Work Twice as Hard to be Equal

Photo source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/daniandgeorge/8671656806When I was a kid, my Chinese parents used to say to me (as they sat me in front of my homework while my white friends were out playing), “You not White!  You work twice as hard to be equal!”  That just made me roll my eyes at their naïveté.  After all, this was America, the land of equality.

Fast forward to becoming a single mother looking for work. My college degree didn’t help in the small town where I was living, so nearly a year into my search, I decide to apply for a job at Dunkin’ Donuts.  The manager interviewing me said with a gleam in his eye, “You Chinese are good workers, aren’t you?”  And suddenly, the light dawned:  it was me, not my immigrant parents, who was naïve and I would indeed be expected to work twice as hard as the other “girls” for the same pay.  I later discovered that many other children of color had gotten the same message from their parents.

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Posted in Economic Crisis, Intersecting Oppressions, Oppressed Nationalities

The Courthouse Raid at Tierra Amarilla: Remembering Reies Lopez Tijerina

tijerinaWe note with sadness the passing of Reies Lopez Tijerina, one of the great leaders of the Chicano movement. We are republishing the following article—originally published in Forward Motion Magazine #59—which discusses the Alianza Federal de Mercedes that he founded, and their influence on the development of the Chicano movement.

As the sun rose over the Truchas (still snow-capped on this June morning), 20 armed raiders—led, some argue to this day, by a shadowy figure known only as El Tigre—rode into the sleepy northern New Mexican hamlet of Tierra Amarilla and seized the ramshackle county courthouse. When the dust settled after a two-hour gun battle, several police vehicles were destroyed and one deputy lay near death. The band fled into the mountains, taking a reporter and a sheriff’s deputy hostage.

Though this may sound like the opening of a dime novel from the 1850s (or perhaps the romantic reminiscences of a second-rate sportswriter and one-time gun thug named William Barclay Masterson), this particular confrontation took place in 1967.

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Posted in Movement History, Presente!

Three Internationalist Victories: A Bulletin From Latin America

Statue and monument dedicated to Antonio Maceo, in Havana. (Photo by Sento.)

Statue and monument dedicated to Antonio Maceo, in Havana. (Photo by Sento.)

FRSO/OSCL is an internationalist organization. To that end, we will occasionally publish reportage and opinion pieces about developments outside the United States. This piece discusses Latin America, where events serve as inspiration and impact domestic movements in the US. Note that this was written prior to the recent resumption of some diplomatic relations with Cuba by the US.

Latin America, like everywhere else on the globe, is experiencing turmoil and change. But as they used to say in the former Portuguese colonies in Africa during their struggle for independence, “A luta continua.”

We have to appreciate the small victories both close to home and beyond our borders, both recent and passed. As a regular viewer and reader of Telesur, I am reminded of several historic moments of importance in Latin America. Each has far reaching impacts in the region and internationally. All three occurred in early December 2014.

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Posted in International Solidarity

Button Up! I Do, And Maybe You Should Too

Introducing a new feature here at FreedomRoad.org for 2015: Button Up. We were going to call it Button of the Day, but “Don’t make promises you can’t keep.”

Bowl of buttons

This is the last thing I check on my way out of my apartment. Near the door, it’s where I keep my keys, and as you can see, it has a bunch of pinback buttons in it, currently topical or universally applicable. Thus, I am reminded to grab one and affix it to whatever I happen to be wearing.

I have made a habit of this over the last year or so, because I found my button-wearing went through long erratic cycles, last peaking in the first couple years of the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq.

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Posted in Button Up!

#BlackLivesMatter: graphics for the struggle

Erk, an artistic agitator and good friend of Freedom Road, has stepped up at this heavy time to provide some graphics suitable for use on posters, banners, leaflets, buttons, blogs, Facebook pages and more.

These graphics feature the slogan that has emerged as the defining watchword of the struggle thus far: Black Lives Matter.

Please use these graphics widely. They are available for anyone to use, with the following two conditions:

  1. Do not append your organization’s name, URL, etc. to the graphics in a way that suggests that the slogan or the graphic is your own.
  2. If the graphics are used to make commodities (buttons, banners, stickers, etc.) any money you take in over the cost of production should be directed to #BlackLivesMatter.

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Posted in Art

A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement

This article was written by Alicia Garza and originally posted at thefeministwire.com.

1540289_10153162482777345_8837525663887666013_oBlack Lives Matter! This has become the central slogan of the massive upsurge of rage, protest and resistance that has shaken this country in recent months. We are reposting this important article about the origins of the slogan because we don’t want to see it lost in the swelling ocean of post-Ferguson commentary.

The slogan itself is brilliant, an assertion of what is at the heart of this upsurge. It is an example of what our political tradition calls the Mass Line. The ideas of the people are gathered and concentrated into programs and slogans which the masses can then take up and apply.

Another thing about the Mass Line is that it is practiced by revolutionaries, people trying to change the world. The slogan did not fall from the sky. As the article details, it was developed by three young, queer African American women with deep roots in the struggle, in response to the murder of Trayvon Martin. They added the Twitter hash tag to spread it more broadly and make it a more useful organizing tool.

Black Lives Matter resonates because it not only responds to police murders but is a defiant rejection of the thousand and one forms of oppression, repression and devaluation experienced by Black people as part of “everyday life” under white supremacist bourgeois rule in this country.

—FRSO/OSCL

I created #BlackLivesMatter with Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi, two of my sisters, as a call to action for Black people after 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder and the killer, George Zimmerman, was not held accountable for the crime he committed. It was a response to the anti-Black racism that permeates our society and also, unfortunately, our movements.

Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

The Day After: Protests from Coast to Coast after Killer Cop Goes Free

Concerned Citizens for Justice on the march in Chattanooga

Concerned Citizens for Justice on the march in Chattanooga

On November 24, a Missouri grand jury failed to indict Darren Wilson, the cop who murdered Black teenager Michael Brown in cold blood in August. Police killings of Black folks is all too common (every 28 hours), but the outrageous decision that Wilson would not even face trial sparked outrage across the country. It fueled a movement for justice that is building across this country, led by Black youth.

Protesters rallied and marched from Ferguson to Boston and Miami to Seattle. The reports below were written by members and friends of Freedom Road who took part in the mobilizations in many of these cities. They give just a glimpse of the powerful movement that is continuing to grow and struggle for justice for Mike Brown and for the idea that Black lives matter, which is a revolutionary belief in this white supremacist society.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

Terror … and Racial Terror

Photo by Stephen Melkisethian.This article was originally published at ZNet.

With all of the discussion about ISIS/ISIL, Al Qaeda, etc., one would think that the only terror on this planet is that derived from relatively small numbers of criminal fascists roaming the planet who claim to be Muslims.  Yet that is not the only location of terror.  In West Africa, for instance, millions live in terror as the horrific virus, Ebola, spreads, killing more than 3,000 people.  Due in large part to the devastation wrought by neo-liberal policies on the health care systems of West African nations, Ebola has been spreading at an unanticipated rate.

There are other forms of terror, of course.  Environmental devastation and climate change, which capitalism seems unable to stop but has also played a major role in advancing, threatens billions.  Islands across this planet are threatened as water encroaches on coastal regions.  And one need not be a rocket scientist to know that it is the working classes, the farmers and many other impoverished segments of society that will suffer on a scale beyond anything that will afflict the rich and powerful.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities

In honor of Jamala Rogers

Jamala Rogers is a lifelong activist and fighter for Black liberation. Among other roles, she is a founder and leader of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis and she has been at the front of the movement for justice for Mike Brown since he was murdered by Ferguson police.

Today, in honor of Jamala’s birthday and her lifetime of struggle, FRSO/OSCL salutes her. We recommend watching the interview and reading the links below to get to know more about her.

Jamala’s blog

The Best of the Way I See It — political writings by Jamala Rogers

 

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Posted in Culture

Whites Protest in Solidarity with Black Youth in Ferguson

At 12:53 Sunday afternoon, I received an e-mail from the Organization for Black Struggle:

OBS has put out a call to action for white allies! For the white folks in the Don’t Shoot Coalition–they are asking us, as white allies, to act on this call September 28, TODAY. Police have been on a major PR campaign the last few days; we need to seize the narrative with an Allies Solidarity March tonight at Ferguson Police Headquarters, 222 S. Florissant Road.

Earlier in the week, a white terrorist burned the memorial to Mike Brown at Canfield Apartments and left a NIGG sign. Protests kicked off again that night, showing the continuing spontaneous–hopefully getting organized–rage of Black youth and their supporters among older people. A higher level of protest continued throughout the week. Most of the nightly protests moved from West Florissant to the main drag, North Florissant Avenue, through downtown Ferguson where the brand new police headquarters is located.

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Meanwhile, white cops in the St. Louis area have taken to wearing wristbands reading “I Am Darren Wilson,” openly declaring their willingness to shoot unarmed Black youth! And a more genteel approach was adopted by the white power structure in Ferguson, a campaign to proclaim via button, bumper sticker, yard sign, window placard and tee-shirt “I ♥ Ferguson.” (I wrote a letter about this to the Ferguson newspaper, which refused to print it.)

Finally, on Thursday, the Ferguson Police Chief issued a canned video “apology” to the Brown family and the community – too late, too canned, too much on tape, not in person. Protests rose. There were some arrests. Then on Saturday evening, amidst smaller protests, a Ferguson police officer was shot, reportedly by burglary suspects. An APB went out in the community for black men with dreds to stay inside because the police will be gunning for this suspect.

So when I got the OBS call to flip the script, I forwarded it to about 90 white people in my e-mail contacts list. It was impressive to have at least 5-10 people come up to me during the action to thank me for sending that e-mail, saying otherwise, they might not have known about it.

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Posted in Oppressed Nationalities