Occupy Oakland: Solidarity in green

Proposal: Consider wearing a green armband on November 2nd as a way of showing solidarity with Occupy Oakland and the Occupy movement in general, whether you go to Oakland or go to class or go to work.

Explanation: As you may have heard, Occupy Oakland will be holding a general strike this Wednesday, Nov. 2. The 1,607 community-members who stayed for the full four-hour meeting reached this decision through a highly democratic consensus decision-making process that requires 90 percent approval. The atmosphere was welcoming, constructive and most importantly, decidedly peaceful.

Why are they striking? You may ask. Why are they occupying in the first place? What are their demands? The Occupy movement is, at its core, a response to broad systemic problems arising from the enormous concentration of wealth and power in the hands of a privileged few. Because this inequality manifests itself in innumerable ways across society, it is difficult, if not impossible, to distill the aims of the Occupy movement into a short list of demands. However, in this strike in particular, Occupy Oakland is both protesting broad, global issues and specific local issues, such as the city of Oakland’s apparent preference for funding law enforcement over education.

Many of us will doubtless show our support for the strike in a number of ways. To those of us who wish to do so, I have one proposal and one request.

Proposal (restated): Consider wearing a green armband on Nov. 2 as a way of showing solidarity with Occupy Oakland and the Occupy movement in general, whether you go to Oakland or go to class.

Request: To those particularly fervent supporters of Occupy Oakland who really want your classmates to join you in the streets, do not succumb to the temptation to disrupt classes full of students who choose not to walk out with you.

A student should not be forced to choose between showing solidarity with the Occupiers and taking advantage of their incredibly precious education. Doubtless many students will walk out of class and perhaps converge in Oakland. Doubtless many more will wish to show their support but do not feel comfortable compromising their education to do so. These two groups are natural allies and should act as such.

To those walking out: Remember the spirit of consensus that drives the Occupy movement. Strive to build solidarity and consensus. To attempt to compel your fellow students into the streets by disrupting their education would be counter to the spirit and the interest of the Occupy movement. Let your fellow students show their solidarity in a way they are comfortable with.

Here are several reasons why I suggest green armbands. Armbands are easy — just tear a strip of fabric and suddenly you have made a statement.

Why green? Green is a color full of positive symbolic meaning. Green is the color of money, undeniably a central focus of the Occupy movement. Green has become the color of environmental consciousness, arguably another important element of Occupy. Green also embodied the peaceful Iranian popular uprising of 2009-10, one of many recent movements worldwide that embodies the same spirit as the Occupy movement. By wearing green, we show solidarity with other popular movements for true justice and true freedom worldwide.

With that said, the solidarity behind the symbol is far more important than the symbol itself. If green armbands catch on among supportive professors and staff and the people of Berkeley, that’s great! Still, we must remember that different people will show their support in different ways, and it is in the spirit of the Occupy movement to embrace all of those forms of support.

In a country with a political process seemingly more concerned with the interests of the moneyed than the interests of the people, the Occupy movement has created an open, democratic space where all are invited to peaceably assemble in an attempt to craft a kinder and more just society. In that spirit, I hope that on Wednesday you take a moment to talk with a stranger wearing a green armband about ways to bring to life the world that you both know could be.

Evan Sherwin is a 2011 UC Berkeley alumnus.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

    Why wear green, given that with the rioting, vandalism, and proclamations against capitalism, that the Occupy Whatever’s true colors are RED?

  • Anonymous

    Of course Obama lies when he says Occupy is just like the tea party…..

    The list is in no particular order. Like the Occupiers themselves, it’s unruly, disorganized, messy and not focused solely on the nation’s media centers. The movement is spreading across  America and bringing with it their outrageous and appalling behavior.
    NY: 10/1/2011 — Police Arrest More Than 700 Protesters on Brooklyn Bridge
    Madison, WI: 10-27-2011 — Madison Occupiers Lose Permit Due to Public Masturbation
    Phoenix: 10/28/2011 — Flier at Occupy Phoenix Asks, “When Should You Shoot a Cop?”
    NY: 10/18/2011 — Thieves Preying on Fellow Protesters
    NY: 10/9/2011 — Stinking up Wall Street: Protesters Accused of Living in Filth as Shocking Pictures Show One Demonstrator Defecating on a POLICE CAR
    NY: 10/7/2011 — Occupiers Rush Police … More
    Cleveland: 10/18/2011 —  ‘Occupy Cleveland’ Protester Alleges She Was Raped
    NY: 10/10/2011 — ‘Increasingly Debauched’: Are Sex, Drugs & Poor Sanitation Eclipsing Occupy Wall Street?
    Seattle: 10/18/2011 — Man Accused of Exposing Self to Children Arrested
    10/12/2011 — Iran Supports ‘Occupy Wall Street’
    Portland: 10/16/2011 – #OccupyPortland Protester Desecrates Memorial To U.S. War Dead
    Portland: 10/15/2011 — #OccupyPortland Protesters Sing “F*** The USA”
    Chicago: 10/17/2011 — COMMUNIST LEADER Cheered at Occupy Chicago
    10/15/2011 — American Nazi Party Endorses Occupy Wall Street‘s ’Courage,‘ Tells Members to Support Protests and Fight ’Judeo-Capitalist Banksters’
    Boston: 10/14/2011 — Coast Guard member spit on near Occupy Boston tents
    Boston: 10/11/2011 — Boston Police Arrest Over 100 from Occupy Boston
    New York: 10/11/2011 — “You Can Have Sex with Animals.”
    New York: 10/15/2011 — Harassing Police with Accusations of Phony Injuries
    New York: 10/9/2011 –  ‘Occupy Wallstreet’ Protesters Steal from Local Businesses
    New York: 10/25/2011 — Three Men Threatened to Kill 24-Year-Old Occupy Wall Street Protester for Reporting Rape
    Baltimore:  10/18/2011 — #OccupyBaltimore Discourages Sexual Assault Victims from Contacting Police
    Portland: 10/27/2011 — Occupy Portland’s Attempt At Wealth Redistribution Ends In Theft
    Los Angeles: 10/14/2011 – Anti-Semitic Protester at Occupy Wall Street
    10/27/2011 — A Death Threat From an Occupy Wall Street Protester
    10/27/2011 – Anti-Semitic Tweet From Occupier or Sympathizer
    Boston: 10/20/2011 — Occupy Boston Doesn’t Want Police Involved in Rape
    New York:  10/5/2011: Anti-Semitic Occupier Screams About Jews, Israel
    New York: 10/4/2011 — Occupier Taunts Jewish Man
    Boston: 10/2011 — Occupiers Block Street
    New York: 10/2011 — Occupier Tries to Steal Police Officer’s Gun
    New York: 10/27/2011 — Occupiers Block Traffic, Get Arrested
    Oakland: 10/27/2011 — Occupiers Throw Garbage at Police
    Oakland:  10/19/2011 — Abusive #OccupyOakland Protesters Ban Media from Tent City
    Eugene, OR: 10/19/2011 — Occupiers Displace Farmers’ Market Threatening Hundreds of Jobs
    Portland, OR:  10/18/2011 — Capitalist Offering Jobs at Occupy Portland Finds Few Takers
    NY:  10/20/2011 — #OccupyWallStreet Threatens Businesses, Patrons
    NY: 10/14/2011 — Violence Breaks Out During #OccupyWallStreet March Toward Stock Exchange
    NY: 10/14/2011 — Protesters March On Wall Street, Scuffle With Cops
    Oakland: 10/19/2011 — #OccupyOakland Protesters Threaten Reporter
    Oakland: 10/26/2011 — Occupiers Scuffle with Police
    Oakland: 10/24/2011 — Protesters Storm, Vandalize, Shut Down Chase Bank
    Dayton, OH: 10/22/2011 — Protester: ‘F*ck The Military, F*ck Your Flag, And F*ck The Police’
    Chicago: 10/14/2011 –  Protesters’ Message At #OccupyChicago Rally: ‘Destroy Israel’
    NY: 10/23/2011 — #OccupyWallStreet Supporter Rants Against Israel, Jews
    NY: 10/22/2011 — #Occupy Kid: ‘Burn Wall Street, Burn!’
    NY: 10/21/2011 — New Yorkers Fed Up With Noisy, Defecating Protesters
    Oakland:  10/21/2011 — Occupy Oakland Evicted After Reports Of Crime And Intimidation
    Oakland: 10/19/2011 — #OccupyOakland Out of Control: Rats, Graffiti, Vandalism, Sexual Harassment, Public Sex and Urination
    Chicago: 10/26/2011 –  Occupiers Under Investigation by FBI for Links to Terrorism
    Cleveland: 10/29/2011 — Rape Reported at Occupy Cleveland
    Dallas: 10/24/2011 — Police Investigating Possible Sexual Assault Of Teen At Occupy Dallas
    Bloomington, IN: 10/26/2011 — Man Claims Occupy Bloomington Protesters Drugged, Handcuffed Him
    NY: 10/10/2011 — Sex, Drugs and Hiding from the Law at Wall Street Protests
    Glasgow: 10/26/2011 — Woman Gang-Raped
    Boston: 10/23/2011 — Occupy Boston Protesters Arrested For Dealing Heroin – With 6 Year-Old in Tent
    Portland: 10/16/2011 –  Sex Offender Registers Occupy Portland Camp as Address
    Denver: 10/15/2011 — Occupy Denver Demonstrator Accused of Groping TV Photographer
    Lawrence, KS: 10/25/2011 — Sexual Assault Reported at Occupy Camp
    Minneapolis, MN:  Bricks, Rocks, ‘Riot Supplies’ Discovered by Police
    Phoenix, AZ:  10/27/2011 — Neo-Nazis Patrol “Occupy Phoenix” With AR-15′s
    Chicago: 10/26/2011 — Occupy Chicago Invades City Hall
    10/26/2011 — ACORN, Occupy Email Talks About Assault on Banks
    10/26/2011 –  OccupyWallStreet Strategy for Reports of Violence Against Cops
    Chicago: 10/26/2011 — Unrepentant Domestic Terrorist Bill Ayers Wows Occupiers
    Chicago:  10/25/2011 — Ayers Coaches  #OccupyChicago, Callsg for School ‘Occupations’
    10/26/2011/ — Occupy Protests Have Jewish Leaders Concerned
    Wash DC: 10/27/2011 –  OccupyDC Leftists Provoke Police – Hang Flag on Top of DC Statue
    Albuquerque, NM:  10/26/2011 — Occupy Squatters Riot With Police
    San Diego: 10/25/2011 — Flag Used as Chew Toy by Occupier’s Dog
    Oakland: 10/25/2011 — Occupiers Throw Bottles at Police
    NY: 10/27/2011 — Occupy Wall Street Protesters: Rush Limbaugh Is Bigger Threat Than Al-Qaeda
    10/27/2011 — Occupy Wall Street Launching First Nationwide General Strike in America Since 1946
    NY: 10/28/2011 — Fox 5 News Reporter Assaulted at OWS
    10/28/2001 — Total Occupy Arrests Made Thus Far: 2750
    Nashville: 10/28/2011 — 30 Arrests Made at Wall St. Protest
    NY: 10/20/2011 — Former Marine Tries to Taunt Police into Violence
    NY: 1023/2011 — Islamist Group Joins with Occupy Wall Street
    Los Angeles:  10/13/2011 — Roundup of Overt Occupy anti-Semitism
    NY: 10/12/2011 — There are No Anti-Semites at Occupy Wall Street. Except for This Guy
    Missoula, MT: 10/20/2011 — Drunk 11-Year-Old At Occupy Missoula, Adult Arrested
    Oakland: 10/28/2011 — Bounty Out On Police Officer?
    Manchester, NH: 10/28/2011 – Woman charged with pimping teen recruited at Occupy NH rally
    San Diego: 10/28/2011 – 40 Occupiers arrested
    Boston: 10/24/2011 — Occupy Boston Vandalism of Banks
    Boston: 10/25/2011 – Store Owner Suffers 4 Break Ins Since Occupy Boston Began
    Portland: 10/28/2011 — Portland Police: Buckets of Excrement Scattered Around #OccupyPortland Camp
    Seattle: 10/20/2011 — Two Possible Occupiers Charged With Assault
    Seattle: 10/18/2011 — Armed Felon Arrested at Occupy Seattle
    Seattle: 10/18/2011 — A Tent Fight and (At Least) One Arrest at Occupy Seattle
    Seattle: 10/17/2011 — Over 50 Cops Clear Westlake Occupation, Make Eight Arrests
    Seattle: 10/13/2011 — Cops Arrest Several Occupy Protesters
    Seattle: 10/13/2011 — Chanting Protesters Surround Police After Officers Arrest Two
    Denver: 10/29/2011 — Protesters Clash with Police at OWS Denver
    Austin: 10/13/2011 – Occupy Austin protesters arrested for blocking cleaning Crews
    Calgary, CN: 10/28/2011 — Occupiers do $40,000 in Property Damage
    Cincinnati, OH: 10/21/2011 — 23 Arrested, Remains of  protests fill two dumpsters
    Sacramento: 10/19/2011 – 9 arrested in ‘Occupy Sacramento’ protest
    Sacramento: 10/13/2011 – Four More Occupy Sacramento Demonstrators Arrested
    Austin, TX: 10/22/2011 – Man Arrested After Knife Incident at Occupy Austin Camp
    Nashville: 10/29/2011 — Tenn. Protesters Arrested For 2nd Straight Night
    So there is the evidence.  Obama said that the Occupiers are just like the Tea Party.
    That’s a lie.
    Obama=LYING FAIL

    • A&S

      Sounds a lot like skirmish history of the “rebels” fighting the American revolution.

      • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

        No, it does not. Your ignorance of US history is apparent.

  • triple7

    I am Indiana and I will be will be wearing a green armband tomorrow.  I wish more cities would join in.  We have to show solidarity.  I hope in the future we have a nationwide “strike” to show that the meek shall inherit.  We must stand together and show that the nations rich get where they are because of the sweat from the working’s backs.  Please, please,  people stand together for all of mankind.  We have to.

    • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WRACM77JT2RXUR3LMGDPPUGUYY Tony M

      Uh, what specifically are you hoping to accomplish? Do you people have any clear attainable objectives, or is this merely some feel-good exercise so you can pretend that you are “making a difference”?