Rebels of the Week: Occupy OaklandOctober 26th, 2011
For the courage to peacefully assemble and share their political beliefs in the face of police violence and brutality, we award the demonstrators of Occupy Oakland the title of Rebel of the Week, and that includes our own Silver Underground contributor Davi Barker, who has been posting first person reports from the Occupy events in and around San Francisco, including Oakland.
We know not all of the protesters at Occupy Oakland are explicit supporters of sound money policy or opponents of central banking and its machinations, in fact, after spending a lot of time with the protesters, Davi reports to us that:
“It didn’t take more than a few nights at OccupySF to realize that the core group of Occupiers were deeply committed young socialists, communists and social anarchists, even more so at Occupy Oakland.”
But regardless of our political differences, we cannot help but honor these individuals for their tenacity, boldness, and courage after the police raid that took place in the early morning hours this Tuesday. A republic can only benefit from the willingness of its citizenry to peacefully engage each other in the public square, discussing the most controversial and urgent matters of the day, and carrying their civic duty to the point of withstanding the brutal blow of batons, sound grenades, tear gas, and even rubber bullets.
As I reported in a summary of the police raid at the California Independent Voter Network:
“Occupy Oakland protesters in a tent city at Frank H. Ogawa Plaza woke up with a start early Tuesday morning as hundreds of Oakland police surrounded the encampment, dressed in riot gear, and used tear gas, rubber bullets, and flash grenades to forcibly evict the hundreds of protesters there.
Protesters report that there were at least 500 police and that many of them came from departments of neighboring areas. The police used loudspeakers to warn the protesters that chemical agents would be used to disperse them if they did not leave the area immediately. Following the warnings, police moved in on the camp in full riot gear to disperse the protesters by force.”
What makes the excessive use of force against these political demonstrators so egregious is the fact that Oakland mayor Jean Quan had actually given them permission to camp out in the plaza where they’ve been for two weeks now, suspending the law that would typically prohibit such a gathering and saying that sometimes “democracy is messy.” With the special reprieve from the mayor, the protesters can hardly be accused of an unlawful gathering, and it’s difficult for any observer, whether or not they agree with Occupy Oakland’s politics, to not sympathize with the peaceful gathering of people who thought they had permission to be there, especially as they woke up early in the morning, tired and confused, to the sounds of 500 militarized police marching on them, demanding that they disperse or breathe tear gas.