Tag Archives: OA206

We Will Have Our Victory

Answering the call of war we ran into the streets

Blood had spilled, the cops had killed, revenge was looking sweet

Didn’t matter who you were, or what neighborhood you from

All that mattered, was that, with this system, you were done!

The horns and the drums, fire poundin in our hearts

Raging through our veins, was an anger off the charts

Black, White, Asian, Native, Mexican, we all

Knew this racist, white supremist system had to fall

Downtown to Westlake, where all of us converged

Hands Up! Don’t Shoot! Was the war-cry that emerged

As we took over the streets, people steady flooding in

Bringing traffic to a halt, the movement had began

A fight for Human Rights, for Dignity and Life

A fight for Respect, Liberty the Right

To go to the store and to make it home alive

Cuz it’s nearly, impossible, to be Black, and to survive

The gauntlet of the school system not going to jail

a prisoner, a slave, told we can do naught but to fail

While a system of laws, written to, protect, us all

We wanted to know that cops were not above the law

Due Process, that precious 5th Amendment clause

They are neither judge nor jury, but they’re acting without pause

And while none of this is new to a people who’ve seen the worst

Daren Wilson’s, non-indictment, is what pushed us to subverse!

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

Marching through the streets, was simply not enough

Police came gassed up, turtle suits, and billy clubs

Seattle Mayor Murray, Chief O’Toole, and Bruce Harrell,

Our supposed ‘Civil Rights, City Hall Official’ failed

To recognize and respect, our Right, to assemble

To petition our government, for grievances, rendered

And instead authorized paramilitary troops

To stifle Free Speech, and Suppress the People whose

Intent was to acquire equal unbiased treatment

Guaranteed, in the 14th, Amendment achievement

In 1868, and over a hundred years later

Still waiting, hence my reason for being an Agitator

The people grew complacent, felt comfort in their ignorance

So, there was nothing left but Civil Disobedience

They disregarded us at city hall and public meetings

Labeled hooligans thugs, with anarchist leanings

Negotiation failed, and out gunned and out strategized

We recognized, to mobilize, we had to organize ourselves

If we meant to win against a system generations fixed

& that, is why, we created OA206

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We hit the streets, we had to, people were dying

All were upset, the government was conspiring

State Sanctioned Violence, was claiming our people’s lives

Impunity ubiquitous, getting off left and right

Martin, Brown, Garner, Rice, and Boyd

Their killers walked free, everyone was annoyed

Darren Wilson made half a mil with network ABC

Adding insult to injury, we just couldn’t believe

Being Black, was not, a precondition, for anger

But in the protracted struggle, color became a hang-up

First there was a split between the Brown and the White

Which, made perfect sense given the White Supremist plight

Then Black only spaces formed, to lead the struggle

Cuz One, should, rumble for their freedom, un-muzzled

But to deny, the vital intellect and the skills

Of a person, based on race, is a practice that kills

Black people suffering from internalized oppression

A festering pestilence, ushered death from within

& From the depths of deception, character assassination

Followed the path of this nation, down to the heart of black hatred;

This is where O.A. Split, and though, now it is clear

that the spiritual harms we came with left us unprepared

to truly unify against this Totalitarian Regime

We’re healing wounds and righting wrongs, that go back centuries

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

We will have struggle

Won’t be defeated

We will have justice

Won’t be defeated

We will have freedom

Won’t be defeated

Working Together we will have our Victory

The Failing Justice System

I know there has been a lot of talk about what happened at the Metropolitan King County Council meeting when they voted unanimously for the new Children and Family ‘Justice’ Center; the Jail, Prison, School-to-Prison Pipeline, factory, warehouse for our children. This is what really went down.

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The lid on Pandora’s Box has been torn off because our elected officials’ apathetic and unresponsive approach to our social ills is inadequate and inappropriate!

Although, they voted unanimously for the new supposed CFJC It is not built yet, and even if they waste the money to build it, we can still work to ensure that it is not used and that alternatives are employed to help our children, who are victims of the system, not criminals.

Recap:

Regan Dunn, Dave Upthegrove, Rod Demowski, Kathy Lambert, Larry Phillips, Petr von Reichbauer, Larry Gossett, Jane Hague, and Joe McDermott

These are the names of the people currently on the Metropolitan King County Council. Voting is right around the corner and we both want and need people in office who are going to be sensitive and responsive to our needs and concerns.

The Criminal Justice System is no longer,

if it ever has been in American,

about punishment and rehabilitation.

The philosophy grounding the criminal justice system suggests that society has a right to punish those who violate the laws. How the laws are devised is questionable at best, but the premise is that laws are rules that are less stringent than the actual moral code of a particular group of people, yet sufficient to ensure the stability and order of the society. In this regard, John Stuart Mill in the paper On Liberty (1859) phrased the justification as such: “the sole end for which mankind are warranted, individually or collectively, in interfering with the liberty of action of any of their number, is self-protection. That the only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others.” This is what is called the Harm Principle and is the primary principle by which of criminal justice system is justified. However, and in stark contrast to what the principle suggests and what the actual practices of the Department of Justice, with it many subsidiary police departments and courts, reveals is that it diverges dangerously far away from the grounding principle.

First, I do not think that we will find much argument, unless the person be a sociopath, that causing undue and unjust harm to another human being is wrong. People are naturally inclined to form or have desires; to form plans for their lives and to share special bonds or connections with those whom they care about. Furthermore, most people believe that insofar as those plans do not impede and infringe upon the plans of others, or horrendously violate some moral code, that all people should be permitted to express and exercise their desires, plans, and special connections. If this is disagreed with and the person be not a sociopath, then I do not think they have fully considered the implications of their argument because if it were the case that people did not have the liberty to do this, then the dissenter could not rightly voice their opinion in contention. For example, if this individual did not think that another should play baseball, let’s say, because the sport in their opinion is a useless endeavor,and this ruling was to hold even though no harm was done to anyone by the playing of the sport, then a new principle would be employed wherein no one is protected. Nothing would protect that individual’s expression from interference by others, and the result would be a system of arbitrary infringements based on whims. In other words, a devolving into lawless tyranny, (this is not to be confused with anarchy), wherein whoever could gain power would rightfully exercise that power over others at their choosing. This should make it clear that a principle needs to be in place, which permits the exercise and expression of one’s desires, given that they do not cause harm to others.

Second, the criminal justice system, as became clear with such recent events as the killings of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice, Oscar Parez, John T. Williams and so forth, is causing undue and unjust harm to people. These cases by themselves should be enough to cast more than doubt on the Department of Justice, but actually usher in a reconstruction of the entire system. These are just the cases that have made national and international news, but are representative of a much more grave problem that exists within the United States concerning police brutality. The police have a dangerous task, there is no argument about that. If the Harm Principle is accepted, and the society chooses to attempt to limit or punish any harms that may occur to its citizens, then something like a police institution as an option becomes viable. For the sake of argument, assume that there are no socio-economic discriminatory conditions creating vital motivations to violate the laws in order to survive. In a society of millions it would be nearly impossible to ensure that undue and unjust harm was either not done, or that those who caused it were punished. This means that there would be a potential to escape punishment, and people tend not to enjoy punishment, so they do what they can to avoid it.This can create a dangerous situation for a police officer to walk into, given that their only intent is to prevent harm, or to assist in the punishing of those actually guilty of causing harm. Their own person is at risk of being harmed by performing this function that society deems as something necessary, and society does not think it’s guardians should be sacrificed or harmed, so it grants that these guardians can protect themselves against harm. This is all in accordance with the Harm Principle as stated earlier, “self-protection.” This line of reasoning also assumes that the guardians do not harbor biases against particular groups of individuals and act in an impartial manner with all people. This of course is an ideal world and is horrendously far from reality. As soon as we remove the things that we have assumed for the sake of argument, we will see that much that is considered crime is a response to socially imposed harms and that these groups suffering the socially imposed harms are also targeted by the supposed guardians of our society. Furthermore, because these guardians are granted the liberty to exert force to protect themselves and to execute their social function, they can justify unjust and undue harms as necessary to complete and fulfill the expectations of their roles. The result is the problem of police brutality and murder that we are now witnessing plague our country.

Third, punishment for acts considered to be crime in the United States tends to take the form penitentiary confinement. Aside from death, this is considered to be the ultimate restriction of liberty that an individual can experience and thus the harshest punishment. Again, in order to justify this system, it has to be assumed that  that the guardians do not harbor biases against particular groups of individuals and act in an impartial manner with all peopleHowever, the data shows that this is not the case. There is a disproportionate and disparaging representation of minorities and people of color in the penal system of the United States. Making matters worse, the US has 5% of the world’s population, but boasts 25% of the world’s prison population. In addition, the number of prisons are ballooning and so is the prison population, which reveals that the penitentiary system is not solving the problem. At best, it is like attempting to place a bandaid on a gushing wound. A more precise definition is that it is a treatment that is not suited to the cause because the cause of the problem is being ignored. This leaves us with one of two options; either the United States does not know or want to know what the real problem is, or the penitentiaries are not about punishment and rehabilitation.  If it is the former option, which I do not think is even possible given the mountainous research that has been conducted over the last few decades, then we need officials who are intelligent enough to perceive and understand that the problem is not that people are choosing to commit ‘crime,’ but the reason they do so. If it is the latter option, which I am more inclined to agree with, then we have to expose what the true reason for the prison system is to understand why it is failing at its purported reason for existing.

The Prison System relegates humans to slaves. Much of the argument that we hear from the public is couched in a colorblind language and an individualistic ideology that is characteristic of the United States, “they committed the crime, they deserve the time, and all that happens to them while they are serving that time.” The arguments further express that since these individuals are incarcerated and they are consuming state resources that they should work for their keep and pay their own way. Again, in principle this all makes sense, but for it to truly be justified the system must be fair and impartial both before prison and after the person is in the penal system. However, that is also not the case. I have already argued that the manner in which particular groups are targeted for prison is unjust and undue, and now I am fleshing out the reason why they are targeted for prison and exposing the unfair and undue treatment they receive while in the system.

The State of Washington has written into law that all municipal buildings must be furnished with products produced by prison labor. The corporation responsible for the fourth largest prison factory system in the United States, which is located here in Washington is Correction Industries Inc. This law guarantees C.I. a virtual monopoly on particular state purchases and guarantees a revenue stream. Most private prison companies, like Corrections Corporation of America and GEO Group sign contracts with the states in which they operate guaranteeing a specific amount of inmates that is to increase over time so that they can continue to increase their profits from prison labor. Corporations are bound by law to increase their bottom lines to provide their stock holders with increased returns on their investments. Pulling all of this together in a rather blunt manner, as if it was not already apparent without my stating it explicitly, the motivation for the penal system, given all this, is not punishment and rehabilitation, but rather, profit.

Fourth, the School-to-Prison Pipeline is a serious concern because the data reveals that minorities, people of color, and those with mental disabilities are over 50% more likely to end up as a slave in the Penal System. Students from these groups are about 75% more likely to be punished (suspended or expelled) while in school. Of those who are punished they are 75% more likely to enter the Juvenile Detention System. And of those who enter the juvenile system, they are 80-95% more likely to enter the adult penitentiary system. These are very disparaging and upsetting statistics when just taken alone, but when included with the entire system of harm wrought against particular populations, what is revealed is a system constructed to to populate our prison system with slaves that is targeting our children.

The Criminal Justice System is not failing, it is functioning in precisely the manner that it was designed to function. The problem is that we are allowing it to continue to function in this manner. The problem is that we continue to permit this colorblind language and to accept the false justifications for this system that is failing us as a people. We are being lied to. We are being harmed. And we should not stand for this any more.

That is why the people, who after not being heard in the Metropolitan King County Council went off and occupied the court room. That is why we all testified against the creation of the supposed ‘Justice’ that they are proposing to build. Justice does not mean punishment for crime. What justice means is to provide for the flourishing of the human population. What the state is doing right now is not justice.

State of Emergency 02/25/2015 University of Washington

On February 25, 2015 the students at all three campuses of the University of Washington (Seattle, Bothell, and Tacoma) declared a State of Emergency because of the ethnic and cultural disparities within the institution. Hundreds of students gathered after walking out of their classes and submitted demands to the administrations of the University. In addition, to the mere volume of students submitting these lists of demands, there was also national media coverage of the demonstration, and the social media sites went haywire with commotion both positive and negative. Three important things to take note of; (1) it cannot be argued that the students do not have broad support, both among the cohort of students, and among the administration, faculty and staff; (2) there can be no question about what it is the students want because our demands were listed in written form and submitted, as well as being posted on line; and (3) it would be foolish and an awful public stain for the University of Washington not to address these demands and to publicly acknowledge that it has, given the attention it has all ready received.

Out of 29,468 students at the University of Washington in 2014 there were 11,947 students of color, and only 1, 026 Black students. That means the Black students at a state institution only composed 3.4% of the population. At the same time, there were 4,115 faculty members, but only 70 were Black, which is 1.7%. KIRO 7 Eyewitness News, bless their hearts (not really), attempted to demean and discredit the concerns of the students and the demands that we were making by showing to the public that last year the University of Washington admitted 216 African American students, up from the previous year’s 181 African American students enrolled for Autumn quarter. Their attempt to demean our concerns only exposes the problem, on a campus of nearly 30,000 the UW admitted only 216 African American students! However, the tone in which KIRO 7 used when reporting these facts implied to the public that they did ‘not believe’ the students should be upset about these data points and statistics. Excuse me if I don’t start licking your boots and shining your shoes like a good house Negro, remaining silent, praising the fact that the knife has been pulled half out the back of our people. The fact remains that I-200 and the repealing of Affirmative Action has caused a harm to our entire community, not just the Black community.
It is troubling at best, and damaging and disparaging at worst that people who after harboring generations of hatred and oppressive sentiment against people because of the color of their skin or cultural backgrounds, all the while institutions and the principles that ground them were being developed and indoctrinated, believe that the hatred and oppression has disappeared from these institutions In the few short years since the Civil Rights Era and the Post-Colonial Movement.

#BlackLivesMatterUW Undergraduate Demands

I-200 became part of Title 49 RCW Labor Regulations, and in particular, RCW 49.60.400 wherein in states; “(1) The state shall not discriminate against, or grant preferential treatment to, any individual or group on the basis of race, sex, color, ethnicity, or national origin in the operation of public employment, public education, or public contracting.” If this were a statute that the state and it’s institutions were really beholden to, then we would not be witnessing the discriminatory and preferential treatment of People of Color being funneled through the public school systems into prisons via The School-to-Prison Pipeline. Minority students are approximately 75% more likely to be suspended or expelled from school, for the same offenses that White students are not suspended or expelled for. Of that population whom is sent from school, they are also approximately 75% more likely to wind up in the Juvenile detention centers, and 85-95% more likely to wind up in the adult penitentiary system, and thus reduced to slaves. Furthermore, the State of Washington has the forth largest prison factor system in the United States run by Correctional Industries (C.I.), and all state agencies are required by law to purchase goods (particularly furniture) from prison labor. This reveals a critical economic interest and motivation to warehouse people in prisons for insanely cheap or free labor, and historically the people in this county that this status has been relegated to are Black people. In addition to this, the Supreme Court in, McKlesky v. Kemp 1986, ruled that it was Constitutional for law enforcement and prosecutors to practice discriminatory discretion in the investigation, apprehension, conviction and and sentencing of people. And lastly, in the R.C.W. 49.60.400, subsection (4) (b), it states that the non-discriminatory and non-preferential treatment specified in subsection (1) does not apply to law enforcement. Thus, pulling all of these components together, with both the historical and recent experiences of such things as Stop and Frisk, which we know specifically targets minority communities, reveals that I-200 only applies to anything that would be to our benefit and that it’s true purpose is to not make things equal, but rather to prevent us from escaping the New Jim Crow, the contemporary slave trade.

These are the conditions that initially led Outside Agitators 206 (OA206) to declare a State of Emergency at the University of in collaboration with many of the students and organizations on the campuses. From there, this became the people’s movement, OA206 set the stage and swept the path clear for the people to represent ourselves; much like Frederick Douglass advocated oppressed people do. The students ourselves compiled our lists of demands and we submitted them to our respective administrations together, standing in unity. In classic fashion, the Seattle Police Department showed up in riot gear, as they do to every thing when the hash-tag #BlackLivesMatter emerges in an assertion of values and rights. It must be noted at this point, that many of the administrators had the student’s’ backs and interests in mind. The administration told the police that they were to stay away from the student’s and to allow us to exercise our 1st Amendment Rights, and that is precisely what they did. Now, it could be asserted that this was a move to avoid a scandal, and I am sure that played into it, but I am hopeful that many of our faculty and administration are as interested in having more diversity and equity on campus, as we are. A public display of support came from UW Seattle’s Interim President, Ana Mari Cauce on a FaceBook post “Was able to join students briefly at #BlackLivesMatter# rally. Very proud of the way they are shining a light on the continuing inequities and discrimination that remain. We need to work together to make the world a better place for ALL of us!” This gives me hope. The people who we look to for support are coming out and are using their privileged positions to help those without those privileges to gain fair and equitable treatment. It gives me hope that we can make a difference. It gives me hope that what we are doing is reaching people and activating them.

At the end of our March and submissions of demands at the rally and speak out in front of Gerberding Hall where the President’s office is located in Red Square, a young man proclaimed as he grabbed the megaphone that he had “been awoken” by the days events. This is something that happened over and over again with countless people. He didn’t know quite what he wanted to say or how to say it, and he was trembling in front of the massive crowd, but he just knew he could no longer remain silent. I also heard it said that many people did not know there were as many Black students on campus as were in the march. At one point, while leading the chants, I glanced over the heads behind me and could not see the end of the procession, all screaming “Repeal I-200, Pull our kids out the jails, give them educations, See how this nation sails!” This could be heard echoing off the buildings and reverberating through classrooms and many who had not initially walked out, did so because they were compelled to be part of a historic moment. There is something liberating about doing what is right. There is something liberating about knowing you are not alone. This is true regardless of whether you are a student, a faculty member, a staff member, or an administrator. We are all members of an institution where we are outnumbered and it is sometimes difficult to stand alone, to speak up, to stand in opposition of what we clearly and blatantly know to be wrong; if it is not downright impossible. However, part of the beauty of yesterday was both the revelation and display that we are not alone and that the few brave souls that had the courage to initiate the stand, no longer have to go at it alone.

Mara an Outside Agitator said something very important, “Your degrees will not set you free” at the last rally of the march. This was shocking to many in the crowd because we have been indoctrinated to believe that earning a degree is the end game, as if we have finally arrived at our destination. However, as can be evinced by the faculty and administrators who have had their hands tied working in an institution that (dis)functions on discriminatory practices, that is not the way it is. She continues, “It is good that you are protesting here on campus, but we will not find liberation until you go to the places and work with the people who are most marginalized,” arguing that the privilege we gain by earning these degrees places upon us a responsibility to use that privilege to make sure that others whom are less privileged are not marginalized. Then she drops the C-word, CAPITALISM, which is at the heart of this struggle and marginalization, and the reason there are such disparaging statistics at the University of Washington, the reason why there is a School-to- Prison Pipeline, and why People of Color are relegated to being slaves of the system. We cannot have CAPITALISM without racism and for just so long as we remain within the system, we are complicit in the oppression that is happening to our people. The people, the students were shocked and awed because they thought we were there to challenge the system. Well, Mara hit the nail on the head, we are that system and that means we have to challenge ourselves as well as our institutions.

In closing this short thought about yesterday and why I believe it was important, I just want to acknowledge all the beautiful and amazing people that came together to make yesterday happen and our objectives to be executed well. I will not name them all, but will give a special shout out to Nikkita and Sarra specifically for standing shoulder to shoulder with me out front. Outside Agitators 206 for initiating this demonstration, bringing us all together, and making sure that we could and did stand up for ourselves. The Black Student Union and African Student Association for all their hard work and help in spreading the word, for keeping us together on campus and for holding down space. And all the countless people who both organized and participated in the submission of our. This is The Peoples’ movement and these The Peoples’ demands; and none of this would have been possible if we did not all come together to make this happen.

Now that the demands have been submitted, we have to ensure that our demands are met. So, watch the feeds because our next steps will be posted soon and you will all be called upon to do what you can to guarantee that equity fills the University of Washington and floods into the rest of Seattle