Saturday, November 12, 2011

Occupy Oakland and Dissent

Wednesday's GA in Oakland is still rankling for many. It was the General Assembly at which a "diversity of tactics" proposal was heard but did not pass, and a "non-violence" proposal was not heard, it was withdrawn, due to... technical difficulties? Well, no. It was more like a case of cold feet, because there were just too many "anarchists" there and they were very boisterous, very loud, and very determined.

Besides. Someone insulted Gandhi. Called him a "misogynist prick." That was rude, to be sure, and I don't care for it at all. On the other hand I've heard people call Martin Luther King much worse. Somehow we have survived, and some of us have even flourished.

Sticks and stones and all that.

The link above will get you to the Livestream of the GA in question. It is long and contentious. The issue of what to do about the Black Bloc tactics is bound to raise hackles all over the place. There are those who insist that somehow Occupy Oakland must control and eventually get rid of Black Bloc, but that's just not how it works. What they are demanding, truth be known, is that OO disband and possibly reconstitute as another sort of entity -- or actually become an entity, more likely. In other words, "fit in."

And keep Black Bloc out. Occupy Oakland refuses to do this; refuses to become an "entity," refuses to play the game that would allow it to "fit in," and thus become irrelevant.

That, of course is the goal of Authority always: provide only as much as must be, and make irrelevant everything that's not.

In the Forum at OO, there is a pretty coherent discussion of the issues, however.

I'll just repost the initial statement from someone who is giving up on Occupy Oakland, though. I think it gives a good picture of the difficulty and the dissension that is very much a part of Occupy at this stage of the Revolution.

I attended my first General Assembly on Wednesday evening and wanted to share some feelings

The first hour & 1/2 was awesome as we discussed the March 12th march and letter to our Egyptian colleagueIs. I was very impressed. But as we went on to the second proposal, which is very poorly written and I think unnecessary given the 3rd proposal, I feel the facilitators lost control of the situation.

I’d come to the GA specifically to participate in the vote & discussion of Prop 3, but when I watched the disrespect shown one another, I began to have 2nd thoughts about staying. I left when someone called Gandhi a “prick.” I’ve been involved in social change for over 40 years, ranging from civil rights, prison work, the women;’s
movement, and the LGBT struggle.

As I watched people be so disrespectful, it reminded me why I no longer am an anarchist. Having worked in a 200 person collective and watched our inability to created even a simple budget and the meetings break into chaos like I watched on Wed. Night, I decided it was time for me to leave, because people were not listening,
nor were they being respectful of one another.

I cannot express how disappointed I felt.


"It reminded me of why I am no longer an anarchist." No, now Kara wants to be in control and she wants everything to be nice. The way it was supposed to be.

Many people are feeling the same way; I've felt that way about what's going on myself from time to time. I do want to be in control -- of something -- and I have to recognize, keep reminding myself, that I am not in control of what is happening and I cannot be. Not only is it not my role to play, but this is so much larger in the end than any of us can quite grasp. At times, I think we'll be lucky to get through it alive.

It is a Revolution, global, and there is no real control over it. The best any of us can do is maintain a sense of good will toward one another. And even that is going to get harder and harder to do.

Tough times ahead.

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