RTS A Success! Report #2

This was a lively rolling New Orleans street party highlighting the
imprisonment of hometown hero Lil Wayne and Baton Rouge’s Lil Boosie
as examples of how the police and prison industrial complex do not
work. There are a thousand reasons to love the best rapper alive;
besides inspiring and keeping a much-needed focus on New Orleans, Lil
Wayne (along with Atlanta’s Gorilla Zoe) was also instrumental in
breaking Goblin Awareness into the hip-hop mainstream. He and Boosie
have brought happiness, hope, and strength through music to people
around the world. Think about it: how does putting them in prison make
anyone safer? Furthermore, why is marijuana illegal? Why do we allow
people to tell us what is or isn’t permitted? And Weezie’s arrest was
bullshit… “attempted weapons possession?” What does that even
mean?… Where was the NRA or other mainstream so-called “rights”
groups to stick up for him?

The whole system is broken. The police and courts system is fucked,
not just here in Louisiana, where we have the highest arrest and
incarceration rates AS WELL as the highest crime rates, but
everywhere– this is the same “free” country where Antavio Johnson
went to jail simply for writing a song about his frustration with
police & the courts.

Prison is nothing but repackaged slavery, with poor, mostly minority
folks given NO chance from the get-go. Poor people are denied
educational opportunities and surrounded by hopelessness. Is it a
coincidence that those who see the injustice of the police and legal
system all around them every day adopt outlaws as role models? Then
bam! you’re thrown into prison where you perform mandatory labor for
pennies an hour, on a farm or in an assembly line, to make products
sold in Walmart, Victoria’s Secret and elsewhere for huge profits…
and once the legal system gets ahold of you, it does NOT let you go
until you’ve been ground into dust.

On the evening of November 30, we came out to raise hell, not to beg
for “change” or request “reform” from those in power. We are not
addressing or petitioning the authorities. We are speaking to the
people, to each other, and we aren’t stopping. There are no lists of
demands that the would-be rulers can grant or deny; our demand is that
they no longer exist. These streets and this life don’t belong to the
cops or the government. Their courts, their laws, their politicians
and their prisons are part of an out-of-date world that’s crumbling
out from under them; we’re here to celebrate the overdue end of their
control.

About forty people gathered on Canal St. for the party, including a
number from New Orleans’ vast homeless community. It was a
particularly impressive turnout considering the undefeated Saints were
at that same time whipping the asses of the New England Patriots… it
takes a lot to drag a Saints fan away from the TV at a time like that.
We had a nice loud sound system playing good music– including New
Orleans bounce– and hung several big banners along the streets.  The
initial interest from the New Orleans Police Department was limited to
one big thickneck cop who parked, made a show of whipping out a giant
knife (compensating for somethin’ there, buddy?) and cut down some of
the streamers people had draped around, although for whatever reason
he left the banners alone. Then he got in his car and peeled out. See
ya! At that point the party moved from the sidewalks into the street
itself, blocking traffic, shutting down major intersections, erecting
barricades, drinking, dancing and carrying on.

Some old man in a Lexus didn’t want to stop for the party. He pulled
right through the middle of the crowd, knocking a banner-holding
participant up onto the hood of his car and continuing through the
intersection to the next block over; a wild ride of maybe 100 yards. A
lot of the partiers frowned on this conduct and let the driver know of
their disapproval. Then the police showed up again, this time with
guns drawn! Another Oakland incident was narrowly averted, and
everybody got away except the unlucky hood rider, who (in spite of
being hit by the car!) was cuffed up and tossed in the back of a
cruiser.

It was the word of the old uptown white guy in a nice suit with a nice
car vs. the word of the gold-toothed downtowner, and the police
automatically took the driver’s side in spite of multiple witnesses
contradicting his version. The guy hit by the car was charged with
“disturbing the peace.”

Meanwhile, the street party had turned into a running battle in the
narrow streets of the historic French Quarter, with big fat cops
chasin’ kids all up and down the alleyways. At least three people were
arrested, charged with being responsible for graffiti, though it’s not
clear if they were even involved in the party; they were most likely
just poor people in the wrong place at the wrong time…

Read Report #1

Photos

1 Comment

  1. Short Notice RECLAIM THE STREETS « RUTHLESS ROCKSTEADY said,

    […] READ THE FOLLOW UP REPORTS HERE and HERE […]

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