Statement on Sideshows

Keep Hoods Yours

As revolutionaries working to spread mass rebellion and develop independence/autonomy from the system, it’s important to not only share our visions of the new world we carry in our hearts, but to also highlight/promote existing tendencies that already are, or have the potential to be, rebellious, anti-authoritarian & communal (even if such tendencies aren’t flawless; context is always important). Don’t just preach condescendingly at people, encourage what good is already there.

Oakland sideshows are rebellious, self-organized activity of the working class:

Organized w/out centralized authority, institutionalized hierarchy or permission, & they easily/quickly gather dozens, hundreds of people.

Organized by mostly working class youth of color (but include folks of all ages & races, all united in having a good time).

Strong anti-police culture; pigs are always attacked verbally, often physically (throwing bottles, stomping cop cars, etc), commands to disperse are always challenged/ignored, sideshows often can’t be stopped until folks decide to stop.

Strong solidarity culture; nobody snitches on each other for anything, strong sense of unity when pigs come around, strong awareness of these being “our streets.”

Insurrectionary potential; sideshows are often accompanied by graffiti, rioting & public rebellion, folks are militant & often armed. Sideshows are also fluid & flexible, able to move from hood to hood quickly.

& they’re hella fun! Folks get to meet, kick it, network, dance, turn up & build a sense of community, which helps relieve the alienation, anxiety & depression that can come with living in hoods struggling w/ violence & poverty. (Yes negative things, like violence, do sometimes happen at these events, but they don’t happen because sideshows are inherently violent, they happen because sideshows already exist within a context of widespread violence in Oakland).

[Read the entire FireWorks article here.]

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