ONN – Here’s Why Jeremy Gong Really Isn’t Running For The Oakland City Council District 1 Seat In 2020
So, I figured out why Jeremy Gong isn’t running for the Oakland City Council District One Seat in 2020. Gong says it’s for health reasons, and has suffered from Lyme Disease.
He recently wrote:
Throughout this time, I have suffered from chronic illness and disability due to Lyme disease. Because of debilitating and painful symptoms, I was forced to quit jobs on multiple occasions.
I hope he gets better. But the simple fact is, Mr. Gong decided to run for Oakland City Council, even as he had Lyme Disease. So, I wondered if something else was going on? There was.
In reading other accounts of what happened between Oakland Mayoral Candidate Cat Brooks, and the Oakland Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) of which Gong was (and I suppose is) still an active member, it looks like the DSA was being racist toward Brooks – and the actions were encouraged by Mr. Gong.
According to the New Republic, Gong wrote that the Democratic Socialists of America should not endorse Brooks for Mayor, and for a set of reasons that added up to lightweight cover, until we got to the real basis for his disdain for Cat: that she dare call the Democratic Socialists of America racist.
The New Republic Reported this…
On an afternoon in July, nearly 200 people packed into the ballroom of a local community center in northern Oakland for a general meeting of the East Bay chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). As they settled into folded chairs on the room’s faded wooden floors, the group ran through the week’s agenda, which included votes on the establishment of a code of conduct, a resolution to meet monthly instead of once every two months, and a proposal to support Cat Brooks, a black activist running for Oakland mayor.
A proposal to “prioritize” two other endorsements—for Prop 10 and a candidate for California’s state assembly—had snowballed into a referendum on Brooks herself, with critics saying she was too compromised to receive the DSA’s backing. The group’s support shouldn’t be given to people who are “a dime a dozen,” Brooks remembered one man saying. Like many of her rivals, she had pledged to expand affordable housing and reduce Oakland’s growing homeless population. Notably, she had insisted on cutting the city’s police budget in half.
At one point, Tur-ha Ak, a black organizer with Brooks’s Anti-Police Terror Project, asked to speak. As his turn approached, the young man who was chairing the meeting asked if Ak was a member. A number of white people had spoken before him, including Forrest Schmidt, 42, who was attending his first DSA meeting. “None of us had our credentials called,” he said. “Nobody said, ‘Are you a DSA member?’” When Ak responded that he was not a member, the chair asked him to take a seat.
The room erupted. The procedural rules were racist, Ak proclaimed, raising his voice over a cacophony of protests and chants. “The energy,” Brooks recalled, “turned into that of a white mob.” She decided to take the floor. “My name is Cat Brooks,” she said. “I’ve been organizing in this city longer than most of you have lived here.” In a brief, piercing speech, she accused the largely white crowd of being gentrifiers and then walked out, leaving members confused and outraged.
And this gets to the point I made in the first vlog: the Democratic Socialists of America members who hold Gong’s point of view need to find a heart, and ask what they can do to not be considered racist. I have these suggestions: 1) listen to other people, 2) act on the suggestions of those others, and 3) sell their agenda to blacks in Oakland. In this case.
In short, the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America must stop acting like a closed-minded group of college-bound high school students, and pivot toward being adults who understand how to collaborate with others, and sell their ideas and change them when necessary to draw in others, and to draw in a diverse group. What Gong wrote in his missive against Ms. Brooks showed a degree of insensitivity toward racism that caused me to think he was a cousin of David Duke.
Consider this that Gong writes
“Finally, the meeting exposed the stranglehold of race reductionism and liberal guilt politics on some parts of the Left — a stranglehold that we socialists need to break in order to build a real multiracial working-class movement capable of posing a serious challenge to capital.
Translation: Gong’s saying “Don’t tell me I’m racist, even though I may be. I don’t want to hear it. There are more important problems.” Consider that Gong also avoids any consideration of his own background in this: he’s not black, and so has no experience being treated as a black person, and doesn’t care to learn from what he writes. He seems to be saying “Let me as an Asian man defend you white folks from even hearing about racism from African Americans.”
Have doubt? Take a look at this writing from Mr. Gong:
By claiming that, since the organization consists of white gentrifiers, DSA is “the problem,” Brooks exposed that she holds a worldview that is fundamentally at odds with mine and I would argue at odds with a socialist analysis. The displacement of Black and Brown working-class people due to unaffordable housing is a very real problem — but it is one fundamentally caused by the profit-seeking of big developers, not white workers and renters. Furthermore, as Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor wrote after liberals started blaming working-class and poor whites for Trump’s election, “the privileges of white skin run very thin in a country where nineteen million white people languish in poverty.”
In other words, Jeremy Gong just can’t bring himself to understand that a good deal of the black poverty problem is due to racism against blacks by whites. It also doesn’t seem to occur to him that he didn’t live in either Brook’s shoes or mine.
And I’m seeing all of his writings for the first time.
The good news is there are many in Oakland who are older and white and don’t have the racism problems that Gong exhibits.
In closing, I certainly hope I’m wrong, and that the Democratic Socialists of America and Gong have advanced beyond this. We all need to come together to make our society, of which Oakland’s a part, better.
Stay tuned. And happy Black History Month.
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