Friday, December 6, 2013

#FuckCensorship: The Short-Short Version of my Censored #OccupyCal Article

Updated 1/25/2014

I wrote an op-ed article: “Occupy Cal Infiltrated by Police-Sympathetic-Unions;How Lt Pike Recently Got Another $38k Reward For Pepperspraying StudentActivists”. published it on Nov 9th 2013,


and went so far as promoting it in their newsletter:

On Nov 13th 2013 without warning, reasons, or ANY further explanation (to this day!) censored by article, removing it from the site.

Here is the short, bullet point version of the article:
(More details on how you can help and testimonials of support from colleagues and witnesses follows)

1. It's generally agreed among Occupiers that most Unions, without a formal announcement, withdrew their support from Occupy nationally (around November 2011) when it was clear we couldn't be used as a tool to elect Democrats in 2012.
2. The Democratic Party and most big labor Unions are intrinsically financially connected via campaign funding. (link)

3. Basically no Democrat was going to be elected without the police and prison guard union support; hence Unions backing away from anti-police-state sentiment of OWS. (One of many examples, the SEIU calling historic working-class oppressors in the police "beloved heroes")
4. The 99% Spring was launched as a counter-movement run by the DNC pretending to be parallel to OWS (one of many sources)

5. UAW was one of the major forces behind 99% Spring. (link [ignore the rest of the claptrap on that site: I'm not anti-union, I'm anti-union-corruption])

6. UAW 2865 represents 13,000 grad school student-workers in the University of CA 
7. Occupy Cal's Original Facilitation Committee (OFC) was always stacked with UAW reps of whom I make the case they were infiltrators with a purpose to deflate radical activism, or "Agent Moderators".

8. The OFC made sure no direct actions/building occupations were voted through by blocking with their super-minority. This meant against popular student will there were no significant sustained #copsoffcampus-type protests regarding the UCPD beating Occupy Cal with batons 11/9/11 or the pepper-spraying of Occupy UC Davis by Lt Pike.  Important to note, this course of (non-)action was a 180 degree shift from just a year prior to UC Berkeley campus activism.
9. When their power was limited, the OFC split from Occupy Cal and formed Occupy Education made up of CA UAW heads, all meetings were held in a local UAW office.

10. Occupy Education had ONE rally, that was headlined by Union reps and DNC CA Lt Gov Newsom, IE a total waste of time, money and student activist energy, drawing momentum away from Occupy Cal's concurrent direct action victories (A radical, no bullshit reportback RE Occupy Education March 5 2012)

11. The UAW has since scrubbed their website of all 99% Spring/Occupy Education involvement. (see #4 and this)

People who witnessed the events I described in my article IE, the #Ratfucking of Occupy Cal by the UAW and their testimonials

Navid Shaghaghi:

"My name is Navid Shaghaghi, a UC Berkeley '2012 Alumni, who also witnessed the Occupy Cal events at UC Berkeley as described by Ergoat. I find it appalling that TruthOut would censor the truth on behalf of the UAW (or any other entity). Such censorship threatens the very foundation of Freedom of Speech and any trust in the accuracy of TruthOut's publications and intentions as a legitimate news agency. With regards to this act of censorship, if TruthOut had truly been is search of the truth then it should have allowed the UAW (or anyone else, for that matter) to publish a rebuttal article to Ergoat's article. But to instead change the link to Ergoat's article and to then take the article down is outright censorship!" 

Ian Saxton (yes... THAT guy):
I have always preferred to give other activists the benefit of the doubt, and to assume that they are motivated only by a deep passion for making the world a better place. I tended to forgive poor facilitation and strategizing at Occupy Cal because I saw it as a necessary learning process that would eventually lead to the growth of a healthy and vital movement. In retrospect, I no longer believe that the mass movement's fizzling was simply an unfortunate accident, but was the result of intentional sabotage by career-minded pro-establishment union agent moderators.
In observing the UAW's role in campus activism over the past two years, there emerges a troubling pattern that many sensed but could not prove during the early stages. The destructive strategies that I have observed them engaging in include: weakening demands, delaying action, talking broadly but acting narrowly, transferring organizing into union controlled spaces, manipulating with enforcement of political correctness, abusing facilitation power in order to skew voting, slandering honest activists, demanding solidarity while not showing any, and failing to show up when it counts most. It is tragic that we allowed a dishonorable minority to derail a crucial populist campaign to directly hold accountable the University leaders at UC for brutally beating campus community members, drastically overcharging students, and selling off our University in privatization scandals. 
Ergoat is doing the movement a great favor by broaching the uncomfortable but necessary subject of infiltration and co-option within the Occupy Cal movement. His allegations are based on extensive direct observations over a long-period, and he tastefully avoided calling out individuals in order to stay focused on the big issues and avoid getting unnecessarily personal. The fact that his article was censored by TruthOut based on a heavy-handed request from a third party lends more support to his hypothesis that direct meddling is taking place in our movement. Honest activists would always choose to resolve viewpoint disagreements through discourse, preferably within the public arena. If UAW activists feel that their intentions and actions have been misrepresented, then the proper response would be to publish a detailed alternative accounting, not to try to silence a dissenting voice.
I recommend that everyone reflect carefully on the history of Occupy Cal, and consider whether you really find it plausible that all of your trusted comrades have made their best effort. Though it is often difficult to distinguish between incompetence and corruption, that should not stop us from trying. Solidarity means showing loyalty to those who you trust, not blindly trusting anyone who claims to be on your team. Given a long history of deceit within this country's progressive politics, we have a duty to carefully review the behavior and allegiances of our activist collaborators. We have a lot of really important work to do, and not enough time or energy to waste on fakers.
Mark Mason PhD:

I earned a doctoral degree from the Department of Paleontology (now Dept. of Integrated Biology) at UC Berkeley in 1988. Having taken an interest as I watched student tuition rise sharply, I participated in both Occupy Cal and Occupy Education when the Occupy movement congealed in the East Bay.
It’s notable that I experienced confusion and then dismay at the very fact that Occupy Education even existed. The UAW members intentionally created a rift in the Occupy movement by creating a separate Occupy Education group. I attended some meetings of Occupy Education to witness that the union members had no interest in associating with or even collaborating with Occupy Cal. The UC Berkeley campus should have had one movement, Occupy Cal, with liaison meetings with parties from SFSU, SFCC, and any other activists from other schools. Attending meetings, I observed a lack of interest and a lack of action toward building a unified Occupy front.

Attending Occupy Cal meetings, campus UAW members appeared to have their own agenda that seemed to be organized outside of Occupy Cal meetings. I attended some meetings of the UAW local, separate from Occupy Cal and from Occupy Education. Based upon my experiences attending meetings of all three groups, the UC campus UAW local labor union worked to divide the campus Occupy movement and doing so with the goal of either wrestling sole control of Occupy Cal, or sabotaging it entirely. I attended several Occupy Cal general assemblies wherein UAW members appeared to be unified in blocking discussion and actions. Such behavior may not be unexpected, but it was no appropriate for a single block, the UAW, to attend meetings with the intent to sabotage cooperation and sabotage efforts to build a broad, inclusive movement. It is one thing to witness any subgroup advance an agenda openly, and it’s quite another to have watched the UAW act to create rancor and division.

In summary, to return to the beginning of my comments, the very existence of the sharply isolated Occupy Education group is sufficient evidence for sabotage of the local Occupy movement by the UAW at UC Berkeley. I openly advocated cooperation between Occupy Education and Occupy Cal, but to no avail.

I am concerned about the apparent censorship exercised at Truth-Out with respect to Ergoat’s report on troubling lack of solidarity at Occupy Cal. I sent a note to Truth-Out briefly expressing my support for article after I learned that it disappeared from publication without any explanation or archive. The article had merit, in my opinion, and concerns about the article should have been directed to the author, or better yet, allow lively discussion in comments.

Mark Mason PhD
US Foreign Policy Analyst
Contributor to Russia Today (RT), Press TV, El-Etejah English TV, and other international news outlets.

What you can do to help:
Follow the hashtags #FuckCensorship & #OccupyCal, & @Ergoat & @bpoffcampus on Twitter

Sign our petition demanding that uncensor my article.

Contact directly on their website, facebook and/or twitter accounts to express your dismay at their censorship.

Thank you all in advance for your support!