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Comment Archives: stories: News & Opinion: Raising the Bar

Re: “Barbara Lee Gets It

Name a US puppet that wasn't "evil"...that's not why we killed Saddam but it's why we left him there after the first oil war when Iraqi Ambassador April Glaspie gave him a green light to invade Kuwait, distracting us from Poppy Bush's Iran-contra/drugs-for-guns scandal...the 2nd oil war came as he was about to drop the dollar and followed PNAC 9-11 plan to demolish socialist Iraq, Libya, Syria...
We murdered Gaddafi along w/ over 100,000 Libyans because WE were evil and for giving enough free health care, education and housing to his people to bring them from Africa's poorest to wealthiest with longest life span and earning the enmity of the colonial powers enough to frame him (in Mossad's Operation Trojan) for blowing up the airliner w/ the hostage release team that had run across CIA heroin traffic (but w/o Pic Botha who cancelled at last minute along w/ 'our guys' who were in the loop...

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by greg allen getty on 03/22/2012 at 10:21 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Sandy (below) tries to rebut the charge that anarchism is an echo chamber by citing two anarchists, Graeber and Solnit. Graeber is an influential Occupy leader who himself participates in Black Blocs, joining the actions a non-violent participant to run cover for his violent counterparts. Graeber would like us to believe that Black Blocs never provoke the police, and that we only think they do because the police and media say so — an old anarchist ploy that’s wearing thin in the age of video phones and livestreams.

Solnit lends her mellifluous prose to the notion of “spontaneous order” — that fuzzy anarchist future wherein everyone will live free of authority or laws of any kind. Chris Hedges is not even mentioned in the linked article, as Sandy promises, but the article’s title does capture the spirit of the moment: “Mad, Passionate Love — and Violence: Occupy Heads into the Spring.” (Solnit has peddled a more ethereal, diluted form of her anarchism in Harper’s magazine, where she claims to be a contributing editor, which she is not, lest it be spontaneously.)

Admittedly, Chris Hedges’ article was good but not great. Those of us frustrated by the anarchist journey to nowhere have waited for a more vibrant flash point from the militant left, but we’ll take what we can get. Hedges doesn’t acknowledge the degree to which anarchists are at the core of Occupy, credit that Graeber rightly claimed in his rebuttal. That said, Hedges certainly was not “proven to be wildly off base” about the dead end of Black Blocs.

The February 8 KPFA discussion Sandy cites hardly showed Hedges with his pants down, either. Hedges held his own with Occupy Oakland leader Kristof Lopaur. You can hear the two agreeing on multiple points, including the difference between Black Blocs and traditional organized militance, with Black Blocs being confrontational toward police and militance being a defensive posture. Here again, however, Lopaur blames the media for making Black Blocs representative of Occupy tactics; the KPFA comment section suggests a genuine popular outcry.

1 like, 2 dislikes
Posted by Strobe Fischbyne on 03/22/2012 at 9:56 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Hedges got caught with his pants down on that one. Thorough discussion ensued and he is proven to be wildly off base, just like the critiques by the SUFO propaganda squad. See the articles by David Graeber and Rebecca Solnit...…

...and the KPFA "Letters & Politics" debate a few weeks ago with Hedges and OO.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Sandy Sanders on 03/19/2012 at 12:32 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Youngdahl mentions Chris Hedges’ article, “The Cancer in Occupy,” without discussion. Too bad. Hedges sees much of what’s going on in Oakland. “Black Bloc adherents detest those of us on the organized left and…confuse acts of petty vandalism and a repellent cynicism with revolution,” Hedges wrote in TruthDig on February 6. “Because Black Bloc anarchists do not believe in organization, indeed oppose all organized movements, they ensure their own powerlessness. They can only be obstructionist.”

Let’s be clear. Hedges is not initiating another tired debate about violence versus non-violence. He supports militancy within the left. Instead, Hedges is pointing out what many already know, that Black Blocs participants are childish. “They hear only their own voices. They heed only their own thoughts. They believe only their own clichés,” Hedges wrote. “And this makes them not only deeply intolerant but stupid.”

2 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Strobe Fischbyne on 03/19/2012 at 11:22 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

I think East Bay Express Occupy article comments are being swarmed by "Stand Up For Oakland" campaigning. These agruments against OO are the same no matter what evidence is brought against them. Their facts are erroneous or highly exxagerated and follow the typical Chamber of Commerce attacks on the 99%.

1) I did not believe SUFO claims re: warning non-violents to stay away and just did a google search with NO results. If this is true please post a link or desist.

2) "unsanitary conditions of the Occupy camps" was caused by the City not allowing portapotties, or multiple other food and health facilities serving the homeless that have always lived in the neighborhood. The City made this impossible and kept watering the lawn into a lake to drive us out. Snow Park was clean as a whistle as we had a portapottie and WE actually mowed the lawn and mainatined the park left fallow by the City. And the local workers and residents supported us with sandwiches,coffee and verbal support.

3) While the camp was up at the plaza local crime went down 14% (police chief statement). Law breaking ratio of police to OO?... 100 to 1. They almost killed a couple of people whereas a 1% of marchers (provacatuers? or who knows) go off on their own and break a window or spray grafitti.

4) "not yet heard nor understood one logical solution from the movement"... Okay...we say the equivalent of this at every march, every speech, every meetup but here you go.... The system is fatally broken. Representative government has not, and exhibits that it will not, make the global changes necessary to create a sustainable, egalitarian society for the 100%. There is a list of problems as extensive as the 47 pages of changes listed in the Green Party Platform or Peace & Freedom Platform. The list of problems is huge and completely and universally oppossed to the composition of the existing corporate oligarchy for the 1%. Single demands won't solve anything...a comprehensive solution like direct democracy organized block by block needs to be created by ALL OF US GETTING TOGETHER. And we can't get together if the police smash us, the politicians lie and cheat, the Chamber lies and cheats, and the 1% lies and cheats. This is why a public presence by The People via OO is necessary.

5) "to enroll school or reinvest in education in some practical capacity, muster some discipline and 'true grit,' and get to work on changing the corrupted system from the inside out as an educated and reputable citizen" ...The City pays Goldman Sachs $5 million a year for a closed contract, shuts down 5 schools because this amount goes to Goldman Sachs instead of the kids and the 1% aren't paying their fair share of taxes as they did decades ago; The City spends millions in violence against OO to repress the above universal demands for change when if they had facilitated... allow us to operate, even give us the 5 year vacant Kaiser, we would have relieved the City of countless dollars and provided services for the homeless at a fraction of the cost.

1 like, 3 dislikes
Posted by Sandy Sanders on 03/18/2012 at 11:34 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

@Juliet, thank you for your incisive analysis of what's really going on at OO despite what their prpogandists might have you think. As Richard Pryor said when caught red-handed: "WHO YOU GONNA BELIEVE? ME OR YOUR OWN LYING EYES?"

On the one hand, OO takes umbrage that they could conceivably be considered violent; on the other hand they tell their own activists when violence is likely at an event and everyone knows its because of the flagrant taunting of police and destruction of property by OO activists that precipitate the violence. I've been to the rallies, I've seen the videos, I've been to their online forums. The denial and/or hypocrisy of this movement is a shame, because what they (claim to) stand for is so important. They have not only hijacked a cause dear to us all, but their childish behavior is bankrupting the city of Oakland. What's worse, as your letter implies, OO's violence and hypocrisy might dim the energy of optimism of a generation in danger of losing faith in direct political action.

1 like, 1 dislike
Posted by David Livingstone Fore on 03/18/2012 at 7:13 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

After witnessing, first hand, the unsanitary conditions of the Occupy camps in Oakland in addition to random acts of violence and vandalism, and reading updates on the Occupy Oakland website that warn people who support non-violent means of protest not to join certain marches, I cannot agree with the movement nor this article. As a staunch liberal, inner-city high school English Language Arts teacher, and musician, I fully support young people gaining the necessary education and correspondingly earned employment opportunities. I understand the tragic consequences of the achievement gap among ethnically diverse youth and young adults, the socioeconomic inequities that remain pervasive for so many individuals in our supposedly egalitarian society, and the gross abuse of power by the wealthiest, which has persisted since the dawn of our nation. I too had endured the perils of a poor economy until I was finally hired this last August as a full-time, contracted educator. I empathize with the frustration of feeling slighted, undervalued, and outright ignored. However, I cannot, in good conscience, support a reactionary, conceptually fractured movement that breaks multiple laws, traumatizes small businesses, schools and the local environment, and jeopardizes the well-being of others. Protestors have displayed signs yielding contradictory messages such as "All my friends are cop killas" alongside anti-war slogans while disseminating advocacy pamphlets for anarchy as the best form of government in various marches throughout the downtown area. These messages express antithetical ideals and worldviews, and do not speak to the focused message of reigning in corporate avarice. I disagree with the author's suggested ultimatum that we 'passive liberals' have to invent an alternative solution to the problem of capitalist imbalances and executive abuses, or should otherwise, placidly accept the forced representation of a disjointed movement that fails to offer sound and plausible solutions itself. I, like many Oakland professionals, have not yet heard nor understood one logical solution from the movement. Overtaking abandoned buildings by force, throwing rocks through supermarket windows, unlawfully camping in parks and trees (of all places), and tagging on every building within range of spray-paint can, are not viable solutions to any problem of socioeconomic injustice. Such acts conversely propose new detriments to the myriad the Oakland community already confronts. While it may be true that not every member or even the majority of the Occupy Oakland movement participates in these criminal acts, a collective group will be judged by its very worst, rogue elements; consequently, the Occupy Oakland's methods as I have witnessed them do not represent the 99%, but merely themselves at this point. Perhaps the best solution for the youthful population that seems to dominate the present movement is to enroll school or reinvest in education in some practical capacity, muster some discipline and 'true grit,' and get to work on changing the corrupted system from the inside out as an educated and reputable citizen rather than from the precarious position of one who alienates the general populace with brutish demands and rancorous rallies for unmerited handouts and reckless retribution.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by Juliet Hawk on 03/17/2012 at 5:52 PM

Re: “Apple's Dirty Money

There are "conflict mineral" provisions in the Dodd-Frank Act designed to prevent payments to warlords in the Democratic Republic of Congo where minerals for cellphones are mined. But no protections for the Chinese workers. Some folks would say that it is the responsibility of the Chinese government to protect their workers. What do you say to those who think that "maximizing profit" is the only job of a corporate CEO?

2 likes, 0 dislikes
Posted by Lisa Lindsley on 03/07/2012 at 2:03 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

@David, ... so to claim Occupy Oakland "violent" you are willing to support the neo-nazis protesters that were being counter protested, and their claim of "white genocide in South Africa" and not wait for the truth of the facts to get through the media to be certain of what's reported? And willing to overlook the fact that this action today was not sponsored or even posted by Occupy Oakland? This was not an Occupy Oakland action and if you read the article it's full of misleading and not upfront language, typical of corporate media.

2 likes, 5 dislikes
Posted by Sandy Sanders on 02/27/2012 at 6:34 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

How on earth can people continue to insist that Occupy Oakland is "totally peaceful" when each demonstration results in flagrant destruction of property, taunting of police, and actual physical violence? Just let's look at todays' news from Sacramento, where Occupy Oakland hurled bottles at police.…
Today's event isn't an isolated one. Occupy Oakland will fail not because it's too idealistic but, rather, because it's not idealistic enough. Believe in what kindness and compassion can do in a political dialog and you might just get somewhere with your political platform.

3 likes, 1 dislike
Posted by David Livingstone Fore on 02/27/2012 at 4:32 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Occupy is Together We Stand. In unity, warts and all.

1 like, 4 dislikes
Posted by Nancy Gorrell on 02/20/2012 at 10:12 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

To all those who persist with claiming OO is "violent", you are misinformed and misinforming others. OO is of it's very nature non-violent and loving toward life. This is what the 1% and it's OPD are trying to extinguish with near military force. And contrary to some here misinforming about the history of this country...the powers in control have always used violence and weaponry to stop protest, from the American Revolution that created this country to the labor battles that enabled the 40 hr. workweek, minimum wage and safety and health regulations at the workplace. You rightwingers would be sweeping floors and eating gruel if it weren't for us populist patriots fighting for everyone's human rights for the last 250 years.

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Sandy Sanders on 02/18/2012 at 8:04 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

It's very simple. Anarchy is essentially the opposite of monarchy and Americans settled that question back in 1776. We can easily see the distinctions between pacifism and non-violence or between vandalism and violence by answering the key question before us.

Pete Seeger popularized this question in a song written by my fellow Kentuckian, Florence Reece, "Which side are you on?" But, Mrs. Reese didn't address her question to Seeger's "boys." She asked her entire community. And just as there were no "neutrals" In the "Bloody Harlan" of the 1930s, Oakland is forcing people to choose.

Which side are you on?

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Richard Fitzer on 02/18/2012 at 6:44 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Thank you, Jay Youngdhal. I agree. This is a people's movement. We cannot merely relax from the sidelines while pointing fingers and expressing opinions. If there is change that one wishes to see, get involved! This revolution will not be televised, or protrayed fairly in the MSM. OO General Assemblies are held on Wednesdays at 6:00 pm at Oscar Grant Plaza and Sundays at 2:00 at 19th and Telegraph. There are so many beautiful people building community and working together in such compelling ways. It would be hard not to be inspired once folks see what is truely going on.

3 likes, 3 dislikes
Posted by Molly Batchelder on 02/17/2012 at 7:34 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Thank you Jay!

When we plan actions it is important to think about what will draw in more people, but we would be shooting outselves in the foot if we limited ourselves to actions whose tone won't scare away liberals.

Liberals stay home because staying home is the center of their ideology. I often hear liberals say "I support the goals of the movement but......." No! you are not supporting the movement. Support is something you do, not say.

Unless people get off their couch, get with their friends and neighbors and do something, they are just letting the moment pass, passively ceding power to the banks and the 1% and the cops.

Someday I'll be proudly telling my grandkids about my small part in the movement that changed the United States, while my liberal friends will mumble to themselves about how the sat it out because of a burned flag and a damaged vending machine at city hall.

3 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Michael Terry on 02/17/2012 at 1:38 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

This is a great counter article to the propaganda of those calling Occupy violent and insinuating there is "trouble" in the movement. Thank you Jay! Occupy is totally peaceful and attempts to provide social services to the 99% that the City refuses to do. A tiny fraction, who knows how many are provocateurs, have acted out their frustration on property while the police beat, bomb and break human bodies. The Police attack with the meanness and cruelty of the 1%'s selfish capitalism that enforces scarcity and deprivation. Occupy has brought this issue - the imminent threat of violence that capitalism requires to get people to submit to it's inhuman and unconstitutional rules - to the forefront and should be applauded for this instead of criticized. And this is merely from the process of peaceful protest. Just as in the 60's and 70's and met with the same violent assault by the powers that be. Why do so many want to forget this, and the entire history of police/thug violence against labor, and claim that any media lie verifies "Occupy violent"?

5 likes, 6 dislikes
Posted by Sandy Sanders on 02/16/2012 at 2:49 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

The Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) is one of the local and statewide organiziations in California and the Bay Area that has been doing the work of the 99% against the 1% before Occupy showed up. ACCE works in communities of color and with low and moderate income families and individuals too. People should support groups that are already here doing the work that Occupy wants to inspire us with. ACCE has also provided workshops to train young activists (including Occupy members) to deal with the issues related to foreclosures and the banks. ACCE has helped to prevent homes from getting foreclosed on. In the Bay Area, with allies such as Urban Habitat, Genesis, Public Advocates, ACCE also works on saving our AC Transit buses, especially for communities that rely on it as their main mode of transit. Metropolitan Transportation Commission pays the big banks like Chase, BofA, and others, $53 million annually in swaps. These high interest payments are more than it costs to provide services by AC Transit. We want MTC to renegotiate those loans and fund our buses instead. Next week ACCE's Riders for Transit Justice will be having a Transit Justice Week of Actions, February 20-24, in San Francisco and Oakland. For more info call (510) 269-4692 or e-mail ACCE also helped start the progressive Millionaire's Tax initiative and works on ReFund CA, and was part of the team to get General Attorney Kamala Harris to do harder negotiations with the banks. ACCE is not afraid to talk to government officials. In fact, ACCE also lobbies and works to get them to support the 99% wherever ACCE is. Even Mayor Quan calls ACCE.

9 likes, 2 dislikes
Posted by Kit Vaq on 02/16/2012 at 11:14 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Occupy Oakland deserves nobody's support because it is incapable of renouncing violence as a protest tactic. I'm sorry, Mr. Youngdahl, but you ought to read your history before filing such claptrap. Also, your editors should be ashamed for consistently neglecting to take seriously the failures of this movement.

OO's failure in this regard not only indicates an utter lack of functional and moral leadership on the part of the movement (which means it will never go anywhere tactically) but it also indicates a disregard for human life and dignity; moreover, without renouncing violence, the movement is flying in the face of the past hundred years of effective progressive political action. Civil rights, women's rights, gay rights, etc. etc. etc.... they've all been effective in one way or another and they all renounced violence.

7 likes, 12 dislikes
Posted by David Livingstone Fore on 02/16/2012 at 7:55 AM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

It's amazing how much cycling has improved in the Bay Area as a result of the two divergent tactics employed back in the 90s:

1. Volunteer staffing of design and outreach committees through organizations such as the BFBC, EBBC and SFBC in cooperation with regional and city government.

2. Critical mass.

Remember the response when then SF Mayer Willie Brown threatened Mass? The event set a massive attendance record, over 200 hundred were arrested and Bay Area bike activism gained international exposure.

Multiple approaches to solving big problems are important.
OWS is just getting started...

6 likes, 4 dislikes
Posted by Vince Rubino on 02/15/2012 at 11:40 PM

Re: “Real Change is Complicated and Messy

Nationally, Occupy Wall Street has generally persisted with demands for economic equality (that is the essence of the 99 percent exaggeration) and an end to the profit-driven ravages of corporations.

The current de facto leadership of Occupy Oakland has largely abandoned those demands. For them it is all about F.T.P.

Mayor Quan decades ago abandoned the genuine liberal program, which had some appeal to working people and unemployed. Her liberalism is nothing more than self-centered identity politics.

Recall Quan!

2 likes, 8 dislikes
Posted by Charlie Pine on 02/15/2012 at 12:18 PM

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