An amazing coincidence. One of those historical ironies that should make the school administration cringe indefinitely.
Some 4,000 (if you were to be really conservative) participated in a massive direct democracy meeting, now commonly referred to as the GA. The sea of students was tutored in the now identifiable consensus hand signs used by the movement. The facilitators laid out the ground rules: They were going to vote on whether or not to bring back the tents and set up an Occupation on campus. Yes, it was against the rules. Would they all (80 percent anyway) agree this was the right course of action? The GA attendees broke up into groups of 20 to discuss. That's right: 4,000 people broke up into groups of 20 with at least three helicopters hovering just above to discuss the merits of the action. And then the facilitators clarified: just because you vote "yes" doesn't mean you're obligated to sleep there.
This came the day of Zuccotti Park being cleared by NYPD at the request of Mayor Micheal Bloomberg. In Oakland, embattled Mayor Jean Quan let it slip that there was a coordinated effort with 18 cities to clear Occupy movements in their cities. Occupy Oakland was raided for a second time this week. But police arresting and in some cases brutalizing Occupiers hasn't made them go away. It's made others more interested in the movement and made their struggle more sympathetic. Occupy Oakland made a march into UC Berkeley to support Occupy Cal. "I saw a revolt sign," one protester remarked. "And I said 'Oh shit, Occupy Oakland is here.'"
Oakland as a city and as an Occupation have their own very unique, very Oakland problems: One is their city government, two is their police and three is with the distrust of one and two. Oakland was one of a handful of cities in America to have had a solidarity riot for Rodney King in Los Angeles. It's a tough town. Oakland fell during the crack epidemic three decades ago and has never been able to fully pick itself back up. Of all the cities in America with an Occupation, the message of economic justice for the 99 percent should have been welcomed there. It wasn't. At the end of October, the mayor went on vacation while over a dozen different police agencies accompanied the Oakland Police Department and moved in on the camp in front of the mayor's office at city hall. The melee ended with multiple protestors injured, including a former Marine, Scott Olsen, whose skull was fractured after he was hit with a tear gas canister. Oakland has been a focus of the Occupy Movement ever since. It's members came to Cal in a show of solidarity with the students.
In the largest GA history has ever seen (larger by at least 3,500 than similar meetings in New York) the group consensus was that they would, in fact, bring tents and set up an occupation on the Mario Savio Steps.