"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
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Monday, January 30, 2012

Occupy Oakland: Move-In Day....the goal is?

I am trying to figure out what the goal of Move-In day is.  Reading the NY Times article (below), I see an attempt to reclaim public space.  But then watching the video (see link below), I see an attempt to overthrow the government?????!! 

Reclaiming public space makes a great deal of sense to me since it is a necessary variable to rebuilding community (upon which social movements are built).  But what is the most effective way to do so?   The second goal - revolution -  doesn't make any sense to me.  The vast majority of people in this country are not interested in revolution.  I can't imagine a critical mass of people being inspired to take to the streets or join a general strike on the basis of watching the video or the actual event. How long will this tactic continue?  When will occupiers take advantage of the time tested theories of nonviolent direct action of: 
  • The Onion Theory of Nonviolent Protest: The purpose of Nonviolent Resistance is to affect peoples' thinking and build political movements for social change. From that perspective, Nonviolent Resistance is a broad concept encompassing education, organizing, alternative social structures, personal-witness, noncooperation — and, of course, direct action protests....When we study the actual impact of nonviolent protests it's like peeling away the layers of an onion, with each layer representing a different audience.......
  • Working the 5-95 Split: The sociologists and historians tell us that only rarely does a social movement involve more than 5% of the affected population in active participation. ....BUT these struggles by a small activist cores succeeded because they won the political support of the great majority.........
  • Audacity and Humor - Tactics of Nonviolence:  Audacity and humor are more effective tactics for achieving social change than are rage and fury.......       (thanks for these theories Bruce Hartford!)

NY TIMES | January 30, 2012
Hundreds Held in Oakland Occupy Protest
Hundreds of protesters tried to take over Oakland's vacant convention center and then briefly broke into City Hall before being rousted by the police. ....Chief Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police Department said the protesters’ objective “was not to peacefully assemble and march, but to seek opportunity to further criminal acts, confront police and repeatedly attempt to illegally occupy buildings.”  .....The events were part of a demonstration dubbed “Move-In Day,” a plan by protesters to take over the vacant convention center and use it as a commune-like command center, according to the Web site
Occupy Oakland's building occupation, an act of civil disobedience, was disrupted by a brutal police response yesterday.....Later, in a subsequent attempt to Occupy an abandoned building in downtown Oakland, Oakland police arrested hundreds of demonstrators. Many were reported injured as police used batons to herd protesters into a kettle in front of the YMCA.
Occupy Video shows police using rubber bullets and tear gas to gradually force protesters to retreat, arresting people when they are cut out from the herd.  Front row of protesters have home-made shields and wear helmets and hankerchiefs around nose and mouth, in anticipation of the bullets and gas.
"If it's vacant, take it"
"whose streets? our streets"
"city by city, block by block, occupy"
"occupy move in, cops move out"
"pigs go home"
"[to the police] you do not have authority over the people of California, fuck you!"  
"[to the police] what side of history do you want to be on?  who do you stand for?"

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