In 1968, legendary AP war correspondent Peter Arnett quoted a U.S. military officer as saying this of Ban Tre, Vietnam: “It became necessary to destroy the town to save it.” Over the years, the phrase, when recalled, has morphed into “we had to destroy the village in order to save it,” but it remains an enduring example of fatuity. You have to wonder if this is now the driving principle of the members of the Occupy Oakland movement: They have to destroy their city in order to save it.
First came the Nov. 2 shutdown of the Port of Oakland. Done in the name of punishing the 1 percent, it instead was a nightmare for many of the 99 percent in the Bay Area. The Oakland Tribune detailed the turmoil caused at the port and the fallout:
The Port of Oakland, its tenants, business partners and labor unions together generate more than 73,000 jobs in the region and are connected to more than 800,000 jobs across the country. The port also accounts for 11,000 direct jobs, according to a study by John Martin Associates cited by the port. … These are critical months because much of the cargo arriving is intended for the holiday shopping season. ..
“Our intention was not to harm the workers or their families at all,” said Cat Brooks, an Occupy Oakland representative. “We understand they are part of the 99 percent.” …
All told, two shifts were lost because of the Occupy Oakland disruptions, according to port officials. The port has a typical three-shift day in a 24-hour period.
Drivers who haul freight to and from the port were among those engulfed by the protests.
“The typical driver income is in the $40,000 to $50,000 range,” said Michael Shaw, a spokesman for the California Trucking Association. “But disruptions create a burden on drivers who can’t deliver their loads.”
Then there were the reports in early November about Occupy having a devastating effect on the city’s waterfront district, which has long struggled to establish itself as an attraction for tourists, families and young locals alike. This downtown downturn spread throughout the entire city. On Nov. 9, the Contra Costa Times painted a grim picture of the toll this was taking:
Numerous downtown retailers said the Occupy protests have slashed sales in half, and business leaders warned that Occupy and the city’s response has spooked some tenant prospects.
“People don’t want to come downtown,” said Nohemi Duran, an employee with Juice Joint Eatery, located a few hundred feet from Frank H. Ogawa Plaza, the site of the Occupy encampment. …
The effects of Occupy Oakland have rippled beyond the city plaza, said Paul Junge, public policy director of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.
“We are seeing serious losses of business,” Junge said. “People have lost 40 percent, 50 percent, 60 percent of their sales.”
Occupy Oakland representatives responded that small merchants are among those the movement aims to help.
“We all support small businesses,” said Christina Spach, an Oakland resident and a member of the Occupy effort. “Small merchants are part of this movement. This is about all of us being able to afford and to have access to basic necessities.”
Note in both stories the ludicrous claim that Occupy was trying to minimize its impact on the 99 percenters. Not only is that not true, Oakland Occupyers are preparing for encores — despite these and many similar reports.
There is a plan to repeat the shutdown of the Port of Oakland on Dec. 12.
Their camp may be dispersed, but in the waterfront area and elsewhere in Oakland, Occupyers plan to continue what the San Francisco Chronicle described as a strategy of “provocations” to draw attention to income inequality and to disrupt everyday life. Which, of course, is just great for the 99 percent.
Now newly released federal data underscore how the Occupyers are abusing a city that is already reeling:
Nearly three of every ten children in Oakland is living in poverty, a more than 50 percent increase from just three years ago, according to data the U.S. Census Bureau released Tuesday.
In the Bay Area, the city has the highest percentage of children living in poverty.
The Census found Oakland’s school-aged children were particularly hard-hit by the recession, a development that educators say could have long-term impacts on their academic success.
“An increase in child poverty tends to lower achievement,” said Michael Kirst, a professor emeritus at Stanford University and the president of the State Board of Education.
Remember, those are 2010 numbers. Occupy’s toll hasn’t even been counted. So in the name of fighting income inequality, Occupy takes a 40-ounce baseball bat to Oakland’s already-besieged middle class. This is insane. Also disgusting.
Will anyone on the left point this out? Bill Maher loves to draw attention to his iconoclasm. So do many of his pals. Who will be the first prominent lefty to point out the obvious?
Namely, that in Oakland, Occupy isn’t noble, it’s obnoxious — and a horrible burden on the very people it pretends to help.
If this is social justice, social justice is garbage.