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.]