Occupy Oakland Has a New Way to Communicate with the City



And you might describe it as: Say it to my face, or don't say it at all. Protest participant and sometime Express contributor Dan Abbott explained: "Basically, the City has been sending a bunch of written memoranda, with various requests for the camp, which then take a fair amount of discussion time at the General Assembly [ie, that "big, messy, nightly, consensus-based meeting" at Frank Ogawa Plaza] to resolve (not to mention to respond to collectively)...Essentially the proposal that the 'Occupation' just approved is to ignore any of these written communications, and to require the city to send individuals [ie, emissaries] to the GA to propose any idea directly, following Occupy Oakland's points of procedure." In other words, cease-and-desist orders, eviction notices, etc., will be duly ignored, until they're presented verbally, in a formalized setting.

Demonstrators cottoned to the idea because it allows them to set the terms of the discussion. And Abbott points out that there are other advantages, too: Namely, that it prevents any single person from becoming the protest figurehead or representative (and incurring any kind of legal responsibility or burden associated with that role), and, that it gets city officials involved "in a much more direct form of democracy," assuming that's the ideal that everyone in Occupy Oakland espouses. So now the question is: Will it work? And also: Are the city's demands for real?