STORM and their activities on 9/11

Posted by on August 30, 2009

So tonight I was perusing the pamphlet “Reclaiming Revolution: history, summation & lessons from the work of STORM” and among the other troubling but entirely expected events I read about was this:

On the morning of September 11, STORM convened in Oakland for an emergency meeting. We knew that the fall of the World Trade Center would mark a dramatic shift in international and domestic politics. We knew that the Left had to respond strongly.

We invited other activists to join the meeting that morning. Together, with leadership from STORM members, this ad hoc group planned a vigil for the next night. The vigil was to be an expression of solidarity with Arab- and Muslim-Americans and of mourning for the dead in New York and Washington, D.C. as well as the victims of U.S. imperial-ism around the world.

The vigil, held in Oakland’s Snow Park, drew hundreds of people. There, STORM members articulated a strong anti-imperialist line that reso-nated with the everyday people there.

Now you may be wondering what STORM is and why I’m posting this here.  From the above mentioned pamphlet they offer this postumous description of who and what they were:

This is the story of Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM), a revolutionary cadre organization based in the San Francisco Bay Area. From September 1994 to December 2002, STORM helped to re-invigorate the Left, both locally and nationally. STORM members fought on the frontlines of some of the most impor-tant struggles of those eight years. We built organizations and institu-tions that continue to fight. And we supported the development of a new generation of revolutionary internationalists in the Bay Area and across the country.

Later in the document (pg 13) the document discusses the departure of a couple anarchists from the group and the decided shift in STORMs politics to that of Marxism:

With their departure, there were no longer any members explicitly promoting anarchist politics within STORM. But ideologically commit-ted communists remained active in the group. This, coupled with the primary leadership role that the group’s most committed reds had played in leading the organization through this crisis, contributed to a decided shift within the group towards Marxist politics. For many STORM members, the integrity of the investigation was proof of the usefulness of Marxist tools (e.g., Mao’s principle of “No investigation, no right to speak.”) in solving real-life problems.

Van Jones, current Green Jobs Czar for President Obama, became involved with these nitwits shortly after the Rodney King riots in Los Angeles.  Mr. Jones’ wikipedia entry says he later left the organization because he became frustrated with the inability for these groups to get anything done.  Probably because the leadership of said organizations are always more concerned about their own personal stature than that of their “beloved” movements.  I have some personal experience with groups like this.  When I was in college in the late 80s, I was involved with a couple radical outfits and they were always struggling internally for the top spot.  I left my radical anarchist roots behind well over 20 years ago.  Mr. Jones seems to have left the radical roots behind a bit more recent than that in his life.    Eliza Strickland in her November 2005 piece in the East Bay Express said:

It took a personal crisis for Jones to conclude that complaint-based politics can get you only so far. Since 2000, when he watched a budding political movement destroyed by infighting, he has tried to be a voice for solidarity while showing other activists that “there’s a path out of this self-marginalizing place without compromising your constituency.” But while his vision brings many submovements together under one tent, some of the people who helped Jones devise that vision aren’t invited to the revival.

I’m guessing that “personal crisis” was the beginning of the implosion of STORM.  He fled the leadership quandry at STORM and started the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights.   Peculiar bit of timing here.  Mr. Jones had started  an outfit called PoliceWatch in the Bay area in 1995.  By 1996 this group had grown big enough to seed a new umbrella NGO, the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. So when the leadership quandry forced him out of STORM he fell into the arms of another group he had founded.  While this is convenient it’s also the normal course of action for folks who deal in these kinds of organizations.  When the inevitable implosion happens it’s best to have something to fall back on…preferably something you created so you still have that personal cult of personality.

All of this leads me to a question.  Was Mr. Jones and his Ella Baker Center for Human Rights (or Police Watch or whatever they were calling themselves at the time), was Mr. Jones part of the “other activists” invited to the vigil held on the evening of the 12th of September at Oakland’s Snow Park?  You know, the one where “STORM members articulated a strong anti-imperialist line” and “expressions of solidarity with Arab- and Muslim-Americans” were offered up?

“Oh Pilgrim, that is alittle over the top isn’t it?”  No.  It’s not over the top because I understand the code language here.  Hey, if these nitwits can play “code language” against me to call me a racist and who knows what else, I can certain trot out my own translations of their code language.  “Solidarity with Arad and Muslim Americans” doesn’t mean joining against any descrimination against the innocent folks out there who may stand to be victimized simply because of their faith and ethnicity.  no no Silly, what they mean is they are in league with the Barbarians against the struggle with “de man!”.  “Anti-Imperialist” is the key here.  Those are the words you see below the Palestinian and Hezbollah flags at their little gatherings.

So…what is it Mr. Jones?  Were you at this gathering?  Of course you were.

Last modified on August 30, 2009

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