The Occupy Oakland Movement certainly has its factions, so it’s hard to say ‘the movement as a whole thinks one way,’ but the bottom line is the current majority is taking actions that are driving people who were supporters away from it, and leaving it the pawns of those with their own political agendas.
There’s every reason to still give money to the organization and ask for a more reasoned and savvy approach, but after reading the Hypenated Republic blog, this blogger’s idea of seeing that happen feels more like fantasy. The blog is essentially happy the shutdown of the Port of Oakland worked, and rests on that. The blog fails to note the massive head game that was afoot – one that has damaged Occupy Oakland’s reputation and direction and the organizers don’t even know it.
The blog fails to understand that the one-percent it claims to impact in this way weren’t even touched, and many of the products moved were created by small businesses, not large ones. The blog claims to speak for the union workers, but the fact is the ILWU did not really support the Port Action in any real way at the end of the day, and ultimately threw Occupy Oakland under the bus. To then claim that a shut down helps the very people who don’t support the shutdown is just plain politically obtuse.
The National Strike Day was a beautiful moment, with 100,000 people coming to Downtown Oakland, and some venturing off to join the Port Of Oakland Protest that day. Everyone was involved, and especially the unions. But because that approach worked once doesn’t mean it has to be replicated whole cloth, but it was for the December 12th West Coast Port Action.
And the organizers are so drunk with a feeling of accomplishment, they fail to see the anger they’ve generated with some of the very people they claim to support. But what’s vexing about this affair is union members like ILWU’s Dan Coffman speaking in favor of what Occupy Oakland is doing, and saying that they will fight grain exporter EGT “to the bitter end,” but then ILWU doesn’t participate in the Port Action on December 12th. That behavior’s a little confusing to the political novice, but it has a name I’ll explain below.
See this is where Dan Coffman starts playing Occupy Oakland:
But Dan Coffman, president of ILWU Local 21, which represents the Longview longshoremen, said the movement does not speak for him and his workers. Blockade organizers in press releases and a video posted online have featured Coffman’s appearance at an Occupy Oakland rally. Coffman said his trip to California was mainly to thank longshoremen there for sending money to support their picket lines in the EGT dispute,
“As far as the shutdown of the ports, we have no involvement with that whatsoever — none,” Coffman said.
The name for what Coffman did is called a political head-fake. It’s a way to make everyone think the ILWU’s on their side, when it point of fact the workers who represent the union are concerned about their jobs and paychecks. It’s also a way of blunting activists: get the riled up to make hay, they turn around and say “I didn’t tell them to do that.” It’s an old game that the novice Occupy Oakland people were caught up in, and didn’t know it.
What Occupy Oakland should have doone was made sure via contract that the ILWU actually got involved, otherwise the movement will be played by the very same unions it claims to support. Indeed, Occupy Oakland was played this week.
And the simple fact I said that means that the entire Occupy Movement has lost its way. What I just wrote about wasn’t big picture, but local politics. Game’s up. The minute Occupy Oakland becomes a pawn of someone’s political agenda, that’s the beginning of the end of Occupy Oakland.