People ask Marvin X does he have permission to be at 14th and Broadway. He replies, "My people shed blood on the streets of Oakland for me to be on this corner. I don't need to ask anyone anything. I'm taking authority over my post, soldier! The OPD don't f... with me anymore, though they used to.
I talking about the merchant police so bad they don't come close to me. The Mayor (Jean Quan) knows I'm out here. I've been out here six or seven years, long before Occupy Oakland came, I was occupying 14th and Broadway.
Oakland shootings: Two dead, three wounded in overnight attacks
Bay Area black writers gather near 14th and Broadway in honor of slain journalist Chauncey Bailey, assassinated at 14th and Alice. Writers were organized by Marvin X. Pic outside the Joyce Gordon Gallery, 14th and Franklin. photo Adam Turner and Gene Hazzard
(now at UC Berkeley)
Anarchist statement on the upcoming Mehserle verdict.
We are anarchists who live in the Bay. We are OUTRAGED by the murder of Oscar Grant, and we are pissed at continuing police violence and disregard of communities' health and safety. We're writing this letter to all the people who are going be in the streets the day of Mehserle's verdict.
PEOPLE BEEN TALKING BEHIND OUR BACKS
Some folks have been calling us "outside agitators". We wonder: outside of what? We are all faced by police violence whether we stay in the 510, the 415, the 925, the 209, the 831, santa rita, san quentin, or wherever. Except that we're from here. We live here, we contribute here, we have fun here, we get harassed here, and we fight back here. We are men, women, transgendered, black, white, whatever adjective you can think of. We are teachers, students, veterans, workers and the unemployed. We look out for each other. When people caught court cases after the January 7th uprising we were there. The anarchist community stepped up, strategized, and fundraised.
THE PIGS STARTED THIS
Straight up, we don't like that the police murder people. We don't want anyone to have the authority to murder people with impunity. In a society where the banks can take away our homes, where we're afraid to speak up to the boss, and where the cops can murder us face down and helpless on video and then call us the thugs, we are all Oscar Grant. Last year when people expressed themselves in the streets, we heard condemnation of property destruction but no rebuke of police aggression against peoples bodies. Lets not forget that the only reason Mehserle is on trial is because the people of Oakland rose up.
KNOW THE REAL ENEMY
Some of us will be with you at 14th and Broadway on the day of the verdict. We know that the pigs will be looking to cause trouble, but we're not going to give them an excuse. We want everyone in Oakland to come out to 14th and Broadway. We'll leave it to the will of the people assembled to decide what goes down there. Also, we just heard that Alameda County dropped at least $675,000 on an LRAD 300X sonic weapon system, so bring earplugs.
The pigs are already going door to door at businesses and community groups to get them to snitch on those who will stand up. We know this because our doors got knocked on. For us, snitching violates core principles and destroys the very trust we are trying to build. We hope that the orange-vest peace police will address the original cause of violence and face the REAL outside agitators, the OPD and BART Police. There's gonna be an army of pigs at 14th and broadway on the day of the verdict waiting to pounce on black people and people in black. We aren't so stupid as to value a few smashed windows over a community acting and speaking together. We'll respect the tone.
If Mehserle is found guilty of murder it will be historic. If he is found not guilty, or given a slap on the wrist, our response will be historic. What happens in the streets will be determined by the people in the streets, and we know that we won't be there alone. We say to the thugs at OPD, bring your chumps in body armor. The more Bay Area cops you bring to downtown Oakland to threaten and intimidate those expressing themselves, the more targets you leave exposed. It's open game on all your $hit from now until the job is done. To everyone else, see you in the streets.
Written in solidarity with all disgruntled peoples fighting for freedom against this police state.
Parable of I Am Oscar Grant
Parable of I Am Oscar Grant
The verdict was announced at 4pm. Guilty of involuntary manslaughter. With a gun enhancement, it carries five to fourteen years. City officials blocked the organizers of the people's rally from using Frank Ogawa Plaza in front of city hall. They "staged" a rally of their own that was scarcely attended. The people's rally set up in the middle of the street at 14th and Broadway, the crossroads of Oakland, also site of Plato Negro's Academy of Da Corner.
After blocking buses and cars for a short time, the organizers were convinced to move to the northwest corner of 14th and Broadway. But soon 14th and Broadway was overflowing with people, including an abundance of media vans, videographersand photographers.
The MC stressed the rally would focus on youth expressions, later adults were allowed. Anyone could speak. It was a very democratic rally. It is amazing to see people's democracy in action, especially when black bourgeoisie democracy is so pitiful. Again, it was very shameful of Mayor Dellums to not allow the citizens of Oakland to rally at Frank Ogawa Plaza. We remember Frank Ogawa and he was one of the very best Oakland City Councilmen. We know he is turning over in his grave at the disrespect shown Oakland citizens by the Dellums administration.
We heard the Mayor's remarks at his press conference, speaking of abstract notions of globalism, yet he cannot connect what is being offered youth in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen, as a solution to problems in America in general and Oakland in particular. When media persons interviewed me, I basically said the following: the youth of Oakland want justice, nothing more, nothing less. And don't tell me they cannot receive it when America can find the way to offer education, housing and jobs to insurgents and "terrorists" in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen. They talk of setting up judicial systems in these lands but cannot convict a cold blooded murderer in America.
The young people expressed their grief and trauma at the light sentence given to former BART police officer Johannes Mehserle. They expressed no fear of the "bitch" police. Indeed, several youth who took the mike are students from Academy of Da Corner. Former City Councilman Wilson Riles, Jr. begged me to take the mike but I declined.
Imagine, the major growth industry in California is the Department of Corrections that mainly incarcerates young black and Latino men. As one youth said at the rally, the prison system is murder, for it castrates youth and families, yet most of the incarcerated are there for petty crimes or crimes for which no proper white man would be jailed with legal representation, additionally they suffer lack of education, drug abuse and mental illness. Oscar Grant senior is incarcerated, his son escaped only to fall victim to the police.
After talking with his aunt Fatty, we learned Oscar Grant, Jr. was no angel, but was working as a butcher and raising his daughter, thus he was trying to do the right thing but was murdered in cold blood by a beast in blue uniform.
It is no comfort he was not killed by another black man. Several youth spoke at the rally on the theme of black love and unity. I told media persons interviewing me that in the crowd and in our community are persons and families whose slain sons and daughters get no mention in the media, their killings never solved, so families suffer in silence and bitterness, because there is no rally for them, no trial, no homicide solved, nothing. There is nowhere for them to assuage their trauma and unresolved grief.
As I walked the crowd with a brother, he wondered whether anything was going to happen. I told him just wait til dark. And so it was, although I departed the area before dark, passing police amassed on the back streets.
There was looting and arrests. Massive police presence in the downtown areas, police from all the outlying areas, including CHP, Fremont, Berkeley, Richmond. The Footlocker was looted, obviously people needed shoes!
The anarchists were there dressed in black. Now we heard the anarchists at the G-20 meeting in Toronto, Canada were agent provocateurs. Unless the police justify need, 80 OPD will be laid off Monday, so we suspect they are part of the problem. Again, the youth said at the rally that the police are the outside agitators. They don't live in the hood.
I also told those who interviewed me that Oscar Grant received justice when Lovelle Mixson killed four police shortly after they murdered Oscar, thus he executed people's justice. And Dr. Fritz Pointer said it best, "When Lovelle Mixsontook out those four pigs, the masses enjoyed an 'obscene pride' after years of abuse under the color of law."
Personally, I abhor violence. I do not kill a fly in my house, nor a spider, a gnat. But there comes a time when human beings must stand and represent their humanity. We cannot be consumed by wild beasts. You want to hear Oscar's mother after the verdict, "My son was murdered, murdered, murdered!"
Yes, I am Oscar Grant. He is my son lost to self inflicted violence. He is my son caught between the police and his own black brothers. He is my son killed but never reported in the papers, never in the media, never in the court, a son silent in the night. I am Oscar Grant.
I want justice. I want education, not incarceration. I want employment with a living wage. I want housing fit for human beings. I am Oscar Grant.
I Am Oscar Grant: Marvin X reviews the film Fruitvale
I did not attend the Oakland rally for Trayvon Martin, instead I set up Academy of da Corner at the Berkeley Flea Market. I'm getting old now and marches and rallies never attracted me, no matter that so much has happened in Oakland at the very site of my classroom, 14th and Broadway, downtown Oakland. I began Academy of da Corner around 2005, occupying the corner in spite of police harassment until they realized I wasn't going anywhere, only then did they leave me alone, maybe after they realized they were dealing with a personality who was associated with the Black Panther Party, Nation of Islam and the Black Arts Movement, someone who knew North American Africans had shed blood to be on the streets of Oakland.
Even though people have told me my presence at 14th and Broadway has made things better, I have not been in my official classroom for months, not since my east coast book tour of late last year and early this year. And too my Community Archives Project has taken much of my time, so I've been content to let my classroom "students" do peer teaching. Actually, I have now expanded my peripatetic academy to the homes. I've long said we must, in the manner of Master Fard Muhammad, knock on the doors of the people, in a kinder/gentler manner than when the police go door to door looking for suspects, kicking in doors. My model is to be invited into the homes and very diplomatically go about teaching, yes, somewhat in the manner of the Platonic dialogues. People have recognized my method as being ministerial, especially after I have them read passages from my work then explain or comment on it. I have been invited into their bedrooms and when I say I am tired and would like to stop the conversation, they insist that I not depart to my room but continue talking. At this point I have had to get loud and say, "Nigguhs, class is over. I want to go to bed. Good night!"
At the Berkeley Flea Market today, I was asked by several people, what must be done because they are highly upset and want to do something beside attend a rally and march. My response was to call upon them to organize secret societies to defend North American Africans. I told one brother to Google If We Must Die by Claude McKay, that 1920s poem from the Black Renaissance that inspired Winston Churchill in WWII and was the poetic national anthem of the Black Power Movement. The brother Googled the poem on his cell phone and thanked me, then scraped up enough money for a used copy of the 60s bible Black Fire, which he had no knowledge about.
I departed the Flea Market early to attend a viewing of Fruitvale, the film about the murder of Oscar Grant by the BART police on New Year's Day. I attended the film with my friend and her 9 year old twin boys. After stopping for dinner, we got inside the theatre a few minutes after the movie started.
After it was over, we all decided we didn't need to wait around to see the little part we had missed. We exited the theatre in a somber mood, as the film intended us to do, or shall we say as the story would have us do.
Although we are thankful to those who made the movie possible, it seems to me it deleted a powerful element in the Oscar Grant story which is the masses of people who mobilized, marched and rallied, yes, at my classroom, 14th and Broadway, and Frank Ogawa Plaza, renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by the
Although I appreciated the focus on Oscar Grant, leaving out the mass response was like leaving
out the chorus in a classic Greek play. After all, it was the people, the masses, who came alive after his murder by the white racist BART police, who spent eleven months in jail for killing a Black man while America was happy to see quarterback Mike Vick spend five years in prison for killing dogs! Alas, America has always cared for and treated its dogs, animals and pets better than it has treated North American Africans. During slavery we were fed a diet of animal food now called Soul Food that is the cause of our obesity and resulting diseases such as high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks, diabetes and a host of other illnesses.
The film let us know Oscar Grant was not a Boy Scout, that he had a criminal past, yet he was trying to uplift himself and be a responsible father of a half Latina daughter. The depiction of Afro-Latina relations should help ease some of the tension between Blacks and Latinos. The new demographics suggest a more positive relationship is possible between individuals in these two ethnic groups while tension may remain in the political/economic arena. We are not so romantic as to think because there are interracial marriages or relationships between Blacks and Latinos that all is well or shall be well, just as interracial marriages between Blacks and Whites has not fundamentally changed racial disparities or
racial harmony. Alas, my sister married a white man who called her his "Nigger bitch."
We know those same so called liberal whites who marched and rallied for Trayvon Martin in Oakland today and across the country will simultaneously cause gentrification or "Negro Removal" from San Francisco to Harlem and have no shame about it! Remember Martin Luther King's Letter from a Birmingham Jail, "I'd rather be with the KKK than phony white liberals!"
After we departed the Grand Lake Theatre and stopped by Lake Merritt for a much needed breath of air, one of the nine year twins said Oscar Grant should not have resisted. His mother chided her son for seemingly taking the side of the police or right wingers. But I told his mother, on one level, her son is right because it's about the Tone Test when stopped by the police, not to mention when in a situation with another Black man as well. But as per the police, the Tone Test says one of three things can happen when a Black man is stopped by the police: (1) killed, (2) arrested, (3) released. All this is determined by the Black man's tone of voice. Years ago, an Oakland police officer revealed there was a tone test in the Oakland Police Department. The officer, a former student of mine at Mills College stated this in the Oakland Tribune, but the Chief (Hart) denied it.
The murder of Oscar Grant and Trayvon Martin are clear indicators that North American Africans are at war with America and until this battle is resolved there shall be thousands of Oscars and Trayvons, after all, they are casualties in a war, not about drugs, but about human beings who have every right to live as full human beings, to pursue happiness, freedom and, most of justice!
We appreciate the producers of this film, although it was not all that we wanted, but it is most certainly better than nothing and it brings Oscar Grant out of the dustbin of history, while so many other Oscar's shall languish there, yes, the many thousands gone that we shall never hear about.
Let us end with the mystical: Oscar Grant died on New Year's Day, the most dreaded day in the life of a North American African slave: it was the day slaves were auctioned, bought and sold, separated from mother, father, family, a day of horror and dread. Thus this is a day North American Africans should never celebrate but should sing sorrow songs for our ancestors who were bought and sold on this day.
On the other hand, the metaphysical had a answer for the New Year's Day murder of Oscar Grant. On March 23 or the Spring Equinox, i.e., the African New Year's Day, that same year of Oscar's murder,
Novell Mixon killed four Oakland police in a shootout that took his own life. Fritz Pointer, brother of Oakland's famed Pointer Sisters, said on the Mixon shootout, Oakland masses received an "obscene pride" after years of police abuse under the color of law. I AM OSCAR GRANT!