• Admiral_Komack

    Good afternoon.
    I am a first-time poster here.
    I’ve been giving the Occupy movement the side eye since they showed John Lewis that “consensus” really means “we don’t want you to speak”. 

    • welcome!

      Same for me — “side-eye” since the John  Lewis debacle

      thanks for stopping and we hope to see you again

  • indubitably

     As usual, I’m late, but it’s taken me this long to figure out CIK and SistahSpeak are here! I’m so very happy to have found you all! I won’t be a frequent presence —it’s the height of the semester and I’m teaching even more classes next semester—but I’m grateful to know where I can go to get my good, insightful, thought-provoking reading jones fixed.

    Bookmarked! indubitably (from Kos)

    • Good to see you indubitably!

    • so great to see yo indubitably!!

      you’ve been missed s0 glad you found your way here :)

    • Anonymous

      hey, indubitably!  Great to see you.

      All good wishes to you re: teaching.

  • Anonymous

    Damn Sistahgirlfriend. I go away for a few days and you come out guns blazing. This post ought to be read by every sentient being in the blogosphere. I just want to hollah and say Amen!

    • hey!   No Time to be Shy around here :)

      Great to see you Robinswing   — right way to start a Friday

  • Ihmael Reed NY Times today


    Right on Time

    All of this has left Oakland’s blacks and Latinos in a difficult
    position. They rightly criticize the police, but they also criticize the
    other invading army, the whites from other cities, and even other
    states, whom they blame for the vandalism that tends to break out
    whenever there is a heated protest in town: from the riots after the
    murder of Oscar Grant by a transit police officer in 2009, to the
    violence of the last two weeks downtown and, most recently, near the

    Someday we may discern the deeper historical meaning of these latest
    events. For now, what’s striking are the racial optics. How did
    Asian-Americans respond to the sight of a diminutive Asian-American
    mayor being hooted off the stage by a largely white crowd at an Oct. 27
    rally? And where was the sympathy when, in years past, unarmed blacks
    and Hispanics were beaten or killed? Why did it take the injury of a
    white protester to attract attention?”

    • Thanks for posting this Nancy.  I totally missed this. 

      How did Asian-Americans respond to the sight of a diminutive
      Asian-American mayor being hooted off the stage by a largely white crowd
      at an Oct. 27 rally? And where was the sympathy when, in years past,
      unarmed blacks and Hispanics were beaten or killed? Why did it take the
      injury of a white protester to attract attention?

      I certainly didn’t respond to kindly to the all white boys club demanding that Mayor Quan resign.  This lot is incapable of seeing the world outside their privilege little bubble.  Hubris and self-righteous be thy name Keith O and fraud Michael Moore.

      • as time goes on it becomes more and more apparent..

        i fear any calls for “inclusion” now have come too late — yes this is an ” all white boys club”, style and substance…

        • Imo, “calls for inclusion” are not enough.  Visibility is not the issue.  The governing structure/framework is a huge flaw of OWS.  This is why we get “colorblind” declarations. 

          I hope a lot of these folks who are just now experiencing a political awakening take the opportunity to learn and resolve the exclusivity of OWS by listening and self-educating.

          Those self-professed long time activists like fraud Moore and others — nothing can save these boys from their megalomania.

          • and it is megalomania

            Part of the 1% capitalizing on a “critique” of capitalism


          • Right…Moore has never released his films under a Creative Commons License.  Always, propping up and profiting from the system through capitalistic structures, notwithstanding the availability of other types of counter-culture structures.  Moore = fraud.

          • Yes

            headed to school now — have a great day Seeta

            and thank you thank you thank you again for this wonderful space where another vision can be nurtured

            So Much Gratitude

          • Have a good day Nancy! :)

          • Anonymous

            Agree.  “Inclusion” doesn’t change the power relationships. 

      • Anonymous

        a-frikkin’-men, Seeta.

    • This:

      Local activism has been pushed aside as well. Even as Occupy Oakland has
      occupied the Bay Area headlines, hundreds of black, white and Latino
      parents met to oppose plans to close five schools in black
      neighborhoods. The following day there was hardly a single line of
      newsprint about the meeting.

      The Occupy movement has important things to say. But in its hurry to
      speak, it risks shutting out those who have been waiting their turn for a
      long time.

      • exactly…

        if intersectionality was at the heart of the agenda — the connections between all these issues — and a united front against them — would fall right into place

        But No

      • Yes. All too true (sadly).

  • Co-sign.  Resounding, Yes!

    The time is too late for distractions.  Distractions that will lead to antipathy and frustration.  No.

    • No to Distractions –  Amen to all that..

      thanks for being here princss!


      • A little late, but this is wonderful.  Embodies so much of what I find problematic and as Angela Davis cautioned – OWS runs the risk of universalizing some very narrow concerns that will alleviate the issues of quite frankly those who have been more privileged.

        • Never late here

          btw Bad Cousin June helped me write it — #OBL :)

          Seriously, as you know, we have seen far to much of the pitfalls of Class Alone analysis– it ends up as White Male Privilege 101

          Every time

  • Anonymous

    Fantastic writing here again, Nancy.  I’ll be back to read it again, and respond to what I missed the first time through.

    • thank you!

      always so glad to se you:)

    • Anonymous

      hey, sage!  Great to see you.  And yeah:  Nancy did a fantastic piece.

  • This! ^^^

    John Lewis denied the mike in Atlanta made me do a triple take..

    I have linked this NY Times article inthe post but worth a closer look here


    “A survey
    conducted at Zuccotti Park by Fordham University a month into the protests,
    from Oct. 14 to Oct. 18, found that 68 percent of the protesters were white, 10
    percent were black, 10 percent were Hispanic, 7 percent were Asian and 5 percent
    were from other races.

    And, many critics have noted, the black and Hispanic protesters participating
    in the protests have tended to come from the middle class, just as the white
    protesters have.

    The adult population of New York City is 36 percent white, 27 percent
    Hispanic, 22 percent black, 13 percent Asian and 2 percent other races.”


    “When race has come up at Zuccotti Park, it has sometimes been a fraught and
    delicate subject.

    Sonny Singh, 31, a Sikh musician from Brooklyn who joined Occupy Wall Street
    early on, recounted the scene in Zuccotti Park the day the general assembly
    drafted its “Declaration of the Occupation
    of New York City” — the closest thing to a political manifesto the
    protesters have put out thus far.

    Mr. Singh said that he and a few other “brown” people at the assembly were
    appalled by what was going to become the first paragraph of the declaration: “As
    one people, formerly divided by the color of our skin,” the document began, “we
    acknowledge the reality: that there is only one race, the human race.”

    “That was obviously not written by a person of color,” Mr. Singh said,
    calling the statement naïve. “Race is a reality in the lives of people of color,
    you can’t put out a statement like that without alienating them.”

    • Yes…saw that piece on the NYT Nancy — was an excellent piece (even for the Times).  More white liberal colorblindness — it shows ignorance of history, and shows a staggering lack of ignorance about the realities people of color face on a daily basis. 

      “Occupiers,” self-awareness, where art thou?

      • We are so not Post-Racial

        There is a point at which i have to  really consider this  lack of “white ” awareness as intentional

        • Anonymous

          I regard it as intentional, too, Nancy.

    • Anonymous

      In re Lewis:  there was also the spin about him being invited back and his staff having no idea about it. 

      • honestly he could speak there for hours now every day and it would not ever undo that mess!

        • Anonymous

          They seem to be suffering from Movement Envy [conveniently ME!].

  • Thank you for this Nancy. And thank you especially for this:

    Instead, I will continue, as always, to Occupy Classrooms, Occupy
    Academic Journals and Conferences, Occupy Blogspots, Occupy Grassroots
    Community Groups, Occupy Political Organizing/GOTV efforts and Yes –
    Occupy Voting Booths.

    I was reminded recently that, with all the attention on the Occupy Wall Street/other places movements, we overlook and dismiss all the other, smaller, less visible, just as necessary Occupy movements that have taken place everyday– like teaching, organizing, etc. And that is something that we need to keep in mind–the battle against something as huge as the prison-industrial complex or even economic injustice will not be won in the square or in a park. There is much organizing work to be done that is not as sexy and media-grabbing but even more vital.

    Also, a shout-out to my superity-duperity cute littlest, Siu Loong, daughter of poster of comment. Oooh WICKWED! -that was my daughter.

    • Amen to this Vikki –

      “There is much organizing work to be done that is not as sexy and media-grabbing but even more vital. ”

      Waving to your daughter :)

      • My daughter says “wave back! Wave back, mom! Tell ’em I wave back and <3 Harry Potter!"

    • Anonymous

      This, Vikki:  “There is much organizing work to be done that is not as sexy and media-grabbing but even more vital.”

      Yes, yes, yes. 

  • Anonymous

    I am surprised to see Vermont in the top 5 states with the most police misconduct.

    I am not surprised that Idaho, North Dakota and Maine are  states where misconduct is least, as they are all very white states. Montana is a surprise, though.

    • Vermont was a surprise

      I think Montana may be related to the American Indian population…

    • Anonymous

      In Montana, the American Indian population is criminalized and hugely overrepresented in the prison system – and women even more than men. 

      Amazing book:  Luana Ross’ “Inventing the Savage:  The Social Construction of Native American Criminality.” 

      Ross recently assumed the presidency of Salish-Kootenai College on the Flathead Reservation, north of where I live. 

  • Something else worthy of mention here is the governing general assembly, rule by consensus, structure of the “occupies” and effect this has had/is likely to have with respect to the silencing of communities of color. 

    Notwithstanding the narrative that this is a “leaderless” and amorphous “movement,” it does have a framework in place and is run by  specific folks with specific experiences.

    The framework chosen for these “occupies” has to transition to the intersection of race, gender, class, immigration status, sexual orientation, gender expression, ability, etc. with concrete objectives to dismantle the PIC, the power and influence of the banking industry, and other systems of oppression, if the “occupies” is to evolve into an authentic movement that not only creates legislation, but changes paradigms and dismantles hierarchies of privilege (not reinforces them).

    • Anonymous

      There is, in my opinion, no such thing as a “leaderless” movement, as the OWS narrative has it.  At best, there is shared leadership that is often fluid and flexible, depending on particular strategic and tactical needs as things evolve and change.  That is a sign of health, imo.

      My experience is that there is always leadership, whether acknowledged or unacknowledged.  When it is unacknowledged, it is also usually unaccountable to anything or anyone other than itself.  It often works by manipulation. 

      I remember a lot of “leaderless” groups in the late 60s/early 60s.  And let me speak from experience:  that is BS. 

      • why have i only seen bearded white men as Keepers of the People’s Mike???????

        • Anonymous

          They all had babysitters who were fixated on Jeremiah Johnson?  Shows how like rugged and true they are.  Deal with it!

          • ha!!

            i am laughing too hard to type an appropriate response :)

          • Anonymous

            conlakappa, you are right on time tonight!  Still laughing about Jeremiah Johnson.

          • Anonymous

            The photo that Colbert uses as stock OWS is one of a yelling bearded guy though he did have the great description “what gets their white-boy dreads in a knot.” 

    • my reply to you got misplaced above :)

      But Yes Seeta — so true

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for your words and wisdom.  I actually did know a young white woman who had issues with the police, the first I’d met who didn’t get the “protect and serve” “Officer Friendly” vibe.  She was from NYC and talked about mistreatment she’d seen of young men and women, the sort of thing that wouldn’t make the news in its ordinariness.

    Don’t think I told you that the cops in D.C. are shifting their tactics:  http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/dc-politics/police-to-adjust-tactics-for-dealing-with-occupy-dc-protesters-chief-says/2011/11/07/gIQAuh1JxM_story.html, which would explain the heavy police presence that I saw there yesterday.  Cops on all sides, including a couple of mounted ones. 

    •  thanks for being here conlakappa

      and for the link.. Seems like the police presence is getting ramped up everywhere – along with the looming isue of “provocateurs”..

      • Anonymous

        Along with the looming issue, indeed.

      • Anonymous

        It’s a mess and only likely to get messier.  Gosh, I guess it’s not like there’s crime happening in the city/budgeted resources or anything./eyeroll

        Saw Occupious Bearded Hot-Pink-Leaflet Guy yesterday.  Looking angry but not handing out anything this time.

        • “Occupious” is so perfect :)

        • Occupious Bearded Hot-Pink-Leaflet Guy

          Brilliant and pitch perfect as usual, conlakappa.

          • Anonymous

            If he weren’t such an attentionwhore, I’d take a picture and share it with you all.  Annoyingness.

          • we might want that pic conlakappa :)

    • Anonymous

      Interesting, conlakappa. 

      If I were the Right – and a now-civilian veteran of COINTELPRO – I would try to provoke police/protester confrontations.  I would try to recreate Chicago 1968.  That gave us Nixon.

      We used to have a saying when someone was telling us to go violent in
      the demos:  person is a fool or a provocateur.  Either way, steer clear.

      I truly believe the 2012 election will see a huge RW resurgence of a criminalizing narrative that will be racist at its core.  And part of that criminalizing narrative is to set up a Police always are Good and anyone challenging the police is a thug.

      Right now, it pisses me off that much of what I’ve read from OWS in various parts of the country is about the police criminalizing nonviolent, peaceful dissent.

      But look at history, and that has always been the case.  Look at the Civil Rights Movement.  The struggle for farmworker rights was criminalized.  All of the freedom movements of the late 60s/early 70s were criminalized.  In 1970, I was clubbed to unconsciousness by police at a peaceful protest.

      The new outrage – as Nancy’s post so clearly reveals – is a little hard to take when it is not accompanied by a powerful, demonstrated commitment to look at structural processes of criminalization in this country. 

      • yes — Connect the Dots people

        you are so right about the Criminalizing Narrative — which always centers poc..

        and sorry about the protest violence against you Kay..:(

        • Anonymous

          How many thousands of people got beat up by authorities in the protests then?  Believe me, it was nothing special.  I used it to open my eyes to a longer, broader, deeper history of structural violence  and racism.

      • Anonymous

        Oh, yes. Before I knew that there would be this OWS movement, I was sure that the GOP would have some success in 2012 with their familiar Southern Strategy… though I wasn’t sure that it would keep Obama from a second term.

        I think that OWS supporters who focus on police over-reaction, which has been relatively rare, so far, (compared to what POC have suffered on a daily baisis not to mention what Civil Rights old timers like John Lewis had to deal with… ahem) are helping the GOP roll out another 1968 reaction by nervous white voters in time for Nov 2012.

        I give the OWS movement respect for helping to bring issues of economic inequality to the forefront.  Good for them. But, they shouldn’t be rigid in their tactics. They can use connections that never existed before to rally their supporters in different locations and make the news over and over.  Just fighting with the mayor or the police or local commuters in one place or another through the winter might not be the best way to go.


        • Sage! :)  Yes, now that folks have come out to the party, those connections need to be cultivated and steered towards concrete mobilization efforts in local communities.

        • great to see you here sage!!

          and yes — to all you said…

  • Amen Nancy. 

    I am not about to trust a “movement” who offers no critique of the role
    of State violence in upholding capitalist economic interests. I am not
    about to support a “movement” that simplistically centers class to the
    exclusion of racism sexism heterosexism. And No, I am not about to get
    arrested with some “white” guys whose interests are just their own, who only noticed injustice when they were the ones who got laid off, arrested, beat down or tased .

    So perfectly said.

    And to build further on spaces to “occupy” — occupy the banks: Wells Fargo, BoA, Chase, et al; occupy Mississippi wrt the personhood Amendment; occupy Alabama re: HB 56.

    Fight for a decent living wage for all; workers rights for migrant farmers; fight for the eradication of discrimination in the workplace; fight for prison abolition.

    Fight to eradicate the racial wealth gap:  http://criticalmassprogress.com/2011/08/04/racial-wealth-gap/

    Thank you so much Nancy for this excellent, thorough piece.

    For the Occupy camps to have any traction or gain any sustainability its strategy must become intersectional, otherwise it will prop up an unsustainable system based on a hierarchy of privileges.

    • Anonymous

      amen, Seeta.  amen. 

    • Yes!

      There truly is no otehr..

      btw i was quite heartened by the Mississippi 26 vote —  it is time to turn the tide…

      • Yes, thank the celestial forces for that one…but these pro-zygote fools ain’t backing down so long as the social control of women and entitlement to female bodies are on the agenda.

    • Anonymous

      Agree.  I’d like to see shifting tactics and shifting targets myself…

      I’m still smiling over the election results yesterday.  We have a solid push back by the voters in Ohio against those who would take away workers’ rights. 

      And, in Mississippi, those who would take all reproductive rights from women got stopped in their tracks. ( I have to think a significant number of men said what? wait a minute… to the idea of limiting birth control choices.)

      And, in North Carolina an integration plan, that was about intersectionality because it took class as well as race into account, was rescued from the Koch Bros who have so much money that they have some to spend on local school board elections.

      It was a good day.


  • Anonymous

    Powerful and necessary, Nancy.  Thank you.

    And thank you, Angela Davis.  And Bill Fletcher, Jr.  And everyone else who is speaking up for a real intersectional politics, not a an illusory one. 

    A special thank you to  everyone who is willing to challenge the idea – increasingly heard in some segments of OWS – that we should eschew electoral politics altogether; that we shouldn’t vote or vote only for a third party.  That way lies complete madness in my opinion; both are prescriptions for Republican victory – a disaster none of us needs.

    • Thank you Kay — especially today for the heads up on the Fletcher piece..


      The idea of not voting — ever – but especially now, is so alien  to me that i cannot even began to express  my amazement..

      We Must!

      • Anonymous

        Vote – and simultaneously work like hell to build a real intersectional movement that doesn’t conveniently forget the struggle against racism or reduce it to a diversity talking point.

        A movement powerful enough to actually influence electoral politics even as it builds stronger foundations for more lasting, substantive change.

        Vote – and simultaneously expose the vast evil and social control agenda of the Prison Industrial Complex (PIC) while working for prison abolition.

        • Both/And

          Manners and Mayhem!!! :)

          • Anonymous

            Took the words right outta my mouth!

        • Mariame Kaba

          Kay, yes to this.  I am preaching this to everyone I know.  This is a BOTH/AND moment.  The electoral politics nihilists are about to confine us to HELL with President Mitt Romney.  Take to the streets AND to the voting booth.  We must do both.

          • Take to the streets AND to the voting booth.

            Worth repeating!

          • Anonymous

            Exactly:  both/and.

            Anyone who’s looked at the history of change in this country knows that we must fight simultaneously on multiple fronts, ceding NONE of them. 

            Great to see you, MK. 

        • Yes — so many folks are quick to point out the visibility of poc at the “occupies,” but none can point to the intersectional framework or point to a governing structure/style that does not have the effect of silencing communities of color (i.e., the consensus GA approach).

          • this is so right — not just the numbers but the analysis that matters

            And it – so far — is not there

          • Anonymous

            The analysis and the practice. 


      • No way, I’m not voting.  No way.  Too much was sacrificed for my right to vote.  And I’m taking all my family and friends to the poll with me.  

        • i went and voted on 9/11 2001 in the freaking Mpls Mayoral Primary

          Between the  collapse of Tower 1 and Tower 2

          It is that serious to me

    • Anonymous

      I have to vote even when it seems to be a choice between two unexciting choices.  That is what grown ups do. They make hard choices.

      I never forget that people died so that I and others that I love could vote.  And, I never believed that one vote would fix everything so I could just sit back and rest between elections.


  • Mariame Kaba

    Thanks so much for this Nancy.  What an excellent blog post! I have posted to Twitter and Facebook.

  • Angela Davis at Washington Square


    •  i have to say — it took much searching to get the full text of Davis or at least print renditions that told the whole story of what she said…

      Lots of efforts to  leave out the part about — VOTING- and the dangers of another Repub inthe White House…

      Kudos to p[rincss6 — who saw Dabis in Philly – for alerting me to all of what she said there and  then making look further..

      Be ware the Spin out there……..

      • Anonymous

        And there’s a lot of spin.  Thanks for searching until you hit ALL of what Davis said.

        • Well, thanks again to princss6 — made me keep looking..

          A good lesson — for me anyway

          • Anonymous

            I add my thanks to princss6.

      • As she said in Philly, Occupy but recreate the world you want to see.  So not only protest, but if the Occupy sites do not reflect a non-sexist, non-racist, anti-poverty, anti-heterosexist, non-ablist existence, then it does nothing to challenge the status quo.

        • Amen princss!  Hope you are well! :)

          • Hey Seeta!  I’ve been so busy lately but I’m glad to see you and hope you are doing well, too!

        • Recreate is right..

          A critique of capitalism that moves the homeless out???


          • Exactly! When I first learned of that, I was stunned.  It is simply disingenuous to “protest” on behalf of the “99%” without centering on those who suffer most from a composite of the institutionalized “isms.”