Tragedy in Oakland Another Toddler Killed by Senseless Gun Violence-How We Gonna Change in 2012?

Usually this at this time of year, I like to reflect on all that gone down over the past 365 days and figure out what sort of steps to take in order build upon past victories and successes. I also like to reflect on what sort of steps to take to avoid and recover from setbacks and pitfalls..I also like to celebrate the best and worse of a particular year around this time… However, none of that can really be addressed until we focus on one of the most pressing issues at hand-Our Children and they way we in society treat them.

Last night in the city of Oakland a 5-year-old named Gabriel Martinez jr was shot and killed as he stood next to his father outside a popular taco truck the family owned on 54th and International. According to early reports some cat purchased food, pulled out a gun, shot Gabriel and rolled off in his car with a female in tow. Words cannot began to express the heartache, frustration, anger and bewilderment felt when we heard this being reported on the evening news..

Many of us in the city of Oakland and the Bay in general are at a loss for words. What do you say to this? How do we tackle this? This was the third toddler killed in Oakland this year and the 6th or 7th that I can recount being shot and injured in the Bay Area this past year. For an area that prides itself on being organized and forward thinking in its politics, how is this happening on our watch?

2 yr old Baby Hiram was just buried 2 weeks ago. He was shot in the head my cowardly thugs

Earlier this month Oakland grieved as 2-year-old Baby Hiram Lawrence was laid to rest. He was the victim of a shooting that took place during the filming of a rap video in West Oakland. That fateful night, 7 others were hit during the incident, Baby Hiram was shot in the head while being held in his father’s arms. For days everyone hoped and prayed that he would make a miraculous recovery. The family sought several opinions from different doctors before he was taken off life support.. Hiram’s passing left many vowing that such a horrific crime would never happen again. People were still reeling from a toddler being killed over the summer.

3-year-old Carlos Nava

In early August 3-year-old Carlos Nava was shot as he walked with his parents from a pizza shop also on International Blvd not too far from last night’s shooting. The bullet that hit him was intended for a rival drug dealer who stood nearby. Carlos’ death was painful as shocked community members tried to make sense of what took place and why.

‘What type of person runs around shooting kids?’ is what everyone asked..

The easy answer is; one who sees no value in life. Its a person whose values are disconnected from the majority of us. It’s someone who is an aberration.

The easy answer is to take an incident like this, isolate it and put the sole responsibility on the perpetrators. The easy answer is to get him off the street, lock him up and be done with it.. Case closed, problem solved…Only it’s Not..

Unfortunately these horrific shootings I cited reflect a larger more difficult mindset and societal attitude that far too many of us simply want to sweep under the rug. These incidents reflect an ugly truth all of us have to own up to…As much as we purport, we don’t really care about our kids.

We live in a world where we claim that children are blessings. We talk about how their cries, their shouts, their enthusiasm and excitement is welcome music to our communities. We say our children represent hope and endless possibilities. of better tomorrows. We say children touch our hearts and marvel how they are reminders of times when things weren’t so complicated.

Children are supposed to be our top priority and the reason for which we all live. However, our collective actions show a sharp contradiction. It ranges from the policies we support to the way we respond or don’t respond when we hear stories about children being killed, raped, kidnapped etc..How we respond to these disturbing scenarios, uphold children and show how value them is a reflection on all of us.

Close to 25% of American children like the ones shown here live below the poverty line and are homeless

Right now we’re talking about 3 toddlers killed in Oakland and make no mistake those who pulled the trigger are scum of the highest order. They need to be caught, punished and held accountable. But as we reflect back on this tragedy and all that has gone down in 2011, do we have the luxury of disconnecting the callousness behavior exuded with those children being shot from the indifference we as a society have shown in allowing policies to fall in place that put our kids on the short end of the stick?

For example, it was just last week Oakland Mayor Jean Quan noted that the city had spent over 5 million dollars to combat the Occupy Movement. There was no money to be found (500k) to keep 5 elementary schools from closing in spite of spirited protests. Much of that money went to police who are seemingly on top their job when it comes to removing tents or as was demonstrated yesterday, protestors from trees, but ‘overwhelmed’ when a toddler is shot on crowded streets.

We recently saw Governor Jerry Brown approved over a billion dollars worth of budget cuts to take place in California with Childcare, public schools, school transportation and healthcare being primary targets.He says we must live within our means.. You mean the children who will be impacted by these cuts were spending up all the state’s money??

Newt Gingrich says Child Labor Laws are Stupid

A few weeks ago we heard GOP Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich complain that child labor laws designed to stop exploitation of children was getting in the way of job growth. He called them stupid and suggested that we get rid of the janitors and replace them with kids.. When pressed Gingrich re-affirmed his remarks.

Overall we’ve seen our economic policies to result in almost 25% of the kids in the US living below the poverty level? Let’s stop and also think on that for a minute..

Today as we close out of 2011 and make our way into 2012, this country which prides itself on being a super power rooted in deep Christian values has a quarter of its kids living in poverty. Many of us try not to grasp onto that because we are either caught up in reality TV shows where folks toss around and spend money like it grows on trees or we believe the hype that suggests poverty is not systemic. We like to believe that there’s a logical explanation for starving children and it’s not because we don’t care. Sadly before many of us are willing to look at the larger picture we are more apt to point a finger a do a Herman Cain impression and tell those who are poor ‘Blame yourself’.

While a billion children starved most of us were caught up in Royal Wedding in 2011

We’ve been caught up in weddings involving über rich people like the Kardashians where the nuptials costs well over 10 million dollars and land ends in divorce in less than 90 days. We won’t even talk about the lavish spectacle called the Royal Wedding between Prince William and Kate Middleton that dominated our nightly newscasts in 2011.

$34 million was spent on this weeding as TV news networks here in the US spent millions to cover it including having full anchor teams on the ground providing round the clock coverage. Could you imagine if similar efforts were put into finding out why we have kids starving and impoverished in the US or why we have close to 50% of the children on planet earth living in extreme poverty meaning about 1 BILLION children are malnourished? Could you imagine if those networks gave that same type of ‘investigative’ coverage as to why children are being shot? Let’s think about that for minute.

While we’re thinking let’s take a look at these two stunning reports that CBS news magazine 60 Minutes did earlier this year but was ignored by many..

Kanye & jay-Z Celebrated Over the Top Opulence in 2011

While kids all across the globe were starving and living in extreme poverty or here at home living in cars, many of us were caught up ‘Watching the Throne‘ in 2011 as popular artists like Jay-Z and Kanye celebrated over the top opulence in what many claim was the album of the year.

Not only did we get caught up, some of us got upset when community minded artists like Chuck D of Public Enemy tried to ‘gently remind them’ of the bigger picture. He noted that it’s not always cool to stunt and bling in the middle of the worst recessions since the depression of the 1930s. In response to Ye and Jay’s song Otis where they drive around in a sawed off Maybach automobile, Chuck released a song called Notice, Know This.. He wanted to underscore the fact that the man whose music Kanye and Jay Z sampled from, Otis Redding was the antithesis to what they portrayed in the video. He was a humble man who lived modestly and tried to start a musician’s union

As we get ‘caught up’ in the materialism of life, our kids are getting caught up in all sorts of scenarios that leave them in poverty, short-changed educationally and seen as disposable. The 5-year-old toddler killed in Oakland last night is not something we can shove aside and do business as usual. His death requires all of us to step up our efforts to transform this community and this world and ways we never imagined for the better…

Oscar Grant was killed 3 years ago by police resulting in his daughter being fatherless..Today we have children being killed by thugs in our community leaving parents childless. How will we end this in 2012?

3 years ago, the city of Oakland and the world rang in the New Year only to be greeted by the unthinkable. In the wee hours of the morning, an unarmed 22-year-old father of a 4-year-old girl was made to lay face down on a BART subway platform with his hands behind his back. A larger heavier white officer who was kneeling on this young man’s back pulled out a gun and shot this brother killing him instantly on the eve of this country getting its first African-American president.

Oscar Grant died and in his savage death a movement was spawned. It was a movement that brought people from all sorts of communities together who spent a good two years pursuing justice for Oscar and his family. Many say the Oscar Grant movement was transformative. At the very least it heightened awareness on police brutality and exposed the major flaws in the justice system. It’s because the organizing that went on around Grant that folks in Oakland were able to be effective with some of the activities and direct actions they undertook with the Occupy Movement.

What sort of movement will arise out of the killing of this 5-year-old Gabriel Martinez Jr in the wake of Oscar Grant and the in backdrop of the ongoing Occupy Movement? What sort of steps will we take to transform our community and truly make the violent death of young children a thing of the past?How will we heal our community?

A local artist named Jahi suggested that 2012 be the year we go all out with some sort of ban the gun campaign.. Someone else suggested that we start Occupy /patrolling our neighborhoods with the full intent of making it safe for our kids.. Others say we will have to go all out to make love and upliftment as a commonly embraced value and not death and nihilism which so many hold…We should keep in mind as a country we have supported policies like drone strikes that have missed their targets and killed innocent children in places like Pakistan.. So we really have a lot to reflect on..

Tomorrow on New Years Day a massive march and rally commemorating Oscar’s death and acknowledging all those who have fallen prey to police violence is scheduled to take place… It’ll be a big miss if we don’t make mention the death of Gabriel and pledge our commitment to stop the carnage in our community not just by sadistic police, but also by sadistic individuals who see Black and Brown life as cheap and as disposable as the police often do..

We have our work cut in 2012.. Let it be a fulfilling year… please let us all rise to the occasion..

written by Davey D

How Will Iraq Vets React to Our Mass Economic Disparities?

Glad to see all the troops coming home, now that the war in Iraq is officially over.. However in a world with No Jobs, Increased Foreclosures & lawmakers pushing to make even more cuts while telling those who’ve fallen on economic hard times to ‘blame themselves‘, do these returning men and women who did 4 & 5 tours of duty, become police officers, FBI and ICE agents who enforce the status quo and crush those who challenge it, or do they follow the steps of those who see the inequalities in our society and fight for change?

One needs to bear in mind, that a sizeable number of people who joined our military did so because of what we call the economic draft.. Poverty and the inability to find jobs was impacting many in our communities long before an Occupy Movement or the notion of a 1% vs 99% emerged. The military heavily recruited desperate folks from our neighborhoods promising folks a new lease on life and the opportunity to establish some sort of economic foothold. Commercials greeted us daily with the slogan, Be All That You Can Be.. Many never dreamt they would see the horrors of war and be required to return to the battlefield over and over again..

The psychological impact of all that combat alone should be of grave concern..All of us should be asking about what sort of measures are being put in place for returning vets to detox? How will returning vets deal with PTS (Post Traumatic Stress)?

We already have huge population of vets who are out on the streets homeless, unable to re-adjust to society.. How are we handling them?

We also have not acknowledged that the suicide rate of vets has damn near outpaced those killed in combat.. Over the past couple of years we’ve seen a whooping 18 suicides per day among soldiers.

As I asked earlier, how will these returning soldiers react when they come home to see that we spent trillions to liberate Iraq while grandma, auntie and mother are living in communities where the poverty rate is at record highs and homes they once owned have been foreclosed on with no jobs in sight?

Will these returning vets see themselves as part of a struggling community and seek to align themselves with those pushing for change or will they spiral into the ruthlessness we seen demonstrated in places like Egypt where we have folks fighting for freedom and democracy while a standing army that we pay for with American tax dollars are pulling out all the stops to brutally suppress them?

Will we see more soldiers who are of the caliber demonstrated by the Iraq Veterans Against the War or will we see soldiers who are of the caliber demonstrated by those who embraced and carried out the horrific torture techniques we seen demonstrated at places like Abu Ghraib? Even more troubling will find returning vets desperate for work and eager for some sort of stability being recruited by rich and powerful corporate executes to serve as a literal private army of sorts?

A couple of years ago I penned an article predicting that as the economy spirals out of control the new middle class (meaning those with jobs) will be cops and soldiers hired & paid handsomely to be a buffer between those who are poor and those we now identify as the 1%.

If one thinks this is far-fetched, I urge folks to talk to victims of Katrina who experienced first hand what it was like when they encountered private armies like Blackwater patrolling the streets of New Orleans, rebuffing those seeking refuge from dry and resource filled hotels and other facilities.

History shows that once upon a time African-American soldiers returning from World Wars 1 & 2, realized that the situation at home was dire especially along racial lines. The freedoms they fought for overseas in Europe were not afforded to many of us here at home who suffered under harsh Jim Crow laws. Many became disenchanted and pressed the issue. They demanded equality.

One of those returning soldiers was Civil Rights icon Harry Belafonte who recently spoke at First Congregation Church in Berkeley who spoke about what it was like for those returning from war after they tasted freedom. He noted that as many started to ask alot of questions about equal rights, the oppression toward them and us was substantially increased..

Belafonte talked about how lynchings and racial terror increased all over the country as society made attempts to put returning Black soldiers back in their place. Many did not take to the suppression lightly and at various points there were armed resistence and struggle. This inequality and subsequent repression also gave rise to the Civil Rights Movements and Black Freedom struggles..of the 60s and 70s.

My question is how will our returning brethren behave in 2011 when they return to this massive economic inequality?

written by Davey D

4 Hip Hop Videos Addressing Key Issues Everyone Must See

This has been a good week for music, especially on the video tip as we’ve had three stellar offerings to raise your awareness and peak your conscience. Two of the videos deal directly with police brutality and I’m hoping folks will pay close attention, being that much that is shown happened over the past couple of years… As we peep these vids we should all be asking ourselves whats going on? How will folks be brought to justice and what will we do as individuals or a collective body of people..

The third video comes from Lupe Fiasco who gives us serious food for thought by laying out an array of movies many of us came up on and questions what sort of impact they may have had on the past few generations…

First up is a song called ‘Film The Police‘. It’s a remake of the NWA classic ‘Fuck Tha Police’ and features great performances from B-Dolan who steps in for Ice Cube, Toki Wright who fills in for MC Ren and Jasiri X who fills in for Eazy E..Sage Francis kicks things off as the judge ala Dr Dre.. He does a great job, but I gotta be honest it would’ve been nice to see what lyrics he would’ve spit on this song..Big shout out to producer Buddy Peace who actually reconstructed the beat..

The video has struck a chord with lots of folks as it chronicles a lot of violence we’ve seen directed at peaceful occupy protests. within a day of its release its garnered well over 40k views. These guys do a great job at connecting the dots to what has gone down in the Occupy Movement which all are a part of and what has gone on for way too long in communities of color…

The call to Film the Police doesn’t have a s strong a ring as fuck the police, but it speaks to the importance of us documenting and giving voice to our own realities especially at a day and time where police departments are fighting to make filming them illegal.

Next up is an incredible video from San Francisco rapper Metro P and Oakland rapper Mistah Fab. Their new song Price Tag hammers home the plight many in the Bay Area have been dealing with around the issue of police terrorism and the literal price tag on people’s heads.

They start off by bringing to light the Oscar Grant situation. They also highlight footage from the scandal that rocked San Francisco where police were found to have placed drugs and lied on the reports of 56 different felony cases …Metro P drops gems about the long struggle we as Black folks have had with the police as he takes us back to the March on Washington up to modern day situations. Mistah Fab’s lyrics focus on the point that far too many of us have started hating on each other vs turning that aggression toward the police..

On a related tip folks, we can’t really talk about police terror in SF without making mention of the drama surrounding Fly Benzo who has been kicking up a lot of dust by constantly stepping to SFPD.. His video ‘War on Terror‘ speaks to the issue and highlights the fact that he’s looking at 4 years for a trump up charges which all stem from him speaking out on police brutality in his native Hunters Point.

Our last featured video comes from Lupe Fiasco..This brother has been a roll lately and sadly is seriously underrated. He’s been speaking up on key issues and trying to make sure his music reflects the political sentiment many are feeling..

His newest offering is to a song called Double Burger w/ Cheese where he goes in the power of images and how they may have impacted several generations of Black Youth.. The video starts off by showing footage from the 1965 Watts Riots and then juxtaposes it with an array of videos and images from movies in the early to mid 90s that focus both on South Central LA and the crack era..

We see footage from everything like; Juice, Menace II Society, Boyz N The Hood, New Jersey Drive, Poetic Justice, Dead Presidents, South Central, Sugar Hill, New Jack City, Paid In Full,& Colors. Although many of the movies shown have strong anti-gang messages, many of us have come to romanticize and glorify the gang drama and trauma shown in them..

Many who have seen the video are really appreciating where Lupe is coming from. Each line he spits hits the issue hard. Sadly there are many who see the video montage and they fondly look back at the movies sans the politics.

Return to Davey D’s Hip Hop Corner

Wise Intelligent Speaks and Kicks a Couple of Ill Freestyles

Hip Hop icon, Wise Intelligent of Poor Righteous Teachers is one of the dopest emcees around.. He’s also one of the most politically astute….

We caught up with him the other day while visiting the August Wilson Center in Pittsburgh, Pa to get his take on staying fresh in the emcee realm and what the Occupy Movement means to him…

Needless to say Wise left us with some jewels..His freestyles are straight rewind material as they are full of relevant substance and clever wordplay..

OccupySF Raided by Brutal Police-Connecting the Dots Between Occupy & Fly Benzo

Last night hundreds of San Francisco police showed up at Justin Herman Plaza in riot gear to forcibly remove a hundred or so people at the encampment of OccupySF… Occupiers described it as a sneak attack as police swarmed in from all directions including cops on motorbikes.. 70 people were arrested as police stood guard while sanitation workers trashed tents and threw away full backpacks containing everything from homeless people’s life possessions to laptop computers.

During the raid there were a number of cops who could be seen sneering and laughing at the protestors who yelled at them to stop. As cops made arrest of those refusing to disperse, folks yelled out badge numbers so those watching on live Ustreams could bear witness and better identify offending officers.

As folks watched the officers go to town on SF Occupiers one could not help but note how important it was that they connect the dots and be reminded about the brutality SFPD routinely unleashes on citizens in SF’s Bayview district.

Fly Benzo

One individual in particular, Fly Benzo is a frequent target by police because he’s so outspoken on their brutality. He has been a leading dissenting voice after SF police shot to death 19-year-old Kenneth Harding this summer. Harding was accused of not paying a two dollar bus fare and fleeing from police when confronted… Benzo during a press conference angered police by pointing out how what they did in killing Harding was not unusual. He also noted the irony of the police not being able to solve any of the murders in their community, but somehow seem to be able to ‘find’ everyone who doesn’t have proper permits for amplified sound, expired car tags or drinking in public.. For speaking out Fly Benzo found himself being arrested and hemmed up by police on at least two occasions…

Today when OccupySF regroup at the Ferry Building at noon, we hope those who were brutalized by police last night keep in mind the plight of folks like Fly Benzo and find ways to break bread, share resources and fight back the police together… Here’s a recent video from Fly

We also wanted to share with you some of the day to day work Occupy SF was and continues to do… below is some of our coverage from a march they did over the weekend about foreclosures….

Goldman Sach’s is a Main target on the December 12th West Coast Port Shutdown

Yesterday the city of Oakland was on fire as Occupy Oakland and other organizations went in on banks foreclosing on homes…It was a day of activity which including shutting down a foreclosed Housing auction at the Alameda County Courthouse and reclaiming a couple of houses the banks had foreclosed on and moving families back in..The day was pretty successful..

We caught up Boots Riley of the Coup to talk about the days activities and get updated about what we should expect on December 12th during the day of action when all West Coast Ports are to be shut down….In our intv Boots pointed out how one of the families in West Oakland had lived in their home for over 15 years.. The mother lost her job and fell two months behind on her mortage and instead of working with her the bank came in like gang busters to foreclose on the property.

With respect to the D12 Shut down.. Boots noted that momentum has been picking up and that Vancouver will be shutting down their port and that there will be an action in Houston, Tx to shut down their ports..

In this interview, Boots gives all the details as to why shutting down the ports are important.. He points out how Goldman Sach’s is a main target for these port shut downs and how they are deeply connected to the activities that occur there on the daily. He also noted the plight of many of the truckers who are paid below market wages and are denied to unionize and get health insurance..

Obviously the threat of a West Coast port shut down has caused enough concern that management at the Oakland Port paid over 10k for a full page ad asking the public not to support the strike. In the words of Chuck D of Public Enemy-Don’t Believe the Hype..

We included a a short snippet of an interview with some prominent union leaders about the D12 strike..

As pressure builds for the Dec. 12 West Coast port shutdown, the capitalist owners and their media began a battle of ideas to blunt this powerful threat to their profits and control — even for a day.

Two International Longshore and Warehouse Union members — Clarence Thomas, who is a third-generation longshoreman in Oakland, and Leo Robinson, who is now retired — spoke with Workers World reporter Cheryl LaBash. Both men have held elected office in ILWU Local 10 and have been key labor activists during their years of work in the ports.

WW: The Nov. 21 ILWU Longshore Coast Committee memorandum states, “Any public demonstration is not a ‘picketline’ under the PCL&CA [Pacific Coast Longshore & Clerk’s Agreement]. … Remember, public demonstrations are public demonstrations, not ‘picketlines.’ Only labor unions picket as referenced in the contract.” What is your reaction?

Clarence Thomas: A picket line is a public demonstration — whether called by organized labor or not. It is legitimate. There are established protocols in these situations. To suggest to longshoremen that they shouldn’t follow them demands clarification. It is one thing to state for the record that the union is not involved, but another thing to erase the historical memory of ILWU’s traditions and practices included in the Ten Guiding Principles of the ILWU adopted at the 1953 biennieal convention in San Francisco.

Leo Robinson: The international has taken the position somehow that the contract is more important than not only defending our interest in terms of this EGT [grain terminal jurisdictional dispute] but having a connection to the Occupy [Wall Street] movement in that when you go through the Ten Guiding Principles of the ILWU, we’re talk about labor unity. Does that include the teachers? Does that include state, county and municipal workers? Those questions need to be analyzed as to who supports whom. The Occupy movement is not separate and apart from the labor movement.

CT: Labor is now officially part of the Occupy movement. That has happened. The recent [New York Times] article done by Steven Greenhouse on Nov. 9 is called ‘Standing arm in arm.”

The Teamsters have been supported by the OWS against Sotheby’s auction house. OWS has been supportive of Communication Workers in its struggle with Verizon. Mary Kay Henry, International President of the Service Employees, has called for expanding the Occupy movement by taking workers to Washington, D.C., to occupy Washington particularly Congress and congressional hearings demanding 15 million jobs by Jan. 1.

LR: There was the occupation in Madison, Wis. That was labor-led. People are trying to confuse the issue by saying we are somehow separated from the Occupy movement. More than anything else the Occupy movement is a direct challenge or raises the question of the the rights of capital as opposed to the rights of the worker. I don’t understand that the contract supersedes the just demands of the labor movement. It says so right here in the 10 guiding principles of the ILWU.

Article 4 is very clear. Very clear. “‘To help any worker in distress’ must be a daily guide in the life of every trade union and its individual members.” Labor solidarity means just that. Unions have to accept the fact that solidarity of labor stands above all else, including even the so-called sanctity of the contract. We cannot adopt for ourselves the policies of union leaders who insist that because they have a contract, their members are compelled to perform work, even behind a picket line. It says picket line. It doesn’t say union picket line. It says picket line.

Folks can get more information and see the rest of the interview by going to
We wanted to include another interview we did last night.. This is with a sister from Egypt named Al-Shimaa’ Haidar who has been involved with the revolution at Tahir Square.. She talks to us about whats going on in Egypt and how it connects with the Occupy Movement here.. check this out below..(please forgive the mispelling in the video)

Hip Hop Legends Dres of Blacksheep & Jarobi of ATCQ Occupy Wall St w/ New Song

In 2010, Dres reemerged, releasing From The Black Pool Of Genius, and now the Black Sheep emcee is joining forces with Jarobi, one-fourth of the founding core behind fellow Native Tongues group A Tribe Called Quest. The duo will release a currently untitled album under the moniker EVITAN (NATIVE, spelled backwards) in early 2012, and the first single from that album is “P.T.I. (Occupy Wall Street),” a song that touches not only the specific happenings of the Occupy movement, but also on the broader feelings of anger, uncertainty, and a desire to mobilize felt by young and old people across the country.

“The 99% need to have not just a voice, but voices,” says Dres on what inspired he and Jarobi to write the song. “We need to have more voices that speak to our plight beyond what is given to us via the media.” And despite the logistical difficulties, Dres and Jarobi were adamant about shooting the video amongst the OWS protesters, noting that they “couldn’t be soldiers and not see the front line.”

Throughout the video are stark, and sometimes startling, images that show the passion behind the Occupy Wall Street movement and also how the NYPD is making sure their presence is felt at the protests. “Law enforcement is sadly overbearing and seemingly not understanding,” explains Dres. “Unfortunately, they’re desensitized to the plight of the people they’re supposed to protect. They can be so much more effective without billy clubs, pepper spray, and a militant attitude towards civilians that merely seek equality. There needs to be a deeper understanding of ‘us’.”

Watch the video for “P.T.I. (Occupy Wall Street)” here:

courtesy of Audible Treats

The Occupy Movement: Decolonize Your Mind

The Occupy Movement is growing by leaps and bounds.. We wanna remind everyone the importance of Decolonizing your mind… Enjoy these excerpts from various demonstrations throughout the Bay Area including Occupy Oakland and Occupy Cal…

Why Hip Hop is Supporting Occupy Movement December 12th West Coast Shut Downs

Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize issues solidarity statement & artist all-call for participation in 12/12 rallies

Seattle, WA–Hip Hop Occupies is calling upon youth and artists in Seattle and beyond to come out in full force December 12th in support and solidarity for the West Coast Port Shutdown. HHO endorses this day of direct action as not only an opportunity to make a political statement against budget cuts and on-going police brutality, but also to create a strategic profit loss within the toxic capitalist economic system. From Seattle to San Diego, oppressed peoples of all backgrounds are mobilizing to shut down the power of the 1% in this coordinated national effort. We choose to occupy capital, not capitol buildings, because we are no longer waiting to have our voices validated at the whim of elected officials.

It is the fact that the Port Shutdown is pushing the “Occupy Movement” in a more active, coordinated direction that Hip Hop Occupies stands in solidarity. It has historically been a West Coast tradition to push the envelope of culture and struggle in this way. From the Black Panthers to Freestyle Fellowship, from NWA to the 1919 Seattle General Strike, the West Coast stays innovating. Following in the footsteps of these West Coast innovators in both Hip Hop and Revolutionary struggle, Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize Seattle is helping to coordinate rallies at 1pm, 3pm, and 6pm on Monday, December 12th. We are asking all our allies in the artist community to come MC, paint, dance, and create in the name of freedom and self-determination.

Event Date: Monday, December 12th, 2011

Event Locations: Westlake Park, 4th & Pine in Downtown Seattle, Port of Seattle

Event Schedule:

12:00pm: Hip Hop Occupies Artist Check-In at Westlake

1:00pm: Rally and Performances at Westlake Center

3:00pm: Rally & Performances at Port of Seattle

6:00pm: Rally & Performance at Spokane Street Fishing Area

To participate, perform, speak and/or share at any of the D12 rallies in Seattle, call (425) 223-7787, email HipHopOccupies@gmail, and then show up at Westlake Park on 4th & Pine at 12pm on 12/12 for the artist check-in.

POC Caucus of Decolonize Occupy Seattle’s Letter to the Community on D12:

More on Why Hip Hop Occupies to Decolonize Supports:

Hip Hop Occupies openly supports, endorses, and stands in solidarity with the December 12th West Coast Port Shutdowns. From Seattle to San Diego, oppressed peoples of all backgrounds are taking steps to take control of their lives by shutting down the power of the 1% stopping the flow of capital. We at HHO have been active in much of the on-the-ground organizing in an attempt to walk the walk and not just rhyme a lot…about freedom. Following in the footsteps of west coast innovators in both hip hop and revolutionary struggle, HHO and those organizing/participating in the shutdowns are attempting to raise the bar and advance the struggle. Hip Hop and the Occupation Movement began on the East but were revolutionized by the West. The East keeps creatin’ it but the West stays innovatin’ it.

It is the fact that the port shutdown is moving the movement into a new more dynamic direction that we at HHO support. No matter the outcome the networks and unity creating amongst workers, students, people of color, queer folks, and the unemployed will set the foundation for major moves toward freedom. We are no longer asking a minority to live when they continue to show us their disdain for our lives as they cut budgets killing thousands, allow the destruction of unions by corporations, and leave millions unemployed.

It is a west coast tradition to push the envelope in culture and struggle in this way. From the Black Panthers to Freestyle Fellowship, from NWA to the 1919 Seattle General Strike, the West coast rocks steady. We say this in jest to our allies nationwide who claim Hip Hop; where you at with your organizing and analysis? Albums sales aren’t the marker, and YouTube hits lose meaning. The question is how many people can you get to a rally then to a meeting? Are you willing to flier and develop organizations in you city connecting groups and people with all types of ideals, methods, and personalities?

We hope the West coast Port Shutdowns will prove to be a major turning point in terms of the aims and goals of the movement at large. We choose to occupy capital not capitol buildings because we are tired of waiting to have our lives validated and maintained at the whim of people who have ignored our needs for years. We are the leaders we are looking for. We have to take our lives into our own hands and make the world we want to see even if that means breaking with old organizational and methods of resistance trying the unknown. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.

Boxer Mike Tyson Goes Hard on herman Cain.. Takes Him Down Big Time

A friend of mine Jesse Washington sent me this and I been laughing all day.. Say what you want but a good dose of humor can go a long ways and have deep salient political ramifications. In 2008 we saw Tina Fey step to the plate and take down Vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin.. Fey’s brand of humor reduced Palin from a serious political figure to a household joke.. I think it made a difference in 08 election..

Fast forward to 2011.. We see boxing great Mike Tyson stepping into the comedy ring to take on GOP front-runner Herman Cain.. We think Tyson goes in hard, does a damn good job and wins with a solid TKO..

This isnt the first time Iron Man Mike has stepped into the comedy arena and got busy.. How many of y’all remember when he teamed up with Wayne Brady and Bobby Brown?

Boxer Mike Tyson