Our new zine: Know Your Enemy/ Why There Are No Good Cops

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Serve the People Austin has written and is in the process of publishing a new zine in response to the overwhelming concern from the people we serve in Montopolis about the police presence and brutality. This zine was a concerted effort on our part to assert our position on the police and why we stand firmly against them and with the people. This piece also touches upon grappling with the question of boycotting and replacing the police in our communities. We don’t have all the answers, experience, or resources to make these things possible at the snap of the of a finger- this is something that will require lots of community cooperation and collaboration but we believe it is absolutely necessary if we wish to see radical change in our neighborhoods. Contact us for a physical copy [free for folks in Austin] We will be posting sections of this zine to our blog and facebook from time to time.

Section 1:

Know your enemy! Why there are no good cops.

Anyone who has had to deal with the police, either directly themselves or indirectly through having family members locked up, can attest that something as small as a traffic stop can range from traumatic or even deadly if you get the wrong cop. From this understanding some of us in the community have begun to see the necessity of knowing our rights. What happens, though, when knowing your rights is not enough? Let’s not forget the case of Philando Castile, a black man who was murdered by the police in Minnesota on July 6th of this year. Philando knew his rights, including his constitutional second amendment right to conceal and carry a handgun, which he had a license for. Knowing his rights did not prevent the pigs from shooting him to death on camera in a car with his girlfriend and her four year old child. This man was executed for being black, that’s about how much the enemy values our so called rights. So when knowing our rights is not enough, the next step is knowing our enemy! There are two fundamental categories in society: the people – those who can come together for justice, freedom, and equality; and the enemy – those who do their best to prevent the people from having justice, freedom, and equality. We can say that in this capacity, the police are most certainly the enemy.

Why there are no good cops

The police must be understood as an organized force, unlike civilians and the people we meet who we must see as individuals. The police serve a specific interest, and emerged in specific conditions. The police are an institution of power, and the issues with the police cannot be reduced to just “bad apples” or “bad training.” As an institution, all police unions and police departments are set up to protect the individual officers and the government that employs them, so it’s no longer about personal disposition. There may be cops out there who were not bad people and may not otherwise be bad people, but their role as police is inherently a negative one. To better understand this we must understand the emergence of police in society and what purpose they inevitably serve.

The police as the force which we know it today emerged in England and the United States between 1825 and 1855; they were called forth and organized by the ruling class (rich and elite) to deal with new conditions that posed a threat to their power. In England and the northern United States this threat came in the form of organized and striking workers in large factories during the industrial revolutions, while in the southern United States the police were organized to capture escaped slaves. In neither case were the police intended to reduce crime. The ruling class then and now is composed of the few, the rich few who by themselves cannot contend with large crowds or sections of the population who are prone to rebellion, uprisings, and class struggle. The police were made up of sections of the working class who took up the job of the ruling class as armed administrators of violence, violence that had and still has the purpose of keeping power seated in the hands of the elite and out of the reach of everyday people. Over time, aspects of policing have changed, but the purpose of policing and the relationship the pigs have to the working class are exactly the same. The relationship between black and brown people and the police have never been good. Just as one section of the working class took up jobs as pigs for the rich, sections of the black and brown working class have now taken up jobs as pigs – pigs whose ultimate purpose in protecting the status quo means populating and filling the prisons with their own people. The police as individuals are traitors to their people and traitors to their class, and as an institution are the first line of defense for the corporate interests of the ruling elite. They are concretely the enemy of the people.

The police – who we more honestly call pigs – have a specific role in oppressed communities of majority black and brown people. The United States was founded on stolen land and built up on the backs of enslaved Africans; these crimes against the people have never been accounted for and provide the basis for the present day USA. The crimes committed against the black and brown communities have left deep scars, and in order to legitimize and normalize these crimes, the affected communities have been kept for the most part to the margins. The vast majority in these communities were turned into workers in the worst and lowest paying jobs, the infrastructure in the communities has been neglected, and ghettos have been created. With this kind of isolation, segregation, and poverty, crime is inevitable. So the police themselves become an external and occupying force. Like a foreign military unit which has invaded an area, the pigs are on edge, as they know full well that they are the enemy of the people. This is why they are so quick to go to extreme violence in carrying out their illegitimate work, they are aware of their role and are instinctively on guard. They come in with body armor, rifles, and dogs prepared for war, and it’s a war they continue to wage against us. We have to see it as a war too, or else we stay stuck on the wrong end of the stick. If you doubt this for a moment, try and recall the sick feeling we get in our guts the minute those lights start to flash – this is a feeling that is rooted in our lack of power, our lack of control over the situation, and sometimes a fear for the lives of ourselves and our loved ones. Let that panic remind you that these people are not our friends. When a police siren goes off we know that someone’s life is about to take a turn for the worse.

This system – capitalism – maintains its rule in two basic ways. First, through ideology and the lie that it is natural and has always been in human nature to be greedy. Second, through direct control and repression. The modern state, much like the police, was constructed in the interest of maintaining the wealth of the ruling class by imposing their order on the working class. The state requires a monopoly on violence to protect the rich from the poor, and to keep us going to work so they can extract profits from our labor. The police are the front guard as a repressive apparatus of the state. They are the strong arm, the grip around our necks reminding us constantly that our choices are submitting to domination, death, or imprisonment.

The primary function of the police as an institution is repressive, regardless of individual intent. That being said, the police also require the backup of ideology, and they do this in a few clear ways. They perpetuate and spread the myth that it is only “a few bad apples,” and they will even pass the blame to city government, state funding, or countless other places, all to throw people off the scent of what police actually means in a capitalist society. The police use after school programs, reform-based activists, and the community itself as tools to present a myth of legitimacy. We are indoctrinated into this kind of thinking from a very early age – they need us to think that we need them, that they are heroes. When bullets, batons, tear gas, and even tanks fail, the pigs will use parades, social functions, toy drives, and barbeques to try and whitewash their rotten complexion of brutality and violence, like makeup over an infected wound. The wound still seeps through, and we must not be taken in by their sweet talk.

The police are well versed in the tactics of war, and they use two types of approaches – soft (or low intensity tactics), and hard (or aggressive tactics) all of which may use slightly different means of accomplishing the same goal, which is social control for the ruling class. Soft intensity warfare relies more on image and ideas about the police; they will take a hands off approach or even be polite – up until they decide that you are in their way. We see the hard approach with the escalating militarization of the police, heavy handed riot control tactics, and the brutality and racism of racial profiling. The laws simply do not apply to them – they are the law.

 

Blue Cat Cafe Confrontation Report

Serve the People – Austin is honored to support Defend Our Hoodz – Defiende El Barrio – Austin. On 7/15/16 we watched the community come together for another picket of the Blue Cat Cafe. What does it mean when gentrification businesses cross a community boycott? It means we resist and we rebel! It means that Blue Cat Cafe and its owner Rebecca Gray were forced to hire a private armed security to defend her and defend her event from the local community, while we defended the hood in service of the people. All over the world white settlers on stolen land employ armed guards: private armies to protect them from the wrath and righteous anger of the masses. From East Austin to the West Bank, their mentality is the same. However we are undeterred and each time a picket of Blue Cat Cafe takes place it grows, both in numbers attending as well as in the level of anger felt by the community. We intend to stand beside DOH until Blue Cat closes its doors for good, no matter how many thugs in uniform she hires, and no matter how many calls she issues on Facebook to have her supporters “sharpen their pitchforks.”

The Cat Cafe not only seeks to whitewash gentrification by posing as a progressive business but by also placing cats above human beings; to them, housing stray cats is a decent excuse for making many on the East Side homeless, by Blue Cat Cafe participating in the violent process of gentrification. Their event was framed as a “kitty wonderland,” a wonderland they intended to build on the ruins of our community. This is a micro version of Austin itself, which is built on stolen indigenous land. A place where fully grown adults dressed up as cats and stroked each others’ egos behind a wall of armed guards…. When DOH and members of STP arrived on the scene that would all change. The Blue Cat Cafe event would soon lose a large number of its attendance, those who left knew that supporting such an event against the will of the people was not a good look and they vacated the contested ground where Jumpolin once stood as soon as they were informed by the protesters that this event was under a community boycott. The “wonderland” turned into a nightmare.

Cars honked in support of the picket and a few people even pulled over, grabbed signs, and joined in the demonstration. Youth from the community whose families have been displaced or threatened with removal stepped up and took the megaphone, leading chants and speaking their minds.

Several white tourists even decided to spend their vacations sightseeing some place else that was not being targeted by angry demonstrators. Others upon receiving information pamphlets got back in their cars and left. At another point, one of the paid security guards spoke of her working class origins and how she agreed with the demonstration and wanted to return to nursing school and give up the trade that she found herself in. Other passersby stopped, talked, and were informed about both Defend Our Hoodz and Serve the People. As the sun began to go down the energy of the crowd started to go up; our voices could be heard from blocks away disturbing and denouncing the event from its start to its finish. They should know damn well that we will never give them peace if their wonderland is built on the ruins of our community. Later on in the evening popular protest developed into what we call a struggle session. Pressure from the picket became too much for scumbag, racist scab Rebecca Gray to handle, and she was seen sitting on the porch of her food trailer crying, with her wonderland ruse a bust. To the workers at the BCC, the crowd outside began yelling “Strike! Strike! Strike!” This became too much for her to bear in silence. Community activists did not relent and did not for a moment get fooled by Rebecca’s crocodile tears. So she went to find stress relief in a bottle of liquor. Moments later Rebecca returned to the scene all sauced up on fool’s courage and reeking of vodka… this did not work in her favor either, and things escalated. Rebecca is a sloppy drunk, a bad business owner, and a very troubled human being. We sincerely hope she abandons her current lifestyle of making enemies of the people and finds some safe place to dry out. Things became a bit odd when she suddenly and drunkenly threw herself on the ground asking activists in the community to spit on her, while spreading her legs and making lewd sexual gestures… what kind of wonderland are you into Rebecca? The community activists were not there to indulge in her strange and unwelcome fantasies, we were there to struggle against gentrification which is what we did. Her attention-seeking and embarrassing attempt at public masturbation blew up in her face as she was soon surrounded by angry protesters. The people gave her a piece of their minds as she was shouted at, criticized, and denounced. In front of her vendors, employees, and all those protesting, she laid on the ground silently crying, drunken, and demoralized. 

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Rebecca Gray (owner of Blue Cat Cafe) humiliates herself in front of a group of protesters and her employees

Why do we not pity Rebecca Gray? Because she knowingly participates in violent and racist gentrification, because she insists on abusive business practice, because she is a boss and not a worker, and because she mocks the suffering of the people who we serve. We can say it simply: if you go against the people, you get run over by the people, and we will not be swayed by fake white tears from a sloppy drunk.

There are those that say we are not doing the right thing by targeting local business owners—let us not forget that Jumpolin was a local family business with roots in the community of the East Side and that it was demolished with all its merchandise inside so that rich white people could sip tea next to a fucking cat. To make matters worse, Jordan French called the family “cockroaches,” and Rebecca herself has slandered the owners of Jumpolin by calling them “criminals.” Get this straight, there are criminals here and it is all those who engage in anti-people activity, all those like Jordan and Rebecca who wield white supremacy and capitalism against the working class and community business owners who have been friends to the people. This is not just a matter of us vs. Blue Cat, this is a matter of the people vs. this racist and exploitative system. This is the haves vs. the have-nots. One day the people will rise up and knock their whole class down and we will struggle on so that they cannot get back up.

As one comrade said on the bullhorn last night, “someone once said that capitalism calls forth its own grave diggers; congratulations Rebecca, you have called forth yours.” If the picket was traumatic for Rebecca or the supporters that she has left, then they must come to terms with the reality of the matter: that there is no peace on stolen land, that this community was here first, that these sites hold precious memories for the people, and that the whole experience of displacement, demolitions, and gentrification is traumatic for us. This was only a small taste of what is to come and no amount of security or pigs can protect this capitalist system from the wrath of the people!

All power to the working class!

Get involved with Defend Our Hoodz and Serve the People – Austin! Help us continue and escalate this struggle against poverty and gentrification.


Serve The People – Austin

At war without an army

WITHOUT A PA

The war was waged on the people a long ass time ago, we didn’t ask for it and we sure as hell do not deserve it. The most clear aggressor is the pig. The pig that patrols our hoods and shoots our children. Last night 10 to 11 pigs were shot in Dallas, Texas and 5 of them were slaughtered (at a mass demonstration against the systematic murder of black people). The system’s tears start to flow right away, but over here we shed no tears for dead pigs. This week alone the pigs killed four unarmed black people, so our thoughts and prayers go to them and to their families—not to some damn pigs. We have enough to cry about right here in the conditions of poverty and struggling to get by. We can shed tears for those locked up, for those cut down by drugs or drug/gang violence, for those who are sick and can’t get treatment, and most especially for those killed in cold blood by the very same pig forces that the news tells us to “mourn” or “come together and heal” around.

We are for coming together and we are for healing—with each other and not any damn pig. In fact, we see the dead pigs in Dallas as nothing—they are lighter than a feather. They did not die in service to the people, in fact they died opposing the people, armed with guns against the people and pepper spraying the people (as they do in many cities, from Ferguson, to Baltimore, to right here in Austin). They died in the service of white supremacy and capitalism, and that doesn’t mean a damn thing. What is a pig? A pig is an armed agent of the ruling class (mostly white rich people), which started out as a slave catcher and a strike breaker, functioning to this day to make sure all poor people—black, brown, and white, never get out of line and pose a threat to those rich white people. We don’t want pigs in our community, and more than that, we don’t need them.

Lots of sell-out activists in the anti-police brutality movement will sit up in their nice house and tell us we better mourn for a god damn pig. They are comfortable enough in their class to not have to deal with what we do, they forget where they come from. They became professionals and in that process started to forget about these streets and what it’s like out here. They got a lot and what do we have? Nothing. We cannot speak to the motive of the shooter in Dallas but what we will say is this: When pigs spend their time killing black people, it’s no surprise to us that sooner or later someone is gonna shoot back. The people are hurting and cornered and forced to shoot back.

We should also say that while we will never lose sleep over a damn dead pig, that these types of actions are not in and of themselves any type of solutions, they do not protect us from the pigs and can only be understood and empathized with as revenge, or at best the start of people fighting back, people trying to get a little justice. Fighting back against the pigs is anyone’s right and we cannot judge them for taking hold of their rights. We can say it’s not a winning tactic. We had nothing and after this we still ain’t got shit.

Chinese revolutionary leader Mao Zedong once said, “Without a people’s army, the people have nothing.” We need to really understand this. The rich have their army, and it’s not only the pigs but the military too. The military is made up of mostly poor people recruited because they had nowhere else to go—they are manipulated or forced to kill other poor people in other lands. The rich have their army for fucking with the poorest countries in the world and they got their pigs for fucking with the poorest people in this country. So what do we poor and working-class people have to protect us? Right now we have nothing. The best we can do is get shot or bombed to death on some suicide mission, with our kids still getting locked up and shot in these streets. The pigs still walk around comfortable.

So what is a people’s army? First of all it’s an army not only composed of, but also in service of, the people. The people’s army is not a normal standing army that only focuses on military drills. A people’s army works alongside the people themselves. Think of the people’s army as radical, armed, and militant social workers, as red soldiers who study politics and sharpen themselves to be the front guard in this war waged by the pig system against the people. No fucking pig on earth can stand up to a true people’s army—the people’s army is invincible. Why we say this is simple: the people’s army loves the people and loves liberation and true freedom and equality, and these are the things they fight for. They do not fight for some fucking paycheck or some bullshit notion of “America,” which is just a damn plantation-prison to begin with. A people’s army is huge masses of people joining together, as what must be done cannot be done by only a few well-meaning troops or individuals.

Without actually having power over our lives and over our communities we can talk all day and get nowhere. Everything but people power is an illusion, and if we want power as a people and as a class then we have to start seriously looking at what we have to do to establish a people’s army. A people’s army might take us a long time. In the mean time we gotta get organized and take control of these streets. We gotta start talking real serious about forming community forces that can protect one another from crime and the pigs alike, and in the process form such organizations. We need to turn our hoods into no-pig-zones and live by the slogan “Act like a pig, get treated like a pig!”

There are organizations in this city and others that seek to build a radical new world and build the kind of revolutionary party that is capable of leading such a long term battle, and we encourage our readers to get involved, to help and build this new type of party. We start modestly by serving the people but it cannot end there. We need a revolution and to get that we need a party, a people’s army, and a united front of any organizations that are down to ride with the people against the enemy capitalist system.

We are all already at war as poor people in this rich man’s system. Let’s start acting based on that reality and with no deadly delusions of anything else. If you think like us and feel like it’s time to fight back, sign up, show up, and get involved with building this damn revolution before it’s too late.

Live from the police state on July 8, 2016,
Serve the People – Austin

Activistas pagados: Minions de los ricos

(English translation here.)

Cuando la gente oyen la palabra “activistas,” ellos imaginan personas que quieren servir al pueblo y dan su tiempo libre para movimientos políticos o para sus comunidades. Pero eso no siempre es el caso. Algunos, aunque tienen buenas intenciones, han convertido sus activism a un fuente de ingreso. Si has trabajado, sabes que cuando vas a trabajar, estas vendiendo tu tiempo y labor. Eso significa que teneis objetivos que teneis que cumplir, y tienes que hacer lo que dirigen tu empleador. Ahora tenemos que preguntar: Quienes son estos activistas profesionales, y a quien estan vendiendo el tiempo? Quienes son sus jefes que deciden lo que pueden hacer? No son los cuidadenos de Austin que estan pagando los salaries de estos activistas. Nosotros no tenemos la abilidad de influir o decidir la naturaleza del trabajo de estos activistas, y muchos menos sus comportamientos. Si estos activistas no son responsables ante el pueblo, a quienes son responsable? Si no sirven al pueblo, a quien sirven? La respuesta esta delante de nosotros; Sirven sus jefes!

Los jefes de estos activistas profesionales muchas veces manifiestan en la forma de un Junta Directiva. Las organizaciones que estas Juntas dirigen se llaman los “Organizaciones no Gubernamental,” o “ONGs.” Estos ONGs de activistas profesionales necessitan dinero para pagan sus trabajadores de algun lado – Y como casi siempre, si quieres encontrar el diablo, sigues al dinero. Casi todos los ONGs reciben dinero en la forma de ‘donaciones de caridad.’ Y muchas veces este dinero viene de dinero de los corporaciones – dinero que ganaron con el esfuerzo y trabajo duro del pueblo. Estos corporaciones pueden hacer “donaciones de caridad” para ONGs, incluso los grandes y los más pequenos, podebido a dos hechos principales – Ellos no pagan a sus trabajadores lo sufficiente, y el gobierno les dan exenciones de impuestos y dinero del rescate. Estos corporaciones trabajan con la ciudad, el estado, la policia, propietarios, y promotores inmobilarios. Los promotores inmobilarios pueden dar mucho de sus beneficios a los ONGs como un deducción de impuestos a los ONGs, y los ONGs los suplican para más dinero como adictos. Asi los corporaciones y promotores inmobilarios pueden dar este dinero a los ONGs para influir la opinión pública. Los ONGs estan vendiendo un product a los corporaciones: influencia en las preocupaciones de la comunidad. Asi creen que ellos pueden dictar a las comunidades lo que pueden hacer o lo que no pueden hacer en sus propios intereses.

Las corporaciones, los bancos, y los promotores inmobilarios casi nunca tienen los intereses de los pobres y los obreros en mente. Ellos solo quieren más beneficios. Ellos saben que cuando la comunidad se junta, la comunidad tiene mucha fuerza. Para evitar este fuerza de la comunidad unida, ellos los desvian como una canal para derrotar el corriente. Las corporaciones usan los ONGs para minimizar el poder del pueblo. Estos ONGs, aunque tienen intenciones buenos, se convierten en instrumentos de la gente que los pagan: Los donantes ricos. Y tanto como cuando nosotros hacemos lo que quieren los jefes, porque eso es como nos pagan, estos activistas profesionales hacen lo mismo.

Activistas “profesionales” siempre fomenten la capitulación, obedencia, y lo peor de todo conformandose con las sobras más modestos que la sistema y sus élites dominantes vean aceptable, sin interes en lo que de verdad quiere el pueblo. Cuando los jefes dicen a los activistas profesionale que tienen que pasar al sieguente caso, ellos renuncian a la lucha de la comunidad y los abandonan. Para ellos solo es otro dia al trabajo. Su participación en qualquier lucha es temporal, porque eventualmente sus jefes van a querer que ellos van a algun sitio de trabajo difrente, y despues de su dia de trabajo ellos pueden irse a sus casas cómodas que no estan en peligro de perdir. Para ganar lo más dinero possible, los ONGs tienen que documentar su trabajo. Como llenando una solicitud de empleo, los ONGs tienen que mostrar lo mejor que han echo y escondir los partes feos. Tienen que estar sonriendo para las camaras y hablando en las noticias, dando manos a los políticos locales y del estado, y asegurándose que van a sus almuerzos a tiempo.

En la sistema del capitalismo, todo puede ser vendido y comprado. Las relaciones humanas complicadas pueden ser reducido a lo que es provechoso y lo que no es suficiamente lucrativo. Nuestros luchas, tanto como nuestros casas y comunidades, estan en el mercado. Los activistas profesionales, pagado por sus ONGs que estan financiado por los corporaciones, cambian a personas que estan manejando las comunidades para los corporaciones – supervisores que quieren transformer la lucha del pueblo en formas que son aceptable para los opresores – a los mismos ladrónes que causaron las problemas en el primer lugar! Estos activistas profesionales son pagados para asegurar que las luchas del pueblo llegan a las mismas conclusions que los propietarios, promotores inmobilarios, y corporaciones pueden aceptar con los menos problemas posibles. Y eso es porque lo mismos profesionales han hecho lo mismo por más que treinta añosmientras que los barrios donde viven trabajadores son empujados más y más fuera de la ciudad. Como los ONGs, los políticos tambien trabajan para los que donan a sus campañas electorales. En una ciudad como Austin, los promotores inmobilarios son unos de los empresas más poderosas, asi que pueden influir or destruir los políticos locales.

Cambio real no es possible hasta que nosotros no permitimos que los ONGs y políticos nos dicen como podemos resistir. No podemos permitir que ellos representan la comunidad cuando la comunidad pueden representar ellos mismos. Ellos tienen miedo de la comunidad y el pueblo junto con activistas que no pueden ser comprados. Los ONGs tienen el tiempo y dinero que los trabajadores no tienen, asi que ellos usan esto para hablar sobre la gente, diciéndoles que tienen que hacer sin escuchar la comunidad. Cuando la lucha esta controlado por ONGs no invitados o un político, resistancia a la injusticia se transforma en un trabajo a sueldo – Domesticado, obediente, y sin dientes. Resistencia de la verdad viene en la forma del poder del pueblo y tiene consequencias. Luchamos, ganando o perdiendo, pero tenemos que construer poder en la comunidad durante la lucha.

Serve the People / Servir al Pueblo esta comprometido al principio de solidario, no caridad! No somos pagados. Todos los SAP programas son completamente operado de voluntarios. Por compartir recursos y hacienda mucho trabajo duro, nosotros distribuimos comida gratis cada semana y ejutamos una tienda gratis cada mes. Lo hamos hecho porque hamos unido la gente. Esto es lo que significa cuando dicimos ‘poder del pueblo.’ Sin el poder, todo lo que queremos son sueños y deseos. Sin poder, la ciudad y los promotores inmobilarios pueden venir y intimidarnos. Pueden mandar sus ONGs para aseugarse que nosotros aceptamos qualquier trato ellos prefieren. Solidario significa manteniendonos firme en unidad y luchando hasta la final. Poder comunitario solo se contstruye en la lucha para mejorar nuestras condiciones como gente trabajadora. Juntos podemos excluir todos que quieren ganar dinero sobre nuestro lucha. Podemos vivir en servicio al pueblo y no en servicio al dinero. Podemos luchar para un mundo done la gente importa, donde nadie esta ganando beneficios de nuestro trabajo, y donde todos que venden a su gente se quedan solo como fantasmas de la historia.

La gente son lo que importa, y el pueblo unido tiene más poder que el dinero! Juntos, podemos realizer qualquier cosa! Juntos, podemos mover las mover las montañas. Atrévete a luchar y a conquistar la victoria!

Paid Activists: Minions of the Rich

bribery-hook

(Traducción al español aquí)

When most folks think of the word “activist,” they often think of committed and passionate people who serve others and selflessly devote their free time to movements or their communities. This is not always the case. Some, whether they mean well or not, have turned their activism into a source of income. Anyone with a job understands that when we go to work and clock in, we are in fact selling our time and labor. This means we have goals to meet and are required to do the job expected by our employers. Now we must ask: who are these paid activists and who are they selling their time to? Who are their bosses that call the shots on what they can and cannot do? Certainly it is not the people of Austin paying their salaries. We are not the people with the power to influence or determine the nature of their work, let alone their actions. If these paid activists are not accountable to the people, then who are they accountable to? If they do not serve the people, then who do they serve? The answer is plain in front of us—they serve their bosses!

The bosses of the paid activist usually appear in the form of a board of directors. The organizations that these boards run are sometimes referred to as “Non-Governmental Organizations” or NGOs. These NGOs of “professional activists” have to get the money to hire their employees from somewhere—and as usual, if you want to find the devil … follow the dollars. More often than not NGOs receive funding in the form of “charitable donations.” These donations oftentimes come in stacks of dirty corporate money—money that was made off the sweat and backs of hard-working people. These corporations are able to fund both large and small NGOs and “non-profits” due to two major facts: they refuse to pay their workers enough, and the government gives them corporate tax breaks and all that bailout money. These corporations work together with the city, state, police, rich landlords, and of course the big real estate developers. The developers themselves can donate lots of their corporate cash as a tax write-off to these NGOs, while the NGOs beg for more and more corporate bucks, like a pipe fiend. The corporations donate this money to the NGOs to sway, influence, and control public opinion. The NGOs are selling a product to the corporation: outside influence on community issues—essentially telling folks what they can and cannot do when it comes to their own interests.

The corporations, banks, and developers rarely (if ever) have the interests of the poor and working people in mind. They are driven only by profit. They know that when a community is united, the community becomes a force to be reckoned with. In order to avoid the invincible force of the people united, they must divert it, like a canal meant to defeat the tide. The corporation uses the NGOs to dumb down or decrease the power of the people. These NGOs, regardless of their intentions, become tools of the people who finance them: their big-money donors. Just like when we go to work, we do the jobs our bosses tell us to do—that’s what we are paid for. We do our jobs or we get fired, and the same goes for these paid “activists.”

Paid “activists” always encourage surrender, obedience, and worst of all settling for the most modest scraps the system and its ruling elite find acceptable, and to hell with what is acceptable to the people. When their bosses tell them to move on to the next case, they give up on the people’s struggles and abandon them. For them it is often nothing but another day at work. Their involvement in any issue is temporary, because sooner or later their bosses will send them out to a different job site and at the end of the day they go back to their comfortable houses that are not in danger of being eliminated. In order to get the most funding, the NGOs have to document their work. Much like filling out a job application, these NGOs put their best face forward and hide the ugly parts. Smiling for the cameras and talking to the evening news, shaking hands with all the local and state politicians, and making their brunch appointments on time. Flattering the “right people” and ignoring or snubbing the rest.

Under the capitalist system, everything can be bought and sold. Complex human relationships can be reduced to what is profitable and what is not. Our struggles, much like our homes and communities, are on the market. In this regard, “activists” paid by their NGOs who are financed by corporate donations turn into people who are managing and controlling the communities for those corporations—overseers who must seek to transform the people’s struggles into forms that are acceptable to the oppressor—to the same thieves and parasites who caused the problem to begin with! These “activists” are paid to make sure the people’s struggles come to conclusions that the landlords, developers, and corporations can accept, with as little uproar as possible. That’s why some of these professionals have been doing the same thing for thirty-plus years while working-class neighborhoods are pushed further and further out of the city. Much like the NGOs, politicians are also accountable to the people who donate to their election campaigns. In a city like Austin, real estate developers are the biggest and most powerful businesses, and so they influence or steamroll over local politicians as part of business as usual.

Real change becomes impossible unless we stop allowing these NGOs and sell-out politicians to dictate the terms of resistance. They must not be allowed to represent the people when the people can represent themselves far better. The people united and representing themselves is their greatest fear, along with activists who money can’t buy or corrupt. The NGOs have the time and money that working folks often lack, so they use this to talk over the people, telling folks what to do without ever actually listening. When a struggle gets taken over by uninvited NGOs or is twisted to fit the agenda of some politician who storms in and takes charge, resistance to injustice is transformed into a salaried job—tamed, obedient, and toothless. Real resistance comes in the form of people power and has consequences. We fight, win or lose, but we must seek to build up community power throughout the struggle.

Serve the People is committed to the principle of solidarity not charity. We are not paid. All STP programs are 100% volunteer operated. By sharing resources and a lot of hard work we are able to distribute food every week and run monthly free stores, by bringing people together. This is what we mean by people power. Without power, everything is wishful thinking. Without power, the city and developers can come in and push us around—they can unleash their NGOs to make us accept whatever deals they want. Solidarity means standing firm together and fighting to the finish. Community power is only built through the struggles we face to better our conditions as working people. Together we can keep out all who stand to profit off the struggle and much more. We can live in service to the people and not in service to money. We can fight for a world where people are what matters, where no one else is profiting off our work, and where all those who would sell each other out for a buck are nothing but ghosts of a troubled past.

People are what is most important, and the people united are more powerful than money! Together we can accomplish anything! United we can move mountains! Dare to struggle, dare to win!

– Serve the People – Austin

Working class people in Austin face a multitude of attacks all rooted in this exploitative capitalist system. The most common of these is rising rents and displacement at the hands of developers. We also face abuse at the hands of the pigs who increase harassment and assault to make the new wealthier residents feel safe. The city and its politicians are bought and paid for by the real estate scum who will collaborate and plot using natural disasters, like floods, to push along further displacement. In this battle of class struggle it is the people who lose everything and the enemies of the people who stand to gain.
We at Serve The People condemn this system and seek to work against it on behalf of our people- the whole working class of the east side. Clothing, food and necessities like hygiene products are basic human rights that should be free. Workers produce everything and so everything is already the property of workers it is this unnatural system than has robbed us of the fruits of our labor as well as our dignity. we say no more and seek to organize and fight back. We have two options: we resist, or we dread the future. Let us rebel and forge a future where our people have the power instead of the parasites who plunder our hoods.

Here are some pictures from our last free store (June 4th). we serve free food and provide produce in Montopolis park at 2:00 pm on Sundays.

Our next community meeting is this Saturday June 11th at 3:00 pm in Montopolis park.
We need you to get involved so that our programs can continue to grow and the struggle can escalate, contact us here or via email: servethepeopleaustin@gmail.com or by phone: (512) 522-9032