Occupy Oakland & Black Bloc

SUBHEAD: Occupy Oakland November 2nd General Strike confrontations with Black Bloc efforts.  

By Staff on 3 November 2011 for the Energy Bulletin -  

Image above: Detail of Occupy Oakland poster for November 2nd General Strike. Click to enlarge. From (http://rortybomb.wordpress.com/2011/11/01/an-interview-with-a-member-of-occupy-oakland-about-tomorrows-general-strike).
Vandals hijack Occupy Oakland protests
Justin Elliott, Salon
Thanks to a splinter group of protesters in Oakland last night, the news today is leading with imagery of burning barricades and headlines about property destruction.

The Times notes that this was a tiny portion of the thousands of Occupy protesters that marched in support of a general strike earlier in the day:
Tear gas hung over Oakland for the second time in two weeks after a small group of demonstrators faced off against police early Thursday following a peaceful march of thousands of Occupy Oakland protesters.
A roving group of about 100 mostly young men broke from the main group of protesters in a central plaza and roamed through downtown streets spraying graffiti, burning garbage and breaking windows. The police said some in the group briefly occupied a building on 16th Street near the port.
... As I’ve previously written, protesters who destroy property or attack police are playing into the hands of the movement’s critics. Andrew Breitbart’s website is already trumpeting this video of a few “black bloc” types trying to break windows and a fence at a Whole Foods in Oakland, while others in the crowd try to convince them to stop:

(3 November 2011) This incident seems to be yet another example of the Black Bloc phenomenon. See Wikipedia for background. It's a tactic rejected by almost all the participants in demonstrations, including Marxists.
'No Violence!': 99 Percenters stop 'Black Bloc' vandals  
Zaid Jilan, Think Progress
  A common tactic by the American media during protest coverage is to focus on violent, sensationalist incidents. Yesterday, while thousands marched and went on strike in Oakland, a handful of “black bloc” demonstrators tried to vandalize a Whole Foods grocery store. Incensed by this behavior, a group of 99 Percenters surrounded the store and started yelling, “No violence!” The protesters succeeded in stopping the vandals from seriously damaging the store. Watch it:

Video above: Occupy Oakland members defend Lakeshore Drive Whole Foods from property damage from black bloc vandals. From (http://youtu.be/rWm2ZJbATHc).  

Self-Policing: Another Part of the Occupy Story  
Michael Shaw, Bag News Notes
Yes, there was a group of black-shirts in Oakland yesterday that vandalized a Whole Foods and smashed a bank window. We’ll have to see what the media does with that. The overall story, however, given the fact that the city largely removed its police from the action, is that the march and general strike was not only impressive in scale, but overwhelmingly peaceful.

As I mentioned in the previous post, I had the chance to spend some time in Zuccotti Park yesterday talking to members of the community there. One of the protesters spoke to me at length about camp rules, rule enforcement and self-policing, also pointing out people detailed to security who were otherwise regular “camp citizens.”

Not that you would notice it right off, but video from Oakland yesterday provides a good example of how the movement is employing peace-keeping and security as part of its very complex agenda.
Yes, there is Oakland Trib video showing the black-shirts apparently overcoming an Occupy security guy (yellow helmet), then wreaking their havoc. But then, there is also this video where the screen grabs above came from. What happens in this clip is that a group of protesters approach a Bank of America where they begin to violently bang on the window. The aggression is too much for the first Occupy security guy to handle, but very quickly and sure-handedly, a second Occupy security guy (the one with the green hat) steps in and takes control. In a second, these two guys, along with a woman, apparently affiliated with a local union, are calmly protecting the bank, the situation de-escalating so fast that, in the next instant, we see a girl standing where the rabble-rousers were eating a popscicle as the demonstrators rejoin the march.

I’m not saying there aren’t going to be incidents of violence as OWS tries to contain and control a growing movement, one which is attracting all types of disenfranchised people, including the 1% of bad actors looking for trouble. At the same time, I’m assuming Occupy — which is proving itself remarkably savvy at organization and “self-government” — will continue to improve their self-policing. Something that remains to be seen, however, is whether traditional media picks up on the fact. (2 November 2011)



inDub said...

Thanks to the Black Bloc tactics employed at Oakland, peaceful right to assembly and actual nonviolent anarchism is now being shot to hell. Thanks but no thanks for the 'help', trolls.

leftygoleftier said...

if you think anything changes without violence you are simply ignorant to history

leftygoleftier said...

and I don't just mean revolutionary violence by the oppressed masses against the entrenched powers that be, although there are many historical incidents of that. I mean by environmental violence, by weather, or volcanoes or droughts and floods. Or by impacts from meteors or by microbial attacks from viruses, flu's or bacteria. Nothing really changes without some sort of violence. Conflict is the vehicle of great change.

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