Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Personal Statement of Non-Violence

--The following is a living document--

I am not a violent person but I would not call myself a pacifist either.  I do not believe that by abstaining from physical confrontation I will eventually win over my enemy to create love and understanding between us.

While I hope that one day non-violence will be able to evolve from just a tactic to a non-delusional practical philosophy/ way of life--- I understand that as our world is as of now, a tactic in our bag of tricks is all it can be.

I believe there is a small number fighting for true freedom and equality among all people, a small number fighting against it, and the majority of people too afraid to stop straddling the line.

Violence is about intent and outcome.
The intent being to cause harm and/or dominate another person into a position of inferiority.
The outcome being to prevent someone from being capable of providing for themselves and/or placing a person in a psychological state where they do not question this position of inferiority.

Self- defense is not violence.  Retaliation against an oppressive force for preservation of your personal safety or the safety of another person is a natural humyn response.  Condemning someone for acting like a humyn is violence and also makes you an accessory to the oppressive force itself.

Property destruction is not violence.  Things don't have feelings. Things are given importance to distract you from what is really going on and what you are really feeling.  However I also believe that it is important to know your target.  Burning down a small business is not hurting capitalism, it is hurting the livelihood of someone just trying to provide for their family the only way they know how.  Taking something away from someone and not providing them with at least a means to find a alternative is violence.

Most of all violence is living in a place were our education oversimplifies violence as hurting someone who is "good".

7.25.12
1.23.13

Friday, July 13, 2012

July 12- Chalkwalk

       It's unfortunate that time and time again we have seen peaceful events grow to riots caused by an excessive show of force by the LAPD.  For a bit of background- the chalk walk event was organized by a group of activists associated with Occupy Los Angeles to bring attention to the arrests that have been occurring at 626 Wilshire (the Central City East Association building).  Arrests that have largely occurred due to activists chalking political messages outside of the building to bring attention to various initiatives being pressed forward by the CCEA to essentially strip downtown clean of people the 'not-for-profit business corportation'  sees as undesirable.  Since NBC is uninterested in doing any research to coherently articulate what the organizers intention was and since even the artwalk co founder seems to be incapable of reading a press release or stay aware of what people in his community do;  Let me state again.  The purpose of Chalk Walk was to bring attention to the arrests that had been occurring at the CCEA.  
        The action was planned to take place between 5th and 6th on Spring street and was intended to be a peaceful outreach event to encourage friendly dialogue.  Many artwalk regulars (parents and their children included) stopped by to draw with us.
        Many interesting conversations sparked from discussing MacKinney vs. Nielsen the ninth circuit court of appeals decision that ruled that chalk could not be considered vandalism and was a constitutionally protected form of free speech under the first amendment.  8 arrests occurred between 7:30- and 8:45.  All for.... you guessed it- chalking.  Everything remained peaceful during the first 7 arrests as the chalkers remained calm as they were taken into custody.

        The escalating incident happened during the 8th arrest.  Apparently the LAPD wanted the chalk gone, the rain wasn't working fast enough, and formed a skirmish line in front of the chalkers.  Occupiers formed a line and started chanting.  A lot of the artwalk patrons were confused as to why there were riot police when no riot was occurring.  A female art patron -not associated with OLA- trying to de-escalate the situation, walked in the middle of the two lines and drew a smiling stick figure.  She was then tackled to the ground with such force that it caused her boyfriend to panic and lunge toward the police to protect her.  He was shoved away by a couple officers.  The womyn was then grabbed, flipped over, dropped face down onto the street and then pinned down by an officer's knee.  Her boyfriend was visibly upset and had to be restrained by 4 of his friends. It was at this point that a multitude of art walk patrons rushed into the street to protest her treatment.  Tear gas was fired.
   
Skid Row Media: Chalk Walk report

     As the crowd swelled, residents watching from their windows began to throw bottles at the police line. It was this excuse that LAPD took to begin firing rubber bullets into the crowd. Some artwalk bystanders were hit by the less- lethal ammunition* and suffered some pretty ugly injuries as a result. 
 One man -not pictured below- was shot in his chest, had the wind knocked out of him and ended up collapsing right in front of the skirmish line. 
                                       
   A few female protesters holding the front line rushed forward to help him and called for a medic.  However we could not get to him before the police kicked the skateboard he was cradling into his face. 

    As we were all forced to take a step back we watched as he was trampled over, flipped onto his face, zipped tied and dragged onto the sidewalk.

    It was at this point that some bar patrons came out and hurled a couple bottles at the police.  Two female occupiers mic check and told the crowd, "Don't throw bottles- when you do that the cops don't care to aim at you.  They just shoot in your general direction." "Keep your brothers and sisters safe, we are not prepared to deal will less lethal ammunition."

At one point the police attempted a right flank to kettle protesters but everyone was able to get out of the designated area.  We believe an additional 3 people were arrested as LAPD pushed the crowd North on Spring, none of which were associated with Occupy L.A. A couple hours and probably hundreds of thousands of city dollars spent on LAPD machismo later, the crowd naturally dispersed and continued along with their night.
   So- now the real nitty gritty- Why did this happen?  I'll keep this brief since this post is running a bit on the long side.  This wasn't about chalk, this wasn't about 'people provoking the cops'- it was about finding any excuse to lock up individuals speaking out about what is going on in downtown.    

 The CCEA's safer cities initiative is nothing more than a way to gentrify the area into a mono-socio/economic neighborhood that does not have to worry about "ethnic problems".  Harassing the houseless population of skid row and co-ercing them to leave is just the first step to expand CCEA's current 97 block territory to cover the whole of downtown.  Don't believe the houseless get harassed without reason? Go to LACAN and talk to any of the individuals that work there and I guarantee you will have an entirely different perspective on what goes on in downtown.  The safer cities initiative also lays out a plan that CCEA plans to implement by 2020 that would in essence clear out all of the businesses from Santee Alley.      
Skid row is comprised mostly of African American residents and Santee Alley is comprised mostly of Latino or Korean business owners.  While this 2020 plan may not be intentionally racist, it certainly brings into question the morality of determining someones future or making decisions about someones livelihood in a way that will not benefit them in any way.  As well as the morality of such decisions being made by people who only stand to benefit by other's misfortunate.  In the end- this is all about economics and keeping money in the hands of the "right" people.
 ----interesting


Some food for thought-
           Did the consent decree actually do anything?
           Why are the interests of the CCEA only being taken into account and not the people its'
              policies will actually effect?

Before LAPD
photo

 

After LAPD
*Note: less- lethal ammunition refers to rubber bullets, foam grenades, pepper spray rounds, tear gas, or any other ammunition the LAPD normally refers to as "non-lethal".  While law enforcement claims that these are not intended to kill the people they are aimed at; there have been various documented incidents of people dying or receiving life threatening injuries as a result of "improper use" of said ammunition.  Tear gas and other chemical weapons have also been documented to cause miscarriages.  
 from the perspective of artwalk regulars

-------------------------------------------
Updates: 
my story got picked up and has top views on Occupied stories http://occupiedstories.com/chalkwalk-turns-ugly.html

It is also published in the latest issue of Turning the Tide!
PDF http://antiracist.org/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/v25-n3-jul-sep-2012.pdf
Find out more info here: http://tideturning.org/

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Interviews

     I am usually pretty cautious when it comes to on camera interviews.  Call me paranoid but when it comes to speaking on political movements it can be difficult to know who you can trust not to chop and screw your words to their advantage.  Personally I'd rather only talk to people that I've gotten to know or can be vouched for by someone I trust. 

Anywho- one such person that I met, named Arpan has decided to make a short documentary on raid night and will be screening it on July 24. (details and trailers below) Although I have not known him for very long, I know he has gone out of his way to make sure that a variety of voices are represented in his piece- which more people should make an honest effort to do I think.

So.... come support! A couple people featured in the film, myself included, will be participating in a Q&A afterwards.

-------------- 

July 24, 2012
Sancho Art Gallery


1549 West Sunset Boulevard
Echo Park, CA 90026
A short film about the arrests at Occupy Los Angeles told by the arrested activists in their own words, by Arpan Roy.

Also, HEATHER LOCKIE and ALEX WAND will be performing Woody Guthrie songs in Woody's old LA neighborhood - Echo Park!

The event begins at 8, and the film will show at 9. There will be a Q&A after the film. $5 donation.


Saturday, June 30, 2012

PCU 2.0- La Casita

I guess Ian made a video. Ch-check it.  Neither me or Sergio are in this one but it definitely shows how beautiful our garden has started to become.  I guess Ian and I stressing over research and constantly monitoring the plants has worked out.
;)

People's Collective University

Friday, February 10, 2012

La casita

Going to try a blog for the casita--
not sure how it will work out but here it goes.....
Currently in the process of getting it linked up to the website I made but we've been super busy with all the stuff at the casita so regular updates and the site completely functioning won't be for another couple months unless we can get some other volunteers coming soon.  None of the neighborhood youth care about website/blog stuff.  The garden and know your rights impromtu classes are the only things that really catch their attention.
Honestly, I'd prefer it that way- these youth are learning what they want/need. I'm okay with coming second after that especially since I am learning more about how to help run a community oriented education program than I ever did at camp.

http://peoplescollectiveuniversity.blogspot.com/
http://pcu-uclg.weebly.com/index.html

Sunday, January 15, 2012