A Letter from the Democratic Party.. I want to receive

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We need to hear swiftly, definitively and defiantly from our leaders in the disloyal opposition before we let the winner of the Electoral College debacle into the White House. This is what I’m asking them to say, but first they must account for their many failures.

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We recognize that many are suffering in this country and around the world, especially since the economic crash brought on by Republican politics and the wars in the Middle East, terrorism and fears of it also brought on by NeoCon policies during the Bush years.

We accept full responsibility for acquiescing to those policies sometimes with our votes and often with our silence while knowing full well that the devastation wreaked in faraway places would drain our people of needed resources while enraging the residents of those far places.

We admit that no American banker or oligarch was jailed while families lost their homes, their pensions and their hopes for the future. Even as that continues to happen, the bodies of small children wash ashore in the Mediterranean as a result of those disastrous votes and the funds to back them. We never told the American people the truth about how that happened nor of our responsibility in it. We must start now!

The same can be said of  Central American families seeking refuge from murderous regimes while we jail and deport families back to lands they may not know or to violent cities and countrysides from which they fled.

We have been complicit in putting our population under surveillance and lying about it while hunting down those who would expose the rumors as truth-giving rise to far fetched conspiracy theories and the complete loss of trust in our democracy.

There is more in which we have been complicit, privatizing our schools, denigrating our union movement, and ignoring the unfathomable fear that has replaced the American dream. We even told our citizens that education was a necessity while making a profit off of those who have worked so hard to achieve it, along the way, indebting an entire generation out of their birthright.

We spent decades building prisons lest Black Americans attempted to seek their long-ago-earned part of the American Dream-whose only compensation for their hard work has been more restrictions including death for shopping, driving, working, walking, breathing. Many of us never stood up for our first Black president when he sought solutions for all working Americans while taking on all of the old festering problems of a dying republic.

Now that the pathway to facism, destruction of the planet, and targeting of whole swathes of our population has been made manifest, we declare:  2016-11-14-11-51-29

To prevent the acceptance of any court nominee (Supreme or lower) who does not uphold individual rights, voting rights, rights of women and people of any gender to control their bodies, the rights of workers and consumers, and the most basic right-that of the planet to continue to make human habitation possible. We further assert that the 4th Amendment to the Constitution be reinstated-the right to be safe in our persons being the most basic and necessary to survival.

To prevent cuts in funding to any marginalized group (as defined by Dave Chappell) including our elders, our children, our students, and those who have long lived without the protections and benefits others have taken for granted.

To prevent violations of our communal property-parks, schools, housing, and health, including ending fracking, mining public lands and other acts of destruction in order to provide cheap energy and subsidizing communal needs.

To reassess the need for and usefulness of the FBI, NSA, and especially the CIA while eliminating funding for military hardware, including in our cities and for our local law-enforcement agencies. 20161113_153003

To maintain and spread the prohibition against private prisons, indeterminate sentencing, jailing people who cannot pay fines (debtors’ prisons,) cruel and unusual punishment-oh hell-just really read the Bill of Rights and stop trying to limit them-with one addendum that they not be limited to men, or white folks or straight folks or restricted for those with disabilities/differences or those born in other places than these 52 states (which must include Puerto Rico and DC.)

To stop the border wall and close border detention/concentration camps, registration of immigrants or religious groups.

To demand a basic income for all Americans including healthcare, childcare and higher education. We vow to educate Americans to the true cost of privatizing all these needs and the ways in which we can all contribute to the betterment of our country through fair taxation.

To rebuilding our decaying infrastructure and restarting our leadership in innovation including making internet and information access available at low or no cost to our country’s families, families not defined by one type-by training and hiring those at the bottom of the pay scale first.

We refuse just to fight against reaction and nihilism but to demand a better life for all of us, including those in other corners of the globe. We will fight to be the beacon-we-always-pretended-we-were and not-in-some-1950’s-fantasy but as our best angels might envision us.

This is a long expensive list, it’s true but if we really want to be great as never before, we have to tackle a future where everyone can live, thrive, and have the opportunity to pursue even a modicum of happiness.

Signed,

The Democratic Party of the United States of America

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In a Season of Change– a Plea to Our New Mayor

Reemergence Meeting-Occupy Oakland

In October and early November Oaklanders look forward to warm weather, beautiful sunsets, and-fires and earthquakes. Oh, and election season.

This time last year I was walking the neighborhoods of West Oakland and Lake Merritt, flyering folks coming out of BART, and staying up late at night strategizing with other campaign staff, or the future mayor herself.

What a difference a year makes. Jean Quan, who I have known for many years-sometimes argued (loudly) with, strategized and broken bread many times with, is now mayor of this wonderful little city.

Jean Quan and her family have a long history of fighting for peace, union rights, ethnic studies, and human rights. They come from immigrant stock and Jean developed her skills against the backdrop of a single mom who couldn’t speak English.

The new mayor spent much of her childhood in public libraries and attended a renowned public university. She had to obtain scholarships even to survive her college years; and then almost didn’t get her degree due to being jailed in defense of ethnic studies.

Last year after the Mehserle verdict was handed down, Jean was accused by the police department of preventing them from dispersing the crowd down the block from City Hall. She had stood arm-in-arm with Rebecca Kaplan to separate protestors from the police in an attempt to defuse the situation.

Now, while she is out-of-town, after a morning in which the police department destroyed the village in Frank Ogawa- Oscar Grant Plaza-tearing up posters, pulling down a library, and arts and crafts and first aid tents, while manhandling sleeping protestors- OPD is in control of our city. The chief just held a press conference with his staff and Council Member de la Fuente was the only elected representative present.

After a blue tornado hits Occupy Oakland

Where is the rest of our governing council? Why did the most hands-on mayor we’ve ever seen let this happen while she was out-of-town? Why did she entrust our city’s fate to a department that may soon be in federal receivership for its cavalier attitude toward human rights?

For those of us who’ve long loved this city, who’ve worked here, raised our kids here, even sent them to school here-we can’t stand aside much longer while the police and their union runs roughshod over our citizens- good, bad  and the rest- just-tryin’-to- make-it folks.

Children at play at Occupy Oakland

And for those of us who walked and phoned day after day for the mayor-to-be…. Well, let me back up–I’ll just speak for me. When I was young, I spent a lot of time demonstrating against a president who turns out to have been one of the best of our time. He brought us civil rights-long overdue, Medicare- the first installment of single payer healthcare and other additions to the New Deal first promised by Franklin Roosevelt.

But Lyndon Johnson chose to listen to his hawkish advisers and follow counsel that he seemed to have known in his heart, was wrong. The country went to war at home as well as abroad and Johnson left office in disgrace.

Maybe that is a false historical analogy-I hope it is. But I see a police department that is out-of-control, and tonight I see a city under martial law. Come home Jean, and take charge.

We were able to build a caring community during your grassroots campaign, so it is no surprise to me that people, young and old, came to City Hall to design and build a new way of life. Oakland has always been a center of activism and experimentation. Your administration needs to honor that hope and nurture that change or you will be remembered for all the wrong reasons.