The Occupation Devolution
Much has transpired with Occupy Oakland since the grass was green in Frank Ogawa Plaza: businesses have been vandalized, banks terrorized, buildings occupied, commerce obstructed, and a man murdered, all to the tune of millions in damages the taxpaying 53% of the 99% will have to pay.
From occupying the park to closing the port, Occupiers of all stripes have consistently displayed confrontational behavior -- intimidating citizens, threatening businesses and goading law enforcement.
Oakland's Mayor Quan and the press repeatedly stress that this is a "mostly peaceful" movement. They have pushed the narrative that the violence at Occupy Oakland is attributable to 60-80 outside anarchists -- members of the Black Bloc -- and that the vast majority of Occupiers are peaceful demonstrators clamoring for fair taxation and an end to corporate and millionaire greed.
But, for those of us who have been following this closely, Occupy Oakland is riddled with the steady drumbeat of intimidation, violence and destruction; and the anarchists are not the only players.
At first the drumbeat is subtle, carefully tapping out a steady theme of defiance.
The very essence of the Occupation qua Occupation is coercive. It calls for squatting on public property and forcibly taking it over for the exclusive use of the Occupiers. When probed, squatters readily admit they intend to stay forever, take control of the means of production and Occupy Everything.
Occupiers bully their neighbors simply by "occupying" -- blocking access to the plaza, streets and commerce.
They intimidate businesses by vandalizing storefronts and using human blockades to shut down the city. Countless small entrepreneurs have lost money due to the mayhem and diminished patronage of the past few weeks. To date, three businesses have refused to sign leases, including one that would employ 100 people.
Occupiers have force fed the public a constant diet of threats that there are more of them than us, this is just the beginning and the rich won't know what hit them when the revolution comes. OWS poster boy, Michael Moore, recently bayed "When there are a million [of us], they won't know what the F to do."
They taunt industrious citizens and productive businesses with calls to confiscate property, seize control of public spaces and expropriate it all for themselves. For those who earn a good living, own a home and have a few investments, these taunts do not go unnoticed -- the Occupiers will take by force that which property owners are not willing to give.
The drumbeat ratchets up a notch.
The Occupiers want to tax the rich, eat the rich, bankrupt the banks, jail the bankers, hang the capitalists and kill the pigs.
They march in mobs down the street -- blocking traffic and bashing windows. They throw rocks and bottles at cops, use garbage dumpsters as barriers, hurl Molotov cocktails, set fires and take over vacant buildings. This is anything but peaceful.
Police hold the line while Occupiers exercise their First Amendment rights: they curse and yell at the police; march on them by the thousands; chant in unison with raised fists and shields -- safe behind their masks. They "get in the faces" of the officers on duty, shouting they are the 99%, accusing them of being puppets of the 1%.
It isn't long before they assault the police by lobbing dangerous projectiles at them.
Then, someone gets hurt...and the drumbeat becomes more chaotic.
The Occupiers rage against the police state and rail against police brutality. Their demands? Disband law enforcement.
Even when projectiles aren't thrown, the demonstrations are hardly mellow. They serve to provoke. As tensions mount, anticipation permeates the air. Adrenalin is pumping on both sides. An angry, throbbing legion tries to incite the cops. By the time the police and zealots face off, they are at a tipping point: a raised fist can launch a missile within seconds; a person screaming in your face morphs into a shove before you know it; a crowd of a thousand can overrun the police line in a heartbeat.
Tempers flare, the drumbeat gets lost in the cacophony and the revolution devolves into bedlam.
The "mostly peaceful" marches and protests are permeated with provocateurs clad in masks and scarves wrapped around their faces. With identities camouflaged, they feel more empowered to wreck havoc than when fully exposed.
The mayor and media protect the Occupiers by blaming the vandalism on anarchists dressed in black, carrying black flags and wearing Guy Fawkes masks, keffiyehs, hoods and bandanas -- wardrobe choices usually associated with history's bad guys. But the anarchists are not rogue elements in this battle.
The masked and unmasked march together, chant together, incite together. They carry red and black flags signifying the union between anarchy and communism in bringing about the Revolution.
A review of the video footage reveals that the anarchists did not act alone when they attacked Wells Fargo, Bank of America and Whole Foods, nor when they took over the Traveler's Aid Building. While several people did try to intercede, thousands watched, cheered and condoned it all.
When the pandemonium settled, anarchist and Occupier marched on to the next incident shoulder-to-shoulder, to the beat of the same drum. Click here to watch the video.
They did this secure in the knowledge that their fellow travelers in City Hall had their backs even though Oakland's 390,000 non-occupying residents would have to foot the bill.
Mayor Jean Quan and many in the Oakland's City Council have openly supported the 99% because Oakland is, after all, a "progressive" city. They are working with the anarchists and Occupiers to bring about what Danny Glover referred to as "revolution, evolution, transformation."
This is not unexpected. Marx predicted "[W]hen the class struggle nears the decisive hour...a small section of the ruling class [will join] the revolutionary class."
But, why would the government apparat throw local businesses to the anarchist-Occupier wolves when many of the vandalized stores closed in solidarity with the Occupation?
Why would the government apparat shore up a movement that saddles it with millions more in debt when Oakland is broke?
This isn't about logic. It's about ideology.
These businesses are the bourgeoisie -- the enemy, the capitalist problem that must be eradicated by the Marxist Revolution.
And fittingly, Marxist philosophy, literature and signage are ubiquitous at Occupy Oakland. A visit to the Party for Socialism and Liberation's website -- a Marxist group well-represented at Occupy Oakland events -- explains the mindset of the Occupiers best:
The existing government and state -- the military, police, intelligence agencies, courts, prisons, bureaucracy and so on -- defend the interests of the capitalist class. Racist, anti-working-class police brutality is rampant. A monstrous state machine has imprisoned more people in the United States than in any other country.
The only force capable of putting an end to this criminal system is the organized working class. Capitalism cannot be voted out of power -- it will take a revolution. (www.PSLweb.org)
The Occupiers are aggressively pounding on the drums of revolution. As their efforts devolve into anarchy, will their enablers in the press and City Hall allow the Occupation to persist without enforcing the law? Will they continue to blame anarchists for the scandalous behavior of the entire group? Most importantly, while Rome burns, will they continue to characterize the movement as "mostly peaceful"?