There’s so much to say about Wednesday’s historic General Strike (Nov 2, 2011) in Oakland. It was the nation’s first general strike in over 65 years. It was a day where everyone was upbeat and focused. It was a day of success. It was a day in which we saw Oakland step out to the tune of tens of thousands of people to make a bold statement and raise awareness about economic disparity. It was a solid shot in the arm that the Occupy Movement needed. It was a good look, something that Oakland needed.
The goals of the day were to shut down the businesses in downtown, in particular the banks and, later that afternoon, march to the Port of Oakland, the 5th largest in the country, and shut it down as well.
Many thought this was a far-fetched dream and an impossible task. After all, there have been several attempts to do this in the recent past without a whole lot of success, but when a crowd numbering by some estimates between 15-20 thousand showed up ready to put in work, that dream became a reality. The shut down of the port lasted until the next morning where you still had hundreds of 99%ers down there blocking the gates and not letting trucks pass through. Eventually folks left at around 9 am that morning.
That night, while leaving the port, I saw numerous veterans of past movements including former Black Panther Chair Elaine Brown who was beaming with pride. Brown expressed how proud she was to see today’s younger generation rise to the occassion, take the baton and move the proverbial envelope in a significant way. A general strike being organized and pulled off within a week’s time and the port being shut down was something she’d thought would never happen, at least in her lifetime. For her seeing such a huge crowd come out to support was moving.
A Great Day in Oakland
The General Strike started out with the first of several scheduled gatherings at 9am on the corner of 14th and Broadway. When I arrived, there was already a crowd numbering in the hundreds, perhaps even a thousand or so, with speakers already on the mic explaining the goals of the day, what the General Strike was about. Traffic for several blocks up and down Broadway had been stopped and the streets closed down. Liberating that corner was the first of the day’s many victories.
The stage and loud-speaker system on 14th & Broadway was one of several locations spawning activity. Inside Oscar Grant Plaza (city hall plaza) where the General Assemblies are held there were large crowds who were engaged by dozens of other speakers and performers. There was also a number of art displays. The vibe in the air was infectious, as many could sense this was the beginning of what many felt would be an historic day. The next gatherings scheduled to take place were 12 noon and 2pm, with the last one scheduled at 5pm, when folks would march to shut down the Port of Oakland.
Throughout the day all sorts of speakers blessed the mic, speaking to pressing issues, especially how the economy was impacting them and their communities. There were heartfelt perspectives shared by various members of Black, Brown, Asian and Native communities along with students, labor and working class folks.
The list of those addressing the crowd is too long to accurately recount, but everyone from Angela Davis to former Black Panther Melvin Dixon, to labor leaders, like Clarence Thomas, Topaz DuBois and Jack Heyman, to artists like Boots Riley and Mistah Fab, were up in the mix speaking truth to power.
In addition to the economy, other topics addressed included how banks facilitated the massive numbers of foreclosures in Black, Brown and now working class communities. We learned how banks like Wells Fargo invest in immigrant detention centers and private prisons. We also heard folks speak about the current California prison hunger strike and how mass incarceration is economically benefiting stakeholders within the prison industrial complex.
We heard Iraq War vets speak to the exorbitant amounts of money used by the military to further meaningless wars and how those funds should be reinvested in our communities to improve schools. The city of Oakland closed 5 schools last week with more to come. That was a main point echoed throughout the day. Police violence that brought about the last General Strike 1934 (Bloody Thursday) . Police protected the 1% back in those days as well.
We heard folks speak passionately about the plight of farmers and how big agribusiness has been impacting the 99%. There was a lot of talk about the environment, food justice and how Monsanto has been a tyrannical business crippling small farmers and entire countries by obtaining patents for seeds and forcing everyone to buy from them.
There was lots of conversation about electoral politics, with many of the speakers making it very clear time and time again that the Occupy Movement is not a springboard for either the Republican or Democratic Party. Many of the speakers, as well as many we’ve interviewed in the crowd, had concluded that much of the leadership in both parties have been brought off and are in the pockets of Wall Street lobbyists. Elected officials were not allowed to speak via the stage yesterday and that was fine by many in attendance. No one wanted to hear a stomp speech or apologies for the way their respective parties have been complicit in propping up big banks and carrying out their agendas.
In response to Wall Street corrupting politicians, over the past couple of weeks we’ve met and heard from a number of young people here in Oakland who are quietly networking, planting seeds and gearing up to run for a number of local offices come 2012 and 2013. That has been a bright spot.
Throughout the day we heard local singers and rappers take the stage and speak or do remakes of popular songs where the theme was economic disparity. For, example we heard one sister redo Gloria Gaynor’s classic ‘I Will Survive‘ where she sung about the banks.. It was a beautiful thing.
Artists like Richie Rich, D-Sharp, Dwayne Wiggins, Flo, Jennifer Johns, Sellasie, Walt 427, Picaso of Living legends, Ashe, Brwn Bflo, Mistah Fab and of course Boots Riley and Cat who held down one of the stages were among the scores of artists on hand supporting the General Strike. Music played throughout the afternoon and could be heard throughout the plaza, up and down Broadway. Songs by Dead Prez and James Brown helped them became familiar voices during yesterday’s rally.
With each scheduled gathering folks would march off by the hundreds to different parts of the downtown. One group went before the Office of University California to protest fee hikes which have doubled in the past two years. Some went to the library to protest budget cuts resulting in it being shut down.
Others went to stand before the banks and demand they shut down. There was a large group that went and sat in front of Citibank. Still others went to Chase Bank while others went to Bank of America. In all those instances we heard or saw that the banks closed their doors. This was a beautiful thing.
Throughout the plaza were numerous tables with folks passing out information from a variety of organizations. If you needed help with foreclosures, legal aid, There were places set up where posters of the Occupy were being made… There was also lots of food.. Big shout out to the unions and Everett and Jones BBQ for feeding over 5 thousand people that day…The mood throughout the day was upbeat as many were happy to see so many had come together and a General strike which once seemed like an impossibility was actually taking place. Police presence in and around downtown was minimal.
What I witnessed yesterday was the ultimate town square where everyone came together and through this exercise of having an open mic on 14th and Broadway all of us were able to bear witness to each others concerns and stories..This is important to note for a couple of reasons. First, for years we’ve had folks from various communities addressing economic disparity only to be ignored or have their voices minimize and marginalized. I spoke at length about this in yesterday’s blog.. You can access it HERE
Second, this was important because it clearly showed how lazy many in the corporate media had been in terms of explaining what the Occupy Movement has been about.. Claims of it being unfocused and having no agenda was the convenient 30 second sound bite hawked vs simply explaining that financial institutions have hit large segments of the population in different ways resulting in folks coming together, comparing notes, raising awareness and trying to and figuring out the best ways to smash back on a common enemy (Wall Street Banks). This is what Nov 2 2011 spelled out and reaffirmed for many.
The Importance of the Labor and Shutting Down the Port
Throughout the day we heard from all sorts of union folks. We got important history lessons on the labor movement from long time activists and union members like Jack Heyman of the longshoremen and Clarence Thomas of ILWU Local 10. We also got to understand why so many unions are currently under attack by 1% interests and how that would ultimately impact the folks in the crowd.
Many union members spoke to the history of the General Strikes. They talked about some of the parallels back in 1934 and today in terms of 1% interests trying to crap on the average worker.
We were given a firm understanding about the Port of Oakland and what it meant when you shut it down. We learned that for each day it’s shut down it delays goods being delivered up to a week. Three days of shut down equals 3 weeks of delay. With each day the port is shut down they lose up to $8 million dollars. With that information at hand folks got the picture. Shutting down the Port of Oakland would be directly messing with the money of some very powerful people, thus lines in the sand were being clearly drawn.
This picture was further cemented when it was explained who actually gets that $8 million and where that money is used. It was clear that the folks in economically depressed West Oakland where the port sits, or the 99% gathered yesterday at 14th and Broadway, were not main beneficiaries. Oakland rap artist Boots Riley and labor leader Clarence Thomas gave an important overview of what the day was supposed to be like on Democracy Now.
For many, the Port of Oakland was a major battle ground with long-lasting scars. Very few forgot what took place 8 years ago, April 7th 2003, when police shot rubber bullets at anti-war protestors who attempted to shut down the port. Several protesters were seriously injured. Hence, going back to the port, with all the key issues the Occupy Movement had brought up, was paramount. You can peep the video of that HERE:
By 4 pm that afternoon all sides of the plaza were packed with thousands in the streets around 14th and Broadway as folks geared up for the march to shut down the Port of Oakland. The first wave of people left and headed down to the Port of Oakland. That’s the image that many of local news stations showed. They said this was about 7 thousand, but most protesters feel this was a deliberate and gross under counting.
By 5pm another huge crowd had gathered, even larger then the first, being that it had been announced for the past week that the Port March would start at that time. By the time you got down to the Port, there were folks for as far as the eye could see. From my own estimation the crowd was easily over 15k and maybe more. It was by far one of the largest gatherings I had seen in Oakland and one of the largest we’ve seen in the Bay Area in a long time.
It was a sea of people that took up both sides of the bridge/overpass leading to the port that would not stop. For many seeing this huge turnout was the crowning jewel to what had been a great day and an eventful week that saw the Occupy Movement rebound from a night of chaos and police repression just a week earlier. When word got out that the Port had been shut down, everyone was excited. Cars honked, trucks honked… Many truckers came and used their vehicles to help block port entrances so no one could enter
The Violence and the Lessons behind It
As mentioned earlier, throughout the day there were numerous marches with the intention of shutting down banks and other businesses that were part of the 1% and bringing awareness to troubled social programs and services hard hit by the economy. It was during one of these marches (the March Against Capitalism) that we got word of the first acts of vandalism.
We heard and later saw video of a group of masked men dressed in black, spray painting the word “Strike” across the front of Whole Foods grocery store. Later on these same masked men broke the windows to Wells Fargo and Chase and tagged the walls. This enraged many on were on the scene, not because they felt sorry for the banks who would and did quickly repair the damage, but because they felt that what took place was a deliberate attempt to undermine what the General Strike was about. They also felt acts of vandalism were also gonna further soil the city’s reputation and give light to the stereotype of us being a crime ridden city.
In addition, for the past week the police had kept their distance, thus many felt comfortable in attending activities around the General Strike. You had families with kids. You had many who were undocumented who were out and about, who suddenly had their safety and well-being put into jeopardy by a handful of folks who apparently had no regard for what the Occupy Oakland General Assembly had called for, which was demonstrations free of vandalism.
Many stepped to the vandals, urging them to stop. A couple even had physical confrontations. Here’s a video of the confrontation at Whole Foods:
Some have attempted to explain this away by saying Whole Foods was vandalized because the management had threatened to fire workers if they took off to attend the General Strike. Others were saying that the violence and vandalism is small potatoes compared to the economic violence done by the big banks, big corporations and their cronies.
As one gentleman remarked upon hearing the news: “Yes, windows got broke, but Wells Fargo and Bank of America broke hearts, broke the economy and on top of that stole people’s homes… A window breaker will go to jail while a CEO who swindles us out of our homes and billions of dollars is free and might even be sitting at the highest levels of government”.
In short F$%K a Bank..
There’s not too many who would argue with that sentiment and many didn’t as the day continued on and we saw a successful shut down of the port. But at the same time many weren’t buying the line that violence was necessary.
After the march to the port, many went home and retired for the night only to wake up the next morning to discover that Occupy Oakland made national news. Sadly, it was not for the success of the General Strike or the shut down of the port, but for vandalism and violence.
Many waking up to the news of overnight violence were stunned, angry, and dismayed. Damn near every corporate news outlet was on the scene, including the NY based Today Show, who had pretty much ignored Occupy Oakland in the past, but this morning they had a reporter on the scene doing live coverage. Blaring across everyone’s screens wasn’t 20k people closing down the 5th largest port in the country, it was masked men wearing all Black setting fires in the middle of the street and destroying local businesses.
Many of shops hit were ones friendly and supportive of Occupy Oakland, including Tully’s Coffee on 14th and Broadway who had her windows smashed. Spray paint marred damn near every building around the plaza and up
and down Broadway. Oakland police who had had kept their distance from Occupy Oakland for the past few days showed up in full riot gear, shooting tear gas and flash grenades. Much of the violence took place around 2 am, and by 4 am, when over 100 people were arrested, the overwhelming majority of those sent to jail (75% ) were from out-of-town.
In the aftermath of the violence, many were left with a very clear lesson as to what Occupy Oakland and the Occupy Movement in general is up against. Folks know beyond a shadow of a doubt that any and all attempts will be made to marginalize, discredit and ultimately erase any success stories this movement has.
When this movement does well or accomplishes a goal, one should expect there will be some sort of incident to sabotage things. On the heels of that incident will be gaggle of corporate reporters on hand complete with satellite trucks ready to convey any and all dirty details they can dig up. The end game is to spark fear and plant seeds of doubt.
As I noted in the past, this is a war being fought on many fronts. Information, News Narratives and PR are 3 of them.Occupy Oakland’s shutting down the Port and having a large turnout for a General Strike was major. It was a huge smack in the face to the 1% who have been doing everything they could to dismiss the Occupy Movement. Unfortunately for the 1%, what took place on November 2nd was something you could not ignore.
If that wasn’t enough, on the same day we shut down the port of Oakland, Occupy Wall Street held a People’s Tribunal in Zuccotti Park where they found Goldman Sachs guilty. Folks from OWS directly confronted executives from Goldman Sachs where they handed them the guilty verdict.
These activities were supposed to be the main conversation. Victories on both coasts for the Occupy Movement with everyone gearing up for Bank Transfer Day on Saturday Nov 5th. I guess from the stand point of the 1% Financial Bankers, the momentum had to be slowed down.
That slowdown was gonna come in the form of broken windows and all out vandalism. This was something Occupy Oakland had avoided for 3 weeks since they first set up shop. Even during the police melee from the other week with all the flash bombs and tear gas, no one ran around busting windows. To see this happening on the night of big success is more than obvious.
So as frustrating and dismaying as it was, we all know what this was about — an attempt to crush the spirit. We’ve all seen this film before…most recently in Cairo, Egypt during the Arab Spring.
If folks recall, days after the protest began, out of the blue ‘some people’ decided to go loot the national Egyptian Museum. Initially our corporate media tried to blame the protesters in Tahir Square. They were quick to sour on them and attach demeaning labels to them. The protesters in Egypt realized what was happening, quickly regrouped, stood side by side locking arms to guard the museum. Later it was discovered that it was agents working for Mubark’s secret police thugs, who were attempting to sway world wide opinion by posing as looters.
Could that have been the case here in Oakland? After all, it’s an an age-old tactic that even Stevie Wonder could see from a distance. It happens all over within various movements by those desperate to hold onto power. From the days of Cointel-Pro to now in the age of increased surveillance and the Patriot Act, how could one NOT draw such conclusions when the actions taken are destructive?
It’s good that folks from Occupy Oakland responded immediately to the carnage by helping clean up the damage and guarding shops that had broken windows, to prevent looting. Such gestures have been uplifting and underscore the resilience that people in this city have…
Nov 2 2011 we saw tens of thousands of people from all walks of life shut down the Port of Oakland costing those in power, millions of dollars and we have folks breaking the windows of local businesses in Oakland of all places.. Think on that for a minute..Why not bring that ruckus to the doorsteps of the bankers who’ve wrecked havoc on us? Aptos? Hillsdale? Menlo Park?
The day is coming where it’s not gonna be so easy to find folks to be agents for the 1%. Until then lets recognize things for what they are.. Call a spade a spade or in this case, call a guy busting out windows of local businesses wearing all black- A provocateur- perhaps a hired goon to be an ally to the 1%. He’s the Oakland style version of the white shirted police we see on Wall Street..
by Davey D
[Reposted from another copy of Davey’s commentary, adding my comments, and in my partial response to a white comment poster there criticizing Davey and his commentary.]
Okay, here’s the point about breaking windows during what was billed as a *nonviolent* march:
(And let me say I am *not* a pacifist — unike most namby-pamby white leftists, I support the right of the Palestinian people to ARMED STRUGGLE — the same moral right accorded by leftists to the Vietnamese under U.S. military imperialism, and the black South Africans under mass murderous Apartheid — but I BELIEVE IN NONVIOLENCE WHERE NONVIOLENCE WILL WORK! — because resorting to armed struggle brings a whole ‘nother set of potential problems, most importantly a greatly increased necessity for personal and group discipline, as well as the avoidance of being acustomed to violence even as a way to settle personal, intragroup and intergroup disputes or as a way of conducting one’s or society’s life.)
First of all, the two major goals of the day were the “GENERAL STRIKE” — and, especially, SHUTTING DOWN THE 3RD LARGEST PORT and THE LARGEST NORTH OF LOS ANGELES on the west coast of the U.S. and the 5th largest port in the nation! *THOSE* WERE THE PURPOSES & GOALS OF THE DAY — not smashing windows.
As ILWU’s the *real* (as he says) Clarence Thomas said, SOMETHING THAT COST THE CAPITALISTS MILLIONS OF DOLLARS IN ONE OPERATION for us — something the capitalists understand, A *LOT* more than, perhaps, many of the, especially, young people who took part in the strike and march, and a lot more than the Black Bloc, understand.
At least *10,-20,000+, maybe even up to around 30,000*, people — in a march to the port than spanned literally *MILES* of endless people — *NONVIOLENTLY* — many still joining the march as it progressed still even at night — shutting down THE 3RD LARGEST PORT on the west coast of the U.S., one day shut down CAUSING A WEEK’S BACK-UP in cargo work, and the BILLIONS OF DOLLARS that cost the capitalists — without a shot being fired or so much as a bottle being thrown — and *that* shows protesters’ mental and group *DISCIPLINE*!
[You remember that scene in “X”, the movie about Malcolm X, where rows of NOI marched in their suits, bow ties and dress coats in silent DISCIPLINED formation — and NONVIOLENTLY — to the police station (or hospital?) where the one NOI member was being held by the police, to put the police on notice that the NOI was looking out for their brother? You remember how much *that* scared the cops — not the NOI hypothetically running around breaking windows.]
COMPARED TO THAT, as Clarence said, what the F*CK do you, or the Black Bloc 20-somethings, think the capitalists themselves care about a few broken windows — SOME PENNY-ANTE BULLSH*T — that wouldn’t even be a line item on a corporate expense/financial statement, but just written off as an accounting ledger expense under *miscellaneous* — but can be used to stereotype Occupy Oakland as, indeed, *violent* and *out of control*, scare off people from joining us, and that “that’s why the Mayor needs to shut Occupy Oakland down again”, this time with a majority of the public, especially the middle-class _of all colors_, especially in Oakland, agreeing instead of in sympathy with our cause. And with independent businesses in Oakland that were in *sympathy* with us now also calling for the Mayor to “*do* something”, led by that right-wing Oakland Chamber of Commerce hawk.
Now you got UNTOLD THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE and BILLIONS OF DOLLARS on one side — vs. a handful of people (the Black Bloc) and a few broken windows on the other side. Which do *you* think makes a MUCH bigger statement and sends a MUCH bigger message to the public that you’re trying to draw in and the capitalists you’re trying to notify? Which do you think scares the capitalists more?
The problem with the Black Bloc wanna-be revolutionaries (typically comparatively privileged white 20-somethings where the only thing black about them are their clothes and bandanas) — if that’s who they were instead of COINTELPRO POLICE PROVOCATEURS (and if you don’t think there *are* any then you *are* naive) — is that they are politically undisciplined, variably unprincipled, too unfocussed, sometimes obnoxiously elitist & arrogant (like one short know-it-all young white woman typically dressed in black), often pointless (how does setting a toppled dumpster on fire in the middle of the street start “The Revolution”?), and most of all too indiscriminate (even attacking businesses, including those owned/managed by Black people, *supportive* of Occupy Oakland). And a bunch of Black Bloc *COWARDS*, using thousands of people attending a nonviolent march as *HUMAN SHIELDS* to smash windows during AN *OCCUPY OAKLAND* EVENT, not at their *own* (if that’s who they were) Black Bloc event.
I frankly don’t care about rich, corporate banks being attacked, but the Black Bloc launch their violent attacks too indiscriminately on banks *AND* independent small businesses during *OTHER* people’s NONVIOLENT marches and expose *OTHER* people (including legally vulnerable MINORITES, the handicapped, and children) to potential violent backlash and brutal arrests by the cops, while the Black Bloc often safely runs off *through* or *behind* the marchers. And, as Jack Bryson points out, the people that are going to suffer the *most* as a consequence of getting unintentionally arrested are Black and Brown people [while the young white “revolutionaries”, if they get caught, get mom & dad or someone to send them or post bail money, and if necessary come or send someone to get them out of jail, and regularly get a 2nd chance, avoiding prison (or *deportation*)].
Clarence said (my *characterising*) that if the march had been an ILWU *union* event, ‘We’d have, in no uncertain terms [him flexing his arm], *squashed* and put a *sstopp* to ANYONE — Black, white or whatever — whether they’re marching or in a Mercedes — turning violent and working against or otherwise at odds with our goals of the march or day.”
If the Black Bloc are such rough tough “Revolutionaries”, then, as ILWU’s Clarence Thomas said, (*characterized*) let them strike out ON THEIR OWN and go smash the windows of the Federal Reserve Bank over in San Francisco!
Lastly, regarding the allusion (see, November 5, 2011 at 9:25 pm) to Oakland downtown Footlocker being “looted” after one of the Justice for Oscar Grant marches:
I guess you don’t realize that the hundreds of, up to maybe overall a thousand, cops — in full armored riot gear, all the tear gas grenades, pepper balls/spray, other supposedly “less-than-lethal” projectiles, and guns, they could want, and even with a couple of armored personnel carriers — greatly outnumbering the “looters” — *STOOD DOWN* and were practically *WAVING* “looters” into the the Footlocker — to make it look like all the Justice for Oscar Grant protesters, “all them neegroes”, really cared about — and were using the march as “just an excuse” for — was to loot free athletic shoes — and because the cops were trying to show “the white public”, and a cash-strapped city that was budget-cutting the police force, that, “See, *this* is why you need us police, and, in fact, you need even *more* of us!” Local corporate news TV suddenly broke in to live coverage, from regular evening TV shows, just to broadcast that!
Put “joseph anderson”+berkeley+”oscar grant march” into any search engine and *learn* something *new* besides non-analytical, knee-jerk violence that’s supposed to start “The Revolution” *today*, or a non-analytical *defense* of knee-jerk violence.
[Reposted from another copy of Davey’s commentary, adding my comments, and in my partial response to a white comment poster there criticizing Davey and his commentary.]
And the afternoon of the strike we had THE *TEAMSTERS* send over a long-ass, giant, shiny, big-rig trailer truck — their most visible form of endorsement — to Occupy Oakland, slowly back the rig up on to the concrete part of Oscar Grant Plaza, right next to Oakland city hall (you know, where the *Mayor* has her office and the *city council* has their chambers), set up a couple of big fancy grills and serve everyone who wanted any grilled, free, hot food!
There’s another action of endorsement that makes the capitalists take note.
Compare *THAT* action, that day, of gained political support of nonviolent Occupy Oakland, and *THAT* message to the capitalists — compared to some l’il, as far as the capitalists are concerned, penny-ante breaking windows bullsh*t that day in Oakland by the Black Bloc.
*WHO’S* actions that day — the nonviolent marcher, the Teamsters sending their hearty support, the ILWU refusing to cross the picket lines, even the entire port of Oakland being shut down, followed by a reported *650,000* people nationwide responding to Occupy calls for taking their money — COLLECTIVELY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OR MAYBE, OVER TIME, ALL-TOLD, ORDER-OF-MAGNITUDE, A TRILLION DOLLARS — out of all the major corporate bailed-out banks, and such people putting their money into community banks and credit unions — vs. the Black Bloc smashing windows — do you think impresses and inspires the public more and would make MANY *MORE* PEOPLE want to join us?
If taking over — for the long-term homeless and other more recently evicted people — the empty, foreclosed, abandoned Travelers Aid Building and that had been squated, occupied and defended *nonviolently*, and calling for other protesters to come block the entrances or surround and defend the building NONVIOLENTLY — POLITICALLY DISCIPLINED — INSTEAD OF the Black Bloc (or whomever they were) setting a huge fire on overturned dumpsters (welcomed by out enemies and great footage for corporate TV news scares), throwing rocks, bottles, and molotov cocktails (if all that happened according to TV news video), thus giving THE PIGS a PERFECT EXCUSE to come down brutally on the squatters, and hawks in the city govt to call again for Occupy Oakland itself to be forced out.
A NONVIOLENT occupation and defense of the building would have made A MUCH BIGGER AND MORE SYMPATHETIC IMPRESSION AND ACTION HARDER TO WRITE OFF for other people who’ve been, or have faced, or are facing eviction, and the public in gleneral — while thousands or millions of more people are facing homelessness and potential homelessness while hundreds of buildings and thousands of apartments and homes — forclosed by the bailed-out banks — stand empty and abandoned, even for years!
Again, what type of actions would make MANY *MORE* PEOPLE want to join us?
In other words, stop or avoid the mentally inftantile, wanna-be “revolutionaries’ “, lose-cannons, distractions — and LET’S KEEP OUR OCCUPY MOVEMENT EYES ON THE *REAL* PRIZE AND *REAL* MOVEMENT BUILDING that actually *SCARES* THE *CAPITALISTS* and not ordinary people!
In short, marring, disrupting the *real* goals of, or potentially ruining your own movement by engaging in purely self-indulgent infantile violent actions is *NOT* a Revolutionary act!
[Reposted from another copy of Davey’s commentary, adding my comments.]
I’m listening to the KQED PBS TV program, “This Week in Northerm California”, and an establishment pundits discussion about Oakland Mayor Quan and Occupy Oakland.
Mayor Quan needs to realize, OR SOMEONE NEEDS TO TELL HER at the next city council forum on Occupy Oakland, that THE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE who peacefully marched miles and miles all day, and shut down the Port of Oakland, and the unions that supported Occupy Oakland and the march and port shut-down, *ARE HER WOULD-BE VOTER CONSITUENCY* — and *NOT* OPD or the hawks in Oakland City Hall and the Chamber of Commerce, or the right-winger operatives from across the country pretending to represent Oakland residents calling for a recall of the mayor so quickly in her term.
So, MAYOR QUAN, I HAVE A BIT OF CONSTRUCTIVE ADVICE:
You better *pick* a side and *stick* to it, and stop falling victim/chump to conservative public scare tactics, as long as the Occupy Oakland movement rejects violence — which it does and its members on TV camera have repeatedly and vigorously stated so (and now Occupy Oakland needs, if it hasn’t already done so, to make a formal resolution stating so, so that there is a clear political separation between Occupy Oakland and violence, and not let themselves get played by police agent provocateurs or the Black Bloc) — or you, Mayor Quan, will please *no one* and *no one* will trust you and have your back or sufficiently vote for you again.
I also have a message for the hawk at the Oakland Chamber of Commerce: if any small business doesn’t want to serve the nominally **400,000** people (residents and resident visitors) of Oakland, then they can leave!
EXCELLENT!! — REPOST from Indybay Indymedia!:
“My Letter to the People in Black Masks Who Like to FSU”
Friday Nov 4th, 2011 2:14 PM
I posted this open letter on my FaceBook page and it has been reposted, “liked” and supported by comments consistently in the hours since. So I want you to know that I am not the only one who feels this way. Because this movement has made us all into leaders, cooperatively, we are all invested in what is happening in a way that feels very personal. Many good people were saddened, demoralized and hurt when they saw the glorious general strike day, the dawn of a new era, disintegrate into an old-school confrontational mess.
I wrote this to the activists who ended Oakland’s successful, historic, and peaceful general strike of Wednesday, November 2, by brawling with police outside an abandoned building.
I wrote in response to an article they released the next day which describes their plans to occupy the building, as well as their flimsy interpretations of the context surrounding the events. “The building we chose was perfect:” they write, “not only was it a mere block from Oscar Grant Plaza, but it formerly housed the Traveler’s Aid Society, a not-for-profit organization that provided services to the homeless but, due to cuts in government funding, lost its lease. Given that Occupy Oakland feeds hundreds of people every day, provides them with places to sleep and equipment for doing so, involves them in the maintenance of the camp (if they so choose), we believe this makes us the ideal tenants of this space, despite our unwillingness to pay for it. None of this should be that surprising, in any case, as talk of such an action has percolated through the movement for months now, and the Oakland GA recently voted to support such occupations materially and otherwise. Business Insider discussed this decision in an article entitled “The Inevitable Has Happened.””
The author of this piece goes on to explain that the police reacted forcefully because “they fear this logical next step from the movement more than anything else.” etc. If you want to read the full article it is here: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/03/18697018.php
Here is my response.
Taking this building was a good idea, but the action was not planned or executed correctly. The public has no idea about the backstory of the building or the intentions behind Occupying the building.
If your goal is to occupy a building, why would you do it in the public spotlight? If people really wanted to put the building to use, they would quietly, secretly, break into the building, and fill it with people. They could have actually begun USING the building. Then, they could gain public support before an eviction attempt by educating the public about the history of the building and the good use to which an empty building had been turned.
Instead they made a public statement. That means that this was not a practical action. It was not a real attempt to use the building, it was symbolic. And a symbolic action is designed to send a message. But what was the message?
There was a banner hung on the building that said “Occupy Everything” I watched the TV live news report and the anchorwoman spoke the words on the banner as part of the report. At the time I thought it was cute. But now that I read the above description of what people were supposedly trying to accomplish, I see that the banner should have carried a specific message about this particular building and action, to educate people about the story that was unfolding.
As for the “barricades”, give me a break. I squatted in the Lower East Side in the early 90s. Evictions are not a game. The cops rolled a tank onto 13th street when they wanted the squatters out. A TANK.
Were these “protestors” actually intending to defend the building militarily? Did they think they had a chance? What is the point of barricades? What is the point of burning trash cans? Do you think that will make it possible for you to keep the building? Of course not. You know you can’t win against their military might. We can only win against their limp morality, their shriveled integrity, and their flaccid principles. And we win by being morally strong, impeccable in our integrity and holding fast to wise and courageous principles of service and compassion. Service to the community. We win by expressing our morality, integrity and principles with clarity and grace.
The people who raged in the street last night were not motivated by an impulse to serve the community, that is clear. What did motivate them, really? Maybe they will do some introspection, look into themselves and ask of themselves what is true. Were they looking to have a good time? Craving excitement and adrenaline? Infatuated with their own egos and sense of identity? Were they swept up in the euphoric feeling that comes with being part of something, part of a group, a club?
This movement is not about being in a club. This is the 99%. This is for everyone. We show our faces. And when I say this movement is for everyone, I want to feel that this movement is for you too.
The people who were part of the drama that played out late last night need to look into their hearts. They need to ask themselves who they serve. If they are seeking to serve their own selfish needs, they don’t hold a place of honor in this movement. They are the troublesome relation and we are all wondering how they will reconcile with the rest of the family. Maturity is expressed in a willingness to take responsibility. They should apologize. Publicly. They should work to mend the damage that they have caused to the spirit and reputation of this movement, a movement awash in beauty and humility. The people in this movement are so humble, none of them will claim to have the authority to lead or to speak for the other members. We represent ourselves, and we are all in leadership positions. Decentralized structure means that we are all responsible. You be responsible too, “anarchists”. Be responsible on a spiritual level. Be responsible on an emotional level to the good, trusting people in this movement whom you have hurt. Be responsible on an intellectual level by thinking carefully about your goals and strategy and acting for the good of the whole.
Taking this building and starting a library and center of operations would have been an action that served the good of the whole. But that is not what you did. You didn’t take a building. You just took a lot of attention and made the conversation center around yourselves. The people in the movement deserve better. The 99% deserve better. They deserve an apology.
Attention OWS: This ain’t checkers it’s Chess! (You don’t know revolution from a can of paint!)
by Zahieb Mwongozi on Monday, November 7, 2011 at 3:21pm
For Immediate Release
November 7, 2011
Last Wednesday’s violent disruption by a small contingent of Black Bloc anarchists after Oakland’s successful General Strike ended has brought to the forefront the role of vandalism and property damage in this otherwise-peaceful movement. While aerosol writing has been an important tool in people’s uprisings for decades, the latest attack was simply a misguided destructive action by graffiti vandals.
Aerosol writers have always a strong political awareness—from “Free-Huey” statements in the ‘60s to Bay Area writers who embraced the anti-apartheid movement and created a counter-narrative to the 500th anniversary of Christopher Colombus in the late 80s and early 90s.
However, a recent trend in graffiti has been a demographic shift toward more affluent white people tagging in inner-city communities historically-populated by people of color. This was brought to CRP’s attention repeatedly during a recent mural project in West Oakland’s Ghosttown neighborhood, when neighborhood residents complained of taggers contributing to urban blight.
These tags didn’t make any statement and put the community at risk.
Meaningless tags like this one put people in danger and did not support the movement. (Photo by Eric Arnold)
This issue is mirrored by the actions of Black Bloc anarchists in both the Occupy Oakland protests and the Oscar Grant uprisings which began in 2009. In both cases, a small group of mostly-white, non-Oakland residents who were responsible for much of the property damage and violence which marred otherwise-peaceful protests.
Like the new generation of graffiti hipsters, the Black Bloc’s actions have been counterproductive, putting peaceful protestors, including women and children, at unnecessary risk. Adding further insult, their work is equally inarticulate. The majority of the graffiti produced in the downtown protest Wednesday night had no socially-redeeming message at all. Unlike the “I Am Oscar Grant” credo which emerged two years ago, much of the graffiti painted in downtown Oakland on Wednesday night was simply the artists’ names and the names of their friends with barely any political statements, other than advocating destruction.
Black Bloc anarchists played into the mainstream media’s depiction of protestors being dangerous and unruly.
For CRP as well as many in the community we live and work in, this is entirely unacceptable. It is a co-option of an artform which can and should be used in a constructive manner to uplift the 99%, not to detract from the ideals embraced by tens of thousands of peaceful protestors who participated in the general strike and the march on the Port of Oakland during the day on Wednesday.
This man was injured by out of control police responding the Black Bloc’s attempt derailing of an otherwise peaceful protest.
While aerosol culture has often occupied public space, sometimes illegally, there is an unwritten rule against “blowing up the spot.” People that make the area unsafe for other writers and/or draw the police to them are generally ostracized and considered “toys.” The Black Bloc anarchist taggers fall into this category. They are more than a nuisance; they are a threat. Their activities parallel the role of the police’s own agent provocateurs, because their behavior justifies police brutality, endangers innocents, causes mass arrests which debilitate the movement, and negatively impacts public perception.
Careless tagging attracts Oakland police, who are notoriously brutal and out-of-control.
In contrast, the work that the Community Rejuvenation Project does transforms the role of the aerosol writer from a local neighborhood scourge to a public servant. We utilize aerosol writing with imagery reflective on the community, nature, and the world that we want to see. Murals become a tool against blight while training youth as artists and civic leaders. Grounded in the revolutionary values of the original aerosol writers, CRP incorporates traditional symbolism and healthy images that support the holistic development of communities.
Aerosol writing has a history of political statements dating back to the days of the Black Panthers. (Photo by Daniel Zarazua)
CRP is adamantly opposed to the use of the term “Occupy” but supports the Liberation and Decolonization of Oakland. We have concerns about the current movement’s actual ability to benefit the communities that we serve in East and West Oakland, i.e. the real 99% that has been consistently negatively impacted by the financial and social inequalities systems long before the housing bubbles burst. For this movement to make real change, the struggle must address social and racial issues beyond the economic ones. CRP supports the movement for government reparations to the descendants of African slaves and the honoring of all treaties made with indigenous peoples.
We support the community takeover of the public’s visual space and we reject the notion that private property owners should be sole decision makers of what we look at. We believe that the current abatement standards are disjointed and incomplete and support a more holistic, community-based approach that involves local gardens producing healthy food, block parties connecting neighborhoods together, and creating lasting monuments that help define the area based on its history and its residents while creating a sense of positive self-identity.
There are plenty of ways spray your message with integrity without putting our community at risk needlessly.
We understand the historical role graffiti and aerosol writing has had in populist uprisings and movements for social and economic justice. But we cannot condone frivolous and haphazard destruction that places our marches, our encampments and our communities at unnecessary risk. Too much is already at stake.
For more information about the Community Rejuvenation Project,
please visit http://www.crpbayarea.org
or call us at (510) 269-7840.
ANOTHER *EXCELLENT* LETTER/release, above; this time by Zahieb Mwongozi (November 7, 2011 at 7:54 pm)!
“Adding further insult, their [“Black Bloc” tagging] work is equally inarticulate. The majority of the graffiti produced in the downtown protest Wednesday night had no socially-redeeming message at all. Unlike the “I Am Oscar Grant” credo which emerged two years ago, much of the graffiti painted in downtown Oakland on Wednesday night was simply the artists’ names and the names of their friends with barely any political statements, other than advocating destruction. …Their activities parallel the role of the police’s own agent provocateurs, because their behavior justifies police brutality, endangers innocents, causes mass arrests which debilitate the movement, and negatively impacts public perception.”
That’s because there are *UNDOUBTEDLY* _POLICE AGENT PROVOCATEURS_ *doing* that sh*t! –Either *constituting*, *among*, or (unwittingly to others in the “Black Bloc”, “Anarchists”, or other group actions) *leading* that sh*t.
After all, wasn’t two of the later discovered and documented top *primary* GOALS of COINTELPRO: to *DISCREDIT* and *DISRUPT* any people’s mass social justice movement.
Anyway, the *perfect* cover for an undercover *PIG* infiltrator/provocateur would be to dress in all black, with a black hood over his entire head, or a black bandana, where no one could see his face, and maybe *recognize* him from a previous exposing/outing somewhere, or known from someone’s previous arrest, *as* a *known* undercover *PIG*, or at least recognize him as *not* a member, or not a likely member, of some supposedly particular leftist (e.g., Anarchist or Black Bloc) group!
But, when we see some individual(s) or group repeatedly — *OR* at the most critical times / marches / mobilizations / places — doing STUPID SH*T that would sabotage the reputation or REAL / STATED goals of the day / moment / movement — then we should just AUTOMATICALLY _*ASSUME*_ that they are COINTELPRO / police agent provocateurs — or otherwise people (*whoever* they are and for *whatever* reason) intending to work against the moment and movement — and, like Clarence Thomas said in no uncertain terms [and if possible at the time], as I mentioned in my first post right under Davey’s commentary, put a *SSTOPP* to them and their politically destructive perpetrations.
I just wanted to point out, that while Zahieb Mwongozi’s letter/release is great, that Zahieb’s apparently, or at least unclearly, seeming to blame or include all of the OWS, or all of Occupy Oakland, or the Occupy movement everywhere/anywhere, for the actions of a few (some of whom we don’t know *who/what* they are), is too broad and that’s what the corporate media, as well as the city mayors and the police departments, would do; so we don’t want to inadvertantly slip into that pattern either — otherwise, Zahieb’s point is very well-taken.
I heard someone well-known on KPFA this morning — HE WASN’T A PART OF THE OCCUPY MOVEMENT AND IN FACT WAS MAD *DISSIN’* IT — defending (at least indirectly and implicitly) the indiscriminate smashing windows of, and mindless or perplexing grafittiing of, and trashing of businesses (I guess even those of previous *supporters*), and I guess of people’s cars, as he once before defended, and I assume the de rigueur but mindless ‘formality’ of toppling the nearest dumpster and setting it on fire, you know tearin’ sh*t up, and to encourage all the supposedly “*real* revolutionaries”, nutcases and loose cannons to do so too: EXACTLY WHAT THE CAPITALISTS WOULD *WANT* THE BUDDING OCCUPY MOVEMENT TO START DOING.
As the *real* ILWU Clarence Thomas pointed out,” Occupy Oakland decided to shut down, for one day or night, the *3rd* largest port on the U.S. West Coast and the *5th* largest port in the entire United States!! — costing the capitalists ***MILLIONS OF DOLLARS*** in one mass action!! — and even more the next day when some protesters continued to block the Port of Oakland entrances — without a shot being fired — but a small group of penny-ante bullsh*t so-called ‘*Revolutionaries*’ instead went off to smash some windows, break a few cafe tables and chairs, and later turn over a dumpster and set it on fire (that was *their* so-called “big hit” against the capitalists?)!???”
In the meantime, why do you think the Corporate Lamestream News — let’s call it C*L*N — focusses so much on smashed windows and graffiti, Occupy encampments supposedly being “general health hazards”, “fire hazards”, supposedly “attracting rodents”, supposedly “food service hazards”, supposedly being “a danger to women and children”, supposedly “scaring away business” of the stores and restaurants even *BLOCKS AWAY* and “*all over the city*”, and even that “the pedestrian walkways between the tent areas aren’t wide enough”…?
This, when the Occupy movement actually creates a real sense of community, and a central place for people to come talk to other members of the greater community, across ethnicities, class, cultures, let alone across conditions of domiciliation and homelessness, that one might never interact with and learn from, about the social and political issues of the nation. And, even providing food for everyone, ongoing first aid assistance, perimeter security patrols, a group safety presence, general encampment look-out. And, situationally providing a safe place to sleep for the homeless (especially the female homeless), and, as available, sometimes providing tent shelters for them, including any homeless kids they may have, or for homeless teens, a highly diverse sense of, more or less, normalized inclusiveness. There’s even a children’s play tent and areas, face-painting, board games, children’s reading and coloring books, toys, and children’s group activities, right along with children with homes sometimes getting to know children without homes. All _the things the *city* should be *doing*_, but while all the media — C*L*N — can do is constantly echo city and business officials’ faultfinding pretexts to destroy the Occupies. I was there a particular sunny, warm weekend afternoon and the Occupy community festival atmosphere was emotionally infectious — something that Mayor Quan should see.
This, as opposed to, and instead of, the MILLIONS OF DOLLARS — supposedly unavailable to actually help people in need, or the schools, or for disadvantaged minority neighborhood programs, or to provide housing and services for the poor, destitute, and homeless. MILLIONS OF DOLLARS exhausted and mis-spent on military-industrial-complex industry paramilitarized riot police warfare assaults on the Occupy movement, to buy, operate, maintain, pay salaries for, and fuel multiple police helicopters constantly buzzing the downtown area — with *knowingly* peaceful Occupy events in the plaza — even on a bright sunny weekend day with nothing but a festive atmosphere going on at Occupy Oakland. “Those people are having too much fun!–there’s even singing, music and dancing in the plaza, and poetry readings and street rap performances in the plaza amphitheater!–we can’t have *that* going on!” And, at night, police helicopters blazing their search lights all over the streets like there’s been a mass prison break, with ‘Darth Vaderlike’ massed police arbitrarily blocking off and/or maniacally racing up and down downtown streets, tear gas smoke drifting blocks away and half way up skyscrapers.
So, SOMEONE SHOULD TELL MAYOR QUAN THIS!: Maybe restaurant customers don’t want a tear gas appetizer or a tear gas dessert with their dinner — or shop customers not wanting to make their way through a drifting fog or haze of tear gas — and the boom-boom-boom-boom police projectiles and flash-bang sounds of warfare — and, in general, _a riot police state_ downtown — and urban transportation, streets and highway ramps summarily being blocked — that’s scaring away downtown retail and restaurant patrons.
BUT, FINALLY, YOU KNOW WHAT? HERE’S THE POINT OF THIS POST:…:
People who *ONLY* want to “start The Revolution” — and diss anything else that _ACTUALLY_ *scares*, *threatens*, *challenges*, *weakens*, *impairs*, *undermines*, and actually *damages* the capitalists — after all, *none* of the highly sectarian, highly ideological, intellectually rigid, always banning, excommunicating or splintering from a dozen or so original members, so-called “Revolutionary” groups, ever conceived of Occupy Wall St. — because their idea of attracting a mass movement is pretty much just going out and tearing sh*t up! — for years they just let the *Tea* Party alone organize any mass street movement — are just making *EXCUSES* not to do THE *REAL* WORK of actually *attracting*, *organizing*, *building-up*, **keeeping**, and *establishing* _A *REAL* MASS NATIONWIDE, EVEN WORLDWIDE, BROADBASED MOVEMENT_ *against* the 1% — including people who have never previously *joined* a movement — before The national or worldwide Revolution for global justice is even possible!
Assuming the 1% has provocateurs in the Occupy Movement–it’s what they’ve done historically–they would promote “DO vandalize and DO NOT vote”
Agree with Joseph, Z. and Laura but really if voting worked it’d be illegal 😛 I only say that partially tongue in cheek.
It’s time to ziptie and pepper spray any “black clad” white kids galavanting around making fools of the rest of us 99%ers.
Orange spray painting the black vandals would be great too. ID/deterrent/marking.
We must have stronger internal security. OccupyLA does.
You might say this is non-violent, but there are times we as a society need to be FIRM.
Laura Wells: Solutions says:
November 9, 2011 at 5:55 pm:
“Assuming the 1% has provocateurs in the Occupy Movement–it’s what they’ve done historically–they would promote “DO vandalize and DO NOT vote”.”
I have a great deal of respect for Laura Wells, but I *won’t* vandalize *AND* I won’t vote — especially for president — in this corporate-selected-&-financed candidate presidential election system where all we do is *ratify* _the corporate selection of “viability”_ and who the corps give/gave the most millions too — and I barely vote for anything higher than mayor or maybe senator/representative, *if that*, *depending*.
The most major changes in societies — the abolition of slavery, the right for women to vote itself, the abolition of legalized segregation and ‘Jim Crow’, the ending of Vietnam war, student rights on campus, the feminist movement and its successes, gay rights, the abolition of Apartheid in South Africa, the abolition of U.S.-supported military dictatorships in South Korea, etc. — have *never* been brought about by first voting for them. Those required active participation. Merely voting is often a rather passive participation — and often acts as a political passifier and movement dissipator.
And I certainly didn’t vote for Obama! — and of course not for McCain-Palin, although it might have been better for liberals/progressives/leftsts, and ultimately the country, if they won. I didn’t vote for Clinton — or anyone else when he ran in this *rigged* higher elections campaign system that decides who’s “viable”. I won’t participate in a political farce! — and ratify one of the two, Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dummer, duopoly party’s nominees.
I personally boycotted the presidential election — although I always advocate an *ORGANIZED* presidential election boycott movement as a way of publicly *repudiating* this corporate-financed election system and to embarrass this the U.S. government’s “World’s Greatest Democracy”, internationally — where corporations gained more “personhood”, with all of the benefits and none of the liabilities (e.g., slap-on-the-wrist fines if any, no imprisonment, no Three Strikes, no death penalty, more free speech than most of us have now that the Supreme Court declared unlimited money to be unlimited free speech, and, if they’re *really* wealthy, often no taxes!), way back in the 1800’s, even before minorities and women!
I certainly wouldn’t have been sorry if McCain-Palin won (oh Palin as VP would have been fun and funny!), since most people (like my longtime acquaintance Thomas Frank, or my longtime friends like Cornel West, Norman Solomon and others, and even ‘Leftist Super-Guru’ Noam Chomsky, the “Anarchist” (turned *Liberal*), who *also* told us to vote for Obama) *still* don’t realize that __President Barack “Continuing-Or-Even-Exceeding-Bush’s-Policies” Obama__ *IS* a Republican himself — otherwise known as a *Republi-Crat*! I won’t be *played* and *chumped*!
(Btw, *where* is that so-called “Obama Movement” that was supposed to stay on Obama’s ‘Hopey-Changey’, “Yes we can!”, ass from day 2 in the White House? You know, where the GOP says “Let’s go invade country x — we should have done it *last* week!”, and the DLC says, “Let’s go invade country x, but first let’s tell them that ‘we feel their pain’! — and do it *next* week!”)
Yes, I believe it was Rosa Luxemburg who said that, “If voting worked they’d make it illegal!”
And Lucy Parsons — an *amazing* person (look her up on Wikipedia to start!) — born into slavery, ~1853-1942, an African American woman, also of Native American and Mexican descent, labor activist organizer and one of the founders of the IWW, described by the Chicago police as “More dangerous than a thousand rioters”, her labor activist husband, heaviy involved in campaigning for the 8-hour workday, was framed for conspiracy and executed for taking part in the Chicago Haymarket Riots — said something like this:
“Never be deceived that the capitalists will permit you to *vote* away their wealth.”
In other words, as Joseph From Berkeley says, “*Movements* are more important than presidents.”
Hmmm…, maybe Rosa Luxemburg said that, “Voting was the *real* opiate of the masses.”
“A Tale of Two Colleges: Unrest over Fees, Unrest over a Shady Football Coach”
– by Davey D
Oh!: And _not a *single* arrest_ of *ANY* of the many hundreds of, if not a thousand or more, white, more or less, ‘frat boy’ type, serial child sexual molester cover-up defenders, Penn State superfans rioters, on a mass rampage *frenzy/wilding*, tearing through and tearing up the entire community and even physically and brutally attacking the media!
THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN GREECE AND THE U.S.:
Some Anarchists have asked “Why Greece and not here, regarding Occupy Oakland being open to the use of Black Bloc property destruction tactics.
(But, I like many Oakland people’s one-sentence response: If indiscriminate property destruction and property defacement, let alone directly terrorizing store patrons, is so good for Oakland, then why not for the likes of Walnut Creek, Lafayette, Orinda and, even moreso, Palo Alto, Aptos, Los Gatos, Hillsborough, Menlo Park, and Woodside — where the 1% actually live!?)
The difference between Greece and the U.S. is that _*MOST* of the people_ in Greece are *literally* — *right now* — not a year or two from now — not even 6 or 8 months from now, but *right now* — in a *present* or *imminent* financial live-or-die situation: they’re *in* a ‘Great Depression’, no argument or two ways about it. And the EU so-called “bail-out”– would even *magnify* that — only bails out the foreign banks and investors (including in the U.S.), via the Greek Banks (who owe the money), without a single Euro going to bail out the Greek *people*! So, in Greece the people _*already have*_ a national mass movement against the capitalists.
(This is like the tipping point finally reached by so many UC Berkeley student demonstrators — now primarily *white* — who see themselves in an *educational* [but still not overall financial] live-or-die situation — with the 82% fee increase [I call it ‘Proposition 209’ for UC Berkeley’s *white middle-class* students] — applied *retroactivley*!! — that imminently threatens their ability to continue in school past this academic year, if not past this semester!)
The situation in England/Britain is almost — but still not quite (up to now) — as bad as in Greece, which is why there was “rioting” — rebellion — in almost every major city in England — actually by more *whites* than by people of color — this past August there.
So, there was and is *already* a mass *militant* movement in Greece, and collective widespread rage in England, about what to do about the huge austerity cuts. In both those countries the economic situation was so bad that the *national* tipping point for violent rebellion — violent *resistance* — had already been reached. (This, aside from those capitalists and petty capitalists who might have torched their own businesses/property for the insurance!)
Here in the U.S., as bad as the situation is, it’s certainly not as bad for *most* people as it is in Greece, and, as bad as it is, not quite as bad as it is in Britain. In Spain, where the huge ‘Occupy’/encampment movement in Madrid (“the 15M Movement”) began long before anyone even thought of it in the U.S., they still have not resorted to violence (property destruction).
So, we here in the various Occupy locations ARE STILL *TRYING* TO BUILD UP a national mass movement — and are still trying to *attract* people, especially those who have never *participated* in a mass protest movement before(!) — and people — white, Black, Brown, Yellow or Red — who — for now at least — have decided that they *don’t want to* be part of a violent mass movement, or one that officially/openly condones violence, or a movement that welcomes perpetrators of violence, as the word “violence” is commonly understood by such people. And, people who are certainly not used to being involved around or in violence, and what can happen to them as a result (*needless* days in dank cold jails, aside from any self-participation decision in civil disobedience, violently provoked brutal backlashes from the *Pigs* [whom most white people, reflecting their relative privilege, still don’t even want to *call* the Pigs the *Pigs*], their children being harmed or even arrested too and at least temporarily taken from their parents, severe personal injury, or even, if foreign-born, possible deportation)! This so, however the word “violence” is ideologically or philosophically intellectualized, politically differentiated, micrometically nuanced, and linguistically parsed by highly sectarian ideologues (especially relatively privileged white leftists Black Bloc or Anarchist types claiming to speak for ALL thosed oppressed) all ready to start the armed “Revolution” yesterday!!
Respect for diversity of tactics much?
RE” Dirt says:
November 18, 2011 at 9:38 am:
“Respect for diversity of tactics much?”
For those who don’t know, “diversity of tactics” is Anarchist and Black Bloc euphemism and code words for what the rest of us commonly call VIOLENCE.
Yeah, I respect your violence against the corporate banks and other corporate evil-doing and exploitative institutions…:
Just YOU “REVOLUTIONARIES” go DO IT ON YOUR *OWN* AND STOP *COWARDLY* USING MASS PEACEFUL PROTESTERS AND MARCHERS AS HUMAN SHIELDS!!
GO DO INDISCRIMINATE VIOLENCE, PROPERTY DESTRUCTION, AND SCARING THE HELL OUTOF PEOPLE IN STORES IN THE *RICH* COMMUNITIES WHERE THE 1% ACTUALLY *LIVE*!
But I don’t respect your *indiscriminate* violence — against small, or even all, businesses — against those of whites *and* people of color — against even middle and lower income people — because THAT’S EXACTLY WHAT THE CAPITALISTS — especially employing police agent provocateurs (and there were *definitely* some there — *WANT* US TO DO, to *discredit* and *prevent* our Occupy movement from steadily growing as a broad-based national movement.
IF YOU “REVOLUTIONARIES” WANNA GO TEAR SH*T UP– I’M NO OPPONENT OF ARMED STRUGGLE WHEN *NECESSARY* — THEN GO DO IT ON YOUR *OWN* TIME AND SPACE, AND STOP USING THE REST OF US FOR *COVER*!