Skip to main content

At 11:45 today, on the steps of the Oakland City Hall, Mayor Quan and about thirty supporters (plus press and Occupy Oaklanders on the periphery) held a rally against Occupy Oakland.

About twenty five minutes later, the Occupy Oakland anti-repression rally, slated for noon (and scheduled days in advance of Quan's rally) began. There were some two hundred Occupy Oaklander supporters scattered around the amphiteatre in front of City Hall, and the number continued to grow to perhaps three hundred as events unfolded.

The Quan ralliers facing the camera. More ralliers off to the left. The demographics are interesting in a city that is 26% Anglo.

The police, as usual, came in riot gear. About halfway through the rally they gave an order for the sound system Occupy Oakland was using to be turned off, then began positioning themselves to attempt to move in on it and seize it. Occupy Oaklanders immediately formed a mass around the sound system.

The anti-repression rally begins with the rogue sound system. There are perhaps two hundred people seated in the audience and more behind the speakers (I counted them). The police are beginning to mass by the white van. (That's me scratching my head!)

Now I would like for you to picture this situation. There are, a half hour into the rally, three hundred people, perhaps more, in front of City Hall, on the amphitheatre platform or steps, or in the seating area. Some of them are old men and women. There are people who just happen to be walking by; it is a busy walk area around noon. The vast majority, nonetheless, are holding an anti-police-repression rally, obviously with strong anti-police sentiments, but so far completely peaceful.

If you were the Oakland official or the police Lieutenant or Captain in charge, would you order your men into the middle of the amphitheatre, thereby risking the possiblity of a riot, people being trampled, people being knocked down steps, and/or innocent passersby being caught up in some kind of angry mob? All so that you could enforce your order to turn off a sound system?

Or would you wait fifteen minutes until the rally had ended and the people were dispersing to the march to the courthouse, then move in to cite the person who set up the sound system and seize it?

If you chose the latter you are sane. If you chose the former you are officially an inmate of the lunatic asylum known as Oakland City Government.

The police will undoubtedly tell us that what they did was perfect safe -- they had everything under control. And this will be a lie, one of an endless stream. True, as it turned out there were no injuries, at least that I observed. No one was trampled; no innocent bystanders or anyone else was damaged. But in many not-so-unlikely alternate universes that was not the case.

I was there, I watched the whole thing unfold. Believe me when I saw there was a serious possibility of the crowd turning into a mob. Or at the very least innocent people being seriously hurt. There was simply no justification in terms of public safety for the decisions the police made.

There is, however, one good explanation for the police behavior, and I think it is a very simple one. The city adminstration, with the full approval of the police, is intent on provoking violent behavior from Occupy Oakland, regardless of any consideration for the safety of the general public or the fact that people might be injured, or even killed. Thanks to the incredibly slanted coverage of such incidents by the mainstream media, they now view every potential for violent confrontation as a chance for a big PR victory. If it bleeds, it leads, and City Hall applauds.

Lets put it another way. To score "brownie" points, the City of Oakland has made a conscious choice to endanger its citizenry, risking injury and conceivably death to one and all: police, Occupy Oaklanders and happenstance passersby alike. Rather than attempting to defuse such situations and/or use the most minimally threatening, least violent approaches and tactics, again and again we see the police choosing the opposite. The City of Oakland seems to be in as single-minded and destructive pursuit of its goal to hunt down Occupy Oakland as Captain Ahab ever was to kill his white whale -- and equally blind to the potential consequences. This has never been so blatantly and openly illustrated as this afternoon on Frank Ogawa Plaza / Oscar Grant Park.  

Strategic decisions such as those made today do not happen somewhere down in the police hierarchy. They happen at the highest levels of City Government. Or perhaps they are decided by the people who control these same government officials -- the one percent -- who are (still) laughing all the way to the bank as they foreclose on our homes, deny health care to the neediest and their own servants, and have city workers laid off.


Photo credits: Alyssa, aka Kossack allie123, aka alyssa011968 on twitter.

5:54 PM PT: SF Chronicle article:

"I thought the police did what they had to do," said Marilyn Singleton, a 64-year-old doctor from Oakland who was with the Stand for Oakland group. "They can't let them run amok."

Fortunately, I saw no one running, let alone amok.

6:07 PM PT: Now that I've got your attention:

Please sign this petition, to allow a Berkeley man to live.

8:05 PM PT: The Occupied Oakland Tribune does an interview with our own Allie123

Originally posted to jpmassar on Mon Feb 06, 2012 at 05:02 PM PST.

Also republished by Occupy Wall Street, ClassWarfare Newsletter: WallStreet VS Working Class Global Occupy movement, California politics, and SFKossacks.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Meteor Blades, Pat K California, fly, Alumbrados, vicki, hazey, Odysseus, ogre, teacherken, glitterscale, karlpk, MouseThatRoared, Shockwave, Heather in SFBay, CleverNickName, cotterperson, eeff, xynz, niemann, Creosote, Heart of the Rockies, Dumbo, Gustogirl, concernedamerican, bronte17, ask, Fe, poe, jalbert, navajo, antirove, hopeful, Joe Bacon, danthrax, Dallasdoc, Damnit Janet, NYFM, On The Bus, Steven Payne, Sychotic1, defluxion10, riverlover, clarknyc, zett, zerelda, Curt Matlock, NapaJulie, Deward Hastings, lyvwyr101, bablhous, vacantlook, eve, Josiah Bartlett, sawgrass727, davidkc, joanneleon, humphrey, ExStr8, maybeeso in michigan, Bluesee, radarlady, 3goldens, unclejohn, OpherGopher, Alice Venturi, CinDan, Brooke In Seattle, eru, Dem Beans, jimreyn, ladybug53, Burned, Ice Blue, jabbausaf, kaliope, deep, Ozzie, WisePiper, Shotput8, coolbreeze, Cory Bantic, Rogneid, mightymouse, xaxnar, begone, Reality Bites Back, martini, LeftOverAmerica, Nance, detroitmechworks, tommymet, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, myboo, Mr Bojangles, Russgirl, koNko, ruleoflaw, AoT, KenBee, raincrow, blueoasis, NBBooks, twigg, 4Freedom, SadieSue, middleagedhousewife, Turbonerd, onionjim, dirkster42, CA Nana, doingbusinessas, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, Stripe, Cassiodorus, Mindtrain, Dreaming of Better Days, blueoregon, shaharazade, Friend of the court, ammasdarling, One Pissed Off Liberal, old wobbly, pgm 01, timewarp, out of left field, pfiore8, Cronesense, oklacoma dem, camlbacker, Debs2, FishOutofWater, noofsh, dissonantdissident, aliasalias, bnasley, jayden, US Blues, millwood, pioneer111, uciguy30, skod, Puffin, Empower Ink, JDWolverton, poligirl, Youffraita, dadadata, bythesea, elwior, Akonitum, jakebob, mikeconwell, Greyhound, tofumagoo, MrJayTee, Wek, Jake Williams, home solar, mofembot, petulans, luckylizard, allie123, shortgirl, Celtic Merlin, smellybeast, arendt, Rick Aucoin, ceebee7, greengemini, lostinamerica, LinSea, bobatkinson, dharmasyd, bsmechanic, matmak, susanWAstate, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, DefendOurConstitution, geebeebee, Calfacon, JustJennifer, kevinpdx, Keith Pickering, mahakali overdrive, Terranova0, catilinus, Just Bob, smileycreek, Broke And Unemployed, FogCityJohn, NJpeach, David Harris Gershon, CS11, angelajean, wvmom, Simple, gulfgal98, DiegoUK, sharonsz, Publius2008, elengul, Otteray Scribe, cocinero, no way lack of brain, Onomastic, poorbuster, molunkusmol, Lorikeet, grannysally, thomask, muddy boots, SueM1121, worldlotus, Rosicrucian, Caddis Fly, MattYellingAtTheMoon, stlsophos, Chitown Kev, Mentatmark, SouthernLiberalinMD, drawingporno, No one gets out alive, quill, jacey, Liberal Granny, anodnhajo, IndieGuy, a2nite, Ultranaut, FaithGardner, 2thanks, Evolutionary, Horace Boothroyd III, joeschmeaux, chipmo, peachcreek, TBug, doroma, wxorknot, Vote4Obamain2012, DSWright, Kinak, Glen The Plumber, George3, allensl, TheLawnRanger, Prospect Park, Eric Twocents, glorificus, GenXBadger, mic check oakland, SanFernandoValleyMom, Sean X, WhipArtist, broths

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site