I further argue that the militant and confrontational Nonviolent Resistance that has characterized Occupy Oakland has been a stunning success in achieving the short term goal of delegitimizing civic authority.
To highlight just what's happened since the advent of Occupy Oakland, it may be well to look at the following facts:
- Mayor Quan is under threat of recall, two recall petitions having actually been certified, and a recall election is very likely this year -- her authority in the interim has been delegitimized (the pathetic picture of her viewing the overturned model of City Hall in the lobby of said building after the events of J28 was the key metaphor for her complete loss of authority)
- Oakland's City Council members have been shown to be bullies and liars in their own right, beholden to their sponsors and owners and not the People; their behavior has been at times appalling, and has delegitimized their authority
- The Interim Police Chief has been repeatedly revealed as a liar whose contempt for the city of Oakland and its people is palpable -- his authority is effectively delegitimized
- The administration of the City of Oakland has been shown to be both corrupt and incompetent in response to Occupy Oakland -- thus delegitimizing it
- Judge Thelton Henderson has threatened to place the Oakland Police Department into Federal receivership because they have not fulfilled their reform obligations under the consent decree issued nine years ago, a threat based in part on events surrounding OPD's violent efforts to suppress Occupy Oakland. This threat, along with the global disrepute brought on the OPD by their violence and brutality toward Occupy Oakland has served to delegitimize their authority.
Delegitimizing authority as thoroughly as it has been delegitimized in Oakland since the advent of Occupy Oakland is almost unprecedented in recent American political history and is a stunning victory in Occupy Oakland's Nonviolent Struggle against the oppression and exploitation of Oakland's people by its elected and appointed leadership.
Certainly nothing so effective has come from the so-called "progressive movement" in the last 40 years.
Victory of this sort is a problem, however.
The question naturally arises: "What do we do now?"
Nonviolent Resistance by Occupy Oakland has gained a spectacular short term victory, but delegitimizing authority opens the door to the unknown and potentially to chaos, as many Revolutionaries throughout time have come to realize, sometimes too late. My sense -- from the outside looking in -- is that Occupy Oakland activists are aware of the problems of victory, but I'm not sure more than a few recognize what they have achieved.
The ongoing internal debate over "nonviolence" vs "violence" in Oakland seems odd to me because there is no Violent Resistance Campaign in Oakland or anywhere else in the Occupy Movement. Violent Resistance has not even been considered, at least not anywhere in the Movement I'm aware of. Just like most Occupy activists, I would immediately suspect anyone who did advocate or try to instigate a Violent Resistance Campaign through Occupy to be a provocateur or worse.
To recapitulate: Black Bloc -- and/or "the anarchists" -- in Oakland (or anywhere in the Occupy Movement) do not constitute a Violent Resistance Campaign, as they do not engage in nor do they advocate armed insurrection or the use of deadly force.
Militant Nonviolent Resistance by Occupy Oakland has achieved first-level victory by delegitimizing civic authority. What is the alternative to the present corrupt and disintegrating authority structure? Do OO activists have an alternative ready to go once the discredited present system is swept away? Or will Oakland's Powers That Be "re-legitimize" their authority before the collapse?
These questions are being worked in Oakland and elsewhere in the Movement right now.
The answers will come, but finding them is a more difficult task. What kind of future and future world do we really want?