As reported earlier on The Blaze, hundreds of Occupy Wall Street protesters were arrested in Oakland Saturday night and early Sunday morning following clashes with the police during something called "Move-In Day." The conflicts and subsequent arrests occurred after thousands gathered to take over a downtown building. The Occupy Oakland plan was apparently to commandeer the property and turn it into a "social center" complete with a library, kitchen, meeting rooms and more. However, the wave of protesters was out-maneuvered by police who appeared to be well aware of their plans.
How did they know what was going to happen? Occupy Oakland told them almost everything they were planning to do.
They did this in several ways.
There was a public letter to the mayor, the city council and the police department:
Dear Mayor Jean Quan, Oakland Police Department, and Oakland City Council,
As you probably know, Occupy Oakland is planning the occupation of a building on January 28th that will serve as a social center, convergence center, headquarters, free kitchen, and place of housing for Occupy Oakland. Like so many other people, Occupy Oakland is homeless while buildings remain vacant and unused. For Occupy this is in large part because of yourselves, having evicted us twice from public space that was rightfully ours. For others it is because of the housing bubble, predatory lending, the perpetual crises of capitalism, and far reaching histories of imperialism and systemic violence.
The movement's letter also claimed responsibility for shutting down the port and costing the city millions in expenditures and lost revenue. And they threatened to bring that same economic penalty to bear again, if they are not allowed to just take what they deem to be rightfully theirs.
The warning letter closes with explicit threats to "make your lives more miserable than you make ours":
Since the beginning of the Occupy Movement when you have exacted violent repression on us we have proven that we are more powerful and diffuse than you. If you try to evict us again we will make your lives more miserable than you make ours.
This may be in one or more of the following forms:
-Blockading the airport indefinitely
-Occupying City Hall indefinitely
-Shutting down the Oakland ports
-Calling on anonymous for solidarity
It will be in our mutual interest if you respect our occupation by recognizing our residency and eminent domain. We are sure that we all look forward to the needs of Oakland’s people finally being met.
For weeks, the Occupy Oakland website has been making plans public for this two-day "Oakland Rise Up Festival." Flyers have been printed and posted all over town.
They printed and distributed information in Spanish and Chinese.
The group also posted a YouTube video meant to help recruit people for the big day.
And last week, in advance of the move in event, Occupy Oakland published a list of approved "community guidelines" that includes some curious language, including terms familiar with those who support Marxism. It did not surprise this reporter to see that the word "comrade" appears in the two-page document five times, while "man" or "woman" does not show up anywhere.
Occupy Oakland Building Occupation Community Guidelines
These guidelines for the occupation of a community space are designed to start conversations about safety, equality, and respect – not provide an inflexible code for behavior. They are to be applied in the spirit of transformative justice, supporting reconciliation and redress, not punishment or value judgments.
The preamble wraps up with:
There are no cops here; everyone is security.
The actual guidelines are fairly simple, with only three published directives. (Which actually sound like good, common sense rules.)
1. Keep yourself and your community safe.
2. Treat others with respect.
3. Other suggestions:
- a. Build it, don’t break it. This is our space, so let’s build it as we want to live in it. This includes breaking existing structures, removing items, and tagging, especially during the first few days. We would love if you brought artwork in from outside in the form of banners or signs that we can put up.
- b. Medics at the wellness center (or first aid table/tent) have free safer sex supplies, get some if you need.
The Community Guidelines must have been too vague for some inside the organization. Apparently, the declaration "There are no cops here; everyone is security" required some additional clarification. Occupy Oakland followed up that document with something called, "Occupy Oakland Building Action 1/28- Potential grounds for exclusion from the building."
Here are the potential actions that could get one removed from the building that Occupy Oakland was planning on seizing. (Again, most of these could be viewed as "common sense" regulations);
Individuals may be asked to leave the building in case of:
a. Sexual violence or harassment, i.e. sexual assault or repetitive unwanted advances, verbal or physical.
b. Repetitive theft.
c. Unwarranted physical assault. (Self-defense will not be automatic grounds for exclusion.)
d. Cooperation with the police in any form, including the incrimination of comrades through furnishing or analyzing potential video or photo evidence.
e. Persistent disruption, including threatening, intimidating, or derailing behavior.
e. No photography or video without consent. Deliberately and non-consensually pointing your camera at community members who may be doing something they don’t want public and posting in a public forum is grounds for exclusion from the building. Livestreamers, citizen journalists, other media, and all comrades, please capture footage in the media-approved zones and refrain from capturing images elsewhere in the occupied building, unless you receive consent from all comrades whose likeness, voice, or identity will potentially be captured.
The final three "infractions" raise red flags.
- Cooperation with the police in any form
What if your comrade is raped or violently assaulted inside the confines of the building? Will you not be able to give a witness statement or testify in court against the attacker without losing your Occupy Oakland citizenship?
- Persistent disruption, including threatening, intimidating, or derailing behavior.
If you do inside the building what the group does outside of the building, you can be kicked out?
- No photography or video without consent.
Again, this is a "do as we say, not as we do" regulation.
What happens if someone is accused of violating any of the six "crimes" listed above? How will it be decided that they shall be removed from the new society?
There is a procedure posted.
Guidelines for exclusion from the building are to be applied on a case-by-case basis, with security reserving the right to exclude someone who is presenting an immediate danger. Decisions by the security committee, medics, and others who act to exclude an individual are accountable to the Building General Assembly. Exclusion may potentially also be referred to the Building General Assembly to be voted on, with a 90% consensus of the community required to determine the terms of an individual’s exclusion from the space.
Contrary to the American criminal justice system where federal cases mandate a 100 percent guilty verdict by a jury in order to convict, the Occupy Wall Street community will vote on the accusations and if 90 percent agree with the charges, a guilty verdict is rendered. That guilty verdict sentences the person to be banished from the Occupy building.
One wonders if the ACLU will be allowed to represent any of the Occupiers charged with violating the rules of the building?
Will the accused be considered "innocent until proven guilty?"
As the day breaks on the west coast, the Occupy Oakland group is reportedly bailing out many of those arrested overnight and preparing for the activities planned for the remainder of the move in day festival. According to a posting from late Saturday night:
Oakland Rise Up Festival is on for Sunday at Oscar Grant Plaza.
All events will happen as scheduled.
It is fairly safe to assume that the Oakland Police will be on hand for 8am's "Breakfast, coffee, and morning workshops."