Occupy Oakland: A Phoenix Will Rise From The Ashes #O25 #OO

48 hours out from #O25 Occupy Oakland is in turmoil. It needs our help.

We, who have eye-witnessed on their behalf. As they in turn did for us, during the evictions of Occupy Auckland, here in NZ.

How can we help? By speaking the truth. Fearlessly.

By regurgitating the sum of our knowledge gathered over this past year and trusting in each other’s mutual sincerity enough to ALWAYS keep an open mind.

We who have now, finally, become adept at picking out the true of heart and conscience, from the wolves in sheep’s clothing. For by their actions, they are known.

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The geographic difference between Oakland, CA & New Zealand belies the closeness of the socio-economic circumstances and the pop culture. Listening to the Port Shutdown II soundtruck on Oakfosho’s livestream, we knew (and raucously sung along to) every song played.

Whether it is the ‘Pac connection (revered as a deity in the NZ hip-hop/rap scene) or the fact that I, a white Kiwi woman, can rap the entire of Luniz “I Got 5 On It”; at street level we feel Oakland, like a distant older sibling. “Up in the O-A-K the town; homies don’t play around, we down to blaze a pound…” “Holla if ya hear me!”

Activists and musicians from Oakland have been naming all of our social ills and nailing the root causes of them for decades before Occupy spawned. They, and the newer generations of activists who collectively founded Occupy Oakland do have so much to be proud of.

Proud that people were fed, that people were housed, that people were roused from their slumber and reunited in community. Proud that because of the sheer determination of citizen media; the whole world IS watching.

We will never forget the night the chopper’s cut & ran.

We were screaming obscenities at the @ABC7newsBayArea “refuelling” lies, while watching both the CBS and ABC7 helicopters cut & run SIMULTANEOUSLY… from the livestreams on the ground.

We don’t need to retell that story… it was already done beautifully in this absolute must-read blog post, authored by an Oakland resident who witnessed the same sequence of events as us.

The writer talks of leaping out of their chair and running out of their house to join their community on #O25 ’11, explicitly because of what they witnessed through the livestreams. Yet another testament to the invaluable ability of People’s Media to reach an audience otherwise literally CUT OFF from participation, by the complicity and corruption of the mainstream media.

Witnessing the chopper cut-and-run & the events that followed, instantly turned us into by-proxy Occupy Oakland activists. As with activists the world over, we amplified & collated the media response and from sheer outrage at the injustices, absolutely hammered the public interfacing (read: P.R.) channels of the officials responsible for the debacle.

Mayor Jean Quan’s Facebook page was receiving 14,000 – 20,000 comments per post on her page, lambasting her (to put it politely). ABC7 was forced to pull their twitter feed off their website after it erupted into abuse at their obvious lies and omissions, bailing right as everyone was gassed.

The following are some of the tweets that transpired from our end, within the first 24 hours. (Note: 26th in NZ was 25th for OO)

The reference to “OPD lies” in one of the tweets above is due to the OPD holding a press-conference on #O25 itself stating to the corporate media that they had not used flash-bang grenades against the demonstrators. Once the deluge of citizen media came out proving them liars, the footage of their press conference was removed from the web.

The fall-out was immediate and swift. Mayor Jean Quan’s inner circle soon began to crumble.

Petitions sprang up; including a recall petition. A “Recall Mayor Jean Quan” Facebook page got thousands of likes almost instantaneously. Even, of all people, the police union, got on her case.

Mayor Jean Quan In Big Trouble After Riot” claimed SFGate.com, as the resignations of Quan’s inner circle continued.

Astonishingly, Quan’s response (other than to shirk an appearance at a General Assembly for not being given priority in the speaking order) was to spill the beans about PERF‘s “18-city” eviction co-ordination.

This Oakland Tribune live-blog of O25 tells of the beginnings of the idea to shut down the Port of Oakland as part of a General Strike.

“Protesters are calling for a general strike in the city of Oakland on Thursday and are telling people to gather at 5 p.m. in Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. They say their hope is to shut down the city. They’re telling businesses to close their shops and will be going into businesses to promote the idea. Protesters say they are trying to mobilize unions and turn this into a strike movement.”

“An estimated 2,000 protesters are on hand, and they’re discussing the mechanics for a strike on the city next Wednesday. Protest leaders are trying to galvanize unions, students and businesses into taking part. Ideally, protesters want students to skip school, businesses to shut down and hundreds of thousands of citizens to mobilize at the City Center.”

One week later, on the day of the Strike:

You can tell when the 99% backs an action. Because it looks like this.

You can also tell who really backs the 99% and not just their own agenda, by their level of tolerance.

True Occupy Media amplify for all issues and for EVERY faction in a spirit of inclusion.

We cover the religious organisations that support the 99%; even though we do not personally ascribe to any of them. We cover the student movement, although we are not all students. We cover Rainbow Youth & LGBT issues, regardless of our own sexuality. We advocate for the elderly, the young, no matter what our own age.

We cover indigenous issues, because the mainstream media deliberately distort both history and the present, and above all we seek to give voice to those who often go unheard.

We cover the entire 99% to the best of our ability, and strive to strengthen the movement, to decentralise and grow the chorus of testimony horizontally across our society.

But the true mark of Occupy Media is that we never fucking quit sharing movement information. No matter what is thrown our way.

The drive to share the information and grow the awakening outstrips any personal discomforts we are forced to endure. Be it financial through deprivation, or through being targeted for bullying and derision by others.

Those who truly believe – who truly love Occupy – act to grow the movement. Not to pigeon-hole it into one fixed method or ideology.

Thus it was with shock and dismay that we witnessed the beheading of the Occupy Oakland Media team.

Proposals to disband entire media teams were surprisingly common across the movement. There was an asserted drive, especially in Oakland, to:

a) alienate livestreamers – even going so far as to accuse them of being “narks”, while outright ignoring/turning a blind eye to the vastly superior surveillance capabilities of the state

b) control the key infrastructure of the Occupy

c) usurp the resources of the Occupy

d) discredit the Occupiers and alienate the public from them

We suffered the same thing at Occupy Auckland, though by good fortune managed to mass block the destructive proposals to fire our media team and they never passed. Although it poisoned our G.A. process & succeeded to some extent in alienating people from the movement, those who pushed for it have since proven their colours many times over in the wider activist community, and we are now rightfully acknowledged for having, through fierce loyalty and dogged determination, kept Occupy Auckland alive, despite their constant claims that “Occupy is dead!”

To go through that experience immediately prior to witnessing the same proposal actually PASS at Occupy Oakland, was horrifying. On live chat on Oakfosho’s stream, the day of that fateful General Assembly, no less than a half dozen cities were screaming warnings that the same proposal had been made at their occupies. We were all begging Oak to warn the G.A. not to do it. No proposal should EVER be passed which undoes the work of dozens of people who have given so much of themselves and their lives to the movement. Sadly due to the absence of much of the already beleaguered media team and the first-in-history successful use of the word ‘terrorist’ as a deterrent to further investigation… it was all over.

I had a particular memory of said ‘terrorist’, from months prior. Where I had stumbled across a Kickstarter page that successfully fundraised $3,200 for the creation of a definitive “Oral History of Occupy Oakland“. (The project delivery date was January 2012 yet we cannot find any trace of it.)

The page makes the astonishing claim;

“Especially in the earlier period of the plaza, my reporting has been at times, and for most of this period, the only in-depth narrative work done on the camp, and by any estimate the most accurate.”  -Jamie Omar Yassin

It then lists a bunch of links to the apparently WePay-funded blog Hyphenated-Republic whose last update was August 27th, 2012.

However it does have a very active Twitter feed on it – one which is filled with daily hate messages about OOMedia, courtesy of @Hyphy_Republic.

Despite his account’s “protected” status (another sure sign of someone spreading the awakening!) his twitter feed populating on his dormant blog site means his vitriole is able to be witnessed live.

As of 5 hours ago Yassin says;

2 days ago, this bizarre statement:

Which seems to be a vast departure from the story told here most notably, in the comments section.

Ironically, one thing Occupy Oakland definitely DOES have is great websites. Both OccupyOakland.org & HellaOccupyOakland.org have high usability and polish.

Unfortunately the “official” website appears to have no news updates between August 8th and October 22nd. The official Facebook page, which has a huge reach with over 24,000 likes on it, has been dormant for months. Suggesting the “new” media team that “replaced” OOMedia is all but AWOL.

One of Jaime Omar Yassin’s anti-OOMedia Twitter compadres is @OccupiedOakTrib who appears to control the infrastructure of the media teams print publication. (Or at the very least its social media accounts). From which he has made very clear his public position, while continuing to, still seven months later, be snapping at the heels of OOMedia. Despite having personally announced the “Emergency GA” to present a proposal to depose them.

Watching that OO assembly all we could see was ourselves mirrored in it. The same ringleaders. The same stooge saboteurs. The same cat-calling, negativity-cheering, rent-a-mob. The same slanderous terminology slung about to inflate emotions and utterly DISTRACT everyone present from action-planning, instead making them unwitting participants in devolution.

Now, seven months later, the writing is on the wall. As we would say, “the proof is in the pudding”. HellaOccupyOakland is posting exponential articles from around the globe, to every 1 by the Occupied Oakland Tribune. Meanwhile Jaime Omar Yassin is blaming Occupy Oakland for his not having uploaded an audio file to the G.A. archive in forever, despite having gloated over the historical value of it on the Kickstarter page that apparently netted him $3,200.

For all the cries of “transparency” and “accountability” between the two of them; the online record IS transparent. It shows no uploads of G.A. minutes or audio for the “emergency” G.A. that voted to fire the media team. Nor any in the seven months since.

Twitter is also transparent. If you search “OOMedia” in Twitter, with no # or @ in front, what you will find is @oomedia relentlessly sharing and spreading movement info, while being blasted with constant time-wasting trolling, by the same group of people, over and over again.

It quite frankly sucks, but is no wonder, that those actively spreading the awakening are being hated on. By people whose timelines are filled with narcissistic, vitriolic bullshit by comparison.

While others claim credit for actions of the 99%; yet heap scorn upon the founding principles that brought the 99% together.

Non-Violence. Global Solidarity. Local Governance.

Thus the self-styled “Oakland Commune” appears to be a remanifestation of OO that is an attempt to mask the failure of those behind the firing of the media team, at doing any better.

The “O.C.” is now wearing the Port Shutdowns as a badge of honor while showing little interest in the original agreement to “mobilise the unions and make this a strike movement” as per the statement of the Port Shutdown Committee.

They are instead writing angsty teenage revolutionary would-be manifestos, advocating “smashy smashy” and deriding “pacifists” as lesser beings, completely ignoring the roots of Occupy; of Tahrir and the Battle of Qasr Elnil Bridge that turned the tide of the Egyptian Revolution and brought down Mubarak.

As in other examples of recent successful revolution, it was achieved by large-scale acts of non-violence.

We watched it live, thanks to brave Egyptian livestreamers.

It is not possible to claim to be Occupy, or to lay claim to Occupy’s support base, if you do not believe in using peaceful methods to obtain societal change.

You will never convince the 99% to support the use of violence. The second you do, you EXCLUDE the elderly. The young. The disabled. Those with children. The 99%!

The enemy of the 99% is the banks. Not the police, not the Councils, not the Mayors, not the myriad of distracting middle-layers of the pyramid: but the TOP OF THE PYRAMID!

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No-one knows what is coming this #O25 though it is bound to be historic. We will witness, support & amplify regardless. For as was done for us, so shall be done for you.

Two of the final sources for this article are filled with memories for those who ate, slept and truly lived, at Occupy Oakland.

This gorgeous look at the real camp; as it was. A blogpost to treasure.

This comparison of the “Before” and “After” images, pre & post eviction.

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Bella doesn’t know it, but she made a grown woman on the other side of the world, cry her eyes out. Not just any woman. A woman that had survived years in prison. Who said about it; “they should have just put me in the men’s prison. I would have been better off.”

I showed the woman the video of Bella speaking at #OakMtg. She couldn’t even get through the entire video without breaking down. She got about two thirds the way through then turned it off and made a hasty and teary departure.

And this ain’t no spring chicken; she is a staunch lady. Just like Bella. But the truth rings so true to those of us who have been trying to tell it our whole lives, that to hear your every thought, feeling and wish come out of another person’s mouth, saying all the things you’ve ever wanted to but couldn’t, is a profoundly moving and emotional experience.

The recognition that at our core we all have the same wants and needs, just varying ability to express and achieve them. Within a system weighting itself wholly against our success.

Well that system is formulaic. It isn’t able to apply different methodologies at a micro level, everything must always be centralised and all instruction uniform. That is its inherent weakness.

For it means that with effective communication between the Occupies; we can connect the dots and learn from each others mistakes, with the omniscience of a hive mind.

Knowledge based on experience is our greatest asset, along with each other.

For a year now, OOMedia team have provided us with support and covered issues that were of no direct benefit for them to, other than in pure solidarity for a fellow Occupy.

For that we are so grateful to them.

Solidarity EVERYONE at Occupy Oakland. Wishing you a safe #O25.

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