Much ado has been made about recent media reports describing Occupy Oakland as a cross between Lord of the Flies and Animal House. The leftist magazine Mother Jones was furious about the negative coverage, deeming it “The Right-Wing Media Assault on Occupy Oakland,” and attempting to debunk the bad press. But Big Journalism lashed back with an article entitled MotherJones: Truth To Unflattering Reports On OWS.
Out of curiosity, I decided to check out the scene for myself to settle the matter.
Occupy Oakland is a tent encampment in the park facing Oakland’s City
Hall. Wooden pathways wend between dozens of tents inhabited by over a
Saturday, October 22 was a special day for the Occupiers: A rally and
march were planned at noon. A talented local artist recorded the scene
as hundreds of day-protesters arrived to hear the speakers in the
amphitheater adjacent to the camp.
Adding to the excitement: Today was “Bring Down Capatalism Day,” so we
were all eagerly anticipating the destruction of “capatalism” by
nightfall. The only remaining question was: How would we bring it down? With “Group Cacases”?
This protester had the answer: Behead all the evil capitalists.
Many in the crowd, such as QPOC (Queer People of Color, for all you
ignorant facsists) called for the death of capitalism in a more generic
Some of the speakers addressing the rally wanted to go “the full Lenin.”
But some of the protesters reminded us: If we aren’t all in tune with
Allah, nothing will change. As the uprisings in North Africa have
reminded us: the only path to true revolution is through Islam. Maybe
this will be the American “Arab Spring” in more ways than one!
One thing quickly became apparent to me: Occupy Oakland at first
tried to create a completely anarchistic rule-free social utopia — but
as the days and weeks pass, the Occupiers are inescapably re-creating
society from scratch, and before long will have all the same rules and
customs and problems that they tried to abandon. (All of this is
entirely predictable, I might add.)
During the boring speeches, I strolled around the encampment and
discovered that many of the reports about Occupy Oakland are,
unfortunately, true. Let’s look at them one by one:
DRUG USE and COMMERCE
Everywhere I went, I encountered people taking drugs — mostly marijuana.
Many of them were understandably camera-shy. But this guy stood right
on the main walkway and puffed away on a drug pipe.
The ground around and inside the camp was also littered with other
evidence of drug use, such as this crack cocaine baggie that had been
dropped or discarded.
This guy was sitting outside his tent, riffling through and counting
huge wads of greenbacks. I can’t say for sure that he was a drug dealer,
but I found it mighty suspicious that he would have such a massive
amount of cash amidst such squalor.
The City of Oakland issued an eviction notice the day before the rally,
citing sanitation issues, garbage, rats and other hygiene problems at
the encampment. The protesters announced that they simply wouldn’t
budge, and the city temporarily caved in, so for now the standoff
continues, though the eviction notices are still taped up around the
plaza. But as far as I could tell — yes, the city has a very good point.
The place was pretty disgusting.
Paradise for rats.
Even more disturbingly, all over the camp were signs that said “Not a
toilet,” because some occupiers basically relieve themselves wherever
and whenever they feel the urge. Disgusted campers started putting up
signs so that their particular tents wouldn’t be on the receiving end of
One tree had basically become an outside communal toilet, so the more
environmental-minded Occupiers put up signs trying to discourage doing
one’s business au naturel.
INTIMIDATING “INTERNAL SECURITY” TEAMS
Occupy Oakland has agreed by consensus to not cooperate with the
Oakland Police Department under any circumstances. But as the
law-breaking and nuisance behavior within the encampment started to
grow, the evolving mini-society found it necessary to appoint its own
ersatz police force. Basically, the scariest looking guys, and/or those
guys with with strongest authoritarian urge, have assumed the role of
internal policemen. As many reporters have discovered, these guys really
really do not appreciate having their picture taken, so I could only
get a few surreptitious shots. In this scene, someone had found a large
Bowie knife in the camp and turned it into these two Occupolice, who set
about scanning the crowd for the potential owner, ready to wreak
justice on anyone who broke the “no weapons” [s]law[/s] consensus agreement. They communicate with walkie-talkies.
There also seemed to be a possibly separate “rally security force”
consisting of guys wearing Black Panther buttons on their berets.
People have often cited Lord of the Flies in reference to
Occupy Oakland, and I tend to agree — but in a good way. In the original
novel about boys stranded on a desert island, it’s not just that they
descend into barbarism, but more interestingly they start to re-create
society from first principles, instituting hierarchies and rules and
customs where none had existed before. And it’s quite obvious that, left
on their own for a sufficient amount of time, the book’s characters
would naturally have developed a new society not much different from the
one they left behind.
I see the same thing happening at Occupy Oakland: They reject the
existence of the current police force, only to find it necessary to
found a new substitute police force of their own, which were it to
mature would eventually become an institution probably not much
different from the original Oakland Police Force they so reviled. Here,
for example, is the first incarnation of a “police station” in the
emerging Occupy culture.
Around and around the cycle goes.
Remember Lovelle Mixon,
the serial rapist, child molester and murderer who single-handedly
committed one of the worst mass killings of police officers in American
history? Yeah, that guy. Well, the anti-police sentiment at Occupy
Oakland is so intense that they regard Lovelle Mixon as a hero!!
Whatever other crimes he may have committed, if he offed some pigs, then
all is forgiven. Fuck the Po-lice! Power to the people!
I guess there are so many crime victims at the camp that the Occupiers
have found it necessary to establish a donation fund to help them —
presumably to replace stolen items. Come back in ten years’ time, and
this will be called “the insurance industry.”
But not all is rosy in this new society. Some of the very worst
customs already banned from our existing society have re-emerged at
Occupy Oakland. One of the ugliest of these is segregation.
The encampment has already fractured into a series of
micro-neighborhoods, just like a real city. But at Occupy Oakland, where
you are permitted to live is determined by your gender and/or racial or
sexual identity. Here, for example, is a roped-off “gated community”
reserved exclusively for female, gay and transgender residents.
Elsewhere are tents with a “minorities only” rule.
And lest you might be so naive to think that these rules would only ever
apply to the Occupy camp, and not to the city at large should the
Occupiers ever take over, be aware that one of the Occupation’s many
demands is to “Stop White Gentrification in Oakland” — which would mean
the establishment of new laws preventing white people from moving into
Yes, my friends, the Occupy movement has made segregation trendy again!
They aleady have this in Middle Eastern society; it’s called a harem.
Didn’t mean to get so heavy. Let’s look at the lighter side of Occupy Oakland.
Slurp up the banality of existence with a krazy-straw of resistenc.
Finally, an idea I think everybody can agree on: Occupy Solyndra!
I’m Satanic — and I’ll take bowing down to a spiritual tyrant over an Economic one any day!
To show how egalitarian and open-minded the whole Occupy Oakland movement is, they have workshops both in Marxism 101 and
in anarchism. Being mutually exclusive philosophies doesn’t matter — as
long as they’re both devoted to destroying capitalism, we can work out
the details later in a brutal post-revolution civil war. Sound familiar?
The main problem when communists and anarchists get together in the same
revolution is that the communists are by nature so much more organized.
As a result, they’re usually more visible, and the reporters (at least
the ones not trying to paper over the whole thing) assume that the
communists are dominant. The same is true at Occupy Oakland — the
signage was about 50% communist/socialist, 25%
anarchist/anti-authoritarian, and 25% incoherent/confused/personal. A
casual observer would conclude that the protest was predominantly
communist. But I suspect the anarchists and the crazies outnumber the
actual communists, but they’re just not as good at advertising
This sign gets it right — socialism is basically one big
across-the-board bailout of everything and everyone. Remember: If it
doesn’t work on a small scale, try it on a massive scale! What could go
“Possible” is a long, long way from “desirable.”
Just as in a real city, the wooden “streets” among the tents were given
names: the main drag was called “Free Health Care Blvd.” (though
somebody knocked the sign down).
One street had the interesting moniker “End Ism Rd.”
The Revolutionary Communist Party even got into the act, naming the area near their tent “Red Square.”
And also just as in a real city, graffiti artists had already taken to
“tagging” the public streets; one funny cartoon on Free Health Care
Blvd. mocked “Occuposers” who go home to Mommy and Daddy every night.
Any method for decreasing the amount of shit around here is OK with me.
A man, a tarp, a kitten, a dog, some stuff. Yes, it can be this simple. Society has been reinvented!
In a hilarious vignette that illustrates in miniature the absurd
unfeasibility of the whole “green energy” scam, the Occupiers had set up
a bicycle connected to a dynamo so that the computer in the media
center would be powered by renewable and sustainable energy! Yeah!
Except…well, it’s really really hard to pedal day and night to
keep the computer running, so the media center is in reality powered by
an extension cord connected to the evil carbon-belching power grid. Note
the feeble and ineffectual greenish wire running from the dynamo to the
computers. Oh the shame!
Multiply this problem by a billion and you have modern civilization.
And what are they producing on that not-quite-people-powered computer?
Well, amongst the plethora of literature handed to me by various
protesters was this orange flyer issued by the Occupy Oakland movement
itself. For those who still harbor fantasies that the Occupiers really
are mainstream, no really, they’re just being misrepresented, the manifesto removes any remaining doubts about their revolutionary bona fides. The full text was posted on this site among others where you can read it in full. Here are a few excepts:
Occupation is nothing new. The land we stand on is already occupied
territory. The United States was founded upon the extermination or
indigenous peoples and the colonization of their land, not to mention
centuries of slavery and exploitation.
The idea of redistributing wealth must not only be directed towards the “1%” but to all of us as well.
The problem isn’t just a few “bad apples.” The crisis is not the
result of the selfishness of a few investment bankers; it is the
inevitable consequence of an economic system that rewards cutthroat
competition at every level of society. Capitalism is not a static way of
life but a dynamic process that consumes everything, transforming the
living, breathing world into objects and profit. Now that the economy
has consumed every aspect of life, the system is collapsing, leaving
even some of its former beneficiaries out in the cold. The answer is not
to revert to some earlier stage of capitalism, such as the economic
boom of the post-war years; not only is that impossible, those earlier
stages didn’t benefit the “99%” either. To get out of this mess, we’ll
have to rediscover other ways of relating to each other and the world
Police can’t be trusted. They may be “workers,” but their job is to
protect the interests if the ruling class.As long as they remain
employed as police, we can’t count on them, however friendly they might
Don’t assume those who break the law or confront the police are
“outside agitators.” A lot of people have good reason to be angry. Not
everyone is resigned to legalistic pacifism; for some people
self-defense is a necessary part of their everyday life. Police violence
isn’t just meant to provoke us, it’s meant to hurt and scare us into
inaction. In this context, resistance is crucial.
Assuming that those at the front of clashes with the authorities
are somehow trying to instigate a violent situation is not only
illogical – it delegitimizes the spirit it takes to challenge the status
quo, and dismisses the courage of those who are prepared to do so.
We all experience the effects of power differently under capitalism, and
the ways in which we struggle against it will reflect that. The goal
should not be to compel everyone to adopt one set of tactics, but to
discover how different approaches can be mutually beneficial.
The occupations will thrive on the actions we take. We’re not just
here to “speak truth to power” – when we only speak, the powerful turn a
deaf ear to us. Let’s make space for autonomous initiatives and
organize direct action that confronts the source of social inequalities
and injustices. An occupation of public space is not an effective
political act in and of itself, it must move beyond this to become a staging grounds for actions that disrupt business as usual, and it’s up to all of us to take the initiative to see this through.
Occupy. Block. Strike. Take Over.
See you on the streets!
-The Oakland Commune
Finally, the speeches were over and people started assembling for
the march. Anarchists grabbed their black flags and started tweeting on
their corporate iPhones: the time has arrived!
The anarchists all took their places at the front of the march, each
holding an oversize cover of a book that was either banned at some
point, or is popular with anarchists, or both.
And off we went on a little spin around Lake Merritt. All told, I estimate that there were about 500 of us.
Not if you keep using its ever-so-useful products, it isn’t.
The first time I wrote about the recent re-appearance of the IWW black cat logo,
I said “Notice the black cat in the center. It originally was the
secret symbol used by revolutionary Wobblies to advocate sabotage in
factories. Since no modern anarchist trustafarians work in factories any
more, they’ve adopted the black cat sabotage symbol as a general call for sabotage against modern society.” Now I just think it’s a hollow gimmick to look edgy.
Not everybody was unaware of the hypocrisy associated with “using the
capitalists’ tools to destroy capitalism,” as various New York OWS
protesters justified their iPhone and iPad addictions. Or maybe she was
just a Droid marketing manager?
The legendary megaphone which Mother Jones pointedly mentioned to
imply that the Oakland Occupiers were reasonable and mainstream made
another appearance in the march, but the guy holding it never seemed to
say anything — he just carried it around. I will say that it was just
about the only pro-Obama artifact that I saw all day.
This is the reason why Oakland is in such trouble: The city has a
terrible crime problem, but seemingly half the residents see the police,
and not the criminals, as the problem. Any attempts to increase patrols
or hire more officers are met with fierce resistance.
I think many people will be pleased to hear that.
Rule #451 of protest sign-making: If you put a unicorn on it, no one can accuse you of malice.
Rule #523: Paper lasts a day, cardboard a week; but a quilt lasts forever.
Fascinating to see how Robert Reich is now quoted by activists, like some radical revolutionary hero.
Because everyone knows that a “spanking” is the most severe punishment
ever meted out to “enemies of the people” after a revolution.
And to think there are still pundits who try to claim that the Occupy movement isn’t anti-capitalist.
It’s rare that I see a protest message I’ve never encountered before;
this one certainly is unique. Anti-foreigner protectionism in the Occupy
movement? Who knew?
Eventually we walked all the way around the lake, but my camera battery
conked out right around here. There were a couple of futile “group pout”
sit-in-the-street moments, and a couple attempts to shout slogans in a
bank branch, but nothing particularly exciting before we made it back to
Well, I guess that depends on your definition of “exciting”: here’s a
video taken by one of the Occupiers of the bank invasion later in the
(This video is a replacement for an earlier similar one that was
taken down after various unsympathetic sites linked to the video. All
that remains of that original video is its YouTube description, which
pretty much describes this one as well:)
After marching from Oscar Grant Plaza and around Lake
Merritt on October 22nd, Occupy Oakland occupiers and supporters stopped
in front of the Chase Bank branch on Lakeshore Avenue. Demonstrators
began to stream into the bank, filling the branch and chanting, “Chase
got bailed out, we got sold out.” Bank withdrawal and deposit slips were
thrown into the air and within a few minutes demonstrators exited the
bank and returned to the thousand-plus marchers in the street. Several
protesters remained behind to pick up bank slips from the floor and were
locked inside when police moved in to secure the bank. With loud chants
of “Let them go, let them go” from the street, those inside were
allowed to leave and the march continued on to shut down a Wells Fargo
Bank branch by surrounding it before returning to Oscar Grant Plaza.
More info on the video here.
Also see interviews with Oakland Occupiers (taken on an earlier day) in “The Revolutionaries’ Revenge.”
For dessert, here are a few bonus pictures to round out your Occupy Oakland experience:
As bloggers have noticed at various Occupies around the country, over
the last two weeks Robin Hood has emerged as the movement’s latest
And don’t forget about the precious bodily fluids!
It’s almost refreshing to see some home-grown Marxism for once, instead
of these slick operations with their own printing presses and design
The upside-down flag says “Indian land.” Funny, though, that none of the
non-Native American protesters seem to be making any plans to
de-colonialize themselves back to wherever their ancestors came from.
Note also the fashionable jacket. Occupy chic will be in Old Navy next
year, I guarantee it.
No post-9/11 protest is considered to have a minyan until at least one Truther shows up.
Even the nihilists had their views represented — or in this case kinda Marx-o-nihilists.
The Che quote, the coolie hat — now that‘s dedication.
You don’t need to be fluent in Spanish to translate this sign.
The divisions and subdivisions in the identity politics movement have
gotten so specific that you can no longer refer to minorities as simply
“people of color,” because the gay minorities might then feel left out,
as one of the minority identifiers (color) subsumes what might possibly
be a more important minority identifier (queer); but on the other hand,
you can’t refer to all minorities as “queer people of color,”
because some of them might not in fact be queer. Solution? The proper
term for minorities is now the all-inclusive-but-not-presumptuous “POC/QPOC” — People of Color/Queer People of Color. Do not forget this, as it will be on your next revolutionary test.
To this day, I still can’t tell if some of these people take themselves seriously or not.
Here’s the official eviction notice, to be complete.
So: Is Occupy Oakland as bad as they say it is?
You saw the pictures; you decide.
Late in the day on Monday, October 24, the Occupiers sent out
emergency press releases saying that they were tipped off that the
police would follow through on their eviction orders in the upcoming
OAKLAND, CA [October 24, 2011]–
An Oakland city official has tipped off the Occupy Oakland protest group
that a raid tonight is “highly probable.” Such a raid would happen
after midnight, and would most likely occur between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m.
Oakland officials have delivered notice to the protesters at Frank
Ogawa Plaza and at Snow Park that the protesters are no longer allowed
to stay overnight in the public parks. Today’s announcement comes on
the same day as Occupy Oakland’s two-week birthday party, with cake and
celebration planned for 5 p.m. tonight at the corner of Broadway and
“Our goal is to facilitate individuals to remove their tents, cooking
facilities, and belongings, and to leave cooperatively,” wrote city
administrator Deanna Santana in an update to Oakland city staff earlier
today. “We do not anticipate that our efforts to facilitate the
departure of overnight protesters will disrupt your work or require
changes to your work schedule.”
The Occupy Oakland group has established significant infrastructure
in the past 14 days. An occupation-run kitchen feeds the more than 400
protesters staying in the two parks, while workshops and organizational
meetings happen throughout each day. A children’s village is available
for parents and their kids, and a number of structures are in place to
serve the full occupation, including a library, a school and a first-aid
Shortly after 5 p.m., the Oakland fire marshal confiscated the Occupy
Oakland camp’s propane and cooking supplies. All ability to cook food
is now cut off, after a solid two weeks of meal preparation for the full
camp. This follows an Oakland city official’s tip to the Occupy
Oakland protest group that a raid tonight is “highly probable.” A
full camp-wide raid would happen after midnight, and would most likely
occur between 3 a.m. and 5 a.m. Protesters have put an emergency
notification system in place; to sign up for text alerts in the event of
a police raid, text “bayaction” to 41411.
The party is over:
Police clear Occupy Oakland camps, arrest dozens
Oakland police arrested dozens of people at a plaza
outside City Hall and at a second, smaller camp nearby early this
morning, two weeks after the protesters launched efforts as part of the
nationwide Occupy Wall Street movement against corporate greed and
City officials said they had been forced to clear the encampments because of sanitary and public safety concerns.
At about 4:57 a.m., officers began making arrests and removing tents
and makeshift shelters at the Occupy Oakland protest at Frank Ogawa
Plaza near 14th Street and Broadway. By 5:05 a.m., the bulk of the
arrests had been completed, and arrestees were led away in plastic
Officials initially waived city laws that ban camping and allowed the
occupation of the plaza. But since Thursday, the city has issued of
series of orders for protesters to vacate the area, citing concerns
about fire hazards, sanitation issues, graffiti, drug use and violence.
Officials said protesters had plugged power cords into city utility
poles and had denied access to emergency responders who needed to get
into the plaza. The city was also alarmed by the activists’ decision to try to police themselves with a volunteer security team.
By: Fullon Tard
Tags: obama, zombie, segregation, racism, left wing, racists, idiots, fools, morons, scum baggers, bigots, flea baggers, democrats, leftists, socialists
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