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Police raid and mass arrests at Occupy Oakland
October 26, 2011 7:09 AM   Subscribe

For weeks, Occupy Oakland had been developing into a miniature city in Frank Ogawa Plaza—renamed Oscar Grant (previously) Plaza by the occupiers—in front of City Hall:
Still, seven days into the protest and there is no longer any room for tents on the plaza’s large lawn. Tents are squeezed together so tightly that in many areas there is no room to move in between them, for me in my wheelchair or for someone who walks. There is more access to the community tents. There is a free school, an art station, a Sukkot tent, a medical tent, a children’s area, a people of color tent, and a quite remarkable food station, where huge batches of soups and beans are made, and tea, coffee, and healthy snacks seem to be abundant. The various projects the camp is working on include installing solar panels, and reclaiming parts of the park as a community garden.
—Sunaura Taylor writing in the excellent Occupy! An OWS-Inspired Gazette from n+1 magazine (PDF, quote from page 21)
Early yesterday morning the occupation was forcibly evicted by Oakland police. Last night, occupiers marched to reclaim the plaza and were again attacked by police using tear gas, flash grenades, bean bag rounds, and possibly rubber bullets.

The city had been planning the eviction for a week.

Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland has issued a statement.
posted by enn (348 comments total) 48 users marked this as a favorite

 
When the banks get bailouts & the people get tear gassed, it's blatantly clear who the government works for.
posted by FfejL at 7:14 AM on October 26, 2011 [63 favorites]


Good.

The more widespread and excessively forceful the crackdowns, the clearer the stakes will be made and the more sympathy the movement will attract.
posted by Trurl at 7:17 AM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Is there a crapper tent?
posted by spicynuts at 7:21 AM on October 26, 2011


Just wait for the microwave cannon and the throw up ray. This won't be easy.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:22 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Frank Ogawa Plaza will continue to be open as a free speech area from 6 am to 10 pm.

We want to thank the police, fire, public works and other employees who worked over the last week to peacefully close the encampment.
Wow.
posted by odinsdream at 7:26 AM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


You just need more occupiers in more places. Eventually, there won't be enough police. Occupy Everywhere.
posted by Eideteker at 7:33 AM on October 26, 2011 [36 favorites]


Wow.

Yeah. I suppose it was peaceful if you take it to mean "no one was killed," but pumping the streets full of tear gas and flashbangs isn't exactly non-violent or consensual.
posted by clorox at 7:34 AM on October 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


I've gotten the impression that the Occupy Oakland protesters have themselves been more violent than, say, the New York or Chicago groups. The articles I've read all mention in passing that rocks and bottles and so on were being hurled at police, but don't go into any detail.

Can someone more familiar with the movement talk about the difference in tactics here? (Or is there a difference? How credible are the reports of violence in Oakland? How credible is the claim that other cities' Occupy movements have been nonviolent?)

I am absolutely not defending the actions of the Oakland police. Seems like a safe rule of thumb that anyone tear-gassing their own citizens is on the wrong side of history. I'm just looking for information.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:34 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


They need to keep going back, and staying there. With MOAR PEOPLE.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 7:34 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech between 6 AM and 10 PM.
posted by Trurl at 7:39 AM on October 26, 2011 [154 favorites]


In my town, the City Council voted to allow our Occupy camp to stay in place until 12/25/11. On the other hand, they had moved from downtown to this large park on the outskirts of town, and nobody will see them other than the racoons and ducks.

So yeah, mixed news on this from my burg.
posted by Danf at 7:47 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can someone more familiar with the movement talk about the difference in tactics here?

I'm not from Oakland and know about it only because I'm friendly with and follow people like @zunguzungu on Twitter, but my sense is that local conditions in Oakland has led them to take a much more aggressive stance towards the police than camps in other places. (Remember, these are folks who renamed their encampment not after "freedom" but after someone who'd been summarily shot by the cops, Oscar Grant.) As a site they've basically refused to deal with the city in any way, which hasn't been the case at many other encampments nationwide; that, coupled with an Oakland PD that is perhaps more militarized/violent than other local PDs, resulted finally in yesterday's police attacks on the camp.
posted by gerryblog at 7:47 AM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


That said, I don't think the protestors have actually *been* violent, except in city PR releases and the fantasies of the local press. If you saw the pictures and video from yesterday you can see the violence is one-sided; even the Oakland PD claim that protestors were throwing "bottles" turned out to mean plastic bottles.
posted by gerryblog at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


video
posted by jet_manifesto at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's like... these people, these city managers, these police chiefs, these politicians, these bankers... it's like they don't read history books. Or take history classes. Or watch the news. Or YouTube videos.

It's like they don't realize that when people collect en masse and continuously in public spaces with a definite grievance, attacking them or evicting them does not make the problem go away, it makes it worse.

Isn't there a "top ten stupid things done by fief holders just before their castles were torn down by an angry mob" list somewhere that should be standard reading for people in power? Because there should be, and "evicting the mob with teargas" is going to be #2, right below "attacking the mob with lethal force".

Shit.
posted by seanmpuckett at 7:49 AM on October 26, 2011 [36 favorites]


zunguzungu's firsthand account of the drama at #occupyoakland yesterday via jsmooth.
posted by Edogy at 7:51 AM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


nebulawindphone:
It's really hard to trust media sources with reports of protester violence. Not saying these things didn't happen, but that it would be very easy for the police to say that bottles were thrown and have it picked up as truth by the newspapers.

One of the articles I read said that protesters kept 'emergency respondents' from getting into the camp to help someone who had fallen out of a tree; the source was the mayor's office. I'm willing to bet money that this means the protesters were down to let in the EMT's but were less cooperative with the police who usually show up with ambulances.

One of my friends has been on the streets in Oakland for many days; I've been reading her facebook updates about the raid:
"They've got overwhelming, blunt force. we've got persistent, massive, beautiful, militant care for each other. we're just getting started."
posted by kaibutsu at 7:52 AM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


"Pick up that can."
posted by jquinby at 7:53 AM on October 26, 2011 [36 favorites]


President Obama issued this statement: "The United States supports a set of universal rights. And these rights include free speech, the freedom of peaceful assembly, the freedom of religion, equality for men and women under the rule of law, and the right to choose your own leaders" (wait for it) " -– whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran."
posted by gwint at 7:53 AM on October 26, 2011 [37 favorites]


The articles I've read all mention in passing that rocks and bottles and so on were being hurled at police.

For clarity, here's the timeline:

1. Police come in with 500 officers at 4 in the morning, teargas the people and destroy the tents. Conflicting reports have said between 70-100 arrested.
2. Occupy Oakland and allies reconvene in front of the library at 4 pm that day. Again, peaceful protest. Police arrive with riot cops and several buses for transporting the arrested. The crowd is now several times larger than the original Occupy Oakland group- estimates went from 400 to 1000 in less than an hour. Aerial footage shows the streets literally full of people for at least 3-4 blocks. My guess is probably more folks than that, even.
3. Somewhere at this point, more tear gas plus rubber bullets. I'm guessing if anything is thrown at the police, it's at this point that it happens.

So, yeah, more "violent" because I don't think anyone else is getting tear gas cannisters shot at their heads like metal bricks in other Occupy locations... yet.
posted by yeloson at 7:54 AM on October 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


The proper way to conduct nonviolent civil disobedience is to be demonstrably and visibly nonviolent. If you do this properly, then either (1) you will not get teargassed, or (2) you will get teargassed and your circumstance will instantly attract unanimous support.

Protestors may be willing to be arrested, or not. Take your place in the park and wait for police to tell you to leave. That's when the first divide happens. If you leave, then you willing to protest but not commit civil disobedience. If you stay, then you are committing an act of civil disobedience. Personally I don't support the "Occupy" movement, but I see nothing morally wrong with either side of this line.

However, everything changes at the next step. That's when the police begin making arrests. If you comply immediately with police instructions—put your hands behind your back, lie down, whatever the officers are telling you to do based on the crowd they're dealing with—then you are fulfilling your civil disobedience. If you resist, then you are committing a violent crime. Maybe you're throwing bottles and paint, or maybe you're just sitting Indian-style and singing and locking arms with your fellow Occupiers. It doesn't matter. In every jurisdiction I'm familiar with, resisting arrest is considered a violent crime—and resisting the arrest procedure, any kind of resistance whatsoever, is sufficient.

Anybody showing up to an Occupy demonstration should be advised of these three levels of participation: (1) protesting, (2) civil disobedience, (3) violent crime. There are implications when you cross into the second tier, but there are grave and possibly life-altering implications when you cross into the third. It is a bad idea. It is bad for you personally, and more relevant, it is bad for the Occupy movement. When the police begin making arrests, every Occupier should line up. Or lie down, or whatever the police are ordering. Comply fully and en masse, visibly. Let them tear gas that.
posted by red clover at 7:54 AM on October 26, 2011 [38 favorites]


1. Police come in with 500 officers at 4 in the morning, teargas the people and destroy the tents.

Another disturbing component to this piece of the timeline: Independent reporters were asking cops where they should stand. They were grouped together in a particular spot, segregated from commercial media which left, and then they were teargassed.
posted by odinsdream at 8:02 AM on October 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


Thanks for that link, Edogy—I had a hard time finding personal accounts by participants that were more in-depth than Twitter posts or Facebook statuses.
posted by enn at 8:02 AM on October 26, 2011


Having watched some video a friend of mine shot Oakland yesterday, the angry chant "f*** the police" is hardly the way to greet your fellow 99%ers, even if they are doing the work of the Man. As a bay area denizen, I've noticed a definite contrast between the tenor of the protests in San Francisco versus those in Oakland, both with respect to OWS protester attitudes toward the local police, and how those police subsequently respond. Naming the Oakland camp "Oscar Grant Square" itself is representative of the substantial disdain for local law enforcement (of course, that was a BART cop who needlessly shot Oscar Grant, not an Oakland cop). It's a peculiar and mutually violent, heavyhanded dynamic between the two groups that well precedes the OWS phenomenon, and frankly does little to help the reputation of either party in the eyes of the public.
posted by DrSawtooth at 8:04 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech between 6 AM and 10 PM.

Actually, its true. Governments are reasonably allowed to limit speech as long as it is viewpoint neutral.

Which makes it strange indeed, that Oakland Police showed up in full riot gear to stop the protesters the next day at 4 PM.

Note the NY protesters picked Zucotti park for a reason--its a public forum for 1st Amendment purposes but private land. Fouls up the legalities of eviction a lot.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:04 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Yeah, redclover, I'm sorry, but using a lockbox or hooking arms with protesters is in no way violent.

Take the example of forest defense in Oregon. People build treehouses whose structures are dependent on a number of surrounding trees, so that cutting any of them down or fucking too much with the structure will cause the protester to fall and be grievously injured or die. This non-violent action serves to protect land which would be irreversibly damaged if the protester were to just climb down and lie down for arrest.

Similarly, Occupy is about, well, occupying public space and drawing attention to the rails that our society has run off of. There is a political statement inherent in refusing to leave, and in choosing to stay.

We don't have to do what the police or anyone else tells us to do. There are consequences for these choices, but an act of disobedience is not inherently violent.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:04 AM on October 26, 2011 [40 favorites]


both with respect to OWS protester attitudes toward the local police, and how those police subsequently respond

I believe the phrase you're looking for is "they were asking for it."
posted by gerryblog at 8:05 AM on October 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


Occupy Oakland injured by rubber bullet in the face. (warning: bloody)

..interim Police Chief Howard Jordan and City Administrator Deanna Santana put out the call for neighboring jurisdictions to provide some of the hundreds of cops who wound up being mustered early Tuesday.

This is why many cities have laws requiring police to be residents of their community. Police are (presumably) more reluctant to beat on their neighbors. Bringing in outside police forces is an open invitation for law enforcement to become extrajudicial punishment.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:07 AM on October 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


It's like... these people, these city managers, these police chiefs, these politicians, these bankers... it's like they don't read history books. Or take history classes. Or watch the news. Or YouTube videos.

Yes, it's exactly like that. They don't. Most people don't.
posted by jeffamaphone at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Well it's clear that protesters have a point when people on the other side of the argument so completely freak out at the suggestion that something might be wrong. I'm not even talking about the Oakland situation specifically, I mean the entire mass response from entrenched media and power. Few things are as mentally uncomfortable as having your low-level belief system challenged.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


It's like they don't realize that when people collect en masse and continuously in public spaces with a definite grievance, attacking them or evicting them does not make the problem go away, it makes it worse.

A bunch of teenagers got gunned down by the national guard on a college mall on May 4 1970, and 75% of the people surveyed afterwards by Newsweek thought the kids had it coming.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 8:09 AM on October 26, 2011 [49 favorites]


We don't have to do what the police or anyone else tells us to do. There are consequences for these choices, but an act of disobedience is not inherently violent.

I think he's taking about in terms of the legal consequence of conviction.

Personally, Dr. King had it all figured out. The "not resisting arrest" part is the key. Put all of the blame on the cops. There's the reason he's the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect. Its about highlighting the difference between you and the authorities. That's what generates the larger effects to people who are not members of the movement.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:10 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


If you resist, then you are committing a violent crime.

Ain't necessarily so. By a long stretch.

There's a big step between noncompliance and violent crime. (Not to mention that abridging citizens' rights to assembly and free speech is a crime.)
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:12 AM on October 26, 2011 [18 favorites]


[Dr. King] is the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect.

huh?
posted by ryanrs at 8:13 AM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


I haven't been following this discussion on metafilter very well, so forgive me if this has been linked, but I really enjoyed David Graeber's article on the Occupy movement.

Sort of off topic, but what else can I say that isn't painfully obvious. Riot batons, rubber bullets and gas grenades are bad news?
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:14 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


As a local Occupant, I am trying to confirm a story that circulated (I heard it secondhand from someone who read it on reddit/r/occupywallstreet) that in some cities, Police are directing criminals released from jail on bail etc. to go to the local Occupy Wall Street encampments. They are deliberately pushing criminal elements into the camps to disrupt them, to cause crimes that can be used as a pretext for police to invade and patrol the camps.

As I understand it, the Oakland Police did this. I am still trying to confirm, but it appears there was a sexual assault in the Oakland camp, by exactly such a criminal outsider. The Occupants refused police permission to patrol the park, so they destroyed the encampment.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:14 AM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Sounds like bullshit. People recently released from jail are generally not predisposed to helping out cops.
posted by ryanrs at 8:16 AM on October 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


This is why many cities have laws requiring police to be residents of their community. Police are (presumably) more reluctant to beat on their neighbors.

These are temporarily sworn officers and those laws don't apply. They literally line them up and they all take the police officer oath for that jurisdiction. Its done in nearly every large city. DC has such a law but will use extra officers from outside the jurisdiction.

My thought is that the locals are far more likely to go off the reservation. A judge will throw the book at non-local officers. Usually the outside officers are controlling checkpoints in the rear. They want only locals clearing the square.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:16 AM on October 26, 2011


As a local Occupant, I am trying to confirm a story that circulated (I heard it secondhand from someone who read it on reddit/r/occupywallstreet) that in some cities, Police are directing criminals released from jail on bail etc.

Here in Dallas, same story.

From Occupy Dallas: A Letter To The Police
posted by hillabeans at 8:18 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Dr. King] is the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect.

huh?


Sorry--based on protesting.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:18 AM on October 26, 2011


Put all of the blame on the cops. There's the reason [MILK's] the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect.

Martin Luther King was an important figure and a hero, but he did his work in the context of massive social upheaval, including widespread riots and a black separatist movement that famously promised to defend itself "by any means necessary." His movement was the carrot, and Malcolm's was the stick.

It's hard to say with certainty the carrot alone would have been sufficient.
posted by gerryblog at 8:20 AM on October 26, 2011 [46 favorites]


I do have a small, desperate hope that when this all starts to violently unravel, people will identify with the protesters more than the cops and start pushing back.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:20 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


The proper way to conduct nonviolent civil disobedience is to be demonstrably and visibly nonviolent. If you do this properly, then either (1) you will not get teargassed, or (2) you will get teargassed and your circumstance will instantly attract unanimous support.

This is incredibly naive. If you do get teargassed, here is what will happen: (a) the whole affair will be reported as a "clash" between police and protesters; (b) no one will actually see what happened; (c) you're in jail for your troubles.

This, too, is naive: "If you resist, then you are committing a violent crime." Perhaps as a term of art, not complying with police instructions is a "violent crime", but in the real world, there's room between not immediately getting arrested and doing anything that, in any other circumstances, would be recognized as "violent".
posted by kenko at 8:21 AM on October 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


Occupy Oakland injured by rubber bullet in the face. (warning: bloody)

Just to clarify, it says in the comments to that pic that he was hit in the head with a tear gas canister.
posted by ultraviolet catastrophe at 8:21 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Personally, Dr. King had it all figured out. The "not resisting arrest" part is the key. Put all of the blame on the cops

Dr. King had something else going for him, too: other people who were willing to be violent, or at least to talk violent. It wasn't just King and King alone.
posted by kenko at 8:22 AM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Ironmouth:

You are forgetting the entire American Labor Movement struggle. Some of the most violent, and effective, protests ever.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:22 AM on October 26, 2011 [32 favorites]


(If you want to get arrested for your cause, you should rob a liquor store.)
posted by kenko at 8:24 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


So what is OPD/City of Oakland thinking, exactly? That this will put a stop to it? That today and tonight the streets will be empty of protestors? I'm pretty sure that's not how it's going to work.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:26 AM on October 26, 2011


Lesson: as a Iraq Marine veteran, you are expected to risk your life overseas over unjust wars started for money. You are beaten and bloodied by the police if you try and defend freedom the one place it actually needs defending....here on American soil.
posted by Windigo at 8:26 AM on October 26, 2011 [28 favorites]


I'm sorry, but using a lockbox or hooking arms with protesters is in no way violent.
There's a big step between noncompliance and violent crime.

Etc.

You folks and I are speaking different languages. You are talking semantics. I'm talking about legal distinctions. Respectfully? My language is more valid than yours in this context, and it's the one you need to understand if you are participating in the Occupy movement. (Please undertand, I intend this in a conversational tone. This is not legal advice, and I am not your lawyer. I have no idea what jurisdictions any of you live in, and I am not licensed in California.)

In every jurisdiction I'm familiar with, resisting arrest is characterized by the courts as a violent crime. It can affect your education, future employment, licensing, etc. More directly up my alley, it can gravely affect sentencing if you are convicted of any subsequent crimes. It is a big deal.

I'm not going to dignify the suggestion that throwing bottles is nonviolent if the bottles are plastic. But yes, locking arms to resist the handcuffing procedure does indeed constitute resisting arrest. And on paper, resisting arrest is a violent crime. Hence, you are committing a violent crime. I'm not condemning you for it, but (1) as a fellow human being, I hope that you are making educated choices and not ones based on how you think the law should read; and (2) as a politically minded individual, I think allowing the story to include your people getting arrested for violence—whether in name only or whether "actual" violence—does harm to your cause.
posted by red clover at 8:26 AM on October 26, 2011 [26 favorites]


Benny,

I guess I'm splitting that off from social movements.

I do not support violent protest.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:27 AM on October 26, 2011


Right, but red clover, the "nonviolent" in "nonviolent protest" isn't the antonym of "violent" in the legal term of art "violent crime".
posted by kenko at 8:29 AM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Please, don't feel you have to spare my feelings; I invite you to explain how throwing empty plastic bottles warrants chemical suppression, rubber bullets, and flash grenades.
posted by gerryblog at 8:36 AM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


It's like... these people, these city managers, these police chiefs, these politicians, these bankers... it's like they don't read history books. Or take history classes. Or watch the news. Or YouTube videos.

Or maybe that it is that they've seen this kind of thing before in america, and nothing changed, for the 'better', so why would it now?
posted by nomisxid at 8:39 AM on October 26, 2011


The frustrating thing about this is that this feels like the start of some real ugliness, and there isn't anything that anyone will do to stop it. Because historically, things have to get worse before they get better, and everyone is playing their parts.
posted by quin at 8:43 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Sounds like bullshit. People recently released from jail are generally not predisposed to helping out cops.

Criminals released from jail are generally predisposed to find shelter and new people to prey upon.

The story was confirmed by hillabeans, and thanks very much for providing the specific details from Occupy Dallas, such as:

An intoxicated vagrant was removed from our camp by the police. His only identification was an card that identified him as a felon; he was in possession of a sharpened plastic homemade object; upon returning the next day to our camp sober, the individual disclosed that after informing a police officer he had been recently released from prison and had no where to stay, he was directed to our camp—not to a homeless shelter.
posted by charlie don't surf at 8:45 AM on October 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Non-violent protest does not mean protesting within the exact limits whichever authority du journey says you have to protest in. What Dr King did was deliberately breaking the law in service to a higher goal of justice and it did get him and his supporters arrested, beaten up, tortured, slandered and often killed. Even when they did obey the police in every little detail. Because the other side doesn't care about that at all, they just want to shut you up.

(And the media will always blame you, not the cops, even if they have to fabricate the evidence to do so, as the strictly impartial BBC did famously during the miners strike, when they reversed footage of the police attacking striking miners and the latter defending themselves to show the opposite.)
posted by MartinWisse at 8:46 AM on October 26, 2011 [17 favorites]


... whether you live in Baghdad or Damascus, Sanaa or Tehran.

But not, of course, Washington or Manama or Jerusalem.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:50 AM on October 26, 2011


My thought is that the locals are far more likely to go off the reservation. A judge will throw the book at non-local officers. Usually the outside officers are controlling checkpoints in the rear. They want only locals clearing the square.

I think past experience shows that it's standard practice in the Bay Area (or at least the East Bay) for riot police from outside the city to deploy in protests, not just on the outskirts. There were Alameda County sheriff officers at the demonstrations after Grant's death. Oakland and further afield riot police have been in Berkeley. It may or may not be a simple manpower issue, but I don't think the obvious assumption is that there were only Oakland police in the square.
posted by hoyland at 8:53 AM on October 26, 2011


The frustrating thing about this is that this feels like the start of some real ugliness, and there isn't anything that anyone will do to stop it. Because historically, things have to get worse before they get better, and everyone is playing their parts.

Nothing will change without violence, you can certain of that.

Many here will say none of it should come from the protesters - and they may be right.

But it is going to take violence all the same.
posted by Trurl at 8:53 AM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech between 6 AM and 10 PM.

Reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions are permissible under the First Amendment. (That is, unless you're the strictest of strict constructionists, which I'm guessing doesn't apply to anyone here).

The Occupants refused police permission to patrol the park, so they destroyed the encampment.

What grounds do "the Occupants" think they have to prohibit police from patrolling a public park? (/alliteration)
posted by pardonyou? at 8:57 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is a video showing a police officer throwing a flash grenade into a group of people trying to assist an injured person. "Non-violent," my pasty white ass. Apologists will attempt to say "oh that's just one bad cop" but that's a bunch of crap. If one is bad, they are all bad. If there were any good cops there they would have arrested that officer for assault. Did they? No.
posted by zomg at 8:59 AM on October 26, 2011 [30 favorites]


I think if these things become large enough, violence could be avoided. It's one thing Gandhi had. Scale.

But I know what you're saying Trurl. If these protests fail, and current trends on Wall St. and K. St. continue, the tree of liberty will be watered.
posted by Trochanter at 9:04 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


If there were any good cops there they would have arrested that officer for assault. Did they? No.

The only good cops are the ones in Internal Affairs, and I'm not so sure about most of them.
posted by aramaic at 9:05 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Martin Luther King was an important figure and a hero, but he did his work in the context of massive social upheaval, including widespread riots and a black separatist movement that famously promised to defend itself "by any means necessary." His movement was the carrot, and Malcolm's was the stick.

So the strategy lesson is that we need the stick?
posted by ctmf at 9:07 AM on October 26, 2011


Actually, its true. Governments are reasonably allowed to limit speech as long as it is viewpoint neutral.

Citation please, Ironmouth.

And it has to trump "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances." As augmented by the 14th Amendment, which extends these restrictions to state governments.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:07 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This outrage is a perfect example of why I've been content so far with taking food, clothing and blankets to our local OWS contingent. They are much more likely to behave in a non-violent way to these criminal assaults by the jackbooted thugs than I am.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 9:09 AM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


gerryblog: "That said, I don't think the protestors have actually *been* violent, except in city PR releases and the fantasies of the local press. If you saw the pictures and video from yesterday you can see the violence is one-sided; even the Oakland PD claim that protestors were throwing "bottles" turned out to mean plastic bottles."

Good to know then, when I throw bottles made of dynamite, I'm sure they'll call them "bottles" too, right? RIGHT?
posted by symbioid at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I haven't been to the OWS-style protests. Mostly too busy, although I might make time if they're still going on when I have some free time. I notice in this thread some people are starting to make vague allusions to violence against people upholding the status quo. While I tend to value civility in politics, I think it's a good thing to mention that asking the rich to slightly pay more taxes is nothing like actual class warfare.

Anyone brought a "We left the guillotines and pikes at home - THIS TIME!" sign, yet?
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:12 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions are permissible under the First Amendment. (That is, unless you're the strictest of strict constructionists, which I'm guessing doesn't apply to anyone here).

Guess away, pardonyou?. I'm betting several Mefites don't buy into the right of the Govt to create "Free Speech Zones". Your reference claims:
Time, place, or manner restrictions must:
1. Be content neutral


Yet, clearly, "Free Speech" zones are set up to contain only those in opposition to the central speaker being protected by these zones; supporters of the POTUS, campaigning official, etc... are never cordoned into these areas for shouting encouragement.
posted by IAmBroom at 9:14 AM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


I have a feeling that the Oakland OWS is going to end in riots before its over. The Oakland PD doesn't have good relations with the public. You bring the BART stuff into this and it could get real ugly.
posted by empath at 9:15 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


kenko: "Personally, Dr. King had it all figured out. The "not resisting arrest" part is the key. Put all of the blame on the cops

Dr. King had something else going for him, too: other people who were willing to be violent, or at least to talk violent. It wasn't just King and King alone.
"

You read Ward Churchill too, huh?
posted by symbioid at 9:18 AM on October 26, 2011


Isn't there a "top ten stupid things done by fief holders just before their castles were torn down by an angry mob" list somewhere that should be standard reading for people in power?

Any standard reading of history might include the French revolution.

During the 13 Vendémiaire Bonaparte simply opened up at point blank range on the angry Parisian mob with canister. Staggered the mob fell back, but quickly regained composure and began advancing again. Undeterred and unafraid, the little army officer commenced the sequence of reloading ordering his well-drilled cannoneers to brush and swab. When he called out the order to load canister again, the heretofore fearless Parisian mob realized the little army office was serious.

The mob dispersed in a pell mell fashion through the sheets they had unfortunately barricaded while Napoleon continued to assail them with grapeshot.

The revolution that began at the Bastille lead to Napoleon crowing himself emperor.

That is one way that history worked out.

The government can ratchet up violence to any level necessary to quell protest.
posted by three blind mice at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Speaking of BART, they shut down 12th Street Station last night.
posted by clorox at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2011


Actually, its true. Governments are reasonably allowed to limit speech as long as it is viewpoint neutral.

Citation please, Ironmouth.


IANAL, but I believe this is fleshed out in public forum doctrine.

I've also seen it come up in situations where someone wanted to ban a particular billboard (instead of, say, outlawing all billboard advertising). One is viewpoint neutral, the other is not.
posted by jquinby at 9:20 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Guess away, pardonyou?. I'm betting several Mefites don't buy into the right of the Govt to create "Free Speech Zones"

I think you're missing the point. The battle over whether the Supreme Court has the power to interpret the meaning of the few words contained in the Constitution has been settled for a long time. Simply citing to the text of the Constitution or its Amendments isn't particularly enlightening. If it were otherwise, you'd be hard pressed to find the basis in the Constitution for legalizing abortion (I'll give you a hint -- it has something to do with a "penumbra" of privacy that supposedly can be inferred from the Constitution and Bill of Rights).

The fact is that based on the way caselaw has developed, reasonable time, place, and manner restrictions are part of the First Amendment. You can still argue about whether a particular application of those rules is appropriate, but citing to the bare text of the First Amendment isn't the way to do it.
posted by pardonyou? at 9:23 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was listening to a feature on an NPR affiliate today about how it's the 10th anniversary today of the USAPATRIOT Act being passed, and how that led to dramatically increased police powers and secrecy. To me these things (oakland, free speech zones, secret searches) are all related by the common theme of erosion of constitutional rights in the name of "national security" (whatever the hell that means). I really think things are becoming dire.
posted by zomg at 9:24 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Citation please, Ironmouth.

I'll step in for him, only because I happen to have a good book on the shelf beside me. If you're interested in learning more about the First Amendment, I recommend this one. It's intended for law students, but the prose is accessible to anyone.
"Speech that does not fall into any of these disfavored categories [incitement to violence, libel, etc.] is still subject to some kinds of regulation. ... First, regardless of the type of speech, the government is entitled to impose some restrictions on methods of communication. The classic example is that it can forbid the use of loudspeakers in the middle of the night, whatever the message may be. These restrictions on the 'time, place, or manner' of speech are subject to some judicial scrutiny, but are likely to be upheld if at all reasonable." [Page 14. Emphasis in original.]
Apologies for the derail, if it is one.
posted by red clover at 9:26 AM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


And further apologies for the broken link. That was supposed to link to Amazon's page for The First Amendment by Daniel Farber, published by Foundation Press.
posted by red clover at 9:29 AM on October 26, 2011


There's the reason he's the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect. Its about highlighting the difference between you and the authorities.

Sorry--based on protesting.

I guess I'm splitting that off from social movements.

I do not support violent protest.


Goalposts, away! I assume the reason you can't support labor movements is that like the Oakland protesters their violent conflicts often involved the police or corporate interests getting violent with them first, and god forbid we go down the road of questioning the establishment. Questioning why the establishment allowed violence against unions to continue? Well, I'm sure there were plenty of smart lawyers who defended the police and the Pinkertons.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:30 AM on October 26, 2011 [15 favorites]


no one will actually see what happened
It's the 21st century. The last time I went shopping for a phone, I literally could not find one in the store without a video camera. Whatever you do in a crowded place, everyone will see what happened.
posted by roystgnr at 9:35 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


> "A bunch of teenagers got gunned down by the national guard on a college mall on May 4 1970, and 75% of the people surveyed afterwards by Newsweek thought the kids had it coming."

Is this the poll?

A telephone survey [by Gallup for Newsweek] of 517 persons on May 13 and 14 also stated that 58 per cent felt the demonstrating students were mainly responsible for the deaths of four students at Kent State University;11 per cent blamed the National Guard, and 31 per cent had no opinion.
posted by zippy at 9:36 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


There is a significant difference between Civil Disobedience and Political Disobedience. Some protests are primarily intent on disobeying the law, that is Civil Disobedience. The OWS protest is disobeying the current political system, any civil disobedience is a secondary byproduct.

This is a subtle distinction. For more information, I recommend this article, Occupy Wall Street's 'Political Disobedience.'

Law enforcement needs to understand the difference between these two types of protests.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:40 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I note that in non-Oakland gatherings, where police have yet intervened, there seems almost a No Reaction Approach by those in charge. That is, let them get tired, wear themselves out, bored--let the snows fall, because no one in govt at any level is going to do anything to change anything. How many members of Congress or of state or city govt have moved in to talk chat with the Occupiers? Pelosi, I recall, said a few nice words from down in DC...Any one recall anyone actually joining in to show interest, brotherhood?
I know there would be legal consequences, fines etc., but what if thousand upon thousands of people said: I pay no more federal or state taxes till corporations and the wealthy are made to pay their fair share?
posted by Postroad at 9:45 AM on October 26, 2011


Sounds like bullshit. People recently released from jail are generally not predisposed to helping out cops.

I know absolutely nothing about this specific situation, but I do know first-hand that cops, specifically parole officers, have a great deal of flexibility with regard to where to direct released prisoners.

I would not be at all surprised if the allegations proved true.
posted by odinsdream at 9:47 AM on October 26, 2011


kaibutsu: "Yeah, redclover, I'm sorry, but using a lockbox or hooking arms with protesters is in no way violent."

Lock boxes and hooking arms may not be violent, but they essentially forces the police to be. In fact that's the point. No rational protester believes the police are just going to say "well, they're holding their arms together, I guess we should ignore our orders and just go home."

Lock boxes, hooking arms, and other physical but non-violent resistance are an invitation to violence; the protester's equivalent of a child shouting "I'm not touching you!" while holding his hand half an inch from his sisters's face. Or perhaps a more apt comparison would be libertarians decrying government regulation that was prompted precisely because of said libertarian's behavior.

Sure, the police are the ones initiating the violence, but the protesters are the ones who took the conflict to that point by not listening to police orders in the first place. redclover is spot-on.
posted by Vox Nihili at 9:52 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is a video showing a police officer throwing a flash grenade into a group of people trying to assist an injured person. "Non-violent," my pasty white ass. Apologists will attempt to say "oh that's just one bad cop" but that's a bunch of crap. If one is bad, they are all bad. If there were any good cops there they would have arrested that officer for assault. Did they? No.

The growing collection of these kinds of videos really just chills me to the bone. The callous disregard for fellow human beings is absolutely disgusting.
posted by odinsdream at 9:52 AM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


It is unthinkable that his can be resolved peacefully. To get even the smallest concession from the establishment, like having companies pay taxes properly, would mean that they would have to admit they were wrong, fundamentally and completely wrong on their very ideology they have been bullying upon us, which just so happens to benefit them greatly.

It is more than they are humanly capable of.

Basically, you need the military to take your side, or face the military until the military loses the will to fight you.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 9:54 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Lock boxes, hooking arms, and other physical but non-violent resistance are an invitation to violence; the protester's equivalent of a child shouting "I'm not touching you!" while holding his hand half an inch from his sisters's face.

Yeah, those poor cops, just forced to bust heads by people standing still.
posted by kenko at 9:57 AM on October 26, 2011 [45 favorites]


Lock boxes and hooking arms may not be violent, but they essentially forces the police to be.

It's really pathetic that this type of logic is both used and accepted as fact. There are plenty of non-violent response options. They're just seldom employed by militarized police forces.
posted by odinsdream at 9:57 AM on October 26, 2011 [37 favorites]


When is the next meeting at Oscar Grant plaza?
posted by telstar at 9:58 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


odinsdream, like what?

I'm not excusing the police for immediately going to teargas or other sorts of overreaction. That's not the same issue.

What I'm saying is that the most direct and least-violent means I can think of to make people who are locking arms to stop locking arms and leave it is to pull them apart, and that's still violent.

What else are they supposed to do?
posted by Vox Nihili at 10:02 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I note that in non-Oakland gatherings, where police have yet intervened, there seems almost a No Reaction Approach by those in charge. That is, let them get tired, wear themselves out, bored--let the snows fall, because no one in govt at any level is going to do anything to change anything.

OWS has not yet cost any institution significant sums of money. Until they do, no one has any incentive to change.

OWS will not cost any institution significant sums of money until they prevent business as usual. To accomplish that non-violently will require mass arrests on a scale that cripples the ability of the criminal justice system to function.
posted by Trurl at 10:02 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Earlier today I saw a link circulating around on facebook from Raw Story regarding a Vietnam Veteran injured from rubber bullets in the Occupy Oakland raid. It has since been "blocked based on my security preferences".
Has anyone else experienced this today? A possible explanation?
I want to know more about this incident...
posted by hillabeans at 10:03 AM on October 26, 2011


If you comply immediately with police instructions—put your hands behind your back, lie down, whatever the officers are telling you to do based on the crowd they're dealing with—then you are fulfilling your civil disobedience. If you resist, then you are committing a violent crime. Maybe you're throwing bottles and paint, or maybe you're just sitting Indian-style and singing and locking arms with your fellow Occupiers. It doesn't matter.

Violent crimes are...violent. Sitting unmoving on the ground and/or hanging limp while being dragged away is resisting arrest, and that is a crime, but it is not violent by any stretch of the imagination.

Nonviolent resistance to arrest is denying that the law being violated is legitimate. They do not violently resist, but they are insisting that nothing but force -- literally dragging them away -- will induce them to comply with the law. It's accepting the penalty prescribed by the law as a way of exposing the injustice of the law. It shows the highest degree of respect for the law in the breach.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:05 AM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


Another account: “Next thing I knew, we were tear-gassed”
posted by homunculus at 10:09 AM on October 26, 2011


Sure, the police are the ones initiating the violence, but the protesters are the ones who took the conflict to that point by not listening to police orders in the first place

The police stormed the place in riot gear while lobbing flash bangs and tear gas at 5 in the morning. They didn't distinguish between those who were just walking through the square, those who were media lawfully reporting on the event, protestors who were chained together or those who were engaged in criminal activities. They charged in, beat the crap out of as many people as they could. Smashed up anything and anyone who was remotely in the area.

The order was. We're the fucking cops and we're going to fuck you up. You can either run now or we'll kick your ass here. If you run we'll chase you down and kick your ass harder.
posted by humanfont at 10:10 AM on October 26, 2011 [33 favorites]


Sure, the police are the ones initiating the violence, but the protesters are the ones who took the conflict to that point by not listening to police orders in the first place. redclover is spot-on.

Maybe we could blame the folks who ordered the clearing of a non-violent protest for initiating the violence?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:10 AM on October 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


"It's really pathetic that this type of logic is both used and accepted as fact. There are plenty of non-violent response options. They're just seldom employed by militarized police forces."

This. You're using legalese to defend: militarized riot gear, chemical tear gassing (which is internationally outlawed for military, but not domestic civilian uses), flash bang grenads, and rubber bulleting of people who are essentially hanging out in a public space. And for what? The act of trespassing? Is this a proportional response? Is this a correct response? And locking arms is technically a violent response.

Jesus. Listen to the words you're spouting.
posted by stratastar at 10:10 AM on October 26, 2011 [57 favorites]


Can someone explain to me why I shouldn't think "If you throw ANYTHING, plastic bottles or not, at the police you're going to get an entirely inappropriate reaction in response"?

The police handled this entirely wrong, I agree - but from things I've heard, and those sources might be wrong, some of the "occupiers" weren't just sitting around in drum circles singing kum-by-ya either.
posted by mrbill at 10:12 AM on October 26, 2011


telstar, occupyoakland.org says that supporters are on the move in downtown Oakland right now. http://www.occupyoakland.org/

One of my friends got gassed and arrested at Oakland. He just got out this morning. I'm so proud of him I could cry. I'm headed down to my local, Occupy Clarksville, at 6 p.m. tonight for the general assembly. I'll be taking books and blankets with me.

If you would like to see some change and have your voices heard, I suggest you do the same.
posted by WidgetAlley at 10:13 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


[em]What grounds do "the Occupants" think they have to prohibit police from patrolling a public park? (/alliteration)[/em]

The officers mouth was forming "patrol" but all anyone ever heard him say was, "fishing expedition". Take just about everything the police release info-wise with a grain of salt, there are going to be tons of dirty tricks throughout this campaign.

One example of a passive dirty trick: vastly over-estimating the cost of marches and the police presence on scene. Or over-deploying (think 50 cops watching 100 protesters) to purposefully drive up the cost. Public sees "OWS COSTS TOO MUCH" on the front page and the govt gets the political cover to evict them.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:14 AM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


My comment was in response to redclover and kaibutsu's discussion, which I even freaking quoted and linked, about civil disobedience and crossing the line to physical/violent resistance to police in general. Not in this particular case at Oakland.

As I already pointed out, I'm not excusing brutality, I'm not excusing pre-emptive tear gassing our shooting or any other particular act of violence.

Stop claiming that I am. Stop taking my comment out of its original context.

As I pointed out, consider the case of locked arms: physical, but non-violent resistance to police. The minimum amount of physical force police will need to employ to comply with that - physically pulling the protesters apart - is still a violent act.
posted by Vox Nihili at 10:16 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


What I'm saying is that the most direct and least-violent means I can think of to make people who are locking arms to stop locking arms and leave it is to pull them apart, and that's still violent.

Exactly. The only way to arrest nonviolent people who refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of a bad law is to use violence against them. At minimum, dragging them away by force.

What else are [the police] supposed to do?

Respect the protesters right to free assembly. More cynically, at least recognize that enforcing city park bylaws is not worth busting heads.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 10:18 AM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


Alas that red clover is largely correct. While there is still some ambiguity about whether purely passive resistance (e.g., refusing to walk and just going limp) qualifies as resisting arrest, any use of willful muscle power to pull away from the police or prevent them from affecting arrest qualifies as resisting. I don't know about the label "violent crime," but I do know that in my jurisdiction at least that qualifies as a crime against public justice.

The thing is, these protestors already believe (correctly, in my opinion) that there is no public justice, that the very concept has turned into a farce. I wouldn't ever advise a client to break a law, that would be unethical. But from the perspective of a man on that street, if you see that the cops are willing to kill for non-compliance, and that those cops never get seriously punished? A rational person could conclude that they are better off taking some blood from the police in return. A political leader would have to be a damned fool to not recognize that the people outnumber the police, and they allow the police to march around like they're in charge because of a social contract: we will give you this power as long as you don't abuse it too badly, and we expect the system to take care of anyone who does abuse it. Allow that to break down, and the people remember that they outnumber the police. And in Oakland, unlike in revolution-era Paris, the people are armed too. The cops should be careful, but they're not smart enough.
posted by 1adam12 at 10:20 AM on October 26, 2011 [11 favorites]


And in Oakland, unlike in revolution-era Paris, the people are armed too. The cops should be careful, but they're not smart enough.

My friends here in Vancouver are pretty convinced that some sort of more serious struggle is up the road. They are wondering though, will it be noisy enough that they'll have to come down to burn the capitol again? I mean, we did practice with burning bits of a city just now.
posted by Slackermagee at 10:26 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


How many members of Congress or of state or city govt have moved in to talk chat with the Occupiers?
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been talking favorably about OWS on Facebook and in his Twitter feed, but I'm not sure if he's made a personal appearance.
posted by wintermind at 10:28 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can someone more familiar with the movement talk about the difference in tactics [with NYC and Chicago] here?

Here's what I've been thinking on this. In places like SF and, by extension Oakland (suburb of SF), there's longstanding animosity between the police and much more tenacious, and institutionalized Leftist groups (I'm including LGBT's, Dems, Socialists, Skateboarders, squatters, punks, Hispanics and Blacks etc), and there's a lot of bad blood coming to the surface from longstanding antagonism and out and out hatred, with both cops and occupiers wanting to get down and exact revenge, I mean, the Oakland folks really went at the police there with everything they could get their hands on sounds like.

In NYC there is bad blood as well, especially from the shit that went down between the marchers on the Republican National Convention here in 2004 and the mass arrests and brutality of the NYPD and also the longstanding hatefest between the NYPD and Critical Mass, but NYC is under a magnifying glass media wise and anything that happens is world news, and Bloomberg for all his arrogance and pretensions to monarchy is no dummy, neither is Rahm in Chicago, who is much too identified with the Obama WH to risk any bad press on his former boss.

Besides that, I think they've been mostly peaceful because this is a sea change of sorts. This is the crusty old Leftist orgs, this is really a new progressive movement, and I don't think most municipalities know what to do with it yet. Especially as they don't know how it witll impact them politically if they go ahead and start breaking skulls right and left.
posted by Skygazer at 10:30 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Edit: This is NOT the Crusty old LEftist orgs.
posted by Skygazer at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Gas masks. Body armor. Riot shields. We will not be moved.

When they bring buses to arrest you, spike strips or caltrops for the tires. Use their own tools against them, purchased from surplus outlets or the like.
posted by Eideteker at 10:32 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


@DrSawtooth:

...the angry chant "f*** the police" is hardly the way to greet your fellow 99%ers...

The cops are NOT anyone's fellow 99%ers.
posted by Djinh at 10:33 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The cops are NOT anyone's fellow 99%ers.

Except for the part where, you know, they are.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:36 AM on October 26, 2011 [31 favorites]


Unless you have gutted the original economic meaning of the 99% to the point of meaninglessness. If so, please define your terms.
posted by joe lisboa at 10:36 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


When they bring buses to arrest you, spike strips or caltrops for the tires. Use their own tools against them, purchased from surplus outlets or the like.

The revolution hasn't begun yet. Unless it really isn't being televised, in which case: where is my barricade woman! I left it on the patio these past forty years, you 'cleaned it' and now I need it!
posted by Slackermagee at 10:36 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I don't agree with throwing stuff at the police, if that happened, but I give the protesters credit for actually standing up for themselves and being willing to get arrested.

I've been embarrassed by the local movements (Madison and Milwaukee), who have moved multiple times. Occupy Milwaukee is currently located in a park in one of the worst neighborhoods in the city. I guarantee no banker or Republican ever drives by there unless it's to point and laugh. Before they moved there, I'd offered them material, logistical, and technical help. No one got back to me. No one responds to my requests for meeting minutes. I got a Facebook invite to a rally on Saturday that's inexplicably across from a dialysis clinic and a gas station. No one would tell me why they chose that location. The only person who's been arrested (AFAIK) yelled "This is a hostile takeover" in a bank. Fucking idiot. What, for his next act he'll yell "I'm gonna fuck shit up" at an airport?

It's incompetence like this that's going to kill off the movement. Nothing will happen unless there's 1) mass civil disobedience that Shuts Things Down and 2) competent organization of resources that leads to a viable political movement.
posted by desjardins at 10:37 AM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


"Respect the protesters right to free assembly. More cynically, at least recognize that enforcing city park bylaws is not worth busting heads."

This is part of the problem with our police.

I want to be a lawyer: to spend hours upon hours studying the law in detail, and make planned, calculated arguments to a judge or jury. I require a four-year bachelor's degree as well as a three-year law degree. I then need to pass one of the more difficult professional exams, and then there is still no expectation that I really know the law outside of, maybe, one particular area in which I become an expert, and even then, I'm not an actual authority.

I want to be a police officer. I need, in most jurisdictions, a high school degree. Maybe a few weeks of academy training. I'm then issued a gun, a taser, a baton, and possibly other weapons, and tasked with interpreting and enforcing a broad range of laws in real time, in a situation where I or someone else may be seriously injured or killed.

Regardless of the absurdity of that situation, accepting that the police are actually capable or equipped to parse the laws they're enforcing is unreasonable. They aren't trained or educated for it.

Yes, they should be, but they aren't.
posted by Vox Nihili at 10:38 AM on October 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


The cops are NOT anyone's fellow 99%ers.

Except for the part where, you know, they are.


As individuals, they are. As a force, they follow orders from, ultimately, the 1%.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:40 AM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]



Respect the protesters right to free assembly. More cynically, at least recognize that enforcing city park bylaws is not worth busting heads.


The cops aren't the ones you need to appeal to. It aint their fault. They have mortgages and alimony payments to make. The kid behind the register at McDonalds doesn't set the menu.

This action was directed locally, by local officials who were elected by local voters. Political protests are nice and all, but absent delivery of campaign funds or votes are basically meaningless. If you want to change the menu, you gotta change the owner.

This shit starts at the top, and the movement should put some effort into getting electable candidates in those positions. For far too long the left has been effectively useless. I hope this energy and momentum will continue, but I'm not personally that optimistic.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 10:41 AM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I need, in most jurisdictions, a high school degree. Maybe a few weeks of academy training.

FWIW, Milwaukee requires 23 weeks of academy training. Also, you need to complete at least a 2 year degree by the end of your fifth year on the force.

posted by desjardins at 10:43 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


We havent really had a riot in a while. Nonviolent protest should always be the forefront of tactics by protestors. Yet when push comes to shove, and mob mentality grabs the situation by the throat, bad things can happen. If the police and the politicians directing police action dont realize this fact, it won't take long.

My only hope is that OWS stays peaceful, yet persistant. Let the cops draw first blood, and OWS gains further public support. Rioting on the other hand will undermine the movement. Pictures of bloody grandparents, college students and everyone in between will only strengthen it.

People in power want to remain in power. Public pressure undermines that goal for politicians. OWS can only be ignored for so long if events like this circulate nationally.
posted by handbanana at 10:44 AM on October 26, 2011


Naming the Oakland camp "Oscar Grant Square" itself is representative of the substantial disdain for local law enforcement (of course, that was a BART cop who needlessly shot Oscar Grant, not an Oakland cop).

Regardless of the wisdom of the Occupy Oakland group's tactics, Oakland PD's history is rife with violence and aggression against minority communities and systematic efforts to cover that violence up. I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned this, because it allows uninformed comments like the above -- heaven forbid that anybody in Oakland should have "substantial disdain for local law enforcement" -- to go unchallenged. This history dates back at least to the Rough Riders incident and probably before -- long before Oscar Grant got killed by a BART cop (and no, it was not an Oakland PD member who killed Oscar Grant, but members of the Oakland PD have killed people who do not have Oscar Grant's name recognition). I wish someone from Oakland with a better knowledge of the history would comment, but I lived there for 4 years and the PD constantly reaffirmed through its acts that it had two systems of justice: one for the affluent hills and the other well-appointed neighborhoods, one for the flatlands and the east side and West Oakland.
posted by blucevalo at 10:49 AM on October 26, 2011 [19 favorites]


FWIW, Milwaukee requires 23 weeks of academy training.

19 weeks here in TN. I have heard that military veterans are highly sought after as well (for police and fire).
posted by jquinby at 10:49 AM on October 26, 2011


First, they ignore you.
Then, they laugh at you.
Then, they fight you.

I forget what happens after that...
posted by nickrussell at 10:50 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I do want to give a shout-out to Occupy Chicago, who have had hundreds of arrests at their very visible location. They seem to have their shit together.
posted by desjardins at 11:02 AM on October 26, 2011


Slight nit-pick: Oakland is not a suburb of SF.

I think handbanana is right to bring up the rich history of protests, demonstrations and labor movements in Oakland. As well as the very rich history of OPD, corruption and suppression of minorities.

This was an extremely heavy-handed approach to Occupy Oakland on the part of authorities. Although it was horrific to watch, I believe this will end up being a source of emboldenment to the citizens of Oakland. Stay strong.
posted by waitangi at 11:06 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


Regardless of the absurdity of that situation, accepting that the police are actually capable or equipped to parse the laws they're enforcing is unreasonable. They aren't trained or educated for it.

Yes, they should be, but they aren't.


This is certainly a problem. It's difficult to ascertain whether or not it's legal to shoot someone in the face with a teargas canister.

It's also difficult to ascertain whether or not to lob a grenade at first-aid responders.
posted by odinsdream at 11:07 AM on October 26, 2011 [8 favorites]


either (1) you will not get teargassed, or (2) you will get teargassed and your circumstance will instantly attract unanimous support.

or, (3) get teargassed and no one cares becuse you're on the side that's not the police and therefore you're bad.
posted by Hoopo at 11:09 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


I mean, we did practice with burning bits of a city just now.

Vancouver: The 1% robbed us of the Stanley Cup.

You're really fighting the man there. And by the man, I mean the Boston Bruins.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:10 AM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Don't worry OWS, the liberal media has got your back.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:14 AM on October 26, 2011 [16 favorites]


Vancouver: The 1% robbed us of the Stanley Cup.

It's true! Have you seen NHL player salaries?!?!
posted by Hoopo at 11:19 AM on October 26, 2011


the liberal media has got your back

NPR grudgingly acknowledged the movement's presence in "some other American cities".

Which bears the same relation to "more than 900 cities worldwide" as "enhanced interrogation" does to "torture".
posted by Trurl at 11:20 AM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


It's incompetence like this that's going to kill off the movement. Nothing will happen unless there's 1) mass civil disobedience that Shuts Things Down and 2) competent organization of resources that leads to a viable political movement.

This is why anarchists are probably not the best people for this. They need to hone the message to one that everyone understands and agrees with.

My vote: "Economic Justice."

hard to be openly against that.

But the conversation has changed. On FB, a HS friend always argues the pro-business line with me. I was shocked to see him post the other day "The job market is really hard, what should a business do?"

Hire and support jobs bills, of course, to create consumption to get the economy going again and to make the business get more business.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:21 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


well, that's what some people would have you believe.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 11:21 AM on October 26, 2011


As I pointed out, consider the case of locked arms: physical, but non-violent resistance to police. The minimum amount of physical force police will need to employ to comply with that - physically pulling the protesters apart - is still a violent act.

There is using the minimum amount of force necessary to arrest the civil disobedient protestors and then there is jumping them at 5am in full riot gear with rubber bullets, batons, flashbangs and tear gas. This was an extreme act.
posted by humanfont at 11:23 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nothing will change without violence, you can certain of that.

Many here will say none of it should come from the protesters - and they may be right.

But it is going to take violence all the same.


Violence is the exact opposite of what should be aimed for. It is what turns non-protesters against the movement.

In the end, this has to be about getting the changes desired. That means playing smart.
posted by Ironmouth at 11:24 AM on October 26, 2011


My vote: "Economic Justice."

Hm, my vote is "get money out of politics." I have yet to meet a person who's all "yeah, corporations should have MORE influence!" I have met many people who think that "economic justice" is code for communism.
posted by desjardins at 11:24 AM on October 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


Nothing will change without violence, you [be] can certain of that.

the tree of liberty will be watered.

Here I am where I usually find myself, sympathetic to the protesters, appalled by the behavior of the police, and annoyed by people who like to talk shit on the internet.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:25 AM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


"As individuals, they are. As a force, they follow orders from, ultimately, the 1%."

"the rich get rich and the cops get paid
to look away as the 1% rules America"
–Queensrÿche, Spreading the Disease. Released in 1988. Fuck, that album just keeps getting better and better with age. And (sadly) more and more prophetic/accurate.
posted by Eideteker at 11:27 AM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


It's like they don't realize that when people collect en masse and continuously in public spaces with a definite grievance, attacking them or evicting them does not make the problem go away, it makes it worse.
This seems a bit of a stretch to me. Sure, there are cases in which it made the problem worse, but there are also cases in which it made the problem go away (at least from the point of view of the people in power - obviously it may have caused increased resentment, but they don't care about resentment without action).

Off the top of my head, for example, Tienanmen Square, and (at least seemingly so far) the Iranian protests from 2009.
posted by Flunkie at 11:29 AM on October 26, 2011


Wars of violence are coming to an end. Most conflicts around the world are already being waged economically. In the future, this will be the way of all wars, kind of like in Accelerando.

The problem is that until we can afford the new weapons, we're stuck with the old ones. It's like Age of War when one side has upgraded to the next age, and you're stuck with slingshots and stones. Muskets against rifles. Machine guns against laser sentries. The only way to win is with overwhelming numbers. And coordination. We're going to need more coordination than we have.
posted by Eideteker at 11:31 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The problem is that until we can afford the new weapons, we're stuck with the old ones. It's like Age of War when one side has upgraded to the next age, and you're stuck with slingshots and stones. Muskets against rifles. Machine guns against laser sentries. The only way to win is with overwhelming numbers. And coordination. We're going to need more coordination than we have.

Go ahead and have all the technology you want - a rock (or teargas canister) to the temple still remains just as much a threat today as it was at the dawn of our species.
posted by odinsdream at 11:38 AM on October 26, 2011


Specifically for Oakland, since they now have a known response level, what stops the occupiers from building something like this? Some nice expanded mesh for the windows to prevent some teargas sharpshooter from dropping one in. I'm not suggesting building these and then having people conspicuously bring in pool cue and violin cases, just building the structures. Perhaps having supporters pick a day and hour and then each individual bring one sandbag to the park? Would this be spun by the media/police as some sort of escalation? Would this lead to a Rachel Corrie moment?
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:40 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


[Dr. King] is the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect.

huh?

Sorry--based on protesting.


Alice Paul, William Lloyd Garrison, Frank Kameny, Mario Savio, Ida B. Wells, and countless other people who led and championed social change campaigns "based on protesting" would differ with that assessment.
posted by blucevalo at 11:41 AM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


The Guardian has a pretty good write-up.
posted by clorox at 11:45 AM on October 26, 2011


DesJardins: It's incompetence like this that's going to kill off the movement.

Indeed, and I think in New York City there has been an element in the Mayor's Office of "let the idiots inherent in this discredit and make easy for us to eventually have public opinion behind us before we go in and end this..."

And so far, and to it's credit OWS has been able to navigate that and show itself to be something smarter, sturdier and more principled than these sort of things have been in the past. Not to mention incredibly media savvy. But that doesn't mean every single morning the local Fox affiliate doesn't try to come up with some new sensationalized bit of nonsense to try and make it seem like a collection of pot-smoking, homeless, hippy, dirty, spoiled rich kids creating a fire hazard, a health hazard, a crime hazard, a quality of life hazard, a noise hazard etc..etc..., who get Five-Star meals cooked for them by world-class chefs who use soup kitchens which should be used for the really poor people and the reporter they've got down there said yesterday someone tried to sell him drugs and ...well you get the picture. It's becoming real lame and real sad how hard they're trying to discredit it with Fox quickly making themselves out to be buffoons.

I think it comes down to the people in every town who see the importance of this not letting the Occupy movement become dismissable or discredited by the usual morons who think this is just another chance to get into a ruckus with the cops and throw shit at them....
posted by Skygazer at 11:46 AM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is happening in Oakland. I appreciated blucevalo's comment above. Some of the occupiers are going to be from other cities, but many of them are from Oakland and understand Oakland's unique history. There's a lot of context here.

We remember the Riders ... I wonder if the OPD does. We don't just remember Oscar Grant, we remember the various levels of incompetent spin around the shooting in the first days and weeks of the new year, before the Oakland city government and the police realized how badly they screwed up.

If you read the statement from Oakland city government yesterday (I'd link to it but oaklandnet.com appears to be down), but you don't live here or know anyone who does, you could easily be persuaded by the reasonable tone and the coherence of the perspective and argument presented, but this is a careful selection of information being provided - it's the same kind of spin, just better - look around and you'll easily find media of events somehow not mentioned in this statement.

Oakland has learned a lot from the community's response to Oscar Grant's death; the occupiers were allowed to remain for weeks before the police action occurred. I think the OWS movement has earned a lot of goodwill and positive regard, which helped. I was too optimistic about Jean Quan's administration; it's interesting that the raid occurred when she was in D.C., and not long after the resignation of Police Chief Batts. My email to the mayor yesterday got an "Out of Office Auto-Reply" - ouch.

There are obviously different factions within the city at work here. Police told my friends who were arrested yesterday that they'd be held on high bail until Thursday; then they were released last night on no bail. Even under the previous administration, during the Oscar Grant protests, Oakland's city government was able to admit mistakes and take a better approach to police wrongdoing. Oakland the city made it happen by not stopping, not letting go, not forgetting.

It will be interesting to see what happens at 6pm tonight when the occupiers reconvene.
posted by doteatop at 11:54 AM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


annoyed by people who like to talk shit on the internet

Times are tough all over.

In the meantime, feel free to share your vision of how those in charge will relinquish their current stranglehold on power without first seeing if tear gas and billy clubs will work.

Unless of course you are simply talking your own shit on the Internet.
posted by Trurl at 12:02 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Feel free to contact the Mayor to schedule an appointment with her and Chief Jordan. She's in full support of Chief Jordan and would be willing to be pelted by tear gas or riot rounds to demonstrate that support.
posted by mrmod at 12:13 PM on October 26, 2011


"'Heighten the contradictions' is what activists used to say back in the Sixties. And tonight, while President Obama was in San Francisco hosting a $7,500-a-plate fundraiser, people are getting teargassed in Oakland, just a few miles away - for alleged health and safety violations. You can't get much more of a contradiction than that. It's being reported that Occupy Atlanta, Occupy Baltimore, Occupy Clarksville, Occupy San Diego have all been served by police with eviction notices for midnight tonight. *
posted by ericb at 12:17 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


What else are they [the police] supposed to do?

Stand and watch. Resisting being removed from a public place for just being there should be enough to trigger the police standing and watching.

If they feel the need to 'get physical to remove them' then we do not, in fact, have a civil society.

If one side feels the need to slide into incivility, then there is no longer any reason for the other to respect civility.

The police are there to be the hand of law and order, not to escalate, whether or not their corporate or political masters say otherwise.
posted by Fuka at 12:18 PM on October 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


In 2003, during the runup to the second Iraq war, there was a nonviolent protest outside of one of the Oakland docks used to ship military equipment to Iraq.

The Oakland police responded to the protest by firing wooden dowels (!!) and rubber bullets at the protestors.

Here's what being hit by one of these dowels looks like. (from this NPR article)

As a result of lawsuits and public outcry, the City of Oakland declared in 2004 that: "[Oakland police] will no longer indiscriminately use wooden or rubber bullets ... pepper spray and motorcycles to break up crowds" (sfgate).

The policy was characterized by one of the plaintiff's lawyers as this: [P]olice are "supposed to respect protesters' First Amendment activity" under the new policy. If laws are broken, police will try to negotiate with leaders and give audible orders to the crowd to disperse before making arrests. If demonstrators still refuse to comply, police are allowed to deploy tear gas "on the edge of the crowd," form a skirmish line and push back protesters with batons but not strike them ...

It sounds like that policy was not followed at the Oakland rally. Order to disperse, yes. Tear gas on edge of crowd, yes. Flashbangs, 'non-lethal' rounds? Not allowed.
posted by zippy at 12:26 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Stand and watch. Resisting being removed from a public place for just being there should be enough to trigger the police standing and watching.

DING! This is the correct non-violent approach to take to people exercising their constitutional rights.
posted by odinsdream at 12:33 PM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


Fuck, that album just keeps getting better and better with age. And (sadly) more and more prophetic/accurate.

Yeah, remember that time I was brainwashed into killing Sister Mary at the behest of Dr. X?

A truly chilling portrait of our times and mores.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Or over-deploying (think 50 cops watching 100 protesters) to purposefully drive up the cost.

From what I've seen and heard, it's worse than that, sometimes 2x more police than protesters.
posted by mrgrimm at 12:39 PM on October 26, 2011


Sorry, never expected an Operation: Mindcrime derail in a MeFi thread! \m/
posted by joe lisboa at 12:42 PM on October 26, 2011


Stand and watch.

By your logic if I'm getting assaulted, the police shouldn't step in for fear of hurting the perpetrator? When people break the law, there are supposed to be consequences. That's how society works.

Maybe we should change the laws regarding protest. But First Amendment rights do not permit squatting, even if you have a political sign while doing it. And I'm certainly not advocating the brutality that happened. But asking the police to ignore their civic responsibility because you think you're justified in breaking this law seems like a step in the wrong direction.

As upset as I am with the current state of things, the alternative policy OWS is pitching has to be appealing to have any hope of success. When people pitch "violent revolution!", the status quo doesn't look so bad.

An ability to but together a group of people isn't proof of the legitimacy of a movement. It's a rabid snake you hope strikes your opponent before it strikes you. It requires the hope that the media and public sympathizes with the movement, and possibly more unlikely, that the protest stays on message without creating any embarassing distracting stories. And then you hope that Michael Moore or Sarah Palin doesn't take your momentum and run it into the ground for more attention and money.
posted by politikitty at 12:47 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Eideteker: "When they bring buses to arrest you, spike strips or caltrops for the tires. Use their own tools against them, purchased from surplus outlets or the like."

FEAR NOT - INTERNET TOUGH GUY IS BY YOUR SIDE.
posted by falameufilho at 12:53 PM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


"Personally, Dr. King had it all figured out. The "not resisting arrest" part is the key. Put all of the blame on the cops. There's the reason he's the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect. Its about highlighting the difference between you and the authorities. That's what generates the larger effects to people who are not members of the movement."

Something worth noting that's often lost in the gloss of history is how unpopular King's demonstrations were, especially in Birmingham, where he first committed to getting arrested. Wikipedia has a surprisingly good overview. And it wasn't just the white community — many black folks in Birmingham thought of King as an outside agitator too.

"It's incompetence like this that's going to kill off the movement. Nothing will happen unless there's 1) mass civil disobedience that Shuts Things Down and 2) competent organization of resources that leads to a viable political movement."

Then I really, really hope that you're able to look past the lack of leadership and become a leader yourself.
posted by klangklangston at 12:56 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


A Message to Oakland PD.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:57 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


(7 minutes) This video recaps the events of 10/25/11. In the morning, police forcibly removed the Occupy Oakland camp. That afternoon, they had a rally and march. In the evening, things escalated as police fired tear gas into the crowd.

(56 minutes) #occupyoakland #opdraid 1 4:35AM to 5:31AM on punkboyinsf's livestream
posted by finite at 1:00 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]



By your logic if I'm getting assaulted, the police shouldn't step in for fear of hurting the perpetrator? When people break the law, there are supposed to be consequences. That's how society works.


That's not even close to logic. Violations of law exist on a spectrum.

Even a rudimentary risk assessment would rank "someone being assaulted" very, very high above "people standing in a park."

Using metaphors is a stupid way to work with this situation because it's already very easy to understand and explain the exact, real situation.
posted by odinsdream at 1:01 PM on October 26, 2011 [14 favorites]


"As upset as I am with the current state of things, the alternative policy OWS is pitching has to be appealing to have any hope of success. When people pitch "violent revolution!", the status quo doesn't look so bad. "

Hi, that's one of the big historical arguments for monarchy and against democracy! Pure democracies are messy and unstable and can be pretty violent (which is why we have a democratic republic). The problem is that monarchies (or plutacracies, or whatever) are bad at fixing mass problems, because the people pulling the levers often don't agree that things the masses call suffering are really problems, and so they have no real incentive to change them.

But how about this? Instead of armchair quarterbacking OWS, you articulate what you'd like to see as a solution? (Can I say that I'm a bit annoyed at all the petit pundits talking about abstracts of "what's appealing" like they've just looked over the focus group numbers for policy polling? If it's not appealing to you, say that, but there's no need to pretend to objectivity.)
posted by klangklangston at 1:08 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


finite: "That afternoon, they had a rally and march. In the evening, things escalated as police fired tear gas into the crowd."

6 minutes into that video: "However, around 8PM they decided to return back to Frank Ogawa park in an attempt to retake their encampment".

So, FTFY: "That afternoon, they had a rally and march. Then they decided to return back to Frank Ogawa park in an attempt to retake their encampment. Then things escalated as police fired tear gas into the crowd."

In every account the agency from the protesters is removed, and that definitely doesn't tell the whole story. I am not trying to say OPD are heroes here, but presenting protesters as innocent bystanders is silly.
posted by falameufilho at 1:16 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Video Recap of 10/25/11

I think it's vital to recognize that the type of police tactics shown here are not normal*. They represent a severe militarization; a completely disproportionate response. It's an absolutely insane display, and more people should be screaming about this, loudly, every chance they get.

Police with automatic rifles, grenade launchers against crowds of civilians - it's absolutely ridiculous. It makes me feel crazy that this even needs to be noted. We need more people like Sgt. Shamar Thomas who know from experience when you really do need automatic rifles and grenade launchers, and to loudly state that this is not the place. These people are not the enemy.

*normal in the sense of what should be expected of a civil society. Sadly, it is becoming more normalized, even standard.
posted by odinsdream at 1:19 PM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


presenting protesters as innocent bystanders is silly.

Attempting to re-enter a park is the exact equivalent of being an innocent bystander. They're not trying to retake an arms depot. This is not a warzone.
posted by odinsdream at 1:21 PM on October 26, 2011 [13 favorites]


I'm interested to see what happens in Baltimore at midnight tonight.

It seems like the large argument here (unsurprisingly, with the party involved in said argument) is the letter-of-the-law reading versus the common-sense reading, and I agree with whoever said it up-thread, the police are first and foremost following orders and obeying the organizational culture of the city. The city government are the ones doing the brutalizing here, and the arm that they're using to do it is the police. I hope it comes back to haunt them at election time.
posted by codacorolla at 1:24 PM on October 26, 2011


Attempting to re-enter a park is the exact equivalent of being an innocent bystander. They're not trying to retake an arms depot. This is not a warzone.

Right on. I love the people that try to make the movement inherently violent sounding by focusing in on the meaning of the word occupy. Thanks Faux News, now I know I'm compromising the sovereignty of Canada when I go to the bathroom!
posted by Slackermagee at 1:24 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The base question here is: Are the police justified in using extreme violence in situations where no violence otherwise exists or is threatened?

The legal definition of resisting arrest as a violent crime is a dodge. It's a way for police to say 'they were being violent, so we were violent, as the state allows us to be, in return.' It's a way of shifting the blame for violence onto the non-violent protester, a rhetorical shield that unfortunately carries heavy legal implications. It's a legal mechanism for victim-blaming.

Would you condone an abusive father for beating a kid who wouldn't do what he said? Same difference. In both situations, violence is allowed to flow in only one direction - from the powerful to the powerless - and any sign of resistance or disobedience is met with a disproportionate use of force.

So are you on the side of police who throw flash-bang grenades at injured protesters? Are you on the side of the guy that beats the shit out of his kid when the kid refuses to eat their dinner? I mean, really, the kid fucking made him do it, right? So it's not his fault? Those damned protesters, refusing to get out of the road... It's terrible how they force the police to fire all those teargas grenades.
posted by kaibutsu at 1:24 PM on October 26, 2011 [35 favorites]


feel free to share your vision of how those in charge will relinquish their current stranglehold on power without first seeing if tear gas and billy clubs will work.

Unless you mean to say that the protesters should try to pry loose the stranglehold those in charge currently have on power with tear gas and billy clubs, this sentence is pretty opaque, but I can read the subtext clearly: "So what's your plan, smartypants?"

Comrade, my own long range plan for teaching the jackbooted octopus how to sing its swan song is likely similar to yours, which is to say, I haven't a clue. It's the watching people blithely talk about the necessity of violence and the watering the Tree of Liberty and such while other people are getting clubbed by the cops that rankles a little. I mean, maybe it will come to fighting in the street in the end, but unless you're Mick Jagger it seems gauche to sing about it.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:26 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Which is why OPD did the completely wrong thing yesterday. So what if the protestors get back into the park? Does the press care? not really. And then in another week, arrest people in the park in the morning again. Then let them take the park again. This is what's going on in Chicago -- the occupiers are only taking the park on the weekend for some reason, and Rahm has them arrested. And those that are out on bail and this is their second arrest get to stick around jail longer. So the numbers of people getting arrested goes down, and by only protesting on the weekends, occupy chicago lets it stay at a low enough level that there's little notice.

Whereas, what's going to go down in Oakland tonight? if OPD continues to show up in riot gear not letting the people get some meaningless victory like standing in a park, it'll start approaching actual rioting.
posted by garlic at 1:27 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I detest police violence and I completely disagree with the brute force that was used to deal with these protestors.

But honestly, I do not understand how this protest could continue to be justified as is. Yes, you have the right to protest and free speech. You do not have the right to set up a tent city in a public park and live there for as long as you damn please. It seems like this was becoming less of protest and more of a festival campground hang-out environment. I think the actual concerns of safety/sanitation issues, inability of police and emergency personnel to patrol the grounds as well as the presence of a "volunteer security force" armed with batons is more than reason enough get everyone out of the park. I just hate the way they did it.
posted by gnutron at 1:32 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


This whole "Occupy" thing makes no sense to me. This is happening in America, not in some country where we don't already have systems in place to make a change (read democracy). If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc. Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with.
Stop reading laws on how to protest and start reading laws on how to actually make some change.
posted by NoraCharles at 1:33 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I was in the Occupy Oakland march last night. We marched from the library to the area near the jail. Then some shit went down between protesters and the police at 8th and Franklin (if memory serves), a bunch of riot cops moved in and they used rubber bullets and made a few arrests. That was a little harrowing. We got our shit together and marched up Broadway to Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza. I left not too long after that because, while I'm generally fine with rubber bullets and tear gas, I'm a teacher with a year to go before tenure and need to be really thoughtful about whether or not I can do the arrest thing.

A tale: I went to Oscar Grant Plaza the week before, and was kind of put off by the crusty anarchist kids. They all had bandannas wrapped around their faces, and it cheesed me out a little bit. I give them mad respect because they're putting themselves on the front lines, but black bloc bandannas, really? Like you're, I dunno, the fucking Occu-tistas or something?

And then last night as the popo made their move, all rifle pops and flashbangs, it occurred to me: "Oh yeah. The kids wear that stuff because of tear gas, which those cops are gonna use on us in ten seconds."

I've learned a valuable lesson from the anarcho-punks about demonstration safety and not being a judgmental prick, and will never again tell them to get off my lawn.
posted by the_bone at 1:34 PM on October 26, 2011 [57 favorites]


Metafilter: My own plan is similar to yours, which is to say, I haven't a clue.
posted by clorox at 1:35 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc.

I'll just take the $2.23 I have in the bank right now and hire a lobbyist. Do you think that'll cover it, or should I wait for my next paycheck?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:35 PM on October 26, 2011 [49 favorites]


Yes,yes. Everyone should just chill out and vote for some change next time around. That will surely change things! It worked so well last time!
posted by Big_B at 1:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [30 favorites]


"McKeldin Plaza, however, is not a campground, and overnight camping is prohibited. The city will continue to monitor the situation and deal with individual acts of illegal behavior on a case-by-case basis."

Baltimore's mayor's statement. The occupation seems quite tame compared to other cities, so I doubt there will be fireworks (although this round of media attention might draw more people). WBALTv makes it a priority to point out that the protesters are playing video games. The nerve.

This round of miniature riots and arrests is the calm before the storm, in my opinion. OWS is largely the middle and former middle class. Governments and corporations should think about how much they like living in a relatively peaceful society where riots are mostly contained to drunken carousing after a sporting event, and not a regular occurrence, and make concessions based on that evaluation. I have a feeling that short-sighted greed is going to win, however. You'd think that with the London riots just a few months down the collective memory-hole there'd be a pretty terrific object example right there for the taking.


This whole "Occupy" thing makes no sense to me. This is happening in America, not in some country where we don't already have systems in place to make a change (read democracy). If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc. Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with.
Stop reading laws on how to protest and start reading laws on how to actually make some change.


This opinion speaks to a certain level of privilege that you think the system still represents you. Congratulations on your good fortune.
posted by codacorolla at 1:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [25 favorites]


Those anarcho-punks are mysterious.
posted by handbanana at 1:37 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with. Stop reading laws on how to protest and start reading laws on how to actually make some change.

It doesn't need to be only one or the other. There's room for both.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:40 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


I had assumed that the briefs asides about more violence coming in the future was about the cops and power structure handing out a lot more violence, not that the protestors would begin fighting back.

Either way, I don't think anything sizable is going to change until the media changes it's narrative, or people stop believing in the 'objectivity' of the media.

The upside of internet/indy media is that many more stories get out and we can pick and choose which ones we believe to fit our internal biases. The bad part, is that it doesn't take much to create FUD about what really happened, thus allowing potential supports to stay on the fence, or discount the protests as being unorganized, run by people they don't like, or provoking serious militant action on the part of the cops.

As I've said before, until there's a crystalizing moment, a catalyst, that realigns the way this has been playing out, the only thing that will happen will a bunch of patriots will get the shit kicked out of them by the police.

And there will be more a lot violence from the top down before winter.
posted by gofargogo at 1:41 PM on October 26, 2011


It's the watching people blithely talk about the necessity of violence and the watering the Tree of Liberty and such while other people are getting clubbed by the cops that rankles a little.

Then I didn't make myself clear.

I was not advocating the necessity of violence on the part of OWS to effect change. I was recognizing the inevitability of violence on the part of the Powers That Be before they will accept the necessity of change.
posted by Trurl at 1:43 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.

Scott Olsen is in a "critical condition" in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

Olsen, 24, suffered the head injury during protests in Oakland on Tuesday evening.

posted by enn at 1:49 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Rubber bullets and other crowd-control weapons like "pepper-pellet guns" are "non-lethal." Riiiight.

Memories of Emerson College student Victoria Snelgrove's death after being shot by one fired by a Boston Police officer during a crowd celebrating a Boston Red Sox win.
posted by ericb at 1:49 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc. Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with.

You do all that, and then see how that weighs in the scales when set against the endless coffers of the 1%. The endless propaganda blasted in the corporate media--owned by, you guessed it, the 1%. The wheeling and dealing of a "democratic" government composed almost entirely of rich people--or at the very least people willing to do what it takes to get the corporate donations necessary to even have a chance to win office.

Also, you know, a lot of people have tried to do what you suggest, and donated and volunteered and worked their hearts out to get Obama elected. And he won! And then he turned around and cut deals with huge corporations. And failed to do much at all to really hold the people who crashed the economy responsible for the misery they created.

To more and more people it looks like the systems you describe are broken. Personally, I think they're rotten to the core, corrupted by oodles and oodles of money. Personally, I think they were broken from the start--always designed to exclude someone, women or black people or poor people. I also seriously question whether capitalism and representative democracy are compatible. But probably that's a fringe view at this point.

But this story that you're telling? That people have the power to change what the government does by following these neat, orderly routes? Less and less people believe in it. More and more people are angry about what the government is doing, by how utterly entwined with massive corporations it seems to be, by how unresponsive the system is to people's actual needs. By how powerless they feel, under the current system, and how tantalizing the possibility is that it doesn't have to be this way, that there's another way to make decisions collectively. That people can stand together in parks and on street corners and talk and make decisions together. You know, democracy. That's what OWS is about.
posted by overglow at 1:50 PM on October 26, 2011 [29 favorites]


Footage of people gathering to help the injured Scott Olsen, lying on the ground, until a police officer throws a flash-bang grenade at him.
posted by enn at 1:52 PM on October 26, 2011 [24 favorites]


For the 2012 election, a year out, Obama has raised and spent 90 million dollars already. in 2008, he spent 3/4 of a billion dollars getting elected.

And this was before the Citizen's United ruling.
posted by garlic at 1:55 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]



This whole "Occupy" thing makes no sense to me. This is happening in America, not in some country where we don't already have systems in place to make a change (read democracy). If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc. Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with.
Stop reading laws on how to protest and start reading laws on how to actually make some change.


Not even wrong. The reason OWS exists is because our political system is bought and paid for by corporations and lobbyists. It's no longer a democracy that represents the people. That's the complaint, the reason for the protest.
posted by odinsdream at 1:55 PM on October 26, 2011 [23 favorites]


Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with.

Yeah -- it's not like previous Civil Rights marches, Vietnam War sit-ins, ACT-UP AIDS protests ("We're here, we're queer, get used to it!") and numerous other examples of Americans peacefully congregating didn't bring grievances to the fore ... and eventually be part of change. Something, something about the Boston Tea Party, etc. Our nation, our democracy is founded on the premise that citizens can congregate peacefully, speak out and push for change.

What's important right now with the OWS gatherings is demonstrating the size and extent of discontent right now in the U.S. Many politicians, policy makers and corporate executives are rightfully concerned about the movement -- and, would like it to just 'go away.' Guess what? The Hoi polloi are dissatisfied, pissed and a'int going anywhere at least for a while.
posted by ericb at 2:00 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


This whole "Occupy" thing makes no sense to me. This is happening in America, not in some country where we don't already have systems in place to make a change (read democracy). If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc.

Here's the thing. I've actually gotten to do some Congressional lobbying on behalf of my union: we managed to get a bill providing $10 billion in emergency education funding through Congress. It was an honor to be selected as one of the teachers to help with that effort, and the fact that we won one for the good guys was fucking amazing.

That said: the only reason I was able to help out with the lobbying was because my union is huge and awesome and had the muscle to push that legislation through. And that's the larger point of these protests, I think. By organizing ourselves into groups too large to ignore, the idea is that we'll be able to effect change in a way that hasn't worked at the polls. I vote in every damn election, even the shitty municipal ones. And marching with Occupy Oakland last night was empowering in a way that voting for a Democratic president in my deep blue state has never, ever been.
posted by the_bone at 2:00 PM on October 26, 2011 [20 favorites]


Also, you know, a lot of people have tried to do what you suggest, and donated and volunteered and worked their hearts out to get Obama elected. And he won! And then he turned around and cut deals with huge corporations. And failed to do much at all to really hold the people who crashed the economy responsible for the misery they created.


I'm reminded of a passage from The Bottom Billion, on how to raise a coup on the cheap.
On top of that, if the economy is weak, the state is also likely to be weak, and so rebellion is not difficult. Rebel leader Laurent Kabila, marching across Zaire with his troops to seize the state, told a journalist that in Zaire, rebellion was easy: all you needed was $10,000 and a satellite phone. While this was obviously poetic exaggeration, he went on to explain that in Zaire, everyone was so poor that with $10,000 you could hire yourself a small army. And the satellite phone? Well, that takes us to the third and final economic risk factor in civil war: natural resources.

Dependence upon primary commodity exports-oil, diamonds, and the like-substantially increases the risk of civil war. That's why Kabila needed a satellite phone: in order to strike deals with resource extraction companies. By the time he reached Kinshasa he reportedly had arranged $500 million worth of deals. There have been several cases where international companies have advanced massive amounts of funding to rebel movements in return for resource concessions in the event of rebel victory That is apparently how Denis Sassou-Nguesso, the present president of the Republic of the Congo (not to be confused with the Democratic Republic of the Congo, formerly Zaire), came to power. So natural resources help to finance conflict and sometimes even help to motivate it.
posted by kaibutsu at 2:01 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Oakland police confirmed at a press conference that they used tear gas and baton rounds, but said they did not use flash bang grenades. Police could not be immediately reached for comment.

Liars and thugs.
posted by OverlappingElvis at 2:05 PM on October 26, 2011 [7 favorites]


Liars and thugs.

Exactly -- as there is plenty of video (as posted above and elsewhere) to refute their statement.
posted by ericb at 2:08 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"People should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people"
posted by lpcxa0 at 2:16 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Nothing will happen unless there's 1) mass civil disobedience that Shuts Things Down and 2) competent organization of resources that leads to a viable political movement.

Well, 1) may be true, but it isn't the fault of the leadership if there isn't a swelling of popular backing and participation that makes 1) possible. 2) can happen regardless of whether there's violence and aggressive civil disobedience, as Madison certainly showed us this spring. If anything, Madison showed just how civil civil disobedience can be.
posted by dhartung at 2:20 PM on October 26, 2011


> An Iraq war veteran has a fractured skull and brain swelling after allegedly being hit by a police projectile.

Scott Olsen is in a "critical condition" in Highland hospital in Oakland, a hospital spokesman confirmed.

> Footage of people gathering to help the injured Scott Olsen, lying on the ground, until a police officer throws a flash-bang grenade at him. yt


This is sickening. WTF.
posted by homunculus at 2:25 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


My vote: "Economic Justice."

Exactly.

Here's just one example of what people are pissed about: Walmart CEO Makes Average Workers Annual Salary Every Hour.
posted by ericb at 2:27 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


marching with Occupy Oakland last night was empowering in a way that voting for a Democratic president in my deep blue state anywhere had never, ever been will ever, ever be

FTFY
posted by Trurl at 2:33 PM on October 26, 2011


Executive Excess 2009: America’s Bailout Barons
"Ten of the top 20 financial bailout firms have revealed the details of stock options pocketed in early 2009. Based on rising stock prices, the top five executives at each of these banks have enjoyed a combined increase in the value of their stock options of nearly $90 million, according to the report, the 16th in a series of annual 'Executive Excess' reports.

'America's executive pay bubble remains un-popped,' says Sarah Anderson, lead author on the Institute study. 'And these outrageous rewards give executives an incentive to behave outrageously, putting the rest of us at risk.'"
Executive Excess 2010: CEO Pay and the Great Recession -- "The 17th annual executive compensation survey looks at how CEOs laid off thousands while raking in millions."
posted by ericb at 2:34 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


People who do not understand occupation arising out of necessity and as a means of protest in America need to consult their history books.
posted by rollbiz at 2:35 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


My vote: "Economic Justice."

This just in ...

Income Of Top 1 Percent Far Outgrew Others: Report
"Incomes for the wealthiest 1 percent of Americans nearly tripled from 1979 to 2007, far outpacing income growth for all other groups, said a new report [PDF] that underscored sharply increased U.S. income disparity.

As demonstrators nationwide protest the power of Wall Street and the wealthy, the Congressional Budget Office on Tuesday gave further evidence that, in the last three decades, the United States has become a far more unequal nation.

'For the 1 percent of the population with the highest income, average real after-tax household income grew by 275 percent between 1979 and 2007,' said the report from the CBO, a nonpartisan budget and tax analysis arm of Congress.

The next-highest 19 percent of earners saw their income grow by 65 percent over the same period. Income grew by just under 40 percent for the 60 percent of the population in the middle, while the 20 percent at the bottom of the scale saw income growth of only about 18 percent, the report said.
The CBO's conclusions will likely figure in the debate over whether tax increases on the rich should play a role in cutting budget deficits and reducing the U.S. national debt.

'This report confirms what the American people already know,' said Representative Sander Levin.

'The rules have been changed by the unfair tax policies of the last decade and our tax code is doing less to level the playing field than it was in the past.'" ....
posted by ericb at 2:48 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


They evicted the protestors from city hall under the guise of sanitation issues, and in return Mayor Jean Quan is getting a war zone. There's a media event planned by the city at 3, and a general assembly planned by OWS at 6. Should be interesting to see.

Meanwhile, here's the official response(pdf) to last night from Oakland, which stands in stark contrast to reality.
posted by JackarypQQ at 2:57 PM on October 26, 2011


Paint? That's the third time I've seen paint referenced without any supporting documentation. Sorry, Oakland, OPD's word isn't exactly golden to anyone. Given that even the local media and Fox haven't produced a teary eyed City 17... I mean riot cop covered in paint and urine I ain't buying it.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:02 PM on October 26, 2011


Slackermagee: Here you go.
posted by clorox at 3:05 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Slackermagee: Here you go.

Alrighty then, I guess they did get hit by som... MOTHER OF GOD I hope that shotgun has beanbag rounds in it.
posted by Slackermagee at 3:08 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


That PDF is ballsy given the massive amount of errors and omissions I could point out by spending 10 minutes on youtube.

I'm curious about all the reports of fighting, beatings, and vandalism from within the park. I'd love to see the call logs for when those reports came in. I'm willing to bet that most of them came from nowhere near the park.
posted by gofargogo at 3:09 PM on October 26, 2011


I saw video of paint being thrown but can't find it right now. Here's some video of the aftermath.
posted by rollbiz at 3:10 PM on October 26, 2011


There's some moron in there throwing traffic cones at cops with shotguns...

Wonder if its the same guy carrying a beef with the OPD uniform colors?
posted by Slackermagee at 3:17 PM on October 26, 2011


Given the OPD's rosy reputation, I have no trouble believing that they are so certain about the paint because it was their own undercover agents provocateur throwing it in the first place.
posted by feloniousmonk at 3:32 PM on October 26, 2011 [10 favorites]


"People should not be afraid of their government, the government should be afraid of their people"
posted by lpcxa0 at 2:16 PM on October 2


Why do you think the local governments are removing people from public forums?

I believe that they are somewhat afraid. It really does impact multitude levels of government, and starting the conversation prior to an election year could be a polarizing issue for candidates wishing to gain office, or move up to a different office.
posted by handbanana at 3:52 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


NY Mag compares Oakland and NY mayoral responses.
posted by humanfont at 3:57 PM on October 26, 2011


"Welcome to OCCUPY TOGETHER, an unofficial hub for all of the events springing up across the country in solidarity with Occupy Wall St."
posted by ericb at 4:06 PM on October 26, 2011


As individuals, they are. As a force, they follow orders from, ultimately, the 1%.

Sorry, thought we were talking about individuals.
posted by joe lisboa at 4:24 PM on October 26, 2011


Yes,yes. Everyone should just chill out and vote for some change next time around. That will surely change things! It worked so well last time!

Turns out showing up for precisely one election and then losing interest isn't very effective. If you think nothing gets done at the ballot box anymore I have a tea party to sell you.
posted by Skorgu at 4:35 PM on October 26, 2011 [6 favorites]


I wonder what it would take to totally co-opt individual police officers and individual military members into become active participants on the side of OWS? Clearly, there are some who sympathize and probably all of them are (in reality) among the actual 99% who aren't gadzillionaires.

Having the police and military on the side of the protests would make it less likely that they'd act against the protests.

Maye having somebody making constant announcement to the police at these events how they, specifically, are getting screwed because of the 1%? Flyers with info and URLs to non-partisan cites that confirm the police are getting screwed?

If we persuade a bunch of them that they are really and truly getting screwed (and they are), it could change the nature of the situation a bit.

Or maybe not. Has anyone tried this, though?
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:17 PM on October 26, 2011


The Tea Party already thought of that one, Joey Michaels.
posted by gerryblog at 5:23 PM on October 26, 2011


Well, if it worked for them...
posted by Joey Michaels at 5:25 PM on October 26, 2011


Footage of people gathering to help the injured Scott Olsen, lying on the ground, until a police officer throws a flash-bang grenade at him.

WTF, this is just sickening.

It's incredible. Just about an hour ago on the NewsHour (PBS), the OPD said they used no flash-bang grenades and said the explosions were from "protesters throwing fireworks."

I guess an occupying army with overwhelming force can make it's own version of reality.
posted by Skygazer at 5:37 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


If we persuade a bunch of them that they are really and truly getting screwed (and they are), it could change the nature of the situation a bit. Or maybe not. Has anyone tried this, though?

Occupy Marines
Occupy Police
posted by the_bone at 5:51 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


In the discussion of nonviolent protest, a lot of commentators have been saying that protests should remain non-violent in order to keep the good will of the larger population. Does anyone have any actual evidence that violent protests are less effective in gaining popular support? Or that violent protests are likely to undermine a minority political movement?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 5:57 PM on October 26, 2011


Resorting to violence legitimizes elevated police response and mass arrests.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:00 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Libyans might disagree with you.
posted by Trurl at 6:08 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Resorting to violence legitimizes elevated police response and mass arrests.

I guess I'm still not sure about the "legitimizes" part. At least, not as it pertains to public opinion. I would, really and truly, like to see some evidence that when protests are violent, public approval drops. I think it has a plausible sort of ring to it, but I'm not sure I should trust that plausible ringing sound.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:09 PM on October 26, 2011


On topic.

The reply.

Interesting debate.
posted by broadway bill at 6:12 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Some people either hold opinions too stubbornly or refuse to pay attention to what's really going on. There are teachers voting Republican in my state. You have to be pretty much crazy to think the Republicans are on the side of teachers these days. Why would the police wise up to this either? I really don't understand this mindset. And I'm a former Republican (THERE I SAID IT), so I really know what I'm talking about when I say you have to pay attention and admit it when it's time to support someone else.
posted by theredpen at 6:18 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I have not read all the comments above and may be repeating info posted above but if so it bears repeating.


Word on the street is that Chief Batts has stepped down primarily because the federal government plans to take over the day to day running of the OPD.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it.
posted by pianomover at 6:25 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


If the protesters resort to violence, what's the endgame? Storm city hall and take hostages?

Violence is a game that the government can play better than you. It's a sucker bet.
posted by murphy slaw at 6:25 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is why anarchists are probably not the best people for this.

What?! Who do you think has been organizing Occupy Wall Street? At least, I've read of several anarchists being involved, and when I look at the way OWS is structured, that's pretty much in keeping with anarchist principles. (I'd recommend this book to read up on what anarchism actually is.) Anarchists are organized folks.
posted by eviemath at 6:29 PM on October 26, 2011 [9 favorites]


You know, as much as I love this protest (I've been luckily enough to visit and talk with some of the protesters in the Occupy MN protest), and believe in the cause - I can't shake the feeling that this is so closely resembling the movie version of "V for Vendetta". There is a scene in the movie (I know, the comic is different), where the narrator is explaning how V is turning the government policy against itself. Just to set the scene, Dominic and Finch are two cops who are investigating V, but are questioning the government. Larkhill was the concentration camp:

Dominic: We're under siege here. The whole city's gone mad.
Finch: That's exactly what he wants. Chaos. The problem is that he knows us better than we know ourselves. That's why I went to Larkhill last night.
Dominic: That's outside quarantine.
Finch: I had to see it. There wasn't much left. But when I was there it was strange – I suddenly had this feeling that everything was connected. It was like I could see the whole thing; one long chain of events that stretched back to before Larkhill. I felt like I could see everything that had happened, and everything that was going to happen. It was like a perfect pattern laid out in front of me and I realized that we were all part of it, and all trapped by it.
Dominic: So do you know what's gonna happen?
Finch: No. It was a feeling. But I can guess. With so much chaos, someone will do something stupid. And when they do, things will turn nasty. And then, Sutler will be forced do the only thing he knows how to do. At which point, all V needs to do is keep his word. And then...


I'm not an anarchistic by any means, but I can't shake the feeling that if the government/cops didn't do something stupid tonight - that is quickly approaching. I think Thomas Jefferson said it best when he said that "Every generation needs a revolution". We are long overdue, our political system is broken, and many realize it. For too long, we have been quiet, this protest or revolution (history will decide) is not going away.
posted by lpcxa0 at 6:31 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


I guess I'm still not sure about the "legitimizes" part. At least, not as it pertains to public opinion. I would, really and truly, like to see some evidence that when protests are violent, public approval drops.

4 dead in Ohio.


Newsweek, May 25, 1970, p. 30. A Newsweek poll reported that in placing blame for the shootings at Kent State :
10% blamed the Ohio National Guard
58% blamed the students
and 31% were undecided.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 6:31 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


murphy,

I'm not interested in slogans or platitudes or even anecdotes (which in the case of violent revolution can be lined up on both sides).

I want some evidence about how violence affects popular opinion. If you have some, I would love to see it.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:32 PM on October 26, 2011


Pogo,

Yes, that was posted earlier, but it doesn't say anything about how popular opinion was *affected* by the violence. Did the 58% reflect people's attitudes about the war that the Kent State students were protesting? If so, was that percentage higher or lower than the support for the war *before* the violence?
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 6:37 PM on October 26, 2011


I think that Jonathan Livengood has a really good question.

In his book "Non-Violence: The History of a Dangerous Idea", Mark Kurlansky argues that non-violent resistance has a better batting average for accomplishing its goals than violent resistance. I can't find a single quote to easily pull out and reproduce here, so will just refer everyone to the entire book (it's not too long and a fast read, at least?). He doesn't seem to have done a statistical analysis, but it seemed to me to be a fairly convincing argument as far as it went.
posted by eviemath at 6:48 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


It seems pretty obvious to me that violent activism alienates potential allies, while nonviolent activism has the possibility of "snowballing." Martyrdom is an element at play here, too; a relatively small protest, crushed under the heel of the state, wakes people up and makes them pay attention. (In this case, the state's concern with protestors vs. their concern with bankers is particularly telling, and hard to ignore.) Much like the Arab Spring, the deaths of non-violent protestors could be the spark that really blows things up. The OPD are truly incompetent actors here - they have no idea how dangerous their actions are to the state they claim to serve.

That's not to say I don't believe violent resistance is always wrong, especially in circumstances where the national majority is ambivalent or unsympathetic to your cause (eg. anti-cruelty and anti-GMO activists, indigenous resistence, various regionally-specific environmental causes). Of course "violent resistance" in the eyes of the state includes "property violence" which is, itself, a political notion. Some "violent anarchists" would argue that logging companies are engaged in property violence and they are defending communal assets. But all that aside, OWS is on the non-violent end of the spectrum and rightfully so.
posted by mek at 7:12 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Imho, there is a very simple reason why non-violent protects work better than violent resistance. You cannot present yourself as better than the oppressors while you visibly employ violence.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:21 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jonathan Livengood: I apologize, I was talking past you.

I meant "legitimizes" in the sense of "provides law enforcement with legal justification to forcefully subdue and arrest", because when a protest becomes violent it moves from the realm of misdemeanors like trespassing and minor property crimes to felonies like assault.

The public opinion question is a good one. A cursory search turns up a lot of opinion but nothing quantifiable.

This article has some thoughts on the relative effectiveness of nonviolent resistance in different circumstances.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:26 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oops, I totally double negatived up there. For the record I do not believe violent resistance is always wrong, so go ahead and lump me in with Derrick Jensen and that lot.
posted by mek at 7:31 PM on October 26, 2011


It sounds like that policy was not followed at the Oakland rally. Order to disperse, yes. Tear gas on edge of crowd, yes. Flashbangs, 'non-lethal' rounds? Not allowed.

OPD was not the only law enforcement agency in Oakland last night. They may be telling the truth, but that doesn't mean that the Alameda Sheriffs and cops from San Jose don't use those things.

Word on the street is that Chief Batts has stepped down primarily because the federal government plans to take over the day to day running of the OPD.

Put that in your pipe and smoke it


Naw, he left because Quan fought him on every front every step of the way, holding him responsible while giving him no power to change anything. The Feds have been threatening to take over Oakland ever since the Rider verdict. And that may suck in many ways, one of which is possibly eliminating the not-really-giving-a-crap about medical marijuana stance that the OPD currently holds. The feds suddenly seem to be all about that.

They evicted the protestors from city hall under the guise of sanitation issues, and in return Mayor Jean Quan is getting a war zone.

Maybe- most occupy protesters seem to be pretty devoted to non-violence. Supposedly fewer cops are out tonight, too. That could change, though. There are a lot of people downtown.

I would hope not a war zone since I live here, a ten minute walk from Frank Ogawa Plaza.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:35 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


>>Nothing will change without violence, you [be] can certain of that.

>>the tree of liberty will be watered.

>Here I am where I usually find myself, sympathetic to the protesters, appalled by the behavior of the police, and annoyed by people who like to talk shit on the internet.


I was not calling for violence. I was lamenting the apparent inevitability of violence at some point in the future. Either violent confrontation or the dumb acceptance of tyranny. OWS has given me a small, small measure of hope that the violence can be avoided. But it has to get big. Really big. Nobody will pay attention to non-violence unless it's huge.

Hence, my statement in another thread: puff puff puff, grow little fire grow.

octobersurprise, that was a lazy reading of my comment and a cheap shot response.

(I'll accept that the "tree of liberty" bit was lazy rhetoric, I suppose.)
posted by Trochanter at 7:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here, look: not a war zone. We tear down fences and neatly stack them in Oakland.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:37 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oakland is sounding scarier and more Orwellian every time it pops up in the news. Starting with the BART taser, I mean handgun, OOPs!, shooting, the cell phone blackout orchestrated to prevent a protest, and now this. I doubt stuff like this would be as acceptable if they happened in San Fran to native Fransiscans rather than the riffraff across the bay.
posted by PJLandis at 8:15 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Live video: On the ground; In the air
posted by clorox at 8:21 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's sickening to witness a cop throw an explosive at an injured man and the people trying to help him.

And the injured guy turns out to be an Iraq vet.

Seriously, that dude should get life in prison.

Also, just to state the obvious -- if you want decent coverage use British news sources of Al-jazeera. You won't get jack shit even on the "librul" CNN.
posted by bardic at 8:27 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


*or Al-jazeera
posted by bardic at 8:27 PM on October 26, 2011


According to OccupyMarines facebook posts, the protesters did throw BACK the teargas cannisters that were thrown at them.

And yes, the city of Richmond confirmed that they supplied 16 officers to Oakland for this.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:33 PM on October 26, 2011


Starting with the BART taser, I mean handgun, OOPs!, shooting, the cell phone blackout orchestrated to prevent a protest, and now this. I doubt stuff like this would be as acceptable if they happened in San Fran to native Fransiscans rather than the riffraff across the bay.

The cell phone shutdown in the BART tunnel was in the City, not Oakland.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:33 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


If no one has linked it, here's the video of the Mayor's Press Conference earlier today.

Interesting consideration: If it took a week to organize and get all the police to coordinate to plan the raid, then a) The Mayor says she didn't know what day it would be happening, which means everyone who DID know chose not to tell her. (UM), b) the acting police chief says he doesn't know if a sound cannon was or wasn't present for use... after a week of plannning (UM).

You'd think with a week of planning, there'd be some kind of game plan on how to handle the media.

Right now there's an estimated 3000 people at the Plaza and surrounding blocks.
posted by yeloson at 8:36 PM on October 26, 2011 [3 favorites]


Right now there's an estimated 3000 people at the Plaza and surrounding blocks.

And the cavalry is coming in. At least 20 police vehicles incoming.
posted by clorox at 8:40 PM on October 26, 2011


According to OccupyMarines facebook posts, the protesters did throw BACK the teargas cannisters that were thrown at them.

Well in that case, they're clearly war criminals, and should be tried as such!
posted by mek at 8:42 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


The Mayor says she didn't know what day it would be happening, which means everyone who DID know chose not to tell her.

... and there's this: legal adviser to Oakland mayor apparently told her not to raid the camps.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:49 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


There was a well focussed thread on the Iraq War vet Scott Olsen who was critically injured by the police during the crackdown. I'll salvage two links from there :

Oakland Policeman Throws Flash Grenade Into Crowd Trying To Help Injured Protester

Olbermann: Oakland mayor must fire police chief or resign
posted by jeffburdges at 9:11 PM on October 26, 2011


Official Veterans For Peace Statement Regarding Occupy Incident in Oakland
posted by homunculus at 9:16 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


I wonder what it would take to totally co-opt individual police officers and individual military members into become active participants on the side of OWS?

I think the problem with trying to get police to sympathize with the protesters is that the system has been so thoroughly corrupted that it wouldn't even matter.

So an officer is sympathetic to the cause, and either quits the force in solidarity or declines to take action against the protesters and is fired. Then what? She's out of a job, loses her health insurance, can't feed her family, and has little prospect for new employment in this economy. Let alone the stigma of being "disloyal".

I actually sympathize with a lot of the rank and file police in situations like this (not the ones lobbing flash-bangs at injured protesters) because they're probably doing things against their own moral judgement but have been left with little choice. Would you give up your livelihood to become a martyr for the cause? Some people would, but it's a hell of a lot to ask.
posted by auto-correct at 9:18 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Wall Street commercial (via)
posted by jeffburdges at 9:23 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


The last shots from the helicopter did not look good. The police* are prepared for a serious show of force.

*Twitter rumor is that the National Guard has been called in. What I wouldn't give for a police scanner right now...
posted by clorox at 9:29 PM on October 26, 2011


Would you give up your livelihood to become a martyr for the cause? Some people would, but it's a hell of a lot to ask.

I'm not even a cop - I'm a schmo with a cushy but underpaid state university IT job. There is no way I am jeopardizing what I worked so hard for to join in a protest I fundamentally agree with.

20 years ago - well, I campaigned for Perot, so maybe not the best example - I would have joined them. But, now. I have a mortgage. A truck payment. A wife, a kid, two dogs... I am not "free" and I know it - freedom is nothing left to lose, and I have a lot to lose.

I know a few cops, and they have worked harder than I have for less freedom than I have.

This shit starts from the top. Elect a mayor and a city council that doesn't have their head up their ass. We had 100,000 protesters in Madison and you didn't see our cops busting heads.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:33 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


SFPD is getting in on the action: stream
posted by clorox at 10:03 PM on October 26, 2011


Good riddance.
posted by w_boodle at 10:13 PM on October 26, 2011


SFPD is getting in on the action: stream

Disregard, that was recorded. Live here: http://www.livestream.com/globalrevolution
posted by clorox at 10:24 PM on October 26, 2011


" I would have joined them. But, now. I have a mortgage. A truck payment. A wife, a kid, two dogs... I am not "free" and I know it - freedom is nothing left to lose, and I have a lot to lose."

Man was born free, and he is everywhere in chains.
posted by klangklangston at 10:35 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Interview and reddit thread on Scott Olsen.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:36 PM on October 26, 2011


Another reedit thread on taking action to force the police chief out.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:39 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


BART has shut down 12th Street Station, possibly trying to shut down Embarcadero as well.
posted by clorox at 10:42 PM on October 26, 2011


Embarcadero is shut.
posted by clorox at 10:44 PM on October 26, 2011


BART radio scanner, if anyone else is interested: here
posted by clorox at 10:48 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


#OccupyWallStreet votes for a National General Strike in support of #OccupyOakland on Wednesday, November 2nd.
posted by Skygazer at 11:02 PM on October 26, 2011 [5 favorites]


Honestly it's very very very strange listening to BART employees making jokes about wearing chastity belts in between calls for police backup...
posted by clorox at 11:02 PM on October 26, 2011


19th Street is closed preemptively.

http://bart.gov/schedules/advisories/index.aspx
posted by clorox at 11:21 PM on October 26, 2011


BART PD reports "bottles thrown near them."
posted by clorox at 11:24 PM on October 26, 2011


BART PD reports "bottles thrown near them."

Is nuking the protesters an option?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:30 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


BART reporting possible signs of Molotov cocktails and people asking if anyone had a lighter around 14th and Broadway.

Odds that it was a beer and he wanted a smoke: 1-10
posted by clorox at 11:31 PM on October 26, 2011 [4 favorites]


BART reporting possible signs of Molotov cocktails and people asking if anyone had a lighter around 14th and Broadway.

Okay that does it. I'm advocating for a tactical nuclear strike on Oakland. Surely that level of force is justified given the situation.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:38 PM on October 26, 2011 [2 favorites]


Thanks for wanting to nuke my city based on a rumor about a handful of people in the entire city.
posted by OrangeDrink at 11:40 PM on October 26, 2011


Re-calibrate your sarcasm detector, stat.
posted by mek at 11:45 PM on October 26, 2011 [12 favorites]


Last month I started my online exploration of the social justice movements of the 1960's because I thought what we have right now is a parallel of that time. No duh!

I was reading about how the various social justice movements were crushed and then demoralized after the terrible assassinations of JFK, MLK and then RFK. A lot of people gave up; and the ones who didn't give up were marginalized and opposed even more viciously often paying a terrible price. Kent State was three years after RFK's shooting.

But many people didn't give up, they fought harder and smarter and when people say they didn't achieve anything they are dead wrong. You really don't wanna see the world that came to be where they didn't fight and you don't want to see the world waiting for you if things don't get changed again.

Chris Hedges on the role of the protest movements

This is a valid part of democracy.
posted by vicx at 11:59 PM on October 26, 2011 [1 favorite]


"#OccupyWallStreet votes for a National General Strike in support of #OccupyOakland on Wednesday, November 2nd."

That's probably a bit of tactical overreach. It's one of those things where the folks likely to participate are those who are already underemployed. Outside organizations tend to not do well in mobilizing workplaces — that's why unions are important. If unions pick this up from OWS, it could gain some traction, but as just a vote on twitter, it's committing some of the legitimacy of the organizational muscle to something that's very unlikely to happen (though I bet my boss would give me the day off for a national strike.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:00 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


@mek. You're probably right. Sorry, tired, stressed after the protest.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:31 AM on October 27, 2011


I can't find anything on OWS actually calling for a national general strike. And yeah, I agree, that would definitely be an overreach right now, plus it's hard enough to organize for Oakland alone in that timeframe, let alone the country. Wait and see.
posted by mek at 12:35 AM on October 27, 2011


MC Hammer is there now.
posted by migurski at 12:43 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


At the General Assembly around 8pm in Oakland, Occupy Oakland voted and passed a call for a general strike on November 5th. Which is a Saturday. Which is weird.

I don't know what OWS in general has said.
posted by OrangeDrink at 12:46 AM on October 27, 2011


I believe the general strike in Oakland is set for Wednesday, November 2nd. (Someone upthread claimed OWS was organizing a national strike, I think that is fabricated.)
posted by mek at 12:51 AM on October 27, 2011


Personally, Dr. King had it all figured out. The "not resisting arrest" part is the key. Put all of the blame on the cops. There's the reason he's the only person in US history to lead a successful social change campaign of major scale and effect. -- Ironmouth
Plenty of Abolitionists were violent, and they succeeded. There were also other civil rights leaders who advocated different tactics. It's not like MLK was the dictator of the civil rights movement.
As a local Occupant, I am trying to confirm a story that circulated (I heard it secondhand from someone who read it on reddit/r/occupywallstreet) that in some cities, Police are directing criminals released from jail on bail etc. to go to the local Occupy Wall Street encampments. They are deliberately pushing criminal elements into the camps to disrupt them, to cause crimes that can be used as a pretext for police to invade and patrol the camps.
That particular rumor sounds kind of ridiculous, but Agent Provocateurs have always been used by the powerful. In fact, regardless of whatever nonsense Ironmouth spouts, there were problems at some of King's rallies, often times instigated by Agent Provocateurs. In any event, it's completely false to say that every rally that MLK lead was problem free.

I remember hearing in some history class that there was a garbage man strike or something where there were problems that later were attributed to plants. I can't find a reference at the moment.

Plus think about it -- I don't know about Oakland -- but if you were both an asshole and the CEO of a big bank and you wanted protect your social position, and you could spend tens of millions of dollars at short notice, wouldn't you hire Agent Provocateurs to fuck with the protests?
By your logic if I'm getting assaulted, the police shouldn't step in for fear of hurting the perpetrator? When people break the law, there are supposed to be consequences. That's how society works.
Well, they shouldn't pepper both of you with machine gun fire.
Police with automatic rifles, grenade launchers against crowds of civilians - it's absolutely ridiculous. It makes me feel crazy that this even needs to be noted. We need more people like Sgt. Shamar Thomas who know from experience when you really do need automatic rifles and grenade launchers, and to loudly state that this is not the place. These people are not the enemy.
The guy who took that canister to the head had served two deployments in Iraq.
This whole "Occupy" thing makes no sense to me. This is happening in America, not in some country where we don't already have systems in place to make a change (read democracy).
People feel the democratic system isn't working properly, because both parties are beholden to Wall Street and the 1%. People have no confidence in either the republican or democratic parties. A third party could be organized, and maybe these protests will result in the creation of one.
Newsweek, May 25, 1970, p. 30. A Newsweek poll reported that in placing blame for the shootings at Kent State :
10% blamed the Ohio National Guard
58% blamed the students
and 31% were undecided.
Most Americans had a favorable opinion of Sarah Palin when she was chosen as VP. People pointing to polling right after the Kent State shooting without pointing out that public opinion rapidly shifted after more information came out are doing people a disservice.
---

Also, it's not really clear to me why it's even so important for the park to be cleared. If there is a danger that people in the crowd are unsafe, how is shooting them in the face with teargas canisters going to make them safer?
posted by delmoi at 1:20 AM on October 27, 2011 [10 favorites]


Also, people up-thread were discussing whether doing something like "locking arms" or whatever counted as violent. What matters here is whether or not it looks violent on camera

Remember, if the purpose of a non-violent protest is to gain the upper hand in terms of public relations then anything that doesn't seem violent on TV isn't going to be a problem as far as achieving that goal. The only definition of "violence" here is the one that you need to achieve your goals.
posted by delmoi at 1:38 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


delmoi: People have no confidence in either the republican or democratic parties. A third party could be organized, and maybe these protests will result in the creation of one.

The problem is that third parties can't work within the confines of our current political and electoral system. The article argues that, even worse than being destined to failure, attempts by progressives to set up third parties actually tend to be counterproductive to progressive interests.

Lots of good stuff at Who Rules America - I believe that a number of the graphs in the now-famous Business Insider article on What the Wall street Protestors are so Angry About were sourced from this article on Wealth, Income and Power at Who Rules America (which graphs were generated based on data from a variety of other, third-party studies - an extensive list of footnotes is provided for those interested in knowing where their graphs and figures are coming from).
posted by syzygy at 2:11 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


By the way, if anyone's interested in taking a look at various protests, OccupyStream.com offers a sort of dashboard with quick access to livestreams from a number of protests around the US and the world.

Warning: can be highly addictive!
posted by syzygy at 2:18 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The problem is that third parties can't work within the confines of our current political and electoral system. The article argues that, even worse than being destined to failure, attempts by progressives to set up third parties actually tend to be counterproductive to progressive interests.

We're stuck with a two party system, but individual parties have been swapped out over time. Also, it could work if you could capture a majority in various districts. You could run candidates in very blue districts, and potentially take some seats from the democrats, without handing them to the republicans.
posted by delmoi at 2:23 AM on October 27, 2011


The guy who took that canister to the head had served two deployments in Iraq.

I certainly wasn't suggesting otherwise. It's great that VFP members are participating.
posted by odinsdream at 5:11 AM on October 27, 2011


Quote For The Day: "Historically, a story about people inside impressive buildings ignoring or even taunting people standing outside shouting at them turns out to be a story with an unhappy ending." - Lemony Snicket, a member of the Occupy Writers movement
posted by kliuless at 6:14 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


It seems to me that any third party - or a renewed democratic party - will only be a step in the right direction if it can go after the jugular of the rich - their ability to inject money into politics. Otherwise, as the past thirty years show, the influence of huge amounts of money will gradually sway the debate in a right-wing direction, even if in the short term people turn up to engage in political events like Obama's election, OWS and so on.

This means that lasting change will only come from disciplining the flow of money into politics in three major ways:

1) The rich and corporations must be prevented from injecting money into the political process or using their money to obtain undue influence. This will require a structure of law to counteract them in many different ways. It will require outlawing a number of activities that are currently legal, like lobbying. It should probably involve having political parties funded only by limited donations from individuals and matching funds from the state.

Furthermore, the ability of the rich to form separate and independent sources of power in the state, that they can then use to influence or corrupt the government, must be taken away.

This means:

a) higher progressive taxes on the wealthy, along with armies of lawyers and accountants employed by the government to ensure that they cannot hide their wealth.

b) a simplified tax system with fewer loopholes

And also these should be on the table, to limit the ability of someone with a very large amount of money to engage in propaganda:

c) laws to limit or abolish "think tanks". A lot of pseudo-scientific and pseudo-academic material is released by these organisations, which are essentially propaganda outfits. A few are left-wing organisations, which have been set up to counter their right-wing equivalents. The problem is that they muddy the waters - a society needs to make decisions based on accurate and informed academic information, not on whatever tortured and misleading account of the environment, tobacco, guns, the market etc. best serves the interests of the super-rich.

d) end the tax-exemption of churches that participate in politics in any way - any group that is essentially an extension of a political party, and a recruiting and rallying ground for its supporters, probably should not have tax exempt status.

e) restore the fairness doctrine, to prevent any news network from abusing its enormous reach and heritage of trust to become a propaganda outlet - nor should Fox News should not have the legal right to lie (which it does).

These things will help ordinary, middle class people who don't necessarily want to spend every moment of the day parsing highly biased news reporting to i) vote in more informed ways and ii) spend less time thinking about politics if they want to.

If rich people genuinely want to encourage the growth of knowledge, they can endow universities - and trust that the smart people those universities employ, operating in a rigorous professional context, will exercise their own judgements - not the judgement of the rich man by proxy.

They are also things that are worth doing regardless of the doctrines spouted by the outlets in question: they would reduce the amount of both right and left-wing propaganda.

The wealthy will complain that they will flee the country if these things are done. In practice, the majority will not, because people are afraid of radical change and because more socially equal societies are happier and safer places to live. But even if a few leave, they contribute relatively little to the economy anyway and basically tie up resources in big lumps, rather than contributing to demand. So let them go.

So, the first step is to take measures like these to reduce the power of the old elites. Then:

2) The fundamental legal structures that define corporations need to be altered, so that they are

a) more beholden to their workers - more inherently cooperative, like the corporations in Germany that have workers representatives on the board.

b) less able to create a class of CEOs who vote each other pay rises.

c) directed towards other social activities than profit.

d) certain major banks, which have proven to be untrustworthy and corrupt stewards of the public's money, should be nationalised.

If an ambitious group of people want to take over and corrupt a modern government like the United States, the present way that the business sector is set up and run makes it too easy for them to do so. If corporations were structured differently and had different goals built into them on a very fundamental legal level, they would be less useful as tools for the sociopathically ambitious.

NB: this assumes that there will always be sociopathically ambitious people who are prepared to exploit whatever sources of power exist in a society in order to dominate it. History suggests that this is a reasonable assumption.

Finally -

3) Government can and should step in as a major employer, as it did in the 1930s.

In particular, wherever government can do something better than private enterprise (and there are a great many areas where it can, including creating demand in the economy and handling healthcare) it should do so.

For the past thirty years, America has been crippling its government in order to give a small number of people in the private sector the opportunity to make out like bandits. This needs to stop.

If government employs a large number of people, then a large number of people will have a vested interest in government functioning and be that much more skeptical about claims that the private sector is always better - at least, until about fifty years pass, a generation grows up taking for granted the blessings they have been given and people start to forget what the dangers inherent in the system really are.

None of this is suggesting setting up a command economy. The point is simply to restructure a fundamentally flexible capitalist economy with two goals:

1) to avoid the emergence of a corrupt and entrenched elite who are "too big to fail"

and

2) to empower every citizen - not just a small minority who have won one of the various lotteries on offer - to use his or her own judgement, initiative and creativity.
posted by lucien_reeve at 6:24 AM on October 27, 2011 [21 favorites]


With a little indentation, lucien_reeve, I'd probably vote you right smack into office!
posted by theredpen at 6:26 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is happening in America, not in some country where we don't already have systems in place to make a change (read democracy). If people don't like something, there are channels and routes to follow to change what they don't like - lobby, introduce legislation, call your congress person, vote, etc. Standing around and holding signs and chanting just doesn't change or make laws that people have problems with.

Here's the problem.

1. I call up my Senator -- Senator Schumer -- and ask for things. The only thing I can offer in return is "I'll vote for you."

2. Donald Trump -- who also lives in my state -- calls up Senator Schumer and asks for things. But what he offers in return is, "not only will I vote for you, I'll contribute $500K to your reelection campaign."

Now, both Donald Trump and I are exercising that "democracy". But if Trump and I want different things, and Schumer has to pick one, do you really think he's going to go against the wishes of the guy who can give his re-election campaign some money?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:42 AM on October 27, 2011 [24 favorites]


I honestly think a lot of democrats in a lot of these cities are playing with fire here playing footsie with the occupy people. They're encouraging the demonstrations for political reasons, but at the same time, they're going to be responsible for clearing them out. It's going to end up getting ugly. Oakland is probably the first example of it, but there will be more cities that are going to have problems.

And it's Democrats vs Democrats in all these cities. The government are democrats, so are the cops.
posted by empath at 6:46 AM on October 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Just to follow up on some of the Occupy Baltimore eviction announcements that were made upthread, the local Police, Teacher, Firefighters and other unions sent a letter to the mayor (Stephanie Rawlings Blake) stating that they were unequivocally opposed to the forced eviction of the protesters. It is pretty inspiring.

Here's a link to the letter...

posted by cloeburner at 7:31 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


A general strike is a no-go. As was stated above: "There is no way I am jeopardizing what I worked so hard for to join in a protest I fundamentally agree with." If I lost my job, we'd be in serious financial trouble. If my husband lost his job, it would mean eviction and bankruptcy for sure.

This movement isn't far enough along. It barely shows up on most of my friends' and family members' radar, unless they either already agree with it or vehemently disagree. The ones in the middle are busy posting pictures of pumpkin patches. This needs to take hold of national consciousness. EVERYONE needs to be talking about it. The 5% or 10% that would maybe skip work for the general strike won't make any difference.
posted by desjardins at 7:32 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


The general strike probably will be a failure in terms of numbers. But I think it will be a good sort of failure since they'll learn how to organize and plan for the next one. Protesters approved the thing in the heat of the moment and I don't blame them since I would have voted for it too if I was there.

And based on the mood in Oakland, maybe the general strike will be a local success which will provide nationwide encouragement for the next round.
posted by honestcoyote at 7:43 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's encouraging to me that the idea of a general strike is still in the air; I wondered if it was dead completely after it failed to materialize in Madison. I don't know if it will happen this time—desjardins, I bet the movement is definitely on people's radar in Oakland, and they are only calling for a local general strike, not a national one—but it makes me happy that the idea doesn't seem like it's ready to die yet.
posted by enn at 7:58 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Here is some good news: SFPD called off its planned raid for the wee hours.
posted by zomg at 8:30 AM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I think a lot of OWS participants and supporters are not necessarily Democrats--but independents, socialists, anarchists, freethinkers, small "d" democrats and just angry, disenfranchised people with no particular loyalty to a political party.
posted by overglow at 10:13 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


According to a KCBS poll, 72% of respondents disapproved of the city of Oakland's handling of the protests on Tuesday night, 56% felt the police response was too harsh, 30% said the police response had been about right, and 11% said that the action wasn’t harsh enough.

That's 10% too many.
posted by crunchland at 10:19 AM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


11% said that the action wasn’t harsh enough.

11% of the people in any poll would probably be in favor of summary executions of democrats and liberals, tbh.
posted by empath at 10:20 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


overglow - that is correct - even some more Libertarian style folks support it (the real Libertarians not the ones who are apologists for Republican rule).

That said, there was a video on boingboing of some of this, and the anarchists were yelling at the hippies. Hippies were trying to defuse the situation and say "Cops are people, too" and the anarchists, of course were all like "Shut up liberal!"

It pisses me off. Because I have a soft spot in my heart for anarchy, and 10 years ago, I may have been one of those fuckwads. And I am not a fan of the sellout nature of liberalism, and I don't think everything is all hippie dippie peace and love.

But they lack long term strategic thinking and are just into the macho-thug trip of testosteroned young males, and it frustrates me that their actions help enable the view of the movement as dangerous.

If you want a revolution you shits, you'd better stop pretending like you're some sort of revolutionary vanguard who knows better than the masses - you guys almost sound like some sort of fucking Leninists. The hippies are more anarchist in their political structure than these "lifestyle anarchists" are (man, 10 years ago I would have told current me to fuck off).
posted by symbioid at 10:44 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


MC Hammer is there now

Hammer, don't hurt 'em!
posted by Trurl at 11:07 AM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Church cannot answer peaceful protest with violence
posted by jeffburdges at 11:09 AM on October 27, 2011


All Eyes on Occupy Oakland: Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Jail.
posted by ericb at 11:51 AM on October 27, 2011


Jon Stewart Targets Oakland Police on 'The Daily Show' [video | 03:21].
posted by ericb at 11:53 AM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


But they lack long term strategic thinking and are just into the macho-thug trip of testosteroned young males, and it frustrates me that their actions help enable the view of the movement as dangerous.

symbioid, have you ever heard the term "manarchist"? Because that's pretty much exactly what the word means.

Also, I am a hippie and an anarchist, but am probably generally more comfortable in hippie-type spaces than hypermilitant anarchist ones.
posted by overglow at 12:45 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Symbioid: PLEASE TALK SOME SENSE INTO THE MANARCHISTS! I generally like them, actually, on a personal level, and often they have great politics in many respects. But a little mentorship would do everyone a world of good.
posted by flotson at 2:03 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Symbiod, what overglow said; and while it's certainly true you do get some ideology bound anarchists (the True Believers who are substituting Cause for Self) and they tend to be the loudest [favourite quote found today relates: "why is it that people with closed minds can't come with closed mouths?"], I don't think (with fingers crossed) that they are really representative of the anarchist cloud as a whole.

There's the whole tactical frivolity thing, with the pink bloc, CIRCA and the like. Part of whose job it seems (unspoken) is to defuse situations, which kinda includes stopping the black bloc and the police having a machismo fuelled cocklength-fest circle jerk.

I mean, I hate and fear clowns as much as the next rational thinker, but they aren't incapable of good.

There are also quite a lot of peeps (citation needed) who are the intellectual inheritors of the anarchism without adjectives lineage: including those who see their role as assisting the poor, tired, and huddles masses (longing to be free, or at least not quite so upside down on their debts) to arise ( Emma ) Lazarus like into a world without rentiers and exploitation -- Without any fixed idea of what the rules of that world would necessarily be.
posted by titus-g at 2:06 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Speaking of anarchists named Emma: Emma Goldman's passion for free expression burns on
posted by homunculus at 2:13 PM on October 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


How to help: Veterans for Peace, where you can donate to help cover Olsen's medical expenses.
posted by crunchland at 2:44 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Matt Taibbi: Wall Street Isn't Winning – It's Cheating.
posted by ericb at 2:58 PM on October 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


My friends here in Vancouver are pretty convinced that some sort of more serious struggle is up the road. They are wondering though, will it be noisy enough that they'll have to come down to burn the capitol again? I mean, we did practice with burning bits of a city just now.

Please no. Vancouver is one of the few cities in North America where the government is being reasonable. Mayor Robinson would like to see the Art Gallery site dismantled, but he has not resorted to force or fraud.

"I know, looking at other cities that have descended into chaos with tear gas and arrests and violence, that [forcing protesters out] is not the way forward," Robertson told reporters.

"And precipitating that with threats and ultimatums is totally irresponsible."


To date, as far as I'm aware, the VPD has been calm, quiet and professional. It's confusing. There supposed to be overreacting. We just had a riot a few months ago. Where's the overreaction?

Given that in Vancouver we've currently got nonviolent protesters and nonviolent authorities, how on earth could violence be justified?

Nonviolent methods are serious.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:51 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anthony Bologna the NYPD Commander caught using pepper-spray on two female Occupy Wall Street protestors in September has been transferred to work in Staten Island.

(Where he lives...)

*Eyeroll*

posted by Skygazer at 5:55 PM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Despite Iraq Vet’s Cracked Skull, DoJ Sees No Evil in Occupy Crackdown
posted by crunchland at 6:44 PM on October 27, 2011


Anthony Bologna the NYPD Commander caught using pepper-spray on two female Occupy Wall Street protestors in September has been transferred to work in Staten Island.

From the article:

Earlier this month, Bologna was disciplined with a loss of 10 vacation days, or the equivalent in pay docked from his $154,000 annual salary.

Holy shit! I had no idea NY cops made that much. He's not in the 1%, but he's close: 6%.

The NYPD has one hell of a labor union.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:04 PM on October 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Emma Goldman's passion for free expression burns on

It kind of glosses over the fact that she was a supporter of political assassinations and inspired two of them.
posted by empath at 12:19 AM on October 28, 2011


I found myself in the OccupyToronto march to Nathan Philips Square on Saturday completely by chance. (I took a number of photographs which are not yet ready for public view.) One event really stood out for me, though. At the tail end of the march there were a few cops just keeping things tidy so traffic could resume after the stragglers. They, the cops that is, seemed really cool and engaged with the protesters in a non-resentful way. Now I know that TO cops have a bad rep but these particular guys seemed to get it. So that was a huge relief and a big sign to me that this isn't a fringe bozo movement but instead something real people with real jobs can connect and engage with, even if they don't have the opportunity to camp out in public 24/7.

I do wish, however, this had started in April rather than September because it's going to be long, cold winter.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:31 AM on October 28, 2011


Holy shit! I had no idea NY cops made that much.

Bologna is a Lieutenant. I'd wager his salary is not the same as other regular cops.

There's some controversy over whether these officers are paid for by Wall Street, as well:
The city gets a 10 percent administrative fee for allowing officers to take the side job in uniform – as long as they wear white shirts instead of the rank-and-file dark blue uniforms.
posted by odinsdream at 6:32 AM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Odinsdream, that is so deeply fucked up I don't even have words for it. For City cops to literally be allowed to don a specialized attire and be a mini-army on call for Wall street is to me the height of arrogance. And it raises some serious questions:

Are Wall street bosses who hire "White Shirts" given special treatment by the NYPD for being their sometime benefactors? Do they give bonuses under the table (and you better bet your ass they do) or completely on the up and up, and how is that not a legal form of privileged access to a resource that's supposed to serve and protect ALL THE PEOPLE.

It also jibs with my sense that there's not only an extremely privileged class in the City of 1% with deep political ties, but also a special status.

It's difficult to unwrangle this, but see in many ways the police in NY have always had a special relationship to Wall Street because many of their brothers and sisters and other family members, from the outer boroughs and Jersey and Long Island either decide to "work for the city" as Cops or Fireman (depending on demeanor of course, and you can bet there are those whose who're too dumb or too violent to be Firemen) or take the Series 7 Stockbroker test which doesn't require a college diploma.

What this has done is create a very Right-Wing specialized class in NYC with deep and inter-related family ties in both the NYPD and on Wall Street. In essence the "White Shirts" are very much a private and specialized standing, and on call private army with broad Law Enforcement powers of arrest (ie: the right to legally harass and bully, threaten and arrest) for specifically, the 1%.

It's a bad, bad precedent for a people's police force to be under the control of private influence because I would bet my right arm that getting on the "White Shirt" detail is incredibly lucrative.

Add to this fucked up mixture the fact that since 911 the NYPD has been raised up to the status of de facto "heros" and, well, as much as the OWS movement wants to get the NYPD on it's side, it needs to realize that even within the NYPD and institutionalized within it is the idea that it's got closer ties to the 1% than it does to the 99%, because that 1% can punch their meal ticket BIGTIME to the tune of an extra 100K, if not more a year in getting the special "White Shirt" detail.


I can't believe it's taken this long to expose this, but it's been a sense I've had for a while, and this is really the missing link here that makes this all make sense.

It would seem to me the NYPD needs to do some soul searching and decide who it really works for....there can be no doubt that it's special relationship with Wall Street MUST END immediately and investigations into the sorts of "legal bribes" that have been going on begin.

Of course, Guiliani was the one who originated this, guy wouldn't've been Mayor without the support of the NYPD, and the borough of Staten Island (I grew up there), where so many Police live and as do their brothers and sisters and other extended family members who took the Series 7 and 63 tests to work on Wall Street (who in turn throw special lucrative "white shirt" jobs back to them).

Tony Baloney just uncovered the rats nest here in the life blood of the City. Thank you Tony Baloney,


...you fucking corrupt sadist.

posted by Skygazer at 7:12 AM on October 28, 2011 [5 favorites]


empath: "Emma Goldman's passion for free expression burns on

It kind of glosses over the fact that she was a supporter of political assassinations and inspired two of them.
"

Didn't she eventually change that stance? And besides Czolgosz (I think he was the guy behind McKinley, right?) who else did she inspire?
posted by symbioid at 7:14 AM on October 28, 2011


Oh look, the apologist wingers are now trying to smear Scott Olsen. It never ceases to amaze me the levels they'll stoop to.
posted by wierdo at 8:08 AM on October 28, 2011


Add to this fucked up mixture the fact that since 911 the NYPD has been raised up to the status of de facto "heros" ...

And this has already been used in the specific case of Tony Bologna, who did in fact serve on 9/11, and wears a badge indicating as much.
posted by odinsdream at 8:24 AM on October 28, 2011


And...bingo you have an elite group (even those nowhere inside or near the WTC on 911), with access to special political considerations, with connections to Wall Street via family and assignments, and mostly GOP ans with a fierce hatred of the Left (also in display in Wall Street) and you have an entire culture of lies and manipulation propped up law enforcement.

It's a whole NYC Bridge and Tunnel Culture of blue-collar guys who're the muscle and the worker bees of the 1%, yet have the benefit of a union, who've completely sold out their blue collar, working-class brothers and sisters, who might not be lucky enough to be Old School NYC Irish or Italian-American (I'm Italian American).

Add on top of this a Guiliani who's going to treat the NYPD with kid gloves (as is his copy-cat successor Bloomberg) and what's emerging here is a level of corruption in the NYPD Executive rank that's not only "legalized" and "encouraged," but is used to politically effect blue collar opinion and that rots away union protections for others, even while it makes it's own union more effective and more powerful.
posted by Skygazer at 8:58 AM on October 28, 2011


Police Violence Against Veterans: A Long and Painful Legacy
posted by homunculus at 11:47 AM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Occupy Camps In Nashville And San Diego Broken Up -- "In NYC, generators used for heating, cooking seized on safety grounds."
posted by ericb at 11:49 AM on October 28, 2011


The Livestream Ended: How I Got Off My Computer And Onto The Street At Occupy Oakland
After three decades as an American citizen and years of leaving messages for my representative, only last night, speaking into the human microphone, did I feel for the first time that my political participation could matter.
posted by finite at 11:55 AM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Video: Scott Olsen Before Getting Hit at Occupy Oakland.

Scott Olsen 'Cannot Talk' After Injury At Occupy Oakland Protest -- "Iraq war veteran is believed to have sustained damage to speech center of his brain in injury at Occupy protest on Tuesday."

Scott Olsen Vigil Attended By Thousands, Mayor Quan Booed.
posted by ericb at 11:57 AM on October 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Re: Quan booed ... Good. They need to learn that they cannot let the police state fire at us. They can offer all the kind words they want *after* the fact, but until they prove it with words not just now when the wounds are fresh, but weeks from now and not when it's just election season... then she deserves it.

And fuck Bloomberg "oh we're not trying to stop them from speaking - just freeze them out of speaking"

Like do they really think we're so stupid as to believe that shit? I know - he's just doing what he can through quasi-legal channels to shut it down.

I'm not sure why Madison continues to be pushed around from one park to another instead of, like they were back in February - occupying the state capitol like we did. That's where we need to be.
posted by symbioid at 12:07 PM on October 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Anon hacks Oakland PD's website and releases personal info (link to a news story about it on SC Magazine, not a direct link to said info)
posted by symbioid at 12:20 PM on October 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


According to the Pastebin document, Anonymous is offering a "no questions asked" $1,000 reward for information about the officer who threw the projectile at Olsen.

I have some questions.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:34 PM on October 28, 2011


Washington Post Illustrates Oakland Police Brutality With Cop Petting Kitty

oakland riot cat
posted by homunculus at 2:53 PM on October 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Commissioner says Occupy Nashville curfew unconstitutional. All warrants revoked.
posted by JackarypQQ at 2:28 AM on October 29, 2011 [2 favorites]


More link dumping:
forceclosure lawyers mock foreclosed house owners in Halloween costume party...
posted by symbioid at 8:10 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Symbioid,

Law Profiteers would seem a more accurate term than lawyers in that case.

The 'product' is a means to make money, rather an end in itself. What was that quote about 2 masters and mammon again?
posted by titus-g at 9:35 AM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy RoundUp: San Diego and Nashville Protestors Arrested; Egyptians March in Solidarity
posted by homunculus at 12:06 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


JackarypQQ wrote: Commissioner says Occupy Nashville curfew unconstitutional. All warrants revoked

Good news. I do find these jailhouse courtrooms a little disturbing, though. It looks like something you'd find in a totalitarian state.
posted by wierdo at 12:20 PM on October 29, 2011


Tech-Savvy Occupy Protesters Use Cellphone Video, Social Networking To Publicize Police Abuse.
posted by ericb at 5:26 PM on October 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


Your An Idiot
posted by homunculus at 12:42 PM on November 1, 2011


Occupy Oakland Prepares for General Strike as War Veterans Organize Day of Action at Occupy Camps
posted by homunculus at 9:00 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Occupy Round Up: Oakland General Strike, Virginia Bulldozers, and Court Victory
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on November 2, 2011 [1 favorite]


Keep Wall St. Occupied
posted by jeffburdges at 10:50 AM on November 2, 2011


Video of a police officer in Oakland shooting a cameraman without any apparent reason or provocation.
posted by odinsdream at 7:49 AM on November 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Berkeley police unwind with a little bit of the o'l ultra-violence.
posted by the_artificer at 12:33 PM on November 10, 2011 [1 favorite]


Man shot, killed near Occupy Oakland encampment
posted by BobbyVan at 6:54 PM on November 10, 2011 [2 favorites]


Fallujah Veteran: 'I Served The 1%'
posted by homunculus at 10:16 PM on November 10, 2011 [3 favorites]


forceclosure lawyers mock foreclosed house owners in Halloween costume party...

Awful Homelessness-Mocking Foreclosure Firm Closes
posted by homunculus at 5:13 PM on November 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


Last night Occupy Oakland "occupied" a vacant lot on the corner of 18th & Linden in West O. The understanding is that the guys organizing it have been in contact with the owner. The property is ~$5,000 in arrears to the tax man and is in danger of foreclosure. They have the owner's permission to Occupy and are going to dare the banks to evict them or buy them out. I'm sure more information will have come to light on the issue by this morning.

Here's a summary of what I saw and some pictures I took. Jean Quan and Team Vader have rousted and dug out the camps at Oscar Grant Plaza and Snow Park and by the Veterans Building.

But as of yesterday there is a new front in the War On Tents open in Oaktown. FUCK THE BANKS WHERE THEY LIVE AND BREATH, RIGHT IN THE FORECLOSURE! HOLLA!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:14 AM on November 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Okay, so 18th & Linden is no more. The Occupiers have vacated after receiving a notice from the Owner Mrs Cobb that she didn't want them there. The local understanding round here is that they had a verbal agreement with a younger family member who actually lives at the property. The legal enforceability of that agreement was considered, but once the note from Mrs. Cobb arrived they vacated. The presumption was that they had permission, and whether it had been rescinded or never existed in the first place, once it was gone so were they.

Local speculation is thick re: Whether or not the Cobbs actually support the idea of the Occupation but worry that the City establishment (the Cobb family is involved with publishing the Oakland Post) &/or the banks would come down on them.

But the lot sits vacant at 18th & Linden. Downtown, armed private security guards are patrolling Oscar Grant Plaza at all times, mercenaries in Mayor Jean Quan's War On Tents. The mud they guard, unmolested by the 1st amendment.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:56 AM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


Latest word from the OO Gen. Assembly: Lawyers say a 24-7 vigil is cool, as long as people aren't sleeping. Tents, med clinics, signs, library, go. Voted 100% in favor.

WE BACK, BIZZLES!
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 9:00 PM on November 23, 2011 [3 favorites]


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