How to remove scabs and save workers’ health benefits

[UPDATE: Strikers have settled! But these suggestions below can come in handy next time, especially with more pre-planning and lead time. Heh heh heh]

Workers at American Licorice, located in Union City (irony noted), makers of Red Vines, have been on strike for a week now. More details here in the Union City Patch. The Occupy Oakland General Assembly recently voted to support the strike and early this morning, many Occupiers stood with workers on the picket lines, trying to prevent “scab” workers from entering the factory.

The strikers cannot legally block the gates, but nonunion supporters can do that and much, much more. Below are a few off-the-cuff ideas from previous strike support work I’ve done. The important thing is that, with a couple exceptions, they are all legal and nonviolent and help increase the support base by involving people who otherwise wouldn’t be able to be involved in a picket line. These and similar tools also directly target vulnerabilities. Picket lines, while important for morale and highly symbolic are themselves somewhat tangential.

I might try to update this later, since I have to get to real work now. Any suggestions welcome!
Read below for list of suggested actions!

OPD 6. Occupy Oakland 0

Last night’s “fuck the police” march in the streets of Oakland ran its predictable course. I was out of town, but wouldn’t have gone anyway. Instead, I watched @OakFoSho’s livestream while sorting a couple boxes of receipts in preparation for this year’s taxes. It was a good way to double-task and feel like I was at least accomplishing something while watching Occupy Oakland accomplish nothing. At least nothing I could see. (Scroll through the videos on that link to the 1/7/12 FTP march videos, where you can watch the whole thing.)

The crowd gathered, marched to the jail, set a toy fire in the street, threw a few rocks and bottles, screamed at the cops a lot, made embarrassingly empty threats, got herded around a bit, ran when the cops advanced and eventually ended up at the Plaza.
Read more

FTP march in Oakland

9:30pm, Saturday, January 7th, 2012

My prediction for tonight’s “fuck the police” march in Oakland: If people don’t engage in significant vandalism or attacks on cops, they cops will largely ignore the protest and let it spend itself. So far, they’ve let people take the streets and I think this will continue. I think they’ll even ignore minor property damage, like they ignored the bottles and rocks thrown at them. I think the cops will mostly try to avoid conflict tonight, even while many in the crowd are trying to provoke it.

The cops have generally shown that they have a better grasp of effective tactics than Occupy Oakland. They attack when they have the upper hand, exploiting us in weak positions, where we mostly play right into their hands. (See my posts here and here.) While the marchers tonight will never “win” over the OPD, arrests or tear gas right now would play into the confrontation that the protesters want. I think that the cops recognize this fact and will go out of their way to avoid it. There are also a few too many people to easily arrest or disperse them all.

If people do get excessively violent or destructive, I think the cops will go for focused arrests or kettling and group arrests, but will still try to avoid beating or gassing people.

So, let’s see how it goes. If you see this tonight, you can watch @OakFoSho’s livestream here http://bit.ly/yEyOFh It will also be archived on the site.

That’s my prediction. Who’s taking bets?

(Whatever happens, stay classy folks.)

Update: As of 10:30pm, I was partly right/partly wrong. They did go for focused arrests as opposed to arbitrary ones, but also beat numerous other people, threw people off bikes, shot one shot-bag weapon and kettled people for a while without arresting them. Now people are in the Plaza, with many cops in the area. We’ll see if they try to clear the plaza.

As I was watching this all go down on @OakFoSho’s livestream, it appeared to me that the cops were being the kind of stupid and unnecessarily violent that I expected they wouldn’t be. Right now, I’m hoping people will just call it a night and filter out of the plaza before the cops clear it out.

A protest about arrests at a protest protesting arrests at a protest.

Let me start with a parable of sorts.

Imagine a man with a vicious dog on a 50′ chain, staked 10′ from his neighbor’s unfenced property line. The dog routinely runs 40′ onto the neighbor’s lawn, biting the neighbor as she’s trying to enjoy the yard that is hers to enjoy. When bitten, the neighbor runs out in the street screaming at how evil the dog and the owner are and how irresponsible the owner is being. Then she walks back into her yard and, feeling righteous in the legitimacy of her cause, asserts her right to walk on her own property, gets bit again and again runs up and down the street screaming. She repeats this several times, always to the same effect.

At what point do we say that she is responsible for this outcome? How long do we sympathize with her, fully aware that she is intentionally provoking the situation and the predictable results?

Does she have the law on her side? Of course. Along with morality and common decency. But at some level—let’s call it the “karmic level”—she has to take responsibility for her actions and the outcome. She, after all, is the one who keeps getting hurt. More…Wait, no more! Anything but more of the same

Occupy and “Augmented Revolution”

Back in November, Salon.com had a very interesting piece titled:
Welcome to the “augmented revolution”

I just saw it this evening when one of my Tweeps RT’d a link. (Okay, let me translate: One of the people whose posts I follow on Twitter re-posted someone else’s post with a link to the Salon article.)

The author also has an interesting blog with some clearly cutting-edge thinking on the subject of our relationship with the digital world. (Ugh, another must-follow blog!) The site link is to a particularly interesting post about the fallacy of what he calls the “digital dualist” view—the idea that our “virtual” lives and “real” lives are separate—promoting instead his view of life as an augmented reality, summed up somewhat in this excerpt:

I am proposing an alternative view that states that our reality is both technological and organic, both digital and physical, all at once. We are not crossing in and out of separate digital and physical realities, ala The Matrix, but instead live in one reality, one that is augmented by atoms and bits. And our selves are not separated across these two spheres as some dualistic “first” and “second” self, but is instead an augmented self.

read for more revolutionary ideas

Stumbling forward at Occupy Portland and elsewhere.

A few weeks ago, this article appeared on the Portland Occupier website: Occupy Portland Outsmarts Police, Creating Blueprint for Other Occupations.

Coming to a virtually identical conclusion to what I say in my previous post, the author states:

In summary: when the cops come to clear the park, don’t resist. As they are preparing for their military maneuver and use of force that the Occupiers cannot reasonably be expected to resist, the occupiers should be packing up their tents and baggage and loading them into wagons, bicycles, backpacks, etc.

You could just skip the article and take that bit of wisdom and sound practical advice to heart and you’d be way ahead of the game.
Now read on for the good part

Knowing when to fight. Some thoughts on recent police attacks on Occupy Oakland.

He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious. —Sun Tzu

Summary: The police attacks on Occupy Oakland’s vigil and tree sit last Friday, December 30th were disasters for the movement, sapping scarce energy and resources, generating bad press and putting a dozen occupiers behind bars. This happened because we gave our opponents exactly the fight that they had come prepared for. In this sense, we are fighting dumb, engaging in confrontation that we can only lose, on political and legal terrain where we are weak. A more effective response to the OPD’s attack-and-disrupt strategy would be to deprive them of their goals by refusing to engage. When they attack, we fade back and disperse, depriving them of a target. When they grab for substance, we flow away like water.
Now click here for the longer version. Do it.

Clarification on charges of misinformation on Twitter at Occupy Oakland

“People with good info were drowned out by your ignorance @MikalJakubal”

Yesterday, the police raided the Occupy Oakland vigil and tree sit, arresting around a dozen people, three at the tree-sit and the rest at the vigil area or on 16th Street just to the north. I was in the area for most of this and tweeted and livestreamed throughout. I was later accused of putting out misleading information. What happened, instead, was a small cascade of miscommunication, based on assumptions, information gaps and protocol lapses, that led to misunderstanding of and false accusations against my reporting. At the end of the day, none of it was of any consequence to the outcome but, in another situation, it might have mattered. I’m posting this hoping that others can glean some bit of experience from it.

I own my mistakes and challenge the other parties to own theirs. read on!

Occupy Oakland and OPD campaign of arrests and harassment today.

Last night I went to the Alameda County Jail at 7th & Jefferson to cheer-on the folks getting released after the bust of the 10th and Mandela foreclosed home occupation. Afterwards, part of the small crowd went to Oscar Grant Plaza as part of the ongoing vigil. During the night, a new tree-sit was started in one of the sycamores on the north edge of the plaza, this time a different tree than the one Running Wolf and others had been occupying earlier. Three people went up, with two ultimately staying the night there.

Whole lotta more words and action videos and stuff

New Occupy Oakland encampment started today.

Here’s a Google Earth screenshot of “Zion Cypress Triangle Park”, the newest in what is becoming a constellation of Occupy Oakland sites. It is presently a bare patch of dirt surrounded by a fence, with uncertain ownership status. The name was given by occupiers, according Jaime Omar Yassin in his always-worthwhile blog Hyphenated-Republic, to represent “the symbolic biblical paradise, the historical name of the neighborhood, and the shape of the lot.” Hopefully, it’ll get nicknamed something simpler, like “Cypress Triangle.”

Zion Cypress Triangle Park, new Occupy Oakland camp site.

a bit more to read