More Injustice and More Righteous Struggle in East Oakland

August 10, 2015 | Revolution Newspaper |


From a member of the Revolution Club:

East Oakland, Sunday July 26—One week after Richard Linyard died after being chased down by Oakland police (see “Richard Linyard didn’t have to die. The whole damn system is guilty!”), there was a get-together and BBQ in the neighborhood with Rich’s family and friends. All of a sudden some of the youth ran over yelling that the police are chasing Lil Dev (Rich’s brother). A bunch of us started running up the street toward where the police sirens were coming from. Some of us from the Revolution Club were blowing our whistles, calling people out into the streets. We got up to 66th and International and they already had Dev in the police car. Some people were saying they saw the whole thing and Dev didn’t do anything. Now their mom, Jessica’s other son has been stolen by these pigs! An angry crowd gathered around the police, fired up by the injustice of the whole thing. The pigs all got in their cars and quickly left the scene. The crowd pushed out into the street, taking over all four lanes of International Blvd, the main street running through East Oakland.

About 25-50 people shut down International Blvd for the next four hours! A protest like this has not been seen in East Oakland as long as I can remember. Unfortunately, since none of this was planned, we didn’t have any signs to let the cars know what it was about. At one point there was some unnecessary antagonistic stuff with some of the people passing by. So people started the chant, “Fight the system, not the people.” We kept the chanting going in order to keep it focused: “Justice for Rich!” “Richard Linyard didn’t have to die, we all know the reason why, the whole system is guilty!” And we tried to let all the cars know what it was about...and they were almost all supportive despite having to be re-routed. The street blockade was led by the friends and family of Rich and Dev, but a number of others from the neighborhood joined on the spot, including a number of Latino youth, the sister of O’Shaine Evans (murdered by SFPD), the cousin of Derrick Jones (murdered by OPD), and the cousin of Jody Woodfox (murdered by OPD).

The pigs had backed off, until about 10 pm, when the crowd was dwindling, they came back and attacked. First, they amassed a large contingent of cops into a ‘V’ formation. Then they started walking slowly toward the protesters to clear the street. Then all of a sudden they charged at people, grabbing and arresting at least three, and pushing people into and knocking over the candlelight memorial for Rich on 64th St.

The next day we talked to some of the youth who had played such an important role in the shutdown. We read through, the Revolution Club statement about Richard Linyard and BA’s quote about “There is the potential for something of unprecedented beauty to arise out of unspeakable ugliness: Black people playing a crucial role in putting an end, at long last, to this system...” and we watched the clip from the film of the dialogue on religion between Bob Avakian and Cornel West about “Why are we still fighting for justice in 2015?” One of the things that really stood out to them from the previous day was the fear that these pigs had in that moment, and the power that the people had. On the other hand there was some of the negative stuff that happened, and also the way in which some people who should’ve joined instead just stayed on the sidewalk.

This was like a microcosm, a small-scale example of the revolutionary potential of the most oppressed. But it also highlighted the need for leadership, organization, discipline... specifically revolutionary leadership so that people can understand who are their friends and who are their enemies, and most importantly, so that all that righteous anger can get directed toward the overthrow of this whole system and the ENDING of all forms of oppression and exploitation, and not just some revenge. And it also highlighted all the work that we have to do NOW to bring this revolutionary potential into being by preparing the ground, preparing the people, and preparing the leadership for revolution, to get to a situation where the revolutionary forces are strengthened, millions of people support the revolution including allies among the more privileged middle class sections of society, and the revolutionary forces can operate, like Mao Zedong talked about, “like fish in the sea of the people” who give aid to the revolutionary communists and deny it to the enemy. Even in this small example, as one of the youth pointed out, imagine if we had all been wearing the  BA speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS! T-shirts (and understood who BA is and what this revolution is about)... imagine how much more of a force we would be.

Lastly, on behalf of the Revolution Club: we denounce the ongoing police harassment and intimidation of Richard Linyard’s family and friends. This is nothing but an attempt to intimidate and silence people. But, as Sunday night showed, people are not in a mood to be silenced. Drop ALL the charges on Lil Dev and everyone else who’s been arrested for standing up for Justice 4 Rich!




#RiseUpOctober to STOP Police Terror! Which side are you on?


A Moving Funeral for Richard Linyard—and the Fighting Spirit of His Family and Friends

On July 22, about 150 people gathered for Richard Linyard’s funeral at a big church in East Oakland—friends, family, neighbors, mostly African American, all ages but especially the young people who were so close to Rich and his younger brother. A big photo of Rich in a hoodie, with the big smile he was known for, was displayed at front of the stage. A number of Rich’s friends spoke through tears about how much Rich meant to them and several talked about how wrong it was the way he died. A revolutionary spoke also, drawing from the Revolution Club statement and BA’s new statement, and got a lot of applause when he talked about how it was the responsibility of everyone—Black, white, Latino, Asian—to STOP this slow genocide directed at Black people. In her eulogy, the pastor of the church recited and analyzed the lyrics to a couple of Rich’s songs (his rap name was Afrikan Richie) and called him a “prophet” sent by God to wake the people up and get them to rise up against injustice. (For an example of Afrikan Richie’s work, see YouTube for “One Day“.)

When the eulogy was over, everyone went outside to take a break before eating. All of a sudden we noticed one of Rich’s friends being stopped by a cop right in front of the church. About 30 of us, revolutionaries and many of the youth, ran over and started yelling for the pigs to let him go—they already killed Rich, and they need to get the fuck outta here and stop harassing people here at the funeral! With all the people around yelling and filming, the pigs first called in a bunch of other cop cars and even a helicopter, and  then they made a quick retreat.


Volunteers Needed... for and Revolution

Send us your comments.

If you like this article, subscribe, donate to and sustain Revolution newspaper.

REVOLUTION AND RELIGION The Fight for Emancipation and the Role of Religion, A Dialogue Between Cornel West & Bob Avakian
BA Speaks: Revolution Nothing Less! Bob Avakian Live
BAsics from the Talks and Writings of Bob Avakian
Constitution for the New Socialist Republic in North America (Draft Proposal)
WHAT HUMANITY NEEDS Revolution, and the New Synthesis of Communism
You Don't Know What You Think You 'Know' About... The Communist Revolution and the REAL Path to Emancipation Its History and Our Future Interview with Raymond Lotta
The Oppression of Black People, The Crimes of This System and the Revolution We Need