The four proposals below will be on the agenda of the Occupy Oakland General Assembly for Sunday, November 2 – the third anniversary of the General Strike, one of the largest protests in Oakland’s history. The GA will be held at Oscar Grant Plaza at 4:00PM. If a quorum of 70 people is reached, then these proposals will be voted on and could become OO resolutions. No matter what your feelings are about these proposed endorsements, your judgment will have an effect on whatever consensus is resolved.
Along with two queued proposals, Occupy Oakland organizers have recently received a proposal that OO endorse Dan Siegel for Mayor (see below), which raises the question, should OO get involved in electoral politics by encouraging its members to vote for any creature – even if it’s our lovably outspoken canine comrade Einstein, who is also running in the Mayor’s race?
In response to the proposed endorsement of Dan Siegel, a member of the Committee to Elect Einstein has submitted a counter-proposal (also below) that Occupy Oakland could consider a write-in vote for Einstein as a vote against executive political power and for direct democracy. As Einstein’s platform states:
“Without a fallible human in the Mayor’s Office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future. No longer will we ask what the City Government can do for us. Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the City ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council. No longer will we have a single individual to blame for our problems. After all, how can a very good dog like Einstein cause social problems?”
Dan Siegel has provided a great deal of support for Occupy Oakland comrades and has fought long-and-hard for social justice, but this proposal of OO’s endorsement of his campaign for Mayor (not submitted by his campaign) calls for a discussion of the role Occupy Oakland can play in our City’s politics, or whether it should.
Note: The two endorsement proposals are not necessarily mutually exclusive. With Oakland’s Ranked Choice Voting System it is possible to write in Einstein AND vote for Dan Siegel (or someone else, or no one). Your Mayoral ballot will not be voided with a vote for Einstein; your other choices will count.
Whereas, Dan Siegel has worked as a civil rights attorney in Oakland for over thirty years. In addition to fighting for justice for Oscar Grant and Nubia Bowe, he has been a friend and advocate of Occupy Oakland and its offshoot organizations for three years. To all the efforts listed below (a far-from-complete list for more information on his electoral positions, please visit http://siegelforoakland.org/materials.php), Dan has provided his knowledge, experience, and his access to the media as an advocate for radical progressivism in Oakland.
- He showed his loyalty to Occupy activists on Nov. 14, 2011 when he resigned as adviser to Mayor Jean Quan in protest against her brutal and authoritarian destruction of the Occupy Oakland encampment, calling her a government facilitator of the strategies of the 1%.
- He acted as defense attorney for Khali (2011-12), fighting against the cruel treatment of Khali while in custody, against the Alameda County Sherriff’s Department’s misrepresentation of the facts of Khali’s arrest and incarceration, and against the denial of Khali’s fair and proper access to attorney’s counsel.
- He participated in the defense of Occupy Oakland activists known as the Ice Cream Three in the spring of 2012 against unfounded charges of robbery and hate crimes.
- He provided legal counsel to the family of Alan Blueford as they sought justice for the murder of their son by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso.
- In May-June 2013, he defended the members of Occupy the Farm who were arrested for growing food on vacant land in Albany.
- He has provided legal counsel to the Oakland Privacy Working Group in their opposition to the expansion and collation of surveillance data.
- He has frequently spoken out in opposition to the reckless militarization of local law enforcement and to the Urban Shield weapons and tactics trade show.
There is no other official candidate in this year’s Oakland Mayors race who represents the values of the Occupy Movement so well as Dan Siegel. There is no other official candidate so strongly committed to holding police officers and Oakland City Government accountable to the people of our city. For this reason, Occupy Oakland feels that Dan Siegel is the voters’ best choice for Oakland Mayor.
Therefore, Occupy Oakland endorses Dan Siegel for Mayor.
A dog for Mayor of Oakland?! Sound crazy? But the question, as we see it, is not, “Can a dog run the City?” The question we should all ask is, “Can any individual be accountable for running the City?”
Of course, the Mayor doesn’t run the City single-handedly. Nevertheless, who do we hold responsible when residents suffer from mismanagement of the City’s tremendous wealth of resources? Is it not the highest elected official in City Government? This system allows residents to blame the Mayor for not solving the social problems facing Oakland.
Whereas, Without a fallible human in the Mayor’s Office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future. Please read Einstein’s Platform and Blog and see if you agree that if Einstein is elected, the interaction of residents with City officials and with each other will change, radically. No longer will we ask what the City Government can do for us. Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the City ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council. No longer will we have a single individual to blame for our problems. After all, how can a dog who prioritizes caring connection over status and profit cause social problems?
A selection of planks in Einstein’s platform:
- Greatly expanded democratic representation for the residents of Oakland
- An end to Orwellian surveillance and a restoration of privacy
- The rights of Oakland’s residents supersede the rights of police officers.
- Penalties for crimes must be apportioned according to wealth.
- Einstein will facilitate the creation of the Public Bank of Oakland and the Oakland Debtors’ Assembly.
- A maximum-wage requirement to eliminate the inflationary pressures that render minimum-wage requirements ineffective at increasing the purchasing power of Oakland’s hardest-working and most unappreciated residents
- Single payer health care.
Whereas Einstein intends be a voice in this campaign for what is right and what is needed by many Oakland residents, without concern for what is legal or politically feasible. Democracy means We govern together; financial independence for all benefits all; and the protection of civil rights by governing officials is necessary for full democratic participation in our society.
Therefore, Occupy Oakland asks everyone to write-in “Einstein” as one of their ranked-choice votes for Mayor of Oakland.
Whereas the General Assembly of Occupy Oakland has continued to meet every week,
Whereas the last resolution regarding quorum set quorum at 70 attendees,
Whereas the General Assembly is generally attended by less than 20 people,
Whereas the current quorum makes it impossible for Occupy Oakland to pass official resolutions endorsing new committees or actions,
Therefore it is resolved to set quorum at 25 attendees until such time as typical attendance increases and this number can be re-evaluated.
The goal of the committee is to educate and mobilize around the issue of debt. The committee will work with Strike Debt Bay Area and the national Strike Debt movement to develop and share information about the role of debt in 21st century capitalism. We will help organize collective resistance to debt, which may include forming debtors’ unions, supporting free check cashing services, negotiating debt reductions with institutions, promoting alternative economies, etc. There are many possible ways to protest the current debt system and create alternatives.
The goals of the Occupy Oakland Strike Debt committee include increasing participation by OO activists in Strike Debt activities and bringing the resources of OO to support these activities. We have organized the first Bay Area Debtors’ Assembly, which was held in East Oakland on February 2, and the second, on May 18 in San Francisco.
Membership in the committee is open to anyone interested in participating. We meet monthly at a time and location posted on the OO website calendar. We will create a committee page on the OO website with an email address through OO. And we will announce our activities at the General Assembly. We can also be reached through the contacts for Strike Debt Bay Area: website http://strike-debt-bay-area.tumblr.com/
and email address: email@example.com.
Therefore Occupy Oakland participants in Strike Debt Bay Area are requesting official recognition of the Occupy Oakland Strike Debt committee.