If you’re disturbed, in any way, by the events that occurred in Oakland last night, I encourage you to check out this post by the Positive Peace Warrior Network:
Here are some excerpts:
Much of this movement has become an excuse to target our anger at the police. We rail against police brutality every chance we get.
And anyone who knows anything about Oakland knows that police brutality is a serious issue here. But if you’re that serious about the impacts of police brutality, why isn’t this movement hitting the streets and organizing in deep East Oakland and the streets of West Oakland? Do you think that getting hit with a little bit of tear gas and being pushed around with a baton is the worst of what happens here? Do you really see yourself as the “face” of police repression and think of yourself in the same light as a young man of color and how he might get treated by the police in the streets of deep east? How much time do you spend talking about how you were tear-gassed, and how much time do you spend talking about the repression that happens every day in low-income communities?
And if you care about police repression, what is your response to when Oscar Grant’s family continuously pleads with people not to engage in property destruction in his name? Where is your respect for their wishes? What outreach have you done to Andrew Moppin’s family? Why are issues like the gang injunctions and Occupy San Quentin treated like a low-priority side project?
Where Do We Go From Here?
I don’t know. But I do know two things:
1) This movement, the much broader umbrella that includes so many communities and individuals who do not support what happened yesterday, still has incredible potential to make change. And I am still committed to that change.
2) I no longer want to have my name associated with the foolishness that went down yesterday.
The challenge is in reconciling the two. I will not walk away from the potential of this moment in history, but I honestly am starting to feel like being associated with Occupy Oakland may be more of a liability at this point.
“Diversity of Tactics” cannot be a synonym for “diversity” of principles. We cannot hide from our principles, and we can no longer have a movement with such “moral relativism,” as King called it. The ends do not always justify our means. In fact, we need to have means that are reflective of the ends that we seek.
Calling for nonviolence is not creating a division in the movement, it’s about creating unity within a common framework of social change. And we need to find that unity.
I invite others to take a firm stand for nonviolence, to commit to principles that are in line with the vision you have of the society you want to see. I invite others to join in an ongoing conversation, one that is sure to kick up in the coming weeks, about what a nonviolent movement committed to radical change might look like. The Positive Peace Warriors Network will be hosting a series of trainings in Kingian Nonviolence over the coming months, and I invite you to attend and have this conversation with us.
Join us, and lets make sure that this thing keeps growing. Stay tuned…..