I have to say that blogging about this stuff daily is really tough. I probably only spend 2 or 3 hours a day looking for the lastest police brutality/government oppression cases here and abroad, most of the stuff I find is fluff from the Occupy Movements… unless of course you live in New York, Seatle, Portland or Oakland… but at the end of the day most of it doesn’t even comepare to what comes out of Egypt, Greece, Syria, etc…
On top of all that their are many incidents of police brutality not related to the global uprising that I see each day when looking up content. A sunday school teacher fatally shot for rolling up the window of her car, an unarmed U.S. Marine fatally shot in front of his two children. Police killing dogs, police getting away with killing unarmed men and women, police getting away with rape, police covering up evidence, or making it up… it just goes on and on.
I needed to find a way to balance all this hate and injustice that I see each day. So I started a blog about love and tenderness amid all the chaos of the global protest. I hope you will follow it and submit any pictures of love, marriage, hugs, kisses, tenderness, especially when you see it in the face of overwhelming oppression. Please lets try to remember that for each cop, solider, government official, that makes a “bad judgment” call on the people of their country, their are people strong enough not only to stand up, and fight back, but to show these bullies that their weapons and the fear it wields won’t make the people stop caring for each other.
P.S. *WARNING* Most of the links on this page lead to very graphic videos and pictures…
Response to this submitted question:
Ok so you asked about the violence in Occupy Oakland. Let me first start by saying the Occupy Oakland is run just like any other Occupation, by people who show up. As the occupy movement as a whole was first started by radical anarchist, the core group of organizers and participants in OO are made of the same. For a while we had a lot of diversity (in all ways imaginable), people who were coming to committee meetings, and General assemblies, but direct democracy is tough and a lot of people weren’t prepared for the amount work they would have to do, nor were they prepared for the amount of police violence, corruption, and most importantly the difficult points of view, that they were going to have to work next to side by side.
In Oakland, on the first day of our occupation we decided to support OWS, but to tackle local problems. This means the banks were NOT the priority in Oakland. In Oakland we have a big problem with institutional racism, and so our priorities lie in the fact that many young men of color are consistently murdered by the police, and that the system is consistently protecting the police, who do the murdering.
So, we have people who are angry from the consistent racism they suffer from on a daily basis, we have people who are suffering from the banks, women who suffer from sexism, queer people who suffer from all sorts of hate, we have the small businesses that suffer from the big business, and we have city hall which continues to ignore the needs of the people sleeping in dirty disgusting areas of Oakland, but cannot stand a tent city on their front lawn—in their face.
The General Assembly is SUPPOSED to be a place where these people can work together, but it’s a tough and imperfect process, and It’s easy to not show up, and to walk away from it.
So the first problem here is that Occupy is NOT representative democracy—If everyone else walks away, then the core group that sticks around, is gonna be the one making the decisions.
Now on to the violence, portion of this response: Personally I do agree with a diversity of tactics, I understand that when the system is taking advantage of you, killing you, hurting those you love, that it is up to you to take control of your life and protect yourselves in whatever way you can. This is why I stand behind the Black Panthers, the EZLN, the Deacons for Defense and any other group willing to take good care of their community, instead of being victims of a system that takes advantage of, neglects or abuses them.
HOWEVER, I do not agree with the people who use black bloc property destruction tactics here in Oakland.
The Black Bloc is NOT a militant organized group of people; the black bloc is a tactic that was first organized in Germany—with the help of their community. Portions of Black bloc tactics include street medics, so to dislike the concept as a whole is to be ignorant of their many functions.
Police violence here in Oakland is overwhelming and unjust, breaking a window here in Oakland during a march with police presence is the equivalent of a little Jewish boy spitting on Hitler’s boot. Sure Hitler deserves it, but the little boy is gonna provoke a response that is 20 times worse, than he is prepared to deal with—and he will probably get his whole family violently punished in the process. That is how the police are here. To break a window, just to prove a point, while everyone else is being peaceful/compliant is to provoke a response that NO ONE in the crowd is prepared to deal with, and it seriously endangers the rest of the people in that march who may be vulnerable.
So I haven’t stood behind these actions thus far—with the exception of City hall on J28.
The truth is 2,000 peaceful people (Mothers, fathers, some children, the elderly, people in wheelchairs—and most of all, a lot of my friends) marched to an empty building to take a social center, and when 5 or 6 people pulled down the fence, the police unleashed teargas and rubber bullets into that crowd.
From then on out it became a struggle to get out of there, and then decide what to do next while being pursued by violent police. They were chased all over Oakland—Sure they could have left, sure taking the building was illegal, but so are the camps, so are the marches (none of them are permitted) so are some of the residents—the law is not always right. Tear gas may not seem that bad when you are watching it on TV, batons may not seem bad, but there were 2,000+ people who delta with it directly who will tell you otherwise.
So these people spent the day being chased and kettled over and over again from the police. The only protection there had been was that someone had the foresight to send OO shields, and those shields were used to protect the whole crowd.
It is during this time that the major abuses that the MSM did not report on (because they only had helicopters in the sky and nothing on the ground) happened. It was during this time that everyday peaceful citizens were brutalized and bullied by the police to basically scare them from EVER coming back or DARING to take their future into their own hands.
So after all that… after the trauma, the running, the abuse—if a bunch of shellshocked angry, pissed off, activist who were still standing (not being arrested like the 400+ ppl who were down the street in front of the YMCA) decided to walk in to an already open building, and break a vending machine, and burn a stupid flag, then I am not gonna call them on it.
They have EVERY RIGHT to be pissed off and violent. And I know that’s hard for say someone like my democrat father in Northern Virginia to understand because he was not there, and they did not see what I saw while I watched it on livestream or what my friends experienced being in the middle of it. But at that point, who in the hell is thinking of some person far away—after seeing a woman get her teeth kicked in, after seeing children chased down by police—why would anyone care about the opinions of someone who claims to be a supporter but continues to buy the Main Stream Media’s skewed report of the incident that they were living through.
That piece of cloth does not matter. And while I will condemn the core group that has become an echo chamber that only includes “diversity” when it agrees with their POV, and I will not stand behind a random window break during a big march that doesn’t have any police violence (like during the General Strike), there is NO WAY I will condemn someone for burning the flag after the trauma they received that day.
I hope this helps you understand a little bit better. Really, no one is thinking about public relations when they are being assaulted, responding to that assault, or processing that assault.
I urge you to read the many firsthand accounts I have posted on my blog, and to watch the videos, if you still care more about public relations, and the flag after all that, then I suppose we will just have to agree to disagree on what is reasonable and what is not.
Hi fellow activist,
I am part of Occupy Philly, and I was a strong supporter of Occupy Oakland during the general strike. I was in my office, stressed out of my head working (I’m on the East Coast), when I clicked into a news show to watch; I cried with joy watching the port fill with protesters.
I have been an activist since 1972. Seeing a class-based social movement materialize seemingly out of nowhere has been a dream come true.
I am asking — begging really — for you and all Occupiers to consider the consequences of action such as property destruction or burning a flag. I noted that you said it was “just a flag’ or something to that effect when referring to the violence at City Hall. While I know this action does not parallel the brutality you described against a young woman, I must say that Occupy Oakland is not helping it’s cause by engaging in property destruction. For many Americans, burning a flag is personally insulting. The act does not bother me terribly but it does make my life much harder when trying to connect and convince others to join the movement.
Frankly, we are not going to win this fight by trying to convince people that property destruction is not a form of violence. At this point in the nation’s consciousness, people are frightened by such actions. And that people I’m talking about here are not the 1 percent.
Would love to hear back from you…