Sunday, October 23, 2011

Occupy Oakland's eviction, East Bay Social Forum participants react

Note: the following messages were all part of a single group email from "East Bay Social Forum", with messages being added in response to the previous message, beginning with a possible origin for the eviction:

2011-10-22 Janice E. wrote:
Hi Greens, OPA, EBsocF, PUEBLO et al -
I spoke with Council woman Pat Kenighan(sp?), yesterday at my bus stop on the side walk next to the tent city.  As I told her...the tent city needs to be shut down. Over the past two weeks I've observed public drunkenness,  public urination & defecation, loud angry arguments and threats directed toward people in the bus stop or traversing the plaza after dark, solicitation for prostitution, men heckling some of the women and young girls there and  the use of the trash containers at the bus stop for discarding feces!

2011-10-22 Jesse T. wrote:
I'm glad this came up, even if I disagree with your particular assessment of the situation.
Here's the problem, it's not an either/or thing. The rats and feces that the local media are citing were there before Occupy Oakland moved in. (I only caught part of Channel 2's breathless condemnation of Occupy Oakland, I'm sure the other hacks followed suit)
They'll be there afterwards too, because the area is adjacent to a low-income neighborhood with SROs and people fighting poverty and prostitution, not to mention homelessness, which you and others have touched on.
By definition, it's an open camp so unless people are so disruptive that they're forced to leave by the community, there can be jackasses involved. That doesn't mean that the entire effort is evil or should be removed by force.
It's clear that local power brokers (not necessarily the elected ones, either) & corporate representatives would *love* for there to be a big riot caused by the police moving in and evicting Occupy Oakland. Anything they can do to provoke even one broken window (even though property damage does not equal violence) means that they can paint the entire movement with a broad brush.
For that reason, instead of throwing up our hands and saying, "let the police evict everything so we can set up a couple of tables with nice literature," Oakland progressives should be down there, adding to the critical mass of non-jackasses and keeping the focus of Occupy Oakland on the real problems of political & corporate collusion. Obviously the OPD being used as "security guards for the 1%" is an immediate issue, but it can be mitigated *if* Occupy Oakland can rise above mere reaction and offer engagement. I sound like my 1st grade teacher, but I'm talking about applying the "golden rule." (pun intended)
Pressure on political figures is necessary too. They need to hear from Oakland voters that this occupation speaks for more than a few hundred tent-dwellers.
P.S.- The juxtaposition between Occupy Oakland & Occupy Berkeley is really something else. We're having a lawn-watering party today. []

2011-10-22 Dan McMullan of the "Disabled People Outside Project" writes:
I (and my co-workers) have held about a dozen sleep-outs in the Berkeley environs and and four at my favorite spot on the island across from the Berkeley Bowl. I found through trial and error, all the reasons used by the Authorities to tear up my expensive awnings and tents and tried to eliminate them best I could. That spot not being a public park did'nt "close" at 10pm.
The pollution was fairly light (because there is no stop light there) and it was handicapped accessable. I am not telling you all this to sell anyone on a certain space but just as a guide on what I found by experience to look out for. But the VERY most important thing is. When a City official asks "Where are people going to use the bathroom?" You have to point over to the porta-potty you rented or you are a dead duck. Period. I would also  tell people that "All are welcome here and I'm not here to be your Daddy (O.K. maybe a little) But if I can tell you have been drinking I will have to ask that you come back when it's no longer noticable." Those are not my rules but the Police drinking in public rules. I don't know if any of this helps at  this stage but I thought I'd throw it out there. I and Micheal Diehl of B.O.S.S. have used the sleep out to some good effect in the past getting a Berkeley Rain Shelter and bringing people together that might not ever get to have a conversation in any other way.
We even made Berkeley Mayor Tom Bates spend a night out! (The cop harrassed him too!!)
I've been seeing these signs "Burn Money" bad idea. Mulch it.
Much Love

2011-10-23 Edith Hallberg of the "Labor Chorus" writes:
Hi, Edie here.  I read the DPOP report and it occurs to me that the Arnievilles did all the right things last year and that the Occupys could learn from that.
First, they took public land that wasn't a park but usable.  Next, they posted rules and indicated that the leaders as well as all occupiers would be held to them.  Next, they did publicity and outreach, and from that, held rallies and gatherings which gained them support.  This I observed as I came back many times.
I have been to the Berkeley sites, Occupy Oakland (twice) and just this Friday went to Occupy Wall Street SF.  I was with the Labor Chorus who sang to  a very appreciative audience (our director was almost beside herself with joy) and we enjoyed a good walk around and appreciated these young people in very democratic action.  I heard that Pete
Seeger sang for Occupy Wall Street NY and have heard from several visiting and local musicians a committment to visit every Occupy that they can.
What with the cultural contributions we may have something here.  The Labor Movement, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Peace Movements all had their cultures, their struggles, and many victories!!  Hope we can keep it up!!! 

2011-10-23 Dan McMullan of the "Disabled People Outside Project" writes:
Thank you Edie that was very kind.
  Like I said before Arnieville came from many sleep-outs over a number of years and even with groups of people that found it hard not to "self medicate" we always seemed to be able to keep it together. We had a sleep-out in the park across from City Hall that went 28 days and did a lot of good. Getting assurances of a rain shelter that has been going now for like 7-8 years and the promise of hotel vouchers for seriously ill homeless.
The mistake I made with Arnieville was trusting someone who seemed trustworthy with our donations and money that could of been parleyed into more success was spent to start another group to feed over inflated egos and become elitist with hours of meetings about who is allowed into the CORE GROUP and under what circumstances.
My other mistake was being too nice and not wanting to rock the boat when I could see certain people stabbing me in the back. I thought the results were more important thenmyself, and they were. But in the long run there was much more damage done by not nipping the schemers in the bud. So I take it as a lesson learned. It was interesting that the homeless people I have worked with and for, for years were a lot more honest andtrustworthy by a mile, compared to middle class disabled Activists and fellow Non-profit  directors and employees. Go figure.
It was very diappointing and I've spent most of my time since working with people in San Francisco. But if I can be of ANY help I would gladly sit down with any sincere activists that could benefit from my experiences and contacts.
Thanks for your great work and kind words.

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