I visited #OccupiedOakland at lunch time today to check it out and poke around The sun was shining, the temperature just a tad cool, and the mood there was subdued. No one dancing, no drums, no one selling ice cream. Not a lot of people; the information booth wasn't even manned when I walked by.
If there had been 10,000+ people passing through this park and serious violence nearby forty eight hours ago, you wouldn't know it in passing. As I walked around the permimeter of the plaza I could not see a single broken or boarded-up window -- including Tully's, which despite what must be authentic reports of having their windows smashed in, was open with a fine set of presumably new windows.
I encountered two interesting things as I strolled, and one as I later surfed. Join me past the sqiggle.
First, part of the kitchen facility was now being powered by solar panels that some random person brought in and installed! Their mini-refrigerator is now running on sunlight. How cool (heh) is that?
Second, as I passed by a meeting of the "campers committee", a woman (who as it turns out is actually a lurker on Daily Kos) began to speak. She gave a shortened version of the statement I am about to quote for you (with her permission, which I obtained subsequent to her oratory), and it was pretty stunning to listen to. She intends to read it at the Occupy Oakland General Assembly tonight if she has the opportunity. Here goes:
Hello. My name is Krissy Gibbs. I was at the General Strike. I was among the first two hundred people to arrive at the port. What I saw there changed my life. I am part of the 99%. But I am also part of the 5%. I believe in the Occupy movement. I think that it needs to continue and grow. I think it needs to be done through peaceful means only. I grew up in extreme poverty. I was homeless. I stole food to eat. I am a survivor of incest and rape. I had a very hard life. I moved more than 50 times before I was 18. I went to 25 schools before dropping out of high school at 16. I went to graduate school and I taught high school for three years before having children.
Now I’m upper class because I married someone who is the son of the 1%. My life was changed because of an accident. When I was five years old I was attacked by a pit bull. The money was wisely invested because my lawyer was the father of my life long best friend. He knew my mother would have wasted the money. He put it in trust for me until I was 18. Then he gave me $1200 every month between the ages of 18 and 30. I turned 30 this year.
On my 30th birthday I fretted and fretted about what to do with the money. You see, I got the last check. $35,000 It’s a lot of money for someone with my childhood. An insane amount of money. An amount of money that could have made every dream I had then possible. Because I was that poor. My needs were that simple. Now, I had to try to come up with some ridiculous over the top wasteful way to spend it. Because all of my needs are met. I have extra. I don’t know what to do with it. I want to spend this money on something that is just for me. I’ll tell the truth and say that some of it is gone. My best friend got married in Scotland and that was not an opportunity I could ignore. I have $20,000 left.
I want to use that money to repair some of the damage done by vandals in my name. I am Occupy Oakland. I am the General Strike. I apparently fucked up and broke something. I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to. I hope this is enough to cover the damages, and if it isn’t, I’ll ask some of my friends if they have any I can borrow. I think they can. They all have enough too.
PS: I will be emailing this to the Oakland Mayor, Oakland PD, Well’s Fargo, and Chase. I am not sure to whom I should address the check.
I ask you for a second time: How cool is that?
Finally I want to quote for you parts of a resolution (PDF, found at the bottom) that was tabled at the Oakland City Council Meeting last night, introduced by Councilmember Nadel:
Resolution Supporting The Occupy Wall Street Protest Movement, Declaring That City Continues To Unequivocally Embrace The First Amendment To The United States Constitution And The City's Duty To Uphold The People's Right To Peaceful Assembly And Urging Mayor Jean Quan To Collaborate With Occupy Oakland To Develop Measures And Procedures To Ensure Safety Of The Protestors, Their Supporters, City Employees And The Greater Public.
((Lots of WHEREAS's))
RESOLVED, That the Oakland City Council supports the "Occupy Wall Street"
protest movement and the rights of all who protest to assemble peacefully and enjoy free speech in the City of Oakland; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Oakland City Council recognizes that Free
Speech and Freedom of Assembly is a sacred right under the U.S. Constitution; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Oakland City Council urges Mayor Jean
Quan to direct the Recreation and Park Department, the Department of Public Works, the Police Department, and other City agencies, as relevant, to collaborate with protestors for the safe and lawful use of public spaces, in which demonstrators can exercise their First Amendment rights and the City can address safety concems and laws in a cooperative manner; and, be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Oakland City Council urges the City Administration, whenever reasonably possible to address any public health issues, fire safety issues, noise disturbances of neighbors or violence in the camp, with verbal communication among the protestors and city or county officials; and be it
FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Oakland City Council declares that it does not support the use of force to remove the encampment unless absolutely necessary, after, engaging in verbal communications, whenever reasonably possible; and urges Mayor Jean Quan, and the City Administration to exercise their administrative powers, if possible, in a manner that will not involve the use of force to remove the encampment.
THIS RESOLUTION WAS TABLED. HOW UNCOOL IS THAT?
The Oakland City Council could not even bring itself to
- Support The 1st Amendment of the United States Constitution.
- Advocate verbal communication in lieu of violence.
- Repudiate the use of force against the encampment (their own constituents) even with the caveat 'unless absolutely necessary'.
These are the same people who were ultimately responsible for the use of violence and tear gas against peaceful protesters a week and a half ago, resulting in the near death of Scott Olsen and the mass arrests of a hundred others without any justification.
And last night they had the nerve to sit there and pontificate about how the protesters need to be willing to have a dialog with them (with an implied "or else!"), when they are unwilling to show that they have a modicum of respect for these same protesers' rights as citizens of Oakland and of the United States.
Perhaps each of them should get hauled off the jail at 4:00 in the morning and sit there for two days before they hold their next Council meeting.