Thursday, February 2, 2012

"When Oakland Is Under Attack, What Do We Do? Stand Up, Fight Back!"

There's now a plethora of videos from the J28 events in Oakland. I've posted some of OakFoSho's and linked to OaktownPirate's. Of course there are many more now. I like the unedited views of what was going on because it is possible for one to see and understand more of the context of the what happened, and they also give you a better perspective on the whole panoply of events. There's a lot of standing around, for example.

The Battle of Oak St. depicted in the video above shot from street level is taking on semi-legendary status. It was quite different that the October 25, 2011 police assaults on the encampment at City Hall and later on the demonstrators in the street during which Scott Olsen and hundreds of others were injured.

Though I don't have a link handy, I've seen reports that hundreds were injured on J28 too. The absolute numbers of injuries connected with the police suppression of the Occupy Oakland activities is moving upwards rapidly, and we may not recognize how many people are getting hurt in these incidents. I watch the young people on the front lines of The Battle of Oak St. and I think, "Sweet Jesus's baby booties, I couldn't do that." Even if I was younger, I'm not sure I would. These people are incredibly brave -- not stupid -- to stay engaged in confrontation like that. This is tough stuff; these people could get killed, and I'm sure they know it.

There have been the usual denunciations of the black clad and masked "anarchists" seen in this incident and others throughout the day, some of whom are seen throwing stuff at the police. But nobody has been cited as throwing anything at the police before the police fired, unprovoked, on the crowd with "less lethal" munitions. And most of what was thrown was tear gas canisters, smoke bomb canisters and rubber bullet casings that had been fired at the crowd.

Apparently, the police in Oakland have to be ordered not to fire on demonstrators. Otherwise, :kablooie:

The confrontation of course is intentional. The point is to delegitimize -- further delegitimize -- the authority of the Oakland police. Did it work? I can't say. It's an ongoing project. But I would say, based on what I've seen, that the police had no cause to fire. By doing so, and by continuing to fire, and later to assault many demonstrators, after it was clear that they were not actually under threat from the crowd, they delegitimized themselves. And then they lied about what happened.

Occupy Oakland comes off fine in these incidents. Brave, stalwart and true. Even when they are throwing things at the police. The cops on the other hand...

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