Skip to main content

View Diary: Is Race a Problem for the Left? (338 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  Hmmm (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Don't want to argue, but in the Portland, Oregon Occupy movement, several notable African Americans were at the front lines of our movement, were often the most fearless of the police, and one AA woman told me she couldn't figure out why other Occupiers (mostly white) were so unwilling to go head to head with the cops. She felt as if we were too timid and complacent, that we wouldn't accomplish anything by failing to sit-in, and face deliberate arrest.  

    She was singled out right before my eyes, just three feet away from me, by Portland police, dragged away in handcuffs, dropped several yards away from the crowd face down on the hard, cold, wet concrete, and left there. Her cell phone and money was lost in the kerfuffle. She told the police on the way to the station that she "loved them" even if they didn't like her. I can only guess that the reason she was arrested first is because she is black... but she was one of the most courageous among us, and an inspiration, as were several other notable AA Occupy participants who were very visible and a very welcome and essential part of our movement here.

    And the last Occupy-related march I attended was led by a large group of Latinos, who led our entire massive group (mostly white) through the streets, chanting various slogans all in Spanish, which the whites in the crowd dutifully, if inexpertly, repeated in Spanish. It was wonderful, and I stood there with my Latino brothers and sisters.

    Here's a photo I took of a prominent AA Occupy participant whom everyone loves and knows, who is present at almost every event, at the front lines, and of course often targeted by cops, as the photo reveals, since he's getting treated for a very direct hit of pepper spray from the cops.


    "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

    by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 12:35:44 PM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  Nice story, but an antedotal one. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  I assume you mean (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:


        I don't think it is so easily entirely dismissed as a completely insignificant anecdote, since Portland, Oregon (according to people who had visited Occupy camps across the country) had probably the largest Occupy camp in the United States.

        New York had larger demonstrations, but in Oregon the camp (specifically)  was massive.

        So we were very representative of Occupy. And considering how white Oregon is (although that is changing, for example, with the recent influx of Latino farm-workers who have been very vocal at our events) I think my anecdotes have significance.

        I suppose the significance is that Blacks are not a monolithic bloc, and thus what Shanika states may not speak for all AA's. It doesn't mean she is wrong, only that she doesn't speak for everyone of color.

        Obviously, she doesn't speak for the African Americans I've talked with at Portland Occupy.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 01:37:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  you really didn't listen to Shanikka. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      you jump immediately to show pictures of some poc's in occupy.

      Black and Latino organizing efforts were not focused on occupy - though in a few areas occupy adopted poc issues - Oakland/Oscar Grant.

      I was asked to do training of an occupy group.  They had no clue how to reach out to communities of color in their area - black and latino.

      It really hadn't occurred to most of them.  And several actions they proposed would have negatively impacted blacks, latinos and poor whites in the area.

      Efforts were made to link Occupy the Hood - in cities like Boston with the white college student age occupiers.

      Here's one brothers take on it. Suggest you listen to the whole rap. He discusses the racism he encountered at occupy.

      Join us on the Black Kos front porch to review news and views written from a black pov—everyone is welcome.

      by Denise Oliver Velez on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 07:24:21 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Okay... listening... (0+ / 0-)

        Finished listening to the whole 45 minute thing. Wow...

        It would take pages to offer another view, which I would like to do, but I'll pass. If you want to post the video as a separate diary, I'll gladly weight in with a view, but not here in this diary. I don't want to be accused of thread-jacking, and this is a nice diary, and I get the feeling if I offer a long comment, this won't go well.

        So, instead, I'll tell you my personal experience with a diary I wrote when I was first involved in Occupy. I've gone a long way since then. My views have since been through profound changes, but I stand by this earlier impression:

        The man in your video offered a lot of what I consider to be mainstream criticism of Occupy, regarding Occupy's methods (which if one carefully listens, was one of his principle criticisms, but he had other criticisms as well). Here is David Graeber's view presented in another post I made recently (He's one of the original founders):


        This involves a discussion that will take (1+ / 0-)

        much more of a paradigm shift and requires a more nuanced explanation than I can spend time on at the moment. There are alternative approaches to what you suggest. The typical linear approach of tackling single issues that need reform often fails. We need to start thinking differently, because what we've tried in the past has not worked. Avoiding getting bogged down in the electoral approach has paradoxically much more efficacy than people realize. We need to change the entire national discussion, in ways that sweep aside the typical beltway framing. As long as we let the status quo media talking heads and DC politicians set the terms of dialogue, we will fail.

        The concept of the "1%" vs the "99%" is a good example. It wasn't about reforming a specific policy, or electing a specific personality, but as a concept it changed the national dialogue. And it wasn't Rachel Maddow, or Chris Hays, or some famous personality or political celebrity who sparked off this powerful theme, but the Occupy movement in parks all across the country.

        I'll let David Graeber, one of the core founders of Occupy, explain it, with an excerpt from his book, The Democracy Project, A History, A Crisis, A Movement:


        Almost every time I'm interviewed by a mainstream journalist about Occupy Wall Street I get some variation of the same lecture:


         "How are you going to get anywhere if you refuse to create a leadership structure or make a practical list of demands? And what's with all this anarchist nonsense - the consensus, the sparkly fingers? Don't you realize all this radical language is going to alienate people? You're never going to be able to reach regular, mainstream Americans with this sort of thing!"
              Asking why OWS refuses to create a leadership structure, and asking why we don't come up with concrete policy statements, is of course two ways of asking the same thing: Why don't we engage with the existing political structure so as to ultimately become a part of it?

                If one were compiling a scrapbook of worst advice ever given, this sort of thing might well merit an honorable place. Since the financial crash of 2008, there have been endless attempts to kick-off a national movement against the depredations of America’s financial elites taking the approach such journalists recommended. All failed. Most failed miserably. It was only when a movement appeared that resolutely refused to take a traditional path, that rejected the existing political order entirely as inherently corrupt, that called for the complete reinvention of American democracy, that occupations immediately began to blossom across the country. "

                The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement

                by David Graeber


        The fact that Occupy is now an international household name, that nearly everyone on the planet is familiar with the phrase "the 1%" vs "the 99%", the fact that for the first time in ages the media actually reported protests, rather than ignore them, the fact that Romney began to lose ground when he began to appear just like one of those one per-centers, indicates success.

        I'm interested in exploring and developing more of these mold-breaking, game-changing approaches.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 08:59:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I listened to your offered video (0+ / 0-)

        I hope you, in turn, will read my diary I linked to. Quid pro quo.

        I was shouting like a wild-eyed radical - The man with the green Mohawk hairstyle approved

        But let's keep this out of this thread. If you want to respond, kosmail me.

        "In times of universal deceit, telling the truth will be a revolutionary act." -George Orwell

        by ZhenRen on Wed Jul 03, 2013 at 09:12:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site