Media Roots: Occupy Oakland — Police Tear Gas, Black Bloc, War in the Streets

Abby Martin of Media Roots was on the front lines of the war in the streets of Oakland during the aftermath of the Occupy Oakland general strike and shutdown of the port on November 2, 2011. Over 10,000 peaceful protesters successfully shut down the Port of Oakland, the fifth largest port in the country at 8 p.m. earlier that night. About two hours later, the anarchist “Black Bloc” came to downtown, smashing windows of banks and setting trash cans on fire. The Oakland PD in full riot gear lined up and marched toward the now out of control rally. They started firing smoke grenades and tear gas into the crowd of people, to which people starting throwing bottles and other objects back to the police. After the crowd scattered, the police lined up and starting to close in and arrest the remaining protesters at the Occupy Oakland camp:

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  • MoralDrift

    setting fires in the street is sure to provoke a police response no doubt about it. That being said, I still support the bravery of the protestors, or at least those with sense

  • Anonymous

    setting fires in the street is sure to provoke a police response no doubt about it. That being said, I still support the bravery of the protestors, or at least those with sense

  • Anonymous

    setting fires in the street is sure to provoke a police response no doubt about it. That being said, I still support the bravery of the protestors, or at least those with sense

  • Aram Jahn

    I still don’t feel like I have a good handle on the so-called Black Bloc, but this so far follows a general historical pattern of successful labor agitation-action of non-violent civil disobedience, and then SOME SORT OF PRETEXT for tarring the entire movement which was just starting to prove itself…Anyone who’s read Zinn’s A People’s History knows what I’m groping at here. I’m not saying the Black Bloc are Agents Provocateurs, but there could be a few “inside” who actuated this? Maybe…

    I suspect we’ll learn more in the ensuing weeks.

    One thing all Occupy camps can be virtually certain of, the more successful they become: paranoia will start to spread like wildfire: Who knows who that dude over there is? When did he first come here? Do you trust him? He said there were FBI here, dressed to look like one of us, etc. It’s also the basic history of COINTELPRO.

    My take? Hey, I refuse to be paranoid. That’s a losing game. If I’m in it, I’m responsible for what I do. There’s a hazard of GroupThink. I’m NOT going to break windows or shoot at people. No matter what.

    It’s not an easy game when people inside the movement become paranoid, and they WILL get paranoid. The Big Q is what do you do with it?

    • Redacted

      That is certainly a righteous angle to take, and a positive mode of thought.

  • Aram Jahn

    I still don’t feel like I have a good handle on the so-called Black Bloc, but this so far follows a general historical pattern of successful labor agitation-action of non-violent civil disobedience, and then SOME SORT OF PRETEXT for tarring the entire movement which was just starting to prove itself…Anyone who’s read Zinn’s A People’s History knows what I’m groping at here. I’m not saying the Black Bloc are Agents Provocateurs, but there could be a few “inside” who actuated this? Maybe…

    I suspect we’ll learn more in the ensuing weeks.

    One thing all Occupy camps can be virtually certain of, the more successful they become: paranoia will start to spread like wildfire: Who knows who that dude over there is? When did he first come here? Do you trust him? He said there were FBI here, dressed to look like one of us, etc. It’s also the basic history of COINTELPRO.

    My take? Hey, I refuse to be paranoid. That’s a losing game. If I’m in it, I’m responsible for what I do. There’s a hazard of GroupThink. I’m NOT going to break windows or shoot at people. No matter what.

    It’s not an easy game when people inside the movement become paranoid, and they WILL get paranoid. The Big Q is what do you do with it?

  • Heath

    Perhaps a registered protester database or a bar code, maybe an inserted identification device? Nahh that won’t work. Has to be some way of identifying an authentic non violent protester..

    • Happymuffin

      Nobody wear masks.

      Black Bloc always wear masks, right?

      So, none of the protesters should wear masks.

  • Heath

    Perhaps a registered protester database or a bar code, maybe an inserted identification device? Nahh that won’t work. Has to be some way of identifying an authentic non violent protester..

  • apostle

    This is typical FBI tactics. To infiltrate a group and cause problems, history is full of such things. The FBI exists to protect the 1%ers. 

    • Lee Swain

      As far back as I remember the so called “Black Block” have been well known covert ops to give the police reason to clamp down on protesters. In fact many “Black Block” members have been previously exposed as law enforcement!

  • apostle

    This is typical FBI tactics. To infiltrate a group and cause problems, history is full of such things. The FBI exists to protect the 1%ers. 

  • Parabolee

    As far back as I remember the so called “Black Block” have been well known covert ops to give the police reason to clamp down on protesters. In fact many “Black Block” members have been previously exposed as law enforcement!

  • BuzzCoastin

    The countries that Der Homeland invades
    get treated much more violently than this.

    Der Homeland accidentally kills about 150 Afghan civilians every month
    in order to preserve peace and safety for Homelanders (the 1%)
    so this is just a warm-up for things to come.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MK04Df02.html

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The countries that Der Homeland invades
    get treated much more violently than this.

    Der Homeland accidentally kills about 150 Afghan civilians every month
    in order to preserve peace and safety for Homelanders (the 1%)
    so this is just a warm-up for things to come.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MK04Df02.html

  • http://buzzcoastin.posterous.com BuzzCoastin

    The countries that Der Homeland invades
    get treated much more violently than this.

    Der Homeland accidentally kills about 150 Afghan civilians every month
    in order to preserve peace and safety for Homelanders (the 1%)
    so this is just a warm-up for things to come.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/MK04Df02.html

  • Happymuffin

    Nobody wear masks.

    Black Bloc always wear masks, right?

    So, none of the protesters should wear masks.

  • Anonymous

    That is certainly a righteous angle to take, and a positive mode of thought.

  • 5by5

    Aram Jahn might have doubts that the Black Bloc are agent provocateurs, but after a decade of these sorts of protests where these are ALWAYS the same guys who start shit, and half the time, they’re later discovered to be cops, I’m reasonably convinced that if you see those asshats at your protest, the PROTESTERS should deal with them first.

    I’ll bet you real money that within a few minutes you’ll see them retreat past the police line, and the police will mysteriously let them in.

    Non-violence has to MEAN SOMETHING. And if you’re not on board with that, then you’re not welcome.

  • 5by5

    Aram Jahn might have doubts that the Black Bloc are agent provocateurs, but after a decade of these sorts of protests where these are ALWAYS the same guys who start shit, and half the time, they’re later discovered to be cops, I’m reasonably convinced that if you see those asshats at your protest, the PROTESTERS should deal with them first.

    I’ll bet you real money that within a few minutes you’ll see them retreat past the police line, and the police will mysteriously let them in.

    Non-violence has to MEAN SOMETHING. And if you’re not on board with that, then you’re not welcome.

  • 5by5

    Aram Jahn might have doubts that the Black Bloc are agent provocateurs, but after a decade of these sorts of protests where these are ALWAYS the same guys who start shit, and half the time, they’re later discovered to be cops, I’m reasonably convinced that if you see those asshats at your protest, the PROTESTERS should deal with them first.

    I’ll bet you real money that within a few minutes you’ll see them retreat past the police line, and the police will mysteriously let them in.

    Non-violence has to MEAN SOMETHING. And if you’re not on board with that, then you’re not welcome.

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