Occupy Berkeley may offer some surprises for its second week which launches Saturday at noon at Bank of America Civic Plaza--followed later by its seventh general assembly, a forum in participatory democracy.
The surprises are still kicking around in committees, and now sub-committees, and new committees. And then there are surprises that just happen spontaneously.
A march was proposed for Saturday, but after objections to the route came out of general assembly, the march route is being re-considered.
A general assembly participant proposed occupying the lobby of BA to demand they build a new, state-of-the-art homeless shelter in Berkeley. In the following discussion, the proposal changed to include amendments such as switching to the entrance way ("less aggressive for this stage of the protest").
Someone noted that Chase, across the street, was a bigger villain than BA, and was just steps away. Someone else commented that shelters are spurned by the homeless anyway.
Some action against Chase or BA might might occur, but not inside. Someone reported from Occupy San Francisco that a bank was forced to close for several hours when its entrance was blocked.
Russell Bates noted that those who propose an action should consider the consequences and that it would be "unwise" to propose an action that the proposer did not participate in.
An ass-on-the-line discussion ensued. This is not the first time the subject of arrest has arisen. It has already been "decided" that arrest be optional and instructions have come from participants for avoiding arrest.
One speaker differentiated between being cited and released for a minor offense versus being jailed, and being unavailable for further protest.
Participants have voiced their fears of being arrested, but concluded, they would do it if necessary. As one said in a recent GA, "if you're not here to get arrested, why are you here?"
She was opposed by another, who disagreed.
Micah M. White, founder of the national anti-Wall Street protest, was seen in the GA the night before last with his wife (but didn't speak). His wife is reportedly a visiting scholar at the university. He had kicked off Saturday's protest—proposing occupying on campus, or at Chez Panisse. He said he was living on the affluent North side.
Maybe he'll have some surprises.
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Ted Friedman has been temporarily assigned to the protest beat, downtown, but he's keeping an eye on his South side neighborhood where the tree-sit in People's Park is reportedly drawing attention from passersby who stop to listen to "the poet in the tree."