Occupy Oakland and general strike call - updates and discussion

General strike?

Following the violent eviction of Occupy Oakland by police in which Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen was left critically injured, and assembly voted to build for a wildcat general strike on 2 November. Updates and discussion in the comments below.

A couple days ago, the Oakland police forcibly evicted Occupy Oakland with tear gas, flash bang grenades and either rubber, beanbag or wooden bullets (or possibly all three). In the process, a number of people were injured, most seriously an Iraq Veterans of the War member who had gone through 2 tours of Iraq. Apparently the police shot a tear gas canister at head level and fractured his skull. As people were rushing to his aid, a riot cop lobbed a flash bang grenade into the crowd. He's been in the hospital since. I've heard he's in a medically induced coma and breathing machine, but I haven't been able to confirm them. IVAW says he's awake and can write, but not talk. And there's conflicting reports on whether he needs brain surgery or not.

The next night protesters eventually retook the area they had been kicked out of and had an assembly in which they passed a proposal for a November 2nd citywide general strike.

Here is a description of that night from Hieronymous

O.K., the demo started at 6:00 and there wasn't a cop in sight -- except a few underground in the BART subway station.

I got there a couple minutes late and there had been fences surrounding Oscar Grant Plaza, but those were in the process of being methodically pulled down and stacked in orderly piles. The crowd came. And came and came and came. We held the General Assembly in the amphitheater (where I gave a workshop, with a multimedia presentation, on the '46 Oakland General Strike last Saturday). And as we began, more people came. By its peak, there were about 3,000 people participating in the General Assembly. The general strike proposal was made and we had breakout groups to discuss it.

My breakout group was mixed, lots of young working class people of all races, but also some older people that included a guy who owned a small hardware store, as well as a guy who ran a small flower shop along with his wife. The latter 2 were all for a general strike, but the hardware guy acted as though he'd never heard of one, but still discussed it with good faith and an open mind. A young woman in our group mentioned details of the '46 General Strike, recalling how "bars were allowed to stay open as long as they served only beer and put their jukeboxes out on the street." She made the case for a total shut down (later she told me she read the account, not knowing it was Stan Weir's, "somewhere on the 'net"). Another 30something woman, who was a single mom, said she liked the idea but would prefer to leave work at lunchtime and take her daughter out from school then.

When it was my turn -- and everyone was so damn polite and respectful while taking turns it scared me -- I mentioned again that the Oakland General Strike completely shut down all commerce and that was its strength. I also mentioned how the mid-day or after work proposals had been used to undermine the May Day Immigrant Strike in 2006, especially in Los Angeles where the Catholic Church, the Labor Council, and Latino city officials did everything they could to prevent it from becoming a real strike. They all wanted a symbolic rally at something like 5:00 p.m., so no one would miss work. But the rank-and-file hardcore persevered and on May 1st a significant part of the working class went out in L.A.

We faced this same shit on March 4, 2010 with the education struggles and I saw ghost of that when local Trotskyites spoke to the GA tonight and said "we need more time to build, so we should prioritize the teach-ins on November 9th and the protest to shut down" the meeting of the statewide "regents at the University of California" on November 16th. This was when the GA reconvened and the liberals urged as much caution, namby-pampy nonsense like non-violence and not sending out bad "messenging," as the Trots.

From what I understand, it was 90% consensus and from what I saw it was closer to 75% for a general strike and 25% against. Since there were over 3,000 people and I never saw or heard a vote since we were working on consensus, I don't know where the numbers above come from. Honestly, I was so demoralized by the naysayers that I went outside the the amphitheater and talked with comrades. When I went back to the GA, it was on to another agenda item.

We kept getting announcements from San Francisco, so when the meeting wound down I headed there, only to see every left bureaucrat in town there to pretend to help prevent the rumored police crackdown. Yet even SF with nearly 500 people at midnight was an inspiring sight. As I left, the BART station was closed and buses were being rerouted, so the attack was to come shortly. But the SF cops are more strategic, so I imagine they'll accomplish their deed with little or no teargas. I've never seen teargas in the Bay Area before the Oscar Grant Riots in 2009 in Oakland, and it was used very sparingly.

Part of the conscious avoidance of teargas is due to the People's Park Riots in 1969, when the National Guard dropped liquid CS gas on the UC Berkeley campus to penned in (we'd say "kettled" today) protestors, but a stiff breeze off the Bay carried this war-grade CS gas into the windows of a hospital on campus, preschools in the hills, and into the houses of wealthy people at the top of the hill. Like with the tear gas in Oakland last night, it drew even more fence-sitters into supporting the People's Park protestors against the cops and National Guard.

All my comrades and I agreed that the liberal use of tear gas last night organized our mass assembly tonight. It will be interesting to see if the SF cops fuck up too.

We can only hope...

Also, here's an account of those two days.

The account by Hieronymous has been lightly edited to match our news guidelines

Posted By

Juan Conatz
Oct 28 2011 01:37


Attached files


Nov 4 2011 16:38


Posters know that a lot of people from around the world read libcom looking for good analysis, critique, etc. right?

And we have CRUD bragging about posting drunk, trolling about the Whole Foods smash-up (yes, it was a horrible idea and super counter-productive, as every other poster has agreed), and then saying that if they were real insurrectionaries they should have shot cops!

This is exactly the kind of stuff that will turn a lot of readers off of Libcom. Can the mods please step in and say something?

Nov 4 2011 16:50

We have basically been hoping that the derail would run out of steam, but this is continuing it. Let's stop talking about it now.

admin: three off topic posts removed, to continue talking about the black block please start a new thread

An Affirming Flame
Nov 4 2011 21:11

Occupy Oakland: second Iraq war veteran injured after police clashes

Kayvan Sabehgi, who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, is in intensive care with a lacerated spleen. He says he was beaten by police close to the Occupy Oakland camp, but despite suffering agonising pain, did not reach hospital until 18 hours later.

Sabehgi, 32, is the second Iraq war veteran to be hospitalised following involvement in Oakland protests. Another protester, Scott Olsen, suffered a fractured skull on 25 October.


Sabehgi told the Guardian from hospital he was walking alone along 14th Street in central Oakland – away from the main area of clashes – when he was injured.

"There was a group of police in front of me," he told the Guardian from his hospital bed. "They told me to move, but I was like: 'Move to where?' There was nowhere to move.

"Then they lined up in front of me. I was talking to one of them, saying 'Why are you doing this?' when one moved forward and hit me in my arm and legs and back with his baton. Then three or four cops tackled me and arrested me."

Sabeghi, who left the army in 2007 and now part-owns a small bar-restaurant in El Cerrito, about 10 miles north of Oakland, said he was handcuffed and placed in a police van for three hours before being taken to jail. By the time he got there he was in "unbelievable pain".

He said: "My stomach was really hurting, and it got worse to the point where I couldn't stand up.

"I was on my hands and knees and crawled over the cell door to call for help."

A nurse was called and recommended Sabehgi take a suppository, but he said he "didn't want to take it".

He was allowed to "crawl" to another cell to use the toilet, but said it was clogged.

"I was vomiting and had diarrhoea," Sabehgi said. "I just lay there in pain for hours."

Sabehgi's bail was posted in the mid-afternoon, but he said he was unable to leave his cell because of the pain. The cell door was closed, and he remained on the floor until 6pm, when an ambulance was called.

Fucking bastards.

Nov 4 2011 21:28
Steven. wrote:
We have basically been hoping that the derail would run out of steam, but this is continuing it. Let's stop talking about it now.

admin: three off topic posts removed, to continue talking about the black block please start a new thread



klas batalo
Nov 5 2011 01:32

Occupy Oakland Traveler's Aid Building Takeover and Police Response


A lot more people that I thought, were there... O.o

Is it substitutionist if you have a few hundred people?

It seems just like they werent ready for the type of repression that went down or thought more strategically about it...i mean if they worked with community groups I bet it would have been same police response...instead people would have done non-violent CD. idk.

Nov 5 2011 04:52

I'm not sure if this fits within this thread or the new one, but is the suggestion that the "vandalists" are paid government/corporate agents widespread? I've seen people alluding to this as almost obvious fact elsewhere.

Nov 5 2011 05:21
Tojiah wrote:
I'm not sure if this fits within this thread or the new one, but is the suggestion that the "vandalists" are paid government/corporate agents widespread? I've seen people alluding to this as almost obvious fact elsewhere.
Oakland Copwatch wrote:
Nov 5 2011 05:23

So apparently there are police infiltrators generally. But they said that the acts of "vandalism" (destruction/defacing of property) were perpetrated by these infiltrators, rather than by "real" members of the movement.

Juan Conatz
Nov 5 2011 06:03

Hey, ya'll. I reposted your comments in the other thread, because I was going to reply and see this going into another black bloc discussion

Nov 5 2011 06:07

Sure, I just wasn't clear on where it would fit best, so I decided to start with the more general one. Thanks.

Juan Conatz
Nov 7 2011 04:26

November 3rd: What it looks like to get shot with a rubber bullet from 20 feet away

Juan Conatz
Nov 9 2011 20:02
Juan Conatz
Nov 11 2011 01:16

I'm gonna just post everything related to Oakland on this thread as opposed to the Black Bloc thread. When November 2nd came, I thought, and the admin probably, too, is that this was just a really hot topic that would blow over, but it really has become indistinguishable from everything else in Occupy Oakland.

Anyway, in the Black Bloc thread I posted info on this Facebook event

Join Oakland merchants, residents, property owners and local leaders to discuss finding a peaceful resolution to #OccupyOakland.

The current encampment poses immense health, safety and legal problems. We are strong supporters of the #OWS/#OO movement and want to ensure all participants and those effected are not put in harms way while they bravely stand against injustices placed on us (personally, locally and nationally) by faulty banking and federal policies.

According to a comrade in Oakland, it "painted itself as being small business owners, but was funded by Phil Tagami, a major Oakland developer/renovator who has been working hard at gentrifying downtown". In any case, it was cancelled, supposably due to fears of violence from Occupy Oakland.

An IWWer in the Bay is also saying that there's a lot of rumors of a possible raid, this time involving federal marshals, who would then occupy the park to keep people out for good.

Occupy Oakland encampment must go, four city council members say


Nov 11 2011 01:36


Just heard on the radio, then saw on internet TV, that someone in the Occupy Oakland encampment has just been shot. Occupiers were giving the person CPR, but pigs were swarming and it seems clear that this might be a "strategy of tension" to clear the Oscar Grant Plaza tonight.

Yesterday, 5 (of 9) city council members held a press conference to pressure the mayor to crack down. Fortunately, occupiers intervened using the "people's mic" and shout them down.

This is very, very bad news.

Juan Conatz
Nov 11 2011 02:38

From corporate media (video at link)

Shots fired near 'Occupy Oakland' camp

OAKLAND, Calif. (KGO) -- One person has been injured after multiple shots were fired near the Occupy Oakland camp at Frank Ogawa Plaza Thursday evening.

The shooting took place shortly before 5 p.m. several feet from the 12th Street BART station adjacent to the plaza where Occupy protesters have set up camp.

A person acting as a spokesperson for the Occupy Oakland movement said an individual who was wounded in the shooting may have been hiding out from a person or a group of people at the encampment shortly before the incident.

"This is known throughout the world," said Occupy Oakland spokesperson Shake Anderson. "If someone does something wrong in their community, they may want to come here and this is not the place for that."
ABC7's Laura Anthony was at the Occupy encampment and heard the gunshots. An ABC7 photographer and another individual were assaulted when they attempted to gather video of the shooting scene.

A crowd quickly formed a human chain around the individual who was shot until police arrived. Oakland police are currently interviewing eyewitnesses to determine what happened.

The 12th Street BART station was briefly closed at the request of Oakland police after the shooting. BART says there is currently a 10 minute delay.

ABC7 will have more information on this story as it becomes available on ABC7NEWS.COM and on ABC7 News at 6 p.m.

Nov 11 2011 04:33

NPR just reported that the person who was shot has died.

edit: here's an article http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/10/BA051LTHDK.DTL&tsp=1

Predictably, the Oakland politicians who are critical of Occupy Oakland have jumped all over this story

Two prominent critics of the encampment, however, said the question of whether the dead man or the killers were protesters was irrelevant.

"This camp is attracting an element that's adding to the problem that already exists," said City Council President Larry Reid.

Reid was one of five council members who held a news conference Wednesday calling for the camp's removal. They were largely drowned out by protesters.

Councilman Ignacio De La Fuente, who has also called for the camp's removal, said tonight, "Unfortunately, we will have no excuse for not taking action. This was escalating and was going to happen.

"It doesn't matter what people say," De La Fuente said. "This is a result of our inaction, and the mayor is not doing anything. The mayor is absolutely and unequivocally responsible for this."

Juan Conatz
Nov 11 2011 05:41

Oakland Police May Be on Their Own

Very interesting. Other police agencies in the "mutual aid" deal are reluctant to send officers to help evict Occupy Oakland due to basically, the Mayor allowing the camp to come back and issues with what kind of force to use after the Scott Olson debacle.

An Affirming Flame
Nov 11 2011 19:13

The Oakland Police Officer's Association is at it again. Self-satire, really. Would be funny, if it wasn't so ominous for the occupiers.

An Open Letter to Occupy Oakland from the Oakland Police Officers’ Association

November 11, 2011

On behalf of the 645 Oakland police officers we represent, this letter comes to you out of duty to protect the Oakland community and its citizens.

Oakland police officers are the 99% and we understand and sympathize with your message. We respect your right to peaceful protest.

We are also sworn to protect the citizens of Oakland. Right now, Oakland is in a state of emergency.

Our police officers are the 99% struggling in Oakland neighborhoods every day to contain the 1% who rob, steal, rape and murder our law-abiding citizens. The Occupy Oakland protest, now 30 days old, is taking our police officers out of Oakland neighborhoods and away from protecting the citizens of Oakland.

In an average city in California, this might not be of emergency proportions for its citizens. Oakland is not an “average” city – we have the highest violent crime rate in California. We are the 5th most violent city in the United States – with more shootings and homicides than any city west of the Mississippi.

Last night’s murder, right in the epicenter of Occupy Oakland, is unacceptable. So is the violence being promoted by “renegade” protesters who are lighting firebombs, destroying property and attacking police.

What is even more tragic is that homicides are a frequent occurrence in Oakland. This is the real emergency: Yesterday’s murder was Oakland’s 101st homicide of 2011. It is time for us to stop directing all of our efforts at policing the small enclave of “Occupy Oakland” and get back to our job of protecting the citizens of Oakland in the neighborhoods where our residents live.

The events of recent weeks have shown that many occupiers at Frank Ogawa Plaza are citizens of other communities with limited interest in preserving the greater good and safety of our City.

Please, we ask you: Leave Frank Ogawa Plaza peacefully and immediately so Oakland Police can get back to work fighting the devastating crime that’s occurring in our neighborhoods.

You have sent the world a strong message; now it is time to go home. Your leaving today, peacefully, of your own free will, on the 30th day, will send a message to Oakland that you care about our citizens and respect our city.

With last night’s homicide, in broad daylight, in the middle of rush hour, Frank Ogawa Plaza is no longer safe. Please leave peacefully, with your heads held high, so we can get police officers back to work fighting crime in Oakland neighborhoods.

Thank you.

Juan Conatz
Nov 11 2011 20:07

Bizarre. There's some infighting in city government and its crazy to see.

Nov 11 2011 21:57
Hieronymous wrote:

Just heard on the radio, then saw on internet TV, that someone in the Occupy Oakland encampment has just been shot. Occupiers were giving the person CPR, but pigs were swarming and it seems clear that this might be a "strategy of tension" to clear the Oscar Grant Plaza tonight.

Yesterday, 5 (of 9) city council members held a press conference to pressure the mayor to crack down. Fortunately, occupiers intervened using the "people's mic" and shout them down.

This is very, very bad news.

Hieronymous, so is there any evidence this was actually a "strategy of tension" type maneuver?

Nov 11 2011 22:15

No. My bad.

But a reactionary city councilman was on the scene, trying to use the shooting death as a justification for clearing the camp.

I just got carried away reacting to the spectacular spin the bourgeois media was giving it.

Juan Conatz
Nov 12 2011 03:36

Any Oakland people can confirm this is real?

Nov 12 2011 18:42

Yeah, it was read out at tonight's GA, often to a chant in unison of "burn it!"

Then the GA overwhelmingly voted to collaborate with the Alameda County Central Labor Council to jointly organize a "day of mass action" on November 19th. It will include exciting speeches from AFL-CIO union piecards -- but 50% of the thrilling speeches will be by occupiers -- then a march to a bank, a foreclosed house, another bank, and then back to Oscar Grant Plaza for more titillating speeches.

My questions are: who will get the police permit, don the fluorescent vests, liaison with the pigs, and serve as the protest Pinkertons? And will Mayor Quan speak? Or other Democrats? Since all that dues payers' money -- collected by the Labor Council -- got them elected.

I was the only one who spoke against it. It was backed by a popular front of Trots, labor bureaucrats, and even the insurrectionists. It won with 106 yes votes, 16 abstentions, and 3 no votes.

Sadly, this is the death knell of Occupy Oakland, at least in its present form.

Black Badger
Nov 12 2011 17:33

I respectfully beg to differ. The death knell of OO was built into the decision to occupy an indefensible space. Tactically, the Plaza is an excellent location, an open sore on the otherwise (to the mainstream) smooth social body; strategically, it is absurd and doomed. It is a voluntary kettle.

On a political level, a very early indication of the built-in failure occurred when the first "labor march" happened at the end of the first week of the OO and the organizers of the march reneged on their agreement to have their rally at OO. There was no denunciation - or indeed any public reaction - of this recent in a long line of union bureaucrats betraying the interests of their own rank and file - not to mention the interests of a broader section of working people.

The bourgeois illusions of the vast majority of the "99%" (don't get me started on the inherent Popular Frontism of that slogan) continues with an instinctive and uncritical alliance with labor hacks, Leninist sectarians, Third World nationalists, pacifists, and other patronizing authoritarians. So you need to add political naivete to the strategic and analytical weaknesses that have already doomed Occupy Oakland.

Nevertheless, I'll continue to see you at the Plaza, innit.

Nov 12 2011 18:41
Black Badger wrote:
So you need to add political naivete to the strategic and analytical weaknesses that have already doomed Occupy Oakland.

I kept saying this, comrades kept saying this, but some of these people have been around awhile and should know better. So it might be pure Leninist opportunism fused with naivete.

Nevertheless, I'll continue to see you at the Plaza, innit.

The pig raid is impending, but yes, I'll see you there until then...

Nov 14 2011 14:36

Occupy Oakland is being attacked right now.

Here's a live video stream: