Occupy the Message

The protest violence in Oakland on Saturday, January 29 was the last straw for me.  I’ve had it with the impostors in Oakland spoiling the Occupy Movement’s message of economic injustice that millions of people identify with.  Mayor Quan should use every opportunity to remove their costumes.  Halloween is over.

These pseudo-lefties are wandering around Oakland looking for someplace to “occupy” and, in the process, zeroing-in on targets that have nothing to do with the country’s economic inequalities.  In fact, they have settled on making municipal government—its buildings, its mayor, and law enforcement—their symbol of the 1% they want to attack.  One protester claimed that police instigated Saturday’s violence because they wouldn’t let the “occupiers” take over the closed Kaiser convention center.  Another protester used the movement as a vehicle to recall Mayor Quan.

It’s ironic that a mayor who came into office through community outreach and instant runoff voting—a fundamental change in the status quo that big money deplores—is being given so much grief.

Mayor Quan needs to position herself as a leader and supporter of the aspirations of the Occupy Wall Street Movement if she wants to gain widespread support.  In a series of press conferences and through policy initiatives, she should use her office to rally other leaders in the East Bay, including Alameda, who are outspoken on economic justice issues.  It’s time to marginalize the impostors who are actually helping to maintain the 1%’s disproportionate power and influence.

Many Alamedans stood in solidarity with the national movement.  We rallied and marched peacefully in October and November, 2011, and encouraged people to move their money to community banks and credit unions.  Berkeley just voted to move its money to a community bank.  Organized groups around the country are trying to influence lawmakers to make the system fairer, such as declaring that corporations are not people, charging a fee for stock trading, reinstituting better financial regulations, and making the rich pay higher taxes.

All those who care about this movement for economic justice need to criticize and marginalize the group in Oakland who claims to be part of the 99% movement.

Mayor Quan has a grand opportunity to get “on message.”  It’s time for her to occupy the occupy message.  Whether she does so remains to be seen, but if she does, the 99% will be forever grateful, regardless of where we live.

Originally published in Alameda Sun.

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