Tuesday, October 25, 2011

"Get Up, Get Down! There's Revolution in this Town!"

The assault by the Oakland, CA, police on several of the OccupyOakland encampments is (correction, was) winding down, but now there are reports of tear gas and stun grenades being used, and I don't know what's going on.

It's impossible to keep up with everything. Last I heard at any rate, the camps in Oakland had mostly been cleared, and there was some "diversity of tactics" going on by the demonstrators, which apparently now has been met with force by the police.


Meanwhile, yesterday, Albany, NY, police refused to arrest demonstrators encamped on city land at the State Capitol -- YAY! -- and reaction to the 130 arrests in Chicago was gaining steam as nurses who were arrested went to the mayor's office to give him a piece of their mind and were brushed aside. Yes, well, isn't why there's an uprising? Ya think?

Livestream occupy oakland has been let into the battle scene in and around city hall. Watching news conference now.

The arrests continue in Sacramento though several developments yesterday and overnight have complicated matters. Heh. Yesterday afternoon one of the most generous participants in the Occupation here was arrested. I didn't see what happened, only the aftermath, but I was told he was arrested for no apparent reason by an officer who nabbed him in a crosswalk after he had playfully hung from the side mirror of the Occupation's supply truck. Later, it came out that he was arrested because he couldn't produce ID at the request of the police officer. But in California, there is no requirement that one have and produce ID on demand unless one is driving.

Whatever the case, he was taken to jail and held for about an hour and released. This caused more than a little outrage in the Occupation camp, and what was called a 'General Assembly' was convened outside the jail (which is three blocks away from the Plaza) where I caught up with them and saw... the Assembly was hijacked with old business from the hijacking from the previous Saturday.

Oh, the sturm und drang. Not to make light of the issue, which no one is entirely clear about in any case, but people are really getting pissed off and turned off by this continuous hijacking for showboating purposes. In my view there really is an important -- fundamental -- issue* underlying the whole psychodrama of the hijacks, but that issue can't be dealt with so long as individuals continue to act as if the only thing that REALLY matters is their personal centrality in the Universe.

At least there are beginning to be some challenges from the Assembly floor to this sort of shit. It is only when the General Assembly uses its intrinsic empowerment that these things will stop, and I saw last night that the Assembly was beginning to challenge the hijacker(s) and take back control, or actually assert it in the first place.

Meanwhile, yesterday morning, our crack legal team announced that suit would be filed in Federal Court if the City did not stop the arrests and open the Plaza 24/7 forthwith. Well, by today. Well, within a reasonable period of time. Whenever.

Later, it was announced that the DA had decided not to prosecute those who have been arrested for failure to disperse at closing time; the City Attorney, though, insists she may, or she will, it's not entirely clear, and we'll know when the first 18 arrestees go to court for arraignment tomorrow.

And she and the City Manager insist that the arrests will continue, no matter.

The signs and signals suggest that the ratchet is tightening on the Occupy Movement, but there is honestly no way to contain it at this point.

It's got a life of it's own, it will go in the direction it goes, and that's that.

* The fundamental issue that is at the bottom of the hijackings, possibly even the hijacking by hizzoner, is that principles of solidarity have never been considered and adopted here. Here's the NYCGA set of principles:

Through a direct democratic process, we have come together as individuals and crafted these principles of solidarity, which are points of unity that include but are not limited to:

  • Engaging in direct and transparent participatory democracy;
  • Exercising personal and collective responsibility;
  • Recognizing individuals’ inherent privilege and the influence it has on all interactions;
  • Empowering one another against all forms of oppression;
  • Redefining how labor is valued;
  • The sanctity of individual privacy;
  • The belief that education is human right; and
  • Endeavoring to practice and support wide application of open source.

  • There were others that were going to be added but they never were. As far as I can tell, even the working group that was consolidating principles in New York has gone away. What they have is apparently sufficient.

    In Seattle, they've come up with a different set of principles that are meant for the General Assembly rather than, strictly speaking, the whole Occupation, yet a few of them could be seen as something like the Principles of Solidarity of the New York City General Assembly.

  • 1. All decisions that affect the collective are made by general assembly. No decisions that affect or represent the whole are made by working groups. Working groups focus proposals to bring to general assembly, and they coordinate the work.

  • 2. Yelling really loud does not put you on stack. Come to the front and get on stack if you have a proposal or an announcement. Never repeat what some else already said.

  • 3. Assembly time is precious. Think three times before you speak. Does this really help the assembly make a better decision?

  • 4. Nothing is more precious than the thoughts of the quiet. Nothing is more precious than the words of the silenced. Speak up! Please! Especially when it’s really hard!

  • 5. Facilitators make space and move the process. Facilitators never present content or represent someone else’s thoughts. The assembly is responsible for keeping the facilitators in line.

  • 6. Use the People’s Microphone. It makes us choose our words, and makes us listen.

  • 7. The assembly is responsible for signing to the facilitators. If the assembly doesn’t sign, the facilitator doesn’t have anything to facilitate!

  • 8. No one else can speak for you. That’s why we need you here!
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