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Forum Post: If it has not been done already, the OWS needs to publicly denounce the violent and destructive actions that took place in Oakland.

Posted 2 years ago on Nov. 3, 2011, 5:48 p.m. EST by amen88 (173)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

it is of the utmost importance for the protest movement to remain non-violent and the only way i see that this can happen is to make the public statement that the OWS movement does not support violence and the destruction of property in any form.

the other thing that peaceful protesters can do is to make citizens arrests upon those that are breaking this code of non-violence.

we must stay strong in solidarity on this point or we have already failed.

70 Comments

70 Comments


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[-] 2 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

Occupy Oakland DID NOT incite violence. Occupy Oakland doesn't advocate violence. That was a local anarchist group that has a history of causing trouble, utilizing "black bloc" tactics, during protests in Oakland. I can not emphasize this enough.

This morning, many OO people were out helping clean up the trash and graffiti, and OO is paying to repair some of the damage.

[-] 2 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

thank you for the post. i am aware that you all were there helping to clean up the mess, what i don't understand is how a few were able to get away with their crap in front of 100's that feel opposite.

another thing that i don't understand is that the leaflet that i saw put out by these cowards asked a very plain and clear question, "you are with us or against us?" has that question been answered? if it has not, it needs to be and quickly.

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

I agree. Many at Occupy Oakland are trying hard to address that. And a lot at OO people were trying to stop the vandals and splinter groups, but it's quite scary when not only were the violent people holding bricks and axes, but the cops were there making arrests too.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

i understand, thank you for your replies. there was a guy in a motorcycle helmet, what was he doing? from what i could see by the little video footage that i saw was that he was doing everything he could to prevent these guys from vandalizing the joint. if this is true, i sincerely applaud his character. poor guy probably had a premonition that explains the motorcycle helmet. well, lots of love out to you in oakland, keep the faith.

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

Not sure about the guy on the motorcycle, but thanks, and I understand your concern. We don't want our movement hijacked!

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

that's right, the OO will not be hijacked by a bunch of thugs. power to the people!

p.s. i never saw the guy on a motorcycle, he just had a helmet on.

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

Ha, that's what I meant. I'm pretty tired right now...

[-] 2 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Good luck with this idea. Seriously. How OWS chooses to address this one issue will be a defining characteristic of this movement. The world IS watching.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

agreed... the world is watching.

[-] 1 points by tzutujil (2) 2 years ago

never underestimate the power of cointelpro, who have been studying tactics for disruption of peaceful protests since the 60's

[-] 1 points by MaxRommel (57) from Ridgefield Park, NJ 2 years ago

OWS - We are ashamed of our bad behavior and apologize for it. We oppose violence of any kind.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

This essay by G. William Domhoff explains why you are right about the need for OWS to condemn violence: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_nonviolence.html

I am very disappointed that the main page of this site says only "encourage the use of nonviolence" as in: "We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants."

It should say "insist on the use of nonviolence", and not just to maximize safety, but to ensure the OWS is effective for the reasons Domhoff explains. As it is now, OWS seems heading for more problems until that changes.

And it better change fast, as stuff like this is destroying OWS credibiilty: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57319036/is-black-bloc-hijacking-occupy-oakland/ ""I see Black Bloc as a tactic, not really as a movement," said Ryan Andreola, an Occupy demonstrator. He said he believes in non-violence but is not ready to condemn the tactics of the Black Bloc. "As individuals," said Andreola, "we respect people's freedom to act they way that they feel they have to act to make the changes they wish to see.""

Just read the comments there, which all echo Domhoff's points on why violence destroys the legitimacy of movements that do not distance themselves from it.

This shows a failure of OWS to educate demonstrators in sanctioned demonstrations about the principles on non-violent social change and why violence is a non-starter in the USA and will only hurt OWS (let alone anyone else as it can quickly get out of hand -- see the history of Columbia for example of what can happen when violence spirals out of control even of those who called for it: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/La_Violencia ).

More on this in this thread: http://occupywallst.org/article/general-strike-shuts-down-oakland-watch-live/#comment-287121

OWS needs to build a movement assuming you'll have active disruption by the establishment and "agent provocateurs" and so on. And one way to cope with the threat of disruptive elements planted by any establishment is to be transparent and to reject any proposal for violence. It is harder for disruptive elements to function consistently in transparent organizations built on strong moral principles; it's kind of like how anaerobic bacteria can't function in the presence of oxygen. Build the kind of movement where a police officer or FBI agent would be proud to be part of it (off duty), and it will most likely succeed given the level of public dissatisfaction with the current status quo including the rich/poor divide and rising sense of precarity.

Until OWS takes a stand as a movement against violence, it will lose a lot of support (both for moral and practical reasons). Which is part of the possible reasons for "agent provocateurs" -- precisely to discredit OWS.

Someone should contact Ryan Andreola quoted there, ask Ryan to read what Prof. Domhoff wrote on non-violence, and then ask Ryan to consider making another statement about the situation.

All GAs should make it a top priority to discuss this issue of non-violence, to learn about non-violence collectively (studying the history and principles), and after that consideration, to go on record condeming the violence (if so decided), and then actively exclude those who plan to resort to violence. If GAs can't commit to non-violence, then the rest of the GAs who do should consider disowning those other GAs. As it is now, the current policy and "diversity of tactics" is harming the OWS movement for all the reasons Domhoff outlines. After GAs commit to non-violence, then the front page of the website can be updated to reflect that.

[-] 1 points by Philpux (643) from Mountain View, AR 2 years ago

OWS protesters in Oakland did stop some of the destruction. They acted valiantly in protecting the Whole Foods Store that was being attacked. They tried to stop other attacks, as well. The problem is that, without a clear voice, OWS has no way to officially denounce the violence. They can do it through their GA's, but no one outside the immediate area knows what the GA's are really doing. Unfortunately, the void left by the absence of a clear voice is filled by the most extreme of it's constituents.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

What would it take to a clear statement on the front page of this website condemning any violence done in the name of OWS, perhaps referencing the points Domhoff makes here? http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_nonviolence.html

[-] 1 points by Philpux (643) from Mountain View, AR 2 years ago

I think there has been a lot of condemnation of the violent acts perpetrated at protests. It has come from varying sources, though. The fractious nature of the OWS movement makes it difficult to have a clear voice on anything. I don't completely understand that, but it is what it is.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

that is good to hear about the events at Whole Foods. the most we can do is the most we can do. i do find it strange that, as you stated, there really is no way that we can get messages out to the media. what i do know is that important issues like this need to be posted on the web sights in a style that cannot be ignored.

[-] 1 points by Philpux (643) from Mountain View, AR 2 years ago

I agree. But who would make the statement? That is a problem, I think.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

not a problem at all. trust in a brother or sister of strong conviction and passion for the movement. being to afraid in things of this nature is a handicap in and of itself.

[-] 1 points by Philpux (643) from Mountain View, AR 2 years ago

I am simply speaking from a media standpoint. Yes we can all tell each other, but we are in a propaganda war. As you said, a statement needs to be made (to the media.)

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

agreed

[-] 1 points by melbel61 (113) 2 years ago

I certainly agree. If you want to continue to be taken seriously, and have any chance of making a long term impact, all violence must cease. I watched several of the videos coming out of Oakland, prior to the police action. Mobs, literally of people, destroying public property at the Whole Foods store, etc. That is unacceptable behavior and will turn off the general public in a heartbeat. They will label you all as anarchists. Now I'm sure that most of the people who were behaving like that weren't even truly a part of your group but people with little else to do. That's the problem when you take to the streets 24/7, you will attract those who just want to cause mayhem, for the fun of it.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

this is a very important thing that must be addressed whether the OWS movement wants to or not, sooner or later they will have to. the world is watching.

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

I COULD NOT agree more.

I and many others had warned OWS about "Oakland Liberation Front" "AGENTS PROVOCATEURS". and the great harm they could do to the image and credibility of the WHOLE "Occupy" Movement.

If it has not been done already, OWS must reaffirm in the strongest terms its commitment to non-violence and distance itself from that Oakland group... or risk alienating a large segment of the American public.

And BTW, OWS needs to review the statement posted on this site : "We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and ENCOURAGE the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants." The word "encourage" is too weak to adequately convey the concept of unconditional commitment.

THIS, OWS, is where your great Patriotic Movement could stumble... and that would be a TRAGEDY for us all.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

Thanks for your post. I agree that the statement on the front page of this site using the word "encourage" is too weak. I agree it is where OWS could stumble. See my comments above referencing Domhoff's writings on why OWS needs to insist on only non-violent actions and needs to condemn and distance itself from violent individuals and groups.

What would it take to get the wording on the main page of this site changed to reflect a strong commitment by OWS to non-violence?

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

THANK YOU, "derek", for your valuable input. It's people like you who make it worth posting and commenting on this forum. I didn't know about Domhoff's writings and will certainly be looking them up.

You're asking a VERY important question : "What would it take to get the wording on the main page of this site changed to reflect a strong commitment by OWS to non-violence?"

I think it would take an avalanche of messages to OWS through this site, messages from concerned citizens like you and me asking them that they CHANGE THE WORDING of their mission statement. Here is a copy of the second message I sent to OWS, just yesterday :

Hi,

I'm writing again to OWS concerning the statement signed by an unidentified group calling itself "Comrades from Cairo". Within minutes after it was posted on this forum, I raised hell about the paragraph before last and its "subtle and seductive venom" as another user put it. Indeed, it clearly encourages OWS to not hesitate to use violence. I tried to convince OWS to disavow at least that part of the statement, but to my knowledge you never did. Please correct me if I'm wrong.

Today, an Egyptian man posted here : http://occupywallst.org/forum/as-an-egyptian/

I liked what he had to say - very sensible and wise - so I sent him the paragraph on violence, asking for his thoughts about it. And here is his response after reading the whole statement from Cairo :

"i had to read a bit the statment that u linked , i dont like whats written to be honest , in my honest opinion , violence is not the way , u r not fighting against a regime that oppressed you and killed your families in front of your eyes , your fighting a system and u want a change , only these things could be made in a non violent way , i must stress out the point that violence will weaken your argument , and will give them the credibility to fight you by force , but guess what they cant fight your ideas ? can they ? , since the situation is different in usa than Egypt , since you already are free and have "rights" , you already have won 50% of your ground , dont lose it by turning into a violent crowd , i encourage that you have specific plan and goals , that can be discussed openly."

As you can see, it is a completely different take on the question of violence.

Also, I note that your own mission statement mentions that OWS "encourages" non-violence. To me, that is a poor choice of words if you are trying to convey the concept of an unequivocal commitment to non-violence. If the American public gets the feeling that OWS is "soft on violence", I fear that your Movement may well self-destruct. And that would be a great TRAGEDY, as you have taken up a Sacred Struggle and have done incredibly well so far. Non-violence is not some "fetish" as the so-called "Comrades from Cairo" claim, it is THE ONLY WAY THIS REVOLUTION CAN SUCCEED in a country where there are an estimated 270 million firearms."

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

Thanks for the reply and kind words.

That's a great statement from someone who has seen a lot in Egypt. His points there make a lot of sense to me. I hope OWS is paying attention to your note.

By the way, I hear that the Egyptians had been protesting in the streets for years before the whole thing took off. And even now it is not clear what a difference it made; it's one thing to topple a regime, it is another much harder thing to put something better in place along a new model.

There might not be an avalanche of messages until more people understand this. Where are the old timers (1960s peace protest veterans now themselves in their 60s) when we need then? Or the civil rights activists from the 1950s now in their 70s? Not to do the actual protesting, but to educate young people about the basic concept of how to do non-violent creative protesting successfully. The biggest thing is not give suggestions (which might be different now) but to give young people the confidence that non-violent change is possible like that person from Egypt said, with the USA already being half-way there...

Professor Domhoff's got a lot of good stuff on his "Who Rules America" site which connects to a book he wrote: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/ "Who Rules America?, the book upon which this website is based, presents detailed original information on how power and politics operate in the United States. The first edition came out in 1967 and is ranked 12th on the list of 50 best sellers in sociology between 1950 and 1995. A second edition, Who Rules America Now?, arrived in 1983 and landed at #43 on the same list. Third and fourth editions followed in 1998 and 2002, and the fifth edition came out in 2006. The sixth edition of WRA was published in 2010... This new edition has information on the rise of Barack Obama, his campaign finance supporters, and the nature of his administration. The last chapter focuses on the potential for serious challenges to class and corporate dominance. It does not have answers, but it raises the key questions and states the possibilities, noting that the strategies and tactics adopted by activists are an essential part of the power equation."

Might also be of use: http://www.wellstone.org/ "Wellstone Action and Wellstone Action Fund train in every community and across all sectors of the progressive movement. Whether you're a candidate, a non-profit leader, a union member, or a student, we have trainings, tools, and resources geared just for you."

[-] 1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

"Where are the old timers (1960s peace protest veterans now themselves in their 60s) when we need then? Or the civil rights activists from the 1950s now in their 70s? Not to do the actual protesting, but to educate young people about the basic concept of how to do non-violent creative protesting successfully."

I've been asking myself the very same question : where are they when we need them? They are, after all, our link to our own Gandhi, Martin Luther King... OWS is brilliiant and has done extremely well , BUT they do need to get some input and insights from the "old timers" - that is only natural, a Law of Life... In any tribe, the Elders are always consulted. I hope that by now we are beyond that silly cliche of the Sixties : "Never trust anyone over 30". :)

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

The "Oakland Liberation Front" is NOT Occupy Oakland.

They showed up yesterday morning handing out leaflets and speaking against pacifism and nonviolence because they are upset about Occupy Oakland's stance against violence.

Do some research and get your facts straight.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

I DID do my research and I DO have my facts straight, "oaklandcami". In fact I completely agree with everything you wrote above.

You and I know that the "Oakland Liberation Front" is NOT Occupy Oakland. But the question is : does the GENERAL PUBLIC know it? And has OWS publicly disavowed the "Front" and the "Black Bloc" and OFFICIALLY condemned the arson, etc. that occurred late in the evening? As another user comments above : "The problem is that, without a clear voice, OWS has no way to officially denounce the violence."

I note that on this site, OWS declares that it "encourages" non-violence. "Encourages": is that the correct choice of words? You need a word that conveys the concept of TOTAL COMMITMENT. If the Movement is "soft on violence", it may very well self-destruct, which would be an absolute TRAGEDY. In total despair, the American people might very well turn to uncontrolled violence. "Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable." (John F. Kennedy)

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

Yes, but you also weren't clear. From my direction, it looks like you're just talking about Oakland. But I was corrected by amen88 yesterday. Yes, Occupy Oakland has disavowed these people and come out strongly against them, but we can't control what the media chooses to report. Check the news today, though. A lot of news sources are beginning to report the truth of what happened.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Well, "oaklandcami", respectfully, if my words were not clear, you might have asked for clarification rather than hit me with a "do some research and get your facts straight". That isn't helpful... I'm on your side, remember? WE ARE ALL ONE and need to work in an atmosphere of mutual respect. :)

I'm glad to hear that "Occupy Oakland has disavowed these people and come out strongly against them". Has this been posted on this forum? I agree that we have no control on what the corporate-owned MSM media will report. But we DO have control over what OWS says and so far, to my knowledge at least, OWS has NOT DISAVOWED the "Oakland Liberation Front" or any other demonstrators responsible for the late-evening incidents. And it is CRUCIAL that OWS do this ASAP, otherwise public opinion will turn against it.

BTW, what do you think of the proposition that "If the Movement is "soft on violence", it may very well self-destruct, which would be an absolute TRAGEDY." ? Thanks.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

OWS needs better education so demonstrators do not say stuff like this to the media which contributes to the problem: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57319036/is-black-bloc-hijacking-occupy-oakland/ ""I see Black Bloc as a tactic, not really as a movement," said Ryan Andreola, an Occupy demonstrator. He said he believes in non-violence but is not ready to condemn the tactics of the Black Bloc. "As individuals," said Andreola, "we respect people's freedom to act they way that they feel they have to act to make the changes they wish to see.""

Demonstrators under the OWS banner need to understand and have a 100% commitment to non-violence (even under provocation) if OWS is to suceed in the long-term (for reasons Domhoff wrote about or one could find in the writings of many others).

You make a point below on leadership, and here is something to echo that: http://www.t0.or.at/delanda/meshwork.htm "Indeed, one must resist the temptation to make hierarchies into villains and meshworks into heroes, not only because, as I said, they are constantly turning into one another, but because in real life we find only mixtures and hybrids, and the properties of these cannot be established through theory alone but demand concrete experimentation."

The right is generally more hierarchical, and that helps it in some ways like to have more internal cohesion and to manage violence, as I mention here: http://occupywallst.org/article/general-strike-shuts-down-oakland-watch-live/#comment-287121

OWS needs to find what works for it as a movement, of course. But the key point is, all real systems have both top-down hierarchies and bottom-up meshworks in them. They can help keep each other accountable to core values.

Violence is generally just a poor substitute for thought, creativity, and community.

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

I know. My bad. I was becoming frustrated with people ridiculing everyone here when we weren't involved with that and many of us tried to stop the vandalism and violence. OWS is a lot of people across the country, so there really can't be an official statement. I agree with you, but it would involved imposing a structure that a lot of people appear to be against.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

In that case, I have to wonder how long it will take for OWS to self-destruct... There simply HAS to be leadership - NOT the kind of person who would embark on a power trip, but an exceptional woman or man who would become the AungSan Suu Kyi or the Gandhi or the M L King of the Movement. And you know what? I bet there already ARE people of that stature, who simply need to be pressured by the Movement to accept that sacred responsibility. Perhaps Sergeant Shamar Thomas?

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

I agree with that, actually, but a lot of people disagree. I don't know of any leaders I'd be willing to get behind, though. We'll see what happens, I guess.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

I'm an ARDENT supporter of OWS since Day 1... but for the first time I'm deeply concerned about its future. It has so many powerful ENEMIES prepared to devour it that it cannot afford to waffle on such basic issues.

[-] 1 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

Oh come on, stop. OWS has encouraged Oakland. You're attempting to deflect the punch and it won't work.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

OWS has encouraged "Oakland Liberation Front"???????????????

Do you have proof of that?

Have you actually read the inflammatory flyer "Oakland Liberation Front" put out? It's posted all over the Internet.

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

Sure, we do. It's right here on the Internet; the written record. Their support has been unfailing and extensive.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

There Is a War Going On For Your Mind


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP5yA3RwzOk

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

Yes but the difference if that I'm leading it. Whereas most are following it.

I see Occupy as a mock insurrection, financed by the financiers, as a way of ultimately discouraging mass insurrection. It's manipulation. How's that?

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

Get real.... they're still touting Oakland in their lives streams.

[-] 0 points by RichardGates (1529) from Fort Walton Beach, FL 2 years ago

i believe TIOUAISE asked you for links...

There Is a War Going On For Your Mind


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tP5yA3RwzOk

[-] 0 points by betuadollar (-313) 2 years ago

Tell me about it. The difference is that I am leading whereas most are following.

I see Occupy as a mock insurrection, financed by the financiers, as a means of penultimately discouraging insurrection. It's manipulation. How's that?

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

LINKS, please??????

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

http://decoded.nationaljournal.com/2011/11/poll-voters-viewing-occupy-wal.php

39% of the people polled (in a largely Democratic demographic) ALREADY view OWS unfavorably. 30% viewed them favorably, and 30% don't know enough about them to say either way. What happens if enough of either one of the 30% groups see the footage and read the reports? And OWS does nothing?

[-] 0 points by ChristopherABrownART5 (46) from Santa Barbara, CA 2 years ago

I've been asking nearly everywhere for confirmation that it is logical to go for the lawful authority to see demands met, but no answer anywhere.------

If things like election contributions, corporate personhood, war, are a part of the demands, it IS going to require a convention to propose amendments (article v) conducted by the states upon congresses call, which is wayyyyyyyyyyy late and they are inviolation of it. Meaning we change tactics or show the proof of violation as redundant and an established criminal behavior and ask military, after pointing out the chain of command is corrupt at the top, so IF they are going to "defend the constitution", . . . uhhhhhh, what would Shamer Thomas do?----

This is a legal and peaceful rebellion technique, and all we have to do is learn our part.

[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Many other recent polls show the exact opposite...

Compare polls, do your homework!

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago
[-] 0 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

"At the same time, a new CNN poll finds that voters agree with OWS by a 2-to-1 margin, 36 to 19 percent." VOILA.

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

Again....voters CAN agree with what OWS stands for, without actually AGREEING with the way they are handling things. You and I might "agree" on certain positions, but that doesn't automatically mean I support YOU.

"...the explanation (as is often the case) can be found in the wording of the questions. The Quinnipiac poll asks respondents: “Is your opinion of the Occupy Wall Street Movement favorable, unfavorable or haven’t you heard enough about it?” while CNN’s asks if they agree with the overall positions of Occupy Wall Street. Each question seems to be getting at something different. Quinnipiac’s tight wording seems designed to focus respondents on the specific protests they’ve probably been watching on television and seeing pictures of on newspaper front pages. CNN’s seems broader, testing attitudes not just about the literal protests but about the ideas behind them."

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Quibble all you like...."voters agree with OWS by a 2-to-1 margin, 36 to 19 percent" and that's good enough for me!

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

If the voters "agreed with OWS" that "peeing in a bucket sucks rocks" by a margin of 75-1, it STILL wouldn't mean that America loves OWS.

At least you are open about your own lack of integrity. Bravo!

[-] -1 points by TIOUAISE (2526) 2 years ago

Are you talking to yourself as the trolls do?

[-] 0 points by justhefacts (1275) 2 years ago

I would urge you to take your own advice.

There is a BIG difference between "agreeing with, being favorable towards the sentiments/views of the movement" and being favorable towards the movement itself. I may agree 100% with what I hear OWS saying they stand for, and still look unfavorably upon the movement.

[-] 0 points by mediaauditr (-88) 2 years ago

One story out of Oakland today was reported that the owner of a building protected his property by firing a shotgun in the air to scare off vandals and thieves. Although they still grafitti'd his building. What's going on with OWS now? This is not good for the cause.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

OWS needs to publicly denounce these acts as treasonous to the movement. these acts are not in solidarity with OWS and should be treated as such. if the OWS movement does not do so soon it will have all been for not. push for proper codes of conduct, push for denouncing all destructive and violent acts, push for passive resistance for that is the one weapon that they cannot combat.

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

For the most part, it wasn't Occupy Oakland people. Get it straight.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

i know that. has nothing to do with my point. this is not an issue to play around with, we have to either stand up in non-violent defiance or go along with the likes of the oakland liberation front, there is no middle ground. if we are to be strong in our oath of non-violence then we should all be mad as hell at a bunch of hoodlums acting out and casting a shadow upon the movement as a whole. this is not a non-issue, this is an extremely important issue and the way OWS handles it will define how the movement plays out from here.

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

I see. I thought you were talking about denouncing Occupy Oakland (some people are conflating us with the Oakland Liberation Front and the rabble-rousers of yesterday. That would create a division that would be super destructive and would really hurt us. I get you now, though.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

if you get me now, can you answer me? has the question on that flier been addressed publicly, at the very least, on your web-sight?

[-] 1 points by oaklandcami (71) 2 years ago

Oh, right, sorry. No, not on the main page of the website, though it is on the website (the site is still pretty disorganized, though), and yes, it has been expressed to the media. I don't know what plans there are to make it more clear (there may be a press conference). I'm not privy to all information.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

thanks, really appreciate it, was starting to wonder if anyone cared.

[-] 0 points by oaktownmike (0) 2 years ago

You can't use the word "violence" carelessly, though. Real talk, the property damage we have here in Oakland is of the magnitude of tens of thousands of dollars. Shutting down the Port, on the other hand, costs in the magnitude of millions of dollars. You have to know that when you repeat the "broken windows are violence" line, you are playing into a false concept of what is really going on.

Remember, OWS is about protesting a system that steals TRILLIONS of dollars from the working people via various schemes of taxation, indebtedness, and actual VIOLENT REPRESSION (i.e., by imprisoning millions of people, and then subjecting them to indentured servitude).

Let's keep our priorities straight!

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

You are right about the relative orders of magnitude. But physical violence is seen differently (it is less abstract than financial numbers and is easy to photograph for the nightly news) and physical violence can quickly get out of hand (see the history of Columbia, for example), and on top of that physical violence does not accomplish much of lasting value such as to win supporters.

See Domhoff's essay: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_nonviolence.html "But given the freedoms, civil liberties, and voting rights achieved by a long line of American egalitarians and liberals, there is no end that could be justified by violence, property destruction, or armed struggle in this country. Such actions undercut the democratic rights won by past egalitarians and play into the hands of the government, which has the power to isolate and defeat any violent movement. Furthermore, property damage and armed struggle of any kind are overwhelmingly rejected by the vast majority of the American people. Due to their appreciation of the freedoms they do enjoy, and despite the economic unfairness they recognize and experience, average Americans are repelled by violent political acts, whether by right wingers or left wingers. If the goal is to build a larger movement that connects to a strategy to take over and transform the Democratic Party [or whatever], not just to force the authorities to react to one or another provocation with slight reforms, then violence makes no sense. It is therefore both immoral and counterproductive for American egalitarians to employ violent strategies. Or, as Cesar Chavez used to say about violence when he was leading the farm worker's movement, it's wrong and it's stupid."

Domhoff points out that: "One of the distinctive features of left activists is their willingness to go to the streets to win people to their causes and create the political pressures necessary for the social changes they advocate. Studies in social psychology and sociology support this strategy by showing there has to be a non-routine dimension to any effort toward change. It doesn't make any sense to people to say that things are terrible, but they just should vote and write letters to their elected representatives. If things are going to change, then people have to get out of their routines one way or another. There has to be social disruption. There has to be a "getting in the way of power" as one author-activist puts it. There has to be a social movement that has a shared political identity. But case studies also show that these movements go nowhere without an electoral component, as seen with the women's suffrage movement, the industrial union movement, the Civil Rights Movement, the feminist movement, and the environmental movement. Changes in government were the end result in every case. They usually don't go far enough, but that just means the next cycle of movement activism is necessary. Studies of social movements in the United States also show that the necessary social disruption has to be created through the principled use of strategic nonviolence. Any form of violence, whether property damage or physical battles with opponents and police, will turn off the great majority of Americans and bring down overwhelming police and military repression."

Ultimately, there needs to be policy reform and that means winning elections. The Tea Party managed that without violence. Why can't OWS do better than the Tea Party if it has broader support? Physical violence and physical property damange that is not condemned by OWS is causing OWS to lose support, not gain it.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

i understand where your coming from but i also understand this, that violent action has never led and will never lead to any good. you and i both know that real power lies when we stand up and say no more. do with us what you may but we aren't going for this any longer. what i am saying is why keep that card live, why not throw it now for as long as we keep it live, they will use it against us. thank you for your post as it forced me to reconsider the core of my beliefs. i am the 99% and i do support the movement as i believe it represents freedom at it's core, and that spirit of freedom is something that can never be taken for long. i will not compromise on what i feel is the best way to go about it. i can support hundreds of non-violent protesters shutting down the ports, while i cannot support the out front senseless destruction of property, you may be able to justify it, i cannot.

[-] 1 points by derek (302) 2 years ago

See Domhoff's essay (mentioned also above) for more justifications for condemning physical violence and why OWS as a movement needs to condemn violence and distance itself from anyone pursuing violent solutions.

As Domhoff says: http://sociology.ucsc.edu/whorulesamerica/change/science_nonviolence.html "For current-day egalitarians, a commitment to the freedoms and democratic procedures won by past egalitarians can provide the primary foundation for the practice of nonviolence, although some of them also draw upon their religious values as well. This democratic commitment has the added virtue of narrowing the gap between egalitarians and mainstream liberals. In addition, a nonviolence orientation can be sustained by the knowledge that it helps to keep the egalitarian movement itself more democratic; it ensures that violence-prone dominators will not take over the movement and subvert its democratic aims. As many historical cases suggest, the most violent people soon rise to the top once the possibility of violence is introduced, and they often use their loyal followers to intimidate or kill rivals."

Your heart may sense that already. It is easy to forget in the USA how fast political violence can get out of hand. I hope OWS and the USA does not learn that lesson the hard way, like Columbia did (or, more recently, Iraq).

There is also a big difference morally between being willing to suffer or even die for a cause (through non-violent civil disobedience) and being willing to cause others to suffer or die for a cause. A big, big difference. Even as the original poster is right about orders of magnitude.

The bottom line -- physical violence and property destruction in the cause of political change in a democracy is both immoral and ineffective.

[-] 1 points by amen88 (173) 2 years ago

amen to that