Police Violence at Occupy Oakland and its Lessons

This original article by Toilers’ Struggle’s author is being republished as part of the reorganization process. 

The Occupy Movement has continued to spread across the globe and captivate the attention of millions. In the wake of its skyrocketing growth, more and more fundamental absolutes of political and social reality are being exposed in the day to day progression of the struggle between the 99% and the 1%. For the longer the protests continue, the more explicitly clear it becomes who the 99% is, and who the 1% is . And no other Occupy has revealed these truthful realities in such a painful manner as Occupy Oakland.

On Tuesday, October 25th, those who claimed that the police were “on our side” and part of the 99% learned how wrong they were the hard way, as Oakland police, unprovoked, brutally attacked protesters gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza. After firing volleys of tear gas and flash bang and concussion grenades, police stormed the rally and shot defenseless protesters with rubber bullets as they ravaged the campsite.

Violent chaos ensued as police continued to beat, drag away, and arrest everyone they could grab.

Protesters were forced to flee the area for safety from the malicious attack.

But later that night protesters regrouped to take back their ground from the police, only to be met by another storm of bullets and projectiles in which Scott Olsen, a two-tour Iraq War veteran, was shot in the head, left critically wounded with potential brain damage. Occupy protesters gathered around Olsen to protect him, but were dispersed by more smoke and tear gas grenades lobbed by police.

The actions of the police were “justified”, as city and police department officials later said, “because protesters are responsible for the deterioration of health and sanitation in public areas, committing vandalism, and interrupting economic activity.” And since the clash, numerous police accounts have attempted to “express apology” to protesters for “excessive violence used in the midst of confusion and uncertainty.” Yet, the deeds of the police have drowned out their petty excuses.

Now all over the nation cries of “Solidarity with Scott Olsen” and “I am Scott Olsen – I am the 99%” are heard at every protest, and Occupy Oakland protesters have set the correct example of how to fight back with adamant resiliency in their mass demonstrations and call for a general strike.

It is an undeniable reality that police repression of the Occupy Movement has been in existence since the very beginning, and that the tragedy at Occupy Oakland was just another cruel reminder.  Yet, this tragedy has opened the doors for positive development in the Occupy Movement by bringing attention to the socio-political position of the police, a burning question that has surfaced again and again in the movement, and by inspiring further, more mature steps to be taken in the fight against the ruthless 1%.  We know now that the 1% have no problem violently repressing our right to assembly, and thus the more they work to stop us, the harder we must fight back. Everywhere we must deploy organized resistance against the police in their attempts to disperse and harm us, and take our struggle to the next level wherever they take theirs, by upping the ante to mass demonstrations and strikes where we can hit the bosses right at the heart of their system: the workplace.

Organize to defend our demonstrations- the police of the 1% aren’t here to protect us!

Solidarity with Olsen and Oakland!

November 3, 2011


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