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Occupy Oakland is Dead
by Antibloc
Monday Jan 30th, 2012 5:29 PM
Occupy Oakland is Dead
Yesterday afternoon's gambit was a disaster
Occupy Oakland is Dead
Yesterday afternoon's gambit was a disaster (hellaoccupyoakland.org/j28-movein-day-weekend-action-occupy-oakland-building-takeover/). The three of us who were there together noticed right away that there weren't enough people. A majority of those at the march didn't know that the closed/abandoned Kaiser Convention Center was the target of the Move-In. The cops knew and were already waiting for us; what they didn't know was which route we'd be taking -- no wonder they were only lined up behind us! The attempt of a self-selected and purportedly stealthy central committee to keep the target a secret was doomed. To believe that such a crucial subcommittee (in terms of planning something that's clearly illegal) would not be infiltrated or under more intense surveillance than the rest of OO was an unfortunate coupling of naïveté with smug self-assurance.
There had been a lot of chatter about what Move-In Day was supposed to look like. Part of that included a sense that there was more than one target on the agenda, that there was an alternative in the event that the primary target was not possible to take, let alone hold. This turned out not to be the case. There were no diversionary tactics, no scouts reporting on the deployment of OPD at the Convention Center, no contingencies in place. Rather than showing some tactical and strategic flexibility and strength, for example, by regrouping and announcing that we were to move on to a Plan B or C (someplace aside from the target of November 2 ; see: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2011/11/03/18697018.php), whatever leadership (or vibe in the crowd) existed decided instead to confront the cops in a semi-collective flexing of militant muscle. Such posturing is self-defeating, bringing to mind that other debacle of earlier in the week: the now-infamous press conference, in which threats were made against the city in the case of any repression being used against the Move-In.
When the organizer on the sound truck announced that the truck would be staying near the north entrance of Laney College and told folks to continue through the campus, the festive momentum which has always accompanied the techno music being blared through its speakers evaporated. OPD had already blocked off all the entrances/exits on the side of the campus facing the Convention Center, had already lined up their white vans along the street outside the building, and had made it clear from their massive presence around the building that they would not tolerate anyone coming within reach of the fence, let alone the Center itself. If a combative mood had existed with any consistency, it was quickly dissipated by the bottleneck effect of wandering through a maze of hideous architecture meant to disperse people. With no clear path to the objective, this effectively broke the march into several discrete clusters, in which none of the participants could tell what was supposed to happen next. By the time we made it up and around the campus, we were a full block south of the target building, and it took us another ten to fifteen minutes to catch up with the front of the reconstituted march. We missed the first volley of tear gas.
The declaration that the demonstration was an illegal assembly soon followed, and the march continued back toward the north end of the Oakland Museum (directly next to the Convention Center), where a line of masked Occupiers with shields pushed their way toward a line of riot police. Behind us and around the corner, the cops who'd first fired the tear gas followed us at a safe distance, widening and reinforcing the perimeter away from the Convention Center, clearly with the eventual plan to kettle at least the more confrontational demonstrators. The cops being faced down by the shielded Occupiers fired tear gas, "bean bag" rounds (which are filled with buckshot, not beans), hardened rubber projectiles, and flash-bang grenades. Despite some initial panic, the line held, the Black Bloc doing precisely what it's supposed to do; the most positive development of the afternoon (independent of the many other strategic failures) is that folks now have a better idea of what it means to have a flash-bang grenade go off nearby. It frightens you once; it's quite startling and unusual, meant to instill fear and panic, but then the novelty of this form of intimidation wears off. All the chemical and so-called less-than-lethal weapons used against us were ultimately ineffective; we only ran when charged by the cops swinging their batons.
It was at about the same time that another squad of riot cops tried to ambush us and kettle the demonstrators who'd stayed about a half-block behind the front line. They were not successful, but they still used their usual intimidating and chilling tactic (because of its deliberately random and arbitrary quality) of pushing and striking people who don't move quickly enough out of the space over which they are trying to reassert their de jure control. Two bicyclists were forcefully pushed over on the sidewalk, entangling each other -- and one of us -- in their twisted wheels and frames. Batons were swinging wildly, one blow striking the young woman next to us; she was trying to get up and keep moving when the cop struck her directly across her back as hard as he could. Fortunately she was wearing a backpack (presumably not perceptible to the cop, who was clearly intending to do nothing else but hurt her badly), and the blow was cushioned and dissipated. In the middle of the street, there were about five or six riot cops who, in their zealousness to inflict damage on people, had rushed beyond their defensive line. One cop was especially brutal, clubbing a young man several times after he had fallen to the ground; she swung her baton like a baseball bat, with both hands. Soon, she and the others next to her realized they were overextended, and retreated to the line, and the entire line then retreated another 30 yards to reform their phalanx and secure the intersection.
The level of gratuitous brutality against people who are not posing any discernible threat to them is more proof -- if any more were actually needed -- that the cops are professional bullies, who enjoy inflicting physical punishment on defenseless and unthreatening people.


That OO has been dying a slow death from at least the time of the second clearance of the Plaza is obvious to anyone looking at it critically. The almost imperceptible (at least to those who weren't expecting it) aggregation of power/influence by a self-selected coterie of professional Leftist intellectuals (academics and other specialists in revolt) has been ongoing, the seeds of this bureaucratization predating the occupation of the Plaza. The lack of long-term strategic thinking (which began with the choice of the Plaza in the first place -- OO immediately kettled itself in an indefensible location) and/or the reluctance to learn any strategic lessons, has thwarted activists on the Left for generations. The leadership (elected, self-appointed, whatever) can't seem to wrap its collective mind around the fact that they keep repeating the same failed strategies and tactics that crippled the New Left , the anti-nuke movement, the Central America solidarity movement, the anti-Iraq War movement, and now the Occupy movement. Despite the pro forma adherence of most organizers to (the appearance of) participatory democracy, the centralization of tasks, power, and knowledge, coupled with the allure of celebrity has been too enticing for certain personality types and individuals to avoid. The pre-OO movements represented minorities (some more sizable than others), yet our predecessors in them behaved as if street theater and the conceit of moral superiority would be able to influence politicians to alter their policies, whether through the unmasking of their hypocrisy or some other ploy meant to turn regular people against them. How many more times must we endure invocations of Gandhi and MLK?
Occupy comes along and through the completely incoherent -- but shrewdly deployed -- marketing slogan "We are the 99%," it suddenly it looks like Occupy has the potential to be the largest minority movement of contestation seen in this country since... ever. The participation of everyday people from all different economic and social classes was a large part of the contagion of festivity and openness that characterized Occupy Oakland in its initial and most vibrant phase, the high-point of which was the first Port Shutdown -- and that ended with the second clearance. It wasn't just the usual suspects: the sanctimonious, mostly white, mostly middle class, vaguely anti-capitalist, professional activists.
The usual suspects, unaccustomed as they are to having to engage in a political environment based on widespread personal involvement, personal investment, and personal commitment -- and perhaps more importantly, unaccustomed to interacting with people previously uninterested in such things -- couldn't come up with any strategies to keep those regular folks interested in continual participation. Their bureaucratic tendencies began creeping into the open with their cozying up to Organized Labor, an early self-destructive move (for Occupy as a whole, not for the leadership, for whom it was an astute career move); the failed Labor Solidarity March in mid-October that was supposed to end at the encampment was an early indication that this strategy was doomed, while the recent fist-fight and condemnation of outside agitators in Washington was only the latest.
But the appeal of Occupy was that the inherent crises of capitalism are finally affecting almost everyone (save the mythical 1%); it was beginning to look like critically -- even radically! -- examining capitalism itself in a more mainstream context was no longer taboo; it was beginning to look like a class-based critique was becoming acceptable discourse. With the usual professional Leftist intelligentsia more firmly in control of the content and direction of Occupy Oakland tactics and strategies, however, the likelihood of a return to that initial wide appeal -- based on the workable and attractive principles (although not without their unique problems) of non-hierarchical decision making and the refusal to issue demands -- seems practically non-existent. The potential gateway that Occupy offered for truly radical critiques and ruptures -- especially and specifically those offered by avoiding the usual Leftist trajectory of becoming bogged down in the sectarian squabbling and false opposition to capitalism of Party Marxism -- is now more remote than ever.
The militant posturing that raised the stakes of confrontation at last week's press conference was one more example of how out of touch the self-appointed grandstanding leadership has become. What were Oakland's Mayor and Police Department supposed to do to save face? Was there any other response anticipated by OO's leadership than the usual brutality we've come to expect from OPD? Whatever happened to the strategies of those who know they are less powerful, like ridicule, like picking battles we can occasionally win? We already know who will lose in those frontal confrontations, but apparently the Occupy bureaucrats can't be bothered to remember something so mundane as the history of radical movements.
Whatever potential support the Move-In might have had from the primarily good relations OO had developed over the past three or four months with regular people in Oakland, around the country, and around the world was flushed away. Who reported on or quoted the statements of the other subcommittees? Will those other statements even be remembered? Everyone centered on the stupid threats to occupy City Hall, the Oakland International Airport, or to shut down the port again. The much-touted presence of the Children's Bloc at the Move-In march was a collection of activists who happen to have kids. We didn't see many of the regular folks we'd encountered at the Plaza participating at yesterday's rally and march; the hundreds of demonstrators appeared to be almost exclusively experienced activists. The thousands more who would have been required to take over and defend a building the size of the Convention Center never materialized, and the blame must be put squarely on the numerous strategic miscalculations and failures of the self-appointed organizers of the Move-In as well as the wider de facto leadership of OO.
It is not strategically wise to issue a threat you can't back up. It is not strategically wise to boast of your plans, especially when you can be reasonably certain that the cops will escalate their response. It is not strategically wise to aggravate or otherwise provoke bullies -- especially a gang of professional bullies. It is not strategically wise to put all your eggs in one basket and not have a contingency plan in place, just in case. The train wreck was guaranteed, and that's what we got yesterday in downtown Oakland.
No matter how many images of the cops kicking the shit out of Occupiers on January 28th (and next time) circulate on mainstream and social media, no matter how many positive experiences everyday people had at OO events or just hanging at the Plaza prior to the second clearing, no matter how many attempts there are of Occupiers to lick their wounds, regroup, and try again to move OO to the next step and take over a defensible building, the participation of regular folks is certainly now over. Regardless of the million problems that existed in Occupy Oakland (whether from the abuse of modified consensus, or the lack of willingness to discuss what it means to reclaim public space and move toward disrespecting private property, or the naïveté of most of the regular folks), the active participation of those regular folks was the only thing keeping OO from devolving into yet another absurd Leftist spectacle of half-assed dissent and truncated opposition.
It is certain that some rump of OO will continue to carry on, but the thrill is gone.
Occupy Oakland is Dead; Long Live Occupy Oakland!

-- an affinity group affiliated with the Anti-Bureaucratic Bloc

January 29, 2012 (antibloc2012 [at] gmail.com)

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Jonathan Crocodile
Monday Jan 30th, 2012 7:11 PM
No, Occupy Oakland is not dead, and not by a long shot:

"Yesterday afternoon's gambit was a disaster..."

Well, as disasters go it wasn't all that much of a disaster. Nobody was gravely injured and no one is going to do major prison time over this. So we didn't take the building -- so what. The Auditorium was not a make or break target. If we'd taken it, that wasn't going to turn the tide of the social conflict in our favor. And not taking it has not resulted in our eclipse or downfall.

Many or even most of the particulars of your critique are valid. But like it or not, right now Occupy Oakland is -- and here I go being an ideologically self-indulgent ultra-left -- the "organic vanguard" of antagonism to capital in the United States. Okay, with mainstream people I'm now putting the ultra-left-speak into a profound state of suspended animation. So put it this way instead -- Occupy Oakland is the flying wedge, we are the ones out front -- Occuoy Oakland leads the way right now. Mistakes and cock-ups aside, WE ARE SETTING A STELLAR EXAMPLE FOR OTHER OCCUPIERS IN THE REST OF THE U.S. RIGHT NOW. Other intelligent, thoughtful and combative people are plenty fucking inspired by this. That's a good thing -- don't sell it short!

Again, the specifics of what you are saying have merit. But this is the central problem in your piece here; the attempted occupation of the Auditorium and OO itself are mere baby steps in a long, torturous project of mass resistance and social transformation. As such, they are bound to be a mixed bag and have many screw-ups and contradictory features, but that doesn't mean throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Your critique is too narrowly focused on the particulars here and not on grasping that Saturday's events are just one of a number of stones in the river we have to cross.

As to the leftist/Leninist problem: I've spoken with other folks who've been around a long time and the "consensus" here is that not only have Leninist groups been unable to hijack Occupy Oakland, but that the Leninist branch of the left-wing of capital have been systematically unable to even integrate themselves into OO. Occupy's anti-heirarchical structure has made it a slippery pig for the M-L's and their Trotskyist analogues.

"Do not forget that the social struggle also includes the political one" Marx is quoted as saying in the (Bordigist/'Programma') 'The Fundamentals of Revolutionary Communism.' Don't give up so easy; Occupy Oakland isn't going away, even if you choose to -- and that's absolutely not the choice you should go for now. Use your polemical chops to 'militate' for your perspectives within Occupy Oakland. I'm not saying I agree with everything you're all about, either, but it will still be better if you stick around instead of going off in a huff.

"...the participation of regular folks is certainly now over."

Mainstream working people haven't been driven away from Occupy Oakland because for the most part they haven't been involved to begin with. Public manifestations of OO like Saturday's efforts are actually causing a sort of small scale crisis of the state and of effective governance in the city of Oakland; the city administration and the cops keep using the same measures and getting the same unsucessful results. Nobody is being scared off by them, and for their side that's getting to be a real problem! Their frustration, exasperation and powerlessness is palpable.

Pursuing big public efforts like the attempted Auditorium takeover is a good thing but OO now has to start branching out into the undramatic, mundane, everyday life concerns of the vast majority of mainstream wage-earners who have never been to a demo before. The vague talk of a Service Worker's Assembly can become a useful expression of this. And we can learn from what we didn't do with the attempted general strike of Nov. 2nd in building towards a more widespread mass workplace walkout for this Tuesday, May One.

"Occupy comes along and through the completely incoherent -- but shrewdly deployed -- marketing (sic) slogan "We are the 99%," it suddenly it looks like Occupy has the potential to be the largest minority movement of contestation seen in this country since... ever..."

Please try to bear this in mind. This is all still in its beginning phase. Don't quit now and don't give up!

MAINSTREAM WAGE EARNERS AND ENLISTED PEOPLE IN THE ARMED FORCES ARE THE ONES WHO ARE GOING TO MATTER MOST!
by north bay occupier
Monday Jan 30th, 2012 10:09 PM
ya, I agree with the basic premise of this article, but think it's a little too negative and defeatist. What I've noticed from my occupation is that if people take the initiative, they can out-flank the opportunist and destructive elements and maintain the integrity of the movement. OO may have to deal with some fall-out and some blows to its reputation. But that can be repaired if there are just a few people willing to do some serious organizing among workers and low-income folks. The last poster was right on about the importance of not alienating the working-class by playing out revolutionary fantasies. No revolution can succeed without mass support, and street-fighting with the cops, while perhaps morally justifiable (though still complicated), is surely not going to win additional supporters to the movement. Chalk it up to a failed strategy and move on. learn from the mistakes, don't repeat them.
by Konsider
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 2:44 AM
I understand your point, but I don't agree. I think this march was actually a success in that it brought people together in solidarity, with focus on, and in opposition to the fact that there are these abandoned buildings everywhere, but so many who have no place to go. Of course the 1% machine retaliated against our resistance.
The problems in this capitalist society, with its primary goal and law being maximization of profit, with the biggest profits being in munitions and oil, are caused by the war economy. We have another warmongering fascist president, this time a Democrat, the same as the Republicans, who is planning to attack oil-rich Iran. It looks like he will have his puppet Israel do the dirty work, perhaps in October, to save his presidential campaign, an "October surprise." Around the world, we are having protests of this pending attack on a country of 77 million people that borders Russia, the biggest mineral prize of all. The date is
SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2012 AT NOON
AT
POWELL AND MARKET STREETS, SAN FRANCISCO (Powell St BART/Muni Metro)
See
http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/01/24/18705527.php

Domestically, the most important work you can do to end capitalism is LABOR ORGANIZING. This country is only 10% organized and is now a cheap labor haven. The current president, a Democrat, brags about Depression Detroit as an example of the future of this country, where the US government, as part of the deal to save the auto industry with our tax dollars, cut wages in half, abolished the right to strike, and cut pensions and medical benefits for retirees. HE PROMOTED DEPRESSION DETROIT AT HIS STATE OF THE UNION ADDRESS AND WAS APPLAUDED! Detroit in particular and the Midwest in general is one of the poorest areas in the country.

Oakland is a workingclass city, and also a suburb of San Francisco. The primary concerns of all are decent paying jobs for all. You could start organizing all the low paying jobs such as Starbucks, Jamba Juice Joints, the entire restaurant trade, all the retail clerk positions, and fight for a $30 per hour minimum wage and socialized medicine (single payer healthcare is pending in the California Legislature but that is still privately owned medicine with public funding) for starters. In the Bay Area, $30 per hour does NOT get you a house to own, which you only need if you make enough to itemize tax deductions, about $120,000 a year as a house is just a tax shelter. You can rent, you might support 1 person, but that is it. Socialized medicine means our tax dollars pay for all medical and dental care and related services and drugs, abortion and birth control from cradle to grave to all who live here on demand. The medical crisis in this country is the other major drain on the economy. Only a strong labor movement can win socialized medicine.

As to building takeovers for housing the homeless, it is best to have small groups take over apartment buildings with no public announcement. This avoids the hopeless fights with the police who have weapons of the military and clearly intend to and do use them.

On a larger scale, if we had 50% organized labor, we, the workingclass, could provide housing to the workingclass. In mind are the ILWU apartments in San Francisco near the cathedral on Geary Blvd at Laguna.

For those of you who vote, please only vote Peace & Freedom or Green, the only peace and pro-labor parties. See
http://www.peaceandfreedom.org/home/

http://www.cagreens.org/
http://www.gp.org/index.php
by Anibloc
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 10:16 AM
Well done. I'd really like to have this author on my Friday MIC Check Indy BTR show. Expanding the points / issues and the experience in Oakland. My name is Gwendolyn H. Barry. doiblender [at] yahoo.com is my email... I hope you'll consider contacting me. Thank you for your attention and your work. ghb
by Anon
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 1:55 PM
I think this piece is a pretty good account/critique of the move in action, though it doesn't cover the evening events which also deserves commentary. One point I think it gets wrong is that the action was pushed by and organized by some of the younger anarcho-insurrectionary people. They own this failure as much as anybody not some professional bureaucracy. I also think this piece is probably overly negative on the whole though many of the criticisms of this particular action, I think are dead on. Time will tell if this really was a fatal disaster or not for OO.

Some of the important points mentioned that i agree with were the lack of implementation of a supposed plan b, going into Laney, the very lame threats of shutting down the port and the airport, choosing fights that you can actually win, and most importantly the lack of overall strategic thinking. Unfortunately a lot of participants seem (for whatever reasons) unwilling to seriously examine obvious mistakes.

Hopefully OO won't degenerate into a reactive anti-police protest entity in the immediate or longer term. This could very well be fatal.
by meh
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 1:55 PM
good writers, biting critique, overall meh. the piece fails on the mistaken (and common) assumption that a purely tactical victory is the primary goal of OO (or any) social movement.

...and of course the action was represented on those terms, duh, that's called propaganda.
by phoca510
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 4:28 PM
> The much-touted presence of the Children's Bloc at the Move-In march was a collection of activists who happen to have kids.

Quite untrue, actually. I was one of those parents with my kid - I'm not an activist, or a "professional activist," or what have you. I'm just a guy who lives and works in Oakland and agrees with the aims of OO. I'd say that was the same for most of the parents there with the Children's Village.
by miles
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 6:45 PM
Pretty sure that nowhere in this important critique are there any points about achieving tactical victories (whatever those are). The main point I take away from this report is that tactical and strategic failures are destructive to "the movement." Whatever moral victory people think occurred over the cops by their disproportionate violence is counterbalanced by the fact that there are still people in jail from Saturday. 400 arrests is no kind of victory. When we get away with it (whatever "it" is in the context of a radical rupture or upheaval), THAT'S a victory, even if only temporary. That people who dismiss the tone of this piece can't see past this is why OO is destined to implode even more than it has already.
by Nestor Makhno
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 7:10 PM
‎1. Saturday was not a significant defeat,

2. The violence is caused by the OPD defending commodity relations, in the form of not allowing rebellious people to make use of a building that has been empty and unused for a long time, and,

3. We are now causing a sustained minor-league crisis of capitalist governance in Oakland. And we need to keep at it, while branching out into less dramatic everyday life struggles of mainstream wage earners who never go to demos...
by Not Nestor Makhno
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 8:35 PM
"1. Saturday was not a significant defeat,"
Making such a blanket statement shows your strategic acumen is below even that of Donald Rumsfeld.

"2. The violence is caused by the OPD defending commodity relations, in the form of not allowing rebellious people to make use of a building that has been empty and unused for a long time"
Oh no, the police are so mean. Who doesn't already know that the cops are more interested in defending private property than in stopping or solving "crime"? Are you claiming some form of inverted imminent domain now? Really radical dude.

"3. We are now causing a sustained minor-league crisis of capitalist governance in Oakland. And we need to keep at it, while branching out into less dramatic everyday life struggles of mainstream wage earners who never go to demos"
Who's this "we"? You are not creating any such thing. All you are is another body in these things because nobody who knows anything wants to have anything to do with you and your crackpot ideas. Why don't you try to impress some mainstream wage earner (a class you know nothing about, not being from it or in it) with your fancy ideas about the Hungary 1919 and lamenting not being able to form a one-man Cheka?
by RufusRastus
Tuesday Jan 31st, 2012 9:27 PM

Well, as Mainstream Wage Earner, who works downtown Oakland, who was annoyed by the occupation of Frank Ogawa Plaza, but who nevertheless participated in the gatherings there, Occupy Oakland has lost me. I refuse to participate in a movement that does not specifically renounce violence. And the Enlisted Members of the Armed Forces I work with daily were never convinced, and recent actions have been condemned VOICIFEROUSLY in the break room.

You're losing, not winning. What is Plan B?

Occupy Orange County a better model?
The nov. 2 travelers aid debacle and this Move in disaster have been very damaging to OO. The insurrectionists should take the fucking blame. Fucking arrogance.

The author is obviously an anarchist, he/she should take them specifically to task.

Occupy Oakland is probably in it's death spiral though it won't go down easy for sure
by Palmares
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 10:09 AM
I agree with many points the original post made, but I am not ready to give up on OO yet. Certain things were crystallized by this latest actions, and we now need to take some simple action to remedy it. That there is leadership, and who that leadership is becoming clearer. Quite a few of us have been observing and researching certain actors and certain trends. I concur that the real leadership is probably mostly a crew of academics, writers, professors, or some combo there of. At least when it comes to the big actions. In addition, some of these folks have worked together in the past, and have even modeled some of the big actions on previous campaigns. These were campaigns that didn't happen in Oakland btw. I even think that some of these folks have brought some of their star pupils with them as the second command.

The Media Committee is one place that some of these folks have congregated (although the actual names of Media Committee members does not appear to be available to the general public. Even on the main media page there are no names and contact info.....hmmm... Certain people have been developing OO propaganda that pushes a certain narrative.... here is one such piece. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-Poo4Mso3sE&sns=fb. Many of these same folks cross pollinate other key committees, as well as the action committees for each big action, and thus are able to get their needs met in a way that is bizarrely reminiscent of the current system that we are supposedly fighting.

I have watched this from various vantage points since the inception of OO. Is this opportunism, vanguard ism, some bizarre anthropological experiment being inflicted on us? Nobody knows because this leadership never makes itself available for in person critique. They don't use the facebook pages that others are on, they don't hold any debriefings after the various clusterfucks that they initiate...Now if these leaders were doing a great job, perhaps this wouldn't be a problem,... but it is clear to most of us who have been involved in direct action for sometime, that a good grasp of tactics, strategy, contingency plans and implementation, community relations, out reach, and other key aspects of building a successful action are not evident with this group of self appointed leaders of the leaderless movement. And since these folks never make themselves available for questioning or critique we are left to speculate. If I am wrong about this I will be happy to admit it, but so far instead of answering criticism, leadership and folks that agree ideologically or whatever with them, have been very good at dismissing or bullying people who disagree with them. They turn questions around strategy into a litmus test of one radicalness, and people who don't agree with them are labeled as reformist who are just scared, or as divisive people who are intent on fracturing our so called "solidarity"..

.Regarding the Move in, the biggest questions are obvious. Did they really believe that they could keep the site a secret? I had heard rumors of the kaiser site, but had dismissed them, until it was confirmed to me the night before the action. I foolishly assumed that the organizers were sure that they would have at least five thousand folks, which to me seems like the minimum needed to pull off even a brief takeover of the kaiser building. I was also told at that time that their were two back up buildings, which were nearby, and smaller, and thus easier to take which made me feel reassured. SO when I got to the plaza at noon to take part on the kids village events, ( I am a father who happens to be an activist btw...), and saw a crowd which was not even close to 1000, people and was very homogenous, I became concerned. I assumed that there wouldn't even be an attempt to take the kaiser, even if there were reinforcements on the way, it would not be enough to pull it off. And the homogeneity o the crowd is problematic for various reasons, the main one being that it is an easy way for the PTB, to divide the movement from Oakland in the event of failed action, because that crowd just did not look like Oakland.

So I am wondering what decisions were made at that point? Why try to take kaiser. I didn't go on the march, but from what I understand the cops were not caught off guard..in fact they were their waiting for the crowd at Kaiser. big surprise..duh... To me this is where the biggest f up came. At that point it was imperative that one of the back up sites be taken or at least a valiant attempt needed to be made. Had we taken any building, even just for a few hours the story the next day would have been totally different. We could have kept focus on the real issue, vacant buildings whole people die in the streets, or struggle to pay rent. I am pissed that the main message was lot, and that the issue is once again police repression. Police repression may give us a small jolt, but in the long run images of the cops brutalizing masked malcontents serves the needs of the power structure, and actually de radicalizes many regular folks. I wonder if the back up plan,after the predictable failure to take Kaiser, was actually just to create a shit storm police riot. With all of the political, and resource capital that went into this event...WE NEEDED TO TAKE A BUILDING or at least put a up a damn good fight trying. then it would have been a much more sympathetic and morale boosting event.

I can live with some random acts of stupidity if a major goal is accomplished, but with no building we were left with answering for dumbass vandals or agents posing as dumbass vandals..which leads to another point..you can't have a semi secret, very illegal plan, and expect the regular folks to show up. This was obviously a risky and dangerous move, being conducted by a group that is widely unknown to most people here in Oakland. And despite the use of a "Festival" as cover for the action...folks knew it was risky and they stayed away. I don't think the numbers were indicative of the amount of"support" OO has..but you can't have shadowy non leaders replete with fake identities in some cases, calling on people to come support an action in which only the cops and the organizers know for sure what the target is, and expect many but the people most committed to getting their asses kicked, show up. There needs to be transparency, and accountability. This pattern has repeated itself several times..Predictably many are now questioning how deep the infiltration runs in the inner circle. I have no specific people that i think are cops, but I assume that they are around at all levels.

So what can be done in the short term..a couple of things right off the bat is to break up, and reorganize the key committees, and require transparency. We need more folks who are not entrenched in the little faux radical paradigm that envelopes many who have the time to spend day after day. (there is really a question of class that is pretty ironic given the nature of this movement. Are academics with possible career stakes in how events play out, and who have in some cases advance degrees from some of our fanciest colleges the people who should be shaping this movement? And, If you can't use your real name, and/or you refuse to be available to the general public then you shouldn't expect to be in a position of great influence, where your actions and decisions effect peoples lives, and the health of the movement. Security culture is selfish culture imo, and it is plain silly to. The idea that people who were at Mosswood at the right day back in October, were supposed to fill key committee sots, and shape those committees for any long stretch is undemocratic, and seems to be in direct conflict with nature of this movement. There needs to be a new system that is shaped by the larger OO community, with built in mechanisms to fight against individuals or groups from wielding to much power. I will be coming with a proposal around this soon.....the second thing that can be done, is to show up to the GA and vote down any grandiose action plans that the usual shadow leaders are bound to come up with. Indeed, my sources tell me that the Move in Group has declared Saturday a great success, and is already hatching their next plot. Until they can be accountable they need to be blocked..simple as that..the third thing we can do is get more active in committees, and working groups and bring people back...this is a key moment, it is not the time to walk away...I don't enjoy playing the role of the asshole who will call people out and name names, and threaten to block votes, but so many of my people have been driven away from this process, while the people who appear to be driving people away go unchallenged. I want my friends and neighbors to come back, and if it means making some folks uncomfortable I will do it...the alternative is that OO will die a apinful death,and a huge opportunity to help the people here will have been lost..
by J.B.
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 7:00 PM
"We are now causing a sustained minor-league crisis of capitalist governance in Oakland..."

And this can be seen in the fulminating frustration of Jean Quan, other Oakland elected officials, Chief Jordan and Corporate America's media acolytes! LET'S KEEP AT IT!

Plus, add this to the mix: "...And we need to keep at it, while branching out into less dramatic everyday life struggles of mainstream wage earners who never go to demos...
by Antibloc
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 7:46 PM
Anti-Bureaucratic Bloc Teach-in
START DATE: Sunday February 05
TIME: 11:00 AM - 3:00 PM
Location Details:
The Holdout
2313 San Pablo, Oakland
Event Type: Class/Workshop
Contact Name antibloc
Email Address antibloc2012 [at] gmail.com
Phone Number
Address
Two-part teach-in/discussion. Part 1. The anarchist provenance of most of the tools and strategies of Occupy Oakland along with a critical appraisal of them. Part 2. A historical outline of anti-bureaucratic tendencies in radical anti-capitalist movements.
by Antibloc
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 7:53 PM
Palmares, you got it so right - even more right than you might think. There's a definite coterie of academics and their grad student pals who have been there from before the occupation (the Mosswood Park meetings, but there had already been one before those two), and they definitely have a specific agenda that they are already accustomed to keeping on the down-low, and have been doing it that way for at least the past 25 years. Only the youngest are strangers to some of us. Come to the Holdout on Sunday for some lively discussions about your ideas on remedying this unfortunate series of events.
by Palmares
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 9:06 PM
Sounds like you have some details that might tie things together for some of us who have been investigating the weirdness for a few months. A few people from the Mosswood days, and the early days of the camp, had some info (UC Student Strike of 2009 for example) that pointed the way, and I have gotten a general handle on who a few of these folks are. Not putting the names out there , but at least some of them were in that video. It has been interesting that these folks helped create or possibly created the anti media stance that OO has taken, which has left this group as the only ones who are able to shape the message that OO puts out there. It has been tough for many of us who have been living and organizing in Oakland to see this kind of takeover, by whom,and for what??. It feels like some kind of social experiment, or career booster, or COINTELPRO action. I am curious to hear what you believe there agenda to be. I and a few others have been publicly calling on them to step forward and give a full scale account of the thinking that went on before , during, and after the Saturday action, because they have been at the center of all of the most contentious, divisive OO actions.. but they tend to avoid situations where they can't control the agenda as far as I can tell,.....weird shit...I am gonna pass this event info on to some other folks. Should I post it in my OO pages? We have compiled some info that might be new to you as well.
by Antibloc
Wednesday Feb 1st, 2012 9:22 PM
Palmares, email us at antibloc [at] gmail.com
by Carny
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2012 8:44 PM
The black block shenanigans and disregard of Oakland political/social ecology has pretty much cost OO its middle class support.
by miles
Thursday Feb 2nd, 2012 9:36 PM
You're probably right about the middle class, but where you see cause for lament, I see cause for celebration. When the middle class liberals feel unwelcome because we reject their sanctimonious values of propriety, we can get back to the serious debates around tactics that have nothing to do with hand wringing petitions for "non-violence" that have plagued our discussions for months at Occupy, and decades at the Revolution. Fuck the Popular Front in all its manifestations, including at Occupy. Just because you white middle class liberal whiners have finally realized that there's no social security left for you doesn't mean you're my comrades. GTFO.
by NM
Friday Feb 3rd, 2012 1:50 PM
i concur with the sentiments of Miles.
by urbaned
Friday Feb 3rd, 2012 4:54 PM
Do you want to create another fascist state where you rule, Miles, or are you willing to try a world of equality and peace? I daresay, the latter is more difficult to achieve, but I think the middle class is finally ready to get on board with it.