In the aftermath of Occupy Oakland’s Historic General Strike and shut down of the Port of Oakland, there’s been a lot of talk about ‘violence’ and its varied and nuance definitions and property damage and whether or not its an appropriate tactic at protests and demonstrations..
During the day of the November 2 General Strike there were a number of marches that were designed to fan out into neighboring communities, bring attention to the strike and ideally get big banks to close their doors. One of the those marches was deemed the March Against Capitalism. Here you see folks donning Black masks and scarfs spray painting and tearing up a Whole Foods Grocery Store as well as a few nearby banks..
Those in support of the march and this activity say we shouldn’t get upset over property damage. We should be more upset with the damage/ violence the banks and big businesses have done on the average everyday person..
Banks can easily get their windows repaired, but can we easily get our economy that they destroyed by them repaired. In short the banks and big financial institutions are violent with us everyday… They refer to the people attempting to stop the destruction of property as ‘Peace Police‘ as they note that sometimes a broken windows are needed to shake things up make larger points.
Its also been argued that there’s no difference between violating the law by breaking windows vs those who decide they wanna take direct actions in violations of the law like stopping traffic in the middle of rush hour, setting up tents in the front of city hall or hanging a banner in a spot where no permission was granted. It boils down to what type of tactic one wants to use to get their point across…
It’s also been noted that those who believe in using these types of tactics have been apart of the Occupy Movement from day one…
With respect to the property damage done at Whole Foods.. It was said to be done because the management threatened to fire any of its employees who partook in the strike..That allegation was reported to have been denied.
Those in opposition say that these types of tactics take away from the overall message of a demonstration especially if you are trying to win public support to a particular cause..
In addition there is a concern that these types of tactics bring about unwarranted crack downs by the police where folks who have nothing to do with the destructive activity get swooped up.
The other nagging question is why destroy anything in a struggling city like Oakland? Why not bring this tactic on the doorsteps of the 1% in more affluent areas like a Walnut Creek? Aptos? or nearby Piedmont? Why attach this to a march where the majority of folks aren’t embracing or willing to participate in such activity?
Peep the video below and give us your thoughts…Is this type of activity ever appropriate? Is there a difference between what was done with Whole Foods and the banks at these protestors in Oakland vs when we saw banks burning in Greece during their economic crises and many of us cheered? Did we view the unrest differently in places like London or France over police shootings vs the confrontations we witnessed last week after the General Strike in Oakland? Where do we draw the line?
For additional perspective on this you can peep the following article;