Good news folks, the rumors spread by people not at GAs that the "Black Bloc" has taken over Occupy Oakland...that
"they ARE Occupy Oakland now" are rumors that are easily counter-argued with FACTs. Allow me to present to you one such fact known as TONIGHT in a moment.
Why this counter-factual meme is given credence, I've yet to fathom. I understand the concern that change is happening at an alarming rate. It is normal, to a degree, for all of us to feel at such unacustomed times that things are spinning out of control & insidious forces are taking over. However, the truly insidious forces took over quite a while back. When we participate in participatory democracy at the GAs we are not-
fools leading fools. I will also no longer support Occupy Oakland has sealed its own fate by taking this action (not excluding the black bloc in the first place).
Unions will not support an organization aligned with the Black Bloc, as well they shouldn't. I encouraged my union, successfully, to support the General Strike. I will now encourage them to withdraw support and tell them why.
No Union stand of solidarity has been withdrawn from Occupied Oakland. The few people who use "Black Bloc" tactics in every urban center in the U.S. haven't seized, taken over, or derailed Occupy Oakland. Sure, that's the meme some people are consciously or unconsciously spreading around. It just isn't true. Really, it isn't.
Remember the "clothes" meme...that the way people dressed at OWS events was turning off the country...that people "having sex" in their tents would alienate the "silent majority?" Those had their run here. And after the "Black Bloc" scare is regulated to the dustbin of history, there will be another meme to take its place why the movement is faltering.
The reality is different.
THIS is the reality of Occupied Oakland TONIGHT. The reality you'd see if you were here or watching Live-stream (which you can do by clicking on that link & listen to the truth yourself.
The man with the moustache, Frank, is from SEIU. I'm not sure what organization the blind woman with the cane is from. The man on the right wears a NY Yankees cap, but isn't affiliated with them. The man in the middle hosts OakFoSho Live-stream, & his mom was a life-long union member (& SEIU member). As he says, "This isn't just a community, it is a family."
"If you can change Oakland, you can change the world", says the man with the beanie cap-2nd from the left.
Frank, the man from SEIU & 40-year union member, explains the bravery of the sight-impaired woman he is hugging...& explains powerfully why labor IS aligned with, & supports, Occupied Oakland. "We've been ineffective because we've not challenged power."
The union man on the far left with the other baseball cap perfectly summarizes what too many people buy into. "When times are good, the employers reap the benefits. When times are bad it is the workers who have to suffer"
The SEIU man is a hero-
"The solution for unions is to join the people here. Bring sleeping bags, bring our blankets & bring food...we are much better off joining in here in occupied Oakland defending the perimeter." To which the African-American man on the left side (with beanie) responded, "& get out of bed with the employers."
The blond woman, 3rd from the left, smiled & said, "Come & join us. Everyone is welcome."
While I admit I love the people in the photo above, I also have to admit that the truth they represent on the ground in Oakland is not as sexy as the "violent people in black have taken us over" meme.
You really think the "Black Bloc" has taken over...come down & talk to the blind woman-I promise you her view is crystal clear...& then maybe you can convince the SEIU man not to stand with Occupied Oakland-'cuz I neither can nor want to.
You might also speak to the veterans here. Last night, as JPMassar pointed out, there were 30 veterans at Occupy Oakland. I'm sure Doug was one of them. I've met him several times. He's stocky & is towers above me at way over 6 feet. I bet he's working in the medic tent again tonight. As an Iraq war veteran, he puts himself on the line defending & repairing people who have no other access to healthcare. A job the city should be doing. When it comes to things like that, he knows what he's doing. You think he, or his fellow vets on the scene here, would let anything fringe group seize this movement? If you do, then come down & talk to him (& the other vets about it).
They've put their bodies on the line to protect Occupy Oakland from violence, & their voices behind non-violent actions. Try to tell them in person they've failed. Look for Doug, his height, stockiness, & habitually worn floppy camo hat, make him easy to find. He's very friendly & loves conversation. If I haven't convinced you that we're on track, maybe he can.