Monday, July 29, 2013

Critical Reponce

 ONYX's Official Response sent to the "collective" who produced this article: It is difficult and often dangerous from an outside perspective to assume one knows what is actually happening in a moment or at an event. The best course of action in those circumstances, particularly if you have strong feelings about them, is to speak directly with the people involved in that moment or event. No investigation - NO right to speak.

In this case, for at least the part of your article that named my organization, the people you should have spoken to were either myself Cat, My Co-Chair Ghetto Prophet or My Sergeant At Arms, Asantewaa. Perhaps then, we could have prevented the false hoods you spread, and now tension that exists, between our organization and your "collective".

While I found several pieces of your "article" troubling - including your not capitalizing Black, your gross over estimation of the size of the crowd and the missing voices of the young Black youth themselves - my more direct issue is with the following two paragraphs:

"In Oakland, organizers had scheduled a rally and march in response to the national call-out issued by the Trayvon Martin Organizing Committee days earlier. However a struggle quickly emerged within a small group of collectives over the question of destination and goal of the demonstration. Following several speeches and some internal debate, the local black nationalist O.N.Y.X. Organizing Committee seized control of march logistics and explained to the crowd that we would march to the OPD station. Upon arrival, they told us, we would continue to rally, then return to Oscar Grant Plaza. As the crowd of one thousand approached the intersection outside of OPD headquarters a large cordon of riot police blocked our path, forcing demonstrators into the middle of the major downtown intersection and effectively blocking all lanes of traffic. However, OPD officers did not block off the I-880N freeway ramp, choosing instead to concentrate all their forces on preventing approach to the headquarters. As O.N.Y.X. spokespersons urged the crowd to stay put and allow the rally to continue as they had planned, a small group of black youth on ‘scraper’ bikes ignored their pleas. These youths broke away from the intersection and charged up the freeway off-ramp.

Some of the O.N.Y.X. organizers motioned with their arms to come back and seemed to disapprove with the decision to take the freeway, but hundreds in the crowd began following up the off-ramp with great excitement. Several cars honked in support of the exuberant crowd. Once on the freeway, a large section of demonstrators formed a human chain across northbound and southbound lanes, effectively bringing traffic to an absolute standstill. After nearly a half-an-hour, OPD and California Highway Patrol (CHP) officers began to mount the freeway, and demonstrators scattered in a disorganized manner. When the police did not make arrests, concentrating on clearing the highway, marchers were able to regroup near Chinatown. This gathering weaved back through downtown Oakland, marched around Lake Merritt to Piedmont and eventually grew into a much larger march that would continue late into the evening, and culminated in an assembly before the steps of the Superior Court of Alameda County."

For the record:
a) ONYX did not "seize" the march. In the organizing meeting PRIOR to the demo - the decision was made that ONYX would determine the route. We were fulfilling our assigned duty when we made the call.
b) We were not upset - nor did we "plea" for people to come back when they took the freeway. In fact, we debated with others outside of our organization who wanted us to not only pull people back, but leave them if they didnt come. As there were large numbers of Afrikans on that freeway and as you accurately stated in your article, we are a NATIONALIST organization, it was never an option to leave the freeway or our people behind.
c) When OPD lined up to make their way on to the freeway, it was Myself and GP who ran up the ramp to warn people that the Pigs were on their way and it was ONYX who organized the human chains and grouped people together to help those who wanted to safely exit the freeway - making it more difficult for police to target or assault individuals - several of whom broke down and/or panicked when they saw the blue wall advancing.

We would appreciate an immediate and public correction to your article and in the future - if you have concerns or questions about the behavior of our organization, the principled thing to do would be to discuss it with us. This manner of divisive and inaccurate information sharing does nothing to advance the struggle. Indeed, ONYX has worked hard to develop solid working relationships with people from all kinds of ideological backgrounds - including Anarchists - to better build a movement for the people. We dont always agree - but we always communicate. Things like this simply set all of us back. Perhaps placing the overall goals of the people and the struggle before your self-righteous need to comment would be a good place to start your next piece from.

In struggle,

Co-Chair, ONYX Organizing Committee
Ghetto Prophet,
Co-Chair, ONYX Organizing Committee

Black Light,
 Minister of Information and Technology, ONYX

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