Notice: Out of Town, Will Resume Posting Again Monday August 5

I am in Atlanta for the 2019 DSA national convention for the weekend. I may write up a piece on it, but I will be taking a content break for the rest of this week to focus on my work.

Thanks for your support, feel free to catch up on some of my older posts. Solidarity comrades!

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A Step Over Me, a socialist poem about the unhoused

Yes here I am!

I know you can see me.

How else will you get into the coffee shop?

You’ll have to step over me.

A lump or a mound of garbage,

To you that is what I appear to be.

I know that’s how little I am to you.

I know that’s why you step over me.

I am in fact treated like garbage.

Thrown out and unwanted, even in public space.

But what is one to do

when they have no home, job, or place?

My rags are an eye sore,

I’m no fool you see.

There was a time when I to

would have been the one to step over me.

1/17/2019

The Professional Protester Episode 50 | Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg and Private Prisons

https://youtu.be/yw-DiLG2PoE

As a white person I am hesitant to say who is and is not an authority on the subject of racial justice. With that said in this weeks video I make the case that Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg is not to be trusted on the subject, especially in the wake of the announcement that Stephon Clark’s killers will not face charges.

When I served as the Research Committee chairperson for Sacramento DSA, upon researching campaign donations from private prisons to California politicians, I discovered that in his 2010 race for state senate Darrell Steinberg accepted almost $4000 dollars from private prisons.

Private prisons are one of the main enablers of the prison industrial complex, I.E. the new Jim Crow and modern day slavery, and can count on I.C.E as one of their largest clients. Anyone who has accepted their money is not to be trusted.

#Breaking: No Charges Against Officers Who Murdered Stephon Clark

No charges will be filed against the two officers who shot Stephon Clark 8 times

Officers Terrance Mercadal and Jared Robinet of the Sacramento Police Department will not be charged with the murder of 22 year old Stephon Clark.

Stephon Clark was shot 8 times in his grandmother’s backyard on March 18th, 2018. He was unarmed and he leaves behind a widow and two children.

The announcement came yesterday when Sacramento District Attorney Ann Marie Schubert held an hour long press conference after an almost year long “investigation.” Schubert’s office has investigated 30 cases where police have used deadly force against unarmed people of color, most of whom have been black. No charges have been filed in any of these cases. Members of the community felt the announcement was filled with implicit bias and was merely an hour long justification of the murder.

Black Lives Matter Sacramento has been putting pressure on the DA’s office since Clarks death by hosting weekly demonstrations outside of her office. Upon announcement of the investigation’s conclusion BLM Sacramento mobilized members of the community to hold space in front of the police station on Freeport Blvd. The event was peaceful and nonviolent, as have been all BLM organized events, and was a very somber gathering. Members from multiple groups showed up to the demonstration to show support including members of the Democratic Socialists of America, Sacramento Acting Congregations Together, Party of Socialism and Liberation, Allies of Black Lives Matter, and several others.

Near the end of the gathering, Antifascist activists burned a series of Blue Lives Matter flags.

There were other demonstrations as well. Members of Sacramento state’s Black Student Union have also begun a sit in at Arden-Fair Mall, effectively shutting down business operations for the weekend.

While both events were going on, Sacramento Mayor Darrell Steinberg did not make an appearance at the gathering of the community but instead hosted his own press conference addressing the issue. The Mayor has claimed that he wants to hear all sides about this issue so that the community will heal. The Mayor’s position on racial justice might be compromised however because records on followthemoney.org show that in his 2010 election to the California State Senate Steinberg accepted $4,000 in campaign contributions from Correctional Corporation of America (now called CoreCivic) which is one of the largest private prison companies in the United States.

Protests and actions demanding justice for Stephon Clark and an end to police violence are likely to increase in the weeks to come.

Local News Coverage of Protest

Leftists, You Don’t Need to Have All The Answers, But You Need to Have Some Answers

It’s all well and good to say, “Smash the system!” I support and agree with that statement whole heartedly.

However if we are not offering a genuine alternative to the status quo and the systems we are attacking then Leftists are screwing over ourselves by weakening our argument and, more importantly, we are screwing over the people we are trying to organize and liberate.

It is the staple of conservatives and reactionaries try to argue with us. I have lost count of how many times I have heard, “Well if you hate capitalism so much, what are you saying should replace it?” In all honesty Leftists are not obligated respond to this. Leftists are not obligated appease this sense of entitlement. We do not need to explain every point about every thing they believe, especially any Leftist of a marginalized group.

However when organizing if we are not offering the masses the clear alternative to the systems we rail against then we are doing a disservice to the capabilities of building momentum and we are weakening our foundation for our movement.

To put it bluntly, it is an insult to the victims of racism, patriarchy, and capitalism to say “smash the system” and not make it clear that there is an alternative to organize for.

It is the calling card of the “lifestyle anarchist” to say smash the system for the sake of saying smash the system. Do not mistake me, this is not an attack on anarchism nor any other form of Leftist theory. What I am saying is that when we say “smash the system” the alternatives we are offering must be made clear so that the unengaged will want to become engaged.

It is all well and good to say “smash the system” but if you are not making it clear that you are offering an alternative, whether that alternative is anarchism, Marxism, or social democracy, you are insulting the very people you are trying to liberate. You are not giving the victims of the system what they need. You are simply validating your own need to decry the status quo when you offer revolution for the sake of revolution. Which is all fine and dandy until the system is actually smashed and then there is nothing in place to help lift and protect the disabled or the otherwise marginalized. The current system does not do that at all, yet if we do not make it clear we are offering a structure that does protect the unprotected then we have lost.

It’s all well and good to say “smash the system” It is not all well and good to ignore the implications of what comes after the fact. It is not all well and good to put your own need to feel validated as a revolutionary ahead of the actual needs that go into a revolution.

Smash the system, and make it clear that when it is smashed there is something to organize, and hope, for.


Class not Cliques, An Observation About Organizing

I have noticed a trend of behavior in activists, organizers and mobilizers where I live. Before I proceed though I want to make it abundantly clear that this is not a call out, nor is it directed at any specific person or organization. It is simply an observation that I have made after losing count of how many committee meetings and protests I have attended.

Now first of all, when it comes to organizing it is important to remember that not every analysis or motivation for organizing will be the same. Disagreements about which marginalized voices deserve the bigger platform, or disagreements about what a post capitalist society will look like are bound to happen.

However, a disturbing trend I have noticed within organizing is that certain voices and groups will actively sabotage mass mobilization because of these disagreements. The sabotage is not always an intentional thing but it is genuinely damaging and a hinderance towards building a mass movement. This sabotage manifests when political organizations act as clicks rather than as a service to the masses.

Specificity in the fight is important, the causes we care about the most should always be our guiding light, but if that specificity causes us to be at the mercy of one individual or one group’s whims then the movement will never grow beyond just a few activist circles. Also, organizing means working with people you do not necessarily like. If you only work with people you like as opposed to people who are right for whatever tasks are at hand you have abandoned organizing and you have decided to create a clique.

This is the folly I have noticed, creating clicks within the movement instead focusing on engaging the unengaged. Yes, it is important to feel comfortable with who we work and organize with but if that comfort means never expanding our organizational circle outside of people we are chummy with, nothing will ever happen and no change will ever manifest. No one will be liberated, resources and wealth will never be redistributed, and no one will stop the climate change that is threatening our existence.

This does not mean we all have to get along or that we shouldn’t make friends out of the people we organize with, what it does mean is that if we only organize within our comfort zones we will never build the momentum we need to liberate the marginalized and save the world from the racist, patriarchal, capitalist masters.

It also does not mean that you should not call out frauds or sexual predation. I recognize that this rhetoric about “comfort” could be misinterpreted in a way that can be endangering to some people. Truth and safety should be as much of our guiding light as anything else. If there is someone who makes you uncomfortable for racist, ablest, or sexist behaviors then that needs to be called out so that such behaviors can be eradicated. What I am saying is that if we are only comfortable with organizing with a few select people because we are the most chummy with them, any mass mobilization we build will die with us because the foundation for making the organizing expansive is never laid down.

So again, this is not a call out of any specific group or person. I myself have been guilty of this cliquish behavior in the past. This is simply an observation about what I think holds back strong grass roots organizing for a mass movement on the local level.

We are in a class war, founded in racist ablism and patriarchy. We are not in high school where the stoners get one corner of the yard and the preppy kids the other. We are here to liberate the entirety of the working class, to liberate all marginalized people, to save the world.