The coronavirus pandemic and the recent uprisings against white supremacist police terror after the murder of George Floyd have rocked the U.S. and the world. With over 15.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 650,000 deaths worldwide, and over 4 million cases and 140,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, it is clear that the pandemic will not be over anytime soon. In the U.S. we have witnessed the horrible and untimely response by the U.S. government to the pandemic as the American medical system has been exposed in its lack of preparedness for the pandemic. Testing for the COVID-19 virus has been abysmal as it has been extremely difficult to find access to testing centers, particularly in working class communities of color such as West Oakland.
Alameda County has the highest amount of cases in the Bay Area with over 10,000 cases confirmed. In Oakland, homelessness is on the rise and those who are homeless receive little to no support from the city. For example, the West Oakland Wood Street Homeless Community, which is one of the largest homeless communities in the Bay Area, has received no resources such as access to clean water, hand washing stations, showers, porto potties, or even trash dumpsters since the pandemic has started. This type of carelessness and incompetence on the part of the City of Oakland is indicative of the nature of the current system where profit and private interests are prioritized over the livelihood of working-class Oaklanders. The police have continued to harass, displace, and terrorize people in these communities, many of whom have lived in Oakland for their entire lives.
What is going on in Oakland is representative of the national situation. Due to the pandemic, tens of millions have been forced into unemployment, struggling to pay for rent and other necessities. Homelessness has continued to rise and the police have proceeded to terrorize and harass homeless people and working-class Black people more broadly. Over the last two months, we have seen millions across the world rise up against the oppressive system that has doomed millions to suffer unemployment, poverty, and police brutality. We need to act now, and build upon this momentum and advance a long term, sustained mass movement against white supremacy, police brutality, and the capitalist system as a whole.
We have come up with a list of demands to counter the terrible situation that the U.S. state has subjected working people to endure. We demand:
1. An end to police brutality on Black, Indigenous, Trans, Queer, and homeless communities.
2. Proper sanitation services for all homeless communities.
3. Housing for all. There is room for everyone!
4. Cancel rent, back rent, and information on landlords should be publicly available to all renters.
5. No re-opening of workplaces until there is comprehensive COVID-19 testing for all.
6. Protect students, families, and teachers as the new school year approaches.
These demands address the symptoms of the capitalist system in which we live in. Under capitalism, healthcare is for profit, millions are homeless as millions of homes remain vacant, landlords live off the backs of tenants, the government puts people at risk for the sake of economic growth, and the police terrorize and harass working class people while they protect private property and the status quo. We have had enough!
We put forward these demands in the spirit of the ongoing revolutionary struggle against capitalism which continues today in the legacy of the heroic acts of people and organizations like the Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers stood in armed self-defense against the police with the belief that the police do not serve the interests of the communities they patrol. The police will not protect the masses of people who are without work, healthcare, and the means to subsist in this society. They will only crack down when the people rise up. But we must rise up if we want to change this rotten system!
Please come out to West Oakland Bart Station on Saturday, August 1st at 1pm to participate in a rally for our demands in solidarity with the West Oakland Community. We ask that all those in attendance wear masks and practice social distancing when possible.
All Power to the People!
This event is organized in collaboration with Revolutionary United Front.
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