Monday, November 14, 2011

Un-Occupied Oakland

This morning, Occupy Oakland was peacefully evicted after "hundreds of police officers raided the Occupy Oakland tent city."  As of this writing "there were no reports of injuries or skirmishes and 32 were arrested for failing to disperse."  

No doubt the protesters will return.  What is unfortunate, as David Atkins writes is "the storyline of peaceful persistence at Occupy Oakland" has been somewhat overshadowed by a small group of "black bloc anarchists," whose "tactics threaten to discredit the movement in Oakland, hand easy fodder to the right-wing media machine, and who have been disrupting the General Assemblies as well."

Most Occupiers reject the anarchists and their destructive methods.  But given the movement's openness -- in many ways a great strength -- this is a tricky problem to solve.  Indeed, as Sara Robinson has noted, popular movements have long had to cope with what she refers to as the "asshole problem."

Atkins concludes:  "If one of the movement's goals is to not only advocate for different public policy but a rethinking of the way society itself is organized, it will have to find an effective way of dealing with people whose only interest is in derailing the movement for their own whims."

Occupy Oakland will reconverge at the Oakland Public Library this afternoon a 4 PM.  Hopefully the Occupiers will regain the momentum they had before the disruption of vandalism and violence, and as Joan Walsh writes, "find a new way to channel the transformative energy the movement generated."

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