The Evolution of the Occupation

In spite of the fact that Wall Street Journal columnist Jon Frieman declared Occupy Wall Street 99% dead this morning, the movement kept right on going. Today, most of the action seemed to be in Oakland, where activists, having called for a general strike in response to last week’s violent crackdown by police, brought a good part of the city to a halt. The reports are still coming in, but it looks like thousands took to the streets, as numerous businesses shut down. Among other things, all downtown banks were closed and the Port of Oakland was shut down. Even the Mens’ Warehouse, according to the LA Times, had a sign in its window saying that it was closed in support of “the 99%.” And, more than 260 Oakland public school teachers chose not to work today in solidarity.

While the protestors didn’t completely bring things to a screeching halt across the entire city, I think it’s incredible what they were able to pull together in such a short period of time. I believe I read somewhere that this was the first general strike attempted in the California in 65 years. While I don’t support the forced closing of independently-owned stores, I think the good, in this case, probably outweighs the bad. I think it’s important for people around the country to see that we the people, while we don’t have riot police and big banks on our side, still wield a great deal of power.

I know there’s a certain amount of risk involved with a leaderless movement like this, as you don’t quite know where it might be headed, but, for the time being, I’m really enjoying watching how things unfold. I like watching it evolve day by day. I like, for instance, seeing the New York occupation adopting bicycle power in response to the police having taken their diesel generators. I like knowing that the individual occupations are putting procedures in place for dealing with violent, or overly aggressive protestors. And, I like knowing that information is being shared between occupations, and that they’re learning form each other, getting smarter about how they do things. It’s totally inspiring…

Right now, thanks to the power of the internet, I’m watching a media workshop that was conducted a few days ago at Occupy Detroit by Justin Wedes – one of the guys who helped launch Occupy New York’s Media Team… And, here it is, for those of you that might be interested. [It doesn’t really get started until about 10 minutes in.]

Watch live streaming video from detroit99 at
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  1. Edward
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    It’s like watching an new species arise out of a lake of muck.

  2. JC
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:14 am | Permalink

    “I know there’s a certain amount of risk involved with a leaderless movement like this, as you don’t quite know where it might be headed . . .”

    It’s actually, historically, the opposite. Decision-making by consensus tends to resist any possibility of autocracy. And a decentralized movement will ultimately elicit more fear/respect from the opposition, if the movement is seen as a large public mass, rather than a single person or two who can be lobbied (or executed).

  3. K2
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 8:21 am | Permalink

    I don’t think Mark was saying that it was a bad thing, or that the mob could turn ugly, JC. I believe he, like Hedges did in that video we discussed a week or so ago, was just saying that it’s impossible to know where it all might lead. That isn’t to say that the result won’t be good. There’s just a huge unknown element.

  4. Meta
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Last night, fires were started by anarchists in Oakland. Occupiers tried to put them out, and they were gassed by the cops in the process. Here’s a first hand account.

    [–]joshikus 27 points 21 minutes ago

    There is really so much that happenned that a “story” just doesn’t do any justice. Surreal is a word I seldom use but this definitely is a great time to put that into effect. Basically with the fires we had set up the barricades yet a few anarchists tried to light it multiple times with everybody stopping them. I was at the line when the fires were lit and told the cops to GIVE ME A FUCKING FIRE EXTINGUISHER and they wouldn’t. Ran back to the barricade and somebody had found a couple so we started to douse it. By this time the gas was rolling out and the cops where marching toward us the flames were pretty much out yet they still continued to use force. What was funny was that I was telling them that the fire is not our doing and they didn’t give. One. Fuck.

  5. Tommy
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    Started by anarchists? Not sure what that means. Anyway, JC, were you perhaps thinking about Doctor King or Malcolm X by chance with the last word in your post? I was.

  6. TaterSalad
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    Oakland, California Police Chief: “All the requirements for RICO prosecutions of the OWS King Pins have been met.”

    I wonder when we will see some indictments. Sooner than later one would expect!

  7. Mr. X
    Posted November 3, 2011 at 11:11 am | Permalink

    That’s definitely the sense that I got listening to that last interview of Hedges, where he talks about the benefit of a leaderless campaign. He didn’t mention assassination explicitly, but I got the sense that’s what he meant.

    As for the evolution of the movement, I think someone mentioned it in an earlier thread, but MTV has been stiffing around, talking about a reality series. I don’t know if their focus on individuals would be in keeping with the leaderless nature of the movement, but I think it could actually be a good thing. I like the idea of kids getting politics through their entertainment for a change, instead of just advertising.

  8. Posted November 4, 2011 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    By anarchists, they mean cops.

  9. Posted November 5, 2011 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    Tatersalad, I googled your alleged quote. It does note exist. Rather it is a quote of one of your wingnut friends commenting on what he hopes the Oakland chief of police might say during a Laura Ingham interview. is it your nature to lie and spread misinformation, or are you paid to be a troll

  10. Tatersalad
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    wobblie…….I know it is hard for you to grasp but try this one then and give us your thoughful opinion.

  11. Tatersalad
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

    Wobblie…….from now on your comments will be placed into “moderation” since you have now attacked another messenger!

  12. Tatersalad
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Permalink

    Tater wants to know if the people on this website subscribe to this “typical” Wall St. protester and that if they find him as a fine example of the protest?

  13. Tatersalad
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    K2…………..this is where it is leading but of course, your typical liberal news station like ABC, MSNBC, CBS and so on won’t report it:

  14. Tatersalad
    Posted November 6, 2011 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    Hey, this is great! Imagine the odds of this happening.

    Do you know the park in NYC that the Wall Street protesters are occupying?It’s Zuccotti Park. Did you know this park is not owned by the city of New York?It is owned by Brookfield Properties. Who was just hired by Brookfield Properties as an attorney?Vice President Joe Biden’s son. Who sits on the board of Brookfield Properties?Mayor Bloomberg’s live in girlfriend. Now, guess what company just received some of the last of theObama Stimulus $$$$$$$. Thaaaaaaaaaaaat’s right, Brookfield Properties. Isn’t life great in America!

    Now, guess what, on a completely unrelated note, Wisconsin is shaping up to be the swing statein the 2012 presidential elections. Not Florida. Not Ohio. But Wisconsin.Now, guess who owns the company that will be tabulating the electronic votes in Wisconsin.Thaaaaaaaaaaaat’s right, the biggest contributor to Obama, the puppeteer George Soros.Whaaaaaaaaaaaat a coincidence! Now remember what Stalin said. “He who votes does not have the power.He who counts the votes has the power”.

  15. Watching Laughing.
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    A couple months ago, the Republicans went to sleep with a 19-15 advantage in the Sate Senate on the recall elections.
    They woke up with a 17-16, Gov Walker is now ready to be recalled, it’s just when, early 2012, or wait till the November 2012 elections?
    Wisconsin was the start of the uprising of the greed, and to few people owning to much wealth and them trying to dismantle the middle class, workers rights, etc, and anybody, not at the top.
    Florida, and Ohio will be the swing states as usauall or maybe just another landslide win for Obama, IMHO.
    You might want to get factual information instead of your BS; somewhere other than the GOP putting out their complete backwords, talking points, missinformation, and out right lies.

  16. TaterSalad
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Watching and Laughing……….You might want to get your factual information correct before your typical BS, somewhere other than your left wing, socialist informational access. Maybe you can understand this. Then again, maybe not!

  17. Watching Laughing.
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 3:30 pm | Permalink

    Tatersalad, my names says it all to you,

    Watching Laughing.

  18. Meta
    Posted November 7, 2011 at 8:40 pm | Permalink

    And it’s still evolving. Now they’re moving to communal tents in NY.

    Protesters in Zuccotti Park have erected the first four military frame tents on the park’s densely packed cement square in the hopes of addressing growing concerns about plunging temperatures and general security.

    The park is expected to see three additional tents installed in the next day or so, and last Saturday night’s Occupy Wall Street General Assembly approved nearly $20,000 to purchase 20 more — “to be used for keeping us alive,” the presenter from the town planning working group told the GA. The first two tents, each 16 feet by 16 feet, stand side by side: one a dedicated “safe space” for women, the other an area for the medical working group and its patients.

    For nearly two months, protesters have been living primarily in smaller, privately purchased tents, under tarps or out in the open air. There have been multiple cases of hypothermia, along with incidents of sexual assault, thefts and drug use.

    The new communal tents are double-layered, waterproof and set atop plastic platforms. They provide far more warmth than the smaller tents that began popping up on every free inch of concrete weeks ago, most of which are designed for summer camping.

    But supporters of the big tent system hope that they’ll keep the protesters from having to take more drastic measures to maintain their safety.

    “We can’t handle security in this park as it is. If we become a traditional security force, it would destroy our movement,” said Bobby Cooper, 30, who purchased the tents and works with the town planning and sanitation working groups — two of more than 80 committees that have sprung up since the protest began.

  19. Eel
    Posted November 25, 2011 at 8:46 am | Permalink

    The next stage of the evolution?

    Gay Occupy-themed porn.

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  1. […] as being able to win fights. Here’s an example. Occupy Oakland, a couple of different times, shut down the port. People, wether they agreed or disagreed with us, know that that we can shut stuff down… We […]

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