Oakland Black Student Reparations

On Wednesday, February 24, 2021, at 5:30 PM the Oakland Board of Education will be voting on a proposal for Reparations for Black Students. You can get the link to the meeting here. Brought forth by a broad coalition of groups including the teachers union, Parent Voices, Black Organizing Project, and many others, this is an enormous step forward. It is likely to pass in some form, but two things to watch for: (1) Some board members may oppose and separate the critical provision to STOP ALL SCHOOL CLOSINGS, a racial justice issue. OUSD has closed 16 historically Black schools […]

Election Post Mortem

Here’s the deal. Black people elected Joe Biden, and he owes them big time. It’s time to once again raise the one demand that fully challenges white supremacy: reparations. The constitution has reproduced what it was written to produce: a white supremacist republic. Leftists have tended to extol the virtues of the American Revolution, Tom Paine, Jefferson at least rhetorically. I think we need to revise our view. 1776 was a slave owners revolt. As well as a revolt of the land pirate Native genociders. They could see the writing on the wall from London, which abolished slavery in 1831, […]

Dismantling Systemic Racism in the Schools

DISMANTLING SYSTEMIC RACISM IN THE SCHOOLS: A Grassroots Strategy Thanks to Black Lives Matter – the New York Times estimated that up to 25 million people were in the streets worldwide in the months of May and June, 2020 – the issue of systemic racism and how to dismantle it has risen to the fore of the political discourse. Clearly, the police represent the front line of systemic racism, as indicated by the fact that although Blacks represent 13% of the population, they comprise 36% of police killings. Defunding the Police as a demand raised by BLM effectively addresses this […]

The OWG Brigade

NOTICE TO ANY SPOOKS WHO MIGHT BE LISTENING: THIS IS SATIRE It is possible that something approaching civil war is imminent in the United States. Already five people have died in confrontations between antiracists and white supremacists, beyond those killed by the police. The situation may escalate quickly, particularly if the election is as inconclusive as many expect. I would like to propose that we form the OWG Brigade, a group of Old White Guys over the age of 70 to assume the front lines in the upcoming battles. Why is it always the youth that are killed in wars? […]

Will we need to make the country “ungovernable?”

I watched some of both conventions, especially the final acceptance speeches. I’m voting for Biden as a strategy to better maintain democratic spaces in order to organize the working class for fundamental change. But I don’t remember a single thing he said in his acceptance speech. Trump was brilliant. I know that’s not an adjective usually associated with this seriously disturbed man. What was most brilliant was giving the speech at the White House in front of an enthusiastic crowd. Yeah, they weren’t social distancing nor were many wearing masks. Some of them may die. Doesn’t change the effect of […]

Top 13 Movies Celebrating Black Liberation

These are my personal choices. There are doubtlessly more, some I may not know about. Please contribute your own suggestions in the comments. Malcolm X (1992): Spike Lee’s masterful bio pic which rivals Citizen Kane as best movie ever IMHO. Chi-Raq (2015): A musical comedy about urban/gang – and worldwide – violence based on Aeschylus’ Lysistrata told in hip-hop verse (think sex strike)! And it works! Deacons for Defense (2003): Forest Whittaker and Ossie Davis in a drama about armed resistance among Alabama Blacks in the Civil Rights Movement. Freedom Road (1979): Muhammed Ali (!) stars in this Reconstruction story about armed resistance to […]

Learning Pods and Hubs

LEARNING PODS AND HUBS: There’s been a lot of news in the press about learning pods and hubs. Pods are the spontaneous creation of mostly middle class parents to address the weaknesses of the remote learning programs. Families get together, and, for as much as $2000 a child, they form clusters of ten or so children, with tutors and unemployed teachers to assist and coordinate the children’s learning. It’s sort of a grass roots movement, but of primarily privileged families. San Francisco is allegedly forming learning hubs at various libraries and recreation centers, for low-income students without access to internet […]

Socialist Strategy and the Biden Debate

I’m presenting a guest blog this week from Max Elbaum. This is the article I have been wanting to write for weeks. Max nailed it. I know it’s long, but please read the whole article. This man has a mountain of experience and years of study and thought on now to build a revolutionary socialist movement in the U. S and world-wide. This is the kind of thinking  – as well as the comradely tone – we need right now. SOCIALIST STRATEGY AND THE BIDEN DEBATE By Max Elbaum, One of the editors at Organizing Upgrade. The COVID-19 pandemic and […]

Reparations Now!

Clearly the time for a serious discussion on reparations for enslavement and subsequent discrimination is long overdue, and particularly timely in the current uprising. There’s one step that the Democratic-led House could take immediately: Pass HR 40, the Conyers/Jackson bill calling for a Commission to Study and Develop Reparation Proposals for African-Americans Act. There are many proposals for what reparations might look like, from cash grants to increased education funding. My proposal is simple. The need for reparations is demonstrated by the following statistic: the median wealth (not income) of white households is 10 times that of Black households, $171,000 to $17,000 (2017 figures […]

The White Supremacy Virus

We wear that mask for a reason, to reduce the risk of a personal/social catastrophe. The risk isn’t very high, but we take precautions, most of us. What if the growing fascist movement was the next devastating virus? This is why we Bernie enthusiasts need to stop attacking Biden. I don’t care who you vote for, but take the precaution of not attacking the Democratic candidate. There was a time to do that, and we lost. Some people say Biden will be as bad as Trump. They might be right. Maybe the white supremacists virus will go away on its […]