The Infectious Escalation of Occupy Oakland

402px-Occupy_Oakland_PosterNatalie W writes at Diatribe Media:

An unofficial count of 400 Occupy Oakland demonstrators were arrested Saturday, January 28, after being fired upon, beaten, kettled, and trapped by Oakland riot police.

The Occupy Oakland social movement is rooted in the lower-income, ethnically diverse Bay area city and has been a previous site of violent police repression. Oakland has been a nexus of social unrest long before the Occupation catalyzed it as an outlet for frustration.

Oakland boasts closing public schools, an annual median family income at $56,000 in 2008, and in 2010, it was listed as the fifth most dangerous in the US with a history of police brutality. With all of these simmering tensions, Occupy Oakland’s actions should not come as a surprise to anyone, least of all elected officials like Mayor Quan and Interim Police Chief Howard Jordan.

The Occupy movement is a global social demonstration aimed at overturning the interconnectivity of money/economic/political entitlement. In 2011, acting under orders from Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland cops destroyed two Occupy encampments on public land. The immediate aftermath of their and other cities police forces’ wanton destruction of the camps created dialogue about the definition of public space, the role of elected officials and the need for the Occupy movement.

Occupy Oakland furthered the debate by their attempt to re-purpose the 6-year abandoned and shuttered Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center. The convention center has no current plans for use and Occupiers intended to repurpose it as a community center, intending to offer housing, medical and convergence facilities. The simple fact that Occupy Oakland decided to enact this bold move is an indication that the public’s needs are not being met by their elected officials.

According to an eyewitness account from an arrested Mother Jones reporter, during an all-day festival, thousands of Occupy Oakland supporters demonstrated against the broken system, but did not take the abandoned convention center. Still, hundreds of police officers dressed in riot gear arrived to face down over a thousand Oakland men, women, and children as they walked the streets and sidewalks carrying signs, chanting and singing.

According to the Huffington Post, there was a volley of tear gas and bottles between the police and protesters on the streets. According to various YouTube citizen video footage, the cops shot tear gas and flash bang grenades into lines of protesters, including a group of shield-carrying people protecting a medic as the masked individual provided medical assistance to a fallen man. Protesters retaliated by throwing bottles, furniture and rocks.  Last year, brave men and women waded into the tear gas to rescue Scott Olsen after he was shot in the head by a tear gas canister. They were dispersed when an officer shot a canister of tear gas directly into their group.

Read the full post at Diatribe Media

8 Comments on "The Infectious Escalation of Occupy Oakland"

  1. Anarchy Pony | Jan 31, 2012 at 7:01 pm |

    On the Scott Olsen part, he was hit in the head by a tear gas canister, but then those that went to help him were scattered by a hand tossed flash bang grenade, in the video you can see it get tossed up over the police barricade, not by another fired tear gas canister. Small quibble but the devil is in the details.

  2. Liam_McGonagle | Jan 31, 2012 at 7:31 pm |

    “They only call it class warfare when we fight back,”

    • Anarchy Pony | Jan 31, 2012 at 8:01 pm |

      Ironic huh? Ain’t a problem when the Uber Menschen take it all away, but suddenly when the unter menschen try and get it back, then they must be evil lefty terrorists trying to steal the hard work of the masters or destroy American Exceptionalism(TM).

      “You wretches are detestable both on land and on sea. You seek equality with the lords, but you are unworthy to live. Give this message to your fellows: rustics you are, and rustics you will always be. You will remain in bondage, not as before, but incomparably harsher. For as long as we live we will strive to suppress you, and your misery will be an example to prosperity.” <-Richard II. That's what the rich and powerful all really think of the rest of us, and what they want for us, I think I speak for everyone with even the slightest bit of self respect when I say fuck them, let's burn it all down around them.

    • Technically fighting back is when it stops being a class massacre, and becomes class warfare.

      • Liam_McGonagle | Feb 1, 2012 at 12:19 pm |

        Or as Stephen Colbert put it in “I am American–And So Can You”:

        ” . . . a class massacre, or ‘classacre’.”

  3. The stupid cops making less than $60,000 a year to protect
    the bankers’ interests have got to be the BIGGEST DOUCHE BAGS off all. I like
    to think that they imagine that they are part of the 1%, just protecting their
    own interests. The reality is that they are just poor little pawns, lining up
    on the wrong side of the field. They should take a look around their own
    families and neighborhoods, what are they fighting for?? It is certainly not
    TRUTH or JUSTICE, or the PUBLIC TRUST. And it’s not money, $60,000 a year for
    doing the kind of work they do is ABSURD. So why protect the bankers and the
    pikers?? The worst thing about the justice system in the USA is that the people
    running the system are so goddamn stubborn; they feel that they are NEVER
    wrong, even when they’re completely wrong. They’re never willing to admit
    mistakes, always resistant to any change, and generally abuse the privileges
    the position affords them.

    I feel a change in the winds however. I believe that the systematic
    disenfranchisement of the American youth is going to provide the catalyst we
    need to instigate the public unrest that will be nessasary for the revolution
    to occur.

  4. Let us not forget the role of the police in the French revolution, the Russian revolution, and more recently in Egypt. They are, to the last, defenders of autocrats and the status quo, and will happily do so with shocking violence.

    I also want to encourage readers to look into Oakland councilmember Ignacio De La Fuente. This drunk-driving politico not only wants to enforce youth curfews in Oakland, but is exploring ways to charge Occupy Oakland activists as terrorists under the new NDAA. If this were a good world, such a psuedo-fascist position would spell the end of his political career.

  5. chris massey-lynch | Feb 9, 2012 at 6:25 am |

    get better Scott Olsen 

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