one of the reasons why i've lost interest in blogging about music critics in the past is that i don't only care about music critics. politically, i'm something of an alarmist, which can get frustrating, because in polite company (really, any company) i've learned to shut my mouth, because people hate it when you talk about politics (unless you're talking about elections). since there are no people on the internet -- just ghosts -- i've decided to let off some steam over here.
the ongoing struggle in my one-time home of oakland is heating up again. on new year's eve, a BART police shot an unarmed black man as he was subdued, face-down on a subway platform. several transit riders made cell-phone videos of the execution, and this set off a string of protests which turned violent several weeks back.
this is, so far, a milder version of riots we've seen before in this country (los angeles, newark). they tend to involve what usually ends up being called "senseless violence". in truth, it only takes a bit of examination to see otherwise. young black men attack commercial real estate (i.e. the prevailing social order) in response to an especially heinous state action, which only confirms and amplifies a belief that urban youths of many races share, namely that they are VICTIMS of the prevailing social order. just because the actions aren't really constructive doesn't mean that they aren't logical. indeed, what use is being constructive when you are essentially redundant to the structure itself?
here is a link to today's san francisco chronicle story about today's protests. what i would like to draw attention to is the comments, about a third of which have been deleted by the editors.
"90% of these 'Bad cop' shootings could be avoided. Take a lesson...just follow the 2 simple rules!! Its so easy, even a fool can do it!!! Rule 1: Do exactly as you are told to do when confronted by the Police. Rule 2: Do as Rule 1 sez, otherwise you may be shot!!! Re-read it if the words are too big or difficult. ......Idiots......." (this comment, as of this moment, has 35 thumbs up, and 7 thumbs down from other readers)
three comments later: "Oscar Grant did exactly as he was told by the police, and he got shot in the back." (six thumbs up, forty four thumbs down)
"50 people blocking Broadway and chanting meaningless slogans like 'no justice, no peace,' and mugging for the cameras -- which is exactly what I saw these brainless jackasses doing from my office window -- doesn't accomplish anything, either. Except make an already broke city go even further in the hole with police overtime." (fifty three thumbs up, four thumbs down; in which the poorest people in the city are held responsible for THE MONEY IT COSTS TO OPRESS THEM!!!!!)
"'be arrested for unlawful assembly'.....how can this be? Is there no freedom to assemble in the USA? No freedom to demonstrate?" (twelve thumbs up, thirty three thumbs down.)
what gets me down is that this is happening in the bay area. i assure you that each and every author quoted above (not to mention all those thumbs) voted for obama. yet even in oakland, the oppressed becomes the criminal; the state, the victim.
a young student is tased by campus police for the act of asking a disagreeable question of john kerry, and the desperate yelp he manages to get out between massive electric shocks ("don't tase me, bro") becomes a national punchline. the banking industry literally steals $700 billion from the treasury, and the newspaper blames "low-income borrowers" who defaulted on their criminally structured mortgages.
california prisons house over 750,000 inmates (roughly the population of wyoming). this didn't happen overnight. it's taken thirty years of draconian federal and state law enforcement to get our nation where we are today. (one in every nine black men between the age of 18-29 is currently serving time in prison).
understand, i do not support violence. i don't think armed young men roaming the streets looking for something to destroy is a good thing -- indeed, that's precisely why i feel the way i do. if you're going to wage a war against this nation's urban poor (a popular way to do so at the moment is to vote democrat), you really shouldn't act surprised when your adversary strikes back (and you should thank your caucasian god for how peaceful such responses usually are).
i promise to do this, at most, once a month. apologies.