Bay Area Solidarity Statement 2020

On June 2nd, 2020, on the eve of a major protest against the curfew in Oakland, this statement was written to help organizations unite around a common understanding at a moment when the government and much of the media are looking to divide us from within. There are real conversations to be had about strategy and tactics, and the hope is this statement will help to begin that process in a way that moves away from blaming and criminalizing to acting with discipline, integrity and understanding. As we look to a future of powerful movement building in the interest of justice, let us also hold ourselves accountable to each other in new ways. Thank you for taking the time to read this statement, and please consider endorsing.

The murder of George Floyd has sparked a nationwide movement, and our cry for justice is echoing internationally. Powerful protests are erupting worldwide. And the global police state is pushing back.

The main method the government uses to suppress major protests is overwhelming force and aggression, including flash bangs, chemicals, projectiles, and tanks.

The other method is to divide us from within.

During every period of upsurge and resistance – from Rodney King, to Oscar Grant, to Occupy, to Standing Rock – the government has exploited differences between us to divide and suppress the growth of our movement.

After the first night of every upsurge, the police and government officials use the exact same playbook and blast it through the media:

  • Label people who’ve been arrested as “outsiders” and “opportunists.”
  • Divide people into “good” vs. “bad” protesters.
  • Send in provocateurs and thugs to cause harm and send in infiltrators to learn our weaknesses and differences so they can exploit them later.
  • Encourage white supremacists and others to attack and disorient us.

They discredit our movements and keep us looking for enemies from within instead of building solidarity and our movement.

The most extreme example of this today is classifying “Antifa” as a terrorist organization. Make no mistake, the target is “Antifa” and “white anarchists” now, but they’re going to apply the label of “Black Identity Extremists” to others next. And black and brown anarchists could be labeled as both.

These are the same red baiting tactics of the 1950s and the violence baiting used against the Black Panther Party, the American Indian Movement, and Puerto Rican independence movement, which left comrades still serving out life sentences today.

We can’t resolve every difference of opinion regarding protest strategy overnight – and we must always consider how various approaches impact those already most targeted by police – but we can agree to engage in good faith questioning and principled struggle when differences arise.

We can agree to resolve disagreements in private and offline, and to not share footage that could be harmful to the movement. Our strength and solidarity should be public and our differences should be kept amongst ourselves.

The brutal murder of George Floyd has unleashed fury and pain in ways we haven’t seen before. We still have waves of coronavirus infection to survive and over 100,000 funerals to attend. We are heading into an economic crisis worse than the Great Depression, and the United States is jockeying for world domination in an election year. And the military is literally occupying our communities.

But the repression we face is only happening because the people have stood up and stood together. In a few short days we have made one thing crystal clear: there is no going back to so-called “normal.”  Let us keep our sights on the world we want to create, while we continue to build and grow and heal.  Let us all meet the challenges ahead with discipline, integrity and understanding.

In the words of Assata Shakur:

It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love and protect one another.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.

Endorsers
as of June 26, 2020

About Face: Veterans Against the War – Bay Area
Alliance of South Asians Taking Action (ASATA)
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project
Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP)
Arab Resource & Organizing Center (AROC)
Bay Area Resource Generation
BAY-Peace, Better Alternatives for Youth
Catalyst Project
Causa Justa :: Just Cause
CODEPINK: Women for Peace – Golden Gate Chapter
Communities United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ)
Community Ready Corps (CRC)
Community Ready Corps Allies & Accomplices (CRCAA)
Courage to Resist
Diablo Rising Tide
Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (EBC)
Extinction Rebellion – San Francisco
International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network (IJAN)
Jewish Voice for Peace – Bay Area
Justice for Palestinians
Movement Generation: Justice and Ecology Project
National Lawyers Guild – SF (NLG-SF)
National Lawyers Guild – UC Berkeley School of Law
PLACE Oakland
Police Brutality Coalition of Sonoma County
San Jose Peace and Justice Center
Serve the People San Jose (On Occupied Ohlone Land)
Showing Up for Racial Justice Oakland/Bay Area (SURJ)
Showing Up for Racial Justice Marin
Sunrise – Bay Area
Veronica Geretz Yoga
W. Haywood Burns Institute

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Courage to Resist is hosting this statement on behalf of the endorsing organizations listed.