Wednesday, February 1st, 2012

A Tale of Two Occupy Movements: Oakland and Miami

Last night, Occupy Miami was rousted from their encampment, with a few arrested (including photographer Carlos Miller). They have negligible local support, and are remote enough from the rest of the Occupy movement that they're pretty much on their own. (Good news: the camp-clearing was "carried out almost completely without violence," except for when they clubbed a dude.) The small organization will have to regroup without an encampment; it's a hard movement to sustain in isolation, though they say they'll try. (Hint: what a prime American location for an Occupy movement to move homeless people into foreclosed houses!) That's the opposite of Oakland, where Saturday's large demonstration resulted in a crazy mass police reaction, the arrest of 400, and also the continued creation of a criminal class of people who have previously been arrested on trumped-up charges and who now aren't allowed to go near downtown Oakland without facing six months in prison. (How American!) Of the 409 arrested, only 12 are being charged. (The intention with the arrests being to hold protesters in jail long enough to scare them off protesting.) Despite such tough police and government opposition in Oakland, it's quite likely that protesters will win soon enough—at the very least, in their intent to turn an abandoned convention center into a community service facility.

In videos from Saturday in Oakland, you can see pretty amazing police tactics on display. Unlike in the South, where clubbing hippies is socially acceptable, even encouraged, clubbing handcuffed people on the ground does not fly among residents of the Bay Area.

In an unusual turn, in video from mid-January, Occupy Miami praised the police department "for acting professionally and respecting our first amendment rights." It's not necessary for local police departments and protesters to be fighting in the streets, unless the police (and, in Oakland's case, the mayor) make it so.


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I learned how to play ice hockey a block away from the park shown in the second video. Back then, it was common to hear gunshots around the neighborhood while we enjoyed a few beers in the parking lot off of 18th.

The only law enforcement to be found back then were the FBI guys I used to play hockey with. "That sounded like a shotgun."

Last weekend's Oakland protest was Occupy in name only; they've been co-opted by a group of local anarchists that came out armed with stuff (bottles, rocks, urine, feces)to throw at cops and with heavy duty shields to fend off police response. Locals are confused why they want to bring down the local government and local police force in a city that's broke and has a high violent crime rate. But then anarchists love to prey on the bottom 10%.

@Peter Armstrong@twitter You're right, the only valid Occupy movements are the ones co-opted by weekend warrior liberals who drive their Subarus to city hall to deliver petitions.

stuffisthings (#1,352)

I think the strategy they've taken with DC Occupy has been pretty effective, from a 1% perspective. The police have mostly held back, and you hardly ever hear about them. They decided to finally start enforcing the no camping rules on Monday — there was a huge sign that said "High Noon Occupy Showdown with Police," but when I walked by about 12:30 there were maybe 100 protesters, 5-600 gawkers/media, and all of THREE police officers. I walked by twice today, and there seem to be the same number of tents (though unoccupied, heh) and still zero police. I suspect that in a day or two they will once again fade from the news, unless the police try to take some further action.

With Oakland, I get the impression the cops are just eager to get some head-bashing into before their department is placed into federal receivership…

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