On November 2, 2011, Occupy Oakland held a General Strike. Occupy Oakland is one of the few hundred United States cities that are participating in the Occupy Wall Street movement that started in New York’s Zuccotti Park. Several thousand Occupy Oakland protesters marched to the Oakland Port in the afternoon and shut down the nation’s fifth busiest port.
(Here is the direct link to the photo gallery. I added the link on November 2, 2015, because the flash gallery is not easily viewed or read on smartphones.)
Occupy Oakland was mostly peaceful, until much later Wednesday evening, when it was not. Of the 103 protesters who were arrested November 2nd and early November 3, only 32 were reportedly from Oakland. Some were from East Coast states. Many of the peaceful protesters attempted to stop the “anarchists” from breaking store windows and vandalizing property. Others protesters helped clean up the next day.
As a person with epilepsy, I am familiar with belonging to a large diverse group. Those of us with epilepsy belong to every subgroup in America, including the top 1%. Organizing us and organizing the 99% is much like herding cats, except cats do not steal kids Halloween ninja costumes, rename them Black Bloc, hide amongst peaceful protesters and then throw rocks at the Whole Foods window and tag local businesses with spray paint.
The destruction was unfortunate and predictable. It was unfortunate, because Oakland is a great city, despite our problems. The destruction was more troubling, because as Occupy Oakland organizers knew, “The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.”
We failed. We were the 2003-2010 version of the Oakland Raiders.
We failed early and often, and by We, I mean the 99%. The political leaders failed to lead. The Organizers failed to organize. Frank Ogawa Plaza had his name taken from the plaza by people who were probably unaware of the history of Japanese Americans being taken from their homes. Now, the Occupy Oakland story is about a couple white people who were “brutalized” by the Oakland Police Department. I feel bad for Scott Campbell. I really do. He got shot in the leg with a rubber bullet.
I feel worse for poor kids and families in Oakland. How did Occupy Oakland become about some guy getting a bruise?