[WSMDiscuss] The US is aflame, the people of the US are afire… : Whose Street This Is

Jai Sen jai.sen at cacim.net
Sat Jun 6 22:08:23 CEST 2020

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Viruses in movement…, Resistance in movement…, Democracy in movement…, The US in movement…

[The US is aflame, the people of the US are afire… and their governments are taking over the streets !  The square in front of the White House has been named ‘Black Lives Matter Square’, and the street leading to it has been painted with the slogan ‘Black Lives Matter’ – in 35 ft high letters ! 

[This reminds me of back in the late 1960s, during the Vietnam War, the leftist United Front government that was then ruling the state of West Bengal (now renamed ‘Paschimbanga’) in India renamed the street on which the US Consulate was located, ‘Ho Chi Minh Sarani [Road]’.  To make the US Consul squirm and rage.  As Trump and his allies will no doubt now do, with this action.  Will other liberated governments elsewhere in the US and in the world now consider following the great lead given by the Mayor of Washington DC ?!  In solidarity with BLM ?  It’s up to us to raise the demand !

[And guess who the workers are, doing the work ?  As everywhere, across the US ?

[I’m not sure if it’s important to say this, but in my opinion anyway, these are not by any means superficial actions; they are an integral part of the larger struggle, and of the struggle over meanings; of occupying the mind :

Friday, June 05, 2020

Whose Street This Is

Abby Zimet, Further columnist <https://www.commondreams.org/author/abby-zimet-further-columnist>
https://www.commondreams.org/further/2020/06/05/whose-street <https://www.commondreams.org/further/2020/06/05/whose-street>

As D.C. prepared for massive protests on Saturday, Mayor Muriel Bowser went for the grand gesture - and a metaphorical middle finger to the racist cowering in the White House - and had "Black Lives Matter" painted <https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/d-c-mayor-bowser-has-black-lives-matter-painted-street-n1225746> in yuge 35-foot-tall yellow letters on 16th Street, the main drag leading to the now-embattled People's House. Bowser had earlier already asked  <https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/d-c-mayor-bowser-has-black-lives-matter-painted-street-n1225746>Trump to remove “all extraordinary federal law enforcement and military presence" from the city, charging their deployment was "adding to the grievances of those who, by and large, are peacefully protesting (for) reforms to the racist and broken systems that are killing  <https://abcnews.go.com/Politics/74-americans-view-george-floyds-death-underlying-racial/story?id=71074422>Black Americans." Late Thursday night into Friday morning, she then authorized public works employees, aided and abetted by local artists, to do the painting. Bowser, who also renamed the area Black Lives Matter Plaza,  <https://twitter.com/DDOTDCDirector/status/1268954059920334848>said she took the action  <https://twitter.com/TheHighlandRes1/status/1269100761264390144%20>on behalf of the thousands in the streets: "There are people who are craving to be heard and to be seen, and to have their humanity recognized, and we had the opportunity to send that message loud and clear." "There was a dispute this week about whose street this is," added her chief of staff, referencing the teargassing-protesters-and-clergy-at-St.John's-atrocity. "Mayor Bowser wanted to make it abundantly clear that this is DC's street." The  painting project was panned  <https://twitter.com/DMVBlackLives/status/1268903712581464066>as "a performative distraction from real policy changes" by Black Lives Matter D.C, who in the past have criticized Bowser's handling of police deadly-force cases and her reluctance to de-fund police. But many others celebrated  <https://twitter.com/TheHighlandRes1/status/1269100761264390144>it as a stellar troll, an act of good will, and a vital tribute that marks progress, however slow. "The symbolism is huge," said Keyonna Jones, one of seven artists who worked on the painting. "We are saying it loud. We are here."


Jai Sen

Independent researcher, editor; Senior Fellow at the School of International Development and Globalisation Studies at the University of Ottawa

jai.sen at cacim.net <mailto:jai.sen at cacim.net>
Now based in New Delhi, India (+91-98189 11325) and in Ottawa, Canada, on unceded and unsurrendered Anishinaabe territory (+1-613-282 2900) 

CURRENT / RECENT publications :

Jai Sen, ed, 2018a – The Movements of Movements, Part 2 : Rethinking Our Dance. Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
Jai Sen, ed, 2018b – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ? (Indian edition). New Delhi : AuthorsUpfront, in collaboration with OpenWord and PM Press.  Hard copy available at MOM1AmazonIN <https://www.amazon.in/dp/9387280101/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1522884070&sr=8-2&keywords=movements+of+movements+jai+sen>, MOM1Flipkart <https://www.flipkart.com/the-movements-of-movements/p/itmf3zg7h79ecpgj?pid=9789387280106&lid=LSTBOK9789387280106NBA1CH&marketplace=FLIPKART&srno=s_1_1&otracker=search&fm=SEARCH&iid=ff35b702-e6a8-4423-b014-16c84f6f0092.9789387280106.SEARCH&ppt=Search%20Page>, and MOM1AUpFront <http://www.authorsupfront.com/movements.htm>
Jai Sen, ed, 2017 – The Movements of Movements, Part 1 : What Makes Us Move ?.  New Delhi : OpenWord and Oakland, CA : PM Press.  Ebook and hard copy available at PM Press <http://www.pmpress.org/>
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