Movin the Masses: Ramblings on political action in the Black Community
Wednesday, 14 November 2012 07:14
Two weeks ago I was in my hometown of Hoboken, New Jersey, wading waist deep in a murky combination of floodwater, oil and sewage. More than a week later, after finally getting unstuck from New Jersey (even the deepest Jersey pride has its limits…), I found myself in a van full of Occupy Sandy activists delivering hot meals to housing-project high rises in Coney Island during a Nor’easter. We were taking cues from local leaders, and I was amazed at the way people were mobilizing by creating support structures and politicizing one another through practice. In the past few days I’ve helped facilitate trainings for hundreds of people who came to Occupy Sandy hubs as volunteers for relief work, and who left for the Rockaways or Staten Island well on their way to becoming community organizers or committed activists.
Published in Environment and Climate Justice
Saturday, 31 March 2012 21:55
Many have questioned the lack of black support for the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) moment. The most clear answer I can give is that when black folks in mass are presented with a choice they ain't about to go sleep in no damn damp park. When for now some still got a roof over our heads. As acts of defiance go, we don’t view it as a visually appealing spectacle, sleeping in the park is identified as an act of desperation that happens when you are at the end of your economic rope. Sleeping tents are usually a valuable commodity at this stage. For black folks I don't think anyone has tried such a tactic on a mass scale since the Poor People's Campaign in 1968 that ended as Resurrection City, in an attempt to pass an economic bill of rights in the memory of Dr. King who was assassinated before being able to complete this campaign.
Last year while at Atlanta encampment there were plenty of black people in the park, they just weren't there by choice. Clearly at first both groups kept their eerie distance, except as a mutual curiosity piece. In my most cynical view it seemed that each side took stock of a possible attempt to engage in a quick hustle. The homeless look to see what the “liberal” park inhabitants would give up, while the OWS folks hope to get some media millage by cozying up to some real poor people.
Comment via Facebook
About the Author
Kamau has worked as a community activist and attorney for over fifteen years in New York City and now in the south. He has been a leading member of several grassroots organizations dedicated to human rights advocacy and building grassroots institutions in the black community. Currently he is building a new organization named Amandla Training and Organizing Project. You can follow Kamau on twitter at @kamaufranklin.
Recent Kamau Franklin Posts
- The Zimmerman Trial: When the Prosecution is the Defense Written on Wednesday, 10 July 2013 15:21
- Mississippi Finally Ratifies the 13th Amendment. Here Are Some Other Things that Mississippi Decided to Ratify First. Written on Thursday, 28 February 2013 21:17
- Gaza Strip Was Gettin Bombed, Obama Didn’t Say Shit | Kamau Franklin Written on Monday, 26 November 2012 16:07
- When The Movement Was Strong And Culture Was A Weapon: From 1970's Aretha to 2012 Beyonce | Kamau Written on Thursday, 23 August 2012 15:05
- The Attack on New York Congressional Candidate Charles Barron by Liberals and the Corporate Right Wing Shows Why We Need Independent Black Leadership Written on Wednesday, 20 June 2012 15:18