One year ago, we gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza to welcome the birth of a movement. We, the editors of this anthology, met through Occupy Oakland. In the beginning, we were strangers to each other, unsure of each others’ intentions, unsure of each others’ capabilities, and unsure of our own places in the worldwide movement that is Occupy.
Like the editors ourselves, each of the contributors to the anthology comes from a different perspective. Some still identify with Occupy Oakland, while some identify with other groups. What we share is that we were all touched by the largest expression of public dissent in our lifetimes.
After a year made up of amazing victories and sometimes frustrating setbacks, we have decided to present to you the untold story of Occupy Oakland and to offer our thoughts and critiques of the movement. We offer these opinions in the hopes that what is gathered can be used to build a movement that is more inclusive, sustainable, and successful than what we have previously accomplished.
We recognize that the opinions expressed here represent only a small sampling of the multitude of perspectives that people involved with Occupy Oakland have. While much has been written about Occupy Oakland, we believe that it has excluded many peoples voices, and we are wary of making the same mistake. One perspective that we regret we are missing is that of a native Oaklander who has been involved, either directly or peripherally, with the movement, though this is though no lack of trying on our part. Our failure to secure this perspective speaks to the alienation native Oaklanders have expressed feeling with regards to Occupy Oakland, and the local peoples general wariness of the movement.
There is quite a lot of the story that is not included here, but this is an ongoing project, and we hope it will also be the first of a number of volumes that tells the people’s history of Occupy Oakland. We will continue to solicit a wide variety of marginalized voices as we embark upon publishing future volumes, and we want to express our solidarity with all people who wish to move forward in the sprit of community-building and mass-participation, whether they identify with Occupy Oakland or not.
While the authors herein have varying views on tactics, the editors have agreed that as a group we believe in a strategic nonviolent approach to activism at this present moment and in this particular city. We can only change the system when our movement includes a variety of people. We can only do that when participants within Occupy Oakland take a stand for strategic nonviolence rather than letting this viewpoint be stifled. We are not pacifists; we are strategists. We are trying to listen to the voice of the native community, whom we believe we are here to serve in addition to ourselves.
We have a belief in the power of the humans mind and imagination to create something better. We are people who see another way of doing things. We believe in developing another world though art, creativity, discussion, collectivism, and building broad based community support. These are our stories.
Note on pricing:
Some have asked if selling a book goes against some Occupy principles. We feel that it is important to point out that, unlike many others in the Occupy movement, the Occupy Oakland Media Collective has never used WePay, Kickstarter, or any other form of soliciting donations. Each copy of this ebook we sell generates around $0.40 per editor. We feel that workers collectives are an important feature of the new society we are trying to build, and this is ebook is first step in our efforts to move in a more economically sustainable direction.