Los Angeles: Getting Out Revolution at the Clippers-Warriors Game

May 1, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


From a reader:

On April 29, leading into Game 5 of the Clippers vs. Warriors NBA playoff game at Staples Center in Los Angeles, protesters gathered to protest the racism of Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Hours before the start of the game, new NBA Commissioner Adam Silver banned Sterling from the basketball league for life and said he'd push hard to get other NBA owners to force Sterling to sell his franchise. Apparently, there had been talk among players to possibly not play that night if Silver had not come down hard on the racist Sterling. With the lifetime ban, there was a media blitz of support for Adam Silver and the ban-for-life decision, and the game went ahead with the Clippers eventually winning and taking a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series. There were standing ovations for the players, during pre-game warm-ups and when each player entered the game.

Staples Center April 29, protest of Sterling

April 29, 2014 protest in front of Staples Center in Los Angeles against the overt racism of Clippers' owner Donald Sterling. Photo: Special to Revolution

But widespread anger at the overt racism of Sterling, which has been well known among the NBA team owners (and many others) for decades, continues in the face of intense efforts (by the ruling powers and the media they control) to put a lid on and contain this righteous anger from more fully boiling over (and to quarantine, in a sense, any further exposure of the plantation-style slave-owner mentality and culture of the NBA and its business). And questions about the source of Sterling's racism (what system and "culture" taught Sterling to think like he does?), and why it's been tolerated for so long in NBA and what this says about 21st-century AmeriKKKa, have been and still are in the air.

In this situation, a group of revolutionaries took Revolution newspaper and the main slogans for May 1st this year—"WE REFUSE TO ACCEPT SLAVERY IN ANY FORM HERE AND AROUND THE WORLD!" and "FIGHT THE POWER, AND TRANSFORM THE PEOPLE, FOR REVOLUTION!"—into the protest and into the lines of fans waiting to get into the game. We also passed out hundreds of "Three Strikes" posters with a quote by Bob Avakian and Avakian's New Year's message. One comrade had a sign encouraging people to log on to Bob Avakian's talk "The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters" (one of the 7 Talks which truly deserves a listen to right now!).

Listen to this Talk by Bob Avakian:

The NBA: Marketing the Minstrel Show and Serving the Big Gangsters

Track 1, Track 2

This was not a large protest, a couple of hundred max, but a section of the people who did come to Staples to protest were showing their determination to not let this racism just get swept under the rug as the latest racist outrage which explodes into public view, but then the protest doesn't get powerfully enough registered and shit just goes back to everyday racist normalcy. A number of people voiced that they encouraged their friends to come to protest, and their friends didn't, but god damn it they were going to come down even if by themselves, and did. And to be clear, there were groups that came out, angry, fresh and ready to fight to stop this racism. And when discussion jumped off around refusing to accept slavery in any form here or all over the world, a number of people righteously condemned the exploitation and slavery going on all around the world and how that must stop too ("we know it's not just us..."). The banner we held was attractive, and many came up to take pictures and voice support. People were invited to May 1st this year. Racism as "the law of the land," including how racism had recently been sanctified by the Supreme Court in its anti-affirmative action ruling, was a topic. There were homemade signs that read "Racism Is Illegal." Struggle ensued over whether this racism is as American as apple pie—which it is—and couldn't be ended short of revolution—which it can't—or whether instituting legal remedies, reforms within an existing America, was an actual cure.

The challenge was put to people about this white supremacy being built into the very structure of capitalism-imperialism and the need for a real revolution to finally put an end to it, and nothing short of that. When the need and challenge of making revolution was put forth, there were a range of responses from people, including "when... how long would it take..." and a number said "god-willing...." Responding, we intensely discussed how revolution has to be built for, that the ground needs to be prepared, that the forces need to get organized for revolution... that there's no supernatural force and no supernatural forces who are going to step in and solve this problem of national oppression and racism and all the other problems in this world... that it's up to us! We invited these people to the talk coming up "Where We Are in the Revolution" which will be in LA on May 17, to get more fully into this.

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