By Joshua Holland
Occupy Oakland has been the target of a notably vicious smear campaign mounted by the conservative media. They didn’t just offer the usual pabulum about how the occupiers hated America or were closet socialists. They painted them as sub-human: mired in filth and gripped by violent anarchy. One right-wing blogger likened it to “The Lord of the Flies.” The campaign’s racist and classist undertones were none too subtle.
When I first visited the camp on October 22, I found a very different scene. About 150 tents made up a small, self-sufficient community in Frank Ogawa Plaza, located steps away from City Hall. The kernel of truth behind the smears was that it was located in downtown Oakland, a city with some serious problems and a long history of distrust between the community and a police department tasked with serving and protecting it.