Bringing Mass Participation Back to Occupy Oakland
The Occupy Oakland Media Collective today announces that it embraces a community focused strategy that aims to bring mass participation back to Occupy Oakland. It was mass participation that shut down the Port on 2 November. And it is mass participation that has been lacking at Occupy Oakland since a clique of so-called radicals seized control of the movement.
We resoundingly reject their goals, strategy and tactics. They have twisted Occupy Oakland to serve their narrow, academic interests, rather than serving the people.
They have been present since the beginning of Occupy Oakland, at the earliest planning meetings at Mosswood Park. Many of us noticed that there appeared to be a small cadre of people who knew each other and worked in concert. Extensive investigation and research indicated that their writings are available at website known as Bay of Rage. They have also published an ebook, wherein they called themselves the “Oakland Commune.” In the early days of the camp they conducted secret meetings wherein they planned strategy while inviting only select few people that they considered influential within the movement.
While the camp was still in the plaza, there was a banner reading “The Oakland Commune” and many people began to use the phrase as an alternate name for the camp.
What many people did not realize is that the clique who originated the banner were making a reference to the Paris Commune of 1871. In their own words “But we can’t ignore the limits of the barricades; since the Paris Commune in 1871, which the Oakland Commune now recalls.” They consider themselves “insurrectionary anarchists.” Although their writings are laden with the rhetorical flourishes common to graduate school seminar rooms, the message is simple– street fighting and rioting will usher in a new and better world. In this view, we can all riot our way to freedom.
We disagree, because these tactics have alienated the vast majority of citizens of Oakland. We disagree because we believe these tactics will not allow us to build the better world that we want.
The shadow clique is white dominated, while Oakland is not.
The shadow clique is disrespectful of women and elders, unconcerned for the safety of children and appears to be willing to sacrifice the people of Oakland in pursuit of their larger goals.
The shadow clique rejects mass participation in favor of narcissistic intellectual masturbation for a chosen few.
Under the guise of diversity of tactics, they leave room for only one tactic, namely, random property destruction. They are more interested in the abstract discussion of morality than they are in the concrete discussion of movement building and serving the community. They are more interested in secretive discussions behind closed doors, and rewarding their friends than they are in a transparent process that rewards everyone
Ironically, they have replicated the very conditions that led to the financial crisis.
At its best Occupy Oakland has served the people and stood for transparency and mass participation; and it is those things that allowed us to shake the world.
Occupy Oakland Media Collective embraces transparency and mass participation; we seek to serve the citizens of Oakland and build a better tomorrow. In the weeks to come we will be releasing a variety of projects to do just that, starting with an ebook, A People’s History of Occupy Oakland. We will tell the stories that have not been told.