Following the work of Occupy Wall Street and Occupy SF, hundreds of protesters angry about the disparity between the rich and the poor convened at Frank Ogawa Plaza in Oakland on Monday. The plan at this point is to set up a tent city like the one in San Francisco shuttered by SFPD. And do stuff like this. According to the Occupy Oakland site, here is the official mission statement:
We are reclaiming public space to use as a forum for the people to come together, meet one another, listen to each other, and build power for ourselves. Occupy Oakland is more than just a speak-out or a camp out. The purpose of our gathering here is to plan actions, to mobilize real resistance, to defend ourselves from the economic and physical war that is being waged against our communities.
We look forward to making this occupation a space that is welcoming and inclusive of the diverse communities of Oakland (and the bay area). We will acknowledge and learn from each other’s histories of struggle. And we commit to challenging oppressive ideas, behaviors, and politics, even - or especially - when they come from ourselves or our comrades.
However, according to Bay Citizen, the protest and its message (like the overall Occupy movement) is a bit vague.
Like the Occupy movement at-large, the Oakland protest seemed to lack a cohesive message. The one that appeared to resonate most with the diverse crowd was, “We are the 99 percent” -- essentially a statement that the protesters are among the vast majority of Americans cut off from an economic system that allows 1 percent of the people to control most of the nation's wealth.
Also, Occupy Oakland spokespeople, if you will, weren't allow to speak with reporters.
The apparent weaknesses of this system were on display. Members of a working group tasked with reaching out to the press were present were not allowed to talk to reporters. The reason, according to organizers, was that Occupy Oakland was unable to agree on a common message or purpose.
For their part, Occupy Oakland explained their seemingly anti-press stance, saying:
This occupation is a beginning, and we have a long way to go. And while we have much in common, we believe the people are stronger united behind many banners, rather than a single one. We want to make it very clear that Occupy Oakland is not putting forward leaders, tactical or strategic directives, or a uniform message or political platform.
Interested participants are asked to meet at Revolution Cafe on Saturday, October 15, to discuss an agenda?
In national news, the Occupy movement has spread to cities like Washington DC, Atlanta, and Seattle. Right-wing zealots, for their part, have started "We Are the 53%," a trite response helmed by CNN's Erick Erickson.