Occupy Oakland RIP (10/10/11-10/25/12)

It would be fitting for the last action of Occupy Oakland to be a return to Oscar Grant Plaza and the planting of one tent. But the slogan on the side of the tent should mourn our dead friends and Occupy Oakland itself.

Movements come into existence and then recede or end. Somewhere in the U.S. there is undoubtedly an outpost of the Temperance Society, which was a world-wide movement for over a century, but is now meaningless . When a movement or organization doesn’t recognize that it has reached its endpoint, it becomes as welcome as a rotting corpse. Smell one once and you would know what we mean.

The evidence of the end of Occupy Oakland is not this proclamation; others have already pronounced it dead before now. The evidence is that the real work of Occupy Oakland continues in spite of the public spectacle. The housing organizing, the labor solidarity group, the anti-repression group and others can no longer pretend to be under the control or direction of the General Assembly, because that body doesn’t exist as a place where serious discussion or, more importantly, decision-making can occur.

Those of us who were at the last General Assembly on Sunday 10/21/12, ask yourself: What did that accomplish?

Name one decision, other than the resignation of the person who did most of the financial work. (And when you lose people like that, who do tedious but necessary work with little thanks for free, it should be a clear sign that something is wrong. That it was a woman who left because of threats by a man just makes it even more telling). Point to us something at that GA that would have drawn in any new person or grouping. Tell us why anyone should return to another GA, much less bring in others.

You can’t.

If we cannot remove or ostracize one person who persists in being disruptive, disrespectful and threatening, what good is the group? If there is no place that decision-making can occur, then how can the group continue?

It doesn’t.

When anyone can post to the world claiming to be a representative and spokesperson of Occupy Oakland and be taken seriously, not just by the mass media, but also by anarchist and insurgent news sources, then hasn’t the time come to end?

To those who wish to return to the Plaza this Thursday to stake a tent or conduct one more FTP march, we pose these questions: What will you do if you succeed? Why is nostalgia more important than defense of the G-Spot or any of the other housing sites that will be fought over? Why should you risk arrest on that night rather than march in solidarity with the family of Alan Blueford and others on November 10th? Will you be there when picket lines go up at the Port in coming weeks? Have you volunteered for the anti-repression committee or People’s Community Medics?

There is only one reason left to come to a GA: To officially dissolve Occupy Oakland in order to let there be no legitimate claim to speak or act on it’s behalf. Also, to divide the funds among the remaining active committees or give the committees the autonomy to decide.

Occupy Oakland is dead. RIP. Let’s honor its memory and not prop the corpse up to fool ourselves and others. Let us remember and learn from the experience – and the experiment – of the last year.

Signed,
Beyond the Barricades, a group of folks who were there getting arrested, and risking arrests, breathing teargas, taking police beatings, and meeting people outside of jail, as well as feeding people, giving first aid, waking up at 4 AM to deal with freak outs, leading marches to the Port, putting glitter on folks and handing out flyers that other people wrote. In other words, people who were part of Occupy Oakland from beginning to end.

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10 comments

  1. Kimberly Rojas

    wow what the fuck can I say. i am so unsure of what I feel I have done real work in occupy. I walked pickit lines in union city I help hold down the port actions. I have helped with home defensei fought in the streets for a space and did 53 hours in jail with loved ones. I have cooked my way from one end of oakland to another feeding and loveing many people along the way. In my heart I have no love for the saying we are the 99% percent But at the same time it seems to me that we are running away! Shit gets hard so we run to something else? We run with in our safe little groups? How is that buliding for a much needed mass movement better knowen as a revolution. Fuck the name! Is it not about standing strong when your underattack. I am not a profound writer. Nor do I always know who to express my thoughts as I wish I could but as much as I agree with some of what was writen it dose not sit well in my heart. I don’t know what I will do at the end of the day. Much thought has to go on in my mind today! But no matter what I end up doing I am going to feed my love ones today I am going to go to the plaza and call out the fucken lies of the state and I am going to hug my loved ones and occupy family today! And as for anything else I will have to think hard and see what my heart says!

    kim

  2. worker

    nobody has heard of ‘beyond the barricades’ and the article is unsigned by anyone, so why should we take it seriously and what is the agenda behind it?

  3. Shift

    I am a part of this group – “a group of folks who were there getting arrested, and risking arrests, breathing teargas, taking police beatings, and meeting people outside of jail, as well as feeding people, giving first aid, waking up at 4 AM to deal with freak outs, leading marches to the Port, putting glitter on folks and handing out flyers that other people wrote.” But I do not believe that OO is dead. The GA was birthed by the Occupy Movement. It built in size as OWS grew in size. When OO began, it was already enormous, because OO started pretty big. The snowball grew and was then melted… but all of the molecules still exist. I profoundly believe (from current interactions, despite divisiveness) that we are capable of re-solidifying.

  4. Robyn

    Would love to interview you about today’s events. I’m a journalist at Youth Radio in downtown Oakland. We covered the Occupy movement last year extensively, and put a story on NPR re: Scott Olson. We’d love to interview you today about why you think the movement has come to an end — and what the plaza’s significance is. Please feel free to contact me robyn@youthradio.org.

  5. Beyond the Barricades

    We want our thoughts shared and discussed, not just consumed. So to keep a flow of respectful dialogue going on our comment page, we will probably remove:

    hate speech
    squabbling that lacks content
    spamming
    accusations that we’re feds

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.

  6. k

    I’ve noticed something interesting in the host of very negative reception this article has gotten. This is true of most critiques that are published online that declare that some turning point in the movement life cycle has been reached. . Those who reflexively reject such critiques usually:

    1) are really attached to the occupy brand. this is often because they are newer organizers who have not gone through they birth/death cycle of movement work before (btw i think its great to have people who are forming new identities as organizers, we should appreciate its just harder for them to situate themselves without “Occupy”)

    2) while they argue very stridently about what the movement *is*, and why we need to “return to our roots”, or revive it, or why it can never die, or etc… they rarely articulate an understanding of where that movement came from, or an understanding of movements evolving and changing over time. if they do articulate an understanding of the “original” purpose/strategy/whatever of occupy, its usually inflexible, if not ahistorical, and strangely an almost perfect reflection of their personal beliefs/politics.

  7. Lucas Thayer

    The General Assembly was not invented by OO or OWS. A General Assembly is a tool that groups of People have used throughout history, including the United Nations. I haven’t been to any OO GA’s lately, but if it’s hitting a rough patch, take a break for a week and then come back. Maybe move your GA’s to a different day of the week to get some different opinions.

  8. Andrew

    I’ve said for two years that the Occupy movement is a fine idea but it needs to understand the common driving force of the problems which profits the 1%

    The world can not trust Presidents, governments, the United Nations, or local councils. The public has to ask questions and demand integrity. Failure to do that allows corruption of governance by the worst 1% of our society.

    The world needs to wake it from apathy, it is not impossible to change city hall, it just takes integrity and effort on part of the society.
    Personally I want to see an end to a 50 year slow motion genocide which the United Nations has orchestrated and which mostly American shareholders profit from. But you each have your own battle, an injustice you want to see righted, and the solution is the same. Get the public to take responsibility for its government instead of saying it’s the President or somebody else’s work alone.

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