of selling them out by putting the people and the pigs on the same level but of course the state want pacifistic people like her.

There is a time for peace and this is not it. We should question people who always use the words, "peace" and "non violence" because many say such things because they are too scared to fight and stand up to our oppressors. love also comes from defending your community with fists and firepower and taking the chance of being hurt or even killed by the pigs.

Your heart is as large as your fist, Keep Loving, Keep Fighting!
All Power to the People!
by where phony hippies meet
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 4:33 PM
See, it's funny because that Frank Zappa song is all about selling out and being a phony. Nicole's use of that line in her statement is too perfectly ironic to be intentional
by (A) History Lesson
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 4:35 PM
Dear Nicole Lee,

You twist and warp history to suit your do-gooderist, cowardly agenda. When you use Martin and Malcolm in the same sentence you seem to imply that you know something about either of them. But if you did you would know that Malcolm X talked shit on MLK Jr. almost every chance he got, basically calling him a recuperative piece of shit coward in bed with the state, that denounces actual effective rebellion. I'm not sure if you know this but M. X denounced the peaceful march on Washington for being an ineffectual "circus". Malcolm X talked openly about using violence against people and property to overthrow the capitalism system and the American government. He was not some lame goody-two shoes that tried to channel peoples legitimate rage at this world of misery to "join a speak-out or make music".

You also seem to think you know something about Huey P. Newton. You encourage poor kids to hold their "heads high and throw up [their] fists in solidarity like Huey did!! " Did you know that Huey patrolled his neighborhood with a gun? Did you also know that he hated police? I think it would be legitimate to say if he was on the BART when Oscar Grant was killed he would have shot the cop that did it. But you nonchalantly use his name to steer kids away from actually doing anything "like Huey did"

Fuck UPM and fuck you Nicole. You are worse than the cops you sell out piece of shit. You and people like you are the reason that cops feel like they can murder poor people without worrying retaliation.


(A)n Oakland Anarchist
by P@isley
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 4:36 PM
Wow, way to be glib. You are absolutely ridiculous. You don't even address any of the complaints concerning your words actions and affiliations? Just keep being friends with and supporting the corrupt system that is directly to blame for the woes of our society, and see how little you'll have changed anything for the "better" in 50 years time.

And on a side note, perhaps you should do a little reading up on revolutionary/Black Panther activity/history in the Oakland/bay area (and beyond) before you go plugging it into your faulty diatribes. Its seriously insulting, to them and to those who wish to see real societal change, not just handshakes and compromises with power.
by uhm
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 5:33 PM
it is a funny summary of her email, but Nicole did not write that. her actual email starts below that with the salutation
by History Buff
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 5:39 PM
It's true that the BPP of 1966-73 would have condemmed ''progressive '' groups that advocated collobaration with the Police all in the name of the peace.
But check out other aspects of their history . While they considered the urban rebellions understandable , even heroic , they thought they were ultimately futile . As a matter of fact they use their street influence to prevent a ''riot'' in Oakland following the murder of ML King .
Not out of concern for the Powers that be but the opposite . They thought that the OPD would actually welcome a undirected outburst that they could use as a pretext for mass repression .
Also note that the full name of the party was the Black Panther party for SELF DEFENCE !
by ntuit
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 8:31 PM
In life there are many situations where the opponents happen to be the opposite side of the same coin. It seems logical and desirable that if Mehserle is not convicted there should be some major and disruptive protest. If you get down to it the cops are looking for that to happen, hoping that that will happen so that they can beat more heads, incarcerate, show their force and get more $$$ overtime, etc. They love these encounters even though they would never admit it.

They are expecting, desiring something to happen. Will it be given to them on a silver platter? Will there be a big protest gathering in one place - so that the police state can be out in full force? The best strategy is to have several simulataneous protests in several different areas of the city. But no immediate protest=no big cop gathering. The movements need to be slower, quieter and smarter. This is a long term thing and the real action needs to be hidden from the repressive forces. Just my thoughts.
by you too
Thursday Jul 1st, 2010 8:56 PM
Nicole and that is why we are holding you accountable!

Don't take it as personal attacks but attacks on the NPIC, the fabric of what you have weaved your "movement" into.

by Yet another Oakland anarchist.
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 12:22 PM
This is hilarious!

Well done, Nicole. Nice rebuttal. You've managed to make yourself look exponentially worse AND completely avoid responding to the debunking of many of your claims, most especially the "outside agitator" bit. Keep lovin' the way you love, hand-in-hand with the State and the police, who are KILLING those you claim to love so much. We'll see the result. Oakland is primed to go war with its residents -- the people you're so freaking in love with! -- did you know that? 23,000 armed officers, including the National Guard, are on call for that day. Alameda county has purchased an LRAD, which is a sound cannon designed for crowd control. Do you REALLY think they're only coming here armed against your illusory "outside agitator" white anarchists from the city? They're coming for ALL OF US. I live here too. Unless you lay down and keep your tail between your legs, pandering to the state as you're doing so well, you're a target. So you're safe, Nicole. Congratulations. The people you LOVE aren't, because we chose to take a path towards real justice. Towards real retribution. We choose to fight and to be heard. You're not fighting; you've already surrendered.

It's probably because you're busy exploding with this empty, meaningless love that you can't see what's going on around you - and don't realize that the entire reason Mehserle is on trial to begin with are the Oakland riots the first time around...

What is it that YOU'VE done that has changed anything or caused such a tremendous effect?

I will see those of you who truly love your community, who truly fight oppression with love in their hearts, in the streets on the day of the verdict.

With some REAL love and solidarity,
An INSIDE agitator
by Wondering
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 3:04 PM
So what have all you Oakland anarchists actually accomplished? Just wondering... it seems like all you do is talk hella shit and break windows. Y'all talking big about overthrowing the state, but what are you building? where is it? Y'all just hide in the shadows while people gettin killed in o-town every day and then try to spark a "uprising" when there's an opportunity. ya need to do more than just talk and break shit.
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 4:49 PM
When I saw the title of this article, I thought "Is she writing an open letter to herself?"
by Oakland A's
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 5:07 PM
Ah, the poor unsung heroes of anarchism. Heh. Odds are, they do work right under yr nose, and you have no idea.

Anarchists don't only break store windows; that's your own ignorance convincing you of that. I don't mean that in an offensive why, at least not offensive towards you -- how can you not be ignorant when the only aspect of anarchism you see via the media is the tactically "violent," negation aspect of it? You may not have heard about the "good" things anarchists do in your community, but that's only because no one's telling you about them. In truth, anarchists are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, they're workers and active community members... they do good work in their communities, sometimes on their own or in groups and sometimes through organizations or their jobs... they're all types of people, they've everyone... and you're a fool for making it seem as though they're a monolithic group of people. But you're one fool of many who believe the same thing. Turn off your TV for a while and head outside. Get involved in community organizing and you'll bump into a few anarchists...

They're not only "kids" looking to "break shit," though some of them are. And there isn't anything wrong with that, either! Despite what you may believe, destruction is a valid tactic and tool of the oppressed. As a great anarchist once said -- the urge for destruction is also a creative urge! Nonviolence has proven useless against the state. Wouldn't you rather die on your feet than live on your knees?
by gogogogog
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 5:46 PM
"Someone has even gone so far as to impersonate me, sending a very inflammatory e-mail made to look as if I had sent it."
anyone know where we can read this letter?
by full text
Friday Jul 2nd, 2010 6:20 PM
it is just a slightly exaggerated version of the real one, not much difference at all, and the real one can be found here:
I have read the comments and my first trigger is we have to get away from our own egos, stop cussing each other. Brother Malcolm said "A man only uses profanity when he does not have the words to express what he is trying to say" the division, which I think was planted, is what prevents us from moving forward with protecting our own communities.
<br />
To Oak A you are right Brother Malcolm criticized Brother Martin for not defending people from the brutality they face. He later still in disagreement wanted to work closely with him to achieve a common goal.
<br />
I have been called an anarchist but I truly try to break away from labels I believe that our tax dollars should pay for healthcare, education and housing. Does that make me a socialist? I believe that the people should defend themselves against all enemies. I believe that when large institutions oppress people that violence is not only inevitable but necessary does that make me an anarchist? I believe that it is just as effective to have a millions of people just refuse to participate in the consumption culture and hold peace camp sit ins on public property, does that make me a pacifist? I also think that would be the best way violence is the last option and to date we have not had the numbers to sustain or even make a statement. Smashing local businesses corporate or not is no message to the world. It just makes your brothers and sisters miss a day if that and the company collects insurance. Smashing the world bank head office or the like folks pay attention to that.
<br />
In conclusion (A) keep moving forward, Nicole keep moving forward every one get as much info as you can and do what you think to be right. All I ask is that we agree to disagree but really leave our own shimpa at home "LIVE FOR THE LOVE OF OUR PEOPLE OR ELSE ITS SELF DISTRUCTION" Peace
by Mike
Sunday Jul 4th, 2010 2:52 PM
The feud between US and the BPP was facilitated by the FBI because the panthers sought to fundamentally alter the social structure. You don't seem to want to alter the structures of the State, in fact you are trying to either hang out to dry those that do seek that real change or subsequently moralize about it here when you get called out for doing the State's work. You are not a threat to the State, you are a threat to the movement. So quit denigrating the memory of real radicals. Get down off your cross and take your christian love moralism with you.

I'm a hokey son of a bitch, but I've had this song in head all day after reading your letter of love:

"If we spend our whole lives bending
What do you think that we will get?
What are you trying so hard to understand?
Aren`t the structures obvious yet?

Yeah if we are so righteous, where is the action to our concern?
Do you think that the moral light that guides you will be the same to make the powers turn?
I got seduced by an impulse, I got a bigger need to feel
Cause your definiton of love baby doesn`t satisfy me ."

I.N.C. "Dead Language of Love"
by we're not done here
Sunday Jul 4th, 2010 3:34 PM

That's not good enough. In all the angry responses to your letter, there were actual criticisms. A lot of them were valid. You did very little to address them. I'll give you a headstart on a new response:

Why did you choose to use language such as "innoculate our bases," implying that there is a kind of doctor/patient (read: hierarchical) relationship between the non-profits you address and those people they claim to serve?

Where did you get the "outside agitator" bit? Do you have any evidence for the kind of people you describe as outside agitators? Do you believe that it's possible for you to mischaracterize and simplify a large group of people, and if so, what do you plan to do about it?

Do you have any self-critique of your role in the non-profit industrial complex? What role do you think non-profits realistically play in the pursuit of radical change?

Start with that. It does not further goals of change to distance yourself from people's angry and intelligent critiques with language of infinite compassion. Infinite compassion will not change the world, action will. This is coming from someone who sees no solid line between compassion, revenge, love, solidarity and rage. And please, try to avoid using the rhetoric of the very institutions you think need to be so drastically changed.

-not loving the state