Taking a Stand: My Plea to the City of Oakland

Occupy Oakland is at a crossroads.  Anyone who has been a part of this community and a part this movement is beginning to see that.  In addition to facing eviction (again) from the city, witnessing a murder at the plaza and the weather turning on us, public support is also beginning to wane and internal conflicts are beginning to escalate.

Since the hugely successful General Strike on November 2nd, there have been countless, mostly heated debates about violence and nonviolence, property destruction, the condition of the plaza, drug and alcohol abuse, the General Assembly, and meetings with city officials.

I know that the GA has not taken a strong unilateral stand against violence.  I know that the GA has not taken a stance against drug and alcohol use.  And I know the movement leadership (and yes, there are leaders) are still largely unwilling to dialogue with the city.

But I also know this: A HUGE portion of the larger Oakland community want those things.  From what I have seen and heard, there is a lot of momentum in many circles to move in those directions.

At times, I have felt that Occupy Oakland has been so open and welcoming to different viewpoints that it has prevented us from taking a stand.  What does it say about our movement that we can’t take a strong stance against violence?

We need to take a stand.  Without principles to ground us, our movement will never be successful.

There are three points that the majority of people I talk to seem to want:

  • A commitment to nonviolence, including disavowing property destruction.
  • A drug and alcohol free environment.
  • A willingness to dialogue with city officials.

While there may be large factions within those who participate in the General Assembly that do not agree with these points, the vast majority of people I talk to in Oakland seem to want the same things.

At some point, we need to take a stand.  At some point, we need to be confident in our voice.  If we can take advantage of this momentum, then this movement will still have the support the unions, local businesses, churches and the public.

I want to encourage people – plead with people – to go into your communities, workplaces, labor unions, places of worship and to your neighborhoods and begin talking about these principles.  If enough people can come out in support of these points, if enough organizations can come out publicly in support of these principles, I still have faith that this movement can be successful.

In my opinion – and this is just my opinion – the General Assembly process is flawed.  It is not accessible to people with kids, multiple jobs, health challenges, etc.  In order to influence the agenda, you have to participate in committees that largely meet during the day.  If you are not a confident public speaker, get ready because you may get booed and jeered if you speak out in support of these and similar points.  If you’re not “in the loop,” you may not know about an important agenda item until after the vote.

These are all issues that can be resolved, though I certainly don’t have all the answers.  But as it stands, I don’t believe the General Assembly properly represents the viewpoints of Oakland.

But if enough people from Oakland can come out to show support for these basic principles, it may be enough to show the world what Oakland really stand for.

Lessons from the Past
The June 20th, 1970 edition of the Black Panther newsletter stated, “Huey Newton pointed out these differences in an essay from prison on white “anarchists.”  Huey wrote that the black community, experiencing collective oppression and collective material needs, will grasp the idea of organization and discipline much more quickly than will the young alienated white person whose goal is self-expression.  Breaking out of slavery requires a personal change in black people far different from the new lifestyle of young whites.  The black is moving from dependence and powerlessness to an aggressive pride in collective power.  The young white is breaking out of the straitjacket of conformity towards a sense of personal experiment and discovery.  The young white will view organization and discipline as an infringement on free consciousness.

In other words, this is not about individual self expression, but about collective liberation.  If you want to smoke weed, fine.  Just keep it away from the movement.  If you want to break a window, do it on your own terms.

This is a complicated world we live in, and Huey’s black-white analysis is outdated.  There are anarchists that have spoken out in favor of nonviolence.  There are anarchists that are people of color, including some dear friends of mine.  There are people who are not anarchists who smashed windows.  So it’s not about anarchists as much as it’s about an attitude.

But I believe his deeper analysis still stands.  A movement needs discipline, something Occupy Oakland currently lacks.

Nonviolence & Property Destruction
As I wrote earlier, the shooting that happened the other day has everything to do with Occupy Oakland.  Street violence is one of the most direct ways that the policies of the 1% manifest in a city like Oakland.  And Oakland is in crisis from the violence it faces.

This is a very direct way Oaklanders feel the impact of economic injustice.  And for this movement to not understand that and not be able to take a strong stance against violence is incredibly concerning.

There are those who believe that property destruction is not violent, that you can’t be violent to an object.  For me, it’s not about what you do to the window as much as the impact that breaking the window has.

In Kingian Nonviolence, we define violence as “physical or emotional harm.”  If I were the owner of a business that was closed in solidarity with the strike or a local independent business owner and I had my windows smashed (both happened on November 2), I would be hurt.  If I was a young kid with my mom at Whole Foods and all of a sudden a group of young men dressed in black attacked the store, I would be freaked out.  If my actions make it more likely for the police to tear gas us, that causes harm.

Drugs & Alcohol
According to Kingian Nonviolence, nonviolence doesn’t only mean “not being violent.”  It also means taking a stand against violence.  It means speaking out against things that are harming your community.

Few would argue that drugs and alcohol is another form of violence that is prevalent throughout Oakland.  It has destroyed communities as well as social movements.  It causes great harm in our city.  It is another manifestation of unjust economic policies created by the 1%.

Those with serious addictions have challenges that Occupy Oakland right now may not have the capacity to support in a healthy way.  And those that just want to party need to check their ego.

I sometimes wonder if people realize how many people are staying away from Occupy Oakland because they smell weed smoke every time they walk through.  I have nothing against people smoking weed, and believe that marijuana should be legalized.  That does not change the fact that it is turning people away from this movement and making it less accessible.

Listen to Huey.  It’s not about your right to self-expression, it’s about our collective liberation.

Dialogue!!!
In Kingian Nonviolence, we talk about how one of the goals of direct action is to give yourself leverage to negotiate.  Due to the pressure created from these Occupations, city governments are forced to address us.  And when they want to talk, we have turned them away.

If we are not willing to talk to those who we are putting pressure on, what is the point of your direct action?  Do you think they are just going to hand over the government to you if you yell loud enough and break enough windows?

Many in Occupy Oakland have also complained about nonprofits, church leaders, and others meeting with the city to discuss Occupy Oakland.  But when you refuse the meet with the city yourself, who do you think they are going to talk to?  They are going to talk to those who are willing to talk.  If the movement is concerned about how it is being represented in meetings with the city – THEN MEET WITH THE CITY YOURSELF.

I’ve heard a lot of people say things like there is no use negotiating with the city because they all work for the 1%, even though one city counsel member camped with us early on, another introduced a resolution to support Occupy Oakland, and our mayor has a long history of community activism that dates back to before many protesters were born.

Again in Kingian Nonviolence, we talk about “top-down, bottom-up” organizing.  Many folks considered to be at the “top” of society look down at those considered to be the “bottom” of society and think of us as nothing more than dangerous criminals, dirty hippies and violent anarchists.  At the same time, many people look up at the “top” and see them as nothing more than racist, capitalist imperialists.

The top criminalizes the bottom, while the bottom demonizes the top.  Neither side thinks the other is worth talking to, so dialogue never happens, and issues are never resolved.

My Plea
If you are still reading this long rant, here, again, is my plea.  Talk to everyone you know in Oakland and get as many people talking about these principles, signing onto public statements, whatever it takes to ensure that this movement continues to grow.

This is an incredible moment that we are living in, one with the potential to begin to create the radical changes we need in our world.  The window is still open, but I’m afraid that it is starting to close.  We need to take a stand for what we believe in, and we can’t apologize for it.

If you agree with anything I wrote, please share this post.  Like I said, there seems to be growing momentum for these principles, so please participate in these discussions wherever they are taking place.  And let’s make this happen.

I love you Oakland.

Kazu

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19 Responses to Taking a Stand: My Plea to the City of Oakland

  1. Sara says:

    Dear Kazu,

    I have much respect for what you have written, and I am glad to know you are a part of the Occupy Oakland community.

    I studied Peace & Conflict Studies formally for two years at UC Berkeley, most of my mentors are elders in the field of nonviolence, and I continue to study nonviolent communication. That being said, I have found much of what you have written in your most recent post to be entirely incorrect.

    You have written, “I know that the GA has not taken a strong unilateral stand against violence.” I am not sure if you have read any literature on locating the root causes of violence, but Occupy Oakland actually has taken very strong stances against major root causes of violence including political, economic, cultural and social inequalities; extreme poverty; poor government; high unemployment; environmental degradation; and individual (economic) incentives to engage in direct violence. Please review a few of Occupy Oakland Resolutions and it will become clear.

    You also wrote, “And I know the movement leadership (and yes, there are leaders) are still largely unwilling to dialogue with the city.” This is completely false. As a volunteer on the facilitation committee, I can say we have always been committed to welcoming anyone to attend an Occupy Oakland General Assembly. As a community member of Occupy Oakland I have twice invited city officials to our General Assembly- once formally during last weeks city hall meeting and once informally directly to Quan’s daughter.

    The only time the Mayor came to talk to the GA she was not turned away by any of the processes of the GA. Mayor Quan left because her arrival was received poorly by some of the people at the General Assembly. Even if she had stayed, she had arrived after the very last stack of the evening was closed. As far as I understand it, she made no attempt to attend a GA pre raid.

    I also read the article below tonight and found it very insightful. I hope this email can open up a dialogue between us, and also our many friends.

    http://hyphenatedrepublic.wordpress.com/2011/11/11/what-violence-isnt/

    Peace & Many Blessings.

    Sara Mizner

    • kazuhaga says:

      Thanks for your thoughtful comments. I appreciate the dialogue.

      Regarding violence, I know OO has taken many strong stances against state violence, economic violence, police violence, etc. My point is that this movement has had a hard time looking in the mirror and recognize that there is violence happening within the camp. I have read most of the resolutions, and don’t see much about how we treat each other internally and the tactics we use. We have opposed “their” violence, but have not made statements about us not using violence.

      It’s always easy to point the finger and say “they” are the ones being violent. But if we are not able to move as a nonviolent movement INTERNALLY, practice principles of nonviolence amongst each other, then we will always live in conflict.

      Regarding violence in tactics, the attitudes behind the tactics we use will be reflected in the changes that we make. Whether or not you want to call it violent, there are tactics and messaging that is driven by anger. And if we are driven by anger, and use anger to make change, we will only be creating an angry world.

      I think this article also makes a great point about the “diversity of tactics” http://trainersalliance.org/?p=221&mid=524

      There is definitely a faction of this movement that seems driven by hate and anger. Coretta Scott King said that “hating someone hurts you more than the person you hate.” King believed that holding hate and anger in your heart is an act of violence you are inflicting on yourself.

      Regarding dialogue: There is a fine line between genuine dialogue where both parties can be heard, and simply inviting someone to a meeting where they will get booed every time they open their mouth. At this stage, I can’t imagine the Mayor taking the stage at a GA and that not being the case.

      I also don’t think the GA process, even if it is operating smoothly, is a process that works for negotiations. Negotiations involve a dialogue with a lot of back and forth, a lot of concessions, a lot of give and take. The GA process is not conducive to that type of discussion. Giving the mayor 2 minutes to speak is just not realistic, and it is not a negotiation.

      Take City Counsel meetings for example. Community members have 2 minutes to make a statement. Counsel members will listen to your comments, but the 2 minutes you have is largely symbolic and has no real power behind it. The Counsel will vote the way they want to vote regardless of how many community members come out to support something. It’s not a negotiation.

      Again while we may not see eye to eye, I appreciate you reading and commenting. Like I’ve said, if the movement can ever learn to work with each other, the rest will come easy.

  2. Michelle Corbitt says:

    I agree with what you have said and my observations of, and involvement with, what is going on at Occupy Oakland support what you say. The GA is not inclusive. And there is a lot of jeering and booing and verbal attacks against those who are in a a nonviolence agreements for the camp and don’t want to support vandalism. And support for two agreements that basically give a free pass to any action. The diversity of tactics agreement which does not define those tactics and the autonomous actions agreement which says that others are free to do whatever they want as long as they don’t associate it with OO. These are the two agreements that were referred to after the incidents on Nov 2 internally and gave them a pass. They closed circle around the perpetrators and then made it impossible to come to any agreements on these matters for future activities by using philosophical debates to keep the conversation unproductive and going in circles while frequently being verbally aggressive and attacking people. The GA is not a welcoming place for the whole community of Oakland to come and engage because of this. If people feel that Occupy Oakland should make the same type of agreements and efforts with the community around them that Occupy Wall Street has, they need to work together to put together a proposal that covers the Good Neighbor Policy and the Solidarity Statement that Occupy Wall Street has in place. Occupy has tremendous opportunity to address the greater issues of this country, and Occupy Oakland has a tremendous opportunity to do this as well while also having a very positive impact on issues related specifically to Oakland. And even though it’s inconvenient, the community needs to show up in force to support these agreements. And after that, show up again, and keep showing up.

  3. Eugene Steele says:

    Kaz.

    Thank you very much for this post. I found it inspiring, informative and very heart felt in relation to my own (incredibly limited) perspective and experience with the OO movement.

    I have not integrated much into the movement outside of the General Strike and a few volunteer visits to the Children’s Village. Your words are incredibly helpful in understanding some of what is going on.

    The focus on these 3 actions I believe is crucial for the sustainability of the encampment and its contribution in the success of the Occupation of the Word. A bit hyperbolic I know, but I stand by it.

    Discipline.

    Thank you very much.

    I look forward to participating with you.

  4. I’ve watched over and over since the 1st days of the #OscarGrant protests, as Oaklands young black sons &daughters acts of righteous outrage(ie smashed windows) have been monotonously maligned as the work of White Outsider Anarchists. What happened to the days of Rodney King Riots, where we at least recognized that members of the African American community might when sufficiently outraged be willing to riot, break windows, an spray paint statements of dissent. Ironically its only the racists crackers on youtube and not the news anchors deploring the work of white agitators that seem capable of identifying skin color, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Fna_RrNeBy0 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzPbxdLXO3Q That is beside the white allies and activist like myself that are outraged enough at the injustice to participate in these protests.

    And though I find the archives of Huey Newtons critiques from other decades historically interesting, If you actually were participating or even visiting for more then a few hours at #OccupyOakland, you would find as least as much, if not more appreciation of the “blessings” of cannabis in the African American Activist community, then in the multi-culti anarchist community that is perhaps most strongly identified by their abstinence from pillars of society, in forms varying from strict straight edge (no alcohol or even coffee, and esp pot) to veganism(no meat, dairy, eggs)..

    As for violence, I find it interesting that after up to a million dollars was spent in hauling 600 officers worth of police mutual assistance, ie predominantly white outsiders to break skulls,…
    ….and notably their breaking of OPD policy with the deployment of Teargas and Flash Bangs without 1st attempting to physically move the crowd. And I remind you they called in 600 officers clad in RIOT armor. [http://publicintelligence.net/oakland-police-department-crowd-managementcrowd-control-policy/] not to forget illegally arresting whomever, including myself while attempting to attend the 830am morning post raid Press conference at Oakland City Hall(after the 1st raid), and detaining 6blocks away for 13.5hrs…
    ..that after all that financial and physical violence, less then a millimeter of spray paint (which was all cleaned up by a two person crew and a pressure washer by 1pm the next day), and a few thousand dollars of broken glass, which was replaced by regular business insurance policies constitutes violence. I know this because I showed up as soon as I could the next day at noon to clean up spray paint, and it was basically all gone. All that was left for me and my buddy to clean up was minor touch ups. There was a solid contingent of protestors that showed up long before I did to clean up, and they worked very hard, though they could not match the power of a pressure washer crew!! http://www.salon.com/2011/11/04/i_saw_a_different_side_of_occupy_oakland/

  5. Mark Mason says:

    Occupy Oakland is doomed. During a rally yesterday there was the suggestion of burning down police stations mentioned on microphone as a way of expressing “solidarity” with Egyptian people. The leaders of Occupy Oakland are young, and very stupid. Let them reap the consequences of their stupidity. While I was there, a drunk was chasing a woman, then ripped the necklace off of her as he threw his beer-in-paper-sack at me. Two other women asked me to help them find the Safe Tent. it’s a crazy place in need of adult supervision. These are people who went from having 30,000 people marching to the port and then within a week, to losing popular support. This is sad and avoidable but this is how democracy works. If the many thousands of people who went on the march do not show up to participate in decision making, then this is what we all get—a perversion of democracy, run by a few angry, stupid adolescents and drunks. No, you can’t blame the police or the mayor on your own self-destruction.

  6. Eric says:

    I haven’t been back to OO since the strike, and I was going several times a week plus advocating to my peers (middle aged, middle class types). Now I am on the side lines. It’s not the vandalism so much as the popular attitude at camp of tolerance and support for vandalism that puts me off.

    The normal life arch of a movement is that they work for change, then become institutions, then work for the preservation of their institution (as opposed to change). It feels like Occupy Oakland has has completed this arch already. The goal is just maintain the community, not expand it or use it as the center for popular discontent. I don’t feel like the campers care at all whether white middle aged property owners want to join them. They hate me as much as they hate the small shop keepers, the city councilors, and the corporate bureaucrats, even though all of us are the 99%.

    is the goal truly a new politics, or is it just to replace the current 1% with a new 1%?

    • kazuhaga says:

      I hear where you are coming from Eric. I was talking to a journalist last night who feels like because he works for the media, he is not welcome as a participant of the movement. I have talked to officers who are supportive of our cause, but definitely feel unwelcome as an individual. The owner of Men’s Warehouse is a progressive with a long history of supporting progressive causes, and he got his window smashed.

      If we claim to represent the 99%, we have a responsibility to uphold those principles and make sure everyone is welcome.

      I also agree with your thoughts that for many people, the physical encampment and protecting our space against “the state” has become more important than the issues we are fighting for. While I believe that the physical encampment is a critical symbolic thing we need to protect, it’s only to allow us to get to a larger goal. Sometimes we get so caught up in the immediate fight that we lose sight of those larger goals.

      Despite your concerns, I hope you remain engaged because people like you are part of the 99% and we need more and more people to speak out.

  7. Thank you for a beautiful analysis that eloquently speaks to my struggle with the #Occupy Movement and why, in spite of agreeing with the premise, I will not actively participate.

  8. A couple thoughts on your article.

    1. Property Destruction has Been Minimal

    There has been very little property destruction in relation to the scope of the movement. I have actually been impressed with the over all organic discipline within the movement. Of course every broken window in downtown Oakland gets international press coverage. This is part of an effort by the City of Oakland and the media to create a negative narrative about Occupy Oakland. Rather than go on a witch hunt within the movement perhaps we should spend more time creating a better narrative. Perhaps more discipline with the media would be in order. Isn’t the property destruction wrought by Wall Street, the Banks, Corporate America, and the 1% much greater than some isolated acts of property destruction. Maybe we should just stay on message rather than take the bait which encourages unproductive infighting and fissures in the movement.

    2. Violence is not Welcome in Occupy

    From speaking with medics and other people in the camp I have the understanding that any violence in Occupy is met with intervention and expulsion. Period. This is just common sense. Of course people within the movement cannot prevent people from becoming violent initially nor is it possible to prevent expulsed people from attempting to return. More internal security might be necessary, but no one is refusing help with that as far as I know. Of course when there is a discussion of violence we should mention state violence as well. Most violence appears to be external or unrelated to Occupy. I have worked downtown for ten years. There has always been violence downtown. It is unfair to blame Occupy for a continuation of violence within the city. Look at incident reports. Have violent incidents actually increased. I doubt it.

    3. Just Banning Drugs and Alcohol is not an Answer

    First I will admit that I am not straight edge so I think enforcing a puritanical no alcohol/drugs rule on people is preposterous. Also, creating such a rule invites conflict. Imposing lifestyle rules on others requires force (actual violence not theoretical). If you ban drugs and alcohol not only will internal security need to intervene in their already over-tasked duties, but they will also be asked to police the crowd. This is unrealistic given the situation. Also, what about those in the encampment who are addicts/alcoholics. Maybe rather than banning drugs and alcohol we should focus on anti-social behavior as has been the focus, and support those with substance abuse issues rather than expulsing them. Isn’t harm reduction and healing preferable to condemnation and expulsion.

    I respectfully disagree with you on these points.

    • kazuhaga says:

      Despite our disagreements, I appreciate the respectful tone of your response. It’s these types of debates that will ultimately help us figure out how to move forward in unity.

      Re: Property Destruction, I do agree with you to a large extent, especially this, “This is part of an effort by the City of Oakland and the media to create a negative narrative about Occupy Oakland.” There is only so much we can do to control the media, and how they will spin our work.

      But we also do have to take responsibility for what we put out there. We know that every time even one window is broken, the media will cover that one incident like vultures. We know this. We have known this. So even one broken window has a significant impact. Successful social movements have always had an incredible amount of discipline, whether they were violent movements or nonviolent ones. And in my opinion, discipline is something that OO is lacking.

      Re: Violence, I have talked to too many people, particularly women, who have been aggressively attacked on multiple occasions. Yes, campers have broken up multiple fights. But actual physical fighting isn’t the only form of violence that has been going on at OO. There is a reason why the majority of the campers are men. Many women don’t feel safe in that space, especially after it gets dark and many people start drinking. At some point MEN have to stand up and take a stance.

      I have never disagreed with the need to speak out against state violence. And OO has done that plenty. But it’s always easy to point the finger and say “they” are the problem. If we can’t create a peaceful community amongst ourselves, where everyone – women, kids, sober people, elders – can feel safe, then how do we expect that to extend into the larger society?

      See my response to Natalie’s comments below re: drug use.

      Thanks for your thoughtful response, would love to hear more.

  9. Yerf says:

    Ugh, doesn’t the world have enough manifestos already? Also, google “selection bias” and reread your diatribe, perhaps you can begin to articulate it in simpler terms once you stop trying to account for everybody (you talk to).

  10. Anyone can speak for the Occupy movement. If the writer would like to dialogue with the city, go for it. No one will stop you. Also, how does the writer propose to enforce this no drug and no alcohol policy? This is a movement against the extreme violence of Wall Street against common people, not a puritanical movement against drugs and alcohol. Personally, I don’t like drugs much myself, but I try to not push my agenda on everyone else.

    • kazuhaga says:

      Not sure where you are from, but in Oakland, the sense is that people HAVE been stopped from talking to the city, and those that have spoken to the city have been publicly condemned for doing so. Even if in those meetings they made it very clear that those people were NOT representing the movement, just individual supporters, there has almost been a witch-hunt mentality to find out who they were and to publicly condemn them without efforts made at reaching those people or understanding the tone of those meetings. The GA has endorsed a statement saying that anyone meeting with public officials on behalf of OO will be publicly condemned, and that has been used to crucify ANYONE meeting with the city having ANY discussions to do with OO, regardless of who they were representing.

      How to enforce a drug and alcohol ban is a whole other blog post on its own. But people need to recognize that drug and alcohol abuse is one of the many ways in which the violence of wall street manifests in a city like Oakland. So it has everything to do with our struggle. East Oakland, West Oakland, and many other neighborhoods in the city I love have been DEVASTATED by drug and alcohol abuse, and the fact that OO hasn’t been able to take a stand against this form of violence makes me feel like OO isn’t that connected with the concerns of low income communities in Oakland. Not to mention how drugs and destroyed movements in the past, look at the Black Panthers, who of course started in Oakland. The state has always used drugs to pacify and destroy movements.

      Also, while you may view my request to people to go around the block if they want to get high as “pushing my agenda” (even though I support the decriminalization of drugs), the constant weed smoke at OO is pushing people out of OO. So at what point do we stop allowing people’s personal liberties getting in the way of others being able to participate in this movement?

  11. My reply is more protesting against Wall Street and less protesting against the protesters.

    • kazuhaga says:

      I hear what you’re saying Natalie, and totally respect that. You’re far from alone in thinking that. For me, change starts from within and unless we can have a principled, disciplined and accessible movement, we will never be able to pressure Wall Street.

  12. urbaned says:

    Somehow, I find that people in this stream are missing one of the elephants in the room: the labor unions. Being from NYC, and now living here, I see labor here as viciously awaiting any opportunity to “strike,” and bring down the “man.” Problem is, in most cases, the man is part of the 99%.

    However, unions in Oakland have entirely co-opted the OWS movement, and I highly resent them for this. They are so rabid that any opportunity to “strike” is grabbed and forced down everyone else’s throats.

    OWS is not about union rights. If unions were to be honest with themselves, they would look at OWS principles and see that they may even be at severe odds with the principles of OWS. Unfortunately, that includes the use of window- smashing and violent tactics.

    What’s really unfortunate is that the unions are using their same old “strike” tactics from the 1940’s in the year 2011. Talk about coming to the table and talking – not the unions.

    Here in Oakland, the criminal element is attracted to them like flies to sh*t. Criminals find striking and violent activism the perfect breeding ground for perpetrating their own mayhem. That’s why the windows were smashed and shootings occurred near the encampment. This is a toxic mix, and I feel very sorry for Oakland. It is truly a dysfunctional city.

    Very early on, NYC OWS did NOT cover the Oakland calls for strikes, and in fact, did not livestream the riots that night. It was only the Oakland violence-mongers who called out to the world to tweet their friends and see how horrible the Oakland police, and Mayor Quan, were. In my estimation, they were confused. They were also not dealing with passive OWS marchers (like those on the Brooklyn Bridge) but opportunists who were using OWS to spew their own hatred.

    If there is one thing OWS has done, besides make a statement about the 1%, is to show the world the tenure of various cities in the U.S. Unfortunately, Oakland has turned out to be one of the most ugly and hateful, and not because of the 1%, but because of many of the 99% who run rampant there.

  13. Anne Ireland says:

    Dear Kazuhaga,

    Your words are thoughtful, and I agree with you completely. I am especially interested in using non violence because to do otherwise will simply antagonize the general public. I would also like Occupy Oakland to come in from the cold and figure out some demands to confront city, state, and federal officials with. I worry that process is all occupiers are interested in. I also worry that the encampment is only for able bodied people with few or no job commitments, so unless one has the freedom and the ability to sleep rough, their participation can not happen. Last, you can not help anyone with serious addiction problems at Occupy Oakland. You do not have the training or facilities to do so. They will only use non addicts to get high and that is hardly helpful to the addict or his enabler.

    Thank you again for your words.

    Anne Ireland

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