OWS: In the dark, “Fog of War” in Oakland

It’s hard to know what happened to the peaceful protest and march of the day that had cheerfully brought most of Oakland and the Oakland port to a halt. But here’s an excerpt from one version. BTW: I tend to think that the “black clad anarchists” with “kerchiefs covering their faces” were likely government provocateurs, and incidentally, out to not just cause mayhem and chaos, but to give anarchism a bad name. The classic anarchist book is that by Peter Kropotkin (1842-1921), and its name, “Mutual Aid,” might clue us in to its original meaning. From that book:

“Either the State for ever, crushing individual and local life, taking over in all fields of human activity, bringing with it its wars and its domestic struggles for power, its palace revolutions which only replace one tyrant by another, and inevitably at the end of this development there is … death! Or the destruction of States, and new life starting again in thousands of centers on the principle of the lively initiative of the individual and groups and that of free agreement. The choice lies with you!”

Yes, we are “starting life [over] again in thousands of centers on the principle of the lively initiative of the individual and groups and that of free agreement.”

Call it anarchism, call it community, call it what you will. Just do it. Re-localize!

It just occurred to me that the word “anarchism” resonates with both the OWS and the Tea Party movements, in that they both pull the center of power and activity back from the state to the individual. What separates them, I think, is that OWS insists on non-violence. And for non-violence to be possible, the heart must be open. For when the heart is open, the world becomes, as Thomas Berry put it, “not a collection of objects, but a communion of subjects.”

Here, finally, is that promised excerpt from a latimesblog long running account of that General Strike day and night in Oakland.

Riot police fire projectiles, arrest dozens of Occupy Oakland protesters

November 3, 2011, 3:42 a.m.

by Lee Romney

At 2 a.m., demonstrators called on one another to “remain nonviolent.” They chanted, “We are Scott Olsen,” in reference to the Iraq War veteran who was injured by a police projectile last week. Images of that police action, which came in response to demonstrators about 12 hours after the camp was razed, were beamed around the world. Police maintain that they were defending themselves against some in the crowd who threw bottles, rocks and other objects, but criticism was widespread that nonviolent demonstrators had been caught up in the assault.

Wednesday’s action drew more than 7,000 people, including teachers, youths, seniors, union members and other citizens who said they were concerned about economic inequality. At an evening briefing, interim Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan said officials believed that only about 60 or 70 of them — black-garbed with kerchiefs covering their faces — were believed to be committing acts of vandalism. Throughout Wednesday, members of the crowd had attempted to redirect and dissuade those self-described anarchists. When they broke windows and defaced several banks with graffiti, some Occupy Oakland protesters returned to scrub the walls of a Wells Fargo bank branch. Another placed a sign on the shattered window of a Chase bank branch that read, “We are better than this.”

Some on the plaza said a small faction of demonstrators may have broken into a coffee shop, earning the ire of others in the movement.

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0 Responses to OWS: In the dark, “Fog of War” in Oakland

  1. (11-03-2011) …”mostly a peaceful day”… ( http://tinyurl.com/3l2ukro )Yes! Oakland seems to be awakening to the higher cause as OWS protesters rise to disassociate OWS-Oakland from violence in a notable fashion. This is a huge achievement for OWS-Oakland that deserves acknowledgment.

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