Why I resigned from Occupy Oakland’s Finance Committee

Posted on 05 March 2012 by Tim Fong

Unlike a certain fictional character, I have no problems saying why I resigned. Below please find an edited version of my resignation, with some information removed for privacy:

Dear Finance Committee,
I resign, effective immediately.

Yesterday’s Anti-Repression Committee-sponsored purge of the media committee was the last straw for me. I can no longer accept the legitimacy of the Occupy Oakland General Assembly. I am disgusted that there is a complete lack of accountability for actions such as J28, but people so easily call for a purge for the writing of an article. There is very clearly a “central committee” of people who are driving the decision cycle at the General Assembly, despite the routine invocations of “leaderlessness.” I was especially disappointed that people who I know in the Anti-Repression Committee chose to put forward such an obviously ham fisted proposal and hypocritical proposal.

I know some of you in Anti-Repression personally, and have worked along side you for the past few months, I have repeatedly tried to speak with some of you about my broader concerns personally and offline, but what I get is evasion.

Therefore, you have forced my hand, and I have no choice but to express these thoughts in an email to everyone.

In my experience, this so-called leaderlessness is really just a sham cover to allow people to evade responsibility or accountability. Whether this is by design or accident, I cannot say. But what I can say, is that I find it completely unacceptable. As I have mentioned routinely in the past, I am not an anarchist; rather, I believe that hierarchy and power are normal parts of human existence. My goal is to build systems where those hierarchies are clearly delineated and subject to check by alternative centers of power. Because so many people at Occupy Oakland buy into an impossible and non-fact-based ideology of leaderlessness, they are unable to acknowledge or check the very real systems of power that have come into existence. It is absurd to say that people like Leo Ritz-Barr, Barucha Peller, Omar Jaime Yassin and Jasper Bernays are not influential in the planning and execution of GA business and the overall tenor of the movement. Yet these same people routinely disclaim responsibility for their actions. And their actions have alienated community support — yet no proposals were forthcoming from the Anti-Repression Committee to sanction the Move In Day Committee in the least. I don’t accept this ridiculous nonsense about “well that’s because the police were there.” That’s like assaulting a hill under fire and then, after getting all your troops killed, claiming that it’s not your fault, it’s because there were people shooting at you. No kidding. Your job is to get around those shooters, not whine about them.

What is most ridiculous about the recent turn of events is that now Occupy Oakland chooses who to exclude and who to include, when it is convenient for the leadership and its ideology, but fights any efforts by others of different ideologies to draw boundaries for the movement.

I prefer honesty in drawing boundaries, not contrived, hypocritical poorly disguised power grabs , that fool no one and and instead insult all with eyes to see.

To those of you with whom I have have the privilege and honor to serve on Fi Comm, thank you for all your hard work, and the trust you placed in me and in each other. My time here is done.

Take care,