Occupy Oakland: A Fitting Name?

This is not meant to be an open condemnation of everyone who is organizing under the umbrella of “Occupy Oakland.”  That’s a big umbrella, and there is a lot of work happening under it that I support (shout-outs to Occupy the Hood, Decolonize, Occupy San Quentin, the East Bay Nonviolent Action Network, and others).

“Occupiers” occupy City Hall

But what happened in the streets of Oakland yesterday and into last night was stupid, and I no longer want to have my name associated with a “movement” that is so driven by anger at the expense of strategy (you trashed a children’s art exhibit?  What was the strategy behind that?) and speaks against many of my core values and principles.

In theory, I support the idea of taking over a building and “occupying” it for the purpose of supporting this community.  If I were around during the “occupation” of Alcatraz, I would have supported it.  When workers at Chicago’s Republic Windows and Doors occupied their factory, they were able to win back their jobs.  It’s not the tactic in and of itself that I am critical of.

It’s how it’s carried out, its the energy and the spirit and the messaging behind it, it’s the consciousness (or lack thereof) around the privilege of who is carrying it out, it’s the acknowledgement (or lack thereof) about how these actions are impacting the community of Oakland, it’s the misdirected anger, it’s the lack of long term strategy, and it’s the justification of violence and the idea that a group of mostly out-of-towners can force their will on a community.

Occupy?  Yeah, That Sounds About Right
A while ago, there was a big battle within “Occupy” Oakland to change the name of the movement to “Decolonize Oakland.”  After a long, extremely heated General Assembly, the name change was voted down (the Decolonize proposal had 68% support, and a 90% vote is necessary for a change).

I was a strong proponent of the name change.  I believe that the name change would have been a conscious recognition about the history of colonialism in this country, and a commitment to liberate our communities, not “occupy” them.  The term “occupy,” to me, leaves a bad taste in my mouth as I conjure up images of foreign forces “occupying” another community without regard to those who live there.  The “occupation” of Iraq, the “occupation” of Afghanistan, etc.

But after what happened in Oakland last night, I’m starting to feel that “Occupy” is actually a fitting name.  The vast majority of the people who were arrested yesterday don’t live in Oakland, and that is not opinion, that is fact.  Their actions are costing this city a lot of money, during a time when city employees are getting laid off.  And their actions go against the wishes of most people in this community, as evidenced by the fact that the numbers for these actions dwindle every time.

And I get that the city has a responsibility to setting budgetary priorities too.  I wish the city would stop paying $5 million a year in interest to Goldman Sachs and invest it in our schools, for example.  I also think a chunk of the funding that goes to policing should be invested in community based practices that actually make our communities safe in the long term.  But in addition to that, it is also true that Occupy Oakland is costing this city a lot of money.  And those who are not from this city have a very different relationship to that.

When people that are not from a certain community come in and force their will on another community, what do you call that?  Until those who are acting out in the streets invest more in listening to the concerns of real Oaklanders, swallow their ego and vanguard-ism and support the needs of Oakland, it’s perhaps fitting that they call themselves “Occupiers.”

UPDATE: As someone in the comments mentioned, I was wrong that most of the arrestees were not Oakland residents.  I apologize for that, I made an assumption based on what I heard and past experience.  Using incorrect information (or mis-information) is something that a lot of people do, and I do believe it’s critical that we stay away from it as a movement: and I was too quick to jump the gun.

I still stand by my point, that these actions are something that I believe the majority of Oaklanders do not want.

Police Brutality
Much of this movement has become an excuse to target our anger at the police.  We rail against police brutality every chance we get.

And anyone who knows anything about Oakland knows that police brutality is a serious issue here.  But if you’re that serious about the impacts of police brutality, why isn’t this movement hitting the streets and organizing in deep East Oakland and the streets of West Oakland?  Do you think that getting hit with a little bit of tear gas and being pushed around with a baton is the worst of what happens here?  Do you really see yourself as the “face” of police repression and think of yourself in the same light as a young man of color and how he might get treated by the police in the streets of deep east?  How much time do you spend talking about how you were tear-gassed, and how much time do you spend talking about the repression that happens every day in low-income communities?

Is this your vision of “peace?”

And if you care about police repression, what is your response to when Oscar Grant’s family continuously pleads with people not to engage in property destruction in his name?  Where is your respect for their wishes?  What outreach have you done to Andrew Moppin’s family?  Why are issues like the gang injunctions and Occupy San Quentin treated like a low-priority side project?

Our Response to Police Violence
In a movement that is not afraid to confront state injustices, police repression is going to be an issue.  That’s the nature of the game.  And nonviolence is not afraid of that conflict.  The Civil Rights movement was not afraid to confront police, or to break laws to point out the injustices in our society.  And we as a movement can’t lose that courage; that will to stand up and say enough is enough, even at the risk of arrest.

Once we understand that our actions may bring on police repression, the question then is about how we, as a movement, are going to respond to it.

Nonviolent movements often times means breaking laws.  Let’s not get it twisted.  But in doing so, we understand that we are standing on the side of justice, and we cannot be afraid of the consequences that our actions bring.  Rather, we make a commitment to confront it face to face.  To stand up to state repression and look it straight in the eye.  We sacrifice our suffering, so that we can paint a very clear picture of who is right and who is wrong.  We make that sacrifice so we can awaken the nation to the injustices our communities face.

In nonviolence, we don’t break windows then run.  We don’t take over intersections then hide when the police come.  We don’t incite tear-gas then act shocked about it like it was completely unwarranted and unexpected.  We stand by our actions and whatever consequences that come with it, because we believe our actions are just.  If you believe your actions to be just, there is nothing to run or hide from.

But that type of commitment and discipline takes time and training.   The students that led the Nashville lunch counter sit-ins trained for a full year before they went into direct action.  To me it’s irresponsible to send people into actions with a high likelihood of a police response without them having been trained, without unity around principles and strategy and without a clearly laid out understanding of how we are going to respond.

In nonviolence, we organize actions that are in line with our principles, so we have nothing to hide from.  We don’t wait until it’s dark, we do it out in the open for everyone to see.  If we are jailed, then we are jailed for standing up for justice and that becomes the calling card for the movement.  We fight for those who are jailed, because we support their actions.

I cannot fight for those who get arrested for breaking windows in my city.  I cannot fight for those who vilify other working class people.  I cannot fight for those who attempt to harm other people.  I cannot fight for those who are arrested purely out of anger, rather than a love for their people and a commitment to real justice for all people.

Stuck in Ideology
I feel that many people in this movement are so stuck in their own ideology (anarchism, revolution, diversity of tactics, etc.) that they fail to see the impacts of their action.  They are so stuck in the idea of a violent overthrow of the government, they are so stuck in wanting revolution to happen tomorrow, that they fail to see what they are lacking in the movement.  Long-term strategy.  Popular support.  A united message.

They are so caught up in “their” way of doing things that anything that challenges their perspective is thrown aside as an attempt to “co-opt” the movement.

I believe in standing firm on your convictions.  I stand firm in m commitment to nonviolence.  But if someone wants to challenge my beliefs, I welcome the opportunity to have a dialogue.  I’m open to challenging myself, and I don’t see anyone who disagrees with nonviolence as “an agent of the state” or an enemy to the movement.

But any challenge to “diversity of tactics” or the “fuck the police” messaging or calls for negotiation or building more strategy before going into actions or calling out the privilege in this movement are viewed as an attack on the movement itself.  And that type of fundamentalism is a very dangerous thing.

And it’s turning people off.  The November 2nd General Strike was incredible, and it truly represented the diversity of Oakland.  And to the anarchists and DOT advocates who played leading roles in that, you deserve all the credit in the world.

But since then, you have been losing support.  How much diversity was in the streets of Oakland yesterday?  Doesn’t it seem like your actions are only bringing out people of a very particular demographic?  Don’t you feel some need to address this?  Isn’t there some responsibility to ask why?  Shouldn’t movements – especially one that proclaims to represent 99% of the country – be accountable to the needs of that community?

Where Do We Go From Here?
I don’t know.  But I do know two things:

1) This movement, the much broader umbrella that includes so many communities and individuals who do not support what happened yesterday, still has incredible potential to make change.  And I am still committed to that change.

2) I no longer want to have my name associated with the foolishness that went down yesterday.

The challenge is in reconciling the two.  I will not walk away from the potential of this moment in history, but I honestly am starting to feel like being associated with Occupy Oakland may be more of a liability at this point.

“Diversity of Tactics” cannot be synonymous for “diversity of principles.”  We cannot hide from our principles, and we can no longer have a movement with such “moral relativism,” as King called it.  The ends do not always justify our means.  In fact, we need to have means that are reflective of the ends that we seek.

Calling for nonviolence is not creating a division in the movement, it’s about creating unity within a common framework of social change.  And we need to find that unity.

I invite others to take a firm stand for nonviolence and to commit to principles that are in line with the vision you have of the society you want to see.  I invite others to join in an ongoing conversation, one that I have a feeling is about to kick up in the coming weeks, about what a nonviolent movement committed to radical change might look like.  The Positive Peace Warriors Network will be hosting a series of trainings in Kingian Nonviolence over the coming months, and I invite you to attend and have this conversation with us.

Join us, and lets make sure that this thing keeps growing.  Stay tuned…..


79 Responses to Occupy Oakland: A Fitting Name?

  1. tdlove says:


    I applaud you and agree with you 100%.

    I went to #J28 yesterday to find out what bldg #OO was going to occupy. I had gotten some flyers and saw the plans for the day: workshops, march to building, dinner, more workshops the next day, etc. I had also read via twitter their rules for the community building: no violence, respect for occupants, all welcome etc.

    I followed the march from FOP around noon. There was a sound truck, a bus for those who couldn’t walk. Music and a band. It was peaceful for the most part. Then the march led us into Laney College, and that was when the planned part of the event (to me) fell apart. The police had as all surrounded and it looked like we were trapped.

    I and some others managed to leave Laney via the Children’s Center entrance. We were wondering where we should go, the police had blocked the major streets off of Laney and by the museum. We walked along E. 12th towards the lake and in front of the Kaiser Center. Was the Kaiser Center the original “movein” building. I don’t know. All I know is the blockades forced our group in that direction. The police was standing in front of the Kaiser Center and confronting a growing crowd of marchers. I had thought that this was where everyone went because of the blockade. The police announced that us being there was unlawful..and that is when things got crazy!

    A couple of marchers shook at the fence separating E. 12th from the Kaiser Center, and then the police threw smoke bombs. From then on the police forced us back towards FOP on block at a time. From my end..the police were the aggressors (they even beat a couple of folks on bikes who weren’t running fast enough). I heard that the events by the Museum weren’t one-sided though. One of the free lance reporters saw rocks/bottles being thrown.

    I retreated to Starbucks after that. On my way home is when I got stuck on Broadway in front of Pican, a block from YMCA. From reading via Twitter/Facebook I heard OO decided to try again to two other spots. They were “kettled” (forced into a small area) by the police at 19th/Telegraph and then at YMCA. YMCA employees let them in. The police arrested a lot of people in front of the YMCA. Including some journalists. Some of the marchers headed back to FOP. I went home.

    The reports from MSM and the police aren’t all accurate (IMO). There are definitely too sides to the story of #J28. No one is innocent, however.

    I write all of this to say..that I agree with Kazu. I think there are some sincere people in OO who want to help Oakland. But I also think there are those that want to just focus on angering the police and promote violence. I think both of those elements were in play yesterday, and that is really sad. Something awesome (like the Nov. 2 protest) could have occurred, but due to lack of planning and restraint of the violent elements, that potential was all destroyed.

    It’s not too late. I ask that if any of you who are in #OO and are reading this..PLEASE go to Kazu’s workshops. Please let the established community organizations that are working these issues work with you.

    I apologize for writing this long response on your page Kazu. I just wanted as much people as possible to read this. I tweeted about your post and I hope it’s spread far and wide.

    See you at your workshop.


    • urbaned says:

      The whole entire effort, “Move-in Day,” is completely and totally antithetical to OWS principles. The first principle is “transparency.” The second is “hierarchy,” and the third is “nonviolence.”

      To have a “secret location” undisclosed for a month and expect the police to not find out about it is…stupid. It also leaves people out of planning for a successful event. It costs the 99% lots of money. And, it humiliates Oakland.

      I would like to state that it’s the people who do NOT support this kind of co-option of the name of OWS (which is only 5 months old – how old is Black bloc and their ill-conceived tactics?) who are really Occupy Wall Street. And, I ask them to please not quit or split the movement. That would just be another unintended consequence of a bunch of thoughtless people, and bullies, in our town.

      Please stick with Occupy Wall Street (who cares about the name…it is the name that began on Sept. 17). There are many ways to do so, and one is to make sure that this negative influence learns a lesson – in nonviolence, perhaps – and directs their energy where it needs to go.

      • I really agree that walking away from the movement over the very substantive criticisms raised would be precisely the wrong thing to do. Getting involved to change the official direction of Occupy Oakland, as Urbaned suggests, and others below, is the way to go.

      • Etouffee says:

        I find it fascinating that so many people keep insisting that those of us who have walked away should be “getting involved.” Not saying “here are things I can do to support your involvement,” or “here are things that can be implemented to engage people that feel marginalized by the current process”, but more demands that I should “get involved.”

        I already *was* involved. The issues this post outlines, and the contemptuous and hostile responses to Kazu, arent giving me any reason to want to return.

  2. Kazu Haga says:

    Thanks Tonya for your words, and for your first hand account. I was also planning on being there yesterday, but was sick in bed so was watching on the news/social networks/texts. Like I said, I was not opposed to the idea of getting a building. But once I saw how it was being played out, I’m glad I wasn’t there.

    We will keep marching on though!

  3. This was excellent! You bring up some excellent points! I really think others should read this and I think you should submit this as an opinion piece to many Bay Area newspapers. Use a pseudonym to protect yourself, but more people need to see this viewpoint.

  4. June says:

    thank you Kazu for your fabulous, on point blog!! i am one of those people that would love to believe in and support OO, but what i’ve seen so far, i’ve been very disappointed! i hope i can “share” your blog on facebook.

  5. Steve Snider says:

    Brilliant analysis…truly brilliant. Thank you for such well crafted response that ties in the importance of history, of training and of developing a long term strategy.

  6. Mandy Varona says:

    I love it every time a person isn’t afraid to speak the truth even though that truth may be unpopular or inconvenient. Thanks.

  7. Nancy Nadel says:

    Thank you Kazu. Personal discipline is necessary for revolution and the current Occupiers seem to have none: Tantrums instead of tactics, mindless destruction instead of careful strategy.

  8. Kazu Haga says:

    Thanks everyone for the comments, Nancy I agree with you, tantrums is really what it is. Bringing about change in our society is a serious thing, not the place to be throwing anger tantrums.

  9. That you put my thoughts and feelings into such clear and meaningful language is appreciated more than you can know. I did not go to the events yesterday. I was torn, because I totally believe in Occupy and the people who are dedicated to it. I have never in my very long time of activism been a part of something I believe in so strongly. Even the concept of “diversity of tactics” has something to offer.

    But diversity must be planned, or the loudest and most outrageous simply takes over. We are a community and Occupy Oakland is a loose organization to work with the larger, Oakland community. That means listening to the people who live here–what they need, what they believe, what their ideas are for change and a better city for them. This just isn’t happening.

    When the loudest and most outrageous drawing the most attention are not responding to community needs but to their own agendas–and those agendas are poorly thought out individualistic theories based on what they want to do, not what’s needed for community (whether that community is Occupy Oakland or the city of Oakland)–we are destroying the best chance in decades for a change. Not just any change, but a change that would enable people to survive, thrive, and live in peace.

    I’ve seen war, been around and in it, and nothing is there that has anything to do with life. It’s not a video game and it’s not anything a human being would knowingly choose unless it’s necessary to simply live instead of die. We’re not there, folks. We have better things to do.

  10. s.s. martinez says:

    Speaking truth to power.
    Some of ‘OO’ remind me of the old school saying about those who ‘throw a rock and hide their hand.’ Hit and run cowards who have little connection to those who live and/or provide services in Oakland every day.

  11. arianareads says:

    Kazu, thank you for sharing this–it’s the piece I will be sharing with friends here and far away, even though I don’t agree with all of what you’re saying here. I most appreciate your reminder that while it feels urgent to many of us to protest now, doing it right takes time and training.

  12. Whitney Smith says:

    I was sent this post after writing about my experience of accidentally walking into the protest with my husband saturday night while taking a casual walk around the block during a wait for a table at a nearby restaurant. It was completely unnerving to experience the unstable energy of the protest, the protestors AND the cops. We turned into Broadway not knowing a protest was heading our way, though the hovering helicopters should have tipped us off. We were quickly “kettled”– a term I became familiar with today– and got into a shouting match with police who refused to let us leave peacefully, though they finally relented after a few minutes.

    I went to the Nov 2 march, which was a great experience and– I thought– represented a broad spectrum of people and briefly gave voice to the real discontent that festers in our culture. I am alternatively frustrated, disappointed, and impatient with City leadership–who have absolutely no control and dangerously amateurish in how they handle protestors–and with the protestors themselves, who are only too happy to feed off the violence the cops bring when they are confronted. They are in it together, and forgetting about the rest of us, the “99%” who have some actual issues that need to be addressed in a non-violent way.

    I, for one, do not have the heart for violence. I was terrified at not being allowed to exit the protest by the cops, and felt that my head could get cracked at any moment for just being there.

  13. Owen says:

    This is right on. I’m sending it on to friends and family who know I’m somewhat down with O.O.–I’m too embarrassed about yesterday’s foolishness not to. You articulated very well the nagging feeling I’ve had that this kind of action doesn’t really qualify as nonviolence. I am so, so sick of activists acting shocked when they construct an action with the sole purpose of provoking police violence and the police respond with violence. I have no interest in a movement that’s just an endless cycle of activist-cop revenge dramas. I hope I can attend one of your trainings soon.

  14. croberts5 says:

    Reblogged this on ieTheRevolution and commented:
    This sums up a lot of my opinion on what happened in Oakland last night.

  15. Oakland Resident says:

    This is so well written and such a thoughtful response to a situation that, at this point, has made me entirely lose any connection to whatever Occupy was meant to be. I admire your commitment to the cause you believe in, and admire the intelligence you bring to the discussion.

  16. t.chief says:


  17. urbaned says:

    Please don’t give up on Occupy. Please give up on the bullies who are co-opting it. Occupy is meant as a transparent, non-hierarchical, nonviolent movement. It’s not you who should be leaving, but the others who don’t treat it that way. Perhaps we need to protest these a**holes.

  18. Jeff Hannan says:

    I appreciate the sentiment here, and I wasn’t there Saturday so I can’t comment on that specifically. But I do take issue with some of things you’ve said.

    We had a day of action against police brutality; I was there. And it was NOT just a bunch of white kids talking about how they got tear gassed. The discussion was mostly people of color, talking about their experiences with the police that go back many years. We marched in the streets with passion. I found that day to be informative and productive. Maybe we should do that again, but there is only so much we can accomplish by demonstrating. We’re not going to end police brutality overnight.

    I marched in West Oakland. I rallied in Fruitvale. We weren’t there this weekend but these places haven’t gone untouched. If you feel the east and west aren’t getting enough attention, and I don’t necessarily disagree, why don’t you do something about it? Isn’t that the beauty of this movement, that we all have the power to act autonomously? If you organize it, people will come. You want to march down International? Set a date and get your announcement out there.

    • urbaned says:

      The issue is not police brutality. If you believe that, you are a lemming being led by someone who is leading you off a cliff.

      The issue is gun-violence, homelessness, hunger, unaffordable health care, veteran’s rights, de-funding of public education, the military industrial complex, the corporatization of our society. One of your “so-called leaders” should start helping with those issues.

      In the meantime, have a great trip.

  19. DLabrie says:

    Good job . A lot of strong points. Who are the protesters if not residents. Where are they coming from

  20. asinglespark says:

    We’re hearin’ lots of stuff ‘bout Oakland yesterday. Here are few thoughts of mine. I for one am always suspicious of the outside agitator analysis. Just remember how it was used against abolitionists, civil rights and labor/unionists. We are in a fight against international corporate criminality and this has become a national and international awakening. The scenes in Oakland I saw were of over 2,000 folks being attacked by the police for marching and assembling. It actually reminded me a bit of Tahir Square when police and gov’t thugs tried to break up what was going on there. Oakland has a history to be proud of as a city that fights back. I was part of “stop the draft week”; (yes an outside agitator) we were moving around, avoiding arrest and stopping the army busses from entering. There’s a place for different tactics and reactions. No one has a monopoly on blueprints here. The Occupy movement is young and daily growing. It’s way too early to divide into factions before the flower blooms. Occupy Everywhere!!!

    • I was heavy into Stop the Draft Week, People’s Park, the Black Panthers, etc. In retrospect, a major result was worse governmental repression and Nixon and Reagan as President. We can do better this time. Yes, the police will provoke. But we can control how we respond.

      • ElOaklandTejano says:

        To blame the rise of Nixon & Reagan on the act & antics of protesters is revisionism at its worst. Nixon lost to JFK by a few “votes” in texas & ronnie was already an ascendent Governor at the time of the People’s Park movement, which was an attempt to open up shared space in Berkeley, and residents there now have Ohlone Park and the original to thank for it.

        I, for one, agree with those who believe that Occupy is a long-term idea, & one that should be struggled for, with a faith that the power of engagement can influence those who see it as a place to engage in adventurism, mainly because following the lost tactics of street battles will not be successful (besides being purposefully provocative and easily exploitable by those who wish to defeat radical movements for transformative social change).

      • El Tejano said, “To blame the rise of Nixon & Reagan on the act & antics of protesters is revisionism at its worst.”

        I agree that one cannot blame the street battles of the 60s for the rise of the Right. There were many factors. But those “antics” were a factor. Some fruits did result. But a nonviolent strategy could have been more effective then and it definitely can work better now. Times have changed. Our context is different now.

  21. Sage says:

    I found got a chance to read this is the early hours of this morning. Thank you Kazu, it was well worth the wait. I share your ideas and thoughts expressed here 100%. Part of the reason I moved back to Oakland from Arizona three weeks ago was to become an extremely active member of Occupy Oakland. I even started a 501c3 non profit in California just prior to my departure from Arizona with the expressed mission of supporting the Occupy Oakland movement. Then I arrived and discovered things were not what I desired. Keep in mind, I have been a committed activist for over 35 years. So I know about activism based disillusionment, disappointment and the like. This was different. It seemed something fundamental had shifted here with regard to my understanding of the movement. So I’m limbo right now with regard to my relationship to Occupy Oakland. I don’t experience that as “a problem” whatsoever. Like you I am also still completely down with and committed to the change I know this movement is capable of helping to achieve. I definitely desire to be an integral part of whatever may develop from here and that has a clear long term strategy, is firmly committed to the principles of non-violence, is not about demonizing forces that may appear to be “the enemy” and actively searching for all kinds of emotional distractions, is committed to listening to and working with members of the local community, etc.

    I look forward to meeting you next month at the Kingian Non-Violence training and working with you in whatever non-violence based movement that may emerge here in Oakland from the ashes of what seems to be the current energy of Occupy Oakland.

  22. sandra a smith says:

    Apparently writer doesn’t want his name associated with the peace network either, since his piece is not signed.

  23. Naomi Schiff says:

    We need to distinguish two groups: OV–the Occupy Vandals, and OP–Occupy Productive. We need to ignore and restrain the former, and engage positively with the latter. And OP needs to jettison OV.

    • Sean says:

      The problem you refuse to acknowledge Naomi is that many of them are the same people. it would be simpler if this were not true but the reality is complicated and forces us to address tough questions. Lets move forward but lets be honest as we do.

      • Yaohuitzitzilli says:

        Not to mention the language is so biased, dividing and self-righteous. It clearly just speaks to what you feel is obviously more important. To call one group Vandals and the other Productive is laffable. Sean’s comment was on point.

        As someone who identifies with the tactics of non-violence, I don’t get offended when someone breaks bank windows and other private and corporate property. No one gets hurt by that. In fact, a liberal mindset could say jobs were just created to fix shit, anyway, and it’s less than a drop in the bucket for a corporation.

        If some Non-violent and/or liberal types want to split then they need to break off and organize themselves. ‘Occupy’ is nothing more than a name. It’s about the work that’s needed getting done. done.

  24. Poncho says:

    I have been following with great interest the reaction of liberals and progressives to the events that took place during the Occupy Oakland’s Move-in Day, J28 and I have to say I am very disappointed to see many of you blame Occupy Oakland for the tactics of the few activists that actually took part in the property destruction and police confrontations of the day, and call on you to think critically before you start distancing yourselves from this vibrant movement. I even read a really long piece (yours) that blamed out-of-town “occupiers” for instigating the police brutality that took place from someone who said, only in one of the comments following the article, that she wasn’t even there and some one else complaining that… what? now they want bail money? Well, I was there, and what I saw during the day was battle lines of riot police cutting off the marchers (who were very diverse by the way), shooting rubber bullets or bean bags into the crowd with shotguns, throwing smoke bombs and flash grenades a few feet away from children (my children!), firing tear gas canisters, brutally beating people up and arresting my friend who was there to take pictures and yes, I did see some masked kids throw water bottles and whatever else they could get their hands on back at them and you know what? Good for them that they are making shields and barricades to protect themselves from the cops and I say this being well aware of the non-violent civil disobedience tradition that you claim to represent. (I was trained as a non-violence trainer back in the early 90s by the Pledge of Resistance and have taken part in numerous peaceful acts of civil disobedience). Even if I don’t support their tactics, I WILL NOT stop supporting OO because of these tactics.

    Please people, do you really think that the 400 people arrested were taking place in violent acts of destruction? If this was the case, the whole of downtown Oakland would be trashed, not just a few flags in City Hall. No, its just a few people that are intent on fucking shit up as their principal means of protest and it is the OPD who are the most violent kids on the block who are responsible for most of the violence that has taken place since OO started.

    So it happens, that these few folks who trashed an exhibit at City Hall, have somehow managed to take over and mangle the image of OO to the point that the liberals and progressives are starting to be “put-off” and withdrawing their support for OO as a whole because of “their” violent tactics. In your own words, you don’t want to be associated with the name “Occupy Oakland” any more because of this foolishness. Well, folks… if this is you, you just let a few spoiled suburban kids and a horde of hyper violent cops side line you and take over your movement.

    • Sean says:

      Thank you for some important perspective Poncho

    • Sean Kline says:

      Thanks Poncho. While I do feel we, as a community, need to hold individuals accountable for acts counter to our planned action and principles, we all need to stick with this powerful movement and keep it evolving. I have my own critiques of how things went down Saturday (yes, I was there all day and night), but that I’ll reserve for GAs and other internal forums in which we can channel discussion into learning and more effective action. The challenges we face demand disciplined, radical, creative, nonviolence action.

    • keith says:

      Thanks Poncho. I’m surprised I had to read this many comments before someone put protester actions in perspective with police violence. Of all the people involved, very few were burnt flags or threw things at cops (half of which was shot at the protesters first).

      Kuzu’s post is unnecessarily reactionary. Calling the protesters Occupiers? You could get a job writing PR for Mayor Quan. It’s true that most people don’t want riots in their streets. But to blame the cost of free speech on the protesters is to ignore how the city wastes money on the security state and how financial institutions (quasi-legally) steal money everyday that could fund schools and hospitals forever, for everybody.

      Sending out a critique of protester responses to police violence, right on. But needing to split from Occupy Oakland and indicting us as actual occupiers is the kind of divisiveness that feeds the mainstream press and the systems of oppression they work for.

  25. Thanks so much, Kazu. This is a well-thought out, powerful piece, and I agree with almost everything. I don’t think the kind of police response we saw Saturday was merited. It was despicable. But I agree with all your critiques of the day. I look forward to emerging conversations about something different!

  26. I would have agreed completely until I read this: http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/p1m34/what_really_happened_at_occupy_oakland_read_my/
    My question is who was vandalizing and who was arrested. The problem is is that it was not those vandalizing that were arrested. Just because there are people committing crimes, it does not criminalize those exercising their rights.

  27. Caitlin says:

    Thank you for putting words to all of my recent feelings about the Occupy Oakland movement. As someone born and raised in Oakland, a teacher and activist, I have been feeling very disappointed that the movement has not listened to the needs of Oakland residents more, and not worked more in collaboration with social justice groups who have been doing the work here for years and are an integral part of the community. However, I know it’s not a moment that’s lost its potential for more long-lasting change. Your article clearly lays out all of the reasons I have been critical of the last few Occupy actions. And thank you for your practical information on nonviolence workshops and how to be a part of the dialogue moving forward. I plan on going!

  28. Steve Abbott says:

    Agree with DONATE TO OAKLAND SCHOOLS. Anyone supporting this violence for publicity at the expense of our community (ironically Kaiser Center is vacant due to lack of funds) who does not do equal good for the Oakland community is a hypocrite of the worst kind. Spoiled children who trash someone elses home on a party binge and fill no obligation to cover the damage they cause.

  29. persistance says:

    Question for the author:

    You said, “I no longer want to have my name associated with the foolishness that went down yesterday.” And then also ended with “Join us, and lets make sure that this thing keeps growing. Stay tuned…..”

    I take the two quotes to mean you are still deciding. I hope your choice is not to abandon a group because of the tactics – beliefs of people, who you acknowledge, are not the heart of the movement in Oakland, and definitely not the heart of Occupy nationwide or globally.

    I too am curious as to why OO is in the small minority of (maybe unique minority of one) Occupy sites that are not specifically and adamantly non-violent. (although it seems it is also the only site that deals with over the top policing)

    So, I will “stay tuned” as you push for OO to actually join the greater, clearly non-violent, Occupy movement. The movement has broadly taken up King’s unfinished work on Economic Justice, and broadly (except for Oakland) adopted Kingian Non-violence. I hope your choice to disassociate is not made in a narrow-sited way, Oakland clearly needs you.

    OWS organizers are articulate in describing the true face of the movement in this piece from Bill Moyers: http://t.co/M4v9ALO9 . I trust that what they say is something you will “want” to associate with even if, on some points, you may disagree.

    p.s. I am also curious as to why you would call others “ideological” when wanting to rename Occupy (which has to do with place and reclaiming language) “Decolonize.” That desire sounds like being “stuck,” in a certain ideology as well.

  30. KatyStClair says:

    This is an amazing post; you have perfectly articulated what I have been saying lately… which has caused a riff between me and my friends who are still staunch Occupiers. At the core I do not believe that they really want to feed poor people, or help prisoners, or do anything with a direct result; otherwise, they would be doing these things. Instead they want to push against “The System,” and they argue that the means justify the end. I say that anytime you have to say that, you are not acting morally. Thank you, again, for your post.

    • mpt says:

      What are you talking about, of course we want to feed the poor, and have been feeding the poor and homeless since day one on Oscar Grant Plaza. The police specifically targeted the organizer of the kitchen crew for arrest and got a judge to issue an order preventing him from coming to the plaza to feed people. We have been puting homeless people into vacant homes in coalition with other organizations. Again, cops intervene to put people back out onto the streets.

      • KatyStClair says:

        I think I spoke too broadly… of course there are people involved who want to (and are) feeding people, etc, but the movement in general here in Oakland is not going to help any citizens of this city in the long run. If the stated goal is to bring the city to its financial knees, thereby further marginalizing its vulnerable population (poor, elderly, young…), then they are succeeding. I think why true nonviolent movements are effective is that they bring in the vast majority of silent observers. In the 60s when the rest of the country saw Southerners being beaten and hosed, their consciousness was raised and things started to change. Dr King knew this and it was the goal. I concede that it takes a very special resolve not to react with anger and vandalism, especially after the actions of the OPD, so I understand why people did what they did. But if Occupy wants to keep the public’s support (which is necessary, like it or not) they need to refocus.

  31. Brandon says:

    Good-hearted leftist, you speak about ideology in a negative sense, but I’m not convinced that the tactics you’re describing are as rooted in ideology as you think. In fact, what comes across so clearly in your critique is your own ideology, your attachment to the aesthetics of radical reform, of the civil-rights movement, even of the “Great Society” itself. I’m afraid that this might be a trap, but I also think our hearts are in the same place.
    We should be careful, I think, not to rely on the aesthetics of the sixties. Or we should really take the “diversity of tactics” concept seriously. For example, I think the Kingian sit-ins you refer to can, if done correctly, still be enormously powerful in bringing attention to certain issues and applying a form of political pressure on the Democrats– they need to be confronted with the real political positions of their voting base.
    But further structural change is needed than our political system is equipped to make. The answer is not overthrow. There must be a variety of counter power actions aimed not at some apocalyptic vision of a revolution but rather at the building of sustainable structures.
    These structures could include alternative practices of exchange that actually build communities and cause us to rethink the way economic value operates in our society, or a movement of local farmers, techies, information sharers to support one another in building local agriculture for the 99%
    These kinds of structures can co-exist to some extent with the current (failed) system and they can fill a gap in our country where jobs and Community ought to be.
    They can also, if we develop them well, continue on, if the economy DOES go deeper and deeper into crisis.
    Many would say we’re feeling the effects of a crisis in capitalism that’s built into the very structure of the system and its theory of value.
    You mentioned that too many people are dreaming, thinking the revolution is coming tomorrow. I agree with you. It seems pretty unrealistic. I don’t think history moves quite so. My feeling is that now is the beginning of a long process and really, for those of us that believe in community, equality, and sustainability, it’s time to be planting seeds.
    It doesn’t terribly bother me if some particularly aggressive antics come out of Occupy, nor do I presume to know if these rowdy ones have articulate visions of revolution and something to offer or if they’re just angry kids who haven’t quite thought it through. I suppose it’s probably individual to individual. But I’ve resolved at this point that Occupy, while I still identify with you, work with you, use you to make connections, and would happily get arrested for you (or do jail support for that matter), I have to tell you the truth: This is BIGGER than you. Occupy is a tactic after all. It’s most comfortable as just that. But because of what happened this fall, all the right people are talking to one another now. The network is vast and decentralized and horizontal and brilliant in many ways. It’s right to be self-critical. It’s also right to be able to step outside of Occupy and see yourself as a revolutionary with or without it. We all have to define our revolutionary activity. And it can be making artwork, or developing a body of theory, or organizing workers or students or helping with existing projects. Occupy without camps is just an interface for activism. Use it to get in touch with the right folks, to plan actions, to learn points of view or get access to good sources of information on politics the mainstream won’t report, yada yada yada.
    I don’t mind if those people break a starbucks window. I wouldn’t do it. But it doesn’t change our position. It doesn’t compare to the crime we’re really protesting. And when crime like the crime we’re protesting goes on and on and on, people get mad. Collateral damage, i believe they would call it. I will say though, if you’re going to break a window, don’t choose starbucks. They’re apparently not a very bad company to work for.
    At any rate, let’s focus our criticism on people standing in the way of the appropiate systemic solutions for systemic problems, and not waste time criticizing the kids who don’t know how else to express their anger than by throwing back a tear gas canister or trashing a room.

    • Brandon, I largely agree with what you say. It fits with the vision of evolutionary revolution. However, I do believe that we need to be able to conduct nonviolent demonstrations. So I do very much mind when people undermine nonviolent actions by breaking windows.

    • Eve says:

      Thanks so much Brandon – love your analysis. I love what you say about “Occupy as a tactic,” which mirrors what is said about black bloc, for example, and allows us to think in terms of the larger goals toward which our tactics are (or should be) directed.

      I think that to step outside is to see that “something bigger,” namely that an awakened public must get much better at talking across these difficult divides, and at acting together in spite of them. We have been kept apart, and to some degree kept ourselves apart, for too long. That’s why claiming space is important . . . and why holding the space as open to all is even more important. But it seems we’re in a bind – successfully claiming space requires that we work together in trust, and building trust is much more difficult without space.

      Our adversaries know this, and have brought violence that far outweighs a couple of smashed windows or thrown bottles. Forget flashbangs and rubber bullets! Goldman Sachs sucking the lifeblood out of our city in the form of interest payments while people without homes or services “occupy” benches and doorways all over town, and our schools, libraries, and public workers go begging – now *that’s* violent if you ask me . . .

  32. People who are actually involved says:

    Yep, here you are, occupying the right to an opinion, despite being an armchair radical.

    Piss off, you sanctimonious, hypocritical twit. Consider familiarizing yourself with this term: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Troll_(Internet)#Concern_troll

  33. Thank you so much for this post. 100% behind this.

    From my perspective, having held to these principles for 30 years; in many actions both peaceful & violent; having forgone possessions like an iPhone on ideological grounds (made by virtual slaves); having avoided cars in cities (buses, bicycle, carpool), having endured and worked for personal freedom for everyone, at cost to me, for a long time…

    I will not condone violence; that is what is being protested. I do not condone provocateurs, either of the State or of those pretending to speak against it. I do not support actions that hand the Enemy weapons and reasons for more repression. I do not support actions that alienate the very people we must reach and embrace.

    It is a simple fact of human nature: when good, decent people see this kind of violence, it is their instinctive reaction to reject it, as it should be.

    I do not believe in violent revolution in this country; I believe in returning the country to its people and out of the control of the corporate state, which is a goal I think has much wider and deeper support for the majority in this country.

  34. As a member of (un)Occupy Albuquerque, I’m glad you’re raising the issue of the offensive and colonial connotations of the word “occupy.” However, I couldn’t disagree more with your moralistic condemnation of OO folks for their anger and lack of discipline. That’s a profoundly oppressive narrative you’re channeling. This system is a nightmare. We’ve all got ample reason to be furious. Even the most foolish act of resistance merits sympathy and respect.

    I don’t know enough about local situation to comment on your criticism of OO’s relationship to the community. (The folks I know who’ve participated aren’t from Oakland.) You might well be spot on in this regard, but I urge you to reconsider the rhetorical strategy of presenting yourself as morally and intellectually superior to those violent and unruly anarchists you construct as the Other. If your movement succeeds through the Enlightenment dream of control over bodies and space, you risk recreating the very structures of oppression I assume you oppose.

    Best wishes in your struggle.

  35. mpt says:

    This “positive peace warrior” did not see the same action I did. I saw 2000 people march together to try and reclaim a vacant building and put it to the use of the community. I saw the most militant members of OO at the front line using their shields and their bodies to protect the rest of the march from police violence. I saw a community working together risking their freedom and safety to try and make a change in this country that conventional politics and effete peace-nick bloggers have failed to do. This blogger who claims to have at one time been a supporter of the movement is repeating the false claim that OO are outsiders, and joining in the capitalist media in focusing on trivial damage to city hall. Occupy is broader and stronger today than we were last week. Next steps: organize more labor support actions, solidarity for those arrested, and preparation for the May 1st General Strike

  36. Sierk Beij says:

    I should be on your side, I don’t see how vandalism (or violence, but that’s actually not an issue at all in OO) will change the world. But when I read your post, all I can think is which “many people”? A “movement … driven by anger at the expense of strategy” and “speaks against many of my core values and principles”? Really, I don’t disagree with almost anything you want. But I disagree almost completely with the movement you’re seeing. Of course there are people on the fringes, by definition there always are – but that’s what they are: fringes. There are not many people like the ones you’re railing against, nor do the few you disagree with set the tone for the movement.

    I can see why you’d be angry at the few, and because of that feel disconnected from the many – but even that is so, I find it hard to see why we need to worry most of all, and first of all, about the few people who we both disagree with, but who are only responding to something that we even haven’t started to address in another more constructive way. How can I condemn a spray painter, when just before dozens have been teargassed? How is the (unnecessary) damage done in scale comparable to the damage do by the economically powerful? Are you really saying that we let our actions be guided by people who are more worried about a few broken windows, models, and upside trashcans than about mass unemployment and mass employment below living wage? Because that’s what this is about. We need to have a strategy against the city’s use of police, so we won’t be prevented from addressing the rest – and I first need to see an effective alternative to address the police, before I can condemn any action that’s less bad than what it tries to cure.

    • Tonya says:


      I kind of agree with you. The media, police and Oakland activists need to learn to separate the actions of a few from #oo as a whole. I’m disappointed in the language the media and govt officials are using to describe #j28 as the weeks go by. If I was #oo (the sincere form) I would be pissed!

      But at the same time #oo needs to do more to publicly distance it selves from this violent group. I know that there are some internal disagreements on this matter. But you see how disruptive this violent element is to #oo reputation and it undermines your goals.

      And Im not just talking about for the 1 percent, but the 99% who should be your main allies. Your potential allies are giving you the side eye!

      If nothing else it underscores the perception that you don’t know what you are doing. If you can’t handle your own team how do you expect to confront the real enemy who is much more powerful and dangerous?

  37. Sean says:

    Kazu- your misinformation is incredibly harmful to everyone working hard at trying to set up honest dialogues and debates. This bullshit line about most arrestees not being from the Bay Area is crap. The SF Gate just published the addresses of those arrested. The majority are from Oakland. That means you are repeating a line that has been used by the police and city officials to discredit any movements with widespread support in Oakland over the last few years. It also means that anything else you claim to be fact, without actually providing evidence to back up, I will immediately assume to be false considering you were so sure on this one.
    There are valid critiques that should be discussed coming out of any action. we should always push to try and do things better. But hindsight is always 20/20 and everyone is just as sure as you seem to be on what the right way is. Thats the problem- too much ego. Everyone is sure they know the answer when the truth is none of us do. Humble yourself a bit.
    Finally, realize that movements are messy. They are not well polished, super organized machine like campaigns. many of us are used to the very successful model that many non-profits use to win campaigns. Movements are not like that. They are messy. They have in-fighting. They have people with incredibly opposing opinions about whats right figuring out how to work with each other. But in order for that to happen we need to stop repeating lies that never allow us to have an honest conversation. You have people on one side saying “we never threw anything at the police” and then there’s people like you on the other side of things saying “these protesters aren’t even from Oakland” and others saying “why did people try and Occupy the YMCA?”
    Lets be honest. People fought back. Many of them are from Oakland. And people escaped through the Y after they were kettled and gassed.
    Until you stop repeating lies there is no hope for honest debate.

    • Fernando says:

      The list in the SF Gate is all arrests in the area, including arrests not related to OO’s riot, and only 100 names appear there. It’s actually something they publish regularly, with or without OO creating another incident. This isn’t proof that the majority of protesters live here, as you say it is. At best, it may prove a large number of arrestees, who couldn’t manage to elude the kettling (which apparently many of the more experienced black bloc-ers and vandals managed to do) are Oakland residents. Stop cherry picking and distorting.

      • urbaned says:

        Wow, it sounds as if these experienced anarchists have spent the last 20 years figuring out how to avoid confrontation with police on move-in day. Too bad they didn’t spend that time going out into their communities and helping people in need.

  38. Sage says:

    OK, it seems the word about your article has now effectively spread to most if not all the quarters that can potentially benefit from reading it, Kazu. Good! The more discourse, generally the better.

    And once the nonconstructive name calling, mud slinging and projections start showing up in the form of responses to you here, disrespectful and difficult as some of that may be to read, you can be assured however that your words are now touching the appropriate nerves and causing thinking to occur even among some of those who may mostly be in pure defensive/reactionary mode.

    Obviously no single one of us has all the accurate, all the important, all the correct interpretations of any situation. That is a given. I know you will continue to re-check your information and make adjustments when necessary, Kazu. And I know you will continue to be open to everything that rings true for you.

    Be strong, Brother!

  39. jalairbox says:

    I appreciate the dialog here. The voices of the 99% are broader than any activist-oriented person who has the time to follow or be physically involved in this movement. It’s vital to keep this broad-spectrum of people and ideas in mind when planning for actions. What makes a movement gain momentum? What keeps it legitimate, legal, and ethical? Non-violence. I agree with all of you who say more training and planning is needed. Gandi developed principles of non-violence to kick the British out of India. If they were not trained and ready to take bullets for the cause, they would not have accomplished that amazing task. They chose non-violence because they had to, because they were hopelessly out-gunned, because *they* were occupied. If you flip the concept and understand they we the people are occupied, by corporate corruption that increasingly turns this nation into a police state to protect corporate interests, it seems to me that non-violence is our only choice here. Non-violence is our only weapon.

  40. I haven’t read all the comments yet, but I’m headed out the door, so here goes.

    If OO is unable to control violent reactions to police provocations, perhaps East Bay advocates of nonviolence should organize their own campaign under another umbrella, like “Occupy Oakland Peacefully” rather than spending so much time criticizing others and trying to persuade them to change. (I hear the concerns about the word “occupy,” but the use of that word establishes a connection to the national movement and I don’t much care for ideological hair-splitting and arguments over politically correct language.)

    And it seems to me that one of the first steps would be to focus on a “winnable demand,” or achievable objective. Shutting shit down and disrupting business as usual has helped bring attention to important issues. But that tactic is not sustainable if it is merely an expression of generalized outrage. Rather, it can easily lead to the kind of violence we have witnessed.

    At the same time, efforts focused on winnable demands need to be couched within the framework of a long-term vision that affirms eventual fundamental, systemic transformation. We need not choose between “reform” and “revolution.” We can seek “evolutionary revolution.” A draft of such a vision, “Our Vision: Transforming the System,” is at http://www.obtcc.org/Solutions/Vision1

    If we adopted some such long-term vision, it might help foster the self-discipline that helps one restrain the instant gratification that comes from fighting the police.

    And, as Kazu talks about, we need a willingness to engage in negotiation and a mechanism for conducting such negotiations with those who can change public policy, whether governmental or corporate.

    Hang in there, Kazu. Great work!

  41. Yaohuitzitzilli says:

    i’m so torn by this article. I heartily agree with some sentiments, yet am completely repulsed by others.

    1) I think pointing out whether ‘Occupy’ is an ironically fitting term is great. Personally I think it does because the level of consciousness in people’s actions is largely set at that.

    2) Breaking material objects is not violence. Property itself is the true violence, truth be told. And that is something that Decolonizing our minds would demystify. As someone who identifies with the tactics of non-violence, I don’t get offended when someone breaks bank windows and other private and corporate property. No one gets hurt by that. In fact, a liberal mindset could say jobs were just created to fix shit, anyway, and it’s less than a drop in the bucket for a corporation. If some Non-violent and/or liberal types want to split then they need to break off and organize themselves. ‘Occupy’ is nothing more than a name. It’s about the work that’s needed getting done

    I’m tired of people trying to moralize and romanticize the tactics and discipline of NV. My question is: so then where are YOU at in terms of organizing and getting the level of discipline up of folks who DO want to take action with these tactics.

    While I agree with NV, I don’t agree with letting myself get arrested. So I don’t think I would take part in MLK style actions.

    And lastly, for all the romantic waxing of NV tactics, just remember that King didn’t sit around wagging the finger at his brothers & sisters for engaging in what today people call violence. Why? Because NV is a pretty high level of internal consciousness that understands that reacting with any kind of action that could hurt someone is only breeding more of something into this world that we are trying to end. It’s one thing to persuade someone to come into “MLK-style” NV tactics, and it’s another to get on your high horse and look down on folks for not agreeing with you. It’s not productive in the slightest.

    People still have a right to revolt and revolution by any means they deem necessary.

    If people want NV more at the forefront, then step up the game. And until that game is stepped up, we gotta work with what we got. And while I subscribe to NV, I know I feel more connected with someone who might have been breaking stuff, than with the terrorists of our communities – the police.

    Some people will be attracted by unfolding events, and others will be turned away. What concerns me is whether the work is being done. But if at the end of the day people who spout NV leave and don’t organize anything radically of the kind associated with MLK, then there probably wasn’t much to speak about to begin with.

  42. Kazu Haga says:

    Thank you all for your comments, including (especially) those who disagree with me. I’ll respond to all of those in a longer post. To those who disagree with me but still found time to read my statement and comment on it, I owe you at least that, and hope we can continue a dialogue. I’m willing to be challenged also, and I also know that I still have a lot to learn myself.

    • artfrancisco says:

      Not cool to turn your back on 400 of your fellow comrades on the day after while they sit in jail so you can launch a self-promotion campaign. If you really want unity you would show solidarity with those comrades injured and arrested.

      Furthermore, you quote King, but show disregard to the fact that King’s house looked like an arsenal and his marches were escorted by the armed Deacons for Defense. Funny whitewashing of history there.

      Criticizing the mistakes of an action is a far cry from stroking further division and alienation–and it is just silly to be making this kind of criticism without any critique of the violence by the OPD/the state.

  43. Anya says:

    I am SO glad I read this – it is great to hear the strong opinions re: OO, specifically the violence vs nonviolence and the ideologues-with-their-blinders-on that I have been feeling myself. Thank you.

  44. […] Occupier Renounces Occupy, Blames Melee On Outsiders Photo: Patrick Dollard We just came across an interesting editorial regarding last weekend’s Occupy Oakland kerfuffle in which a stalwart member of the bandwagon […]

  45. John Jacobsen says:

    The people arrested at Occupy Oakland over this past week deserve our support and solidarity. It is one thing to disagree with our comrades’ tactics – it is entirely another to take the side of the state and of the police.

  46. 30PiecesOfSilver says:

    Peace out, brother. Enjoy your ideological purity. I’m sure it will change the world.
    Maybe if you were downtown more often you would have seen how
    your former brothers and sisters have been systematically targeted and brutalized by the OPD.
    You weren’t even there Saturday.
    That shows in that you took the line, hook and sinker, straight from the OPD that most of us arrested weren’t from Oakland.
    400 people were illegally arrested. That’s what you should be up in arms about. Human beings were beaten, shot, gassed and abducted.
    The OPD went out with the intention of arresting Occupy. Not a few of us. ALL of us.
    Here’s some viewing material to get you up to speed:

    I hope you get a flurry of media attention and accolades for this article. Truly you have set yourself apart.

  47. How we design and prepare actions greatly influences the risk of violence. To mobilize thousands to try to forcibly take over a public building is custom-made to lead to violence. Actions like Saturday in Oakland damage the movement immensely. It alienates us from potential supporters and it risks leading the general public to support or accept greater repression. If forced to choose, most people will take order over chaos.

    If Occupy Oakland is unable or unwilling to design actions that are not so likely to provoke police violence and counter-violence, I would like to see others initiate nonviolent Occupy campaigns rooted in Gandhian/Kingian nonviolence, without the reliance on charismatic leaders.

  48. Freedom says:

    Outstanding. Thank you for your courageous voice.

  49. […] Peace Warrior Network.  Without further ado, we’d like to direct you to his article, “Occupy Oakland: A Fitting Name?”. Like Haga we believe in the aim and potential of the movement, but something has to shift soon, or […]

  50. Sage says:

    The largest credible number I’ve seen for J28 is 2000. The smallest credible number for the Nov 2nd General Strike is 20,000. The obvious question is: where were the other 18,000, and why?

  51. How can we design actions that minimize the risk of violence? One element is to focus on short-term concrete winnable demands — as a way to move toward long-term fundamental transformation of our social system. That way we can build momentum by winning victories that reinforce hope. Otherwise, we reinforce frustration and anger, which breeds violence.

  52. Eli says:

    “Diversity of Tactics” cannot be synonymous for “diversity of principles.” = Truth

  53. Jean Gerard says:

    This kind of deep, well-reasoned corrective is much needed in the entire movement, and particularly in Oakland considering its history. Thank you for taking responsibility to do it. And it may take a good deal more than
    simply wriiting down principles. I have wondered how much actual
    training Occupy has been able to do.

    Assuming that understanding, training and commitment to non-violence is not very broad or deep yet, over all I think the movement as a whole has
    been doing remarkably well. Takes time. Takes a lot of loving care.
    Takes forethought, planning, cooperation, community and experience. Be sure there will always be elements trying to infiltrate and destroy. Love.

  54. […] one such essay, byYou can read the rest of this article at:: […]

  55. mpt says:

    This post is about Kazu joining in with the capitalist media, trying to convince the public that the movement is violent, trying to convince liberals to stay home. Well, unfortunately, liberals don’t need an excuse to stay home, staying home is the centerpoint of their Ideology. I see you, by means of this blog, trying to convince people to stay away, or to try and co-opt it into some support for the pro capitalist lap dog democratic party.
    People, dont stay away. Come,join a committe or working group, organize your friends and neighbors. Participate in those actions that suit you and your vision. There is alot to do between now and the May 1st General Strike.
    Don’t sit this one out, our next chance may be a generation away.

  56. test says:

    Hey! Would you mind if I share your blog with my zynga group?

    There’s a lot of people that I think would really appreciate your content. Please let me know. Many thanks

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