Inspiring Speech from Shamako Noble at the RNC Welcoming Committee Press Conference

[Cross-posted at you-know-where]

Hey kossacks.

This is my first diary for awhile.  I have to admit I’ve kind of given up on the kos.  Like is often said in these cases, it’s not you, it’s me.  [It was at this point I realized I should post this also here.]

I just realized that I’m a little more radical than the mainstream folks that make up this blog, and that’s okay.  There’s room for everyone on the tubes.  I just go to Docudharma and Glenn Greenwald and watch Democracy Now.

But I thought I’d try to break through with this diary.  I’ve been glued to the internet watching St. Paul turn into a police state, and along with many others I was shocked to learn that the RNC Welcoming Committee has been charged with terrorism.  On September 4, some members gave a press conference, along with the Poor People’s Economic Campaign.  (Sorry I didn’t put the Poor People’s Economic Campaign in the headline but I was running out of room.)

I heard these gentle people speak. I listened to the stories of police brutality that they tell, and I felt a bitter sorrow and frustration well up in me– a feeling that I fear has become too familiar.

And I heard the press ask again and again, in one way or another, aren’t you responsible for this violence?  Isn’t this your fault?  Didn’t you make the police do this?  

Then Shamako Noble spoke.  Here is a rough transcript of his speech.  If you’d rather watch the video, just scroll down to the end:

My name is Shamako Noble.  I’m president and executive director of Hip Hop congress and I’m also a member of the Poor People’s Economic Campaign.

So, before I say what I have to say, I just have a couple quick questions for the media, because I want to get some context here.  How many of the members of the press here believe that police officers lie?


Okay.  Second question.  How many members of the press believe that politicians lie?


Okay, we have a problem.

[Laughter, applause]

I read, viewed, looked at, saw, heard, dozens of reports yesterday on our march on the second, on our peace march on the first… and it’s amazing to see how many pictures of police officers there are and how few of the actual march!  I think I … actually, to tell you the truth, I don’t think I’ve seen a picture of the march in any papers. Not a single one.  And, um, I can’t quite figure out why.  Do you guys know why?  Were there no pictures taken?  Did you—

[Here he has an exchange with a reporter who objects to the broad brush with which he is painting the media…]

I’m not a reporter.  I mean, I do occasional writing, I do occasionally cover stories, but unfortunately it seems like what we have is a situation where you have various professions, law enforcement included, who have chosen, or have been forced, or do not know how to, for lack of a better terminology, police themselves.  And I think that we are at a time and in a place where the neutrality of the media is a liability.  I hate to say it that  way but the problem is that if you don’t think that they lie, and they know that… checkmate.  

And so we have to start asking ourselves a couple of real key questions.  I think that when we’re asking the question, did they find the explosives, if that question is here, then this is the wrong place.  The very simple approach to that is, hey officers, can you guys show us the explosives?  Has anybody seen them?  Anyone?  Have you guys asked, have you been like, hey, you know, can we just see the explosives you guys found?  And, and by the way, just for no… as far as I know, and I’m no lawyer, uh, urine’s not a felony.  


I could be wrong about that.  But, but, seriously, let’s just think about this for a second.  They had explosives and urine.  I mean, doesn’t that sound a little desperate?  You know, it’s not.. it’s like too extreme, explosives and urine.  I don’t know, I don’t know.  And I’m not trying to make a joke out of it, I’m not trying to make light about it, ’cause what we’re dealing with is very serious, and that’s exactly my point.

We’re not out here because we just want to complain.  We’re not out here because we just want to like, create chaos or a ruckus.  We’re out here because people are dying.  People are dying.  This is not a game!  Why does everyone think this is a game?  

Why do politicians think this is a game?  

Why does the sheriff think this is a game?  

Why does the mayor think this is a game?

This is not a game.  Quote me on that.  This is as real as real gets.  They are manipulating, they are lying, they are cheating, and unfortunately they are using the media as their pawns to do so.  And we can only go so far.  We can only write a press release so well.  We can only craft our message, so clear.  At one point, there’s not much more we can do.  Now I think I’ve said this in two different press conferences, and I’ll say it one more time because it doesn’t seem like it’s sinking in.

We are in a country that has the remarkable-and believe me, I just want to clarify something-I’m a proud American.  I love America.  I’ve been all over this country, I love the people of America, I love the people over here-they’re Americans, I know you might not like that, it might bother you, but they’re just as much a part of this country as anybody else .  So this is not some sort of anti-American, oh, I’m all upset kind of commentary here.  But the reality of the situation is that we are in a country with a history of political repression.  That’s very-it’s very, I mean I’m not, like, I’m not like, making this up!


You know what I mean?  Like there’s an entire back–  and I’m not trying to, I’m not trying to detract from what happened today, either.  But if you think that what’s happening today is separate from the entire history of this country… I don’t know what to tell you!  I don’t know what I can do with that.  


Because  the reality of the situation is, the reality of the situation is, you only have to ask yourself one simple question.  

Who has the power and the legacy to put 50 million dollars on the table to put fences all around the streets of a city that the people have paid for?



I will say, I do very much appreciate those media figures, individuals, who have taken the time and the effort to cover the story to the best of their ability.  And I don’t want to paint anybody in a corner.

[I appreciate it.]

I don’t want to paint anybody in a corner.  But hey, when situations get extreme, sometimes people have extreme reactions.  Just ask the police officers.  


There is no reason.  There is no reason for 400 armored teargassed-up cops to be out here doing what they’re doing!  There’s no reason for it.  And all they’re trying to do is find ways to convince you that there is.  And if you guys are gonna let them do so, with explosives and urine that they have not been able to produce, you’re not leaving the American people with many options.  

And that’s what this is really about.  This is not about the protestors.  It is in some degree about the police.  But let me tell you something.  What’s happening here, in this city, is happening all over America.  All over America, police are tazing people like they have lost their minds.  They are shooting people, they are not being held accountable.  They are beating, they are unjustifiably incarcerating, and you know what?  This isn’t even new!  You know what?  It’s not even, it’s not even political all the time.  You guys have watched crime shows!  You guys have seen the, oh, and it turns out the detective, ten years later, found that this other detective was completely wrong,


In the meantime, this person’s been in jail for ten years.  Woops.  You know, at one point or another, woops has to stop being acceptable.  


You do not have to look that hard to find that we have a broken justice system.  It is obvious.  It is obvious.  And if you guys would like me to provide you with documentation, websites, individuals, experts, lawyers, come see me after this press conference.  And we can work on this.  We can turn it into an expose.  We can turn it into a special report.  Whatever we need to do to make that happen, let’s make that happen.

But let’s stop pretending like the people, who are simply trying to fight, so that we can survive, are wrong!

We are just the American people trying to take our country back.  Can you report that, please?  

Thank you.

Here’s the video, if you’d like to watch:

Your browser is not able to display this multimedia content.

The entire press conference can be found here:…

Here is the link to the hip hop congress website:

And here is the website for the Poor People’s Economic Human Rights Campaign:…

Thank you for reading. Peace.


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  1. … good essay and I agree with you.

    I don’t know how on topic this is, but reading your essay reminded me of what happened in New Orleans when they voted to tear down public housing.

    I follow the NOLA blogs, and I admire those folks a lot.  They’ve uncovered a lot of corruption and actually changed things in the process.

    The NOLA bloggers had their own conference, called “Rising Tide,” last year, the second conference (they also had one this year).

    One fellow crashed the conference.  He wouldn’t pay and he was what you’d call an outside agitator, someone who wasn’t from the area, an advocate for the folks being displaced, and very rough and rude.  I probably wouldn’t have liked him either.  I believe he got thrown out of the conference, lol.

    I read the NOLA bloggers complaining about him and I decided to post there in disagreement.  As an outsider (I’m a New Yorker), I had a different view.

    I said that there would have been no press coverage at all if that activist and his group hadn’t been so obnoxious, and that this was an opportunity for them to press the case, not bitch about the rudeness of one of the activists.

    There was a lot of argument, but a lot of the bloggers did listen to me, and some felt the same way I did and it was a pretty productive conversation.

    Well I’m rambling now.  The public housing did get demolished, but the NOLA bloggers are watching to see if the rebuilding will include enough homes for low income people and we’ll know if they don’t.

    Takes all kinds to make a revolution.  ;-D

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