Occupy Oakland Snubbed by Other May Day Pro-Labor Protesters
Poor Occupiers. They can't get any respect, even from other left-wing groups. The March for Dignity is an event put on by immigrants' rights supporters which was held on May Day in Oakland this year. It can fairly be classified as a left-wing effort. The press release announcing the march reads in part:
Oakland has been a key site of resistance, from the vibrancy of recent struggles to the legacy of the Black Panthers and 1946 General Strike. Oakland is also a microcosm of predatory capitalist oppression, from foreclosures and school shutdowns, to police brutality and deportations, to income inequality and debt. This May Day we are therefore calling on forces from around the Bay Area to converge on Oakland for a massive show of solidarity, to celebrate our Resistance and lay claim to our Dignity.
It certainly sounds like an Occupy-friendly event, but the march organizers didn't see it that way. When Occupy tried to latch on to their event Tuesday, they refused to allow it:
Occupy protesters apparently wanted to get in with this huge crowd and waited at San Antonio Park to join the tail end of the March for Dignity to City Hall. "There were some heated conversations between Occupy and the organizers for the March for Dignity," said Oakland Police Chief Howard Jordan. "At one point (immigrant) marchers stopped and took a different route to avoid the Occupy people who were in the (San Antonio) park."
The Dignity march reportedly had as many as 5,000 people; however, many decided not to continue on to City Hall after hearing that Occupiers were there squabbling with police.
"We are peaceful protesters," said Gary Jimenez, vice president of Service Employees International Union Local 1021. "We don't condone the destruction of property or vandalism. We believe in using our voices."
That's what I'd call a stinging rebuke. At the end of the day, March for Dignity protesters (while not my cup of tea) conducted themselves like grown-ups. There were zero incidents involving the police at their march. By contrast, the smaller Occupy march resulted in 39 arrests in Oakland alone.
When you've lost the faith of other protesters on your own side of the aisle, it's probably time to stop and reassess what you're doing.