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Who is the Occupy Oakland Media Collective?
The Occupy Oakland Media Collective claims to represent Occupy Oakland, speaking on behalf of the movement claiming that the tactics of the “Oakland Commune” turned people off. But these new “official” representatives played no serious role in organizing any of the mass actions. However, they have done much to take credit for them and even, it seems, profit off of them.
Recent articles have quoted Shake Anderson and others as a representatives of Occupy Oakland apologizing for past actions of the movement. This includes an article in the Oakland Tribune and another by Kevin Zeese, an activist in Washington, DC.
Anderson and the Occupy Oakland Media Collective claim to be on an “apology campaign” to defend Occupy Oakland from the “Oakland Commune.”
First, the Oakland Commune is simply a nickname for the camp at Oscar Grant Plaza and the community that grew out of it, no more, no less. It is a term of endearment used by Occupy Oakland participants, not some separate shady organization.
The Occupy Oakland Media Collective does not represent Occupy Oakland.
Far from it.
From January to March, the Occupy Oakland Media Collective–then known as the “OO Media” committee–met in secret while pretending to have a transparent committee open to all, eventually expelling members of the committee who did not agree with an article they published on their web site. The article in question ridiculously and offensively accused an Arab-American activist in Occupy Oakland of being both a terrorist and a federal agent–based on “evidence” from a Department of Defense anti-terrorism document!–that was briefly published on hellaoccupyoakland.org.
The racist nature of this accusation was contradictory to everything the Occupy movement stands for. The Occupy Oakland General Assembly voted to distance itself from the group in March 2012.
Rather than abide by this resolution, the Occupy Oakland Media Collective renounced the General Assembly–which passed this vote of over 140 people with 90% supporting–and decided to go its own way. They chose to leave Occupy Oakland rather than apologize for their offensive behavior and now have a highly restrictive membership policy which is an affront to the open-air organizing that took place in October and November of 2011 at Oscar Grant Plaza.
The Occupy Oakland Media Collective now claims to represent Occupy Oakland, speaking on behalf of the movement claiming that the tactics of the “Oakland Commune” turned people off. But these new “official” representatives played no serious role in organizing any of the mass actions. However, they have done much to take credit for them and even, it seems, profit off of them.
Occupy Oakland does not have a position for or against vandalism and activists have varying attitudes toward this tactic. The Occupy Oakland Media Collective hopes to attract attention to themselves over this issue while doing nothing to clarify the distinction between a few broken windows compared to massive police repression, assault and arrests. The Occupy Oakland Media Collective is playing directly into the hands of the opponents of the Occupy movement in the media, in City Hall and even vigilantes who call on Oaklanders to “beat the shit out of anarchists/vandals.”
The only true representative of the movement is the General Assembly. The General Assembly has spoken against the Occupy Oakland Media Collective. They do not represent Occupy Oakland, so please do not quote them as doing so.
The General Assembly no longer has large enough attendance to reach quorum–requiring at least 75 people–so it cannot speak for itself. The Occupy Oakland Media Collective, which is literally a handful of people, have attempted to fill the void. They can do what they wish, but claiming to be Occupy Oakland is utterly disingenuous.
Many of the activists who made up Occupy Oakland have continued organizing around school and library closures, prisoner solidarity, feminist marches, anti-police violence protests, labor solidarity and other actions while the Occupy Oakland Media Collective does what it only knows how–increase its web traffic by claiming to be something that it is not.
The media collective known as "Hella Occupy Oakland" is a rogue group and does not speak for Occupy Oakland in any capacity.
I've seen a lot of people posting links to articles from Hella Occupy Oakland. I will not even give them the traffic by linking to their page. I am boycotting them and am asking everyone else that cares about resistance to do the same. These are the reasons why:
The people in charge of HOO were the original Occupy Oakland Media Committee. They fucked up badly. They created a rumor that one of our members, who happens to be Middle Eastern, was a terrorist. They outed him as a terrorist by name, linking to a page on a government site that had a profile of someone they claimed was this member of OO. It was not. When called out on how dangerous and destructive this was, and how they'd put not only this member of OO in extreme danger, they had done it to every member of the community, rather than retract it and apologize, they continued to spread these rumors and defend them to this day, despite them being clearly and resoundingly debunked with five minutes of research by someone with a clear head and no fantasy axe to grind.
Once things got to this point, the General Assembly called for a vote to denounce the actions of this committee and to disband it. It passed with a large margin, several months ago. The original media committee -- Hella Occupy Oakland -- was disbanded, denounced and a new media committee was formed.
To add insult to injury, rather than retracting and apologizing, which has been an avenue open to them from the beginning, they formed the HOO media collective, and began publishing under the Occupy Oakland name WITHOUT GA APPROVAL AND DESPITE THE COMMUNITY'S CENSURE.
I have personal knowledge and have seen again and again that they publish stories and other work by people that are not part of the collective, without giving proper credit.
Now that OO hasn't quorum and isn't currently able to speak for itself, HOO has tried to co-opt the OO name by speaking on its behalf and apologizing to the community for certain types of actions performed during protests (some of which had nothing to do with Occupy Oakland) in an effort to further divide us into factions. They are spreading rumors about Finance and Anti Repression that are not true. The division has been cynically painted as a race issue to obscure what is really going on, which is that a cabal of people who have committed these crimes (yes I said crimes) against the people of Occupy Oakland and the greater community are actively trying to co-opt or destroy Occupy Oakland.
I stand by my words, and the words I speak in this post are true. Please share this far and wide and boycott the HOO site.
I would like to make one minor correction to this piece: Not all the original members of the Media Committee were involved in the "secret cabal" and they voluntarily disbanded and have not associated themselves with HOO. I wanted to make clear that not all original members of the Occupy Oakland Media Committee are rogues or tainted by these bad actions.