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Ash writes: "Scott Olsen and Joshua Shepherd were trained - they thought - by the Marine Corps and the Navy, respectively, to defend freedom. Both served overseas until they realized that the real fight for American freedom is, and really has been, here in the land we call home. So they stood side by side facing down freedom's oldest enemies: fear, ignorance and authoritarianism. The police opened fire on them and Scott Olsen fell critically wounded. Not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but here."

The scene in downtown Oakland, California, on the afternoon of October, 25 2011. (photo: Andrew Kenower/flickr)
The scene in downtown Oakland, California, on the afternoon of October, 25 2011. (photo: Andrew Kenower/flickr)



Remember What They Did in Oakland

By Marc Ash, Reader Supported News

29 October 11


Reader Supported News | Perspective

 

Occupy Wall Street: Take the Bull by the Horns

 

t will take some time before what happened in Oakland, California, on October 25th, 2011, sinks in. It happened in the blink of an eye. I was there and I can tell you that no one really saw it coming. We should have. All the components were in place. Waiting. Ticking.

Civil unrest, civil resistance, a paranoid, uneducated - and far too heavily armed - police force, governmental officials with no experience in managing para-military forces under their control. It was all there, flame lit, waiting to boil over.

Can anyone see it still? It's there, right there in the picture ... look closely. It's an Oakland police officer standing in broad daylight in the middle of an American city leveling a shotgun at American citizens and firing at them as they run for their lives. Think Kent State, think Chicago 1968. This happened. Mark the day, rue the day.



To the credit of the protesters, they provoked but did not engage or reciprocate in the violence. The Oakland Police Department, however, gave the United States an abject lesson in why compromising civil liberties for the sake of national security is a decision that will eventually blow up in your face.

Scott Olsen and Joshua Shepherd were trained - they thought - by the Marine Corps and the Navy, respectively, to defend freedom. Both served overseas until they realized that the real fight for American freedom is, and really has been, here in the land we call home. So they stood side by side facing down freedom's oldest enemies: fear, ignorance and authoritarianism. The police opened fire on them and Scott Olsen fell critically wounded. Not in Iraq or Afghanistan, but here. He is now in an Oakland hospital fighting for his life. He and all of those who were there with him that night in Oakland, and every city in America now occupied by Americans standing up to injustice, need our support.

What are they fighting for?

Like all revolutionary political movements the Occupy Movement is a spontaneous eruption. It was not scripted or planned in advance. It is rather, the stifled voice of the oppressed, silent no more. To understand what they want we must ask, what do we want? And we must listen to what they say, and to what is in our hearts.

The common theme is "justice." Economic justice, earth environmental justice and social justice. Do those goals sound familiar? They should. They have been at the forefront of every political demonstration in history. However, on a slightly more specific note, if you are looking for things to watch for you will probably be hearing more about the abolishment of the Federal Reserve System in the days, weeks and months to come. Perhaps growing demands for legal prosecution of financial industry managers, maybe some - real - healthcare reform, a little solidarity with our fellow citizens of earth who do not want an American military base in their back yard. Stuff like that.

General Strike

In response to the events that occurred on October 25, Occupy Oakland and its supporters have called for a "GENERAL STRIKE & MASS DAY OF ACTION - NOVEMBER 2." Saying: "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." If that works the Occupy Movement gains tremendous power. It's no longer just sleeping in the park, it's the first step to shutting down the machine, without violence of course.

Barack Obama, during his campaign for the US presidency, promised that his time in office would mark a time of "change." It's a promise that may yet be fulfilled, whether he likes it or not.


Marc Ash was formerly the founder and Executive Director of Truthout, and is now founder and Editor of Reader Supported News.

Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.

 

Comments   

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- The RSN Team

 
+47 # Michael_K 2011-10-29 19:36
"Barack Obama, during his campaign for the US presidency, promised that his time in office would mark a time of "change." It's a promise that may yet be fulfilled, whether he likes it or not."

Now THAT would be something to behold!!!!
From your mouth, to God's ear!
 
 
+71 # DaveM 2011-10-29 20:24
The photo does not depict a protest. It depicts combat. I applaud the demonstrators for not responding in kind. We must keep in mind, however, that the day may arrive when that will no longer be an option.
 
 
+6 # jwb110 2011-10-29 20:38
Yahooooooooo!
 
 
+23 # RichyD 2011-10-29 20:44
Why would you limit this non-violent action to Oakland? One stated location would simply draw far too many of those over-armed thugs, placing peace-loving folks in one location-to be assaulted as was Scott Olsen
 
 
+13 # Progressive Patriot 2011-10-30 00:36
You're right, it should be _at_least_ statewide, if not national.
 
 
+18 # Capn Canard 2011-10-30 05:22
NATIONAL. I am leaning toward a National strike to send a strong message to the 1% that we have had it with this Police State, this pseudo republic, and it's anti democratic enforcement.
 
 
-4 # goodsensecynic 2011-10-29 21:29
Spontaneous protests are not revolutions. They are emotional catharses. They are in no position to achieve anything akin to revolution. At best, they sharpen the sights and sounds of repression. They are invitations to secular martyrdom.

It is possible that the "Occupy" movement will generate some enthusiasm for enduring political organization. It might even prompt an attempt to take back the Democratic Party. It is also possible that it will provoke much greater repression. The options are plentiful and could turn out to be important - one way or another.

But revolution?

A one-day General Strike does not a transformative and emancipatory moment make: if people are interested in real and enduring change, this is just the opening whistle. The hard stuff including the daily grind of organization, the creation and maintenance of a common front among environmentalis ts, labour unions, feminists, human rights advocates, anti-poverty groups, aboriginal peoples, gay and lesbian communities and so on and so on need to be built.

All of this is quite charming and doubtless delightful, but it could end as quickly as an Obama smile, and there would still be work to be done.
 
 
+24 # Capn Canard 2011-10-30 05:31
goodsensecynic What??? A one day general strike is the beginning of getting a mass movement to increase awareness and nothing will change until you get mass support. In other words people need to get up off their asses and do something by opting out. It is very simple. I just don't understand your attitude against such a general strike day. Nothing is going to happen until people start to take some control of their lives back and the easiest way to do that is to not participate in the demands of the 1%. If you wanna start a revolution at this moment, you will lose some support and in the nascent stages you need all the support you can get. If you have a better idea then quit sniveling and man-up!
 
 
+36 # Paul Scott 2011-10-29 21:30
All that psychological screening done by police departments, to get just the right mind-mix, is now demostrating itself openly in streets accross the United States. It takes a certain mindset to assault groups, of legally protesting citizens; to protect political corruption.
 
 
+25 # brenda heard 2011-10-29 21:36
'Do as we say, or else'. Sometimes the 'or else' is just the price we need to pay to salvage an ethical life. Excellent article, Marc, thanks.
 
 
+34 # Doubter 2011-10-29 22:31
THESE ARE NOT "POLICE," They are: SHOCK TROOPS!
 
 
+2 # Terrapin 2011-10-31 06:51
... these are ORCS!
It is difficult to aknowledge someone's HUMANITY
when they have reduced themselves to BEASTS.
... the Universal Soldiers unleashed to do the Brutality Work for the State®.
 
 
+7 # CCB5er34 2011-10-29 22:51
I know that nonviolence is supposed to be the rule of the day. But, there is a saying in my favorite show, Babylon 5, which goes "Never start a fight, but always finish it." I think self defense, something these gun idiots are always espousing, is sometimes warrented. I appreciate the ideal of non-violence, but when you are shot at, maimed, even killed, the game is changed. Some sort of self defense, to my mind, is quite understandable. We live in a police state, and we better learn to fight back in some way. I don't know how, but things are VERY BAD!
 
 
+6 # Cassandra2012 2011-10-30 11:50
Quoting CCB5er34:
I know that nonviolence is supposed to be the rule of the day. But, there is a saying in my favorite show, Babylon 5, which goes "Never start a fight, but always finish it." I think self defense, something these gun idiots are always espousing, is sometimes warrented. I appreciate the ideal of non-violence, but when you are shot at, maimed, even killed, the game is changed. Some sort of self defense, to my mind, is quite understandable. We live in a police state, and we better learn to fight back in some way. I don't know how, but things are VERY BAD!

NEED TO REMEMBER GANDHI AND MLKING WON BY PERSISTENCE AND NON-VIOLENT OPPOSITION. Violence gives these neo-brown shirts an excuse to up the violence and grab the moral high ground.
 
 
+29 # Rita Walpole Ague 2011-10-30 01:33
A similar assault to what occured in Oakland on the 25th of Oct., was made by police in Denver on Sat., Oct. 29th on peaceful protestors. While many present, including a pregnant woman, children, disabled individuals, etc., were brutalized and harmed with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, being hit with police sticks, etc., no near deaths occured, as most tragically happened in Oakland.

However, insofar as the non-violent protests in Denver, Oakland, and in so many cities both nationwide and worldwide grow more focused and determined with each overt and covert police brutalization incident, more near deaths and actual deaths loom, with the reality of a non-violent revolution turning into a very violent revolution.
 
 
+14 # DIAMONDMARGE 2011-10-30 04:04
Viva la Revolucion!
 
 
+33 # jimking 2011-10-30 04:17
Police violence in Oakland gives us a glimpse of what is in store for our country, now and in the very near future. We have and continue to ignore many lessons we should have learned from history.

We can look to the suspension of civil rights created by the enactment of the “patriot Act”, the militarization of our civilian police departments, but first each of us must consider our own humanity.
 
 
+14 # Capn Canard 2011-10-30 05:37
jimking, I agree, I see it as the process of the POLICE STATE exercising control with violence. I believe it is likely to get worse unless there is some serious and substantial change.
 
 
+24 # NanFan 2011-10-30 04:36
Brilliant! I called for this nationwide when Bush was still in office, but these young and fearless people have taken it to the streets, and there is NO better time to do this than NOW!

I am a professor; I plan to do no work on November 2 in solidarity with Occupy Oakland.

I ask all of you to think of doing the same in your places of work, your towns or cities, your banks and schools.

And, Mr. Obama, it's time you took some executive action before your ship sails with only the 1%, the democracy thieves, aboard.

American democracy is about to be reclaimed.

Bravo!

N.
 
 
+13 # rom120 2011-10-30 05:20
Is this, the USA the same country blaming China for human rights abuses?
 
 
+17 # Magars 2011-10-30 05:45
On May 15th,1969,Gover nor Ronald Reagan ordered People's Park inBerkeley destroyed. Members of the protest movement at that time,Hippies,oc cupied the Park and were protesting the Vietnam war and the establishment. No one can find anything substantial or anything at all in History books in our schools.The simple reason is they (the establishment) don't want us to REMEMBER. A lot of things happened in these 40 years : wars,invasion,c orporations control of government,as was predicted in the 60s,PATRIOT Act,to spy on American people and control them,fear of everything,fear of speaking
out at work or everywhere.
Forty two years after the attack of protesters in Berkeley, the young
movement "OCCUPY WALL STREET" is sending to all of us an strong message,let's never forget: REMEMBER,REMMEM BER!!
 
 
+10 # Lute 2011-10-30 05:48
The person who gave the order to shoot should be taken out and hanged for treason as a traitor to the Constitution of the United States. The cretinous stooge who actually pulled the trigger must be forced out of the police and/or jailed. If this nonsense goes on, there will be open warfare in the streets. It must stop immediately.
 
 
+5 # Magars 2011-10-30 09:07
In some way you are right,yes the one who pulled the trigger should be prosecuted,but the problem is deeper than that. This is not an isolated incident,this is a clear sign of modus operandi by authorities and by government. When people protest around the world against disparities,ine qualities,here in US,we blame undemocratic governments,wel l the same is happening in our own soil,let's then, blame the lack of democracy,trans parency and honesty in Congress and by our own president.
 
 
0 # aljoschu 2011-10-30 06:11
Congratulations to you, Ghadafis, Ben Alis, Mubaraks, Assads, Obamas!

You believe you can suppress the deeply rooted opposition against your merciless regimes. However, in reality you only accelerate your own dismissal, at last.
 
 
+10 # Kootenay Coyote 2011-10-30 06:18
Remember Kent State: its vile principle has risen, undead.
 
 
+12 # ABen 2011-10-30 08:57
As one who lived through the Kent State incident and worked to rebuild the community in its aftermath, I caution you about blithely invoking the memory of this event. It was the very fact that we remained non-violent (only throwing back the tear gas fired at us) in the face of armed and organized Guardsmen that inexorably turned public opinion in our favor. We talked constantly during the protests about not becoming that which we sought to overthrow. We shared tips on how to withstand tear gas attacks and what to do if (when) the Guard opened fire (no rubber bullets then). The Guard was not the enemy then as the Police are not the enemy now. Violent confrontation with armed troops will do nothing more than get innocent people injured or killed and turn public sentiment against the protestors. We got gov Rhodes defeated (ordered in Guard and authorized live ammo) and three of the top four officers in the Guard dismissed. This is not Iraq. We win confrontations by speaking truth to power and voting relentlessly. Stay strong OWS protestors!
 
 
+2 # Glen 2011-10-30 09:19
Do you know who started the fires in the barracks? Or was that even a fact?

Keep in mind that citizen sensibilities have changed since Kent State, and citizens have been divided in their attitude toward civil behavior and standards. There is no way of knowing who will support these protests and who won't. Those who don't are almost always for the use of police/military in putting down the "riffraff" or are totally indifferent. We can hope for the best, though.

Are you counseling demonstrators? You are probably needed.
 
 
+5 # ABen 2011-10-30 13:33
It wasn't barracks, it was the ROTC building which had been condemned and was slated to be torn down that Spring. The fire was started by the heat from M-79 tear gas canisters fired at protestors who then tossed them into the building in order to get them off the Commons.

Kent is in eastern Ohio, only slightly less red-neck than the Cincinnati area. Locals who had armed themselves and were heading for Kent to "get themselves a hippie" were being stopped at the city limits by State Police (very good and professional people). Many of these same locals later took out an add in the Akron paper apologizing for wanting to harm protestors.

I now live in AZ, and protestors here know to go unarmed. The cowboy types here all carry weapons, AZ is an "open carry" state, and armed confrontation is a no-win option.
 
 
+1 # Glen 2011-10-31 14:17
Thanks for replying. There is much misinformation concerning Kent State, but the message was/is clear.

Arizona has its own set of issues, also, which highlights the differences in states and the approach to citizens and their grievances. Interesting that state police and highway patrol can often be a bit more sane than urban enforcement. It is the same in my state.
 
 
+5 # fredboy 2011-10-30 06:39
Essential justice serves as the foundation of this nation. In Oakland and nationwide we are celebrating and trying to protect this most essential process. Without it, our nation crumbles. Is that what the GOP, tea party, Obama's Fed and Treasury, Wall Street and corporate types, and thug authority figures really want? Unfortunately, yes.
 
 
-25 # lnason@umassd.edu 2011-10-30 07:03
While I support the rights of the protesters to peaceably assemble and I support some of their complaints (the complaints are too diverse for anyone to support all of them), I think this report misrepresents the situation.

At Kent State, the troopers used live, lethal ammunition and killed protesters. At Oakland, the cops have been using tear gas, non-lethal
projectiles, and, arguably depending on whom one believes, flash-and-bang cannisters. And it is pretty clear that the protesters were throwing bottles and rocks at some points at least during this confrontation.

Additionally, while Olson was undoubtedly seriously hurt, it is not at all clear how he incurred his wounds or who threw or fired the object that caused his wounds. We will need to wait for forensic analysis to discover the facts.

The violence needs to be de-escalated before the protesters expectations can be adequately presented and responded to. This report seems designed to build righteous indignation which can only fuel further violence and create more casualties and therefore seems to me to be destructive rather than constructive.

Lee Nason
New Bedford, Massachusetts
 
 
+11 # Bodiotoo 2011-10-30 08:00
Mr. Nason,
I participated in the May Day events in New Haven CT and the bottle throwers and incitors of the "riots" that occurred were shown to be infiltrators from Nixon's government, not thrown by by those of us exercising our right to free assembly. NH Green was cicrcled by tanks, and armed marksmen on the government building roof tops. SWAT teams have become the rage and thier are a lot of itchy fingers by th eboys who want to play with thier big toys. The 99% OWS movement will only win by numbers not violence.
 
 
+6 # Glen 2011-10-30 09:32
Bodiotoo, infiltrating has been used endlessly. Reagan was an expert while governor of California, in encouraging such, to then turn to citizens to declare: See, I TOLD you they are just causing trouble and are not to be trusted, therefore I am calling out the National Guard. Berkeley was a grand example of overkill - helicopters dropping tear gas even on nursing homes, businesses, you name it. And yes, guns on rooftops which the caused the death of a fellow up there simply watching the action below.

Folks MUST be careful in who they trust to participate with them. The U.S. does have true anarchists who have also infiltrated peaceful protests, bringing down the wrath of skull busters.
 
 
+3 # mrgrtmorris 2011-10-30 08:30
It's been said that freedom of assembly and speech is relatively secure in this country precisely because it is so ineffective in making change.

The Occupy where ever has the potential to create change so watch out!

Wealth and power, especially power, does not surrender without a struggle.

It is worth noting that the mayor pulled the police back. But that's Oakland.
 
 
+4 # ABen 2011-10-30 13:39
Oakland is widely regarded as the "armpit" of the Bay Area. The negative outcry at the actions of some of the Oakland police was instantaneous and overwhelming. Public shaming is the best and quickest way to get to public officials.....U ntil the next election.
 
 
+10 # Abigail 2011-10-30 08:40
There is a thin line between the criminal mind and the law-enforcers mind. In Oakland, it has been crossed.
 
 
+6 # mrgrtmorris 2011-10-30 10:22
Some comments are more polarized than is necessary. The protests are a great start and need to continue to raise awareness and especially to let people know their anger is shared by large numbers about the same things.

But it is also true that the hard work of persistently acting to organize, to focus, and take what individual and collective measures one can where one is lies ahead.

Random example, I moved my banking last week from Chase to a local credit union. One small step repeated many times provides serious power to the underpowered 99%.
 
 
+4 # michelle 2011-10-30 11:27
GENERAL STRIKE & MASS DAY OF ACTION - NOVEMBER 2

Everyone catch that? Wouldn't it be great if it went global. We can all support Oakland by participating in the general strike no matter where we live. It is a start. It makes each of us a participant. We can't just watch from the sidelines anymore.
 
 
+3 # pierre 2011-10-30 12:23
The following is a great idea for all:

http://www.care2.com/greenliving/use-your-junk-mail-to-occupy-wall-street-video.html
 
 
+2 # michelle 2011-10-30 15:41
Great idea and it supports the post office. Gosh it might even create jobs if we all participate. Watch this folks, it's really a super response to the big banks. Hmmm, I wonder if we have any leftover roofing shingles around.

Thanks Pierre, I'm sending this to everyone I know. If the people on reader supported news do this too we will surely have an impact on the banksters.
 
 
+1 # Linda 2011-10-31 07:21
Thank you Pierre . This is an excellent idea and one everyone can do !
Myself I am not able to join the protesters but this is something I can do and will do !
 
 
+4 # 666 2011-10-31 04:06
Violence begets violent suppression. It will end in the loss of all civil rights - what agents provocateur seek to achieve (maybe even on RSN blogs). The long struggle against deeply entrenched evil has only begun. Do not rush "revolution" or seek "civil war"; the wounds of the first civil war have never healed. Do not wish to harm your brother/sister.

The absolute genius of non-violence is twofold: 1) It refuses "to play the game by the rules". This game (power) is an illegitimate & corrupt system. "The State" is "State Power" maintained by "violence & threat of violence". These are the ONLY two rules of the game.
2) Non-violence ultimately makes participants see each other at the most basic level, human beings freed of ideology & state control. To succeed, that compassionate understanding MUST start with us.
In successful revolutions, individuals wielding state power must ultimately ask themselves "Why am I hurting/killing my brother/sister? " Their conditioning fails & they get the message of compassionate human understanding. They stop wielding state power &/or come over to our side. Then we must forgive.
Every military-politi cal analysis of these protests begins & ends with state violence. Their greatest fear is a widespread non-violent movement. To stop this, they will do everything possible to provoke violence
 
 
+5 # Linda 2011-10-31 06:16
I think it would be totally wrong headed to react to the police violence with violence. That is exactly what they want us to do .
Right now the majority of the people are behind the movement but many would recoil from supporting us if we allow ourselves to react violently .
Two wrongs never make a right, as my mother used to say and she was right.
Right now the world is behind us lets keep it that way !
 

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