Sunday, January 8, 2012
Sunday morning quarterback
Saturday night's Fuck the Police march went according to script.
The Tactical Action Committee proved they could organize a significant action.
OPD proved they still have superior firepower and are willing to beat the living crud out of random march participants.
TAC is now upping the ante and calling for 1,000 people to march next Saturday. Hyperbole it may be, but OPD is surely making mutual aid plans accordingly.
TAC has declared that every Saturday night will be Fuck the Police night in Oakland. I'm not sure how this decision was made, though I suspect it stemmed from a random tweet suggesting what a grand idea a weekly march would be.
Lather, rinse, repeat.
The TAC are well within their rights to hold these marches, both autonomously and with the imprimatur of Occupy Oakland. The creation of TAC was, of course, endorsed by the OO GA. Occupy Oakland cannot pretend not to have a relationship with TAC. TAC is the child of Occupy Oakland.
There are ample reasons to continue to remind OPD of their many and varied crimes over the decades and TAC are clearly capable of delivering those reminders. However...
1. What is the end game? What result is TAC hoping to achieve? There has to be one...otherwise the weekly march is going to rapidly dwindle from last night's 200-300 to less than 100.
2. Time spent on organizing a weekly march is time taken from more effective TAC activities, such as foreclosure occupations and the Burger King protest (which, to my surprise, turned out rather well).
3.Like it or not, marching with a banner that says Fuck the Police is going to alienate you from 99% of the 99%. Even those of us generally sympathetic with FTP would probably prefer something a little less inflammatory. May I suggest Stop Police Brutality, Free All Political Prisoners, or (if you must insist on something a bit rude) Up Yours OPD as the motto for next week's banner?
4. If TAC continues the Saturday night marches, it will need to develop some discipline. If someone throws a bottle from the back of the crowd, that person needs to be identified and removed from the march--otherwise TAC is complicit in the endangerment of non-violent marchers. If you are unwilling to do that, you need to make it clear that only those willing to throw bottles should attend. We know OPD are always looking for the slightest excuse to bash heads. Either don't give them one, or be honest and upfront about endorsing confrontational tactics.
5. I know that TAC are revolutionaries and probably uninterested in compromise. But you are never, ever going to achieve your goals by remaining ideologically rigid. The United States is not ripe for the kind of revolution you are hoping for.
I was hopeful that last night's march would pass without incident; that it would take place and that OPD would simply stay away. That would have been a great success for all involved: it would have allowed the city to display its purported dedication to free speech, and it would have allowed TAC to magnanimously declare victory. This did not happen, and it is clear it is not going to happen on future Saturday nights.
In my opinion, TAC needs to re-think its priorities. 10th and Adeline was a great thing; Zion Cypress was a great thing. You may think otherwise, but I don't believe these were defeats--both occupations were more help than hindrance to the movement. Whether casting light on the sins of banks and the foreclosure industry, opening eyes to the inadequacies of the City Assessor's Office, or simply revealing that a plot of empty land in West Oakland is owned by a rich man in Lafayette, these were admirable and positive actions.
Fuck the Police, however, is not a goal. It's a pit of despair and angst, a trap OPD and the city want us to fall into. If they change the discussion from economic and social injustice to the police battling scary anarchists, they will win.
Keep the faith! Occupy everything!
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