Insurgent Notes - N17 Flyer

A flyer by Insurgent Notes regarding N17 and how to expand the OWS movement.

Submitted by Kadir Ateş on November 18, 2011

THE NEXT STEP FOR OWS: OCCUPATIONS TO CHANGE THE WORLD

Today, after two months of occupations and the attacks on the occupations in Portland, Oakland and now Manhattan, OWS might be crossing a new threshold--a massive convergence of students in Union Square and a working-class convergence in Foley Square attempting to give reality to the growing calls for a general strike. That new threshold should include the extension of the occupations to buildings for the coming winter and, beyond that, to workplaces, where the working class can make the system stop, as a further step toward taking over the administration of society on an entirely new basis. Whatever happens today (November 17th) and in the coming week of action, it is time to assess the strengths and limits of the occupation movement both in New York and around the U.S.

There is no question that this is the most important movement to hit the streets in the US in four decades. Its wildfire spread to 1,000 cities in a few weeks attests to that. The avalanche of “demands” has suddenly made the social and economic misery of 40 years, largely suffered passively, with occasional outbursts of resistance, a public reality impossible to ignore from now on. Politicians, TV personalities and various experts have been caught flat-footed before a movement that refuses to enter their suddenly irrelevant universe. For all the “grab-bag” quality of what it has said, the movement has been absolutely right to refuse to identify too closely with specific demands, ideologies and leaders. Daily social reality over years has educated it all too well for it to fall into that game. Underneath everything is the reality of what the movement represents: the refusal of a society that places ever-greater numbers of people on the scrapheap. To identify itself too closely with any laundry list of demands would be to fall beneath the movement’s deeply felt sense that everything must change and the certainty that nothing should be as before.

In response, the largest forces with a potential to derail this movement into respectable channels (the Democratic Party and the union officials) are scrambling to control, defuse and repress it, as they did successfully, for example, in Wisconsin in the spring. They are not having an easy time of it.

The realities of occupations in 1,000 cities defy easy generalization. The news media has attempted to portray the core of the movement as young, white, unemployed and “middle class”--the latter tag being a fast-disappearing mistaken identity for the working class. Whatever the case in the early stages, in different cities (most notably in the November 2nd mass march on the Port of Oakland), significant numbers of blacks and Latinos, as well as older people, have expanded the movement in many places beyond the initial core.

Our purpose here is not to dwell on the thousand slogans, something that is to be expected from a very young movement made up to a great extent by people for whom this is the first such experience of their lives. Ideas such as the “1%” or “make the rich pay their fair share” or “make the banks pay” or “abolish the Fed” sit side by side with attacks on “capitalism”. We would suggest that the excessive focus on the “banks” does not recognize that the source of widespread misery is the world crisis of the capitalist (wage labor) system and, as a result, it does not point to the overcoming of the crisis by establishing a world beyond wage labor, namely socialism or communism (although we are well aware of the abuse of those words in far too many cases). To arrive at such a focus requires speaking openly of class. It is clear that the large majority of working-class people in the U.S., while sympathetic to the movement, have not joined it in any active way, if only because they are working and caught up in daily survival.

The occupation movement needs to build on the creative militancy in the streets of thousands of people (as shown in Oakland, Portland, Seattle, New York and elsewhere) to reach out to that large majority which sometimes seems, a block or two from the street battles, to be going about business as usual. The growing number of anti-eviction and anti-foreclosure actions has made that outreach. Taking over buildings for meetings and much-needed living space, as well as for workshops and teach-ins, could be an important next step. Beyond that should be the extension of the movement to work stoppages and occupation of workplaces, posing even more sharply than before the questions of private property and of “who rules”?

The pending contract renewal of Local 100 of the Transit Workers Union is one obvious link here in New York. The ongoing standoff between west coast dock workers (ILWU) Local 21 and the scab-herding EGT Corporation in Longview, Washington, is another. The planned occupation, together with parents and students, of five public schools slated for closure in Oakland, is still another. In such efforts, we believe that the movement will have little difficulty distinguishing between the rank-and-file workers (who have already joined it on occasions) and the trade-union bureaucrats who have passed one toothless resolution after another of “support” without the slightest, or only token, mobilization.
Still less needs to be said about the Democratic Party politicians--most notoriously, Oakland Mayor Jean Quan--who have tried to ride the movement for their own ends--before sending in the riot police.

HOWEVER, OCCUPATION IS ONLY A FURTHER STEP: BEYOND IT IS THE QUESTION OF TAKING OVER THE PRODUCTION OF SOCIETY FOR OURSELVES AND RUNNING IT ON AN ENTIRELY NEW BASIS.

Whatever happens in the immediate future, a wall of silence on the accumulated misery of four decades has been breached. Every day brings further news of attacks on working people as world capitalism spins out of control. Never has it been clearer that capitalist “normalcy” depends on the passivity of those it crushes to save itself, and from Tunisia and Egypt, via Greece and Spain, to New York, Oakland, Seattle and Portland, that passivity is over. The task today is to throw everything we have into approaching that point of no return where conditions cry out: “We have the chance to change the world, let’s take it.”

What is Insurgent Notes?

Insurgent Notes is published by a small collective based mainly in the eastern U.S. We see our task as the creation of a theoretically and practically-armed current assisting in the abolition of capitalism and elaborating the concrete steps for a rapid exit from capitalism.

http://insurgentnotes.com. Write us at: [email protected]

Comments

Hieronymous

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 19, 2011

Kadir Ateş

In response, the largest forces with a potential to derail this movement into respectable channels (the Democratic Party and the union officials) are scrambling to control, defuse and repress it, as they did successfully, for example, in Wisconsin in the spring. They are not having an easy time of it.

Hypocrites!

You all blew so much hot air about how your Democratic Party informant Joel Rogers told you that the weakness of events in Wisconsin was the racism of the white public sector workers. All the while Rogers was claiming a general strike was impossible and the goal should be recalling Republican state legislators. Also, you dogmatically claimed another weakness of the events in Wisconsin was the obliviousness of white workers to the plight of incarcerated blacks. Your mistake was accepting that liberal bullshit from Rogers uncritically.

Insurgent Notes references to events in Oakland -- about future "planned occupations" -- are deeply flawed because their Bay Area informants are the Trotskyists in Advance the Struggle, who Insurgent Notes leaders are trying to recruit. Advance the Struggle came out of the other Bay Area Lambertist Trot groups Speak Out and Socialist Organizer, but fuse this with influences like Kasama-style Maoism and vintage Lyndon LaRouche from his quasi-Marxist NCLC period (the latter due to Insurgent Notes mentorship).

Advance the Struggle's class collaboration was exposed in the the Occupy Oakland General Assembly on Friday, November 11th. Rumors had been circulating all over the Bay Area about a great new breakthrough, that "labor" would join and defend Occupy Oakland from the impending police raid. Behind the scenes 2 factions were forming a Popular Front to broker the deal. The main proponents were the leader of Advance the Struggle and a local insurrectionary anarchist deeply influenced by the Greeks, but who has no problem caucusing behind the scenes and her faction openly call themselves "Blanquists." Subsequently, e-mails were leaked and circulated revealing that the Advance the Struggle leader and the insurrectionary anarchist had secret meetings with Alameda County Central Labor Council leader Josie Camacho (see below).

At last Friday's (November 11) GA, in the steady cold rain, about 125 of us heard the leader of Advance the Struggle stumble through the Popular Front's proposal to have a joint Occupy Oakland-Alameda Labor Council march on November 19th, with the proviso that the Labor Council would sanction Oscar Grant Plaza as an official "strike," so when labor pickets were sent there it would hopefully prevent other unionized workers -- like cops (?!) and public works employees -- from attacking and clearing the site. For me, it was one of those "what are they smoking?" moments, because with the rain and small turn-out for the GA, everyone seemed enthusiastic about bringing "labor" on board -- except me and a couple other comrades. When it came to the GA's "clarifying" questions section, I asked the Advance the Struggle leader if he had actually met with "radical trade unionists" like he said, and whether they were actually rank-and-file workers, bureaucrats, or the Labor Council proper as I'd heard through the grapevine. Another comrade spoke for him, saying "well yes, they were bureaucrats" and explained the plan as he envisioned it. EDIT: this comrade has subsequently exposed that the collaboration with the Labor Council as a sell out and at last night's GA (Friday, November 18) spoke up during committee report-backs and presented a minority position of the Labor Outreach Committee and exposed how the Labor Council's involvement in today's March will censor what members of Occupy Oakland can say.

The proposal then went to a limited pros and cons debate. I was the ONLY person who spoke against it, laying out how the Labor Council's main roles are supporting the Democratic Party with fundraising, Get-Out-the-Vote drives, phone banking, and every other electioneering duty. And most importantly, their social role is preventing and breaking strikes. I made clear that working with class collaborationists like the Labor Council would put Occupy Oakland in direct alignment with the same Mayor Quan who had the pigs shoot tear gas at us. Then I pointed out that general strikes, like in '34 and '46, were openly opposed by labor councils and what little success that was achieved was through solidarity built on class consciousness.

Everyone else who spoke treated labor as some kind of heroic savior and wildly cheered promises of union bureaucrats, relayed to the GA by members of the Popular Front. When it came to a vote, 106 were for the collaboration, 16 abstained, and 3 voted no. My heart sank and I realized that Occupy Oakland is dead and will have to reinvent itself in a new form. Perhaps the 10,000 college kids at Occupy Cal on the UC Berkeley campus this week are that new invention.

Some background is needed. Jean Quan was labor's candidate for mayor in the fall 2010 mayoral election, even though the Democratic political machine was pushing termed-out State Senator and local king-maker Don Perata. The SEIU other big AFL-CIO unions spent heavily on the Perata campaign, but Quan's base of support was union activists in close alliance with the liberal non-profit-NGO-industrial-complex. Once elected, Sharon Cornu quit her position as the executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda County Central Labor Council to become Quan's senior policy advisor for intergovernmental affairs. The new leader of the Labor Council was Cornu protegee and old time Quan ally, Josie Camacho.

During the planning during the week leading up to November 2 and the attempted general strike, Camacho would come to GAs and try to tie Occupy Oakland to "labor" issues, but she failed miserably. As a politician, she could never adapt to the people's mic and could never bluster, but more importantly she had no base of support at the GA. People viewed her as suspiciously as any other politician or bureaucrat. I joined dozens of others to gleefully shout her down with constant calls to "MIC CHECK!" when she tried to intervene or interrupt in the labor break out group of the general strike planning meeting on October 27th, the day after the GA called for a general strike. The beauty of the Occupy Movement at its best is that behind-the-scenes power-brokering doesn't work. Decisions have to be made out in the open. I was elated to see Camacho's efforts fail miserably and watched her leave with her tail between her legs, hoping to NEVER see her again.

After a divisive non-violence proposal of a liberal/activist faction of Occupy Oakland lost by 5-to-1 at the Wednesday GA on October 9th, another one by Quan's spy Allan Brill was pulled because it was even more unconditionally pacifist and demonizing of anarchists. It's part of a coordinated national effort of security forces to undermine the Occupy Movement by stoking the violence/non-violence debate and attempting to expel anarchists and other radicals. The coordinated counter-campaign is currently being spearheaded by at least 18 mayors of major U.S. cities. Here's from Jean Quan in a BBC interview:

BBC

"I was recently on a conference call with 18 cities across the country who had the same situation. . ." She then rambles about how she "spoke with protestors in my city" who professed an interest in "separating from anarchists," implying that her police action was helping this somehow.

Quan was a 60s activist at UC Berkeley and got elected mayor with a campaign that relied more on going house-to-house, knocking on doors, and having neighborhood block meetings, à la Alinskyite grassroots organizing, than the typical deep-pockets media-savvy advertising-type campaign of most politicos. Additionally, she learned the new ranked choice voting system well and won with less that 1/4 of first place votes.

Her campaign group, Block By Block Organizing Network (BBBON), has morphed into a front group to create the image of popular community support for her position on policy-wonk issues. It's led by her husband, who has used it to infiltrate Occupy Oakland. Since the November 2nd attempt at a general strike, BBBON members, posing as community activists or union hacks, have come to the General Assembly with proposals to unconditionally denounce violence and to call for the expulsion of anyone who advocates any kind of violence. So when Quan goes on air at bourgeois media outlets, it's the same anti-violence talking points you hear verbatim from Bloomberg in New York, Lee in San Francisco, Chuck Reed in San Jose, Villaraigosa in Los Angeles, or mayors anywhere else in the country.

The talking points claim the Occupy encampments began with good intentions, but have devolved into 1.) violence, including sexual violence, 2.) health and sanitation issues (absurd when you realize how much cleaner Occupy spaces are than the Skid Rows nearby), 3.) drug use, drug dealing, and widespread use of alcohol (the only points with a partial basis in truth), and in the case of Oakland, 4.) murder, which is inevitable in a city with such a high rate of killings (and a second-hand account refutes that the parties were from Occupy at the recent shooting next to Occupy Oakland), and 5.) anarchists hijacking the movement. The last one is a typical variation of a redscare, or McCarthyite demonization of radicals. The core of the Occupy Oakland movement ARE anarchists, so there was no hijacking involved. The black bloc was a tactical blunder, but as anarcho-pacifists like Dave Dellinger pointed out -- in his essay "The Black Rebellions" -- in critiquing Martin Luther King's call for the National Guard to put down the 1967 Newark Riots, we have to be clear which side they're on. And that many pacifists in Oakland are really on the side of Jean Quan, businesses large and small, and capital.

During the early a.m. police raid on Occupy Oakland, Quan's efforts at demonizing the camp was aided by divide-and-conquer tactics and the creation of at least a half dozen competing Occupy factions. They were mostly pro-Quan NGOs and non-profits professing core values like non-violence, anti-oppression, the voices of people of color, as well as caucuses of queer people of color and non-violent labor activists (would they denounce the sabotage by longshore workers at the EGT terminal in Washington in September?). They broke the unity of Occupy Oakland and paved the way for over 700 cops from a dozen jurisdictions to peacefully clear the camp with only 14 arrests, most of whom were from the Interfaith Fellowship tent. The religious people were among the most principled ones at the camp, and even though my world view and theirs are very, very different, I respect them very much. The promised hundreds-strong "labor" picket only materialized 10 people, most of whom were already Occupy regulars.

Once again we met at the Main Oakland Library at 4:00 p.m. on Monday after the raid and about 1,000 of us marched to a totally cleared out Oscar Grant Plaza and gathered once again in the amphitheater at the front of city hall for a GA. I made the rounds and was gratified to hear young comrades, who'd supported the class collaborationist deal with the Labor Council at the previous Friday's GA, admitting it was a mistake, especially after hearing that the Labor Council was working with Mayor Quan to select another park that all "stakeholders" could agree on. Over the weekend, these young militants had not only heard about Quan's spies, but had seen them in committee meetings and we had tried -- and unfortunately, usually unsuccessfully -- to have them expelled. The linkage between the Labor Council and their partners in the Democratic Party and local political establishment -- headed by Quan -- was slowly starting to dawn on more and more inexperienced young comrades.

In the aftermath of the November 2nd attempted general strike, a letdown set in and it opened up opportunities for outside manipulators:

1. Groups who hadn't really participated and had been marginal, like Advance the Struggle, leaped in to recruit, cadre-build and insert themselves as leaders of the movement; this could be called "leading from behind." Since they had little credibility, they had to caucus with groups that did (like the anacho-insurrectionists, smarting from the black bloc blunder and needing allies to help them come back to prominence). But, based on their Leninist politics, they needed to orient externally to find stronger allies to back them up, which I personally think is a strange fusion of Trotskyist opportunism and youthful naivety about bourgeois institutions -- like the Labor Council

2. The Labor Council, as well as the higher bureaucratic stratum of unions, together with the staffers and directors at non-profits and NGOs, were a "solution looking for a problem." They waited until the movement peaked, was waning, then like vultures they circled above the wreckage of Oscar Grant Plaza looking for morsels of carrion to feast on. They found that in the vanguardist opportunism of Advance the Struggle, who brought the even more impressionable anarcho-insurrectionists in their wake.

So many of these events, like in Oakland, end with the same mistakes as the actions in Madison, Wisconsin last winter. The problem with Insurgent Notes' account is that their Bay Area informants are the same opportunists who are repeating Madison's mistakes. Advance the Struggle came like parasites with their power grab in the fallout after everything peaked on November 2.

It's up to militants who have participated in the Occupy Movement, but have class struggle experience, to expose and fight against the class collaboration, opportunism and Blanquist caucusing behind the scenes. This is the biggest threat to the movement's ability to continue to escalate the fight against austerity, let alone to take the class war on the offensive.

Juan Conatz

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Juan Conatz on November 18, 2011

That's a mighty comment, there. Do you mind if I repost it on my selfactivity tumblr blog?

S. Artesian

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on November 18, 2011

Well, FWIW, here are my views on the IN leaflet. First full disclosure: I was, until recently, an editor of Insurgent Notes. I left for several reasons-- the fact that there really was no IN group being one of them. When some of the politics expressed in this leaflet were first proposed for a leaflet in Sept(?) Oct (?) I expressed serious disagreement. The author of the leaflet and I disagreed openly and in communication with the rest of the "group"-- with the so-called group hardly responding.

Another reason I left, or perhaps a different facet of the same reason was the inability of the "group" to maintain a schedule for publication of IN or even provide the bulk of the material to appear in the publication.

Anyway, the problem with this leaflet is not, IMO, is that it offers a view that conflicts with the one Goldner expressed in IN in his article on Madison. That article was his personal take on Madison, and certainly was not the "editorial opinion" of IN. Further full disclosure, I had the same objections to the article as Hieronymous did and refused to let the article appear as an editorial statement.

The problem with this leaflet is.......that it doesn't say anything, really. Look at it and tell me if there's a single item of actual political, tactical, strategic, programmatic, or even analytic content. None that I can see. It's not analysis intending to clarify and agitate. It's description, determined to sound pretty while pretty much amounting to zilch. It's great weakness is that it intends to amount to nothing, and it fulfills that intention.

Nature abhors a vacuum and so do leaflets-- so what's to be done to fill the emptiness, the vacuous soft-praises sung to vacuousness, i.e.

There is no question that this is the most important movement to hit the streets in the US in four decades. Its wildfire spread to 1,000 cities in a few weeks attests to that. The avalanche of “demands” has suddenly made the social and economic misery of 40 years, largely suffered passively, with occasional outbursts of resistance, a public reality impossible to ignore from now on. Politicians, TV personalities and various experts have been caught flat-footed before a movement that refuses to enter their suddenly irrelevant universe. For all the “grab-bag” quality of what it has said, the movement has been absolutely right to refuse to identify too closely with specific demands, ideologies and leaders. Daily social reality over years has educated it all too well for it to fall into that game. Underneath everything is the reality of what the movement represents: the refusal of a society that places ever-greater numbers of people on the scrapheap. To identify itself too closely with any laundry list of demands would be to fall beneath the movement’s deeply felt sense that everything must change and the certainty that nothing should be as before.

An observant reader will notice that right above this wonderful sounding bit of nothingness there is this:

it is time to assess the strengths and limits of the occupation movement both in New York and around the U.S.

. Very little analysis of those strengths and limits follows of course. But that's the way it's intended to be

So anyway how to fill that vacuum? Well of course, in the midst of conflict and struggle, direct clashes with police, don't offer a tactic for directly making the confrontation general--don't do anything so foolish as to suggest, if it's banks you want to target, then target the banks-- go occupy the banks. Don't do anything like actually raise a demand, an actual demand-- how's this? Cancel the Debt. Think that might strike a nerve? Don't target what the unifying policy of the bourgeoisie is-- austerity.

Nope, don't do that-- play that old "capitalism is spinning out of control" card."

Wish I could say I'm either disappointed or surprised. Wish I could.

Hieronymous

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 18, 2011

Juan Conatz

That's a mighty comment, there. Do you mind if I repost it on my selfactivity tumblr blog?

Feel free.

Kadir Ateş

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Kadir Ateş on November 18, 2011

Regarding the latter criticism (another comrade can address Hieronymous's issue):

First, after spending more hours than I would like to admit at Zucotti Park and my own involvement in the student general assemblies, I can say that without a doubt the most common idea out there is support for the banks, the unions, and the revival of the American dream (although perhaps to a lesser extent). That there is even a claim to having "democracy" or a "golden past" is more symptomatic of how these many formerly middle class-turned-prole Occuipers. Hence, the fetish over the Federal Reserve and the message of the Inside Job in addition to an even more bizarre fascination with the Illimunati, are all intellectual currents which are strongly rooted at OWS.

That said, surely there is Marxist literature, right? Well, sort of. There have been many references but since it comes from a more Leninist orientation, it has less to do with an analysis of capital than to the dire need for a vanguard to guide the good Occupiers out of their blustery and increasingly wet purgatory. Alas, the NYPD answered the call, and led them right out...to? To the streets, where they are now forced to decide whether to return to the park or reconsider in which direction the movement can be advanced towards.

This tract addresses that precise moment, and attempts to have its participants reconsider much of the mythology which has been fed to them over the course of two months (in some cases, longer) on the above mentioned "causes" of the crisis. It is an affirmation of what they have done, and what to perhaps look out for as potential pitfalls in the movement, i.e., liberal parties and bureaucratic trade unionists. To now occupy spaces, to occupy workplaces are concrete suggestions of where to go.

I think that is the spirit of the pamphlet.

Hieronymous

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 18, 2011

More hypocrisy.

How can you align yourselves with Leninist vanguardists elsewhere like Advance the Struggle in Oakland, who are trying to maneuver themselves into leadership over the movement as they invite in and ally themselves with bureaucratic trade unionists (at the highest regional level, the Labor Council), but then still posit those manipulations as "potential pitfalls"?

You can't have your cake and eat it too.

Regardless, the flier reads like the wishy-washy work of a graduate student, not wanting to take too firm a stance on anything lest she displease her professor. Artesian is right, it uses a lot of words to say nothing.

S. Artesian

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on November 18, 2011

Comrade Kadir--

That's fine, but so what? The tract addresses that precise moment? No it doesn't.

When the situation you are addressing is characterized by vagueness, generalities, etc. , be precise, specific and.........explicit. Not raising the issues of the debt(s) and austerity is pretty much a fatal flaw in a tract trying to address this moment.

Hieronymous

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 19, 2011

At last night's Occupy Oakland GA, one of the speakers (a present member of the IWW and formerly of a Bay Area Trot group) who originally supported collaborating with the Labor Council, got on the stage of the amphitheater at Oscar Grant Plaza and denounced the behind-the-scenes machinations that invited the Labor Council to jointly promote today's march. He did this as a point of principle because he had been mislead about the intentions of those who brokered the deal. I very much respect his integrity. I've edited my post above to reflect this.

I also spoke on the phone with the leader of Advance the Struggle yesterday, who continues to insist that union piecards are needed to "mobilize" their rank-and-file, still believing that the dictates of the leadership are more important than the subjectivity of the workers. Put another way, the rank-and-file are capable of nothing more than "trade union consciousness" and it's up to leaders to guide them to the Promised Land. Not inconsistent with a vanguardist group like Advance the Struggle, who have What is to Be Done? first on their group's mandatory reading list, with Lyndon LaRouche's Dialectical Economics being the last -- and the tie that binds them to Insurgent Notes.

S. Artesian

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on November 19, 2011

Any group that takes LaRouche's Dialectical Economics seriously is seriously fucked-up.

Hieronymous

12 years 5 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 20, 2011

Kadir Ateş

The planned occupation, together with parents and students, of five public schools slated for closure in Oakland, is still another.

Huh? Maybe the Blanquists sent you a communiqué about this happening in the future, but it didn't happen.

At yesterday's (November 19) march and rally in Oakland, union piecards and parents of school kids (led by a Trot) got on the mobile stage on the back of a flatbed truck across the street from Lakeview Elementary School, one of those 5 slated to be closed, and announced their campaign. It reminded me of Bayard Rustin in his 1965 article (in Commentary magazine) "From Protest to Politics" where he attacked SDS and SNCC for moving towards a Black Power position, because both groups rejected working inside the existing U.S. political system. Rustin wanted the civil rights movement to focus on the electoral realm and to use voting campaigns to push for implementation of Johnson's "Great Society." Radical students and youth were going the other way, with the slogan "From Protest to Resistance" -- which reached its peak at the end of Stop the Draft Week on October 20, 1967 with the complete rout of the cops at the Oakland Army Induction Center (formerly 1/2 a block from Oscar Grant Plaza). Over 10,000 militant protestors kicked the shit out of the pigs and drove them off the streets of Oakland that day.

Here's what the Oakland teachers' union bureaucrats and parents are going to do: recall the Oakland school district's Board of Education. They started a petition-gathering campaign at yesterday's rally. So the Occupy Oakland march in collaboration with the pro-Democratic Party Alameda Labor Council has led to a regressive step backwards that can best be described as "From Occupation to Electoral Reform." Which can also be seen as Wisconsin's failed strategy imported to Oakland. Advance the Struggle cadre excused this away, stating that the Occupy Movement had reached a low point and needed the "legitimacy" gained through collaborating with union officials. So they're young Trots influenced by Bayard Rustin, in addition to Insurgent Notes.

But not all was lost yesterday. Once the piecards went home, the 2,000+ militants in the march headed back to a city-owned plot of land at Telegraph Avenue and 19th Street, 5 blocks from Oscar Grant Plaza, and re-occupied. It's nestled between Jerry Brown's prized charter Oakland School of the Arts on one side and brand new yuppie condos on the two others.

syndicalistcat

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by syndicalistcat on November 23, 2011

I was on the march to the Lakeview School and was nonplussed by this being taken over to mount a recall campaign...same error as in Madison. This operation was entirely controlled by the teachers union. I was also on the march to seize the vacant lot at 19th & Telegraph. However, police moved in the following day and evicted them.

Hieronymous

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by Hieronymous on November 29, 2011

Damn! This is getting nasty. Loren Goldner started circulating my critique around to his Trotskyist comrades and this was one response:

JA

Some of [H]'s polemics have infuriated some young Nov 19th organizers who are not part of any political organization, who wanted to physically assault [H] for pushing so many lies.

Additionally, JA called me "crazy," "a moron," and "an asshole."

I guess when people have the left sectarian boilerplate of allying with union officials, hoping to have them call out the rank-and-file so they can radicalize them -- usually by denouncing the bureaucracy -- and then get called out for their class collaboration, they can get vicious.

It's so strange to get called names and threatened with violence for expressing what I witnessed with my own eyes. I guess my mistake was not caucusing behind the scenes in order to be allowed into the "invite only" meetings where the real decisions were made.

Lack of transparency and decisions made unilaterally are probably the greatest weaknesses of the Occupy Movement -- at least in Oakland.

As for the Board of Education recall drive, it's now being posited as a way for the parents of the kids at the schools slated for closure to push the teachers' union to strike. Go figure!

S. Artesian

12 years 4 months ago

In reply to by libcom.org

Submitted by S. Artesian on November 30, 2011

Nothing wrong with Loren sending your critique to those you criticized. Everything wrong with the threats you've received. I'm absolutely certain Loren opposes such threats and has made is opposition to such stupidity known to those making the threats.

Anyway, if the threats persist or some clown actually tries something, please let me know. Always willing to defend a comrade from goon attacks.