(Adapted from Portland Solidarity Statement)
To the City of Oakland, Oakland Police, and Mayor Quan,
On January 28th, 2012, Occupy Oakland took to the streets and attempted to turn an abandoned building into a social center to converge and organize and to continue to provide the community at large with the services they had been providing before their encampment was disbanded. In response, Oakland Police used rubber bullets, bean bag shot gun rounds, chemical weapons, and kettling techniques and arrested 400 people in order to terrorize political dissent into submission. Mayor Quan issued a call to ‘the national leadership of the Occupy Movement’ to disown the actions of Occupy Oakland.
Your request for Occupy Wall Street and the other occupations to “disown” Occupy Oakland shows a failure to understand the nature of this movement and does a disservice to those you were elected to represent. Oakland wants change, and so do we. Rubber bullets and tear gas are violence, opening a social center is not. The use of physical violence against Occupiers, including children, is a disgrace. We stand with our fellow Occupiers not with a city and mayor that condones the use of violence against non-violent protestors and those building community in the face of struggle. It is you, Mayor Quan, who must answer to the rest of the Occupy movement and not our brethren at Occupy Oakland.
If our cities spent as much money providing services for the hungry and homeless as they did cracking down on Occupy and if the federal government spent as much money on confronting social and environmental problems as it does on waging war and bail-outs for the financial industry, then we would not have nearly as much cause to Occupy in Solidarity with one another. Until our elected leaders, including you Mayor Quan, stand with those who are building community and peacefully assembling rather than with those who are injuring and bullying citizens on the streets of Oakland we will Occupy in Solidarity with one another. Until you respect the right to freedom of assembly, freedom of speech, and freedom of the press, we will Occupy in Solidarity with one another.
When Occupiers anywhere are confronted with police brutality, Occupiers everywhere will stand with them. We issue the following statement to law enforcement and city government engaging in the silencing of dissent or asking us to disown our brethren everywhere:
When you use chemical weapons, rubber bullets, bean bags, or other violence, when you kettle and arrest in mass non-violent protesters, we will not be silenced or divided. When occupiers anywhere are brutalized, occupiers everywhere will stand with them.