The brutal response to the Occupy Oakland protests, which left one Iraq War vet in the hospital with a fractured skull, continues to stir outrage on the left. And Oakland Mayor Jean Quan’s absurd press conference, where she claimed that she “didn’t know” about the raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment on Monday which preceded Tuesday’s crackdown, has only increased the anger.
The Oakland protesters, first of all, refuse to give up. Last night they held a general assembly where upwards of 2,000 showed up. And as a result of a vote, they planned a general strike and mass day of action on November 2.
We as fellow occupiers of Oscar Grant Plaza propose that on Wednesday November 2, 2011, we liberate Oakland and shut down the 1%.
We propose a city wide general strike and we propose we invite all students to walk out of school. Instead of workers going to work and students going to school, the people will converge on downtown Oakland to shut down the city.
All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them.
While we are calling for a general strike, we are also calling for much more. People who organize out of their neighborhoods, schools, community organizations, affinity groups, workplaces and families are encouraged to self organize in a way that allows them to participate in shutting down the city in whatever manner they are comfortable with and capable of.
The whole world is watching Oakland. Let’s show them what is possible.
The proposal got the support of 96.9% of the voting members of the general assembly. Another announcement from the general assembly is that Occupy Wall Street in New York City donated $20,000 to the Occupy Oakland efforts, mainly for medical expenses.
In addition, online clicktivists have expressed mass support for the protesters and against the police actions. Over 10,000 citizens signed a Change.org petition to Mayor Quan to put an end to the police brutality. And MoveOn.org is planning a rapid response ad condemning the mayor and the police administrators. There’s an additional petition from Causa Justa, a local Oakland group, to stop the repression.
The situation in Oakland has is sure to increase attention on the Occupy protests around the country and galvanize support. But that’s not likely to stop the establishment from trying to shut down the activities. Witness Dianne Feinstein:
“There are all kinds of different agendas going on” that it is “hard to figure out what people want,” Feinstein said during a wide-ranging luncheon conversation with pollster Mark Baldassare at Town Hall Los Angeles.
When asked during a brief session with reporters afterward whether it was time for Occupy L.A. to end, the state’s senior senator said: “I think it’s very important that people have the ability … to utilize their First Amendment rights….I don’t think people, for example, can sleep in a square for weeks on end. You have to have some order to it.”
Do demonstrators “have the right to occupy forever? I don’t think so,” Feinstein said.
So I would expect more attempts at repression, which are sure to only grow the movement. I don’t think the elite class, having failed at almost everything they’ve tried in this decade, will learn the lesson.
UPDATE: Oakland Mayor Quan released a statement saying that she supports the Occupy movement and that she will “minimize” the police presence (“We have decided to have a minimal police presence at the plaza for the short term and build a community effort to improve communications and dialogue with the demonstrators”).