The Developing Dilemma Within Occupy Oakland

The following guest post is from longtime progressive activist James Vann of Oakland:

At the general assembly of Occupy Oakland last Friday night, November 4, a task presented from the earlier facilitators’ meeting was open discussion by the assembly — in small groupings — on the question: “How to Grow Occupy Oakland into a Long-Term Sustainable Movement.”

I was asked by a contingent sitting to my right to join with their group. I was soon aware that most of the people who constituted our small group were an interrelated faction. An early idea of one of the faction members was to take OO to the “next level” by “taking over vacant buildings.” I injected my disagreement with the idea, that the remarkable success of the entirety of Wednesday’s general strike day had already become subsumed in the media by the post-event “violence” of a small dissident contingent’s breaking into a nearby vacant building. (An act that led to the day’s first police appearance, a massive descent of cops in riot gear — replicating the defamed October 25 assault, complete with tear gas, flash-bang grenades, and bean bag projectiles. A three-hour riot through surrounding blocks ensued, with dissidents setting fires, breaking store windows, and widespread spray-painting of graffiti, ending in some 100 arrests and the serious wounding of yet another recently returned Iraq War veteran on the scene as an innocent bystander.)

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