I’ve been away from beloved Oakland for the past two weeks and so I missed the general strike of nov 2nd. I’m not too disappointed about this since I’m sure there will be more to come in the near and distant future.
I was, however, pretty disappointed to hear about all of the destruction that took place. It seems that the main culprit of the property destruction was a splinter group calling itself the “Oakland Liberation Front.” This group took the initiative of drafting and distributing a flyer which denounced pacifism as useless impotency and goes as far as too say that all practitioners of nonviolence are complicit with the capitalist system.
Maybe they have a point, but I feel the need to nonviolently push back.
It’s true that Gandhi approved of property destruction at times, and so it is debatable to even consider that as “violence.” I have always defined violence as the intentional, forceful oppression of another human. Capitalism as a system is woefully guilty of this and so it seems obvious to me that using violence to bring about the end of capitalism is a fool’s errand. What’s more is that destroying property in our own neighborhood is the epitome of stupidity.
The Oakland Liberation front is playing with fire (literally and figuratively) and they are only inviting more violence to befall the occupy movement as a whole. Violence is and will always be cyclical and so the burden is on the peaceful people to break that cycle.
Rest assured capitalism’s proponents are looking for any reason to break up our occupations. They are extremely skilled and efficient in using violence to do just that. Continued actions by the OLF and other groups like the black bloc give the “authorities” justification to impose martial law. Is that really what they want? If so, members of OLF and black bloc should let their identities be known and stop cowardly hiding behind their masks and online anonymity.
Im not arguing with the fact that we are at war, but it should remain above anything else an information war and a spiritual struggle for the hearts and minds of people. It is the act of arrogant hubris to use physical force and I urge all occupiers to denounce violence of any sort.
It is okay to be angry. Our indignation is righteous and gives us much of our energy to continue the struggle at this point. But I plead with everyone to use your anger constructively. Find the playful lulz in your anger. Dismiss the destructive instincts. A major part of the occupy movement is to appropriate property and use it for the common benefit of society. If we let people destroy it all then we will have nothing left to work with!
Please hold each other to a higher standard. Violence is the immature action of a weak mind filled with fear and desperation. We must resist it.
This evening of Nov 10 is a major cultural stressor already. A murder has occurred near (but not “at”) the #OccupyOakland encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza in front of our City Hall. Tonight is the one month anniversary of the encampment and spirits are high. Let’s all try to play nice huh?