I personally am a believer in non-violent civil disobedience and cannot imagine myself throwing rocks, startting fires or shouting “pig” at OPD or for that matter, any police. However, I have yet to face police in full riot gear well equipped with batons, tear gas, rubber bullets, flash bombs, etc. I, therefore, cannot say what I would do if I found myself in a situation where the police were bearing down on me and those near me. It must be a frightening experience and my heart goes out to every protestor who is brave enough to face their oppressors.
This circle of violence that #OO and the Mayor’s office is caught up in is deeply distressing for the larger community. I digress here when I point out that I blame the mayor for this state of affairs as it is her responsibility to lead the city of Oakland and not by using rubber bullets against the citizens of Oakland.
November 2 was a deeply moving community event, showing the world the incredible spirit of Oakland. I want to see that spirit revived. Spring is around the corner and its time for the larger community to reengage with the tenets of Occupy to protest against the unjust and unfair practices of the 1% and the corruption of our elected officials. I fear the ongoing polarization between OPD and Occupiers will dampen the movement, not revive it. Too many, like myself, would prefer to work at a safe distance if the threat of physical harm is all too probable. This, I know, is not good but it is human nature. Being too comfortable fosters a kind of complacency that is terribly dangerous to human rights.
You are a highly intelligent, creative and committed group. I ask you to show the mayor how to lead and how to take care of your community since it appears she does not have the imagination or the skillset to lead Oakland out of this impasse. It’s time to hold meetings with Oakland’s elected representatives; lots of meetings. Very public meetings. Include all interested Oaklanders, activists, community organizers, first responders, the police force, everyone who has a stake in the future of Oakland. They all are creators of a new paradigm.
You are our country’s future and she and her council can be either wise elders and help usher it in positively or they can just be old– resisting and fighting against this inevitable change as one generation’s work is done and another’s is just starting. I wish you every success and look forward to seeing you soon.