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Decolonize Oakland May Day Occupy Rally

May 4th, 2012 - 2:02 pm

After spending the first part of May Day in downtown Oakland, which I documented in my Occupy Oakland May Day General Strike report, I next moved down to Fruitvale BART at 3pm, where the day’s second big event was scheduled: the Decolonize Oakland rally, also known as the “March for Dignity and Resistance.”


While downtown’s “general strike” was mostly a playdate for the white Occupiers, the “Decolonize Oakland” rally was designed to attract the city’s Hispanic population. The rally was held at Fruitvale because it’s the heart of the city’s Hispanic neighborhood.


As always at such things, the rally started with some Aztec dancers. The Aztecs have come to symbolize the essence of pre-colonial North America, and since the rally was to “decolonize” Oakland, what better way to kick off the festivities?


In case you may be wondering how exactly they plan to “decolonize” (i.e. kick out all those of European descent) a major American city, the answer can be found at the rally’s astonishing decolonization manifesto page, which should be required reading for anyone who thinks that the left wing is the mellow side of the political spectrum. Titled “For People Who Have Considered Occupation But Found It Is Not Enuf,” the manifesto goes on to explain that “decolonization” is not simply a physical process, but rather is a philosophy, a frame of mind, in which the social structure, attitudes and creations of white people need to be discarded entirely. Furthermore, the decolonization folks see the white-led Occupy movement itself as part of the problem:

Some of us participated in the formation of Occupy People of Color and Queer People of Color groups in order to hold space, or find refuge when encountered with incidents of racism, sexism, or homophobia. The simple fact that our groups served this purpose shows that OWS spaces prioritized the wants, needs, values, and culture of heterosexual white men first. Frankly, many of us have encountered this straight-white-man approach to movement-building too many times to count. In fact, many of the same characters that have attempted to dominate movements in our communities in the past are the same people who lead OWS from the light and shadows.

The physical presence of multitudes of white Occupiers on Wall Street, which was once the site of Native genocide and African chattel slavery, is troubling. Though Occupy activists now widely share the history of Wall Street to show that its foundations are corrupt, they use this truth to justify a new occupation that is 80% white and 68% male.

…This occupation of public space upholds white supremacy….

We demand that our white allies speak with their comrades about the racial privilege that enables their actions…

We demand that Occupy activists cease using their experiences of police repression and brutality to erase the historical and current practices of genocidal violence against our peoples. What does it mean to suggest that people being pepper sprayed or badly injured by a gas canister is somehow on par with the generational traumas and current realities that Native communities, for example, experience?…

We demand that future encampments be organized and led by those who most need them.

Clear enough? They don’t want to take over Oakland; they want to take over the racist Occupy movement. An internal coup is necessary before the final revolution, because even if Occupy succeeds in overthrowing society, it would still be just a bunch of pasty-ass white guys controlling everything, and nothing will have changed.


This is the logical endpoint of modern leftist ideology, with affirmative action and “progressive stacking” and reparations taken to their ultimate conclusion. The Decolonize Oakland group sees the whole world as a gargantuan Apartheid regime, and they are seeking a globalized version of the day that the white South African government voluntarily stepped down and handed power to the oppressed people. Or, to put it more succinctly: Step aside, whitey: It’s our turn!


Despite all that, a surprisingly large number of naive white Occupiers showed up, perhaps unaware of just how unwelcome they were, and just how insufficient their radicalism is.


While the downtown Occupy event was mostly an anarchist affair, down here in Fruitvale it was much more overtly communist. This couple left me wondering: Does the sign on the left advocate the kind of gun-wielding power of their hero Che; or is it a complaint that the white police have unfair advantage; or what? Troubling. And amusing. Depending on how seriously you take it.


The Hispanics were communists…


The white people were communists… (Dude — seriously? Lenin?)…


The Black people were communists…


The Asians were communists…


Heck, it’s a Communist Party!

So many communists, one needs road signs to keep from getting lost in the maze of ideologies. Where can I find such signs…?


Ah, here we go.

The radical anti-capitalism spanned the generations. We had…


…babies…


…toddlers…


…teenagers…


…twenty-somethings…


…young adults…


…grown-ups…


…and seniors, all hating racist capitalist America equally! Such a scene of cross-generation harmony brought a tear to my eye.

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