Thursday, February 9, 2012
A new era
Occupy Oakland has paid its dues, and is now truly and officially an Oaklander. The movement is diverse and foward-thinking, is committed to working together to move forward into the future, cares about everyone in its community, has been scapegoated and misrepresented in the media, has been evicted twice, has been repeatedly shot and grenaded and teargassed, is ALWAYS being watched by the police (and most likely the feds as well), and now has a major case of PTSD that no one else seems to care about, and actually seems to blame them for. Most importantly though, despite all of the state repression/oppression and harassment and intimidation, the movement is still alive and well (even though homeless and misunderstood). That's about as Oakland as it gets.
The powers that be are LYING about the movement. The J28 "Move-in Day" action, and the criminally violent suppression of that attempted action, have forced a major rift in the broader society between those who instinctually trust the police, and those who know better.
J28 was the epitome of the class war that has been raging in the country for generations: a homeless movement was attempting to peacefully occupy a blighted, unused public space, and the police showed up armed for war. The video evidence alone proves whose agenda was actually carried out that day.
The Occupy Oakland movement is about democracy. Period. It is about an inclusive process where anyone who wants in can be in, and no one is left out. Anyone who says otherwise is a LIAR.
Resident livestreaming videojournalist Spencer Mills extended a polite invitation to Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan to participate in tonite's community forum on police actions. Hojo, of course, declined. OPD has never and will never be interested in dialog. Just ask Bobby Hutton and Judi Bari.
Even back when Mayor Quan was trying to "dialog" with the labor council (her best attempt at trying to understand the movement was to call in the usual suspects, most of whom had NOTHING to do with the actual movement on her front lawn) OPD was calling for violent action rather than talk. When she realized that she couldn't bully big labor into controlling the movement (i.e. when she realized that they weren't in charge), she ignored the progressive voters who got her elected, and let OPD have their way. Rather than waiting her turn to speak to a general assembly and having genuine dialog, she conspired via teleconference with Homeland Security to help orchestrate a nationwide series of violent assaults on Occupy camps. That's her interpretation of democracy apparently.
The funny thing is, her blatant subservience to the radical right has earned her no respect in their eyes either. A recall campaign to oust her from office is currently underway, and its backers all represent "business" interests. Clearly, it was an incredibly stupid move on her part to try to make them happy...they didn't want her elected in the first place.
Oakland City Hall could learn a lot from the Oakland Raiders, who are risking short-term criticism from their fan base in exchange for long-term success. The Raiders are cleaning house in a quest for better communication, more discipline, improved teamwork and increased productivity (the same values that Occupy Oakland has prioritized since its inception).
It is painfully clear that OPD needs a similar cleansing.
Only one person had to die in order for the Raiders to move forward.
How many will it take before OPD and Oakland City Hall clean up their act?