Occupy Oakland's Decomposition

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Black Badger
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Oct 26 2012 04:48
Occupy Oakland's Decomposition

DOOM, OOMedia, and the struggle for middle-class respectability and political legitimacy

Recent provocative and irresponsible statements by the previously unknown DOOM (Defend Our [sic] Oakland Movement) and the well-known decredentialed OO Media Collective, claiming to represent the general interests of the now-defunct Occupy Oakland community, demonstrate the advanced decomposition of the Occupy phenomenon. Explicitly anti-radical elements were present at Occupy Oakland from the beginning; for example, some tried to get the General Assembly to adopt vaguely conceived principles of non-violence that implicitly rely on the respect for property rights -- enforced by … the police! Unwilling to frighten away the non-profits, NGOs, and municipal administrations to whom they look for their future careers, these defamers have only ever managed to offer up crass and unimaginative anti-anarchist stereotypes (originating as they do from cops and politicians). As if anarchists and other radicals hadn't also been part of Occupy from the beginning... Radicals and anarchists who -- however haltingly and imperfectly -- challenged the sanctity of public and private property; who negated commerce in the Plaza; who maintained the Plaza as a cop-free zone; who promoted the politics of inclusion, and all who tried to create transparent organizational expressions for their continuation and extension.
Different activist factions now compete for a monopoly on the Occupy brand like vultures and hyenas fighting over a rotting carcass. Each tries to outdo the other with their facile demonization of assorted miscreants. The combined message is that anyone -- regardless of political self-identification -- who dresses in black and has pale skin is now a legitimate target; not just for suspicion, but for active denunciation to the police if not physical assault by reactionary vigilantes. The true political nature and class loyalty of these squawkers has never been more clear.
As we mark the anniversary of OPD's gratuitously brutal clearing of the Plaza, it's obvious that the demoralizing effects of state repression have taken their toll on everyone involved in Occupy Oakland. Long-established left-liberals and their newbie acolytes, who merely paid lip service to the more radical aspects of the reclamation of public space, have reverted to their instinctive position: polite pseudo-opposition, which means first and foremost a respect for capitalism and those who protect it. How else are these self-described progressives to make themselves known as politically legitimate actors, worthy of acknowledgement and recognition by powerbrokers looking for the next generation of the managers of revolt? DOOM and the OO Media Committee have finally made their true intentions obvious: to drive an irreversible wedge between pro- and anti-capitalists, between good and bad protesters, between politicians and those who understand they can only represent themselves.
Occupy ceased to be of much interest once the name began to be used for the implicitly middle-class strategies of foreclosure defense (homeownership being the epitome of bourgeois respectability) and the propping up of institutionalized state-enforced education (which has nothing to do with intellectual development or imbuing young people with critical thinking skills). Those who engage in these reformist campaigns, those who denounce and attack others who do not respect the cops or capitalist property, those who are quietly or loudly stumping for Obama's re-election are not merely misguided comrades, and it's high time we accepted what has been obvious since last October: middle-class factions within Occupy Oakland were always the greatest obstacle to its relevance.
Trademark and product recognition are mechanisms of consumer loyalty. DOOM and OOMedia -- and plenty of others -- are happy to maintain the appearance of opposition, all the while promoting respect for the status quo and its enforcers. Their vision of Occupy Oakland remains indistinguishable from the allegedly progressive wing of the Democratic Party machine, who assure us that they truly represent "The 99%." That's their Occupy, and if they want the copyright so bad, we say they can keep it. Despite what we may have thought was some rhetorical excess in its use, we are happy to refer to the best parts of what happened in the Plaza as the Oakland Commune.

October 25, 2012
Anarchist Anti-Defamation Caucus of the Anti-Bureaucratic Bloc
antibloc2012@gmail.com

The Anti-Bureaucratic Bloc is an ad hoc cluster of anarchist and anti-state communist individuals and affinity groups who have come together in an effort to counter the incipient growth of a self-selected cadre of professional activists and others with managerial aspirations.

tastybrain
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Oct 26 2012 06:09

They had me until this little piece of idiocy

Quote:
Occupy ceased to be of much interest once the name began to be used for the implicitly middle-class strategies of foreclosure defense (homeownership being the epitome of bourgeois respectability)

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Hieronymous
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Oct 26 2012 14:29

I only went to one "foreclosure defense" organized by participants in Occupy Oakland, but felt totally betrayed when it turned out to be an ACCE (successor to ACORN) publicity stunt. Prior to that, I went to 3 other pre-dawn "foreclosure defenses" -- that were in reality press conferences. At the last, a couple years ago in "Deep East" Oakland, there were more members of the media than "defenders." Add to that the local city councilperson and the top-level piecards from the Alameda County Central Labor Council, then there were overwhelmingly more agents of the spectacle than actual protestors.

My comrade asked the woman facing foreclosure when she got the eviction notice. She hadn't, but had been late a few months before with her mortgage payment. She and -- apparently -- ACCE were worried that she might fall behind again. The whole fucked up part was that there was never any threat of foreclosure. Like I said, it was just a press conference. But in talking to the ACCE activists, their purpose wouldn't even be foreclosure/eviction defense if that were necessary, because their ultimate goal is renegotiating loans with the banks. The press conferences are just pseudo-saber-rattling to attempt to force the banks to modify the terms of the mortgage.

Anyway, ACCE is now stumping for Obama. In a roundabout way, so is Occupy Oakland. That is, if they're not stumping for local Green Party liberals-- with the help of non-violent media activists, who've been involved in some pretty atrocious snitch-jacketing.

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Juan Conatz
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Oct 26 2012 12:29
tastybrain wrote:
They had me until this little piece of idiocy

Quote:
Occupy ceased to be of much interest once the name began to be used for the implicitly middle-class strategies of foreclosure defense (homeownership being the epitome of bourgeois respectability)

Yeah, that's ridiculous. I didn't know home ownership removed oneself from the working class. In that case, I guess there's a lot less of us in the States than I previously thought.

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klas batalo
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Oct 26 2012 13:13

Yeah it's sociological analysis or whatever. I heard there is criticism within circles around Right to the City coalition about this, because Foreclosure Defense has become fairly popular with that grouping, but their traditional base has usually been more working poor POC and so anti-foreclosure is seen as a more "middle class" issue. IDK whatever, they're still the proletariat.

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Khawaga
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Oct 26 2012 16:17

Yeah, that bit about foreclosure was silly. IMO fighting against forclosures and/or occupying vacant buildings is one of the few good things that's come out of occupy. I only wish that the walking dead occupy movement in my town had the courage to do that rather than blathering on about re-claiming the park they were thrown out of a year ago. At least focusing on foreclosures, homelessness and the visible empty and boarded-up buildings is an opening to attack private property and demonstrate how capitalism fails to meet fundamental needs of the working class.

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Hieronymous
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Oct 26 2012 17:31
Khawaga wrote:
Yeah, that bit about foreclosure was silly.

I know quite a few squatters in Oakland, some in other parts of the East Bay, and in San Francisco. But none of the "foreclosure defense" groups do anything challenging "private property," or even to prevent eviction. Instead, they advocate pressuring banks to give loans with more favorable interest rates and terms.

Groups attaching themselves to Occupy Oakland and monopolizing this in the Bay Area, like ACCE and SEIU, collaborate with political officials, lobby for legislative change, and push for more "middle class" jobs and more home ownership.

Here's an example, their "Homeowners' Bill of Rights":

ACCE wrote:
Sometimes David beats Goliath. July 2 was one of those days. The Homeowner Bill of Rights was passed by the California State Legislature and awaiting the signature of Governor Brown. This means that Wall Street Banks are on notice: California will no longer tolerate the unfair and abusive foreclosure practices of the big banks.

The banks fought this legislation with everything they had. They spent $70,000 a day filling the campaign accounts of elected officials and the halls of the capital with lobbyists. Together, we fought back with a strategic, coordinated and powerful campaign that ultimately prevailed. We organized thousands of boots on the ground, held rallies in key districts, earned dozens and dozens of media hits and made it clear that legislators would be exposed if they choose Banks over communities.

Here are the most important protections in the bill:
• Prohibits dual tracking, where a bank forecloses on a homeowner at the same time they are negotiating a modification
• Guarantees a single point of contact for struggling homeowners
• Creates civil penalties for fraudulently signing mortgage documents (robosigning)
• Gives borrowers the right to seek injunctive relief in court when the banks fail to follow the process and the law.

This campaign, under the umbrella of the ReFund California coalition, will prove to be model around the country, both for the protections we won for homeowners and for the coalition that paved the road to victory. ACCE, through its Home Defenders League, organized hundreds of struggling homeowners to help raise their voices and tell their stories. The Courage Campaign generated thousands of calls and launched a website to expose which legislators received money from the banking lobby. The California Reinvestment Coalition provided data, legal expertise and on the ground evidence from counseling agencies of Dual Tracking. PICO led numerous faith delegations across the State, held a mass turnout event with the Governor and turned in hundreds of Prayer Cards. The State Labor Federation, CRL, SEIU, NCLR, Cal-PIRG and Consumers Union along with dozens of other organizations contributed heavily to the effort. Together, we worked closely with Attorney General Kamala Harris and the legislative leadership in Sacramento, while simultaneously keeping the heat on in the Capitol and at home on key legislators.

These groups are the strongest deniers of class-divided society. None of this has anything to do with class struggle, challenging private property, or critiquing capitalism. Their recuperative function is to ideologically defend the "middle class" and apologize for capital.

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jesuithitsquad
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Oct 26 2012 19:22

ok H, but that's not what the statement says. that there are specific types of "bad" foreclosure mobilizations (obviously, what you've mentioned above is a good example of what we don't want to see) doesn't make all foreclosure defense inherently middle class. if what you've said is what is meant by the statement, then it could be much, much clearer. as everyone else has mentioned, that little bit turned me off enough to ignore the rest of it. also think the education bit could probably use some clarification as well.

the tesseract kid
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Nov 1 2012 18:51

can you say 'insignificant groupuscule?' i knew you could.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 5 2012 21:00

The decomposition of Occupy Oakland happened when we put on the same absurd leftist spectacle of drum circles, window smashing, marches of better off factions of minorities (women, gay, and people of color) who want a bigger piece of the capitalist pie (identity politics) all mashed up in the same old same old tiered dress that accomplishes anything but inclusion with the broader working class with the prime focus being socialism ie worker control of society. Case in point was the silly "decolonize Oakland" nonsense.

^ pfft.

I usually find Trots to be almost unbearable but found this take on the whole thing to be quite refreshing. http://www.wsws.org/articles/2011/nov2011/iden-n11.shtml

The people who posted the fliers advocating violence against anarchists who take pat in property damage wasn't the signal of the end of OO the signal of the end of OO came the day after the port shut down when only a couple thousand people showed up. Gone were the union workers, teachers, students (we're talking children from ages 6-18), the elderly... basically the broader bay area community as a whole. What we had left after the port shut down were mostly hard core activists who were doing anything but focusing on socialism. I was left wasting much time explaining the motivations behind property damage...arguing with reformists/pacifists while sifting through various marches of radical feminists, pro black community marches, pro gay rights pro this or that identity issue nonsense. The mass movement all inclusive feel was gone and the same old neurotic almost cliche' leftist culture took hold. Thats when OO decomposed.

There's much blame to be thrown around, some of it can indeed go to my fellow anarchists who were acting as some sort of strange vangaurd when they decided to smash shit the day of the mass action. The teachers, union workers, kids, average workers and elderly that made up the 100,000 plus people the day of the port shut down aren't at the proper stage of class awareness to understand such actions as property damage and honestly I think we scared many of them away, that and the police reaction to the actions later the night of the port shut down. It was a time for information propaganda not "propaganda of the deed" and our information propaganda should have focused on explaining alternatives to capitalism ie socialism to the hundreds of thousands of people at our disposal. Smashing shit, walking around drumming, singing songs, taking part in militant identity politics marches etc and pushing gutter punk absolutist anti take part in the system (case in point calling home ownership bourgeois) serves to alienate the broader working class and thats what we did. Thats what we'll continue to do if we don't do some serious reflecting before the next attempt to reach millions of workers. We'll continue to be what society at large considers some strange fringe bohemian sub culture.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 5 2012 21:20

I mean, I like Blatz (the old Berkeley band/music they're playing at the beginning) but walking around Oakland screaming about fucking people up....dr...ugh./ ?%$#@! Stuff like this is just a microcosm of the idiocy that took place in Oakland. "Worker control of the means of production? Whats that? I don't know but we need to decolonize Oakland and arm feminists! Minorities in Oakland need to have more opportunities to own small businesses as well! Look, there's a window! Lets smash it, afterwards the hundreds of thousands of workers that surround us today will understand why workers need to control the means of production. Here, grab your drums and lets dance around like a bunch of idiots!"

Black Badger
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Nov 5 2012 21:46

Stan, your politics are confused.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 5 2012 21:59

And what are we left with?

Stan Milgram
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Nov 5 2012 22:17
Black Badger wrote:
Stan, your politics are confused.

How so? I prefer to focus on the why's and how's of worker control of society. Most of us actual socialists (anarchists and Marxists) at least at one point understood the origins of inequality. Hell, even as far back as Rousseau private property/capitalism has been understood as the basis of modern class society. Marx and his materialist conception of history made it obvious as did Engels works surrounding private property, family and state. If some people are to be believed we should spend our time fighting the inequalities capitalism creates rather than focusing on capitalism itself as the cause of these inequalities. This is the point and or effect of identity politics. There's no confusing stance here my friend.

As far as my fellow anarchists acting like propaganda of the deed has any effect goes, well, learn from past anarchists mistakes. Reading Berkmans prison memoirs comes to mind. He wrote about workers not understanding why he tried to kill Frick. I'm not equating property damage with attempted murder what I'm saying is propaganda of the deed in general isn't going to accomplish anything unless the population (by in large) is already radicalized with a strong anti capitalist frame of mind. America isn't Greece. Workers here have a LONG way to go as far as adopting an anti capitalist mind frame.

The dancing, the decolonize and other bunkum? Well, it served as "working class repellent" and was sprayed all over Oakland. The "activist" culture here is so far beyond unplugged with the average workers mindframe I don't even know where to begin. It was all a horrid spectacle and I'm not talking about Debord here I'm saying it was all a bad joke. The so called socialist left in the bay area is absurd. This sort of neurotic patheticism needs to be addressed in a major way before we can expect to be the foundation of a mass movement.

Are you from the Bay Area?

Stan Milgram
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Nov 5 2012 22:21

Socialism, fuck ya!

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Hieronymous
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Nov 6 2012 00:56

Sounds like CRUD is back.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 6 2012 07:34
Hieronymous wrote:
Sounds like CRUD is back.

I'm not sure what that means but I do think an honest discussion surrounding why the number of people in the bay area occupy events dwindled so quickly might be a productive endeavor. I defiantly don't place all the blame on property destruction. What's your take? I'm not trying to be nihilistic or negative but you must admit workers in America, the bay area in particular, are no longer at the same level of receptiveness as they were in 2011 at the peak of occupy events. Something happened along the line. We can probably agree that our approach, in some capacity, needs to change or be reevaluated. Maybe I'm wrong but I can't shake the feeling that we need some MAJOR changes in our attempts to build a mass movement. I'm open to any criticisms because I'm obviously criticizing the current state of affairs in the bay area. Are you happy with the way things turned out? To me it seems like we squandered a lot of potential. Again, maybe I'm wrong, point out what I said that you don't agree with. What I said thus far, although not very detailed, isn't uncommon....many of us are somewhat dissolutioned with the current state of affairs, there's a GIANT gap between the socialist left and the majority of workers in America. How do we "bridge the gap" so to speak? These are important questions and I'm by no means some guru with all the answers. Any actual constructive discussion will be appreciated. Thanks smile Sorry about the condescending tone in my earlier posts.

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Hieronymous
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Nov 6 2012 07:51
Stan Milgram wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:
Sounds like CRUD is back.

I'm not sure what that means but I do think an honest discussion surrounding why the number of people in the bay area occupy events dwindled so quickly might be a productive endeavor.

Does this comment from another thread ring a bell?

Quote:
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!

Stan Milgram
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Nov 6 2012 11:16
Hieronymous wrote:
Stan Milgram wrote:
Hieronymous wrote:
Sounds like CRUD is back.

I'm not sure what that means but I do think an honest discussion surrounding why the number of people in the bay area occupy events dwindled so quickly might be a productive endeavor.

Does this comment from another thread ring a bell?

Quote:
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!

Still not sure what you'e talking about. I'm in no way a part of DOOM or CRUD or any 'organization' that advocates violence against anarchists OR cops for that matter. All I'm saying is American socialists have some in house cleaning to do. I don't think this opinion is that uncommon. Sure many working class in the USA are quite reactionary but what do we do to reach the not so reactionary average worker? Drum circles? Decolonize Oakland (whatever that means)?Feminist marches? Break windows and dance in the streets?

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Hieronymous
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Nov 6 2012 14:48

Sorry y'all, but I went for the trollbait. I need to follow my own advice and not feed the troll.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 6 2012 16:36
Hieronymous wrote:
Sorry y'all, but I went for the trollbait. I need to follow my own advice and not feed the troll.

Don't like what I'm saying = trolling. Got it.

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Hieronymous
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Nov 9 2012 02:12

Stan Milgram/CRUD sent me the following PM, which I feel needs to be discussed publicly:

CRUD wrote:
You shouldn't be so comfortable throwing around slanderous posts like that. At the least you need to go back into the voting thread, quit with all the strange conspiracies about me being some other poster and back up your assertion that I'm racist, sexist, homophobic and full of hate for criticizing identity politics. If this is the way you act in the community then it wont be long before we cross paths and I'll be able to figure out who you are and I WILL drive the point home that you are A. a loose cannon B. foul mouthed and slanderous and C. a detriment to any organization you are a part of. In fact what organization are you a part of and who are you. I'd like to speak with you in person. The anonymity makes it easy to act like an idiot but I have a feeling you wouldn't be so quick to put your actual reputation on the line, to back up your bullshit so to speak in the real world community here in the Bay Area. The least you can do is go back into that thread and do some MAJOR backtracking and or back up your erroneous slander with some facts but you won't do that will you because I think you're aware I'm not racist, sexist,homophobic and full of hate. This behavior is quite strange

Mark.
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Nov 9 2012 11:18

Hieronymous - what makes you think that Stan Milgram is the same poster as CRUD?

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Hieronymous
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Nov 9 2012 22:25
Mark. wrote:
Hieronymous - what makes you think that Stan Milgram is the same poster as CRUD?

The original post was mainly about DOOM and OOMedia. The feuds created within these circles continue to fester in Oakland to this day. It alluded to the meaningless violence/non-violence debates and the attempted -- and at times successful -- cooptation by liberals, whether non-profits, NGOs, AFL-CIO trade unions, Trotskyites, Maoists or elected officials. One example is Jean Quan's husband Floyd Huen, who used the electoral organization that got her elected, the Block-By-Block Organizing Network, which planted spies like union piecard Allan Brill who attempted to sneak non-violence resolutions at general assemblies. Huen self-appointed himself as media spokeperson for Occupy and was interviewed by the Christian Science Monitor about the November 2, 2011 attempted general strike. Stan Milgram/CRUD didn't address any of this, but made a wide-brush-stroke unsubstantiated diss, like this:

CRUD wrote:
The decomposition of Occupy Oakland happened when we put on the same absurd leftist spectacle of drum circles, window smashing, marches of better off factions of minorities (women, gay, and people of color) who want a bigger piece of the capitalist pie (identity politics) all mashed up in the same old same old tiered dress that accomplishes anything but inclusion with the broader working class with the prime focus being socialism ie worker control of society. Case in point was the silly "decolonize Oakland" nonsense.

If he wants to have an honest discussion about decolonize, women, gays, people of color, etc., he should debate those people on their own terms, like here:

http://libcom.org/library/who-oakland-anti-oppression-activism-politics-...

Otherwise, it's just trolling. Like what CRUD did to derail discussions about Occupy Oakland.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 18 2012 21:16

I'm not having any discussion with you because A you keep calling me crud and B can't provide any subsistence to your claim that I'm racist, homophobic, sexist and full of hate. And yes if you do this sort of thing within the RW community you are indeed a detriment to any organization you're a part of. There's nothing untrue or harassing in the PM I sent you. The harassment is found within your baseless statements. It's not so much bothersome that you pulled this on me on some online forum but that you probably do the same thing within the community. Like I said, working class repellent. The sort of fixation on identity that Decolonize Oakland displayed, the sort of baseless slander you displayed, was in part responsible for the 'decomposition' of OO. It was all a mess (post port shut down). Hopefully not to be repeated.

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Hieronymous
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Nov 19 2012 00:13

CRUD, like I said before you're off topic. The original post is about more recent events at Occupy Oakland (if it can even be said to still exist). Your spam is about smearing women, queer/trans people, and people of color.

If you want to talk about how Occupy Oakland was undermined, let's look at what actually happened. Another example was Quan spy Pamela Drake. Here's an account of her involvement (I disagree with Daniel about the port being shut twice; also, I had no interest in the internecine squabbles at the Berkeley community radio station KPFA):

Quote:
SAVEKPFA'S QUAN CONNECTION AT OCCUPY OAKLAND

by Daniel Borgström
http://danielborgstrom.blogspot.com/

SaveKPFA is touting its Occupy credentials, and there is an ironic basis to this. One of their representatives at Occupy Oakland was Pamela Drake. When the movement set up tents in the Plaza last fall, she was there from the start. She said in an interview, "I was down there every day for about five weeks, attended numerous General Assemblies and some committees." Then she took a job working for Mayor Jean Quan -- who repeatedly sent police to teargas, beat and arrest Occupiers.

Pam finally left OO just before Move-In-Day on January 28th, and after that I didn't see her at the Plaza until last month, when she reappeared at Occupy's anniversary commemoration of October 25th. That was the day, a year ago, when police raided our camp at the Plaza, arresting about 80 of us. It was also the day on which police injured ex-Marine Scott Olsen.

Now, a year later, four hundred Occupiers gathered at the Plaza to commemorate that day. It was a grand reunion of people who'd shared the risks, dangers, challenges and successes of the last year. Twice we'd shut down the Port of Oakland. Repeatedly we'd held meetings, marches and vigils in the face of police violence and intimidation, and here we were on this commemorative occasion, threatened by a repetition of the same repression. Just being there that evening took courage, and engendered a sense of unity, sisterhood & brotherhood. Comrades saw comrades, exchanging smiles, greetings and hugs.

It was about 9 p.m., back at the plaza after returning from the march. The street lights had just gone out again, as they had several times that evening. I was walking up 14th street towards the amphitheater, wondering if these repeated blackouts were part of the war of nerves being played against us by the city officials. That's when I happened to glance off to my right. And there she was, no more than six feet away. Pam Drake. No! It couldn't be her, I thought. She wouldn't be back here, not after what she'd done. I looked again, peering through the murk.

Then she saw me. Her face froze, and she jerked her head to one side, involuntary body language that silently screamed, "You didn't see me here! You don't know me!"

Yes, it was her, but I wanted to be absolutely certain. So I said, "Hi Pam."

"Hi Daniel." Her voice was tense.

"What are you doing here?" I said.

"What are you doing here?" she shot back.

"I'm part of Occupy," I reminded her.

"Well, I'm part of Oakland," she said.

I said nothing, silently noting only to myself that she wasn't claiming to be part of Occupy.

She added, "I'm just taking a walk, curious to see what's here." Having said that, she disappeared into the darkness.

The next day another Occupier told me he'd also seen her earlier that evening, taking photos of people. She'd gone up to a couple, pushed her camera practically right in their faces, very intrusively. They'd objected, telling her she should ask their permission.

That's Pam Drake. I knew her from the Middle East Study Group that used to meet at the Grand Lake Center. That was back around 2004 and she was then thinking of running for the Oakland City Council. Having decades of political experience, which included having been chief of staff for two councilmembers, she seemed well qualified, and I was hoping to see her on the council. But as things turned out, it didn't happen.

Later, in 2009, she ran for the KPFA board with "SaveKPFA," which was then called the "Concerned Listeners." I and some other KPFA activists were surprised to see Pam in that group. We told her that "SaveKPFA" supported a clique of staff that were working to take over the station; that they had repeatedly cheated in the Local Station Board (LSB) elections. If they were to succeed in taking over the station they would tone down KPFA's radical message, making it into NPR lite.

Actually, Pam had to know exactly what SaveKPFA was up to, and on becoming a board member, she was part of it. When SaveKPFA tried to drive grassroots activist Tracy Rosenberg off the board, Pam went along with that too.

That wasn't the Pam we knew, or thought we knew. I guess we didn't know Pam, or perhaps more significantly, didn't understand the workings and connections of the establishment left. It was a network of progressives who had in their past done good work in left-wing movements, but over the years found their way into relatively comfortable positions in and around the Democratic Party. Their circle included labor bureaucrats and a number of local politicians including Jean Quan who became mayor of Oakland in 2010. Quan had formerly been a student radical and a Maoist. Many of them still talk the old revolutionary talk.

It was pretty clear that Pam had found herself a niche in the lower levels of the local power structure, and when she showed up at OO in the fall of 2011, it didn't take much imagination to guess what she was there for. The Dems were at that time working to co-opt the OWS movement and turn it into their version of the Republican Tea Party. However, Occupy asserted its independence and maintained its identity as an adversary to the 1%. Pundits of the corporate media soon began asking, "Has Occupy lost its way?" which seemed to be their way of implying that the proper destiny of Occupy was to become a front group for the Democratic Party.

Mayor Quan may not have wanted to give up so quickly on the co-option of Occupy, but she was under pressure to suppress it. After authorizing a police action, she went on a convenient trip to Washington DC. During her absence, on October 25, 2011, police from 17 agencies raided the camp. Iraq war veteran Scott Olsen was severely injured.

There was massive outrage, and the General Assembly of OO called for a general strike, the first such event in more than half a century. Fifty thousand people marched into the Port of Oakland and shut it down. The mayor didn't try to prevent the strike; many of her supporters actually joined in and helped organize it. Even Jean Quan's husband and daughter took part in the demonstrations, as did Pam Drake. Mayor Jean Quan herself apologized for the police action and eulogized the strike.

The mayor's apology notwithstanding, Scott Olsen was still in critical condition, and his injuries seemed likely to be permanent. Mayor Quan had alienated the left. She had also lost the confidence of the town's right-wingers, who launched a campaign to recall her from office. She formed a group to fight the recall, and hired Pam Drake to coordinate it. "Stand with Oakland" was the official name of the group; Pam later described it as "a committee which advises the Mayor on many local issues."

Might some of those "many local issues" have included Mayor Jean Quan's strategies for suppressing Occupy? Pam doesn't say. Nevertheless, while working for the mayor, she continued to be an activist at OO, helping to organize an event as late as January 20th.

During that time Mayor Quan was waging a PR campaign against OO, and the police continued to attack and harass Occupy, causing injuries and making numerous arrests. On January 26th Pam posted an article announcing her break with OO. But there she was last month, on the anniversary of October 25th, lurking in the shadows.

Pam's activities at OO while working for the mayor look like a huge conflict of interest. That's putting it euphemistically. There's another word which comes to mind. Since she is an active member of SaveKPFA, maybe they would care to investigate and give us a report.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 19 2012 00:48
Hieronymous wrote:
CRUD, like I said before you're off topic. The original post is about more recent events at Occupy Oakland (if it can even be said to still exist). Your spam is about smearing women, queer/trans people, and people of color.

I'm not 'crud' and can you please provide a quote of me smearing women, queer/trans people, and people of color. Why is pointing out the fixation on identity politics spam? Because I don't agree with the identity politics of this person below am I now smearing the can collectors?

http://www.poormagazine.org/node/4522

The point of the movement in Oakland should have been anti capitalist not fixated on homeless can collectors as the most oppressed. Not fixated on women as the most oppressed. Not fixated on black liberation or gay rights as the number one pressing issue. Our attention should be on ending capitalism not ranting and raving against home ownership. Not pointing to students as white privileged snoots who can't relate to the working poor. Not pinning the working poor against the homeless in a victimization contest. Not pinning women of color feminists against white privileged feminists. Not pinning Native Americans against everyone else for using terms such as occupy. Not pinning African Americans against white people for using terms such as wage slavery. Not pinning everyone against everyone in a war of each against each with identity issues at the base. This is what happened post port shut down. Working class being called racist. Working class immigrants being called women hating misogynists who expect their wives to be baby making machines. Students being called petty bourgeois. Homeowners being called capitalists. The state of the left in the Bay Area is PATHETIC.

There's hardly any system analysis. Hardly any materialist analysis. Just a bunch of people with different agendas obfuscating the core message in what end's up to be fighting for reforms via the Democrat party. You'll take this, as you have, that I'm saying woman's rights, fighting racism and fighting for more equality for everyone NOW is counterproductive but this isn't what I'm saying. It's when these things are done without an eye first and foremost on revolutionary socialism with a STRONG foundation of materialist/class analysis, when we forge ahead with identity issues at the forefront, when we make "equality now under capitalism" the so called spear head in an attempt to build a mass movement- when we do this the result will be the same and that is we are never going to form a mass movement. We are never going to end capitalism doing this. This has been at the root of our impotence as socialists.

And ya, add in some idiots smashing windows and dancing around fires at drum circles and yep. We have "working class repellent". Good show mates. Lets keep doing the same thing. Maybe one day it will work?

Hieronymous's picture
Hieronymous
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Nov 19 2012 01:07

Whatever, CRUD. Your spam is shallower than Tiny's rant.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 19 2012 03:58
Hieronymous wrote:
Whatever, CRUD. Your spam is shallower than Tiny's rant.

I'm not 'crud' and I'm not sure who "tiny" is nor have I read his/her rant. All I can say is your reply was about as deep and meaningful as a puddle of piss in a Tenderloin alleyway. Which is pretty much what any anti capitalist movement will amount to when we have people such as yourself running around slandering everyone who doesn't adhere to the nonsense that was decolonize.

As I said before, lets start with the basis of forming 'decolonize' and branch out into the reasoning behind all the slander that took place. Why were people called racist for using the term wage slavery? Why was home ownership called bourgeois. Why did homeless people within decolonize demonize others for not putting homeless issues at the forefront (you can pretty much expand that to all identity issues)? Why was national liberation of Native Americans taking center stage over ending capitalism? Why was economically developing the 'black community' under capitalism made more urgent than ending capitalism?

Lets take a look at past revolutions and mass movements. Russia, Spain, the workers movement in Germany etc and so on. The core message was worker revolution. Worker control of society based in a materialist interpretation of history and the present system. Lets look at the 1974 and 1975, Portugal attempt. Were there splintered factions of African Americans who wanted a better opportunity to own small businesses? No. Were there various feminist factions marching demanding to be armed or to have a certain issue take center stage? No. Were there homeless people calling poor workers and students privileged? No. Were there Native Americans picking apart strategies and calling for national liberation to take center stage? No. Were there "activists" out in the streets calling everyone racist,sexist, homophobic and full of hate? I doubt it. The workers, women, men, homeless and minorities of Portugal fought together as hard as they could to end the attack on them not to fight racism, sexism or "in country" colonialism. When we make these issues the basis of connecting with the working class as opposed to taking direct action against the organs of capitalism we're making capitalists VERY happy. In Portugal workers went right to the crux of things and this made capitalists extremely uncomfortable. The day of the port shut down this was the path we were on. Nothing on the scale of resistance in Portugal, Russia or Spain but we were on the right path none the less. Not any more. Nope.

There's obviously different factions within the working class. Industrial workers, farm workers, immigrants, office workers etc just as there's women, gays, white males, people of color and so on. In Portugal as was the case in Spain it was a case of all of us fighting against economic attacks not for social justice under capitalism (which isn't possible as you should know). Housing occupations, land occupations, worker strikes and port shut downs were the right idea (on Portugal below)-

Quote:
The workers had many accounts to settle. Having suffered at the hands of bosses and landowners linked to the fascist regime for the best part of 50 years, they took the initiative in driving them out of the factories and off the land. The editor of Portugal’s main daily newspaper, Diário de Notícias, for example, was forced out on 7 June after the printers seized the presses, publishing a front-page article exposing his fascist connections.

Instinctively, workers were also attempting to maximise this opportunity to fight for their rights and improvements in pay and conditions. All sections of society were caught up in the revolutionary fervour. Students at Lisbon university refused to take entrance exams, which they considered a fascist method of selection. A meeting of 500 Catholics in Porto denounced the cooperation of the Catholic church with the old regime and called for the resignation of all bishops.

Homeless people seized empty properties. Offices were used for workers’ campaigns and community centres, and schools were established. On 15 May, 8,000 Lisnave shipyard workers went on strike for a 50% pay rise. Car workers won a 40-hour week. Bakery and textile workers struck. Train and tram conductors employed tactics developed under the fascist regime. Instead of striking, they refused to collect fares. Lisbon underground workers won a 50% increase.

Using identity issues to spearhead an attack against capitalism is about as smart as, well, I'll keep my witty remarks to myself and just say it wont work. Of course women's issues, the issues people of color face and homophobia are key issues to tackle in any attempt to build a free and equal society but sorry to say the broader effect capitalist crisis is having on ALL workers should have been center stage. This last comment of mine, in bold, I suspect, is why you think I'm racist/sexist/homophobic. If thats the case so be it.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 19 2012 03:53

As far as the article you posted concerning Occupy losing main stream political support (once it became apparent Democrats weren't going to necessarily benefit) that's all obvious. The police repression having something to do with Occupy diminishing is obvious. My criticisms center around our inability to form/hold onto mass actions without the AFL/CIO/Democrat machine and my criticisms also center our pre-mature and ill planned actions that brought on police repression which would have eventually happened anyway but if it happened at a mass action this would have radicalized most people there in lieu of police violence against a minority at night which ended up scaring most of the people away the next day.

My criticisms are internal, pointed to socialists concerning why we can't hold onto even a few hundred thousand people for more than a day in a struggle against capitalism. The goal, the day of the port shut down, was to expose the conflict between labor and capital in mass action against one of the major organs of profit (symbolic as it may have been). People showed up by in large because they were angry at the material conditions created by the capitalist crisis. Teachers, children, the elderly, Unions, students, the working poor etc. People having wages cut. People losing homes. People losing their jobs. People starving in the streets. People being subjugated into poverty and killed in the streets by cops due to their race alone. People losing their retirements. It was a broad far reaching general "fuck you" to the system of profit over people.

We fumbled and fucked that up by assuming the hundreds of thousands of people there would support property destruction and also fight the police the next day after the subsequent night time take over of a building that (combined with property destruction) led to police repression. Any hope of rebuilding mass actions was also squashed by the petty infighting caused by the manner in which we focused on issues of race, gender and sexual orientation - by placing those issues at the absolute forefront of the anti-capitalist/anti-bank sentiment millions of people were feeling. It's like we're expecting large portions of the working class to hit the ground running with the same mentality we have. They don't understand activist culture, they don't understand property destruction. They don't understand the in's and out's of feminist theory. They by in large don't even understand what the actual broader socialist tradition is. During this crisis the average person doesn't understand much but a generic feeling of "hey, capitalism isn't really working for me". The American population, even in the Bay Area, is pretty clueless as to the real meaning and goal of socialism. What we did post port shut down didn't do a damn thing to alleviate that. In fact, now they think socialism is about fighting to give Native Americans their land back, to arm feminists who want to "fuck shit up", to dance around wearing silly costumes in drum circles all while "Anarchy" breaks out with "anarchists" smashing shit and setting things on fire. The average person, if not confused, was laughing at what went on. You're reply would probably be "the average person is reactionary, racist, homophobic and sexist".

Capitalists are smiling. They're pretty content with what went on post port shut down. All I'm saying is exposing the conflict between labor and capital should be taking center stage right now at a time of capitalist crisis. Especially now that more and deeper austerity is about to kick in.

Stan Milgram
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Nov 19 2012 10:50

If you are incapable of replying to me read the below piece's and tell me what you disagree with (especially her view on Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe) . This goes for anyone giving my posts thumbs down in this thread as well, not just Hieronymous.

http://www.isreview.org/issues/57/feat-identity.shtml

http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj62/smith.htm