Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Occupy Oakland Shuts Down Port

Here. The MSNBC article includes a quote that says that the intent is to "halt the flow of capital." YES! The best info on offer, however, seems to be on twitter. Also, see here for other updates and suggestions for Left coverage of OccupyOakland. I've been following this closely all day. Inspiring stuff!


Anonymous said...

The NYTime's lead article on Oakland hardly mentions the port but has a headline mentioning vandalism by the black bloc'ers.... I know they mean well and everything, but I can't help but feel that their actions are infantile and self-righteous (when, in fact, the thing we need to be doing is building MASS movements that have strength in numbers). Of course, it's not the bb's fault that the capitalist media sucks.

t said...

I agree that it's not the BB's fault that the capitalist media sucks. And I would add that it's not their fault that the cops suck either.

Still, and I'm not sure whether this indicts the BB folks or not, there is a growing number of people with adventurist, provocation-fetishizing politics who are not doing the movement any favors. Hear at OccupyChi there are people at the General Assembly calling for small-scale actions taken on by groups unaccountable to the movement, in the name of the movement, meant to "keep the enemy off guard and be flexible". If these folks want to do these unpredictable "spontaneous" actions on their own time, that is fine with me.

But I think this is a lazy, ultimately losing strategy. Rahm and the Chicago 1% aren't afraid of a group of 25 kids running around Chicago dropping banners, and doing street theatre. They're afraid of a mass movement, drawing tens of thousands of people into its center, that could actually threaten their power. Our strength is in numbers --not in the ability of small, unaccountable, conspiratorial groups to pull off "spontaneous" forms of "aesthetic resistance".

I think these folks have politics that are a mix of elitism (i.e. we'll do the resisting for the dull masses), laziness (i.e. building mass movements is too hard so let's do the easy thing and dance around in the street in small groups), and inexperience (i.e. the mass struggles didn't succeed in taking the horse so it must be th at mass struggles aren't a good way to push the movement forward).

We are the 99%, not a small group of adventurists who want to "liberate the dumb masses" through individual acts of provocation.

Richard said...

see my post on the subject of the Black Bloc here:

and, also, my comment over at Proyect's The Unrepentant Marxist, where he posted a video of people trying to stop Black Bloc types from breaking windows at Whole Foods:

"There is a curious paradox here. The activity shown in the video, the attack upon Whole Foods, as well as the other ones at the banks, did not get much play in the media reports about the general strike, rather the emphasis was upon the marches, especially the one that shut down the Port of Oakland. After leaving Oakland in the late afternoon, I listed to a lot of radio coverage and read a lot of national and international newspaper articles before I went to sleep around 10:30pm, and all of them highlighted the amazing turn out for the strike. The breaking of windows at Whole Foods and the banks was very much secondary. Conversely, the later occupation of the Traveler’s Aid Building, which had a more explicit justification, and a more defensible one, garned all the media attention because of the confrontation with the police. It was that action that were thereafter substituted for earlier narratives about the day. As I posted on my blog today, I believe that it was a mistaken action, primarily because it diverted people away from the possibility of continuing the blockade of the gates at the Port of Oakland. And while that may have been a Black Bloc action, there are accounts that a lot of people initially participated, they were even having an impromptu dance inside the building after it had been seized. Of course, the subsequent resistance of the anarchists and their supporters played into the hands of the police, but to imply that it was solely a Black Bloc action without any other support would appear to be erroneous, and, more importantly, may cause us to miss the emergence of a radicalized group of young people that cannot be easily reduced to the Black Bloc. If so, there are serious implications to this that require a more sophisticated political engagement that just calling those who seized the Travelers Aid Building “scum” and “scumbags”.

Richard said...

just go to my blog today to see my post, the link didn't come through