Occupy: The Fall of the Oakland Commune

Williams, Kristian
Date Written:  2017-11-29
Publisher:  Toward Freedom
Year Published:  2017
Resource Type:  Article
Cx Number:  CX21838

For many people, the Occupy movement was an initiation into radical politics, an experiment in decentralized and nonhierarchical movement-building, and a glimpse at the possibility for a new kind of society. Yet the whole thing was over in just a few weeks -- a crisis quieted, a moment of hope extinguished.



In his book When Riot Cops are Not Enough, sociologist Mike King tries to answer that question, treating one of the most militant and long-lived camps, that of Occupy Oakland, as a case study.

As the title suggests, police repression is part of the story -- but only one part. The Occupy encampments were subject to continuous surveillance, periodic harassment, and occasional violence. Yet the effect of these tough tactics was not what the people with power desired. Police violence pushed Occupy Wall Street into the headlines, it spread the Occupy model, it sparked a national debate about economic inequality, and it shifted public sympathy toward the protest movement. Yet a few weeks later, similar tactics would be employed in nationally - coordinated raids, permanently closing down the camps and producing relatively little public outcry.

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