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East Bay | Police State and Prisons

An Open Letter to Occupy Oakland from One Anarchist
by An Anarchist
Sunday Nov 6th, 2011 5:38 PM
from one occupier to everyone else
An Open Letter to Occupy Oakland from One Anarchist

Parroting the absurdities of Acting OPD Chief Jordan, the mainstream and self-proclaimed “alternative” media have been trying to outdo one another with their scurrilous denunciations of “anarchists” for the actions of last Wednesday's Black Bloc. They have taken it upon themselves to further a process that has already begun inside OO of marking a separation between good protesters (the ones who obey the law) and bad protesters (the ones who cause trouble), with “anarchists” becoming a convenient scapegoat and stand-in for “bad” ones.

I for one will not denounce actions that come under the umbrella of Diversity of Tactics (the practical manifestation of agreeing to disagree); the property destruction that occurred last week is miniscule and mostly symbolic compared to the real daily violence people suffer at the hands of evictions, school closures, the shutting down of low-cost health services for the most vulnerable among Oaklanders, and police brutality. People are right to be angry, and they are right to act on that anger. The aggressive vigilantism of the voluntary enforcers of capitalist relations (the Peace Police) is much more disturbing.

The scapegoating of “anarchists” is made easier by the climate of ideological denunciations from the Left and Right. It's fair to say that nobody but anarchists like other anarchists – and even that's a stretch.

But before the urge comes up to denounce anarchists whenever anything doesn't go your way, think about this: if it weren't for anarchists being involved in the pre-occupation organization of OO, it wouldn't look the way it does now. If anarchists hadn't been involved in laying the foundations for the modified consensus process being used at virtually all meetings, including the GA, the decision-making process would be much more cumbersome and disempowering. If anarchists hadn't been involved in helping to make the sub-committee infrastructures possible, they would become increasingly bureaucratic and centralized in the hands of politicians with personal and/or organizational agendas. If anarchists hadn't been involved in making the Plaza a politician-free and police-free zone, there would not be the kind of autonomous and empowering space all of us have come to appreciate about OO.

Anarchists at OO have been largely invisible as anarchists because we are not interested in converting people or recruiting them into little political cults. We prefer to help built community as caring individuals and affinity groups, to be known as trustworthy allies in the fight against all forms of interpersonal and systemic violence. We are present in all aspects of helping organize and sustain OO, making it a positive space, liberated from oppression – not in spite of, but BECAUSE we are anarchists.