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March 29, 2009

Lovelle Mixon, martyr? His supporters backtrack...Sort of...

The International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement, which sponsored the March 26 East Oakland march and rally on behalf of Lovelle Mixon, has apparently received some criticism for its sympathetic position for the cop killer. And not just from the general public, but from its own supporters.



Poor activists on behalf of upstanding citizens like Mixon!
I came across their response to the rally and vigil they held March 26 on Mixon's behalf, and the Uhuru Movement sounded rather defensive, as if it knew they had had crossed a line.

But before I quote their response, I want to go back in recent history, just by about a few days.

Here's what Uhuru spokesman Bakari Olatunji said the night of the rally on behalf of Mixon. Mixon is the 26-year-old parolee who shot and fatally wounded four Oakland police officers on Saturday, March 21:

"We pay respects for a young brother who we felt symbolized the resistance of African people who are terrorized daily by the police force which are an occupying army in the African community, and not just here in Oakland but all throughout this country," Olatunji said. "You see every day black people are dying at the hands of the police."

The local branch of the Uhuru movement has its headquarters a few blocks from the section of MacArthur Boulevard where Mixon gunned down the first two Oakland police officers during a traffic stop. A few hours after fatally wounded the first two officers, he shot and killed two more police officers while they trying to enter the apartment building where Mixon was hiding.

If nothing else, the local branch of the Uhuru movement, by holding its rally on March 26, was guilty of some extremely bad public relations timing.

By that day, news reports had already reported that Mixon had been linked to the 2007 drug murder of another East Oakland resident and, through DNA evidence, to the February rape of a 12-year-old East Oakland girl.

The Uhuru movement's position does make you wonder if the group cares more about making a political point about so-called police repression than about the fact that their so-called hero/martyr victimized one of their community's daughters/sisters/nieces/cousins/granddaughters.

Anyway, I was checking out their website today, and I got the sense that they received some backlash for their sympathetic position to Mixon. Too bad, huh?

Here is what the Uhuru movement had to say on its website. And in quoting their statement, I in no way agree with what they have to say. In fact, I think they come off as their own worst enemy:

The Uhuru Movement thanks all of our friends and supporters who have voiced their concerns about the position taken by the Uhuru Movement on the March 21 killings of four Oakland policemen and twenty-six year old Lovelle Mixon.

We unite with your interest in dialog and resolution to this situation and in building unity among the various communities in Oakland through genuine social justice.

The Uhuru Movement has always understood that our friends may disagree with some of our positions—positions which always uphold justice for the African working class community.


We understand and unite with your concerns that the tense situation in Oakland must be resolved.

It is unfortunate that it takes a situation like this to bring Oakland’s real problems to the surface.

We have to take the March 21 events in the context of the long history that the Oakland police department has had with the Oakland African working class community.

It was the infamous brutality of the Oakland police that gave rise to the Black Panther Party for Self Defense in the 1960s.

There has been the exposure of the notorious Oakland “Riders,” whose brazen violence, harassment, racism and dishonesty are well known.

There have been relentless police murders of African community members young and old, such as Casper Banjo, an elderly African man and well-known, respected artist who was blatantly shot by the police last year.

There are hundreds of African and Mexican working class people who have been murdered by police over the years, real human beings whose names fade from the collective memory so quickly. Many of these victims have been blatantly slandered in the media, doubling the pain of the grieving families.

The recent cold-blooded, point blank BART police murder of young Oscar Grant was only unusual because it was caught from many angles on video.

But it is much more than this. Oakland has a very clear publicly supported policy of police containment, implementing an incessant martial law with ever-present SWAT teams and police helicopters circling over neighborhoods
daily.

California’s prison population is the fourth largest in the entire world and the OPD does everything possible to feed young African men and women from Oakland into that system for their entire lives.

Discriminatory legislation such as Three Strikes locks up countless African people as young as 14 years old for things that white people get to go to rehab for.

It has long been documented in articles by journalist Gary Webb in the San Jose Mercury News, for example, that the US government is responsible for imposing the devastating crack cocaine plague in African communities, and it is well known that the police have and continue to facilitate this.

The Uhuru Movement does not support the loss of life of any person. But the loss of life at the hands of the police in the African community of Oakland has been going on for half a century.


The “tensions” in Oakland are caused by the police, not by an impoverished community struggling to survive.

Even the mainstream media sources such as the New York Times and National Public Radio have had to mention in most reports that many in the African community do not support the police’s position in this case, and understand that Mixon’s actions were the result of years of oppression of a whole community which has come to a boiling point.

Lovelle Mixon’s life, like that of thousands of young African men in the impoverished neighborhoods of Oakland, was over long before he was killed by police. He faced a hopeless dead end of joblessness, poverty and criminalization by a society that would rather lock up young African men than make college or jobs available to them.

The police are not social workers; they are a military force with the assignment to carry out a violent containment policy against a whole community. The purpose of the police is to maintain power for the status quo and uphold the relations of poverty and wealth in the city.

If we want to move forward and “build bridges” as a city there is only one road to do so. We have to truly understand the calls of a community under siege and demand an immediate end to this completely failed public policy of police containment, this war without terms waged against the African community of Oakland.

We have to demand a policy of genuine economic development for the African community—development that truly benefits and uplifts the deeply impoverished African working class of this city, and is not just another cover for gentrification and dispersal of the oppressed.

We appreciate your continued support of the Uhuru Movement and urge you to take an active stand in transforming Oakland into a model city of shared prosperity and true social justice.

Uhuru!

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Didn't sound like much of an apology to me. These guys deserve to be thrown in jail.

Hopefully some folks in blue will make sure that some of these UhRu guys get a ride or two on a taser.

Anonymous said...

You know what.. I can't even read your post.. I get the gist.. there is no other side. And furthermore if you look at stats, I'll bet the #1 cause of death for young adult black males - is other young adult black males!!!! Something is wrong in their OWN damn community. And until they recognize it and look to fix it , it is a vicious cycle their young men will never escape. Nor will the rest of us escape their rampage. Even african american families, law abiding families, in Oakland do their shopping and are in by nightfall, they have bars in the windows, and have alarms.. who do you think they're protecting themselves from? Uhhh yup, fellow black folks. FIX IT DAMMIT Oakland community. First off, parents, do you know where in the hell your SON or DAUGHTER is, RIGHT NOW?

Barry said...

Has Obama made any public announcement regarding this tragedy? If so, what did he say? And if not, why not?

Anonymous said...

I was reading the Uhru website the other day and there were many readers who had decided to boycott all of their food stands. I guess they have a bunch of food stands at farmers markets and other places throughout the Bay area, especially during the spring/summer months. I would bet just about any amount of money that's why we heard an "apology". The people were threatening to hit 'em where it hurt, their financial support, and they back pedaled. I have no doubt whatsoever. I perused this website via SF Gate on Friday and quite frankly I think they are a scary, scary group. Seriously, there was an excuse for what this man did?! I was physically sick by what I read there.

Anonymous said...

Barack Obama wrote a letter to the families of the fallen officers and called it a tragedy. If anyone watched on TV or listened on the radio it was read aloud at the memorial on Friday. I don't think any community wants to embrace Lovelle Mixon. The Uhuru group is talking in circles with their statement and the arguments don't hold much water. If every argument you make is against the community you live in and supports you I don't see how you will move forward. At some point you have to come up with solutions not just rhetoric to solve problems.

Anonymous said...

I used to date an OPD officer. Granted, this was a while ago, but he used to joke about responding to a shooting in progress. He said he would wait until it was over. The person lying on the ground was the victim and the person standing was the perpetrator.

Nice, huh? Before you all start judging Oakland citizens, you should walk a mile in their shoes, as the saying goes.

Do any of you know what it's like to be discharged as an infant with no clothes -- wrapped up only in a paper hospital gown?

Most, if not all, of the people from these neighborhoods who succeed, leave. There are no role models in those communities. There is constant violence.

What do we expect?

We are what we live.

Thud said...

'Discharged in only paper'....baby clothes are so cheap now as to not be a factor in anybodies budget no matter how 'deprived' Anybody taking an infant home in such a state have only themselves to blame...self responsibility isn't something that features large in Oakland though is it?

Soccer Mom said...

I was re-reading the "apology" from the Uhuru group, and a big part of me feels bad for posting it in its entirety, because I find their position on Mixon's so-called victimhood to be rather sickening. Even if you're one of the people in the community who have had a bad experience with the cops, and you don't trust cops, you can't deny that Mixon also was your enemy and that he preyed on your own brothers and sisters.

The reason I posted their entire "apology" or explanation was to show their sick and twisted logic, not to give them more publicity.

And, as Anon 6:22 pointed out, most crimes in neighborhoods like East Oakland are black on black. Black men killed by other black men, NOT by police.

Anonymous said...

Burn in Hell Mixson. BURN IT HELL!