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Thursday, August 21 2014 @ 11:02 AM CDT

Occupy Oakland's Decomposition

Occupy Wall Street

Recent provocative and irresponsible statements by the previously unknown DOOM (Defend Our [sic] Oakland Movement) and the well-known decredentialed OO Media Collective, claiming to represent the general interests of the now-defunct Occupy Oakland community, demonstrate the advanced decomposition of the Occupy phenomenon. Explicitly anti-radical elements were present at Occupy Oakland from the beginning; for example, some tried to get the General Assembly to adopt vaguely conceived principles of non-violence that implicitly rely on the respect for property rights -- enforced by … the police!

Occupy Oakland's Decomposition

DOOM, OOMedia, and the struggle for middle-class respectability and political legitimacy

Recent provocative and irresponsible statements by the previously unknown DOOM (Defend Our [sic] Oakland Movement) and the well-known decredentialed OO Media Collective, claiming to represent the general interests of the now-defunct Occupy Oakland community, demonstrate the advanced decomposition of the Occupy phenomenon. Explicitly anti-radical elements were present at Occupy Oakland from the beginning; for example, some tried to get the General Assembly to adopt vaguely conceived principles of non-violence that implicitly rely on the respect for property rights -- enforced by … the police! Unwilling to frighten away the non-profits, NGOs, and municipal administrations to whom they look for their future careers, these defamers have only ever managed to offer up crass and unimaginative anti-anarchist stereotypes (originating as they do from cops and politicians). As if anarchists and other radicals hadn't also been part of Occupy from the beginning... Radicals and anarchists who -- however haltingly and imperfectly -- challenged the sanctity of public and private property; who negated commerce in the Plaza; who maintained the Plaza as a cop-free zone; who promoted the politics of inclusion, and all who tried to create transparent organizational expressions for their continuation and extension.

Different activist factions now compete for a monopoly on the Occupy brand like vultures and hyenas fighting over a rotting carcass. Each tries to outdo the other with their facile demonization of assorted miscreants. The combined message is that anyone -- regardless of political self-identification -- who dresses in black and has pale skin is now a legitimate target; not just for suspicion, but for active denunciation to the police if not physical assault by reactionary vigilantes. The true political nature and class loyalty of these squawkers has never been more clear.

As we mark the anniversary of OPD's gratuitously brutal clearing of the Plaza, it's obvious that the demoralizing effects of state repression have taken their toll on everyone involved in Occupy Oakland. Long-established left-liberals and their newbie acolytes, who merely paid lip service to the more radical aspects of the reclamation of public space, have reverted to their instinctive position: polite pseudo-opposition, which means first and foremost a respect for capitalism and those who protect it. How else are these self-described progressives to make themselves known as politically legitimate actors, worthy of acknowledgement and recognition by powerbrokers looking for the next generation of the managers of revolt? DOOM and the OO Media Committee have finally made their true intentions obvious: to drive an irreversible wedge between pro- and anti-capitalists, between good and bad protesters, between politicians and those who understand they can only represent themselves.

Occupy ceased to be of much interest once the name began to be used for the implicitly middle-class strategies of foreclosure defense (homeownership being the epitome of bourgeois respectability) and the propping up of institutionalized state-enforced education (which has nothing to do with intellectual development or imbuing young people with critical thinking skills). Those who engage in these reformist campaigns, those who denounce and attack others who do not respect the cops or capitalist property, those who are quietly or loudly stumping for Obama's re-election are not merely misguided comrades, and it's high time we accepted what has been obvious since last October: middle-class factions within Occupy Oakland were always the greatest obstacle to its relevance.

Trademark and product recognition are mechanisms of consumer loyalty. DOOM and OOMedia -- and plenty of others -- are happy to maintain the appearance of opposition, all the while promoting respect for the status quo and its enforcers. Their vision of Occupy Oakland remains indistinguishable from the allegedly progressive wing of the Democratic Party machine, who assure us that they truly represent "The 99%." That's their Occupy, and if they want the copyright so bad, we say they can keep it. Despite what we may have thought was some rhetorical excess in its use, we are happy to refer to the best parts of what happened in the Plaza as the Oakland Commune.

October 25, 2012

Anarchist Anti-Defamation Caucus of the Anti-Bureaucratic Bloc
antibloc2012@gmail.com

The Anti-Bureaucratic Bloc is an ad hoc cluster of anarchist and anti-state communist individuals and affinity groups who have come together in an effort to counter the incipient growth of a self-selected cadre of professional activists and others with managerial aspirations.

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