As Oakland goes?

Oakland is a city with an inferiority complex: it has been in the shadow of San Francisco forever and is now outshined by San Jose, of all places. I say that because San Jose was a smallish semi-rural town when I was growing up. That was, of course, before the tech boom. Oakland remains best known for Gertrude Stein’s wisecrack: “there is no there, there.”

Oakland finds itself in the spotlight because of its handling of the #occupy protests:

Police and protesters scuffled in the streets of Oakland on Tuesday as more than 1,000 people marched on city hall to voice anger over scores of arrests at an “Occupy Wall Street” camp.

Police dispersed the crowd once with what appeared to be a stun grenade and several other times set off tear gas to drive the demonstrators away from a downtown plaza that had been at the center of the conflict.

Witnesses reported seeing several people taken into custody during the confrontations, but an Oakland police spokeswoman said the department would not confirm any Tuesday night arrests until Wednesday.

Protest leaders said the march aimed at reclaiming Frank Ogawa Plaza, which had served as a base for two weeks of protests against economic inequality in the city until police cleared it before dawn by firing beanbags and tear gas.

Ain’t leadership grand? I got a whiff of tear gas many years ago in (where else?) Athens when the cops busted up a protest rally at Syntagma Square near the parliament. The more things change and all that shit.

I’m not sure where the #occupy protests go from here but I must admit to being surprised by their staying power. They’ve stuck it out much longer than expected and, if nothing else, came up with the catchy slogan about the 99%. The problem in America is that a good slice of the population wants to be a part of the 1% and doesn’t give a shit about the folks they left behind. Some call it American exceptionalism, I call it American selfishness.

6 thoughts on “As Oakland goes?

  1. As our hostess’s friend noted in the previous post, we’re now talking about jobs instead of the deficit. That’s a start. A real good one, in fact.

  2. ” protest rally at Syntagma ”
    Can’t remember if this was the event or not. But it would make a nice parallel If these were the protests where Bush was in a motorcade which was carefully designed to keep him from seeing the protests. Just another example of making sure that the uberlords don’t have to face the pain of seeing the lower classes.
    Of course, keeping the Buddah away from seeing sickness and suffering worked real good at making sure he would be a leader / snark.

  3. Just saw some Tweets from Occupy Nashville about the protestors being rousted and the need for more bodies … so yeah, as goes Oakland … but you know what? The movement will not be stopped that easily. If they think that will make everyone go away quietly, they don’t know their history.

  4. I couldn’t be prouder of this movement. I wondered for a long time why we weren’t having protests in the street like we did during the Vietnam War. When things get this fucked up the people need to take to the streets to let the leaders know they are seriously on the wrong path.
    I’m thrilled I lived long enough to see this action take place again.

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