Tuesday, December 13, 2011

From today's Chronicle, three stories. The first covers the Occupy effort to disrupt port activities. The second talks about the disconnect between the Occupy movement and blacks. The third is a column by Chip Johnson, talking about how Occupy is doing it all wrong, because they're being disruptive.

The three articles share a common theme: Occupy protests are too disruptive. Disruptive activity hurts people and detracts from the message. If the protesters would behave themselves and not get in the way of people living their lives, they'd be more effective.

Buried in the second article, however, is the following passage:
"Why don't people come out here and Occupy about the violence in our neighborhood?" said Adams, a 44-year-old project manager at a substance-abuse clinic. Every Saturday, she and other members of her church stand on street corners and hold signs asking people to "Stop the Violence."
A search for Charlene Adams on sfgate showed up nothing prior to the article about Occupy. A search for "Stop the Violence" also came up empty.

The article about how blacks feel disconnected from the Occupy movement is right on many points. Black communities have been in crisis for a long time, and no one has reacted. No one started an Occupy movement on their behalf. No one took over downtown Oakland in protest of inner city violence. Protests against injustice that take place only when injustice personally affects the protesters do show moral weakness.

But all three articles miss a fundamental point. The Occupy protests have been successful at getting their point across precisely because they have been disruptive, because they didn't take place on sidewalks, on weekends, out of the view and out of the way of the powerful. The Occupy movement should champion the neighborhoods of Oakland, but if they do so in the neighborhoods of Oakland--rather than downtown--if they do so on the weekends when it doesn't interfere with business, the Chronicle will ignore it, just as they've ignored Ms. Adams' weekend protests against violence.

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