MR Transcript – Michael Moore at Occupy Oakland

MEDIA ROOTS— On Friday, October 28, 2011, filmmaker Michael Moore paid a visit to Occupy Oakland. He flew from Occupy Wall Street in New York to join in solidarity with the current epicentre of the Occupy Movement in the wake of the brutal police-state rioting on Tuesday night, which left 24-year-old Marine, Scott Olsen, in critical condition after being shot in the head by a projectile fired by an officer of the Alameda Sheriffs Department.

The Alameda County PD was just one of 17 police agencies involved in the coordinated, riot-gear-equipped, raids against Occupy Oakland.  In a press conference following the assaults, Oakland Police Chief Jordan has announced having taken unprovoked preemptive actions against the peaceful protesters, which left Olsen in critical condition, left others with broken bones, and terrorised the masses of Oakland with the tear gas laden shock-and-awe police-state tactics. 

Michael Moore calls attention to the militarisation of local police agencies, the courageousness of Occupy Oakland protesters to peacefully assemble in the face of police-state repression, and announces his hope of speaking with the beleaguered Oakland Mayor Jean Quan, who, at presstime, has had a “change of heart,” after authorising the police raids against Occupy Oakland and then conveniently skipping town.  Mayor Quan has announced her sincere (or insincere) support for Occupy Oakland’s call for a general strike November 2, 2011 in response to the police-state repression of Occupy Oakland’s First Amendment rights.

“We’re out there.  We’ve been watching.  Millions have watched it.  And millions have been inspired by you because the next night you didn’t go away!  You came back!!”  – Michael Moore

After his speech, Michael Moore made sure to speak with Pacifica Radio for a 15-minute interview (full transcript below).  Moore spoke in-depth with Hard Knock Radio’s Davey D and Flashpoints’ Dennis Bernstein about a range of topics, including Occupy Oakland, Mayor Jean Quan, the militarisation of local police agencies, the brutal projectile-shooting of Scott Olsen (with testimony from an eyewitness account), and the importance of a general strike to the overall goals of the Occupy Movement spreading across the nation.

Messina

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Occupy Oakland Host:  “ Mic check one two.  Can everyone, even in the back, can hear me?”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!”

Host:  “Okay, great.  It’s my pleasure to introduce Michael Moore.”

Michael Moore:  “Greetings, Oakland!  Occupy Oakland!  Occupy Oakland!  Occupy Oakland!  Occupy everywhere!!  I, I am honoured to be here, to be part of this.  Uh, to the media who are present, uh, let me stress to you, this movement has no spokesperson.  Everyone here is a spokesperson.  Everyone here, everyone here has a story to tell.  There are people here who have no health insurance.  There are people here who do not have a job.  There are people here who are living in poverty.  There are people here who have jobs, but have been told to take less.  And I invite you to interview the thousands of other spokespeople who are here at Occupy Oakland.  Someone asked me, ‘Who is the leader of this organisation?’  [Guffaws]  And I said, ‘We are all the leaders!  Everyone here!’  We are all leaders.  And we are all followers.  We are all doing this together.  The media and the power establishment is having a hard time figuring this out.  So, be patient with them.  They are used to just a few people showing up with a few signs and then they go away and have a meeting in the basement of the Unitarian Church.  God bless the Unitarians, by the way.  Those in charge in this country and the media arm of Wall Street and corporate America were not prepared for this to be happening in hundreds, hundreds of cities across this country right now!  Hundreds!  And it has, it has happened with no leaders, no organisation, no dues pay, no dues to pay.  It’s happened organically from the grassroots, the true grassroots.  And in my lifetime, I have never seen a movement like this take hold this fast with this many people all across the country.  Thank you, everyone, all of us for doing this.  And there’s no turning back, is there?”

Crowd:  “No!!!”

Michael Moore:  “There’s no turning back!!”

Crowd:  “No!!!”

Michael Moore:  “I was at Occupy Wall Street last night, in Zuccotti Park, Liberty Plaza, and I am here to bring greetings from the original Occupy Wall Street.  Thank you, Oakland!  Thank you, Oakland!”

Audience Member (male):  “Power to the people!  Power to the people!”

Michael Moore:  “I said, I said, ‘What are we gonna do with winter coming?’  It was almost a freezing rain last night in New York City.  I said, ‘What are we gonna do with winter coming?’  And they said, ‘There’s two guys over there right now who have flown in from Occupy Anchorage.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “And they are here to consult with us on how to make it through the winter!”

Crowd:  [Laughs  Cheers]

Michael Moore:  “They said there’s even an ice company in New Jersey that has offered large blocks of ice to build igloos in Zuccotti Park.  The Mayor, and the Police, and Wall Street are hoping that the winter will kill the movement in the same way that they don’t understand that this is a leaderless organisation with tens of millions of spokespeople.  They also don’t understand that weather is not the problem facing us right now.  Climate change is facing us.  But the weather in New York City is not going to stop this incredible movement.  Let me just give you an idea, uh, because I’ve been travelling the country, what I’ve seen.  Uh, there’s a town about, maybe a hundred and fifty miles east of here called Grass Valley, California.  Are you familiar with it?”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!!”  [Cheers]

Michael Moore:  “Where the hell is Grass Valley, right?  No, I know where it is.  Nobody across the country knows Grass Valley.  And, of course, the media doesn’t know Grass Valley.  But last weekend, in Grass Valley, there were 400 people participating in Occupy Grass Valley.  400 people!  There’s, there’s only a few thousand people in the town.  Alright?  And, and everyone was there, old, young, out of work, people with work, the spread of American society is at each of these.  You could see it right now.   I can see it.  I am sitting here looking at the mosaic that this country is right now, right here in Oakland.  This is—”

Audience Member (male):  “Hey cameraman, turn around and take a picture.”

Michael Moore:  “We’ll get the cameras to turn around here, just a sec-, you know, I don’t understand it either.  I’ve wondered this for a long time.  Uh, and I’ve tried to explain to them that this is not what people want to be looking at while they’re eating dinner and watching the six o’clock news.  So, I’m sorry.  But I’m getting healthy.  And I’m now in my tenth month with no red meat.  [Guffaws]”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “And that will be the sound bite on the evening news.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Now, this is the first of these that I’ve spoken at where there’s an amplified sound system.  Um, what laws are we breaking here?”

 Audience Member (male):  “A lot.”

Michael Moore:  “A lot of laws?  [Chuckles]  Um—”

Audience Member (male):  “We set it up just for you!”

Michael Moore:  “Thank you!  Thank you.  Um, Mayor Quan is having a press conference right now.  Uh—”

Crowd:  “Boo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “—upstairs.  I sent her an email asking if we could, uh, speak, um, while I was here.  Uh, but I have to tell you the other night, uh, both Tuesday and Wednesday night, um, not being here and watching from afar, uh, what took place here, um, was really horrifying, uh, to see this in this country.  Um, it made, it made, it made the rest of the people in the United States aware of something that maybe many of you had been aware of for the last decade and that is the militarisation of our local police departments.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!  [Cheers  Applause]  Fuck the police!”

Michael Moore:  “The Congress is not allowed to tell the public how much is spent on Homeland Security, but these local police departments all across the country over the last ten years have sucked up, literally, billions of dollars to buy sophisticated equipment, to buy armaments that you use in a warzone—”

Crowd:  “Boo!”

Michael Moore:  “—to buy tanks, to set up spying systems.”

Audience Member (male):  “On our tax dollars.”

Michael Moore:  “Yes, we paid for this.  And, um, and to prepare for what they believe is the inevitable, which is the people, sooner or later, aren’t going to take it any longer.” 

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “Ten years—”

Audience Member (male):  “Don’t protect the corporations!!!”

Audience Member (male):  “Fuck them!”

Crowd:  “Shhh.  Shhh.”

Michael Moore:  “Ten years after 9/11, the majority of Americans realise who the real terrorists are.  They are the people who, who create policies and who do things that literally do kill people.  For instance, a Congressional Committee last month released these figures.  They wanted to find out how many Americans die every year because, simply from the fact, that they don’t have health insurance.  They didn’t go to the doctor ‘cos they didn’t have insurance.  Nearly 45,000 Americans die every year simply because they don’t have health insurance.  My friends, that is fifteen 9/11s every single year!  A system, a system that is set up to harm our own citizens!  A profit-making insurance system!  Who said that it is morally correct to make a profit off people when they get sick?  Do ya, how, how sick is that?  I can tell you—”

Audience Member (male):  “Neocolonialism!”

Michael Moore:  “How much money—”

Audience Member (male):  “Free America!”

Michael Moore:  “—has corporate America made from these two wars?  These two illegal, immoral wars?  How much have they made?  We are still spending over $2 billion dollars a week on these wars.  What could we do with that money if it was here in Oakland and Flint, Michigan and across the country?  Somebody asked me, coming in here, ‘Who organised this?’ 

Scattered Members of Crowd:  “We did!!”

Michael Moore:  “Who organised this?  I know, I know, I know you think we, the people, organised it, right.  [Laughs]  Where is Wells Fargo?  I just passed it on the street.  If you want to know who organised this, they organised it!  The people on Wall Street organised this!  Bank of America organised this!  ExxonMobil, BP organised this!  They did more by simply putting their boot on the necks of millions of Americans.  And like any human being, like any human being, how long can you keep a boot on your neck?”

Audience Member (male):  “Not one more second, we ain’t takin’ it no more!!!!”

Michael Moore:  “Not for one second with the boot on the neck.”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Audience Member (male):  “Go, ‘head, Mike.”

Audience Member (male):  “Oakland style, brotha.”

Michael Moore:  “[Laughs]  I know.  He said, ‘It’s Oakland style.  We’re doing this Oakland style.’”

Audience Member (male):  “Occupy!”

Michael Moore:  “Let me tell you something else I’ve discovered across the country.  Um, and that is, um, America, contrary to what maybe many here believe and the way it’s portrayed to us in the media, America is not a conservative country.  Most Americans are actually quite liberal in their beliefs.  They may not call themselves liberals, but if you look at any of the polls, the majority of Americans, come down on the liberal side of the issue on just about every single issue.  The majority of Americans are against these wars.  The majority of Americans want universal health care.  The majority of Americans believe women should be paid the same as men.  The majority of Americans—”

Audience Member (female):  “That’s because they are the majority!”

Michael Moore:  “—want stronger environmental laws, not weaker ones.”

Audience Member (male):  “School closures!  School closures!”

Michael Moore:  “And for the first time last month, in a poll that was taken, for the first time 54%, the majority of Americans, say they believe gay marriage should be the law of the land.”

Audience Member (male):  “…legalise marijuana!”

Michael Moore:  “That’s the country you live in.  That’s the, that’s the country you live in.  And I know to people in the Bay Area it may seem to get a little scary as you head toward Richmond.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Did I pick the right town?”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “I need another town.  What?  As you head towards Walnut Creek!”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!!”

Michael Moore:  “I was, I was just trying to remember BART stops.  Um.  Can I just put that down there?  (‘Yeah.  I got you.’)  Um, but as you go, as you go across this country you see that that’s the country you share, the people out there.  That’s why they’re int-, that’s why 72% last week said they believe taxes should be raised on the rich, 72%.  So—“ 

Crowd:  “Whoo!”

Michael Moore:  “So, to the media who are here, um, this is a few thousand people.  But everybody here represents a few thousand more, or a few ten thousand more, everybody here.  That’s how large this is.  That’s why it can’t be stopped.  Too many people have been thrown out of their homes.  Too many people have had their schools decimated to where their kids aren’t getting a proper education.”

Audience Member (male):  “Five schools are being shut down in Oakland!”

Michael Moore:  “We now live in a country with 40 million adults who are functional illiterates.  How did that happen?”

Audience Member (male):  “We’re being oppressed!”

Michael Moore:  “It benefits, it benefits those in charge to have an ignorant population.  To have a population with 40 million people in it that cannot read and write above a fourth-grade level.  Who benefits from that?  It’s like they’ve set up the schools now to make sure that you can operate the cash register at McDonald’s and you know how to greet someone in a sentence with a noun and a verb in it as they come into Walmart.  Let me tell you, let me tell ya who does know that this, that the people of this country have had it and that there’s a very progressive thread and vein going through this country right now.  That’s the other side, Wall Street, corporate America, the right-wing, they know, they know this is a liberal country!  All you have to do is turn on talk radio or Fox News, they’re so angry, they’re so angry aren’t they?  Let me ask you this.  If this was a conservative, right-wing country, wouldn’t, if you turned on Fox News every night, wouldn’t they just be, ‘Yip-a-dee-do-da, Yip-a-dee-day?’  They’re not that way, are they?  They’re like, ‘Aargh!’  Every night, it’s ‘Raargh!  Raargh!’  They’re, they’re just, they, there’s a reason why they wanna suppress the vote next year.  There’s a reason why they’re passing laws throughout the country to make it harder for poor people, for senior citizens, for people of colour to vote.  There’s a reason they’re doing that.  What’s the reason?  They know, they know, no, it’s very simple, they can do math.  They know they’re in the minority.  They know they’re in the minority.  Otherwise, really, why would you wanna suppress the vote if you thought America agreed with you?  You wouldn’t do that, would you?  No!  If you believed, if you believed that America was with you, you’d be setting up voting booths in every aisle of every Walmart all across the country!”

Crowd:  “Whoo!”

Michael Moore:  “That’s not what they’re doing.  Um, I also want to tell you, especially those of you who have been camping out here, um, thank you for doing that.  You are better; you are better men and women than I am.  Give me another year without the red meat.  ‘Wait, we’ve got our second sound bite.’  Um, but watching the other night, um, [long pause] Scott Olsen.”

Crowd:  [Applause]

Michael Moore:  “It is absolutely criminal that this young man was willing to go and risk his life in a war that he, once over there, didn’t agree with, that he would risk his life like this and the only place he had to worry about was here in his own country, in Oakland, California.  Um, I think, um, well one thing we can do for the media who are here is to let them know that we are all Scott Olsen.  We are all with Scott Olsen!  And we are all Scott Olsens!  And we will not tolerate our fellow citizens being treated that way by the people that we fund with our tax dollars.  I don’t, I don’t pay people, I don’t pay people to take a gun, or a tear gas gun and point it at me and hit me in the head with their ammunition or their tear gas canister.  That would be as crazy as me coming up to you right now and saying to you, ‘Oh, by the way, would you just punch me in the face?’  Why would I do that?  Um, I think all of us want to send our best wishes, our prayers, our good karma, everything that we could muster to Scott, so that he is better and well.  And, yeah, and I think, I think that, uh, let’s have 30 seconds of silence in honour of Scott Olsen and our hope that he will recover quickly from his injuries.  Um, I’m goin’ on too long here and, uh, I—”

Crowd:  “Nah!!!”

Michael Moore:  “Well, well, yeah, but.  No, no, but I—”

Audience Member (male):  “You gotta get to Richmond!”

Michael Moore:  “I know.  Now that I’ve, now that I’ve singled out Richmond, I’m going to have to go and participate in Occupy Richmond.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!”

Michael Moore:  “Or Walnut Creek.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Walnut Creek is where we need to be, right?  Isn’t that where the money is?  Alright.”

Crowd:  [Scattered shouts and appeals]

Audience Member (male):  “What would you tell Mayor Quan if you could talk to her?”

Michael Moore:  “Um, I, I, I understand that Mayor Quan is, uh, she’s finishing up her press conference.”

Crowd:  “Boo!”

Michael Moore:  “And I am gonna try and, uh, see if I can, uh, talk to her.  Uh, you know, I saw her—”

Audience Member (female):  “Shes gotta come out here and talk to us!”

Michael Moore:  “I’m sorry, I’m sorry that when she came yesterday to talk that she didn’t wait to speak at the General Assembly because I, I think—”

Audience Member (female):  “Let her speak.”

Michael Moore:  “— the, uh—”

Audience Member (female):  “She tried to.”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “No, she didn’t.  She left.”

Michael Moore:  “Well, there’s a, there’s a process, we’re not in a General Assembly right now.  But there’s a process at the General Assembly—”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “Be correct.  That’s right.  That’s right.  [Pats Michael Moore on the shoulder]

Michael Moore:  “—where you sign up to speak and we’re all equals.  And so—”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “That’s right!  Whoo!” 

Audience Member (male, standing behind Michael Moore):  “And she didn’t wanna wait in line.”

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “No, she didn’t.”

Michael Moore:  “—when I’ve, when I’ve been down, you know, I’ve been at New York, so I’ve been at Occupy Wall Street and if I’m number 17 to speak, I’m number 17 to speak.  And it doesn’t matter if I’m Michael Moore or Michael Schmoe.  You know.  It doesn’t, and, and it’s the spirit, that’s why this movement has built because it is a movement of equals.  Everybody has something to give to this.  We’re all in this together.  We’re gonna sink or swim together.  That’s our choice right now.”

Audience Member (female):  “The media is a propaganda control.  The media is a propaganda control.”

Michael Moore:  “When, when they, when I was there last night, somebody asked one of the people in the media tent, ‘What are the goals?  What are you trying to accomplish?’  And he said, well, he said, ‘Our mission is in our name, Occupy Wall Street,’ and then he said, ‘Period.’  I thought about that for a second.  Occupy Wall Street, period.  In other words, it isn’t just about these encampments; it’s that we’re not stopping until we, the people, occupy our economy that runs this country!  This is our economy!  It’s our country!  We’re the ones that have a say.”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “And, and when somebody says to me, ‘Well,’ you know, ‘What’s the goal?  What’s the end-game?’  And I say, ‘Well, let me tell you somethin’ first of all, we’ve already had a number of victories in our first six weeks.  And let’s acknowledge those victories.  Alright?  Number one, number one, we have killed despair across the country.  The despair that people were feeling, that despair is dissipating right now.  This movement has killed apathy.  People have got up off the sofa!  They’ve turned off Dancing with the Stars!  And they’re out in the streets!”

Crowd:  “Whoo!!  Yeah!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “This is a victory!  There’s something very important we’ve done.  Six weeks ago, what was all the media talking about?  All the politicians in Washington?  All the pundits?  What was the, what was the national discussion that we weren’t part of that they determined?  What were they talking about?  The debt ceiling.  The debt!  The debt ceiling!!  The deficit!  We gotta reduce the deficit!!  We gotta reduce the deficit!!  Over and over and over all summer long!  The debt ceiling!  The deficit!  The debt ceiling!  The deficit!  Can I ask you, honestly?  When’s the last time in the last few weeks you heard them talkin’ about the debt ceiling?  Or the deficit?  This movement has shook down that bullshit discussion.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!!  Whoo!!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “That is a huge victory.  You have altered the national discussion.  You have altered it!  This is what people are talking about in every town and city and village across America.  Occupy Oakland!!  Occupy New York!!  Occupy San Francisco!!  Occupy Grass Valley!!  Occupy Walnut Creek!!  Occupy Flint, Michigan!!” 

Audience Member (male, standing next to Michael Moore):  “Occupy the world!!”

Michael Moore:  “Occupy everywhere!!!  This is the discussion we’re gonna have!!!  And we’re not ceding the discussion to anybody else!!!”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “So, in conclusion, in conclusion, um, I am—”

Audience Member (male):  “Move your seat!”

Michael Moore:  “—did you just yell at a disabled guy to move his cane?”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “They told me there were plants here from the police.  Plain-clothes, plain-clothes officer, let me just remind you, when you yell too loud at a disabled person, ‘Put down the cane,’ we know who you are.  But welcome!  Welcome!  Because police officers, you’re part of the 99%, too!  They’ll be coming after you!  They’ll be coming after you and your home and your health care and your children.  There’s a number of towns, there’s a number of towns across this country, there’s a number of towns across this country that are behaving differently than Oakland.  There are police departments and police unions, hang on, there are police departments and police unions across the country supporting the Occupy movements in their towns.  Albany, New York, a beautiful example, the Governor told them to remove the people and the police said, ‘We don’t consider that part of police work.’”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “So, the police do have a choice, even in Oakland.  It’s still America, Oakland P.D.  It’s a free country.  You can join us.  You can join us.  You don’t have to join them.  You don’t have to be here defending Wells Fargo and Bank of America and BP and everybody else!  You can stand up for yourselves and everybody else!  Alright.  Um, so, please keep this alive here.  I know there’s gonna be a lot of snow this winter.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Audience Member (male):  “Not here!”

Michael Moore:  “I wanna say one more thing about something I saw last week.  Pete Seeger was, he had a conferen-, he did a concert up on the corner, it was up in a theatre, and Arlo and Tom Chapin and a few others.  Um, he did a concert up at the corner of 95th and Broadway at Symphony Space in New York.  And afterwards, they decided to march from Symphony Space down to Columbus Circle.  That’s 36 blocks.  Pete is 92 years old on, on two canes.  On two canes he walked the entire way.” 

Crowd:  [Applause]

Michael Moore:  “And when we got to Columbus Circle and he was leading everyone, thousands of people, singing ‘This Land is Your Land.’  And he looked over and there were two New York City policemen singing along.”

Audience Member (male):  “Fuck the police!”

Audience Member (male, with foreign accent):  “Fuck the police!”

Michael Moore:  “Um, right—[Michael Moore passes the microphone to man behind him:  “There’s good and bad police just like there’s good and bad people.]

Audience Member (male):  “Hey, you tell that to the SWAT team!?”

Crowd:  [Applause]

Michael Moore:  “We are stronger than any rubber bullet or bean bag or tear gas canister.  There’s too many of us.  And what are they defending in the first place?  A broken system in a country that has benefited the few at the expense of the many.  The time for that to end is right now.  And when the history of this—”

Background:  [A blast is heard in the distance, as Michael Moore flinches and turns around]

Audience Member (male):  “There go yo’ police right there.”

Michael Moore:  “—when the history—”

Audience Member:  “We’re from Oakland!”

Michael Moore:  “[Laughs]  You know how sad it is?  He says, ‘We’re from Oakland we’re used to that.’”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “You shouldn’t be used to it.  You know if you lived in any of the Weste-, other democracies, the one to the north of us, you know, you would never say a statement like that, ‘Oh, we’re used to that.’  You know, other people in other countries have decided to organise themselves differently.  We can do that, too.  And, don’t worry.  For those of you who aren’t quite sure, who may just have stopped by to see this today and you’re wondering, ‘Yeah, but where’s this goin?’  Or, ‘I need to know more.  I gotta figure this out.’  Don’t, don’t approach this like other movements from the past.  Don’t approach it like a term paper.  Um, just join in because the group itself, something will come out of this and it will be good.  It will be good and generous to each other.  So, everybody’s gotta come into this on some level.  And we could make this happen.  So, I just, the thing I want to say, before the, uh, sound effects truck, um, was that when the history of this movement, uh, is written about these first few weeks where—”

Audience Member (male):  “Or filmed.”

Michael Moore:  “No, it’s not going to fail.”

Crowd:  “No, filmed.”

Michael Moore:  “The what?”

Audience Member (female):  “Just let him talk.”

Michael Moore:  “What film?  Oh, or filmed?  Yes.”

Crowd:  [Laughs]

Michael Moore:  “Yeah.  Are you making a film?  No, I’m not mak-, no, no, no, no.  No way.  No.  No, no.  I’m sorry.”

Crowd:  “[Applause]  Whoo!”

Michael Moore:  “I’m here as a citizen.  By the way, haven’t I made those films?  I was, uh—”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “I’ll tell you what I’m happy about and I have been a bit giddy and overjoyed these past few weeks because at the end of my last film I was pretty dejected, uh, if you did happen to see it.  And I, and I didn’t, and I said at the end of the film as I was wrappin’ the crime scene tape around the New York Stock Exchange, um, that, uh, I just, really, I don’t know if I could keep doing this.  I don’t know if I wanna make another film ‘cos I keep making these films and it’s, you know, you wonder when’s this gonna happen?  When’s this gonna happen?  And I said at the end of the film, ‘Let me know, audience, or people, when you wanna, when you wanna do something and I’ll do it with you.’  Um because, um, it, uh, it’s a little rough being the poster boy on Rush Limbaugh or Fox News, uh, everyday.  And they can get away with it when it’s just the Michael Moore and Naomi Klein or even a number of great people that have been busy on this issue for many years.  Um, but when there are a million Naomi Kleins or ten million Michael Moores they won’t know what the eff to do.”

Crowd:  “Yeah!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “So, and that’s why they’re confused right now.  So, when the history of this movement is written this week in Oakland, California will go down as a watershed moment.  People, people across America were disgusted by what they saw here, when average Americans trying to stand up and peacefully assemble, to be brutally savaged and attacked by the police department that they pay for!  That, that, let me tell you, the footage, you’re here.  Okay?  You’re here.  We’re out there.  We’ve been watching.  Millions have watched it.  And millions have been inspired by you because the next night you didn’t go away!  You came back!!”

Crowd:  “Yay!!  Whoo!!  [Applause]”

Michael Moore:  “You came back!!  You were supposed to go away!!!  You were supposed to go away!!!  What are you still doing here??!!  And then you came back today!!!  And you’ll be here tomorrow!!!  And I’ll be with you!!!  Thank you very much!!!  Occupy Oakland, thank you!!!!

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Following his speech to the Occupy Oakland crowd, Michael Moore made some comments to the press.  Abby Martin of Media Roots was there to capture a minute with the filmmaker.

Michael Moore on Mayor Jean Quan’s resignation and his support for Obama.

***

MICHAEL MOORE THEN MAKES HIS WAY TO PACIFICA’S HARD KNOCK RADIO

Davey D:  “Well, right now we just heard the speech from Michael Moore.  We’re gonna try and catch him, as he’s movin’ over here.” 

[Organisers deliberate] 

Davey D:  “For Pacifica.  Michael—”

[Michael Moore moves through the crush-and-rush of the crowd at Occupy Oakland] 

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Go ahead, give him some room.”]

Davey D:  “Michael!  (Hey, wussup, boss.)  Michael, what do you wanna say to the Pacifica audience right now?”

Michael Moore (circa 11:09 or 16:11 PDT):  “I wish everybody, I wish everybody here, listening to this, could be here.  This is an incredible moment.  It’s an incredible movement.  And I am just overwhelmed and overjoyed.”

Davey D:  “Um, last thing, where are you gonna go next?”

Michael Moore:  “San Francisco tomorrow, then later this week, we’ll go to Portland, Denver, Houston, across the country.”

Davey D:  “Are you surprised at how resilient people in Oakland were?”

Michael Moore:  “This is an incredible moment that’s happening.  And this is an incredible movement.  And it’s amazing.  And it’s only going to spread.”

Unidentified Establishment Journalist:  “What’s your plan now?  Are you trying to meet with the Mayor?”

Michael Moore:  “Yes, I’m gonna, well, I emailed and I don’t want to interrupt her press conference.  So, I’m gonna see if she’ll talk to me later tonight, maybe tomorrow.  I’ll be here.”

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Let the man through.  Let the man through.”]

Michael Moore:  “Um, you know, I’m gonna trust that she has a good heart.  I’m hoping that she does.”  

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Let the man through.  Back up.”]

Davey D:  “So, there you have it.  Michael Moore, looking like he’s gettin’ ready to head towards City Hall.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “This is Dennis here with Davey D.  It’s a bit of a crush and a rush here, but hundreds of people just stood here, Michael Moore.  If you’re listening to the broadcast, uh, you can understand that there are hundreds of people here in Frank Ogawa Plaza [renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by Occupy Oakland] following Michael out.  And we wanna see if we can come around the other edge and see what’s going on.”

[Organisers, to the crowd:  “Get back.”]

Dennis Bernstein:  “  …  And I can tell you that is a very excited crowd.  And they are, hundreds of people, are following Michael Moore, uh, down the walkway, out of the park, he’s on his way to City Hall.  And we’re gonna have to leave it right there for now.  This is Dennis Bernstein and we will, sort of, sit ourselves down at our [KPFA/Pacifica Radio] table, our KPFA table here.  And it is an extraordinary scene here in Frank Ogawa Plaza [renamed Oscar Grant Plaza by Occupy Oakland], as I said, I don’t know how many people do you think were here?”

Anita Johnson:  “Well, we’re looking at maybe, what, based on, based on the crowds, I would say hundreds, maybe even a thousand people that have gathered here today.”

[KPFA/Pacifica speaks with various people at Occupy Oakland following Michael Moore’s speech]

 

MICHAEL MOORE RETURNS TO THE KPFA/PACIFICA RADIO TABLE AFTER DOING THE ROUNDS

Dennis Bernstein (circa 39:00 or 16:39 PDT):  “Michael Moore, welcome.”

Michael Moore:  “Sorry about that, they just kind of, uh, lifted me over the crowd.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Not a problem.  We appreciate you coming down and spending the time.  Last time when you just spoke here about a half-hour ago, there were no helicopters.  Now, there are about four circling around over head.  This is, sort of, the, uh, a regular part of the operation, so I think maybe they’re here to cheer for you as well.  I wanna say, here with Davey D—”

Michael Moore:  “They’re up, they’re up in the sky.  They’re part of the Occupy Helicopter Movement.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “I’m here, with Davey D—”

Michael Moore:  “This thing is not only happening on Earth.  It’s also happening up in the, uh, atmosphere.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “In space, on land, sea, space.  Um, the Mayor of Oakland said an amazing thing the other day.  The Mayor of Oakland said that 99% of the police were attacked, [‘took a lot of abuse’], she used that 99% [terminology].  Now, Davey, knows.  He was at the press conference when the [Oakland] Police Chief [Jordan] admitted that they actually opened fired on the demonstrators.”

Davey D:  “Not even on the demonstrators, they were asleep, to, to catch him off guard.  But with that being said, I guess, um, first of all, how do you feel about those types of remarks?  And are you seeing this type of pattern everywhere, you know, in New York and other places with this militarised, um, brutal police tactics against ordinary folks?” 

Michael Moore:  “I think, uh, one thing that Oakland has got a lot of people talking about across the country, is how since 9/11, um, untold billions of dollars have been spent on so-called Homeland Security.  We don’t know how much because, by law, they don’t have to tell us how much.  But what we do know is that local police forces across the country have applied for, and received, an enormous amount of money to buy armaments, tanks, uh, um, spying apparatuses, equipment, things we don’t even know about.  Um, and it is, on some level, frightening, uh, that we have allowed this to get out of hand.  And they’ve all done it under the guise of 9/11.  You know, I, I, if I had had a loved one die that day.  And I did have a friend in one of the planes, one of the, the plane from Boston was a producer we worked with.  Um, the fact that he and the others who died, their deaths, their names have been used to create so much harm, um, across, of the country, it’s really disgusting.”

Davey D:  “Definitely.  You know, what about the whole thing with New York?  You have the white-shirts police that are now being paid—”

Michael Moore:  “M-hm.”

Davey D:  “—by Wall Street financial banks and institutions—”

Michael Moore:  “Right.”

Davey D:  “—we’re seeing a privatisation of police—“

Michael Moore:  “Yes.”

Davey D:  “—and do you see that maybe spreading, going to, uh, other cities.”

Michael Moore:  “No, actually, well, uh, it has spread.  But the spreading has stopped, is gonna stop because this movement is growing so fast, so wide, so far, um, it is amazing.  If, and I’ve had the good fortune of being able to travel the country in the last few weeks, so I have seen it with my own eyes.  It would blow your mind if you just got on a bus now or got in a car and just drove across the l-, the smallest of towns having little Occupy Movements.  There’s a little town where I live called Niles [in Michigan], there’s only like 10,000 or 11,000 people who live there.  They’ve got a hundred people camping out there, demonstrating in Occupy Niles.  Now, a hundred may not seem a lot here in Oakland.  But a hundred is one percent of the population there.  If one percent of America showed up on the National Mall to a demonstration that would be over three million people.  So, a hundred people in Niles is the equivalent of three million people showing up for a national demonstration on the mall there in D.C.  Now, that’s never happened.”

Davey D:  “Right.”

Michael Moore (circa 42:54 or 16:42 PDT):  “Uh, just to give you an idea.  And, again, there’s nobody organising at Niles.  Uh, there’s no, uh, uh, national organisation that the belong to, they don’t pay dues.  There’s no leaders, uh, it is just happening organically.  And it is just, it is an amazing thing to see.  It has, it has lifted my spirits.  Uh, it almost feels like drugs.  If I knew what drugs felt like.”

Davey D:  “Boots, Boots Riley [of The Coup, Street Sweeper Social Club, and long-time Oakland-based activist] just hit me up and he wants me to, uh, talk to you about some sanitation workers and for you to accompany him tomorrow, if you’re in town.  But, also, the other thing that Boots is reminding us of is that there’s a general strike going on in Oakland next Wednesday [11/2/11].  And then on the 5th, I guess there’s a national effort for people to start switching banks.  Your thoughts on that, the fact that the City of Oakland is calling for a national strike.”

Michael Moore:  “I think that’s great.  Ultimately, you know, that’s what’s gonna have to happen.  Ultimately, people are just gonna have to say, ‘Sorry, we’re not participating in this system any longer.  We’re, I, we are no longer cogs in this wheel.  We are, we are resigning from that.’  And I think that, you know, I think, eventually, this is one of the things that will happen.  Um, and I don’t know when it’s gonna happen.  I don’t know how it’s gonna happen, but—”

Davey D:  “Well, I know for us [in Oakland], next Wednesday we—”

Michael Moore:  “Sounds like in Oakland here, it’s gonna start here—”

Sellasie:  “It’s goin’ on right now.”

Michael Moore:  “—on Wednesday”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Michael Moore, Dennis Bernstein here, with Davey D, a special on Pacifica Radio, KPFA.  Can I ask you, what was your gut reaction when you heard, uh, this young, really very peaceful vet, Scott Olsen, was hit hard at close range and, uh, sent to the hospital in critical condition by a police action, in which 17 police departments were sent to arrest a hundred sleeping people, with children, in the camp?  What’s your response to that kind of violence?”

Michael Moore:  “Well, at the level, at that level, obviously, apalling.  But, it, it’s not just me.  I mean, they, they, again, overplayed their hand, just like Wall Street has overplayed their greed hand, the police here overplayed their brutal fascistic hand because people, all kinds of people, across the country saw what happened here in Oakland.”

Sellasie:  “They did.”

Michael Moore:  “And were horrified by it.  Nobody wants to live in that country.  Nobody wants to, to see the police, that they pay taxes for, do this to fellow citizens.  Uh, I mean, um, I think it, it, what happened here, I’m, I  feel really bad for the harm that happened to those that were injured, and certainly to Scott Olsen, who is sitting in a hospital here, um, who’s gonna probably take a long time for him to go back to being normal, if ever.  Um, I just think about two, you know, these kids that, uh, you know, he and his roommate were, or his roommate was talking on the TV the other night about how when they were both in Iraq, they turned against the war.  They saw first hand how wrong this war was.  And, um, that’s a very brave thing to do when you’re a soldier, when you’re in the war zone and you become anti-war.”

Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “Um, man, that’s, um, and, it, it’s already, you know, to be a soldier, first of all, in a volunteer army, um, the implication is, is that if you sign up to go into the army, you’re basically saying, ‘I am willing to give my life, so that others can live.’”

Dennis Bernstein:  “That’s right.”

Michael Moore:  “Assuming, you know, if the military was actually used for what it should be used for, which is pure self-defence.”

Unidentified Man 1:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “Um, you’re willing to die.  What greater gift can a human give to another human, than to be willing to give their life for another?  So, that’s what these kids are.  And to have had two tours over there.  And to come back and want to tell his fellow Americans, ‘I’ve been there.  This war is wrong.’  That takes a lot of courage on top of the courage he already had.  And to find that the only people that were gonna harm him were the people here where he lived in Oakland, California.  And the difference between Oakland and Iraq, in terms of what Scott Olsen had to face, is this.  In Iraq, uh, there, you’re biggest threat driving down the road is in what they call an improvised explosive device, an IED.  Okay?  Scott Olsen is in the hospital tonight suffering from an un-improvised explosive device.  There was no improvisation going on.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Yes, that’s right.”

Michael Moore:  “This, these devices that were being fired are meant to control the people.  This is really what Homeland Security is about.  They’re not worried about Al Qaeda.  Al Qaeda is just a, it’s a joke right now.  Even our own, our own CIA says there’s only 50 Al Qaeda left in Afghanistan.  Okay?  Alright, this is the bogeyman.  That’s the bogeyman that they want to create to try and get everybody afraid, so that everybody will back a huge military budget and the militarisation of the police forces.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “17 police forces, 17 in the [S.F.] Bay Area.  But we don’t know who shot Scott Olsen because they’re all wearing the same uniform.”

Sellasie:  “I remember.”

Davey D:  “Well, they’re saying now it’s the Alameda Sheriffs that did.”

Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “Well, you know—”

 Sellasie:  “I remember what he looked like.  I was on the front line.”

Michael Moore:  “Yeah.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “But they were all wearing Federal equipment.”

Michael Moore:  “The officer in New York who put the pepper spray in those girls eyes.  They were able to find out who that was and he’s had to go through a suspension and now he’s been removed to Staten Island.  Um, they will find who did this.”

 Sellasie:  “Scott was next to me and the other guy with the, with the hat that was the Marine.  And they hit him just a couple of minutes after we were all standing there.  You know what I’m saying?  ‘Cos we was there, it was goin’ down.  They shot three tear gas things.  Boom!  Then they waited like another 30 seconds.  Boom!  And then they did another one.  Boom!  It was crazy!  It was like we were in a war zone.  There was old women, there was, the media didn’t even report this!  There was people that were there—”

Michael Moore:  “There were children there.”

 Sellasie:  “—that couldn’t breathe!  I’m a little bit healthy, so I was able to run about three blocks up to 11th or 10th.  But it was people that was on the ground that was, aach, acch, that was to’ up!”

Michael Moore:  “Right.”

Davey D:  “And those are the stories that aren’t being told.”

Michael Moore:  ““Well, they’re gonna get told.  Well, they’re being told here on Pacifica Radio.”

 Sellasie:  “Exactly.”

Michael Moore:  “This is where it starts.  And then others will start to cover it and, eventually, justice is going to start to happen.  And the people that made the decisions to do this to unarmed citizens who were acting peacefully—”

Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “—they’re going to have, there’s going to be justice here.  And, um, ultimately, the buck does stop at the Mayor’s desk, no matter how progressive she is, no matter how nice she is, no matter how broken-hearted she is over what happened, or no matter how much she had to interrupt her vacation, or whereever the hell she was, and had to come back.  The bottom line is the buck does stop with her.  And, uh, look, the people of Oakland have had to suffer for long enough. For crying out loud, how many years, how many times have I come to Oakland over the decades of what this town has had to go through?  And talk about a town that’s been abused by the policies of corporate America and Wall Street.  It, it is amazing, though, the life that is still here.  And the resistance that is still here, tht people are not giving up.  And that, in some ways, I’m not surprised that this watershed moment in this movement happened here in Oakland this week.” 

 Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “And, and, and if it had to be here, then it was here.  And, uh, it has inspired people all across the country.”

Davey D:  “Michael, I know you have to go, so we appreciate you comin’ in.  Is their any last words that you wanna pass along before you leave?” 

Michael Moore:  “Yes.  Um, everyone listening to this, who has been participating in the Occupy Movement, please know that you have already changed the national debate and discourse.  We have already a number of victories here.  You have killed apathy across the country.  You have removed despair from people’s hearts.  So, many people sitting at home, thinking they were all alone, ‘What can I do, I live in Dubuque?  What can I do, I live in Boise?  I live in Salt Lake.  I live in Grass Valley, California.  What can I do?  What can I do?  I can’t do anything.  So, I’ll just sit here on the sofa.’  Well, ain’t no sittin’ anymore.  No more sofa.  People’s ears are, are wide open, as are their eyes.  And they are participating.  This is gonna grow.” 

 Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “And you, Dennis, me, we don’t have to, nobody really has to do anything.  We just have to  just watch it happen.  This is, these seeds have been planted by the abuse of corporate America on its own people and, and it is just sprouting out, no way to stop it.  They, I, they must rue the day they overplayed their hand and decided to kill the middle-class of this country and give no hope to the poor.”

 Sellasie:  “Mm.”

Michael Moore:  “They must just completely rue that day.  So, have heart everyone that’s listening.  Uh, this is a movement.  Uh, already with a number of victories.  And there’s only going to be more to come because this thing is going to blossom throughout the winter.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Michael Moore, we wanna thank you very much for stopping by the Pacifica table, for coming to Oakland, California.  Davey D and I, here, for Pacifica, appreciate the time.  And, uh, we hope you’ll come back soon.”

Michael Moore:  “I will.  And, uh, thank you very much.  This is amazing.  I wish, I’m sorry we’re on the radio.  No, I’m not sorry about radio.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Ha!”

Michael Moore:  “But, if you could see—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Pretty good radio—”

Michael Moore:  “No, we’re, we’re sitting, we’ve got a little card table here set up in the middle of Occupy Oakland, uh, there’s the Wells Fargo Bank over there—”

 Sellasie:  “Yeah.”

Michael Moore:  “—and there are thousands of people, all kinds of people, all kinds of people are here, um, and this is the America we wanna live in, you know, what we see here right now.  This is, this is the democracy, as the way it should be.  And so, I’m very hopeful, um—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “It’s a bit different of a thing than the peace marches of the ‘60s, isn’t it?”

Michael Moore:  “No—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “It’s a bit of a different crowd here.”

Michael Moore:  “It’s, it’s differenet and it’s, but, again, those things were well-organised.  This wasn’t organised.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Ah!  Yes.”

Michael Moore:  “And, and, and it’s so counter-intuitive that out of disorganisation [or anarchy] came already one of the best movements I’ve seen in my lifetime, with no structure, no discipline, no organisation.  And I’m sayin’ that, I mean, I’m not, I’m not like an anarchist or anything.  But there is something that it does, it just appeals to my inner core of, of, and I think we’re probably all this way.  We wish that, you know, I said at the end of my last movie.  I refuse to live in a country like this.  And I’m not leaving.  So, I think that is shared by millions of people.  We refuse to live in the way that they have constructed our America.  We’re not going anywhere.”

Sellasie:  “M-hm.”

Michael Moore:  “So, that means it’s gotta change, end of story.  Thank you so much for having me on.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Thank you, Michael Moore.”

Audience:  “Woo-hoo!  [Applause]

Dennis Bernstein:  “Uh, you are listening to KPFA in Berkeley, KFCF in Fresno.  Dennis Bernstein here with Davey D of Hard Knock Radio.  Michael Moore comes to visit us here in Oakland, spoke earlier to a crowd of, probably, over a thousand, mayb two thousand in Frank Ogawa Plaza [which Occupy Oakland has renamed Oscar Grant Plaza].  You can hear the helicopters circling overhead, wasting more fuel.  But we appreciate your time.  Thanks, Michael.  Be careful.” 

Davey D:  “Thank you.  I just wanna remind everybody, um, before we come back to you, Brooke, we appreciate you being patient wit’ us.  Um, there will be a speak-out against police brutality, um, or police violence right here at Oscar Grant Plaza [a.k.a. Frank Ogawa Plaza] starting tomorrow, at six o’clock.  It’s gonna be an open mic.  Everybody’s invited to come down to speak, listen, and act.  So, again, there will be a speak-out tomorrow at six o’clock against police violence in Oakland.  And that is going on tomorrow night here at Oscar Grant Plaza starting at six o’clock.”

[Davey D continues the prior interview with Brooke Anderson, “one of the Occupiers who was arrested…”]

Davey D:  “And we got a lot more people comin’ up.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “We got a whole other hour of coverage, a collaboration with Hard Knock Radio.  That’s Davey D.  I’m Dennis Bernstein.  We’re gonna break in at five, take a musical break and then we’re gonna continue the dialogue here at, what did I say?  Oscar Grant Plaza.  Oscar Grant Plaza.  It is Pacifica Radio, KPFA, again, Hard Knock Radio, Flashpoints, in collaboration, bringing you live coverage of, among other things, Michael Moore’s visit here to Oscar Grant Plaza, helicopters flying above, some music from our good buddy, Francisco Herrera.”

[KPFA’s coverage of Occupy Oakland continues into the next programme, Flashpoints at 5pm]

***

Transcript by Felipe Messina, photo by Abby Martin, and video by Media Roots.

***

Also, check out our firsthand coverage of the immediate aftermath following the brutal predawn raid of Occupy Oakland (at 6:20 am) on October 25, 2011 and the preemptive assaults on peaceful protesters later that evening (around 7:45 pm) when rioting police, as Michael Moore has noted, “overplayed their brutal fascistic hand.”  –MR

KPFA Covers Occupy Oakland Attack Aftermath

 

FreeSpeechFlickrNewtownGraffittiMEDIA ROOTS — KPFA’s Dennis Bernstein and Davey D broadcast their analysis of the Occupy Oakland aftermath following the brutal police-state assaults on Tuesday, October 25, 2011.

In this edition of KPFA’s “The Morning Mix,” we hear radical commentary of the ongoing Occupy Oakland sit-in and encampment begun on 10/10/11 in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street movement, which blossomed in response to the economic terrorism and general class-warfare facing the U.S. people.

The burgeoning OWS movement has been focusing international attention upon the increasingly totalitarian, corporatocratic, nature of our current state-repressed capacity for popular dissent in the U.S. Through direct action and popular horizontal general assemblies, people in Oakland, as in San Francisco, New York City, and elsewhere have been taking a cue from Egypt’s Tahrir Square and inspiring the U.S. people to take their destiny into their own hands toward socioeconomic justice.  And, this week, this seems to have made the ruling-class nervous, as they’ve launched brutal crackdowns across the U.S. in an apparent coordinated national security operation in line with the notorious P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.

On Tuesday night (10/25/11), rioting police shot Iraq War veteran and Occupy Oakland-supporter Scott Olsen in the head with a tear gas projectile at point blank range during this anti-democratic, unconstitutional drama of police terrorism.  Olsen was hospitalised and initially reported to be in serious condition with a fractured skull.  At presstime, it’s being reported his condition is improving, with Olsen regaining the ability to breathe on his own.  This is the response of the state against the democratic exercise and expression of First Amendment rights.

While the corporate media, and even much of the public media, are reporting the Occupy Oakland crackdowns by police as reasonable police responses to violent protesters throwing bottles and rocks, we must look to independent and citizen journalist sources to get the real story.  Check out this excellent coverage of Occupy Oakland, the OWS movement, the independent and citizen journalist perspectives, the corporate-media distortions, and the police-state terrorism trying to crush popular dissent and the spirit of the people uniting to take back the public square.

-Messina

***

The Morning Mix Fund Drive Special with Davey D and Dennis Bernstein – October 26, 2011 at 8:00am

[KPFA, 94.1 fm, Berkeley, CA, Free Speech Radio, Pacifica]

INTRODUCTION

Dennis Bernstein (circa 1:38):  “And you are listening to KPFA, KPFB in Berkeley, KFCF in Fresno.  I’m Dennis Bernstein here with Davey D and a crew of folks who are monitoring the situation on the ground in Oakland.  We’re gonna be joined with, by Davey.  He’s got some interviews fresh from the street.  We’re gonna be joined by a lawyer who was there for the busts the night before, there last night and has been a part of Occupy Oakland from the beginning, very interesting  perspective there.  And the most interesting perspective is gonna come from you ‘cos we’re gonna open up the phone calls.  We wanna know what you’re thinking about all this, as Oakland goes on the national map with a police riot.  Again, I’m Dennis Bernstein with Davey D.  Stay tuned for the KPFA News Headlines and then we’ll be back.”

News Headlines read by Aileen Alfandary.

 

AUDIO FROM THE AFTERMATH OF BRUTAL POLICE-STATE ASSAULTS ON OCCUPY OAKLAND

OOteargasFlickrSwarmGalleryOaklandDavey D (8:00):  “Davey D, hangin’ out wit’ you.  We are down here.  It’s probably about 7:15 in the morning.  Um, people are still out here.  The only difference is now, if you look at, uh, what was Occupy Oakland, you see that the tents are all gone.  And they’re steam-cleaning it.  Last night, um, a lot of tear gas was lobbed out here.  You don’t smell it as much.  But we wanted to talk with people that are still out here this morning.  How you doin’?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Not too bad.”

Davey D:  “What do you think about, uh, what do you think about what took place last night?  And what do you anticipate today?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Um, it was great, like, I, you know, I was in jail yesterday when they were protesting in front of it.  And I could hear it from my jail cell.  It was real inspirational.  And then when I got out.  I came straight down here and, um, it was great.  But every time it got gassed, um, less, you know, more and more people stopped regrouping and just started goin’ home.  Um, I think it would have been a lot better, we would have had a lot better turn out and lot more people would come out if these rogue guys, um, would stop, you know, just throwing bottles at the cops.  Because, you know, I understand your frustration with the police.  But, you know, what’s throwing a bottle gonna solve?  Nothin.’  The only thing that it does is, as soon as it’s thrown, they gas everybody.  And, you know what, if we could go one afternoon without gassing, we could fill up this three block radius here.” 

Davey D:  “Let me ask you this.  You know, look around this block.  What do you notice?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “News, media everywhere.”  [Chuckles]

Davey D:  “Well, none of the windows are broken.”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Yeah.  There’s one over there, but that was from a rubber bullet.”

Davey D:  “Right.  And I bring this up only to say that in the past the excuse used was that there were quote-unquote anarchist people against the system and they were looting and destroying Oakland.  But I noticed that, and I’ve been driving around this morning, that that has not been the case.  And from talking with Occupiers, there was an attempt, and a very good one, to, uh, break bread with the businesses.  In fact, many of you all were supported by that.  Can you speak to that?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Um, yeah, I’ve been camping, I camped out for about seven, eight days before it got raided.  And, you know, we, we were definitely frowning upon people who were vandal-, you know, tagging, um, people who were doing da-, you know, vandalising, in general because, you know, that’s not what we’re about.  You know?  You’re vandalising against the 99%, the same people we are fighting for.”

Davey D:  “Right. And that’s a good thing.  So, I just wanted to bring that up because, as you said, if there were rogue folks, we know that yesterday there was a known police informant that was out here, um, who was around during the Oscar Grant thing that was trying to move people and lead them into, uh, a place where the police were in wait.  And so we understand that those things are happening.  How are you all protecting yourselves against that so that you don’t get, uh, you don’t get unfairly blamed for something that you all, obviously, don’t have an intent on doing?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Well, as of this morning, like, uh, I was talking to all the people that were here all night.  And as people start showin’ up.  We’re just gonna start informin’ everybody, you know, just spread it, if you see people showin’ up, keep an eye out for these guys that are out there to just start a riot.  And when you see it confront them and confront them with other people.  Do it peacefully.  But make sure they know that is not welcome.  Just get that across.”

Davey D:  “Do you think the police are getting a message of any sort?  Or do you think that they are knee-deep in the kool-aid in supporting the state, the government, and seeing themselves against the 99%?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Uh, they—“

Davey D:  “I mean these are the people that have been losing their jobs.”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Yeah.”

Davey D:  “What, how do you, wha-, what’s your take on them being what they’re doing?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Again, nothing against them, individually, for the most part.  [Chuckles]  But, um, yeah, like, you said, you know, they’re just doing their jobs.  Uh, they are part of the 99%.  And, eventually, they are gonna see it that way.  Like in New York, I’m sure you heard, there was a group of cops that refused to move on a crowd, despite orders from their superior officer.” 

Davey D:  “Well, many of them haven’t.  But then they have those white-shirts that have been out there.  I wonder if Oakland will get that.”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “We’ll just sift through ‘em.”

Davey D:  “And, you know, lastly, you know, um, what lessons did you pick up from your eight days of staying in Occupy Oakland.  And what, and what sort of lessons that you learned would you wanna impart on people that are listening that may have not been talked about?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male) (circa 12:33):  “Be the change that you wanna see.”

Davey D:  “That’s real talk.  And what change do you wanna see?”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “I wanna see equal taxation among everybody.  I mean, there’s no reason that some people who are making the most money, who can have the biggest effect on the, on, I mean, the biggest impact on this deficit that we’re in, uh, you know, they’re not paying anything.  I’m sick of favouritism in the social, I mean, in the justice system.  And, you know, I don’t know if you heard about Iceland?  Iceland is a success.  They’re officially rewriting their Constitution.  And people who were formerly above the law are being brought to justice.”

Davey D:  “And that’s what needs to happen here.  We appreciate it, man.  Thank you so much.  Good luck to you.”

Occupy Oakland Observer (male):  “Thank you.”

Davey D:  “[Turning to another observer.]  What’s, what’s your name, man?”

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Anson.”

Davey D (circa 13:20):  “Anson.  Were you out here last night?

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Um, no I was not.”

Davey D:  “What’s your thoughts on what’s goin’ on?”

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Um, I think that people wanted to have a dialogue.  This, this country, there’s too much of a, um, big business running this country.  And there’s, all the government, there’s not enough transparency.  For example, our mayor conveniently not be here.  And it’s part of not being transparency of our government at a local level.  And, uh, I think of that, accumulates many people’s resentment of this injustice system that’s shielded by not enough transparency.  When there’s no transparency there’s no democracy.”

Davey D:  “I think that’s real talk.  What do you think has led to us not being transparent?”

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Oh, because the big money wanted to, just benefit few.  Inherently, it has this non-transparency built into it.  And they have to in order for them to scoop their huge amount of appetite for the profit.  And, therefore, they need a government that shield them.  And, uh, government needed them to shield themself, so they can continue ‘round the system that benefits a few.”

Davey D:  “What do you think is the next step from here?”

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Um, I’m from China.  That reminds me of the Cultural Revolution.  The time that everyone just write their opinion in a big, what they call the [Chinese phrase: ???], which means big poster.  They just post it up all the public place.  Anyone, everyone have a right, have a Constitutional right, to express their opinion.  If that can happen here in this very square, allow anyone, everyone to put their opinion.  That will start a conversation or a dialogue that maybe can do something about this non-transparency.”

Davey D:  “You know, oftentimes people look at China and in this country and they point to China as, uh, being a violator of human rights and free speech.  But it seems like, wit’ each passing day, we’ve moved in that direction even more.  What’s your thoughts when you compare the two countries?” 

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Oh, you know, when I hear the airline to say they are, the world becomes smaller, I sure agree the world becomes smaller.  So, therefore, the people have money certainly exchange their idea, meaning the Chinese government are more and more look like the American government.  And my, the American government, vice versa, learning lots, experience from the Chinese government.  But until we break down this transparency, there’s no amount of government where the, I don’t care how good intentioned they are, they will have power.  And, therefore, they will corrupt.”

Davey D (circa 16:34):  “Well, that is, good words to live by.  And remember, thank you so much.  We appreciate it.”

“Anson,” Occupy Oakland Observer (male 2):  “Thank you.”

Davey D:  “Thank you.  Peace.”

BACK TO THE KPFA STUDIOS, LIVE ON-AIR

RiotcopFlickrDignidadrebeldeDennis Bernstein (circa 16:42):  “And thank you, Davey D.  You are, no doubt, listening to KPFA, the people’s radio station, here in the [S.F.] Bay Area, Pacifica Radio.  I’m Dennis Bernstein with Davey D [in the studio].  [KPFA General Manager] Andrew Phillips is in the studio.  He’s been rippin’ off Facebook and watchin’ the wires all night.  Uh, Davey, amazing series of interviews.  Let me just say, one of the things that I think we’re seeing now in the way Oakland is being used.  It’s a national story.  And it’s a, it’s a national experiment because what we saw with these 17 police departments is right out of the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act—“

Davey D:  “Yeah.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “—in which, local police departments agreed to collaborate with the Feds.  And, for that, they have unify meetings, where they all come together and they get special equipment if they agree to the programme.  We saw that programme being tested on a major city.” 

Davey D (circa 17:39):  “Right.  And for people who are just tuning in and don’t know, it’s The Morning Mix.  This is Davey D and Dennis Bernstein and Andrew Phillips in the building.  Um, Dennis is referring to the fact that yesterday  Chief [Howard] Jordan from the Oakland Police Department counted off 17 different police agencies that were used to remove less than 200 people at Occupy Oakland.  Not 17 people for the thousands that were out last night, but 17 different police agencies from as far away as San Jose and Vacaville (which is a good, what, 15 minutes from here?), uh were used to remove folks.  And I think it’s important to understand what’s goin’ on because a narrative is being painted.  When you sit up there and say, ‘We needed 17 police [agencies] and three helicopters and tear gas,’ and he admitted that they shot tear gas without being provoked, um, in the press conference, then it creates the situation where people start to believe that folks that are down there are unruly.  I thought it was real important.  Last night I drove around.  I was there.  You know?  And I talked to a lot of people.  None of the buildings were boarded up.  And none of the buildings, none of the buildings, the businesses down there, were broken.  And that’s very key because in the past that was always the excuse for having multiple police departments there.  ‘They are rioting in Oakland.’  No, folks.  There was no rioting in Oakland.  What you saw were police tossing tear gas at people over and over again.  The last batch of tear gas that I experienced came as people were actually dancing in front of the police line saying, ‘Our streets, our streets.’  So, you know, all of a sudden you get these tear gas that keeps coming so people disperse, they come back, they disperse, they come back.  They weren’t dispersing and shooting.  They weren’t dispersing and fighting.  They weren’t dispersing and breaking businesses.  They were dispersing and coming back and saying, ‘We’re gonna take back the Occupy Oakland site.’  And the big story was not the sensationalism around what was goin’ on in terms of all this negative stuff.  It was the community that was being built.  It was the merging of the homeless population and the activists.  It was the folks that didn’t have any sort of resource because of budget cuts that were now getting fed, that were now getting clothes, that were now getting put in tents.  And then, the last point, because people don’t really understand.  There was a children’s village there.  And what really got folks in Oakland upset was they shot that tear gas into the Occupy Oakland [encampment] in the early morning hours at 4:30 in the morning.  And it, it shot it towards the kids!  Now folks are goin’, ‘Well, why would you bring kids out there?’  [The] people who say that don’t understand that kids are already down on 17th and 14th and in Downtown Oakland because they’re homeless!  There are homeless families out there.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “Yeah.  That’s it.”

Davey D:  “So, once again, folks who keep saying, ‘Why did they bring kids?’ kids are down there in your cities.  They’ve been down there.  They’ve been down there because they’re homeless.  In our population, both the government and many of us who ask that question fail to realise that when you drive around the City folks are living in cars!  Why are they living in cars?  Because many of the banks have foreclosed on people’s homes and they have no place to go!  So, when, so the Occupy Oakland site was a welcomed change.  It means you got food!  You have a tent!  I can put my kids in some sort of structured activity.  That’s why kids were down there.  And those kids are still down there.  I talked to a lo-, other people and it’s like, folks is like, I, I’m still talkin’ to people, they’re like, ‘I’m still here.’  Like, we, one guy I talked to, he’s crying!  He doesn’t know what he’s gonna do, because he had for two weeks a place to stay.  And, so, I think folks really need to understand that story.  And then I’ll just conclude by saying many of the corporate media ignored that was the story.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “They cheerleaded.”

Davey D:  “They, they cheerleaded the police and they ignored the fact that there was a sizeable number of people out in Oakland that didn’t have a place just like in San Francisco and other parts of the Bay Area where there are homeless folks living in cars.  Not everybody’s a drugged-out schizophrenic, you know, uh, um, doesn’t know, out-of-their-mind type of person.  You have families that lost everything and there’s no safety net.  There’s no safety net for people anymore, folks.  And, so, Occupy Oakland became a de facto safety net because people cared enough to not just make a political point, but to actually try to merge the various populations of people in Downtown Oakland.  And that’s why they had the support of the businesses.  That’s why people were cheering them on.  That’s why so many people came out.  And that’s why you don’t have no broken windows!  And if they’re broken, it’s because of police informants who were out there last night and, or it’s because of the police.  It’s not because of those people.  And that’s an important story that needs to be underscored.”

Dennis Bernstein (circa 22:26):  “And, again, back to the national security aspect of this.  Becau-, just what you’re outlining, Davey.  This connection between the protesters, who may soon be homeless and not be, uh, sleeping as a matter of choice, are uniting with the people who have already been cast out and that is when the Federal Government gets nervous.  And that’s when they kick in with these national security directives that are all in place and have, uh, been practiced by all these police forces, who love to get together.  This is overtime.  I guess we have to close 15 more schools to pay for these kinds of—“

Davey D:  “Five schools today, right in Oakland.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “—activities.  Five schools today.”

Davey D:  “And some people estimate $2 million dollars was spent, not for last night, $2 million dollars was spent on the operation to remove Occupy Oakland.  That’s how many teachers’ salaries?  That’s how many schools that could have been used, that could use supplies?  So, five schools are closing today, elementary schools in Oakland, which people are protesting.  That’s a story that hasn’t been covered as much.  Um, and it’s, it’s being done at the expense of 17 police departments from all around the [S.F.] Bay Area coming in—“   

Dennis Bernstein:  “Practicing their—“

Davey D:  “—practicing, yes.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “—P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act and employing the weaponry.  See they, this is the new police employing their weaponry that was guaranteed them if they participate in these national security exercises.  So, Oakland becomes a major city test case.  And let me tell ya, Davey, it is, Oakland is on, you know this now, it’s on the national map.”

Davey D:  “Right.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Last night on CNN, they got Michael Moore on there and while they’re, uh, dialoguing with a live audience.  They’re running footage of what’s going on in the streets of Oakland last night.”

Davey D:  “Right.  And it’s important that people get the framing.  That people are running from the tear gas.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Exactly.”

Davey D:  “It’s not a riot, in terms of people tearing up stuff.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Right.”

Davey D:  “People kept going back over and over again.  I don’t know how people were able to stand in the tear gas that long, but they were determined to go back and reoccupy the place that they were kicked out.  And people, again, who don’t know better realise that there’s a population of folks that are down there, that are still down there, um, some of them because they wanna reoccupy, but many because they’re just homeless.  And they haven’t had a place.  And that was home.  That was h-, downtown was there home.  You know?  Maybe they didn’t have a tent.  Now, they’ll be back in door alleys.  Maybe they’ll be back in bus-stops.  But that was their home, those streets.  And we gotta start to really come to grips with that and stop being very comfortable and making judgments based upon media systems that are wholl-, that are owned by the very banks that we are protesting, who are parroting a, a corporate line that suggests that, if you can’t make it, it’s your own fault.  There’s a lot of homeless veterans coming back.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “That’s right.”

Davey D:  “There’s a lot of young families that are out there.  And then, lastly, as Rachel Jackson pointed out on ‘Democracy Now!,’ keep in mind that, while this was going on, it was goin’ on in Atlanta.  You know?  They were removing people in Atlanta.  That they are doing these coordinated efforts nationwide.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “National security, again.”

Davey D:  “But they don’t cover it that way.” 

Dennis Bernstein:  “Exactly—“

Davey D:  “So, they make it seem like Oakland’s by itself.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “—disparate, like, little problems that different cities are having.”

Davey D:  “Right.”

Dennis Bernstein (circa 25:50):  “It is a national security operation.  It’s structured under the P.A.T.R.I.O.T. Act.  These police forces get empowered and get new weaponry, as they participate in these coordinated meetings.  This is a rehearsal for bigger things to come.” 

Davey D:  “Right.  Absolutely.”

THE MORNING MIX GUEST, JESSE PALMER (ATTORNEY & OCCUPY OAKLAND SUPPORTER)

Dennis Bernstein (circa 26:08):  “Alright this is a special on The Morning Mix.  That is Davey D.  He’s been out there really doing an incredible job reporting on this with lots of people, we all care a great deal about what’s going on in our City.  We actually have on the line, Davey, a lawyer, Jesse Palmer, who was, has been a regular participant in Occupy Oakland, has been sleeping there on and off, was there the night before, as the raid began, was there in the streets last night.  Jesse Palmer, are you there?”

Jesse Palmer:  “I am.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright, why don’t you just talk a little bit about, uh, as an attorney, your impression of what happened in the initial routing of the camp.”

Davey D:  “Well, first of all, I’m, I mean, that’s my day job, but I’m not there in any way as an attorney.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright, but—”

Jesse Palmer:  “I’m there—“

Dennis Bernstein:  “—you have some skills that we don’t have.”

Jesse Palmer:  “—right.  I’m there as an inhabitant of planet Earth.  I’m, I mean, I think we need to redirect, you know, what specifically happened with the camp, with the police, and talk a little bit more, I mean, you’ve already touched on it, about how valuable the camp was while it was happening because there was a General Assembly every night.  And what was really distinctive about these General Assemblies was that there were hundreds of participants from all walks of life.  It was extremely diverse in terms of age, in terms of racial composition.  And the level of discourse that was happening at those General Assemblies was something that I’ve never seen before and was incredibly impressive.  And I think what’s happening with the Occupy Movement (and, you’re right, that it’s not just in Oakland, it’s not just at Wall Street, but this is happening in small towns and big cities all over the whole country and all over the world) is there is a discussion of class and there is a discussion of income equality.  And there is actually a discussion of capitalism, which is the discussion that has not been able to happen in this country for decades.  And now this is, this is a discussion that’s happening everywhere.  And, and this is the discussion that was happening at Occupy Oakland every single hour and every single day, every night at the General Assembly.  But even more than the General Assembly, the way that the Occupation worked was that anybody could speak to anybody else.  So, in normal society, you, you know, most people don’t talk to other people.  But at Occupy Oakland you could talk to people who were very different from you.  And you did, every day.  And it was just this blossoming of discussion and dialogue about really important issues that have not been discussed and that, you know, people have been diverted with single-issue politics.  But the Occupy Movement is not going for single-issue politics.  It’s, in fact, tackling the big issue, which explains all of the single-issue politics, the environmental destruction, the attack on wages, the attack on unions.  This, there is a big explanation for all of this.

“So, the police came and cracked down and destroyed the encampment, as you know yesterday.  And they came with overwhelming force.  And as you said, you know, we were on the streets, you know, early in the morning and people were picking out all of the odd police forces, the Pleasanton police force and the Union City police force.  And I saw the East Bay Regional Parks, um, police force there.  And, um, they came in with overwhelming force.  And they, you know, there was, um, there was no real, it, I mean, there was no way to resist that.  But at that time the Camp was destroyed.  But I think what you’re pointing out is, is correct that we came back in a very strong, very focused way.  Um, and we’re in the streets last night.  And what I saw at the march was the police were using the tear gas and the concussion grenades, and the, some kind of, rubber bullets or bean-bag rounds were flying around.  But people were not scared.  And we, and we weren’t dispersed.  What normally happens in that kind of situation is people scatter and it’s disorganised.  But we fell back, maybe a half a block and then people would gather back up.  And this was a determined crowd.  And, you know, this was not mostly homeless people, by the way.  I mean, the, this is a very diverse crowd that involves mostly people who were going to work.  The reason that, you know, I slept there some nights, but everyday I was going to work, after the, you know, so, during the day, and most of the people involved in the Occupation, in fact, were going to work during the day and would be there in the evening or when they weren’t working.  And that was the same character of that crowd last night.  The crowd included every kind of member of society, including the homeless, but also mostly including working people who are seeing the share of the resources in the country, you know, diverted, not ending up, you know, to the people who are working for it.  Um, and, you know, just this morning in the New York Times there’s this article about the income inequality, you know, doubling since 1975, that the Congressional Budget Office released.  So, those are the real big-picture issues.  And the, the scuffles with the police that, you know, what’s happening is there’s a new kind of dialogue out there and people are not gonna be deterred by the police.  And we’re not gonna allow the police to change the focus.  The focus is on a discussion of class, a discussion of capitalism, a discussion of priorities, and where, where is this society gonna go forward.  And the way we’re gonna figure that out is with these discussions.” 

Davey D:  “I think, uh, what you’re saying there is quite crucial.  And it’s hard work that many who have grown comfortable in a society where we have 30-second headlines.  And we have things put in nice little packages.  Um, it’s hard for them to understand.  You know, the media, for example, is always asking, ‘What’s the agenda?  What’s the agenda?’  Well, you can’t really have an agenda when you’re doing these discussions.  It doesn’t wrap up in a nice little headline and a sound-bite.”

Jesse Palmer:  “Yeah, I completely agree.”

Davey D:  “And I think that’s the bigger story.  That this is work.  That it’s the journey that counts more than the actual goal, that if people start to know and appreciate one another and become familiar, we start to grow in ways that we just never even anticipated.  And I think that was the bigger story.  And that’s why I got so upset when I was at the press conference la-, yesterday and I saw many of these mainstream media folks laughing at the fact that people were, were flash-bombed and tear-gassed.  These are the folks that are reporting the news to the rest of the world.  And to me it’s just like, ‘You are a journalist; you know what you’re supposed to do.’  And, you know, they’re giving excuses, ‘Well, they, uh, had these perimeters.  They had these parameters on what journalists could do.’  So did the Tea Party.”

Jesse Palmer:  “Right.”

Davey D (circa 33:17):  “So, did the police, like, yesterday.  The police were doing the same thing, like, uh, ‘Look, if you want to go the camp,” um, they took us on a tour after the press conference.  ‘You can’t, you can only walk here. You can’t take pictures here. You only talk to these people here.’  Even if, you know, I can’t just talk to any old officer.  I had to talk to the spokesperson.  It’s public servants.  But they have a spokesperson.  And the point that I’m making is that everybody has a protocol.  And I think the protocol that was established in Occupy Oakland was not only good, but it was democratically derived.  And it was nothing wrong with that, only if you wanted to make an issue of it, which some of these lazy, hundred-thousand-dollar-a-year reporters from these corporate media types made a big to-do about it because they wanted to make the story about them and not the thousands of people that are supporting this movement and the hundreds that were down at the Occupy Oakland [encampment].  So, I’m glad that you were able to really explain this to folks because there’s a lot of misconception out there, as folks desperately look for dumbed-down 30-second sound-bite narrative versus something that is a little bit more complex, but much more enriching.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright, that’s Davey D.  We have a guest on the line.  [Attorney] Jesse Palmer’s been participating in Occupation Oakland, as a, uh, participant of the planet.  And we are watching this unfold around this country and around this world.  And more and more response to this equal distribution of wealth opportunity, possibility.  And, uh, people are desperate.  I do wanna emphasise and underline that the thing that makes the powers that be very nervous is when  those already pushed and forced into the streets begin to unite with those who, either are facing that or, are very concerned and care a great deal about what’s going on and the world that we’re living in.”

Jesse Palmer:  “And, and, can—“

Dennis Bernstein:  “Yes.”

Jesse Palmer:  “I saw a lot of young people who do not feel like they have the kind of future that they wanna see.  I mean what, what’s happening is people, you know, people are trying to work hard.  But they realise that the system’s rigged in a way that I don’t think people realised that maybe 10 or 20 years ago.  And the, you know, the, it, there’s an income distribution, but there, there’s also just the, there are, the priorities of this system are so seriously wrong that, you know, I mean the environmental situation, I actually think, is also part of this.  It hasn’t really been spoken about very much, but what people are seeing is that the society is taking us off the cliff, environmentally, destroying the environment.  And, yet, what it’s giving the people out of that is not the things that they need.  So, and, so, it’s just this foolishness.”

Dennis Bernstein (circa 36:09):  “Alright, Jesse Palmer, I wanna thank you for being with us on this special Morning Mix dealing with, uh, the police riots led by, actually, 17 police departments to come into this encampment in Oakland and destroy it and criminalise this 99%, yeah, of the people, movement, very extraordinary.  Thank you, Jesse Palmer.  Uh, we’re gonna open the phones now, Davey D is here.  I’m Dennis Bernstein.  This is your people’s radio station.  And we wanted to come in and bring you something very special about something very terrible that was done to a bunch of beautiful people.  We’re gonna open up the lines, uh, and let me see if I can get my numbers straight.  It’s 510.848, uh—”

Davey D:  “4425 is the open line.”

 

KPFA FREE SPEECH RADIO PHONE LINES OPEN

KFPADennis Bernstein:  “4425.  510.848-4425, uh, give us a call, especially, interested for people who are in Oakland, who have been participating in this, who have been eyewitnesses.  Uh, please give us a call.  Andrew, you ripped something, uh, Andrew Phillips is here in the studio.  You ripped something off of Facebook.”

Andrew Phillips (KPFA General Manager) (circa 37:19)“I did, Dennis.  I just, before I read that I want to make sure I get this information out because one of these questions brought up is schools.  And JR Valrey who is usually here Wednesdays [on The Morning Mix], asked me to remind people that today people are meeting in Mosswood Park around about four o’clock to march to the Oakland Tech High School to prevent school closings in Oakland.  That’s today at Mosswood Park, marching to Oakland Tech High School at four o’clock from Mosswood Park. 

“Yeah, I got this off Facebook:  ‘When the police blocked us and we pushed forward, they began full force poking their batons into our bellies.  I didn’t take a hard hit then, but during that scene all of a sudden this woman cop just gets off the deep end.  She goes off the deep end.  She switches her grip and starts wailing on this kid baseball-style, young adult, she was.  Then somebody else goes down.  We’re surrounded.  Five or seven cops, along with one poor, very supportive woman strapped in her car within this mayhem she was protected witness.  We kept chanting, loudly, ‘Let them go!  Let them go!’ while the struggle went on.  Two punching bags continued to get pummelled.  An opportunity presented itself for me to acquire a nightstick out of a cop’s hands.  So, I took it right out of his hands.  He flipped.  I tossed it low behind me.  People scooted it out of his reach.  And he basically went through me to get it.  He knocked me to the ground.’  If you want to see that, that’s called ‘Thugs Surround.’  That’s on YouTube. 

“Another one here, great:  ‘Dan, can you please transmit to them that from Japan and France and Vancouver we are with them and we’re sorry that they are going through this war, this brutality.  Thank you, Dan.  Occupy France is sending messages of solidarity.  A friend in Japan and many others.  Thanks.’

“And I just wanna quickly apologise.  ‘Cos I heard there were tanks on the street yesterday.  There weren’t.  They were just armed vehicles.  So, I’m sorry to say there were tanks.  They were just armed vehicles.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “They look a bit like tanks.” 

Davey D:  “That, that’s how people described them.”

Andrew Phillips (KPFA General Manager) (circa 39:11)“Yes.”

Davey D:  “You know, um, and it’s important to understand that they’re designed that way, so people go ‘tank.’  Even though, is it technically a tank?  No.  But is it, it’s not you’re normal police vehicle.  And it’s not the normal vehicle that you see on the street.  And so people’re like ‘tank!.’  You know, because you have a phalanx of police in there.  You have this armoured thing that is specifically designed to send a message out to the folks and it’s, in that show of, it’s part of that show of military strength.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “This is the equipment they got from the Feds.”

Davey D:  “Right.  This is, you know, they have the helicopters flying over all night.  You know you have all these things goin’ on.  For what reason?  What was the point?  What were you trying to, uh, do?  Test them out?  Were you trying to intimidate people?  Because all you did was make the crowds grow larger.  You know?  Were you trying to suppress this, so it disappears?  Or are you trying to bring this to the national stage and make an example out of this city?”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright, we’ve got a couple of people on the phone.  Kirsten, who do we have there?  Bonnie, uh, welcome to this special on what’s going on in Oakland.  Were you there?”

Bonnie (listener-caller):  “Um, I’ve been in Occupy San Rafael, Dennis.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Okay.”

Bonnie (listener-caller):  “And I wanna thank you and Davey D for your passionate coverage.  There are homeless people here in Marin, too.  But I have a question.  Where is the Mayor of Oakland?  Where is the City Council?  Where is [Oakland Councilmember] Jane Brunner?  Um, where is Barbara Lee, who I dearly love.  Is this part of what you’re talking about?  The Homeland Security, have they shut those people up?  Where are they?  Please, please give me your, uh, you and Davey, your opinions on this.”

Davey D:  “That was a big question everybody asked last night and nobody has an answer.  Um—“

Dennis Bernstein:  “’I was out of town when the incident occurred.’”

Davey D:  “You know, nobody has an answer and in many ways it’s shockingly similar to the, uh, lack of response we saw during the Oscar Grant situation seven days after he was shot.  Nobody was to be seen.  And until people started to, uh, blow up.  Then everybody wanted to come in and, you know, and start having these conversations.  But it was only then.  And I think when you have 17 police jurisdictions, uh, to show up to remove something that is well-known and supported, every-, all the key people better be on hand to have a conversation with folks and answer the hard questions.  And they just weren’t.  And, so, that’s a shame.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Mary Anne in Tiburon, you’re on.”

Mary Anne (listener-caller):  “Hi there!  You’re doing a fabulous job.  I wanna know, um, wel-, how, wha-, how are you guys outfitted to take as much video as possible of this?  Because I’m from the ‘60s Generation.  And I walked out in my living room one time and I saw dogs and police beating on Black people.  And I was livin’ up in New Jersey and I thought to myself, ‘What is goin’ on?!  And when people see that they can’t deny what’s goin’ on with the bull that they put over as news.  It’s going to come out.  But get the, do whatever you can.  Have a designated video camera, whatever you guys do.  I’m not that hip with all the technology.  But that’s what you’re gonna need.  And just because, when, look what Madison did, Madison, Wisconsin.  I don’t know how they did it, but they did it in the winter.  They did it, you know, people of every walk of life.  Farmers came in with their tractors.  That is gonna happen pretty soon.”

Davey D (circa 42:38)“Well, first, everybody out there has a camera and many people see themselves as citizen journalists.  Um, there, you know, there’s a lot of independent media out there.  I was out there last night and, you know, everybody, uh, you name it, anybody who’s independent media was out there.  You know, documenting what goes on.  The battle that we have is that we still have a large segment of the population that clings to the narratives that are put by the news.  For example, yesterday there was a big debate because the mainstream media kept saying it was only 200 cops when it was very clear in the press conference that Chief Jordan said ‘hundreds.’  And people had estimated that it was 500 to 600.  And that’s what we were going off of to get the price tag.  That question was directed to him with those numbers and he didn’t deny that they were, you know, he didn’t say, ‘No, it’s not 500.’  He, he tried to answer the question.  The point that I’m getting at is that you had people going, ‘Well, look, you know the New York Times and this one and that one, they only said 200, so that must be the official story.  But this is the same people that were saying everybody down at the Occupy were dirty hippies.  These were the same people that, first of all, tried to ignore it and say it was a fringe thing.  And, so, the point that I’m getting at is that sooner or later, we’re gonna have to go to other resources.  Maybe a place like this, other independent media, the citizen journalists in your community to get the real story and stop validating the agenda that is masquerading the economic and corporate agenda that is masquerading around as news these days because that is misleading people.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Richard from Richmond, you’re on KPFA.”

Richard from Richmond (listener-caller) (circa 44:16):  “Yeah, well, it’s interesting.  I’m going off to, uh, do my class at Osher.  This is on American Political Culture.  And, uh, just preparing my critique of American Capitalism for the morning.  One short comment, I think this situation is very different from the situation I lived through and taught through when I was at Berkeley in the late ‘60s.  Then, you could intimidate students with the threat that they weren’t gonna get jobs.  Now, capitalism has determined for itself that people are not gonna get jobs.  The threats are not the same.  The threats don’t have the same power they had.  As you pointed out also people are living in the streets.  They’re living in the streets because capitalism has taken away their supposed right to homes and so on.  So, you got a group of people who are not gonna be threatened and intimidated the same way they were 40 years ago when they were looking forward to cushy jobs and the watch-word was, if you remember, classist, or something of the sort.  Now, the watch-word is democracy and the failures of capitalism.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright.  Thank you very much.  We’re gonna go to Erica in Oakland.”

Erica in Oakland (listener-caller) (circa 45:25):  “Hi, um, yeah, I’ve been going to Oakland with my kids to the Occupy on and off throughout the whole two, three weeks.  And it was kind of interesting that on Saturday the 15th when, um, Danny Glover was there.  The Mayor was there and she was smiling and picturing and everything.  And, yet, yesterday she’s disappeared, how convenient.  When it’s, now, no longer a photo-op she’s out of the picture.  And I just wanna thank you for doing the show.”

Davey D:  “Thank you.  And that’s very true.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Well put.”

Davey D:  “That was very true.  She was—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Out of the picture.”

Davey D:  “Yeah.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “She took a lot of pictures of Danny Glover and then beautiful interview you did with Danny Glover, Davey.  They were all there.  And she’s gone.  Uh, we’re, uh, joined by, um—“

Andrew Phillips (KPFA General Manager):  “I just want to point out, Dennis, also that Facebook, Occupy Oakland on Facebook has some great stuff and a lot of citizen journalists are taking a lot of really fantastic videos.  So, there is some amazing stuff out there and all over this country.  People are out there with their cell phones and doing amazing coverage.  And some of them streaming it live.  I know that one of them, Janet Kobren has been streaming it live.  She’s one of our listeners.  There is a lot of citizen journalist information out there.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “And a lot of people who are engaged at many different levels.  Remember the nurses, uh, here in California and across the country have agreed to have a, set up stations to do health care.  I mean, to do basic medical care and it may be, Davey, that this is the only time that many of these people who are already, some of these people are already living on the street, get health care.”

Davey D:  “Right.  As one of the Occupy folks said to me yesterday, uh, she said, ‘You know, there are a lot of people that have been damaged already.  They were damaged way before Occupy.  And this has been boiling and boiling and now people who never thought that they would be damaged are also damaged.  And now they’ve been forced to, you know, to have to grapple with, with this carnage that has existed, as you have a few people that are determined to marginalise, uh, entire populations and to gather as much as they possibly can with no end in sight.  This is what this 1% is doing.  Um, and then turn around and blame people for their own, fault for not having safety nets.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Back to the kids.  You know, I spent a number of years, as a special ed teacher, teaching very poor kids who were called emotionally disturbed.”

Davey D:  “M-hm.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “They were rightfully disturbed children who were right at the edge of falling over the cliff into the cracks of extreme poverty and hunger.  The, this is a troubled population.  There are many kids suffering and it is shocking.  It is shocking to see these kinds of resources being used by Liberal politicians in one of the cities, uh; I guess it’s become a test city for this stuff, who’s supposed to be responsive to the people.  I have to think that maybe they use this as a target because they wanna say, ‘Well, if we could do it here, we could do it anywhere.’”

Davey D (circa 48:23):  “And I think that’s the case.  You know?  And also try to, uh, redirect people’s attention as to what this is about.  This is about dealing with the 1%.  And we’re seeing various manifestations of that battle.  This time maybe with the police.  You know, maybe with a absentee mayor.  Uh, maybe with school closures.  But many of our problems go right back to the doorsteps of these financial institutions that very deliberately and very corruptively, um, dismantled and destroyed our economy.  We should never lose sight of that.  And even though we’re dealing with individual and some immediate battles, keep coming back to that because that’s where it all emanates from at the end of the day.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright.  We have, uh, who on the phone?  Somebody.  Are you there?  Oakland are you there?”

Joyce from Oakland (listener-caller):  “Yes.  This is Joyce from Oakland.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Hi, Joyce.”

Joyce from Oakland (listener-caller):  “Hi!  I may lose you.  I’m running out of batteries on my phone.  I just wanted to say, I, I appreciate what you’re doing so much.  And the way that you’re delivering real news to us underneath the milieu of this corporate smokescreen that we have going on in the media.  Um, I work as a priest in Downtown Oakland.  And I just wanted to comment on one of the things that you said about schizophrenics.”

Davey D:  “M-hm.”

Joyce from Oakland (listener-caller):  “Uh—”

Dennis Bernstein:  “What, what was said?  What exactly—”

Davey D:  “No, I, I, I said something about that.”

Joyce from Oakland (listener-caller):  “Yeah.  And I think that’s part of the narrative about the ‘dirty hippie homeless people.’  And that they’re also the quote ‘crazy people.’  And I just want to say, as a member of NAMI, which is the National Alliance on Mental Illness born in the East Bay, that those are also marginalised victims of this, um, of this system, which is that we don’t have, we never have had adequate mental health care.  And there are people that are homeless partially because of that.  And so, yeah, there are people with mental health crises.  They’re on the streets.  They’re now having some kind of services, um, because of this Occupy Oakland movement.”

Davey D:  “Right.” 

Joyce from Oakland (listener-caller):  “And I think that it’s important to remember that they’re a part of the homeless population, too.  And they’re part of the, um, those who are victimised by the current system.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “A lot of vets out there, too.”

Davey D:  “Yeah.  I think you’re point is well taken.  And I didn’t mean to, and that’s good to correct me on that, uh, lump folks who are dealing with mental health challenges, um, in the same vein as quote-unquote ‘criminal behaviour.’  So, you’re right on that.  And thank you for the correction.  And we should definitely take your words to heart. 

Dennis Bernstein:  “But there are many troubled people.”

Davey D:  “Yeah.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Pushed on to the streets for the same kinds of budget cuts.  People who should be getting support and the kind of help that they need.  And they’re out there.  A lot of them were sent to war, shredded by a war.  And they are now wandering the streets like, uh, being lost trying to figure out who they are in this world.”

Davey D:  “Right.  And the Occupy Movements in many cities have serviced, you know, those people that the city and the government hasn’t serviced, um, because they’re spending money on, you know, getting 17 police jurisdictions to come down versus keeping schools and other, much needed services available for the public.”   

 

TRANSITIONING TO FUND DRIVE MODE (ON THE LAST DAY OF THE KPFA FALL FUND DRIVE)

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright, Davey.  We wanna thank the callers.  I wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart, Andrew, here, for making the space available at this station for giving the kind of spotlight focus on this crucial, ongoing, you have to say transformation, in which there is an uprising of communities coming together, uniting with the, those who are already left out, who are already being marginalised, who have already been forgotten, uh, with people who are facing that plight and others who care a great deal about what’s going on.  We, I have to give out that phone number because anybody who’s been listening to this station and can compare it to, even KQED, the last thing I heard from the announcer there is ‘Police responded to violent protesters throwing bottles and rocks.’  That was both locally and nationally.  The big lie perpetrated by the corporate media, the corporate military-industrial media.  That’s where we are right now.  So, this network, Davey, and this radio station remains vital in this kind of battle.  And I think what we need to ask people to do [during our KPFA Fall Fund Drive], we have a $600 dollar matching fund, is to reach down, um, without ev-, you know, knowing that the premium is the open flow of information, reach down, stand up and say, ‘We support this.  And we’re gonna put our money where our beliefs are.’  We have a phone number.  And if you heard something that moved you, that was meaningful to you, if you heard something that distinguished this network and this radio station, if Davey D’s work means something to you, be making sure he is out on the street taking notes, pointing out incredible things like, ’No damage here; we got 17 police forces, but there’s no dangerous people around here.’  What in the hell is goin’ on?  If you support what you are hearing, you’re joining the one person, we, by the way, we need, we’ve got about seven minutes, Davey, to get 50 people to call.”    

Andrew Phillips (KPFA General Manager):  “Let’s give the phone number here.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Even if it’s just for $20 bucks.  510.848-5732.  I say ‘just $20 bucks’?  $20, $25 dollars is a great deal of money for many, many people.  1.800.439-5732.  If you care about this kind of reporting.  If you care what you’re hearing on this station, I wanna go shake the light board because I see one beautiful person on the li-, oh, here we go.  1.800.439-5732.  510.848-5732.  We’ve got six people on the line.  510.848-5732.  1.800.439-5732.  Won’t you please stand up now?  Speak out and support free-speech radio.  1.800.439-5732.  There’s a line bouncing there.  I hope somebody’s gonna answer it soon.  510.848-5732.  There’s a line, somebody please pick it up.  Davey.”

Davey D:  “Well, I just wanna say that, um, now more than ever, now that we understand that, uh, wit’ each step the 1%, those in power, are trying to corrupt and hold and redirect those who are supposed to be accountable to us.  We’ve seen it with our political parties.  We’ve seen it with politicians.  We’ve seen it now with media.  You know, many of the big media chains are owned by investment banks.  Many of them are owned by Wall Street.  And, so, the agenda of Wall Street is, ultimately, going to be reflected by those, um, those institutions that are supposed to be covering our stories.  They’re gonna always cover it with that bias.  We are accountable to you.  Those who call up 510.848-5732, those who call up 1.800.439-KPFA, this is your chance, this is your opportunity to underwrite this radio station.  When you go up and down the dial you got big oil supporting one set of radio chain.  You got Wall Street financial institutions.  They are underwriting another set of media outlets.  You have big businesses, um, that have politicians in their pocket that will underwrite another type of media institution.  And, so, when they get on the airwaves and they come across your TV screen, what you get is something that doesn’t even reflect your reality.  You have hundred-thousand-dollar pundits, people who get paid $50,000 dollars just to make a speech, who will talk to you and say that they’re down with you.  But never reflect the hardships that you’re going through.  So, their analysis of a problem never really includes your day-to-day reality.  That is not the case here on KPFA.  We try to make sure to bring to you that on-the-ground perspective that you understand and that you are dealing with because we’re dealing with it.  510.848-5732.  1.800.439-KPFA.  You have to now resurrect those institutions that are around you, that reflect your reality, and that will give you a platform to combat the ongoing assaults that are now taking place on American citizens with media.  And, just to understand, and then I’ll just close, Dennis, remember media, oftentimes, media from this country is used to disrupt, and to marginalise, and to put to death countries and leaders all around the world.  ‘South of the Border,’ Oliver Stone’s movie shows how that took place right there.  Look around the world and you’ll see the, that our media is used as propaganda machines and weapons to demonise and then lead folks into war, and to lead folks into taking of resources, and to lead folks into believing that maybe an entire country must somehow be quote-unquote ‘corrupt,’ or less than human.  So, therefore, whatever we do to them they deserve.  That is how we operate around the world.  But don’t be mistaken, folks.  That’s being used on us, right now, the 99%”  

Dennis Bernstein:  “And we have two minutes.  1.800.439-5732.  If you heard something in this hour, in this day, in this 48-hour period that meant something to you, that really distinguished this station from what you hear from the corporate media, we’re asking you to speak up for it.  We’re asking you to stand up and put your money where your beliefs are.  We’re asking you to take that risk, to do that action that nobody watches you do.  You do it on your own because your mind and your heart and every cell of your body tells you it’s the intelligent, right thing to do to support a non-corporate network that is here for you, that you are a part of, that you are a people’s producer.  We are in the 99%.  This is a station that’s on the front line of that movement, if you make it so, if you make sure that we remain viable and strong, and that we are powerful at the base, that we can fight back, that we can do what we need to do to represent this kind of uprising.  Yes!  This people’s uprising around the country, people uniting, people who are already homeless, with people who are frightened, people who are losing their houses, and those of us who care.  We may not be on the edge, but we care.  And we can’t turn our backs.  We can’t turn our eyes away.  We can’t turn our consciousness off.  We believe in this work.  We wanna use this network and this radio station, which is really an electronic leaflet for the people.  510.848-5732.  1.800.439-5732.  1.800.439-5732.  510.848-5732.  If you care that you have an alternative and you wanna make that alternative stronger, you wanna guarantee that this free speech [going into next programme’s time-slot] the First Amendment.  If you want to stand for that, for the First Amendment, then we’re asking you to stand up, right now.  1.800.439-5732.  1.800.439-5732.  510.848-5732.  Davey D, I wanna thank you for being out there.  Final word.”  

Davey D:  “I just wanna say that right now.  It’s all about us recognising the humanity in one another.  And this station, I think, is going to always uphold its very principles that founded us.  We see the humanity in you.  Hopefully, you see the humanity in us.  And we support each other.  And, so, give us a call as we close out.  510.848-5732.  1.800.439-KPFA.  I wanna thank all the people that have called in.  I wanna thank all the folks that helped us out, Rachel Jackson, Joseph from Berkeley, uh, JR, a lot of folks were on the street giving us a lot of information.  And, of course, you know, the rest of the staff, from Mitch and Brian and you name it.  A lot of folks are still out there on those streets, gathering that information and it will be reflected on our airwaves throughout the day and the weeks to come.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Alright.”

Davey D:  “We’re out.”

Dennis Bernstein:  “Davey D, thank you.  We’re out of here.”

***

Transcript by Felipe Messina

Photo 1 by flickr user Newtown graffitti, photo 2 by flickr user SWARM GALLERY OAKLAND, Photo 3 by flickr user dignidadrebelde. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Reply

MR Interview – Alexa O’Brien of USDOR & OWS

USDayOfRage.jpg

MEDIA ROOTS – Felipe Messina of Media Roots speaks with Alexa O’Brien of US Day of Rage and Co-Organiser of Occupy Wall Street to ask her about the origins of the Occupy Wall Street movement and its looming interface with MoveOn and the Democratic Party, our broken U.S. electoral system, the false left/right paradigm of our U.S. two-party dictatorship, and what we can do about all of this through collective action and the taking of the public square, physically and digitally.

***

MR:  “Alexa O’Brien, with US Day of Rage, is co-organiser at the Liberty Square Occupy Wall Street sit-ins, protests, and encampment, begun on September 17, 2011.  Alexa, thank you very much for your time.”

USDOR:  “Oh, thank you for inviting me.”

MR:  “US Day of Rage organised simultaneous actions  across the United States with other groups to raise awareness of the growing inequality facing the working-class in the United States (and globally).  Um, can you talk about how the organisations came together in the beginning, at the outset?”

USDOR:  “This is a really interesting story.  And, um, you know, US Day of Rage started on March 10th.  That’s when the profile US Day of Rage and the profile #USDOR, which is a hashtag that we also used on Twitter, um, in the subsequent weeks, were parked, essentially.  Um, and, you know, one night I had been covering Bahrain and Egypt, but Bahrain very intimately for several months.  Um, and, you know, we’d be at work, ‘cos I work a full-time job and having, you know, friends of mine on Twitter emailing me pictures of, you know, heads blown open.  And, sort of, understanding that, you know, my own country had a Fifth Fleet there and that this was sort of at the, um, a couple months into Cablegate.  Sort of, seeing those revolutions sort of unfold and, um.  And, so, you know, watching the activity in Wisconsin on March 10th, you know, what I saw was, essentially, a really dangerous level of cynicism towards government.  And, really, actually, also the complete blockade of political engagement by what are, essentially, corporate interests.  Um, and so, you know, we started the profile and, much like many things this year, this year has been like a magical year.  It’s, it’s been a very bizarre year.  We got a thousand followers within a week.  It was very weird.  And we knew at that point, US Day of Rage knew that we had, we had a responsibility because we had the kind of, um, what we believed was, sort of, level-headedness and ability to, sort of, get to core problems.  Um, so we wanted to create a space for Americans to be able to voice their grievances against government without the ideological clap-trap that you find in the corporate media.  You know, these, sort of, like, spectacles of arguments.”

MR:  “Right.  I’ve heard David Graeber speak on programmes like Democracy Now! talking about Adbusters, um, kind of initiating a lot of the Occupy Wall Street actions.  Was that similar to your experience?  Was that someone that, uh, did you work with David Graeber and Adbusters and those folks?”

USDOR:  “Well, Adbusters is a magazine and, you know, uh, the, saving our nation from becoming a totalitarian nightmare isn’t a competition and it’s not a sporting event.  So, certainly, many people have played a role in Occupy Wall Street.  And Occupy Wall Street at this point is, you can be parents, but once your children, you know, you give birth to your children and they, they hit a certain age, you know, they become autonomous creatures.  And that’s what Occupy Wall Street is now.  And we respect it as such.  Um, I’m not sure I, I understand what Mr. Graeber’s role was in, I don’t know much about him.  I did see him at General Assembly meetings.  It’s my own experience that, um, you know, I look at Occupy Wall Street from this perspective:  there were a few people within the General Assembly that acted in an independent fashion, except for the Food Committee, um, headed by Chris Underscore and, um, also the Tactical Committee, um, that, basically, you know, combed Lower Manhattan, sort of, trying to, uh, ascertain logistics.  Um, there were mostly independent people who took it upon themselves to organise things so that the protest was safe.  For one thing, you know, the General Assembly, prior to September 17th, didn’t have any consensus on whether or not it was violent or non-violent in ideology.  You know, we, at US Day of Rage, organised all the non-violent civil disobedience actions.  We made sure in early August that there were actually, uh, videos of civil disobedience talks.  Um, so that people who we reached through digital outreach, um, were able to understand, at least, de-escalation tactics or the idea of non-violent civil disobedience.  The Arts & Culture Committee, Lorenzo and, uh, you know, Jez Bold, I mean, there’s so many people in the Arts & Culture Committee, they were just, and the Outreach Committee, they were phenomenal.  I think what ended up happening, and this is my understanding, I mean, there’s a lot of untold stories and, perhaps, they should remain untold because it doesn’t really matter.  But, if you look at what digital did for this, digital, essentially, magnified the outreach of this particular action of people in New York.  You know, the act of Take the Square, Antibanks, US Day of Rage, WL Central, ROAR Magazine, I mean, all of these, uh, magnified the, and created an exponential awareness and outreach for this action, so that it became what it was.”

MR:  “What I’m interested in is this further magnification of the entire Occupy Wall Street, um, and as MoveOn.org, for example, seems to, uh, begin, uh, its involvement.  Um, well, I understand Occupy Wall Street as an umbrella brand, uh, basically for the organic, grassroots, uh, the one thing in common is the horizontalist philosophy of the General Assemblies of everyday people participating in, uh, this Wall Street Occupation.  Um, and I understand the OccupyWallStreet.org as a, basically, an unofficial de facto online resource.  And that website lists various links, um, from the NYC General Assembly to the We Are the 99% to, your organisation, US Day of Rage.  Um, what impressed me about the interviews that I’ve heard from you, Alexa, are the, um, the critique of the electoral system and, uh, the need for electoral reform, which, since the Occupy Wall Street protests have been magnified, it seems to have largely been absent.  Is this something that I’m missing?  Or is this, uh, how do you see this playing out?”

USDOR:  “Well, you know, one of the things I always say, and, you know, and I quite mean it, you know, I’m a nobody.  And I’m not master of the universe, you know?  To me this—”

MR:  “Sure.”

USDOR:  “—act is an act of conscience.  I can’t see into the future.  I do know that it’s my moral responsibility, as a citizen, and especially someone who, you know, while I did raise children, I don’t have any children that I’m responsible for, at present.  And, therefore, I have much more, I feel like I have more responsibility, you know, myself, because I can take the risk of sticking my neck out and not having to worry about feeding babies.  You know?”  

MR:  “Sure.”

USDOR:  “So, to say this like really specifically, um, US Day of Rage has always had one demand, right?  You know, free and fair elections essentially remedy a myriad ills and abuses of a government that preys on the resources and the spirits of citizens.  Why were Americans so afraid before September 17th?  One of the most beautiful parts of this whole Occupation Movement across the country is that Americans are starting to lose the fear.  You know, what is the public square?  There are several institutions to democratic society and, you know, we don’t have an opinion on the Left or the Right in any kind of sense.  Like, really, frankly, the ideological bitchfest, excuse my language, of corporate media is really, actually, not the Left or the Right.  It’s, it’s a corporate spectacle.  It doesn’t really represent the hearts and minds of millions of Americans about what’s really in their self-interest.”

MR:  “Right.”

USDOR:  “So, the public square, the press, our elections, these are institutions that underpin the stability and the justness of a society, especially, a democratic society.  So, when you have protests that are conducted like photo opportunities for stars and celebrities where you’re kettled into, essentially, cattle cages and you, you know, hoist your rubber bracelet and say, you know, your piece, it does nothing.”   

MR:  “Right.”

USDOR:  “And we knew that.  We knew that.  So, in order to reform our elections we knew we had to start at the most basic, uh, point of the citizen, which is the public square.  You know, I was joking around with one of the founders of Take the Square like, probably, in maybe April and saying, you know, he was like, ‘well, what about take the square in America.’  And I was like, ‘are you talking about Take the Walmart?  Like, what?  Which squares are you talking about?  Because civic space in the United States is completely fiscalised.”

MR:  “Right, you were talking about that in an interview on The Morning Mix with Davey D and, uh, that was something that gave him pause.  Can you talk more about that?”

USDOR:  “You know we look at problems, like, structurally and in terms of how, what gives people, what enfranchises people?  ‘Cos people always say, ‘well, Americans are apathetic.’  And I don’t doubt that there aren’t apathetic citizens in different countries across the globe.  But it’s really, Americans are demoralised because they know, that on some level, that their elections are a farce.  They know that the legislation that we put out there is a gross aberration of the will of the citizens.  And, you know, it’s like a bad marriage, you know, you don’t have to even get too complicated about it.  If my spouse is off stealing money from our bank account, cheating at, you know, with 15 other people, you know, I’m not gonna be emotionally engaged.  I might stay married.  But I’m not gonna engage in the marriage in an authentic, full-bodied way.  Well, similarly, with Americans in government.  You know, if our government is out there cheating on us, you know, lying to us, spending our money without talking to us, and then giving us some kind of excuse.  Americans disengage ‘cos it’s a lie.”

MR:  “Right.  You know, I’ve seen images from the Occupy Wall Street protests in New York and elsewhere indicating people are tired of the two-party system.  Yet, it’s st-, the, uh, that disaffection with the two-party system or the false left/right paradigm is not really something that I hear on the media and not even on the progressive media.  Mostly, of course, there’s gonna be, uh, discussion and illuminating complaints with the war, you know, anti-war messages and, uh, with economic inequality, anti-Wall Street messages, but the electoral process seems to be something that’s kind of taboo.  It’s not really discussed.  And as we move towards, uh, the 2012 Election year, it just seems like we’re heading towards another year where, uh, we might end up with the same type of, uh, leaders in power.  Is this something that you see?  Does US Day of Rage address this?”

USDOR:  “Well, we do.  I mean we have a plan.  Basically, we are basically taking, firstly, we took a couple weeks, just simply getting grounded again, um, into phase two.  I mean, phase two for us, just to be clear, I mean we called the Occupation of, we endorsed the call for the Occupation of Wall Street because when we talk about taking the money out of politics you wanna go right to the source.  And, like, let’s be honest.  Who are, you know, let’s talk about the pseudo-Left, so to speak.  You know the Democratic Party, I mean, who are their backers?  It’s Wall Street.”

MR:  “Right.”

USDOR:  “You know the Republican Party.  Who are their backers?  It’s Wall Street.  I mean, these are fickle interests.  You know, they don’t really care about the Left or the Right.  They just care about themselves.  So, second to that, you know, we are basically organising now for a call to an Article V Constitutional Convention.  And what that means is, most Americans don’t know this, ‘cos we’ve never done one.  But the framers created a method for escaping from what they called ‘captured government.’  And that’s what we have now is a government captured by factions.  Okay, so, think about government.  Right?”

MR:  “M-hm.”

USDOR:  “Think about the Constitution.  You and I could sit here and pretend we’re on Crossfire and we—”

MR:  “Right.”

USDOR:  “—could talk about the difference between Executive power, which is the power to fight wars, versus Legislative.  But, really, is there any difference when both are owned by Goldman Sachs?”

MR:  “Not much.”

USDOR:  “No, there isn’t.  So, it, it’s a breakdown of checks and balances.  So, they created this Article V Constitutional Convention capability, which means that if 34 States pass resolutions, at the state level, calling for a Convention, all sides would have the opportunity to talk about the changes they believe would restore democracy.  And, so, we could bypass Congress and the Senate and the Executive and the Judicial branch and just get this done.  You know, overturn corporate personhood, you know, overturn Citizens United.  Or, you know, it’ll, it can happen in one amendment.  The point is that, the Department of Homeland Security, the FBI, the NYPD, in conjunction with the CIA, whom they work with, they all defend, look, Wall Street’s still blockaded.  You know, on September 17th the NYPD occupied Wall Street.  You know, it’s pro-, they will protect banks and corporations’ First Amendment rights under Citizens United.  But they’ll Mace a girl on a sidewalk who’s peaceably standing there in dissent against the system that doesn’t represent her and gawd knows what else.  You know?”

MR:  “Exactly.  That’s right.  This reminds me of, you know, I’ve heard, earlier this year, Ralph Nader talk about, um, I think he talked about a Constitutional Convention for, um, revoking the, uh, corporate personhood.  Is this the same, is this same process that, are you aware of Ralph Nader’s approach that he’s mentioned earlier this year?”

USDOR:  “I’m not aware of Mr. Nader’s approach with regards to a Constitutional Convention.  I do know that he has, sort of, nine points for electoral reform.  Those are, as far as I understand, you know, I’m a human being, I don’t know everything, so hopefully, I’m not getting this wrong, but, you know a lot of them have to do with, like, getting rid of earmarks, open ballot access, holiday voting for working people, so that they can actually vote, uh, honest and open debates, you know, full and balanced representation.  I mean, there’s a lo-, tightly drawn districts.  You know, those are all very honourable suggestions.  I mean, part of the reason and, I’m gonna take a deep breath, so I don’t completely talk your ear off here.  Um, we really wanna just cut to the chase.  You know, like, let’s just make it so that corporations are not people in the eyes of the law.  Or if they are that they are liable for the same things that people are.”

MR:  “Right.  And, uh, kind of going over the point that I mentioned earlier about us living in a kind of a false left/right paradigm, where people perceive the Republicans as the bad guys and the Democrats as the good guys and, uh, the choices being limited to those two and with this opportunity for consciousness-raising with the whole Wall Street occupations spreading across the country, it seems like a really good opportunity for people to, kind of, look beyond that.  And, yet, we’re still, most people are still gonna vote, so it just seems kind of logical to expand the two-party system.  Is that, would that be a half-measure, in your view?  Or is that something that US Day of Rage looks at?

USDOR:  “It’s not a half-measure.  I mean, any kind of political engagement that restores democracy we don’t consider a half-measure.  I mean, listen, we’re human beings.  A lot of us are working people who are just normal, average everyday citizens.  And so, you know, we support and we engage with the larger discussions from other groups, other Constitutional Convention groups, other people who wanna reform our elections, even, you know, the General Assembly at New York City.  I mean, we’re individual members of that body.  So, no, I mean, I hope that any group that wants to engage in electoral reform approach us and we will approach them because united, you know, we can actually get this done.” 

MR:  “Yes, so—“

USDOR:  “And the other thing, too, is that we have a way of getting it done.”

MR:  “Yeah, that’s exactly right.  And with the whole Occupation Wall Street spreading across the country and, if the Occupations persist, it seems like the Article V Constitutional Convention can seem like a very likely possibility.”

USDOR:  “It’s true.  And also, you know, social media has also done wonders in many, many areas and sectors of America’s political conscience.  You know, take, for example, an American I have great respect for, Brandon Neely, a former Gitmo guard, who found his, people who he was a prison guard and detained at Guantanamo.  He reached out to them several years ago and made direct amends to them over Facebook.”

MR:  “Oh, wow.”

USDOR:  “So, the reality of social media, which I think some, the press is just beginning to understand is, you shouldn’t torture people.  But you cannot torture people today because we will find you and we will see your face on Twitter and Facebook.  Now, Neely is a, a vanguard.  I mean, he’s spoken out about Gitmo, so I’m not talking about Mr. Neely per se.  But I’m saying, you know this, earlier on in the year, um, WL Central and myself and on the media, the Senator from Hawaii Tweeted me to confirm that a Republican had placed the anonymous hold on the Whistleblower Protection Act.  So, there are a lot of things that you could do with social media that we couldn’t do before.  And we’re, we just can’t wait to get to it when it comes to the Article V Constitutional Convention.”

MR:  “So, you don’t have any fears that a large organisation like MoveOn.org might subvert the more grassroots, radical, message of the, um, loosely collective Occupy Wall Street folks?”

USDOR:  “What I’ve learned strategically with things like this is that, you know, it wouldn’t surprise me if the American, you know, I’m talking in a general way.  Right?”

MR:  “Right.”

USDOR:  “If the American brain, it needs to unravel from the partisan, you know, the culture war is over, everybody lost.  Right?”

MR:  “Right.”

USDOR:  “The culture war they’ve grown up with.  But the reality of it is that the game generation, the internet generation, does not trust traditional forms of organised politics.  You know, we have learned how to engage with each other through weak social ties online and that has also transferred into our lifestyle.  So, we might lose a few more rounds.  Hopefully, the U.S. government won’t take drastic action.  Um, I think with this movement into the political sq-, into the civic square we have started to change the game.  But it’s like the traditional media.  It’s like, I’m not worried whether or not they’re covering us because they are becoming obsolete.”

MR:  “M-hm.”

USDOR:  “We are getting our information from Davey D on Twitter and then listening to his radio show, or our friends in Bahrain, or our friends in Egypt.  So, more will be revealed.”

MR:  “Yeah, that’s interesting that, well, I heard the input from Egyptians into the original organising for the Occupy Wall Street protests.”

USDOR:  “Yeah, well, it was really funny because right when we were starting to go viral in Egypt there was like a billion Arabic comments on our Facebook profile.  And it was really hilarious because it was appealing to all the racism against Muslims, like, in certain parts of the United States.  So, we were sitting here, we were like, we’re like, ‘we’re an American organisation.’  They’re like, the Egyptians found us and they’re like giving us all this advice.  It was really funny.  Um, but it’s all good, you know?  It’s all good.” 

OccupyWallStCopsFlickrUserSashaYKimelMR:  “They held, I was gonna say they held out for a long time in Egypt.”

USDOR:  “Yeah.”

MR:  “ I’m hoping that the Occupy Wall Street Assemblies will hold out as long as possible.  I know it’s gonna start getting very cold soon in New York and the East Coast.”

USDOR:  “Well, something to keep in mind, too, is that digital, the internet is a civic space.  I mean, although it’s, in the United States, it’s surveilled and commercialised and there’s no privacy.  You know, there’s no privacy in the centre square either.  Did you see that large, um, monitoring station that the NYPD set up?  It’s like East Germany.  You know?”

MR:  “That’s right.”

USDOR:  “Before the wall came down.  So, you know, the bottom line is this is really about Americans, whether they’re afraid or not.  You know?”

MR:  “M-hm.”

USDOR:  “As long as we’re not afraid we have nothing to worry about.  You know, if we, so I, I’m not worried in a certain sense, like, I trust the good, um, the good people of our country, as the more connected they get, the less afraid they get.”

MR:  “That’s right.”

USDOR:  “You know, we might have a cold winter on the internet or out on the squares, but everything’s gonna be okay if we just keep plugging forward.”

MR:  “Yeah, it seems like that’s the case.  The police tactics of repression of the right to assemble and protest, to dissent, seem to be responded to very quickly, uh, with social media, the illegal arrests, police brutality involving that pepper spraying, and the kettling, of course, what looked like entrapment on the Brooklyn Bridge and so forth.  It seemed to be responded to by the people very quickly and, uh, they seem to be trying to, the police seem to have to adapt to that quick response from the people.”

USDOR:  “Yeah.  I mean, one of the discussions that we had early on because we endorsed, basically, the occupation of public sidewalks early on because at the time, and the situation with Zuccotti has become more sophisticated because a lot of civil rights attorneys have come in and talked about easement laws.  But originally we endorsed a call to occupy public sidewalks because we thought it was the clearest assertion of First Amendment rights.  You know, the NYPD is a para-, one of the largest paramilitary forces in the world.  They have helicopters that can see a cigarette from a mile away.  They have trucks, I’ve been told, that can see through walls.  And they photograph New Yorkers on a daily basis and keep those, you know, facial recognition software.  So, we’re talking about a serious force here.”

MR:  “Yeah.  That’s something to keep in mind.  Well, as I wrap up here do you have any final comments that you’d like to add?”

USDOR:  “Yeah.  I wanna say that, you know, free and fair elections inspire good citizenship and public service because they engage the intelligence and the genuine good will of the American people.  You know, they produce the kind of stewardship our nation desperately needs right now because they insure that citizens can influence their destiny and make genuine contributions to society.  It’s now or never.  Either we do this now or wait a hundred years and have our children grow up in a totalitarian nightmare.”

MR:  “I agree.  Alexa O’Brien with US Day of Rage is co-organiser at the Liberty Square Occupy Wall Street Occupation.  Alexa, thank you very much for your time.”

USDOR:  “Thank you so much.  Have a wonderful evening.”

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Interview and transcript by Felipe Messina for Media Roots

Photo by flickr user Sasha Y Kimel

Kevin Martin – TV News, Occupy Wall Street SD

MEDIA ROOTS- Kevin Martin is a songwriter based in San Diego, CA that identifies his music as ‘throwback pop’, combining his love of performance flair with vintage piano-pop stylings. His song ‘TV News’ was written as a result of his waking up to corporate media brainwashing.

Kevin Martin performs ‘TV News’ outside of the Civic Center at Occupy San Diego.

KM: Television had become a part of my conscience– it told me what to think and how to think it. When I was watching it the most, I felt completely divided within myself. The moment I connected this inner division to my mass media consumption, I wrote the song ‘TV news’.

The corporate media surpressed its coverage of the Occupy Wall Street movement for weeks, and when it did cover the mass protests it either downplayed them or cast them in a negative light. I decided to perform ‘TV News’ at Occupy San Diego and hope this video will help inspire others to join the movement.

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Learn more about Kevin Martin at kevinmartinmusic.com

The Youth is Starting to Change, Together

MEDIA ROOTS- This inspiring video shows a small aspect of the collective activism happening within the Occupy Wall Street movement. It is a compilation of footage from day 14 of NYC’s Occupy Wall Street protest, where 700 people got arrested as thousands marched from Liberty Plaza to occupy the Brooklyn Bridge.

 

Occupy Everything, Filmed by Kristopher Rae, Edited by Kristopher Rae & Nicky Eyebrows

Music “The Youth” – MGMT

This is a call of arms to live and love and sleep together
We could flood the streets with love or light or heat whatever
Lock the parents out, cut a rug, twist and shout
Wave your hands
Make it rain
For stars will rise again

The youth is starting to change
Are you starting to change?
Are you?
Together

In a couple of years
Tides have turned from booze to tears
And in spite of the weather
We could learn to make it together

The youth is starting to change
Are you starting to change?
Are you?
Together