A Pledge for the Month of Resistance
Actions on October 1st

Updated October 2, 2014 | Revolution Newspaper | revcom.us


  • SMIN Rally in Chicago - Pledge of Resistance
  • Oct 1 - Build up to a Month of Resistance at City Hall in NYC
  • Cleveland, Bringing Pledge of Resistance to campus
  • Students in Harlem raising their voices for Stop Mass Incarceration
  • Students in Southern California taking up the Pledge of Resistance
  • Stop Mass Incarceration Network launching Month of Resistance in Harlem
  • Chicago, mother speaking out on the wrongful conviction of her son and the Month of Resistance
  • High school students launching Month of Resistance at University of California, Berkeley
  • UCLA students kick off Month of Resistance with a defiant edge
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Slide show October 1, 2014

Early reports from October 1st paint a picture of diverse, determined, courageous people taking the Pledge of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. They are people from the housing projects and inner cities – people who have been told their voices mean nothing. They are people who are not "under the gun," literally and figuratively, but who join in insisting that "Black lives matter, Latino lives matter, All lives matter." They took the pledge on campuses, in parks, in front of jails, and in public spaces. They set a tone, and issued a challenge for MONTH OF RESISTANCE.

Twenty people gathered in Ferguson, Missouri to read the pledge. This is the town where Michael Brown was killed by police on August 9th. The people of Ferguson rose up in rebellion. The cop who murdered Michael Brown has STILL not been charged or arrested. The city has become a focal point in the battle against police brutality, murder, terror and repression.

In New York City, the Pledge of Resistance was read in English and Spanish in the early morning in front of Manhattan's Criminal Court – known as "the Tombs," and at an 11am press conference in front of City Hall, and in front of the State Office Building in Harlem. A wide range of backgrounds and perspectives were represented including child welfare activists, religious forces, and Carl Dix from the Revolutionary Communist Party. At every stop, people testified with bitter stories about police abuse. In the afternoon, in Harlem, high school students rallied around a banner with the Pledge in a park. Later they blew whistles when they saw police threatening a man in a near-by subway entrance -- to make a statement that they would not tolerate him being abused. In the evening organizers headed to the Sunset Park district of Brooklyn, where 150 people had marched earlier in the week against police brutality.

As of early evening, October 1st, revcom.us received word of the Pledge of Resistance being read in front of the Cook County Courthouse in Chicago, at Cleveland State University, at the LAPD headquarters and UCLA in Los Angeles, in Seattle, and in the Bay Area. Stay tuned for updates.

   Oct 1st Video

Taking the Pledge of Resistance, Ferguson Missouri.
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Rabbi Michael Lerner at University of California Berkeley reads Pledge.
(If you're having trouble viewing this video, click here.)

An activist in the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) in East Harlem speaks out.
(If you're having trouble viewing this video, click here.)

Carl Dix, Oct 1, 2014.
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Poet Elmaz Abinader & journalist Tara Dorabji Pledge RESISTANCE TO MASS INCARCERATION…

Other Significant Events Around the Country on October 1

Two Editorial Endorsements for the Month of Resistance

The San Francisco Bay Guardian editorial board as well as a writer at the National Catholic Reporter have endorsed the October Month of Resistance to Mass Incarceration, Police Terror, Repression and the Criminalization of a Generation.

A September 30 editorial titled "End Mass Incarceration" began: "We at the Bay Guardian wholeheartedly support the Stop Mass Incarceration Network and its call for the month of October to be 'a month of resistance to mass incarceration, police terror, repression, and the criminalization of a generation.' It's time to rediscover our humanity, redirect our resources, and invest in this country's underclass instead of attacking it." The newspaper went on to expose the scope of mass incarceration and cited the Stop Mass Incarceration Network's "National Vision Statement": "If you don't want to live in a world where people's humanity is routinely violated because of the color of their skin, JOIN US. And if you are shocked to hear that this kind of thing happens in this so-called homeland of freedom and democracy—it does happen, all the damned time—you need to JOIN US too—you can't stand aside and let this injustice be done in your name."

"October has been declared a month of resistance to mass incarceration, police terror, repression and the criminalization of a generation," Mary Ann McGivern wrote in a September 25 piece in the National Catholic Reporter titled "A call to resist mass incarceration." She continued: "These are strong words, a strong call by the Stop Mass Incarceration Network. Talk about mass incarceration and police terror makes me squirm a little. But that doesn't make the accusations of repression and criminalization false. Read Michelle Alexander's The New Jim Crow. That would be a good way to participate in this October action."

Both these endorsements are very significant and point to the need and potential for the Month of Resistance to become known and supported throughout society.

Religious Voices Join in October 1 Kick Off

Religious voices helped make October 1 a powerful kick-off for the Month of Resistance. Here are some these voices:

At the University of California, Berkeley, following a rally marking the 50th anniversary of the Free Speech Movement which helped launch the 1960s, Rabbi Michael Lerner—editor of Tikkun magazine, chair of the Network of Spiritual Progressives, and rabbi of Beyt Tikkun Synagogue-Without-Walls in San Francisco and Berkeley—did a video-taped reading of the Pledge of Resistance.

In New York City, a representative of the Interreligious Foundation for Community Organization/Pastors for Peace organization joined the vigil at City Hall where the Pledge of Resistance was read and spoke at a press conference afterward about her group’s efforts on behalf of refugees—not immigrants—forced to flee Mexico and Central America.

In Chicago, Mark Lewis Taylor, Professor of Theology and Culture, Religion and Society, Princeton Theological Seminary (and a member of the Host Committee for the November 15 Cornel West-Bob Avakian Dialogue on Revolution and Religion) joined in a reading of the Pledge of Resistance and a speak-out at the Cook County Courthouse and Jail. Later, Charles Perry, the head of the prison ministry at Trinity United Church of Christ, spoke at a 5 pm rally downtown.

Such voices are a critical component of making the Month of Resistance like a giant STOP sign that cannot be ignored. The Stop Mass Incarceration Network Faith Based Initiative has called for sermons against mass incarceration around the country during the week of October 3-10. In the San Francisco Bay Area, for example, 21 churches, synagogues and mosques have announced they are participating.

Campuses, Communities, and Public Squares

LAPD Headquarters

Fruitvale Station

In a number of cities, groups of people went to campuses, housing projects and inner city communities, and took the streets and public squares on October 1 to read the Pledge of Resistance and to call on others act together on this day. Students at the University of Houston did the Pledge at a busy intersection—and in the evening, people took out the Pledge to the front of the notorious county jail in Houston. In Cleveland, a crew got quite a response to the Pledge at a food court of a university. Then they went to a mostly Black neighborhood where last month the police had shot dead a Black man who relatives said was emotionally upset over the recent death of his mother.

In the Los Angeles area, Pledge actions took place on campuses like UC Riverside and UCLA as well as at the downtown LAPD headquarters. In the San Francisco Bay Area, there were readings of the Pledge at UC Berkeley, College of Alameda, and other campuses, at the downtown Oakland Oscar Grant Corner, and in front of Oakland City Hall. At the Fruitvale BART Station—where Oscar Grant was killed in cold blood on the train platform in 2009 by a cop with a shot to the back—more than a dozen people, including Oscar's uncle, Cephus Johnson, gathered on the platform to read the Pledge together.


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