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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Oakland Gets a Dose of Social Justice

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Actually, says, Deb Saunders, Oakland is drowning in social justice.

 

Occupy Oakland has scheduled a general strike throughout the California city for Wednesday. What does that mean? "No work. No school. Occupy everywhere," the group's website explains. "Shut down the city."

And: "All banks and corporations should close down for the day or we will march on them."

 

"Blockade everything."

 

Occupy Oakland activists have not only free speech rights but also the power to stomp on other people's rights.

Oakland Mayor Jean Quan -- a committed left-winger -- at first welcomed the protests. But with rats, vigilantism and too much stink, City Hall soured on the ensuing squalor. Too late, Quan discovered that if you give them an inch, they will take Frank Ogawa Plaza. Let them remain downtown and they threaten to trash other parts of the city.

By the time Oakland police and other law enforcement tried to roust campers last week, activists had worked themselves into a lather of indignation. Protesters threw rocks and bottles at officers. Police responded with tear gas. Iraq War vet Scott Olsen, 24, ended up in the hospital -- for a cause that activists deliberately refuse to define. It's as if Olsen was injured in the name of hyperbole.

Who are the self-styled 99 percent? The Occupy Oakland website explains: "We are the unemployed and those burdened by debt. We are losing our homes and we have no future. We have been brutalized by the police and exploited by the rich. We cannot take it any longer." Some on the left actually think the Occupy protesters help their cause by proclaiming that all but 1 percent of Americans are downtrodden. Everyone's a victim.

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