Occupy standoffs continue as poll finds public support for the movement

OccupySF, now one of the nation's largest Occupy encampments, could be raided soon.
Steven T. Jones

As OccupyOakland moves to reoccupy Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza today and the burgeoning OccupySF encampment braces for another long-threatened raid by police, a new Field Poll finds that about half of registered California voters identify with the Occupy movement and support its goals, which include taxing the rich and limiting the ability of large corporations to corrupt the political and economic systems.

As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, 46 percent of respondants said they identified with the Occupy movement and 58 percent agree with the cause that prompted it, compared with 32 percent who say they disagree with it. Unsurprisingly, those on the left were more likely to support Occupy while those on the right were more likely to oppose it. A previous Field Poll at the height of the right-wing Tea Party movement found it had only about half as much support as Occupy now enjoys.

Still, as it enters its third month and winter descends on the encampments, Occupy faces myriad challenges. In San Francisco, the mainstream media -- particularly curdmugeonly Chronicle columnist CW Nevius -- has regularly highlighted conflicts and other conditions in the camps and pushed Mayor Ed Lee to follow-through on his threats to clear the tents from Justin Herman/Bradley Manning Plaza. Rumors abound that a raid could come on Wednesday night, when SFPD beefs up its staffing for training exercises.

In Oakland, the site of some of the most violent police crackdowns on Occupy encampments, OccupyOakland members are right now (noon, Tues/29) marching back into their former home and pledging to set up a 24/7 protest in defiance of city officials. While they seem to be stopping short of a full-blown occupation and tent city, they claim to be setting up a model for the next phase of the Occupy movement.

The group’s press release follows:




Phil Horne, Esq., Occupy Oakland Vigil Committee

415-874-9800; occupylaw@riseup.net



On Tuesday, November 29, 2011 at noon, Occupy Oakland activists will retake Frank Ogawa a.k.a. Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland with a 24-hour, 7 day-a-week vigil.  Occupiers hope to create a model for a new wave of "Occupation" protest throughout the United States. With the vigil, Occupiers will continue asserting rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution to assemble, speak, and petition government for redress of grievances.  The vigil is not the product of a bargain with Mayor Quan, nor is it negotiated with law enforcement--permission from the city is not required to exercise these constitutionally guaranteed rights.

The structures in the plaza will be symbolic and part of the vigil protest. A teepee will remind the public of the former Occupy camp and historic struggles of the Sioux Indians on the Plains of the U.S.; homeless workers in Hoovervilles during the Great Depression; the “Bonus March” to Washington D.C. by unpaid and unemployed veterans in 1932; Resurrection City following the assassination of Martin Luther King; the AIDS vigil of 1980s San Francisco; and the redwood occupations of Judi Bari and Running Wolf.

Occupy Oakland continues its occupation because residents of Oakland and across the US are still fighting for food, shelter, medical care, school, childcare, and other necessities.  The 1% enjoy 40% of U.S. wealth and 50% ownership of Wall Street stocks and bonds.  The bottom 80% split 7% of the former and just 5% of the latter.  The average 35-year-old in the 99% has a net worth less than $3,000.00.  Occupiers ask the public to consider, “How long does it take an unemployed member of the 99% to go through $3,000.00 and become homeless.” In Oakland, the unemployment rate is nearly double that of the national average. These are issues of crucial relevance to our city.

Occupy Oakland’s vigil declares, “If the 1% won’t share voluntarily through a sense of morality and concern for the well-being of all, then through protest and direct action, we will force change!  Occupy the Plaza!  De-colonize the 99%!”

Occupy Oakland will have sign-up sheets starting Tuesday at 11 am. at the Plaza, but sign up is not a prerequisite for participation in the vigil. Supporters are encouraged to come out day or night to participate.  The Plaza is fully accessible to the differently-abled.

About OccupyOakland:

Occupy Oakland is an emerging social movement without leaders or spokespeople. It is one of 1,570 occupations currently occurring around the world in solidarity with Occupy Wall St. For more information about the other occupations, see: http://www.occupytogether.org/

An up-to-date calendar announcing Oakland actions, and more information can be found at: