Tuesday, January 31, 2012

A New Perception on #FTP & #BlackBloc within #OccupyOakland

Well, I've been sitting here thinking about the events on Saturday Jan 28th and I can't help but see how there may have been a perception shift within Occupy Oakland and the BlackBloc tactics that have been so controversial in the past. Before we can get into the shift, lets first talk about the original perception.

From what I gather talking with Occupiers and sitting at some general assembilies, there were mixed emotions. Some people were adamantly against the blackbloc tactics while others thought it was a little cool even though they wouldn't do it themselves and of course there were the outright supporters. After the start of FTP (Fuck the Police march held every Saturday night)in response to the violence the Oakland Police Department has subjected the Occupy supporters to during the course of the almost 6 month old protest; the divide in opinions about blackbloc tactics deepened. This happened because of the bottle throwing that made many marchers be kettles by police and then chased several blocks by riot police. I think this divide is organically dissipating.

On Saturday many peaceful protesters who were not necessarily supporters of the blackbloc tactics seem to be more grateful for the shields, vinegar, malox and other defensive supplies that come from the blackbloc tactics as well. I saw the march to move in turn into a FTP march because of the violence that the protesters encountered. I almost think it helped merge the people who were previously split because now some people who have been against some tactics are aware of the fact that they are not against them all. Here may be the organic beginning of a warmer embrace to the diversity of tactics :)

Not that I'm for violence. I'm not, but I'm not a pacifist I do think I have the right to defend myself in the event of severe violence. Especially if it is unjust, like I didn't commit a violent crime deserving of a violent response. I'm sure most feel that exact same way, and the way the march turned into FTP hours before it was scheduled because of what was happening was pretty telling in my opinion. I think this push into acceptance will allow for more a more open minded approach to the decisions made within the movement from this point on.

A good example of preemptive decision making, it seems equally fortunate that the General Assembly decided to move to 19th & Telegraph because there was a statement that almost 100 protesters that were arrested on Saturday are also under a threat of a stay away order. Well. Unfortunately the stay away could be from the entire area of Downtown Oakland. That s a new blog post altogether though so I'm going to move on.

The point that I wanted to make with this blog is that Occupy is a truly inclusive movement. There is room for all types of different autonomous action as long as it has the same goal. When the militarization of the police department is successfully dealt with Occupy Oakland is going to probably look more like Occupy Wall Street, but may be forced to approach it differently than other occupations. There needs to be a discussion about what property damage is, what violence is, and what self defense is.

Once these different conversations get started, I can imagine that many people would start to see how their viewpoints may actually be more similar than they all believe. Making it to where the infighting about FTP and blackbloc tactics will quiet down. They might quiet down because the understanding that self defense is necessary will be understood. Those who are more responsible will understand that there isn't much that you can do about people who want to throw bottles and fruit randomly after being tear gassed or having smoke grenades thrown at them. People will start to understand that the political movement that has corporate greed as a target, might break a window at Bently or Starbucks. Spray paint the City Hall where abusive orders come out of from the Mayors office with obscene messages that are sure to be seen since the heartfelt cries of concerned citizens & Occupiers are ignored at City Council meetings, and through the form of emails and complaints to representatives and the Internal Affairs department of the Oakland Police Department.

Although I understand these tactics, I don't partake in them. I just can understand and without criminalizing those who feel strongly enough for that to be their desired way of protesting. I can understand that some may also feel as if picket signs get ignored because the world is so well adjusted to injustice. Maybe that is a part of the "imagine a new world" scenario. The one in which instead of sitting there like sheep, people are fighting back in any way they can to secure economic justice. To address police misconduct all the way to the abusive department policies and the way rights are infringed upon while protesting against governmental corruption and corporate greed.

Monday, January 30, 2012

My Response to the Official Oakland City Council posting about #J28

The first thing I would like to say is that yesterday was about giving back to the community. In my opinion, it was a symbolic action as it should have been known that the Oakland Police Department would enforce eviction. I didn't expect them to even allow possession of any property, that becomes the understatement of the year after the events from last night.

In response to the official statement, I am going to first put what was said and then give a response. These statements can be found at http://www2.oaklandnet.com/oakca/groups/ceda/documents/pressrelease/oak033083.pdf

1) "Ms. Santana outlined the damage that protesters inflicted to Oakland’s historic City Hall which included breaking an interior window to a Hearing Room, tipping over and seriously damaging the historic model of City Hall, destroying a case containing a model of Frank Ogawa Plaza, breaking into the fire sprinkler and elevator automation closet, stealing the flags from the grand staircase landing and burning one flag in front of City Hall."

No where in here does it say that children's art was destroyed. I'm also hard pressed to find images of the destruction of children's art released to mainstream media. Also, upon several of my own interviews I found out that the doors to City Hall were open (as they usually are before 9pm on a Saturday). There is usually a guard on staff, and the later it gets MOST of the doors are locked but not all. So I'm more inclined to believe the claims of Occupiers at this point than the Mayor. This seems to be dependent upon her credibility which is fading with me and many in the city of Oakland.

About the "damage inflicted to Oakland's Historic City Hall" most of the people feel like their Civil Liberties are being destroyed by the government, so any burning of the flag, or symbolic way of expressing disrespect for the very government that is supposed to protect the rights that the people feel are violated is not only to be expected, it also seems appropriate (not to mention the Supreme Court ruled it was Constitutional and the was Civil Linerties are being trampled on I can understand the protest). There have been people who have sustained broken bones, been beaten, dragged through the street, arrest and violated through intrusive searches, pepper sprayed, teargassed, snatched off the street and arrested for nothing (like really, not the guilty nothing. The real just walking down the street nothing). Press is even being arrested for filming and trying to comply to aggressive officers giving very unclear orders. Not only that but let's be real here, a building window and a statue are not people so why use such a sensitive way to describe the property damage? These are tax payers who broke the window, and their tax dollars will obviously fix it. Regardless of what people think, most within the support circle of Occupy do have jobs and if they are paying for the police to sit around and play angry birds until the next impending raid, then I guess they are willing to chip in on a window too.

The fact that people don't know why things are getting broken is what surprises me. How much can people take really? I guess the Oakland Police Department and Mayor Quan are determine to find out.

2) "The City’s Public Works staff has been working diligently throughout the day to remove offensive graffiti by power washing the hardscape in Frank Ogawa Plaza, removing debris from City Hall and Plaza area and fixing the damaged sprinkler system."

Some of the "offensive graffiti" was also things like The photo that I just tried to upload from this iPad (hope you can see it) saying all you need is love. Many of the drawings were done by children, and adults. These are the community projects happening. What is not said is how all of those drawings were power sprayed off the sidewalk, but all the trash and dirt that was kicked up from the crevices in the sidewalk were allowed to just sit there in a pile to be cleaned by whomever took it upon themselves to do so as the city workers trucks pulled away. It all seemed like a waste, because the obscene language was spray paint and it wasn't coming off.
An interesting thing to think about is oil based chalk... But I'm sure they have some sort of fancy tax dollar cleaner to get it all up regardless.

About the broken sprinkler system. It needs to be broken. The amount of water that is being sprayed into the stupid lawn is turning it into a mud pit where only the huge rats can run over. It's disgusting, and a big waste of money ESPECIALLY knowing how much water bills are these days. It's these type of tactics that are not exactly working, nor are they cost effective. Why is it that the flowers and the garden weren't allowed to stay? Instead have a mud pit that serves no purpose except keeping people off of it in a public park? It doesn't quite make sense...

3) "“It became clear that the objective of this crowd was not to peacefully assemble and march, but to seek opportunity to further criminal acts, confront police, and repeatedly attempt to illegally occupy buildings,” said Chief Jordan.
Chief Jordan also noted that the response to Occupy activities was accomplished while the department received 1,776 calls for service – including 482 calls to 911 – and while maintaining the City’s ongoing strategy of addressing violent crime in the 5% of Oakland neighborhoods where 90% of the crime occurs. “Personnel and resources dedicated to Occupy reduce our ability to focus on public safety priorities,” said Chief Jordan."

Ok so the whole march was about a move in to a secret building. It was an occupation. College student Joshua Hewitt was escorted off of campus from Chabot College for passing out flyers inviting people to check it out if they were interested. So it didn't "become clear" that was how the march was portrayed. People were marching to the occupation of a building. Even on the flyer, it starts to talk about the fact that there are more vacant homes than homeless people. If that's not clear, then whoever is investigating Occupy needs to go back to school, assuming that the school that's offering classes isn't full and defunded. While Mr. Jordan claims that the demand for presence is needed at Occupy and that it reduces the ability to cover crime elsewhere, he seems to forget that the Oakland Police Department has long since stopped responding to public safety before an hour was up years ago. In some cases, not even showing up. So to claim that Occupy is the reason, is to place all the fault of a traditionally irresponsible police department on a movement that has only been around for a few months. IF the police had been doing their job and protecting the people in Oakland all this time, why did all of these people continue to show up? I think that the people of Oakland are desensitized to the violence in a way that allows them to say it happens every day anyway, so they might as well come fight against it with Occupy. For people who are supposed to protect and serve the community, it sure seems like many in the community do not regard them as public servants to say the least.

4) "Yesterday, a crowd of 500 protesters unsuccessfully attempted to break into the historic Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center, members of the crowd charged skirmish lines at Oak Street and pelted officers with bottles, metal pipe, rocks, spray cans, improvised explosive devices and burning flares. The Oakland Police Department deployed smoke, tear gas and beanbag projectiles in response to this activity."

Ok so I had a lot of fun until I realized the march was about to be split up and have no choice but to funnel through the Laney Junior College campus in Oakland on 9th & Fallon. By fun I mean riding on the truck and filming a really good view of the crowd who were all dancing and singing, eating, talking and otherwise socializing. Once the crowd funneled through the college because of police blockades on every other possible route, we were met by the police in riot gear divided by a deep trench. The police had on their riot gear minus the shields at this point, and we're announcing that gathering by the Henry J Kaiser building was an illegal assembly. Coupled with that announcement was a threat of physical force and the use of chemical agents which would likely lead to injuries. We were given 1 minute to vacate an area that took more than 5 to leave.

Before anyone could really leave because of how large a crowd was present, the officers deployed a smoke bomb, or grenade. I don't know what it's called, it I'm sure those of you who have seen video have seen the white smoke. That is the smoke bomb that I'm referring to, which I later found out was military grade. This did not motivate people to leave the area, even though they were planning on moving on. The threat of violence made people stay, which I understand. It was civil disobedience. Someone got pretty mad and threw an orange at the police, while others tore down a fence. I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not the most agreeable person after having a smoke bomb shot at me. I think some of the people there felt the same way. So you see, the protesters threw fruit after being shot at. I'd say it's pretty clear who the aggressors were.

After that there was another blockade when protesters left the area father about 5-10 minutes. The police were there every step of the way, very aggressively snatching people down, beating people with batons and shooting rubber bullets at the make shift shields made from garbage can halves. I saw a woman get thrown to the ground right in front of me and an officer run up and draw a large rifle, shotgun looking thing on her. I begged him not to shoot her at which point and time he raised up his gun and trained it on me. I screamed for him not to shoot again. This was all happening so fast, and as press standing on the sidewalk with my press pass, I couldn't believe that we would be chased down for documenting the event. I put all of this here so that people can know that the violence was not on belhlaf of the protesters on many occassions, but the officers.

5) "After ignoring a dispersal order, at approximately 6:30 pm, protesters invaded the YMCA and were arrested.
Simultaneously, a different group of protesters burnt an American flag in front of Oakland City Hall before breaking into the historic building and damaging property. Arrests were made"

Ok so, in front of the YMCA there was a dispersal notice given. Yes there was. [CORRECTION, THERE WAS NOT A DISPERSAL NOTICE, THERE WAS AN ANNOUNCEMENT STATING THAT PEOPLE HAD NEGLECTED TO DISPERSE AND WOULD BE ARRESTED, ]However, it was also very clear at that point that the police had no intention upon letting people go the entire night. Both 23rd as well as 24th & Broadway were blocked off by several police officers in a line backed by more vehicles on the 24th side than 23rd. Many people rushed up to the stairs of the YMCA while others stayed out in the street and on the sidewalk in front. Media (by media I mean Citizen Journalists) were in the crowd scattered about to get footage for viewers. Interestingly enough there are a lot of stories saying that people broke into the YMCA this is not true. There is video footage of people begging to get in and being let in, not breaking the door down.

So the protesters found a way to disperse, that is the point here because the police did not provide a way. Another interesting fact is that the only thing that was declared as unlawful assembly was at Henrey J Kaiser, 19th & Telegraph (protesters had to tear down the fence to disperse because a way was not provided at that instance either) and then later at 14th & Broadway. The police just said they would arrest people in front of the YMCA, they were not given a chance to leave. The sad part about what im saying is, the police chased people around and turned a peaceful assembly into a frantic chase. Where the protesters had to beg to be let in so that they could have a chance to escape to safety. This is called systematic oppression, especially when the mayor and interim make statements to criminalize the people they are oppressing while put in a position to help and protect the citizens. Not to mention a total violation af 1st Amendment rights.

6) "The City of Oakland received mutual aid from the following law enforcement agencies: the California Highway Patrol; Sheriff’s Departments of Alameda County, San Mateo County, Santa Clara County, San Francisco County and Marin County; the cities of Fremont, Hayward, Berkeley, Pleasanton, San Francisco and Union City/Newark; and the University of California-Berkeley"

The city of Oakland has to pay $1000/day/officer for the Alameda County Sherrfis Department. There were several of them there. I was told by the PIO (Thomason I believe) that if it is emergency mutual aid the it comes as no cost. I will have to look into this when I don't have homework and there isn't an Occupy event or impending raid to film. I don't even want to get into how much it costs for every one else. But it makes me think, was this Mayor Quans way of getting help for FTP without paying for it if this is true?

Chabot College and Hayward residents, know that Hayward police came tonight in swat vehicles and full on riot gear. So the next time Occupy Oakland shows up in support of something in Hayward, or does an action there don't be mad. This is not the first time the Hayward Police department has come to give mutual aid in Oakland related to Occupy matters. Know that this has not gone unnoticed.

Berkeley, I couldn't have sworn that the mutual aid contract between you and Oakland was done and over with. What were you even doing there? Is it because you had such a great experience the last time you handled this situation? The presencen of this department had to be one of the most surprising.

Anyway, it's almost 2 in the morning and I have school. I just wanted to clear up a few facts from what I saw the entire time I was out there I will be happy to elaborate and invite comments always. Thank you to all who watch my stream and read the blog.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Facebook comments about Chabot College

So I can't help but notice some of the comments by people on the thread telling people to stop bitching when protecting their rights. If people feel the need to express themselves about their rights being violated, how exactly is that wrong? I want to clear up some things.

1) When Josh was escorted of campus by security he missed classes as a result. He was threatened with arrest which made him be under a temporary albeit not official suspension. Not to mention there is video of the security guards telling him he is suspended so for everyone who feels as if their an expert on that, go ahead and explain it away because you're still well adjusted to the injustice happening. That's fine, but know that it's falling on deaf ears now. Thank you.

2) Occupy Oakland was there as a result. Period. Now while I don't always agree with everyone's preferred way of protest, I still can be open minded enough to see the point there. I think it's ridiculous that people would ignore someone who has taken to yelling in a quad. How do you ignore what's being said if its that important to someone? Have people become that heartless where you have to comply to a certain way of complaining about a relevant issue so that people will care? I'm sure if a police officer went to their home and told them to not leave any more stupid ass comments on Facebook or twitter or else they would be subject to arrest all of a sudden the situation would be different. Nobody mentioned the fact that we had met another student who this had happened to because she was passing out flyers about sickle cell. She was really passionate about it because her daughter suffers from it. The response was to escort her off campus and to make her miss classes because of a temporary and forced suspension. Nobody wants to admit that it is a problem.

3) Since when does policy run your life? The last time I checked we have a democracy where the people have a say. This if a policy is corrupt and/or abusive you have the right (supposedly) to do something about it. Especially in California! How is it that protesting an outdated and abusive policy is wrong? Why is it not patriotic to stand up and be ready to fit for what's right?

4) Everyone needs to step back and take a breath. If someone keeps agitating me, I won't care what you're saying. Most Occupy nay Sayers understand this concept only as if applies to them. They don't understand that if they agitate an Occupier that the Occupier will probably think the same way. I frankly don't appreciate some of the things that are being said, and I am much more agreeable when not being agitated by people who want me to understand their perspective.

Here are some of the comments that have spurred this. They can feel free to comment on this blog as well..

Belal Assef: listen i dont knw wat u guys are complaining about i would have done the same thing if i was keith.WHy? Moore told the kid that he had to go to student life and get those papers stamed thats all but the kid didnt listen.. He deserved to get suspened.. In this case there is nothing to occupy or even complain=)

Belal Assef: but your not getting the point in this case.. It doesnt matter how u feel about moore he did his part.. Officer moore told him that he had to go to Student life and get the flyers stamped the guy that didnt listen to him deciced to just walk away.. He didnt follow CC rules so thats why he got suspened and on top of that arrested.. There is nothing to bitching and etc.. If the guy that got suspedned would have gone to OSL everything would have been Ok.. Its his fault the way i see it..

Joshua Scott Hewitt: Belal you can let the system keep fuckin you over and over but not me and especially if it's MY school I PAY to go to and it's PUBLIC , so maybe your not seeing the picture. I've been in school for 16 years and never have I once been suspended and who the fuck knew you could get suspended in college ? Cause I sure didn't I didn't know passing out papers of a FREE COMMUNITY event was something to get me suspended and risk arrest. I wasn't gonna say anything for how ignorant you sound but I had to

Andrew Michael Quirk: So yeah man, I'm not taking sides here, I think that information should be able to be distributed freely. I beleive in diversity of tactics. I mean it seemed like at the rally their was lacking a dialouge. Responsibility for this lies upon the student body but it also lies upon those who start the conversation. If the message sent is music blaring "fuck you". And incendiary speech that is accusatory then it automatically puts people on the defensive. They won't want to participate. Now understand also that the officers, that occupy rallies against, are there serving under the oversight of a unjust system, where the majority are grossly misunderepresented. We can all agree to this.There are ways to address this, some more effective than others. The key question is what methodology do we employ ? I say we walk in the steps of Martin Luther King or Ghandi. The tactics used today only gain us, less credibility and more illegitimacy in the eyes of the public and our student body. We have seen for too long the effects of a aggressive, misguided, impotent government, do we want to mirror that in this movement. Because this IS NOT WORKING. Time to get past the stage of anger, stop being victims and take some action steps. seriously.
21 hours ago · Like · 2

Belal Assef: OK u make a good point Andrew but do u really think that chabot college students give a crap about oakland occupy? or even wat was happening today.. noooooooooooooooooo They dont give a crap.. Im just saying bro its just a waist of time and energy casue nothing well get done..Everything well be the same..

Andrew Michael Quirk: You know, I mean don't get me twisted. I am for free speech and think people have the right to say whatever they want to say, however they want to say it, as long as it is not impeding on the rights of others. It's just I look at it. And it dosen't sit right with me. Im sick of hearing complaining, and being a victim, why not move towards sustainability,responsibility and taking action. Work within the confines of reality and make it happen. Yelling at a wall isn't going to bring it down. Of course it may rally those of us inclined to action, to tear it down, but it is only the first step.

Ryan Belden: ‎Jessica Hollie the issue needs to be understood for what it is. It isn't a matter of having to registar with an ID. it is a matter that policies were violated, and the necassary action was taken. There is a reason the majority of students don't honestly care about this. The only ones that care are the ones that want to cause trouble because for some reason it is seen as the only way to change things when history tells us otherwise. Remember to be the change you want to see you have to be that change, and if you want an anarchical world, with no laws, no rules, and a lawless nation where crimes is rampet and no one is ever punished for wrong doings, then Occupy should continue the course they are on. However, if they truley want a just world where things are equal and everyone gets a fair share the world they claim they want exisits, then the direction of Occupy in general needs to change. Yesterday was sad and pointless, it did nothing. Why do you think no one stopped and gathered? Why do you think no one walking by stopped what they were doing anf joined the rally? No one cares. Ok let me re-frase, almost nobody cares, and these days almost nobody wants to be associated with Occuppy Oakland. Those are the facts about Occupy and how people see it, sorry but that's how it is. Here is to hoping you find a better way to enact change, and here is to all of us finding a better way.

Belal Assef: I agree with ryan i mean i have said for a million times nobody especially at chabot gives a crap about the occupy.. There to busy getting an education or with ther own lifes..
about an hour ago · Like · 1

Ryan Belden: ‎Andrew Michael Quirk I agree with what you are saying but a few things. Yesterday they were impeading the rights of other students to get an education and not be interupted or disrupted. And as long as you are associated with Occupy Andrew, you will be a victim. A victim of a group of people that think they are above the law and a group of people that don't want rules, laws, or reprectutions to commintg violent acts, or acts like robbery, or distruction of property. These are people that do not understand things for what they are, and that some how violence will change things. You are a victim now Andrew, don't be a victim. Run as fast as you can from Occupy and get involved in service to really make the change that needs to be made.

Belal Assef: i mean at the end of the day the government well still be the same..
about an hour ago · Like

Vanessa Suzann Sadsad: Let me extend my earlier response: Not following campus procedure that protects the institution as a whole is bad. While a violation of ones 1st Amendment right and prejudice to do so is unjust as well as discrimination.

Let there be recognition for both and a physical occupy at Chabot for intent and NOT revenge.

I do not agree with A LOT of policy and procedure, yet, it is my own recognition that this is life and the status quo. I am still very much learning that it takes time ...and progressive change is just that ..Progressive. ---- shouting obscenities from the top of your lungs to justify a right is moot and hypocritical on the imposition of another's own rights. Yes, Chabot like that of the state and the world are cracked systems and institutions yet it is upon the individual to do that ...rise above. you play poker spy games. not suicide bombing. i've learned that you either play the game or get played.

Ryan Belden: ‎Belal Assef, right, however it isn't just at Chabot. People in genreal don't care and don't like the movement. I can prove it, the day a few months ago Occupy marched and shut down the Oakland docs, thousands of workers at the docks begged them not to do it because that would negitavly effect 73,000 jobs. They did it anyway, hurt the economy, hurt the very people they are suppsoe the be standung up for, and lost all ligitamacy. Then they decided to occupy retailers on black friday, yeah because that will hurt the corporations, it ended up hurting the average retail associate, the very people occupy are suppose to be defending. Lets get real here


I was going to post more but there's no need. Closed minded individuals are very frustrating. Like I said before, stop criticizing those who are doing something. If you don't like it, go do your own action and YOU stop your bitching.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Occupy Oakland Caravan to Longview Preparation Meeting- Sunday 4.30 at 410 14th st

Occupy Oakland Caravan to Longview Preparation Meeting- Sunday 4.30 at 410 14th st

Hello Caravaners! Occupy Oakland will be caravaning  to Longview, WA to join Occupy Portland, Occupy Seattle, Occupy Olympia, and Occupy Longview to blockade the notorious EGT ship who is busting Longshormen jurisdication. EGT is a multinational grain exporter rsponsible for economic and enviromental devastation around the world. While the date for the arrival of the ship in Longview is uncertain,it IS approaching quickly!!  Here in Oakland we need to have a preparation meeting to get ready for our caravan. We will be meeting Sunday January 22nd at 410 14th st, between Broadway and Franklin, at 4.30 (after the GA).

In this meeting we will discuss everything - how we'll be alerted, how the actual caravan will be organized and who is going with who, where we'll meet, what to bring (and not bring), what to expect during the day of action in Longview, etc. We will be hosted by Occupy Longview and Occupy Portland who are very excited to take action with Occupy Oakland!
Every chance you can get, tell people to sign up or donate at on our website occupytheegt.org !!

Thanks, see you all on Sunday!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Chabot Student Kicked Off Campus for Passing out Flyers - Can't Be Anonymous

Many of you within Occupy Oakland may know Josh who is a student from Chabot College who has been a blessing to Occupy Oakland in many ways over the past few months, from bringing food and clothes to helping many events work and facilitating many rides, and more. Well today, January 19th, Josh was at school in Hayward, CA passing out flyers for an Occupy Oakland action on Jan. 28th.

While passing out the flyers he was approached by campus security (one named Nathan Moore) and told that he could not pass out the flyers without registering with the Office of Student Life first. Upon that time Josh protested having to register because he was already a student at the school who actually pays for classes and he feels as if the 1st Amendment is his right to pass out flyers to those who are interested. When I spoke with Josh he told me he didn't want to pay a fee to hang the flyers up, because to hang flyers that are not associated with a club on campus costs money even if you are a student. Upon doing a little more research with the Office of Student Life I found out that there is no fee to pass out flyers. The interesting part is that they need a copy of my photo ID and the material I'm passing out. I find that disturbing because Occupy is a political movement. Not everyone wants their name and face documented with the movement for fear of the police showing up at their door. At that point, I not only understand but also respect a persons desire to remain anonymous at their discretion.

Knowing that this was very popular on twitter soon after Josh called me, I went to speak with the Director of campus Security at Chabot College, Keith W. Stiver and he said that Josh was told that he could not come back to the campus because of the dispute that he was having with the officers and the fact that he was refusing to go register with the Office of Student Life. I should take the time to say that Josh was standing outside the campus radio station (where he works) and was just passing out the flyers, he wasn't yelling but he was passing them out to people. Mr. Stiver says he welcomes any questions or comments and left me his contact information : 510-723-6663 or you can email him at kstiver@chabotcollege.edu Anyway after being escorted off of campus Josh was then made aware of the fact that he would be contacted by Dean Gerald Shimada (which in my experience he has been a very reasonable man in the past) and he would be arrested by Hayward Police if he returns before that phone call. This is excessive, and didn't happen to me when I was suspended for almost having a more serious event on campus in the past.

Now, while I am not a fan of the way this situation was handled at all, and I do not agree that a student should have to leave a copy of their photo ID to pass out flyers when faculty does not have to. If it is going to be approved to pass out the flyers just tell me the appropriate time and place, this is something Mr. Stiver discussed with me. My thought on this was this is true, because the Supreme Court did give authority to authorize time and place for free speech, but I don't remember any stipulations about recording my identity to access that right. How is it that I can even afford to protest this as a student who is very close to graduating and cant afford to be kicked off of campus or suspended while trying to access my Constitutionally protected rights? This seems really similar to the systematic oppression that Occupy Oakland has been experiencing like the stay away orders from Frank Ogawa Plaza, in front of City Hall where they cannot access their own elected representatives. I'm not blaming the law enforcement here, I am blaming the system that has hired them to protect abusive processes on college campuses.

Do we need tents? I've never put up a tent even though I've spent countless hours every day at Occupy. So I'm not the one to ask that, but every time that conversation comes up there are some who will and some who won't agree with it. So I'm not going to answer that question, I'm going to let my viewers answer that for themselves. However, when asked the question should we reevaluate and protest this process my answer is yes. Hell yes even. Sorry, but my inner activist can't help but declare that I feel like this is some bullshit, and as a people we need to rise up against systematic oppression. However, I also embrace diversity of tactics. There are many ways to protest and reach a goal, and putting tents up in Hayward could solidify more of a working relationship between the Oakland Police Department and Hayward Police Department, which Occupy really does not want to happen. With Berkeley Police Department declaring no more mutual aid to Oakland, and Richmond Police Department seemingly following suit (a little slower but they are on their way) we don't need to make the Oakland Police Department be solidified in any of their now deemed wasteful and abusive practices. I just ask for this to be thought of for whomever is planning actions for Chabot because I know that they are coming and I don't oppose them.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Infighting - Occupy Obstacles

So I have been thinking of what could be a good blog topic this time around and I landed on the idea that the perceived "infighting" is something that needs to be addressed, especially since Occupy Oakland is very much in the public eye.

Much of the communication between people who support Occupy tends to happen in person, over the phone and... yeah you guessed it online. Twitter, Facebook, various blogs (including mine) as well as many other social networking sites like Ustream, Tumbler etc. provide ways to get messages across. One thing that seems to be forgotten from time to time is the fact that the limited space for expressing yourself accurately through the medium of online forums is not always the most effective to get the full scoop. I say this leading up to the fact that misunderstandings and small disagreements can get blown out of proportion. This does not mean that the people who are talking online harbor resentment for each other or any other negative feelings. This is the dialogue that people are continuing to work towards a solution.

It's the same thing as misinterpreting a text message or anything else where a person is not able to assess the tone that is accompanying the message being read. Interpretation on behalf of readers can change the context of what is being said. It is especially true for people who are just following the publicized conversation and aren't aware of contributing circumstances and motivating factors pertaining to the conversation. Many of you who follow my blog also follow my Twitter and YouTube, some of you may even be my personal friends on FaceBook or family members know that this has happened with me as well as many others. However, what is not often publicized is the way everyone comes back together to still work on the same projects to reach their common goals. Just like with any family (Occupy family included) there are going to be misunderstandings coupled with many ups and downs, this will probably continue to be something that happens when protesting against an abusive and oppressive government (it's very stressful work you know). The bond that is constantly being built by the community is only strengthened when people can have disagreements and come back together. This is the bond that also keeps Occupy alive.

Occupy is a very strong and alive movement across the globe, and the bonds that are forged during these hard (and admittedly sometime joyful) times are the bonds that will keep the movement alive in the face of all types of opposition. In my own personal experience, I have developed friendships that have motivated me to not go home when I saw them unjustly arrested. More motivated for fight for them as my friends now than random people in my community. I am more willing to hear their concerns and my wanting to work with them to resolve problems is intensified. I'm sure that this is happening with more than just me and at many more places than just Occupy Oakland. So much so that I now have people in various states and countries that I now communicate with on a consistent basis. We don't agree on everything and sometimes we need to have a debate over core beliefs so that we can work towards a solution. How else are so many people with so many different perspectives and personalities supposed to work things out if they can't first go through the very difficult challenge of overcoming their differences?

This is the reason why I say the infighting shouldn't have so much of a negative response from the people who see it. The only thing that needs to be done is people coming together to mediate, not help blame and take sides and point fingers. This is counter productive. Nobody is perfect, I've been guilty of the very same actions. This is something that we all not only need to be aware of but also actively work towards employing the mediating tactic instead of allowing ourselves to become the house divided. Remember, we are people united and we will not be defeated. Period. The chant doesn't say that we are people united and when I disagree with you we're going to fight and divide.

At the end of the day, fueling the infighting just sabotages the efforts of people who are trying to help the movement sustain, and as long as this is a movement for the people against an abusive, oppressive and corrupt government and corporate greed spread around like a well traveled flu virus we should all do what we can to make the movement not only sustainable but productive and working towards fixing the problems of the community. Since Occupy is not about the top down approach, it makes sense that cities like Oakland are fighting against major issues, but it has to focus on the local structural inherencies that are blocking access to the issues at the "top" that are actively being used to perpetuate the abuses of the current government.

So the fighting about focusing on certain issues needs to stop, saying that Occupy Oakland and Occupy Wall Street are separate needs to stop (Oaklanders came out in support of OWS originally but were met by the militarization of the police department, thus a local issue needs to be fixed before the two can totally merge, but they are a part of each other), diversity of tactics being a problem needs to stop and the conversation about the diversity of tactics being the solution needs to be the more popular one. I'm hoping this blog can help change the perspective of some as my perspective on this has changed, thus the reason for this blog. Like I said to the Oakland City Council last night: Let's all let go of our own personal agendas and truly work towards a solution (paraphrase).

Monday, January 16, 2012

The Occupy Oakland General Assembly & Autonomous Action Endorsement

Now I'm aware of the fact that I am not one of the individuals that have been with Occupy Oakland since the beginning (I came in about November 2nd as many did in support of the General Strike) but I have been a major supporter, ustreamer, and blogger since I started coming. The one thing that I quickly noticed was the General Assembly and I really liked it. I mean let's face it as a Parliamentary Debater, I can appreciate direct democracy breaking out on the amphitheater steps of "Frank Ogawa Plaza" (otherwise named Oscar Grant Plaza by Occupy). However, as time went on the GA started to lose its sparkle to me, and many others. So much so that it is been a little difficult to continue to make quorum. Initially I had written a proposal to change the GA process to be more inclusive, but I can't sit at EVERY GA with 2 more people from my proposal writing group to wait for our turn to read the proposal. The process seems to have gone from the decision making process of "Occupy Oakland" as a whole, to the place for theoretical debate and a breeding ground for more autonomous actions.

This is a good thing and a bad thing for multiple reasons, keep in mind that this blog is my opinion combined with things that I have seen and heard from my experiences. That does not make me the final word on anything, but I think it's important that people remember that as they continue to read. Anyway, this is a good thing because it gives room for people to get together and do the things they feel as if are needed to further the movement and/or help the community. That is a great thing because as I've said many times before I feel like diverse tactics should be embraced not used as a tool to divide the house. Also, it gives room for these different actions to be applied in different areas and for people to support them while still having the Occupy Movement not loose momentum. That part is wonderful, but there is a down side. It's unfortunate but it is my belief that more people need to realize this fact as forewarned is forearmed. It's an apparent fact to me that being a part of the 99% movement means that I will not agree with the tactics of everyone all of the time. That doesn't mean that my opinions don't matter, or that the movement has left me as an individual behind. With groups like TAC using their right to autonomous actions, there are bound to be people who disagree with the ideas that the group is employing. If so, don't criticize in a way that you will not be heard. Instead offer constructive criticism that doesn't finger point and degrade the efforts of college aged young people who are doing their best. Either that or form your own committee and start employing your own tactics to work towards the same goals. No need to fight among ourselves.

I got a little off topic here, but I find it difficult to discuss the GA without talking about the highly controversial group (TAC) within Occupy Oakland that has been recognized officially. Basically after checking out the GA and supporting several actions that came out of the GA, I went to NYC for Thanks Giving, came back and TAC was the surviving face of the Occupy Oakland movement. While I was gone, these young individuals had made the news for the foreclosure on 18th & Linden, shortly after they had combined forces with just Cause and the Black Panther Party without GA consensus.. just autonomous action and people seeing the effort and wanting to help. The teaming up with other organizations lead to the takeover of the property on 10th & Mandela in Oakland, and then another encampment simultaneously on 20th & Mandela. Now, although there is some good discussion and interesting questions that are brought up at GA, it seems to stop there with many people voting on things and going home waiting for them to magically happen. Meanwhile disappearing through the planning process without coming to meetings or giving feedback and then giving harsh and mostly undeserved commentary after the fact. To these GA attendees I shame you.

I shame because Occupy Oakland has not had any other successful largely publicized encampments since the take down of Frank Ogawa (Oscar Grant Plaza), even though there has been a vigil and a 24 hour presence there. 24 hours of citizens protesting and Oakland Police officers standing around, playing angry birds, and occasionally harassing Occupiers with the tax dollars of the citizens paying them to do it. With every single GA being rushed and giving what seems like the same amount of allotted speaking time (1 minute) like the City Council meetings is almost hypocritical to the anti establishment element of the movement. I have spoken to several people who feel the same way, and there are those who no longer attend but just decide to support in the way that they can saying "let the theorists have their debate" referring to GA. The thing is that it's easy for the divide to be placed when the GA is nowhere near as inclusive as it pretends to be. With proposals coming up in the queue randomly and having to be present with at least 3 of the writers upon the calling of the proposal is already frustrating enough. However, when GA barely makes quorum every night, a lot doesn't get decided anyway.

Without successful autonomous actions, Occupy Oakland would not still be going as strong as it is, giving the freedom to all individuals to represent themselves and take action towards solutions to the issues plaguing their communities. It has to work this way because the same things that work in lower economic areas are not going to work in the suburbs. So with Oakland having east & west then Piedmont, Claremont and the Oakland Hills, there are obviously going to have to be different tactics used, and not all of them are going to be approved at GA. It actually kills me how some people "support" Occupy until people protest in a way that they don't like. It drives me crazy, divorce the culture in a real way. Stop demanding that others submit to your hedgemonic influence and just be happy that we are working towards a common goal and that we are WINNING. Or form your own committee and events instead of being mad at those who are trying to make a difference. This is the way that we can still all pursue the same goal and don't have to conform in order to "fit in" as a citizen with an opinion.

I have heard recent complaints about the way the finances seem to be tied up in bureaucratic red tape. Many (who will remain nameless because I have not received permission to use their names) have complained that they have not been able to be reimbursed for things they have done (like bail themselves out of jail) and some committees saying that they have not received their stipend every week. Likewise there have been rumors of several donations from Occupy Wall Street in the amounts of $25,000 and $30,000. It is not clear to me and others if there is a total of $55,000 in donations given or if it was the initial $25,000 donation and another for $5,000 for a total of $30,000. This is causing frustration among some supporters especially when it comes to bail money and funds for food etc. I plan to see what else I can find out about this particular subject, but the point that matters to me is the fact that there is obviously a divide between SOME of those willing to put their bodies on the line for what they believe in and those who discuss the actions in theory/planning. I have to wonder certain things like why isn't there a National Occupy Movement bail fund or agency even? Why is the GA that struggles for quorum and is not the most inclusive of what I will call the front line voices the one that makes the decisions and votes on how the money will be spent and/or the approval processes of the finance committee. It's unfortunate to see such a scuffle breaking out within Occupy over the funds that are donated. Shows how there are problems with the effects of capitalism even when actively working to protest against abusive capitalism.

In my own personal opinion, I really wish that the 2 could merge. I will be posting a proposal on my blog because I simply don't think the now 2 day a week GA would provide a process in which even I would be able to get multiple people to be present at every single meeting waiting until our proposal comes up to be read and discussed and voted on. Not that I think 2 days a week is even enough. I feel like the GA is already rushed and that we should have more time to get the word out about proposals before they are discussed as far as pros and cons or friendly amendments. Rushing through things and deciding them in 1 night while claiming to have the voice of the community is a little far fetched. In order for there to be a successful plan there must be agents of action and agents of enforcement. those two need to be able to work together. Period. Hopefully, this all gets worked out and the movement can continue to sustain itself.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Transparency of Donations

March 29, 2012 - there is $1587.06 worth of expenses listed and paid for. $177.94 is the amount left in my WePay today. I still need to purchase batteries (hopefully rechargeable ones) for the light I now have so that I can film at night, also still need to be able to get a different wifi device that has better coverage and is cheaper; regardless it will cost money to get a Sprint or Verizon hot spot. Also, the website and current broadband are what I'm raising money for, including gas for the many many many trips downtown and beyond to cover events.
March 27, 2012 - $22.35 for camera light (no more shooting in the dark and not being able to see!! FINALLY!!!)
March 26, 2012 - $195.54 Tmobile (I am so unhappy about how much this bill is. Need to keep researching wifi options)

Also spent $30 in gas to go to Redwood City & Back for Mitt Romney protest and $5 for toll
March 21, 2012 - $20.99 gas
March 6, 2012 - $44.63 VistaPrint website recurring charge
March 6, 2012 - $67.00 Tmobile 1st portion of bill
March 5, 2012 - $5.48 coffee & Danish
Feb 29, 2012 - $40 Radio Shack iPad charging cord, screen cleaner, warranty
Feb 27, 2012 - $12.82 Rudy's Can't Fail Cafe
Feb 24, 2012 - $11.75 Radio Shack USB to micro USB cord
Feb 24, 2012 - $23.75 ice cream & dinner (IceCream Bloc 1st event)
Feb 20, 2012 - $25.00 in gas and $5 in toll for Occupy the Prisons event
Feb 9, 2012 - $3.95 lunch at Mr. Pizza Man while at the plaza
Feb 6, 2012 - $45.00 gas (driving back and forth to downtown Oakland gets pretty expensive)
Feb 3, 2012 - $96.79 Website package (approx $40/mth)
Jan 25, 2012 - $196.26 - 3 iSound external battery packs (2 new at $70/ea & 1 used at $40 + s&h)
Jan 25, 2012 - $400 on the iPad (I used $600 of my own money to buy the iPad) + warranty
Jan 21, 2012 - $65.00 on boots. New rain weather boots, the weather got pretty bad (that's an understatement) in the past few days. Those of you who were watching (or have watched since) the video of San Francisco shutting down the Financial District remember me telling you about the boots that filled up with water and I couldn't keep up with the front of the crowd. The new boots are made to endure ALL types of weather. Rain, sleet, hail, snow I will cover Occupy just so you know :)
January 20, 2012 - $31.75 in parking while covering OccupySF shutting down the financial district and taking over a building.
Also bought a bagel and some water for about $10 (sorry we were in the city. NOTHINGS cheap out there!)

** Notice that another external battery is needed after dying and not being able to film the entire day even with taking a couple 10 - 15 minute breaks. Will be buying another external on January 21st or January 22nd in preparation for upcoming events.**
January 19, 2012 - $109.00 at Best Buy (I couldn't find it at an independent business) for an external charger that lasts for somewhere between 21 - 34 hours for my cell phone when streaming. We will see how long that is in real time. Don't worry I still have one other external that will charge my phone 1 and 3/4 more times. So I should be good for Occupy the Courts and filming Occupy SF shutting down the financial district.

Jan 19, 2012 - $120 down plus an extra $60/month for the max amount of gigs I can buy to ensure I will not be without enough internet to maintain video and audio while streaming. Thank you for your donations! They are what makes it possible for me to continue documenting the Occupy Movement, specifically Occupy Oakland.
Ok so, I realize that I have not put up a list for transparency yet, and the truth is because I've been too busy being out on the scene and I have not actually used any of the money yet. I am new to WePay and so getting all the things set up so that I could even have access to the money just happened yesterday. The money moving was a trial to see if my transfers would go through to my debit card.

In total I have received $460.00 ($443.28 after WePay automatically removed it's fees)
On January 6th, 2012 I initiated a transfer for $200 from WePay to my debit card. The transfer took until yesterday January 12, 2012 to clear. This was my 1st transfer so it took a little while, and I wanted to make sure that everything was set up right.

Right now I am looking at my options as far as portable power and 4G. I am hoping that I can get the Broadband without monthly payments like a 2 year contract, so prepay will be better if I can get that. However, that still leaves me vulnerable to using it all and not having enough service to stream. Those of who who have watched as my screen went blank and all that was available was audio or if both is choppy.

Secondarily I was marching past the Oakland Police Department filming with women from Egypt in solidarity and had water thrown on me and my phone. Unfortunately insurance doesn't cover water damage so I may need to actually pay to get another one. I'm not saying I would expect my donors to fork up that cost but I would need assistance. I do have a job and I am able to do some things. I do appreciate all of the help I get because when I spend hours out there (like 19 hours a day), it makes it easier for me to have supporters as well as resources and be able to document.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Truth About Occupy Oakland - the Tactical Action Committee

When I first came out to an Occupy Oakland event it was the November 2nd General Strike. I mean, as a Oakland resident, how could I not join and go check out this historical event? So I went and spent over 9 hours hanging out and chilling with some friends of mine. I had promised to go watch my little cousin later in the evening so I went home. 15 minutes later, I'm home and watching OakFoSho's Ustream and I see the Oakland Police Department teargassing, shooting rubber bullets and tear gas into the crowd. There were librarians and teachers, students and Grandmothers. There were disabled individuals and CHILDREN in the crowd. I was appalled at the response of the PUBLIC SERVANTS and how they violently subjected protesters to this type of oppression.

Now I know that some people don't agree with the tactics of "Occupy" but people need to realize that they are a part of Occupy without doing anything. Your bank account and your financial position within current society dictates if you are an Occupier or not. Basically if you can't survive for a while without going to work. If you have to cut back and can't afford to purchase a lobbyist or have a political candidate do exactly what you want them to do based on persuasion through massive donations, then you are a 99%er, you are Occupy. Unfortunately too many people don't understand this fact and so there is a lot of criticism which makes the job of the mainstream media easy because of the misrepresentation that is easily accepted. We as a society have to stop being so well adjusted to the blatant injustice in our societies.

Anyway... about the Occupy Oakland Tactical action committee.. these are some individuals, some who have been singled out, who are in my opinion more the active face of the Occupy Oakland movement. Don't get me wrong, the general assembly is definitely the most "political" aspect of Occupy as an organized movement as a whole. However, there is a lot of bickering and decision making that happens at GA that most people aren't willing to put their bodies on the line and enforce the things that they have decided. Not to mention that most nights it is hard to meet quorum. I will admit that there are several times that I have been at the GA but been participating in other discussions with some people who are more willing to actually engage in action. The problem is that there is not a merging of the two. People who are holding down space at a foreclosed home or at an encampment can't exactly get a laptop to email in a proposal, or wait every night to see when their proposal will come up in the queue. It's not exactly the most efficient process. So the thing that most don't understand is that all that happens is that someone has an idea, and if the community supports it then they come out. It's unfortunate that the people who keep coming out in significant numbers are being ignored. Occupy Oakland Tactical Action Committee (TAC) is one that fits into this unfortunate position but still pushes on.

The Tactical Action Committee is one that continuously keeps up with their ideas and decides to stick with them regardless of the opposition in the way. I for one respect their resilience and their ability to stay strong and vigilant in the face of state oppression. Prior to covering the story of this committee of Occupy Oakland, I have seen the ugly face of oppression to the point that I now experience the oppression that I have discussed in theory and by affiliation but never really first hand until now. On Wednesday Jan 4, 2012 there was a General Assembly and a friend of mine as well as some members of TAC and some other Occupiers were having a conversation about the class structure of America and how it was organically created during the colonization period and brainstorming on ways that the economy and government could be better. In the middle of this conversation we were rushed by 17 police cruisers and more officers in riot gear than I could count. Now the immediate response was to run but we had no clue where to go as we were in a public park and had no idea where was safe and where wasn't. I probably should have wen't home, but I was curious because I had kept hearing about the violence and so now I had an opportunity to really see for myself. My friend Nneka decided to stay and help me film what was happening. When we went back filming, we were aggressively escorted to the curb by officers being told that we needed to go over here or else they would arrest me. Nneka listened and stayed on the corner of 14th & Broadway while I walked to the bart station entrance to try and get a better view of what was happening. Just then, Nneka was arrested for obstruction of justice. For standing in the same spot some officers had just escorted her to. Later she was charged with maliciously obstructing a walkway. What kind of crap is that? How is that even possible?

TAC decided that they wanted to have a march in theory for the police response. It's obviously been systematic, they have been targeted because they serve as a motivational force and the people most willing to stand up in protest for what they believe in. That is a very bold powerful statement to the people who have been protesting and believe in the message against capitalism and state oppression. It would benefit the police who are now protecting others outside the community and making money off of the community to silence the voices that will not back down to the school yard intimidation tactics of throwing water on people from the upstairs of the police building to beating women off of their bikes while riding by holding up a peace sign. People have a right to protest without being subjected to oppression by the police especially in public places. TAC makes you ask some interesting questions while looking at their work. Like why is it that as an adult I have a curfew in a city park? Why can't I carry on this conversation or stay and finish playing chess or meditating or whatever? Why is it that the city can't find the money to keep the schools open (never mind the quality of them) but it can find $450,000 or more to focus on silencing the voices in the community that want to feed the homeless and rectify the things gone wrong in our society?

I'm not saying that there are not other side groups that are trying to go out into the community and do outreach work with an Occupy focus, but TAC is the committee that I believe is continuing the against the system, stand up for your rights, power to the people, fight oppression non conformist spirit that Occupy is built on. It's unfortunate, but only makes sense that a motivational group such as this is targeted by the very oppressive force that they are fighting against. That's why the criticism of the Fuck the Police day marches need to stop being criticized. I do think if you're willing to throw a bottle at the police, you should be willing to accept the consequences. However, I understand that is part of the tactic to hide in the crowd, and that people who believe in the cause will still back up those who are mad enough to damage some property or harmlessly throw a glow stick at the Kevlar of a "peace" officers riot gear. Whatever the case is, the over militant excessive force that is being used in the targeting of a group who just wants to help the community is once again absurd.

There is not much to say about this group that people don't already know. The thing that I like to focus on is that they are not perfect much like all of us. The difference is that they are constantly willing to push forward, always willing to make a plan and enforce it to help the community members that have been disenfranchised for far too long. At that point how can you really judge their actions if you have not inserted your opinion and offered your help? Much of the frustration that is now seen is from a lot of criticism from those who benefit from the struggle, but don't want to participate and constantly criticize those who sustain the movement.