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We are Ignite, a communist youth group, calling all revolutionary young people to participate in the annual Trans Day of Action on June 28th, 2pm at the Christopher Street Pier. We recognize that the struggles of transgender and gender non-conforming people deeply connect with the systems we want to dismantle: capitalism-imperialism, patriarchy, national oppression, and white supremacy.

Transgender people bear the most brutal exploitation and violence. They face oppression in the family, homelessness, police brutality, mass incarceration, unemployment, economic exploitation, lack of access to quality medical care, physical and sexual violence, and commodification on a daily basis. Last year, 40% of gay and lesbian workers faced discrimination on the job, whereas 90% of trans workers faced discrimination, with almost half of them facing extreme hardship, such as losing employment due to gender identity discrimination. Of all anti-queer homicides, 53% were trans women and 73% were people of color/oppressed nationality.

In the education system the capitalist institution breeds the same gender binary system. Even at the university level it is apparent that women and gender studies are constantly neglected by being threatened to be removed or the university keeps it at a program status blocking women and gender studies from becoming full fledged departments. People are generally uneducated on the role of gender in capitalist society and this in turn helps to further push the existence of transgender people on the fringe. In CUNY it is rare to find gender neutral bathrooms, courses about transgender people, or many organizations that are  actively politicizing transgender issues on the campuses.

This brutal oppression originates from patriarchal notions of gender, which have its economic roots in the domination of surplus value by cis men, the oppression of women at the hands of those men, and the establishment of patrilineal family models. Cis, male, and heterosexual supremacists are determined to maintain the gender binary in all possible ways, which means using ideological and material methods to justify trans oppression. Thus, violent reaction to trans people goes hand in hand with the beliefs that trans people are not “natural,” that subverting gender and sexual norms are abhorrent, and that queer people as a whole are “abnormal.”

The overthrow of cis supremacy and trans oppression goes hand in hand with the abolishment of patriarchy, gender essentialism, heterosexism, national oppression, white supremacy, and capitalism-imperialism and the establishment of communism. We strive to live in a world free of the contradictions of class society, where people can determine their own gender identity, have access to quality health care if they choose hormonal replacement therapy and/or sexual reassignment surgery, where people will be respected whether among loved ones or strangers, where people can relate to each other in whatever relationship they determine. We aim to this new world which knows no exploitation, abuse, violence, or discrimination, a world whose equal citizens, as Engels imagined, “will care precious little what anybody today thinks they ought to do; they will make their own practice and their corresponding public opinion about the practice of each individual,” through the establishment of a socialist state and successive, ever deepening cultural revolutions. We know that all oppressed peoples, especially those seeking to smash cis supremacy, have a monumental role to play.

Ignite is committed to the idea that gender liberation is not simply beneficial to trans people and cis women—it is desirable and necessary for all. We call for you to march with us on June 28, 2013 for the Trans Day of Action. Trans people, all people, will be free!

Herbert Bloomberg
Anthony “Tony Tune” Herbert, a Brooklyn club promoter turned politician, is a poverty pimp who thinks he can pull a fast one on the people of New York City. Herbert has framed himself as a “legitimate” and “respectable” community leader while attempting to discredit the recent organized outrage against the police murder of 16 year old Kimani Gray in Brooklyn. He characterized the militant marches against the police in East Flatbush as “non-sense” in an interview with CBS NY. The respectability which he tries to project is a BOURGEOIS (capitalist) respectability, a self-serving ethic which reflects the image of a snake oil salesman. This trickster embodies all of the notions of what it means to be successful in the greedy culture of Amerikkka. The case of Tony Herbert should be exposed to the masses because it is an example of the wolves in sheeps’ clothing lurking around every oppressed community, searching for a way to cash in on the pain of the people.

 

As early as 5/08/09 Herbert was called out for being a community hustler by Norman Graham of “On the Spot” for raising funds without being a registered candidate. If we look into Herbert’s background, we shouldn’t be surprised that his political motivations are about getting money and power for himself, at the expense of the people he claims to serve. Herbert’s career background includes time as a business concierge with North Fork Bank, a consultant and VP of Government Affairs for a marketing and advertising firm. He also worked for an investment banking firm on Wall Street.

 

His own explanation of how he got into politics is so disingenuous that one can’t help but laugh when reading it. In his own words, he tells how he simply moved from one hustle to another: “I fell into politics during my search to get sponsors for my parties and events. I believed that if I hung around politicians, I would meet the major players from corporate America, and obtain sponsorship money for all the great event ideas I had. But one day, I was asked by the congressman whom I was volunteering for, to travel around during the weekends with a colleague of his who was running for re-election. I didn’t know too much about electoral politics or how a campaign was run, so I said – yes, I would… in summary, I developed in a community advocate after working for a congressman, the City Council and the New York State Senate.” Herbert’s claim that he “got hooked on helping people… and decided that I want to make a career out of it” sounds like a bad joke after knowing his history. He is clearly trying to make a career, but helping people is the last thing on his mind.

 

In addition to his corporate capitalist background Herbert is also in bed with other enemies of black and brown communities, shown by his endorsements from police-state organizations such as the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and the Correction Officer’s Benevolent Association. These are two groups whose sole purpose is to serve the interests of police and prison guards and defend nearly every single case of violence they commit, no matter how outrageous their actions may be.

 

Recently Herbert has gained attention by threatening activists who work against police brutality. It all started when a video emerged of Herbert at a Kimani Gray vigil, where he tried to divert attention away from the racist and brutal police state. He can be seen in the video confronting activists, saying “I don’t see you here when black brothers are shooting each other” and telling angry protesters “this is a vigil…quiet down”. When that failed, he baits the activists for supposedly being outsiders and trying to advance an “agenda”.

 

 

Herbert does nothing to place blame on the thugs in blue, but has instead shamelessly encouraged the community to snitch on each other to the cops and emphasizes that we must “build better police and community relations”. On the surface it would seem that maybe there would be better relations with the police if they weren’t beating, killing, and arresting black and brown people in mass numbers. But to expect that would be an illusion: the NYPD wouldn’t be doing their job if they weren’t terrorizing us. Herbert must know this, which is why he tries so hard to distract us from the brutality of the police.

 

Though Herbert claims to work for "stopping gun and gang violence" as his first priority in a campaign ad, he wants us to ignore his ties to the most powerful gun toting gang in New York City: the NYPD.

Though Herbert claims to work for “stopping gun and gang violence” as his first priority in a campaign ad, he wants us to ignore his ties to the most powerful gun toting gang in New York City: the NYPD.

 

Herbert’s discourse is a classic tactic of diverting blame away from the police by switching the conversation to the topic of inner-community violence, and black on black crime. Of course violence within our communities and among oppressed peoples is a major problem, but what Herbert and those like him conveniently neglect to mention is that the source of this street violence is the political system itself.

 

It is this same political and economic system that Herbert is so desperately trying to gain power within – white supremacist Amerikkkan capitalism – which leaves black and brown and other oppressed peoples without a means of sustaining ourselves. Capitalism leaves our communities without jobs, or limits us to jobs without living wages. Herbert has done his part on this front, including his work in 2011 trying to bring Wal-Mart, a company notorious for its low wages, anti-union and anti-worker practices, to NYC. Without opportunities for us and our families to live and prosper, our youth are often funneled into gang activities. Seeking a sense of community, protection, and a way to sustain themselves economically, these young people fuel what often becomes a self-destructive lifestyle, fighting and killing each other for power and money in the black market.

 

Herbert promotes the same system whose schools miseducate us, whitewash our histories and struggles, and doesn’t prepare us to be positive members of our communities or serve the needs of our peoples. It is the same capitalist system whose media makes millions peddling glorified images of criminal life to youth with no other opportunities. The same system that would rather set police on our communities like slave catchers, targeting us with the so-called War on Drugs, mass incarceration, stop and frisk, and outright murder at the hands of the Pigs.

 

Without an educational system that serves our needs, without a way to defend ourselves from the racist police thugs and eventually put them and their bosses out of power, without real solutions and a new way of living we cannot expect our communities to start healing the wounds of centuries of white supremacist violence and exploitation. Without these things we cannot expect people in our communities to unite, stop fighting each other, and engage in a real struggle for liberation. But these are all topics that people like Herbert would rather not talk about because they have sold out their communities in exchange for a token part within the enemy system.

 

After the video was circulated on the internet, some of the activists involved followed Herbert’s advice to google him. After discovering his political ties he was called out for the house slave that he is, and declarations were made by some to politically expose him. Herbert retaliated by making various threats against them, which can be seen here:

 

Herbert Screenshots
Herbert thugs in the family
Herbert whining
Herbert %22civil or war%22

 

Herbert’s recent internet ranting is instructive, because he did something that most politicians (or wannabe politicians) wouldn’t be stupid enough to do: he broke character in public and admitted that he really is nothing more than a thug with even more thugs behind him. We should apply this lesson to the other government thugs in suits like Bloomberg, Ray Kelly, bankers, CEO’s, and others portrayed by the media as “respectable” and “successful” within the capitalist power structure. We should use the example of Herbert to better understand how the power structure employs people who look like us to redirect our anger against each other, and away from the capitalist class, their police force, and the political system overall.

 

We have already been through this in 2008 and 2012 with the Obama campaigns and his empty promises of hope and change. 5 years after that first election day, the rich are still getting richer, the mass incarceration of black and brown people in Amerikkka continues, the war machine of the u.s. Empire expands, and Obama urges us to find common ground with those who suck the blood of the world’s oppressed masses.

 

U.S. President Obama is presented with a jacket by  Police Commissioner Kelly during a visit to the Real Time Crime Center in New YorkU.S. President Barack Obama is presented with a jacket by  Police Commissioner Kelly at One Police Plaza in  New York

 

This vicious system of capitalism has nothing to offer us besides continued misery. The youth of our communities must be trained not to become thugs or gangsters, but to become soldiers of socialist revolution! Like the comrades of the Black Panther Party and other ancestors who have sacrificed everything to fight for our liberation, we must engage in the struggle for a new world: we must ignite a spark, and fan it into a great fire!!

 

-Comrade Trip

[IGNITE received this followup article with the attached images on the situation in Brooklyn, New York. Members of IGNITE have been in the streets standing with the people against this latest police atrocity. -IGNITE ed.]

 

Friday, March 22, noon – Thirteen nights since the police in New York slaughtered 16-year-old Kimani “Kiki” Gray, and eleven nights since the beginning of the protests, marches, and rebellion of the people, the working-class community of East Flatbush remains under heavy siege by the state.

 

The map below is a close representation of the police presence in the area between 7 PM and 9 PM on a single weeknight this week, based on information provided by street-level observers. It is presented here especially for readers outside of New York City and outside of the United States, who must be made aware of the extent of the state repression currently being experienced by the people in this mostly Afro-Caribbean and New Afrikan neighborhood in Brooklyn.

 

The numbered circles indicate the quantity of police personnel at each intersection, while each of the lettered squares stand for a single police vehicle: “B” for bike, “C” for car, “I” for interceptor, “J” for jeep, “T” for trailer, and “V” for van.

 

The NYPD presence of more than 300 officers is concentrated along Church Avenue, extending from the site of the makeshift memorial and nightly vigils for Kimani on 55th Street to the subway stop on Nostrand Avenue. The subway stop is one block from the fully barricaded entrance to the 67th Precinct station at the intersection of Nostrand Avenue and Snyder Avenue.

 

This is what life has looked like every night for roughly the past two weeks in an outer borough of New York, one of the richest cities of the so-called “world’s greatest democracy” and “greatest nation on Earth,” to quote from recent speeches by Obama, the smiling face of the murderous capitalist ruling class. Past the decorative rhetoric, this is the real US democracy at work: police stationed on every corner of a predominantly black commercial and residential zone, creating a climate of fear, where residents cannot even go to the grocery store without walking past multiple NYPD posts.

 

Police presence at 55th Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush, site of the nightly vigils for Kimani “Kiki” Gray.

Police presence at 55th Street and Church Avenue in East Flatbush, site of the nightly vigils for Kimani “Kiki” Gray.

It is clear that the objective of the massive police operation in East Flatbush is to instill an atmosphere of constant surveillance and fear in the people, after the brief street rebellions of the youth last week against the slaughter of Kimani Gray. The message from the genocidal state to East Flatbush residents is easy to understand: we can murder your friends and loved ones, mobilize overwhelming force in your neighborhood against you, and there is nothing you can do about it. You cannot even mourn the dead in peace.

 

Aside from the dead, the brutalized, and those who have been stop-and-frisked, many more residents in this and similar neighborhoods in New York deal with the psychological pressures of living in a state of police siege. These psychological pressures afflict young and old alike. They range from the immediate stresses of police encounters to depression, panic disorders, etc. They include the parent’s daily anxiety that their child may not come home, may end up dead, in the hospital, or in jail, and the youth’s constant expectation of police encounter at any time, including in the classroom during school hours.

 

A line of police vehicles parked near Albany Avenue and Church Avenue in East Flatbush.

While the police lock down East Flatbush, the monopolist media largely remains silent and continues to portray Kimani as a violent criminal, despite a recent public letter by the principal of Kimani’s high school showing him to be an intellectually-curious and valuable student. The capitalist press serves the rich and does its job well. A consistent working class-oriented press capable of exposing the stories of the brutalized and those who live under the anxiety of police state repression is missing and sorely needed.

 

The dynamics of policing and social control in East Flatbush are similar to those in proletarian and urban poor neighborhoods in other countries, from the immigrant working-class suburbs of Paris to the far larger and more destitute shantytowns of Rio de Janeiro and Manila. The world capitalist system is rendering growing populations redundant, proving incapable of providing regular employment and integrating them into the formal economy. The necessary logic of the system is clear and alarming: genocide, the imprisonment and outright extermination of the poor. The logic of the people must be to survive, to overcome with great difficulty the mental pressures that can drive all but the most resilient among us insane; to resist, because every collective action provides lessons and is a signal to the exploited and oppressed around the world that a section of the proletarian class exists here, inside the heart of the US empire; and to organize for revolution.

 

-Hugo Dato

Cops with metal barricades barring the way to the 67th Precinct

[IGNITE received this article and these photos from a friend. -IGNITE ed.]

Friday, March 15, noon – Four nights in a row this week, people in the East Flatbush neighborhood of central Brooklyn, New York protested, marched, and rebelled against the latest murder committed by the police of the genocidal state. It was a rebellion unprecedented in recent New York history, one that forced the city to mobilize several hundred police and police vehicles to secure a commercial and residential area only a single square kilometer in size.

People throughout the world need to know about this. It needs to be discussed internationally in Guyana, Jamaica, and every country. In the city where some of the wealthiest US capitalists direct their global empire, where one hour on the subway separates the central downtown hub of US finance from the outer borough zones most afflicted by hunger in the entire country, the state is only able to manage the gulf between rich and poor through murder and repressive violence.

People everywhere must recognize that this domestic brutality is the “freedom and democracy” that the US diplomats, the current Obama administration, and every administration trumpets on about abroad. If you are young, poor, and black in this country under this system, your life can be taken at any moment with impunity by murder or prison, all the while the president gives empty speeches about hope and change on TV. On top of the regular murders, there is the social control policy of routine stop-and-frisks, heavily concentrated in certain poor neighborhoods. This is the model that the New York Police Department exports through its satellite offices in Israel, the Philippines, and elsewhere.

The makeshift memorial for Kimani “Kiki” Gray, 16, on the corner of Church Avenue and 55th Street in East Flatbush.

Kimani “Kiki” Gray, age 16, is one of the most recent victims of the genocide by the state. On Saturday night, March 9, he was leaving a birthday party at his best friend’s house in East Flatbush when two undercover police gunned him down. He grew up in the neighborhood and his parents were Guyanese and Jamaican. The cops approached him and fired eleven shots, hitting him seven times in the body and legs, including three times in the back.

The cops now say Kimani turned and pointed a loaded handgun at them. They say they recovered this gun at the scene. They add further that Kimani had four previous arrests, with charges of grand larceny, inciting a riot, and possession of stolen property.

There is no reason to believe any part of the official story. At least one eyewitness disputes the police account and says Kimani did not have a gun. Police sources were quick to release information on Kimani’s prior arrests, knowing that the capitalist media would simply accept the implication that a young black man must be guilty upon arrest, without any convictions or even any facts. They knew that they could murder him a second time in the press.

Police lie. They lie frequently in all settings, including in written statements and in court testimony under oath. Cases of evidence planting and other scandals have been extensively documented, as well as admitted outright by former police. They know the law does not apply to them. For the youth in East Flatbush, this is confirmed daily by every abuse and every arbitrary insult at the hands of the police.

The rebellion reached its peak Wednesday night, when the mostly Caribbean youth defended themselves against the police near the local 67th Precinct with bottles, rocks, and bricks, ending with the arrest of nearly 50 people, including Kimani Gray’s sister. This experience will not be forgotten by the people or the state anytime soon. In the coming days and weeks, people will discuss and debate the lessons to be drawn.

City Councilman Jumaane Williams is employing the old reactionary device of the “outside agitator,” blaming “outsiders” for inciting the youth, as if the social conditions of police murder, warehousing in jails, prisons, and capitalist schools, and massive unemployment – in sum, having no future – did not by themselves create a powder keg that was set off by the latest killing. The starting point of any discussion must be this: the anger of the youth is justified, the rebellion of the youth is justified.

On Thursday night, wary of a repeat of Wednesday’s events, Williams and his supporters got on a bullhorn and attempted unsuccessfully to divert the non-permitted march into the New Horizon Gospel Church for a sparsely-attended “community meeting,” as the marchers headed down Church Avenue from the makeshift memorial toward the precinct, ultimately streaming past the clergy. Earlier in the night, Community Affairs cops encouraged the crowd to go to the church, rather than the precinct, showing some level of coordination between all of the forces of law and order.

A significant point to make here is that between the tiny number who rule and mass of people who have nothing, the social structure of the US is thick with intermediate layers for shock absorption, middlemen between the oppressors and the oppressed. In this case the middlemen consist of the organized supporters of Jumaane Williams and other politicians, the churches and their networks, and the non-profit organizations funded by the big foundations for the purpose of counter-insurgency. Behind them, there is the police commissioner and the 34,500-strong force of the NYPD, and behind them the National Guard. After any spontaneous and temporary rebellion subsides, there are a lot of institutions to absorb, channel, and, when needed, violently repress the anger of the people.

Against all this, the most oppressed must organize step-by-step to struggle and rise in their millions for a New Power, guided by a political vision that is simple at its core: those at the bottom in society who have nothing must rise together to conquer everything. Parents with no children and youth with no future here in the outer boroughs of NYC must know that together with the other members of their class living in the ghettos and barrios throughout the US, as well as in the Caribbean, Latin America, Africa, and Asia, where massive numbers of people are born into even worse conditions and disposed daily by the global capitalist system, there is a world that can be won through revolution.

-Hugo Dato

Video made public yesterday, originally on WorldStarHipHop.com

Yesterday afternoon in midtown New York City (57th street and 10th avenue) a handful of NYPD thugs stood around waiting for an ambulance to pick up a man they had arrested and then put into a bodybag. The bag covered the man´s entire body, except for his boots.

The man could be heard saying to the officers, “you´ve had me on the ground for an hour! I can´t get transported or nothing!? when you take this off my eyes, I´m taking everybody´s names and numbers!” In response, the officers just stood around laughing because they know, just as well as we all do, that NYPD officers can get away with almost any kind of mental, verbal, or physical abuse and violence against those they arrest.

When the ambulance finally arrived, the officers picked up the man, still in the bag, and roughly put him onto a stretcher. The ambulance took him away. It is thought that the man might be one of the neighborhood´s homeless people who often sit in front of stores in the area. It is not known by us what the situation was that led up to the arrest, or why the officers put the man into the bag. The fact that he was sent away in an ambulance, and not in a police car, is indicative that the man had health problems.

JJpigManinbag3-bigJJpigManinbag2-bigpictureJJpigManinbag-smallThis pig aggressively confronted people who had cameras, saying “you already got your pictures now get out of here!” The NYPD, the largest single police force in the world, has been increasingly terrorizing people in recent years with a number of notable murders of unarmed people and a massive increase in its racist “stop and frisk” campaign. These pigs are providing “law and order” for the city´s elite financial and business class, against the rest of us, primarily the working class black and latino peoples living in the city. We should note that 5 of the officers present were white, 1 was black, 1 was latino. The presence of one or two sellouts in blackface serves to cover the police from allegations of racist activity…

 

Today`s pigs could be tomorrow´s bacon…

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Image Source: London Centre For the Study of Anti-Americanism

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