Recent articles have quoted Shake Anderson and others as a representatives of Occupy Oakland apologizing for past actions of the movement. This includes an article in the Oakland Tribune and another by Kevin Zeese, an activist in Washington, DC.
Anderson and the Occupy Oakland Media Collective claim to be on an “apology campaign” to defend Occupy Oakland from the “Oakland Commune.”
First, the Oakland Commune is simply a nickname for the camp at Oscar Grant Plaza and the community that grew out of it, no more, no less. It is a term of endearment used by Occupy Oakland participants, not some separate shady organization.
The Occupy Oakland Media Collective does not represent Occupy Oakland.
Far from it.
From January to March, the Occupy Oakland Media Collective–then known as the “OO Media” committee–met in secret while pretending to have a transparent committee open to all, eventually expelling members of the committee who did not agree with an article they published on their web site. The article in question ridiculously and offensively accused an Arab-American activist in Occupy Oakland of being both a terrorist and a federal agent–based on “evidence” from a Department of Defense anti-terrorism document!–that was briefly published on hellaoccupyoakland.org.
The racist nature of this accusation was contradictory to everything the Occupy movement stands for. The Occupy Oakland General Assembly voted to distance itself from the group in March 2012.
1. Last Saturday, an offensive, irresponsible and dangerous article titled
“Occupational Awareness” was posted on the OO Media web site. Occupy
Oakland denounces the article. The article contains personal attacks on an
individual in Occupy Oakland that are untrue and unsubstantiated, and that
are extremely dangerous to him and to the movement. The article appeals
and legitimates a fantasy of “terrorist threat” that has consistently been
used by the state to repress and silence protest, and to create false
“enemies,” and uses classic racist tactics of racial profiling to do so.
This article is not only a serious danger to the person attacked, it is a
danger to our movement and it requires immediate action.
Rather than abide by this resolution, the Occupy Oakland Media Collective renounced the General Assembly–which passed this vote of over 140 people with 90% supporting–and decided to go its own way. They chose to leave Occupy Oakland rather than apologize for their offensive behavior and now have a highly restrictive membership policy which is an affront to the open-air organizing that took place in October and November of 2011 at Oscar Grant Plaza.
The Occupy Oakland Media Collective now claims to represent Occupy Oakland, speaking on behalf of the movement claiming that the tactics of the “Oakland Commune” turned people off. But these new “official” representatives played no serious role in organizing any of the mass actions. However, they have done much to take credit for them and even, it seems, profit off of them.
Occupy Oakland does not have a position for or against vandalism and activists have varying attitudes toward this tactic. The Occupy Oakland Media Collective hopes to attract attention to themselves over this issue while doing nothing to clarify the distinction between a few broken windows compared to massive police repression, assault and arrests. The Occupy Oakland Media Collective is playing directly into the hands of the opponents of the Occupy movement in the media, in City Hall and even vigilantes who call on Oaklanders to “beat the shit out of anarchists/vandals.”
The only true representative of the movement is the General Assembly. The General Assembly has spoken against the Occupy Oakland Media Collective. They do not represent Occupy Oakland, so please do not quote them as doing so.
The General Assembly no longer has large enough attendance to reach quorum–requiring at least 75 people–so it cannot speak for itself. The Occupy Oakland Media Collective, which is literally a handful of people, have attempted to fill the void. They can do what they wish, but claiming to be Occupy Oakland is utterly disingenuous.
Many of the activists who made up Occupy Oakland have continued organizing around school and library closures, prisoner solidarity, feminist marches, anti-police violence protests, labor solidarity and other actions while the Occupy Oakland Media Collective does what it only knows how–increase its web traffic by claiming to be something that it is not.