Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Paolo @ Decolonize Oakland: Nonviolence vs Diversity of Tactics

Indigenous Women of the Movement Statement on Non-Violence

"Nonviolence as a mass political strategy was never part of our traditional ways of being on Turtle Island. We laid siege to forts, we picked up arms, we mounted riots and uprisings and full scale guerilla wars against colonial governments, militaries, corporations. We ate the hearts of our enemies. We did not curry favour from rich white men, we fought and killed them."

Posted on:


Indigenous Women of the Movement: Why We Wrote the “Statement of Apology” We Wish Had Been Written By the Defenders of the Land Organizing Committee

April 28, 2011
It has been seven days since we published a satirical “statement of apology“, from the organizing committee of Defender’ of the Land. A group of women and grassroots land defenders wrote the statement, because our voices had been silenced. We feel that what we have to say here must be heard, and so we will continue to speak.
In Spring 2010, we blocked consensus of a “June 24th Day of Action” call-out for a march during the G20 week in Toronto. We were ignored and silenced. That march was the only indigenous-led event for that important week of public dissent. We had one day for our voices to be heard in the streets. We believe in consensus as a traditional way of guarding against elitism and privilege in our communities, and we believed that by blocking consensus, especially as a group of native women, we would at least be given the chance to speak and be heard. Not only were we ignored and silenced, but the organizing committee blocked communication between us and several native communities. We were told they were “afraid” of us, as though indigenous peoples need protection from each other when our voices speak different opinions.
We blocked consensus because we felt that the call out for the “June 24th Day of Action” (which was sent out by Defenders of the Land) would criminalize and disempower grassroots land defenders and erode our autonomy to defend ourselves and our land and communities. We felt that the heavy use of “non-violence” wording was a slippery slope toward co-operation with the Canadian government and police…who also desire us to be “non-violent” so that we are less of a threat to the realities that we face daily: our children being stolen, our lands being exploited for profit, murder and brutality at the hands of police and racist settlers, the disappearance and murder of thousands of indigenous women.
We felt that this was not an issue of semantics, that this was deliberately being taught to our peoples, our youth and our communities by the interests of government and corporations, who we began finding out more and more, were actually helping to fund well-paid activists who ran well-funded workshops, training and retreats on “non-violence” and “civil disobedience”. Some of this was traced back to funding which came from “ethical oil” strategies, and that’s when we started realizing the sickening accuracy of our premonitions.
The June 24th “Day of Action”, although well attended and successful in bringing people together to demonstrate resistance, was also extremely compromised. Undercover police and informants who came to the organizing meetings were “justified” in being there, people were told that because of “trouble makers”, we should cooperate with the police. These “trouble makers” were several indigenous people who were standing up and questioning the way the organizing was being increasingly straitjacketed.
“Non violence” was used to narrow the parameters of our ability to speak and express our struggle: we were barred from wearing camoflage, barred from wearing masks, barred from carrying the Unity flag or from any “warrior” images or symbols. On the day of the march, undercover police were permitted by the organizers to infiltrate the march, and those of us who had questioned the organizers were told that we would be turned over (by the march’s own security team) to the police.
That has been our experience and involvement with the organizing committee of the Defenders of the Land, a network that began with the dream of a woman: a clanmother and Elder from one of the most exploited communities on Turtle Island which has been devastated by mercury poisoning and logging: Grassy Narrows.
We believe in honouring the dreams of women, in freeing ourselves from judgement and bias, decolonizing our minds and our hearts. We believe in being action-oriented, not paper-oriented. We don’t need Canada’s approval or consent, and we don’t need government or corporate funding. We have always had what we will always need: the Kaianerenkowa, the Medicine Wheel, our teachings, our clan systems, our languages, our ceremonies.
We can empower ourselves, we don’t need to wait for an NGO or a suit to tell us how to feel empowered. We aren’t the ones who need “non violence training”, the ones who need to stop using violence are the ones in power: police, government and corporations.
We absolutely believe in non-violence: when the cops lay down their weapons, the mining and logging companies abandon their industries, when the government returns the land to the people who belong to her, when racist settlers lay down their racism and patriarchy, when we vomit up the internalized racism from generations of abuse and torture at the hands of the government and can feel good in our own skin, can feel loved by each other, comforted, proud of and nourished by our beautiful brown skin, instead of vying for the attention of white thighs, settling for the white lie.
When the violence against us stops, maybe then we can begin to return to a time of peace. But to adopt a strategy of non-violence during a time of war is suicide: and we already have enough children and youth killing themselves because their innate resistance to genocide is stifled by white Canadian education, media, foster homes, jails and poverty food. Native children and youth do not need to be taught how to defend themselves: they need to be given the freedom to do what their spirits already understand is necessary.
Nonviolence as a mass political strategy was never part of our traditional ways of being on Turtle Island. We laid siege to forts, we picked up arms, we mounted riots and uprisings and full scale guerilla wars against colonial governments, militaries, corporations. We ate the hearts of our enemies. We did not curry favour from rich white men, we fought and killed them.
The most successful military campaign against Amerikkka was waged and won by the Oglala Sioux at Little Big Horn in 1876 and in 1973, they defended it again against the FBI, military and goon squads. Our people were often were masked in ceremonies and in battle, just look at the indigenous Zapatista movement–”masking up” is a practice rooted in indigenous movements and indigenous resistance.
Non-violence may be one strategy, and true to our nature, if it works, we’ll use it. If it doesn’t, we won’t. The bottom line is that we defended our land and our families with whatever we could. We owe our very existence to our ancestors who resisted total extermination and genocide by fighting back, and we will continue to honour those who gave us life by resisting the ongoing colonization of our lands and our peoples. If we have breath, we owe each one not only to our ancestors but to the land they fought and died to protect, and to the next seven generations.
-Indigenous Women of the Movement

Los torogoces de morazan, vamos a la lucha

Monday, December 19, 2011

Sur Centro

Sur Centro, I miss you.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Tenants Win Battle Against Slumlord in South Central

If you pick up the L.A. Times today you can read about my old building in South Central we organized to expose landlord and brought city council to investigate corruption.  What the story doesn't say is that all the tenants are getting 10-18 thousand to relocate. There is also a pending law suit on the landlord, John Callaghan.

You have to organize where you're at, and let these slumlords and other parasites of the people know: "Do not fuck with us, because you're fucking with the wrong people!" :)

I'm the tenant that moved in the Fall of 2009 :)

Here is the story:


Tenants ordered to relocate as officials investigate safety of converted home
The landlord turned a single-family house into more than 40 rental rooms, raising questions about how the project passed inspections and received permits.

Emanuel Borris has lived in the converted home since February. Tenants say the landlord crammed more than 40 rental units into the house. (Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times / December 15, 2011)

By Jessica Garrison and David Zahniser, Los Angeles Times
December 17, 2011

Three years ago, landlord John Callaghan was granted city permits to enlarge a South Los Angeles single family home, creating three apartments.

But he didn't stop there. He crammed as many as 44 rental rooms into a warren of narrow hallways, tiny, shared bathrooms and communal kitchens.

Now, as the holidays approach, dozens of renters who paid as much as $500 per unit are being ordered to vacate the burnt orange three-story complex, in a neighborhood about a mile from the Coliseum.

"What's Christmas this year?" asked tenant William Pack, 35. "To get an eviction notice, where it's not our fault.… It has already spoiled the holidays."

Tenants and city officials agree that the place is potentially unsafe, but some city officials are asking what took inspectors so long to figure it out.

"Clearly, someone was not doing their job," said Councilwoman Jan Perry, who represents the area where the building is located and has demanded a formal inquiry.

Adding to questions surrounding the case of 443 W. 49th St. is that the owner received an updated permit allowing occupancy in the building last month from the city's Department of Building and Safety. That permit, which department officials say cleared up a clerical error, was reissued despite repeated orders to correct violations discovered by the city's Housing Department, which regulates multiple-unit apartments.

In a court proceeding just this week, Callaghan's attorney cited the new occupancy permit as evidence that the apartment building was legal, according to Sonia Pflaster, a lawyer for the tenants. The case, seeking to evict one of the tenants, was continued.

"It makes me incredibly frustrated," said Pflaster, noting that the new permit appears to be completely at odds with the city's orders to correct violations at the property. The building's owner "is using these documents as a shield, and he is abusing tenants and renting extremely hazardous units." Callaghan and his attorney declined to comment.

The latest inquiry involving the Department of Building and Safety comes on the heels of a federal undercover sting operation. Earlier this year, two department inspectors pleaded guilty to taking bribes in exchange for issuing city permits. Records show both inspectors worked on preliminary stages of the construction at 49th Street, although no evidence has surfaced of bribery in this case. The

Housing Department has also had issues recently. Last year, a clerk working the front counter of the agency's Koreatown office was charged with 11 counts of taking bribes. She eventually pleaded no contest to a single felony count.

Construction began on the 49th Street building in 2008, records show. The city issued a temporary certificate of occupancy in 2009 for three units. It's not clear when the owner transformed the interior, a third-floor attic and a carport into a hive of rented bedrooms and shared kitchens and bathrooms. Pflaster, the attorney for the tenants, said she has spoken to one tenant who moved in as early as the fall of 2009. By the summer of 2010, according to tenants at the building Thursday, the third floor, which the city has found is illegal, was occupied.

Attorneys for the tenants said they believe the building has 44 units. City officials said they cannot confirm that because they do not recognize them as housing units since they are illegal.

By last winter, tenants began to organize, complaining about cockroaches, a lack of heat and the landlord's requirement that they clean common areas, among other issues. They teamed up with organizers and attorneys from the Inner City Law Center, which advocates for tenants' rights, and began filing complaints with the Housing Department.

City records show that the Building and Safety Department received a complaint April 18 — from the city's Housing Department — that a single family home had been illegally converted into multiple units.

A Building and Safety Department inspector visited the property, according to spokesman David Lara, and "observed what appeared to be an apartment building." The inspector saw that the building had valid permits to be three units and — without entering it — determined that it could be three units, Lara said. The case was referred back to the Housing Department.

The Housing Department sent its own inspectors, who found a host of problems, including unpermitted units, and unpermitted plumbing and electrical work. In June, September and November, the department issued abatement orders for structural hazards, fire safety violations and "unapproved construction," among other issues.

But the owner did not fix the problems, according to housing officials.

This week, Housing Department officials asked the Department of Building and Safety to make sure the building wasn't an immediate danger.

On Wednesday, inspectors from Department of Building and Safety determined that the building was not an "immediate hazard," Lara said. But they could not determine "if that foundation can hold the third floor," he added.

The next day, Housing Department officials descended on the property to post 30 day notices, telling the landlord that he must empty the units, bring the property up to code and pay relocation assistance to displaced residents.

Perry, who is running for mayor, introduced a motion Friday demanding that officials from the Department of Building and Safety come before the council and explain how the property "was allowed to grow to this size without permits, and when and by whom the site was inspected."

Perry said she also wanted to know why the department reissued the certificate of occupancy last month — well after the housing department had found evidence of illegal units.

Lara, the Department of Building and Safety spokesman, acknowledged "there might be instances where the department could do a better job of communicating. We are working on it. But we handle thousands of permits on a daily basis."

He said the department is planning improvements.

As of now, the tenants say they are hoping they can quickly get relocation assistance so they can begin looking for new places to live.

Perry's spokeswoman said the cash-strapped city may have to front tens of thousands of dollars and try to recoup the money from the landlord. Housing advocates believe relocation payments for all the tenants could reach $300,000.

A Gnawing Hunger For Justice

By Vagabond
Oscar Lopez Rivera POW by vagabond ©
Oscar Lopez Rivera POW by vagabond ©
Oscar Lopez River is a US held Puerto Rican Political Prisoner and Prisoner Of War. He has been in prison since 1981 serving a 70 year sentence for seditious conspiracy to overthrow the United States government. Over twelve of those years have been spent in a solitary confinement in a cell specifically designed for sensory depravation. Oscar was a member of the FALN – Fuerzas Armadas de Liberacíon Nacional – Armed Forces Of National Liberation a clandestine armed organization that fought to free the island nation of Puerto Rico from US colonial rule. The FALN took the position that the US has no jurisdictional rights or power over Puerto Rico and under UN Declaration 1514 a colonized people have to right to use whatever means they choose to extricate themselves from colonization, including the use of armed force.
Despite the nature of his conditions Oscar has remained steadfast to his ideals and has remained both politically and artistically active behind the walls. So it’s no surprise to many of us who know about Oscar that he has been keeping up with the Occupy Wall Street movement. It’s no surprise that he sent this message just yesterday about his decision to begin a hunger strike in support of the occupy movement… It’s no surprise that all these years in prison have not broken him, it’s no surprise that he remains defiant “from the urns of hell”…
“I’ll be fasting on the 10th of December – International Human Rights Day.  i’ll start it the evening of the 9th.  i’m inviting every person who loves freedom and justice and believes that a better and more just world is possible to join me. The person can fast for as long as s/he can.  The fast is in solidarity with the OWS movement and the celebration of international  human rights day.  If we are indignados, who believe in the power of righteous indignation,  we should be supportive of the OWS movement.  This movement has been able to galvanize the people’s righteous indignation and has successfully activated and mobilized a mass force that has shaken the foundation (Wall St. and Washington) of the one per cent that controls the wealth and the political power at the expense of the 99 percent that doesn’t have any wealth or any control of the political power.  The one percent is already using its muscle to try to repress the OWS movement and to disorganize it.  Our solidarity is crucial.  If you aren’t an indignado or occupier there is no good reason why you shouldn’t share your solidarity with the OWS.  If you want a better and more just world then you have to dare to struggle to make sure it becomes a reality.  At this particular juncture OWS represents the possibility of a movement for a better and more just world in the usa.  Show your solidarity and use the power of your righteous indignation to struggle for a better and more just world.  Join the fast or be an indignado/occupier.  En resistencia y lucha, OLR.”
Join the Campaign To Help Free Oscar Lopez Rivera
Coordinating Committee

National Boricua Human Rights Network
2739 W. Division Street
Chicago IL 60622
Follow us on Twitter: olrcat

Comité Pro-Derechos Humanos
Oscar is not the only one who is making the connections between capitalism and colonialism… i’m working on a new film called PAWNSHOP DREAM that was inspired by another now former Puerto Rican Political Prisoner And Prisoner of War Dylcia Pagan. PAWNSHOP DREAM is an exploration of where capitalism and colonialism interest. Right now we have begun a campaign to try and raise funds to make the film… For more information on the campaign check out PAWNSHOP DREAM

Thursday, December 15, 2011

NYM Presents: Take Back the Solstice! Dec. 25th, 2011

Native Youth Movement Presents:


Take Back the Solstice:
Reclaim Indigenous Ceremony

Commemorating the Dec. 22, 1997 Zapatista Massacre and the Zapatista Uprising January 1st, 1994

Opening with Native Drum & Dance troop "Red Boy"

with music by:

Hector Guerra - (Pachamama Crew - Bolivia)

Cambio - (Quilombo Crew - (Watsonville, CA)

ZXL (Zipactli Xlahun)

Hosted by Guerrilla Queenz

$5 suggested donation

Food and drinks for sale

Doors open at 5pm

Maravilla Handball Courts 501 N. Mednik Avenue (between Floral & Cesar Chavez Ave.) East Los Angeles, CA 90022

Hector Guerra de Pachamama Crew desde Bolivia performing on Dec. 25th!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Defend Yourself! Fuck the Riot Police!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cherán - Hueso, Héctor Guerra, Lengualerta, Moyenei, Rocco, Rubén Albarr...

para toda mi gente de raises P'urhe'pecha!!!!!!!

para toda mi gente de raises P'urhe'pecha!!!!!!!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Mapuche occupy Apache oil plant in Argentina

Posted on 26/11/2011 by Ryan Seelau
Beginning on Tuesday, November 22nd, and continuing for several days, the Mapuche community of Gelay Ko has been occupying a compressor plant of the Apache Corporation — a U.S. company based in Houston, Texas — claiming that their operations are taking place on Indigenous lands and arepolluting the local water supply.
The protests are occurring in the Neuquén province of Argentina and did result in at least temporary loss of services to some local communities. Although there have been no reports of violence as of yet, there is a strong police presence in the region now and both the protestors and company employees have alleged threatening behavior.
According to the lonko (leader) of the Gelay Ko community, Cristina Lincopán, and declarations put forth by the community, the Apache Corporation is operating on traditional Mapuche territory and is drilling without consultation. They have demanded that the corporation to stop these actions. In doing so, the Community also alleges that Apache is contaminating the local water supply. The Community has sought an end to the drilling without consultation and wants the creation of an entity that will oversee and report on the pollution produced by Apache.
According to Lincopán, it is the provincial government who is “lacking the commitment to resolve these issues.” The Community has expressed a desire for dialogue, but according to Gelay Ko’s werken (spokesperson), Martín Maliqueo,the provincial government continues to grants concessions without the support or consideration of the local community. And according to community member Norma Lincopán, the pollution from these concessions is increasingly visible in both the water and the pastures where the animals graze.
Various media accounts of the protests suggest different levels of demonstration. There have been allegations that power lines were cut and nails were spread on the road by at least one news source. Others, however, suggest that the Mapuche protestors have blocked the entrance to the plant, which resulted in a temporary work stoppage and an inability to continue drilling a new hole. There have also been allegations that the protestors damaged vehicles, but the Community has explicitly denied these claims, stating they have been made to make the protestors “appear like a bunch of delinquents.”
It is clear, however, that police were sent to the area to prevent any violence from occurring. The provincial government also sent in mediators to “restore good relations” between the parties, although no reports have been made on whether this tactic has been successful or not. The presence of police hasbrought its own set of allegations from the Community who indicate that they have been threatened and that shots have even been fired into the air to intimidate those assembled.
According to a spokesperson from Apache, the protests had resulted in the plantoperating at 70% of capacity. Services were interrupted for some smaller communities, but had been restored although the company warns of the possibility of further problems depending on how the protesters proceed.
The Apache Corporation is a U.S. company that is headquartered in Houston, Texas. They have been operating in Argentina since 2001, with plants in Rio Negro, Tierra del Fuego Mendoza, and Neuquén. They also have interests in three major Argentinian oil fields: la Neuquén, la Austral, and la Cuyana. According to the Apache website, the company reported record production last quarter with earnings approaching US$ 1 billion. Additionally, although their mission statement does not mention Indigenous peoples specifically, they do state, “We derive benefit from the Earth and take our environmental responsibility seriously.”
The protests come just days before the U.N. Special Rapporteur, James Anaya,visits Argentina for the first time. Anaya is scheduled to be in Argentina from November 27th through December 7th, and will be in the province where the protests are taking place — Neuquén — during his visit.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

The Takeover: Top People of Color Occupations

Contrary to popular belief, occupations are not a new thing. In fact, Black and Brown communites have been in the foreground of taking shit over since the civil war. Here are the highlights.

Fort Monroe- Fort Monroe was a Union garrison located in Virgina. Led by General Butler, Fort Monroe was a site of a major occupation when three Africans Frank Baker, James Townsend and Sheppard Mallory ran from their plantation to Fort Monroe to escape slavery. General Butler declared the three contraband and shielded them from their master who came to “retrieve his property.” Word spread about the men’s brave escape and within a week over 100 families came to Fort Monroe. There they established “contraband camps.”

I Hotel- The International Hotel was one of the last remnants of San Francisco’s Filipino community. As a hub for working class immigrant families, it was targeted for demolition to expand San Francisco’s business district. Activists from “The Red Guards” ( a Asian group inspired by the Young Lords) and the Asian Community Center fought developers and helped rehab the aging hotel. In 1977 activists barricaded t themselves inside, but after two months of struggle, the city of San Francisco gained the upper hand and evicted the tenants from the I Hotel.

Lincoln Hospital-Lincoln Hospital in the South Bronx was known as the “butcher shop.” Hundreds of people died there and staff was largely burnout from an uncaring administration. In 1970, members of the Young Lords, Black Panthers and Health Revolution Union Movement took over the public hospital. Based on a 10 point health program, the organizers set up a TB clinic and later established the first acupuncture  treatment center for heroin addiction (organized and led by Black Panther and Black Liberation Army member, Dr. Mutulu Shakur.)

City College- Known as “White Rhodesia” the City College of the City University of New York with close to 95% white despite being located in Harlem. Black and Puerto Rican students led a two week long occupation and   strike at the school.The result was the establishment of Black Studies and open admission, a program guaranteeing  a free college education to any high school graduate in New York City.

Alcatraz- Native American activists occupied the famed prison, once home to Al Capone and abandoned by the federal government. The occupiers demanded the land to establish Native American institutions. During the 19 month occupation, sympathizers sent food and supplies by boat while activists slept in cells. At one point, the leadership offered to sell back Alcatraz to the government for $24, a tongue in cheek reference to Manhattan Island.

Weinstein Hall, NYU- Little know (or recognized) in the Stonewall Rebellion that launched gay liberation, was the role of Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Riveria. These two transgender activists were on the leading edge of the rebellion, battling the police, and coining the term “Whose Streets, Our Streets!”.
Johnson and Rivera later lead the takeover of Weinstein Hall at New York University after the campus cancelled gay dancing there. Rivera said ““All we fought for at Weinstein Hall was lost when we left upon the request of the pigs…. You people run if you want to, but we’re tired of running. We intend to fight for our rights until we get them.”

Statue of Liberty- Watch the crown! Puerto Rican activists took over lady liberty, unfurled the national flag and demanded freedom for political prisoners. The action, 1 year after United States bicentennial, renewed focus on the colonial status of Puerto Rico. One year later, Jimmy Carter released five of the main Puerto Rican political prisoners.
Birmingham Bus-Occupation usually means a crowd but on Dec.1 1955, one was all that was needed to set off the civil rights/ Black Power movement. Rosa Parks a tireless organizer refused to give up her seat on a rush hour bus. The action lead to the Birmingham bus boycott and the rest is people’s history…