Sunday, March 16, 2008

No Police State in Our City!

The time has come for those of us who oppose what is going on in our city to speak out and ask other people to do so as well!

We want to introduce into the blogosphere a different voice in Oakland politics. This blog is the work of myself, Another Mother for Peace through Justice (a soon to be email group), and is part of the work of the Uhuru Solidarity Movement, under the leadership of the African working class-led Uhuru Movement, organizing for white solidarity, not charity with the African liberation movement.

We think there are many others in our city who oppose Mayor Ronald Dellums' recent approval of $7.7 million for more police officers on the streets of Oakland. The New York Times published an article two weeks ago stating that one in five families in Oakland live on less than $15,000 a year! Where is the $7.7 million for economic development for the African and other impoverished communities of Oakland?

How can we talk about what the U.S. is doing in Iraq and around the world and yet agree to put millions of dollars into more police which are deadly in the African community and will put more African people in prison? Although only 6% of the state’s population, African people make up 29% of the prison population in California!

It is outrageous that all over the country it is just accepted, even in so-called progressive places like the Bay Area, that the solution to the economic crisis that African and oppressed peoples face is more police. We are calling for genuine economic development to uplift the living conditions of the entire impoverished African community, not brutal, heavy-handed police containment policies and prison for youth faced with no future!

We are gearing up for an incredible campaign led by the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement to get this message out and also to defeat Patrick McCullough, a man in his fifties who shot an unarmed teenager in the back three years ago on 59th St and Shattuck Ave and who is now running for city council, District 1! McCullough has served as the point person for the gentrification of Oakland’s historically black neighborhoods, including Bushrod, pushing African working people out of the city. He plays a role in criminalizing African youth in Oakland. In fact, after McCullough shot young Melvin McHenry, he was given a party and money by the city, police and some white residents. This is unacceptable!

African people have been pushed out of Oakland increasingly over the past decade. Starting when African people were brought by the thousands to work to build a ship a day for the Kaiser corporation, Oakland was a majority black city. Over one third of the black population has been pushed out of Oakland since the 1990’s through gentrification.

Dellums' plan is a military solution to an economic problem serving the interests of white developers and business and deepening the poverty and gentrification of the African community. The rise in crime is the result of the economic crisis felt sharply by communities in East and West Oakland made worse by the deadly drug economy. Illegal drug sales create enormous profits to those on top while those at the street level face death at an early age or the billion dollar prison system. For decades these communities have experienced police violence and repression in their daily lives under this “war on drugs.”

Police containment of the African community continues the legacy of white domination that has kept the majority of African people impoverished for hundreds of years and maintained wealth in the white community. As long as the white community lives at the expense of the African community there will never be peace. The answer is not more militarized police but genuine economic development – massive infusions of capital equal to what goes into the white communities.

We call on the white community to stand in solidarity with the African community’s struggle for a solution that involves economic justice, reparations and control over their own lives.

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