Green Party activists Don MacCleay and Wilson Riles along with Occupy Oakland activist Vicki McGuire and small business owner and former Mother of the Year, Naomi Schiff, held a press conference today calling on the City “not to proceed with a forced eviction.”
MacCleay, a recent mayoral candidate, said that there is “plenty of room for dialogue” and that all should “take violence off the table.”
Wilson Riles, who in addition to being a former city council member, was also at one time the head of the American Friends Service Committee, a Quaker organization said, “there’s no question folks will be hurt and not give up.”
But the most interesting moments came when a man brandishing an iPod with a set of photos on the Flickr website demanded to know if Riles had been a founding member of the Block by Block Organizing Network.
Block by Block, BBBON, is the name of an umbrella group of neighborhood organizations originally formed to elect grassroots candidate, Mayor Jean Quan, against a well-funded former state senator. The organization has since gone on to facilitate town halls in every district and encourage neighborhood activism throughout the city but is still associated with the mayor and her family.
The statement that Riles was in a photo at the group’s founding meeting was apparently meant as an accusation that the activists’ demand that not only should the City negotiate but also that Occupy Oakland’s General Assembly should consider a forum inviting city officials to speak and create a dialogue rather than a violent eviction.
Full disclosure- if you care- I am an official member of Block by Block but by no means representative of its views nor in the organization’s leadership group. I have tried to work with them and many other groups of which I am a member to find a way for the movement to grow without further confrontation with Oakland police or city authorities.
Since the events of October 25th and possibly before, it has become increasingly difficult to facilitate even minimal trust between OO and city officials. Anyone who is construed as working with or even as knowing city officials is considered suspect within OO-making it seem close to impossible that a useful dialogue could be opened.
The activists expect to make a request tomorrow that the General Assembly hold the open forum on Thursday, November 17