The first mic check happens just after the 00:35:00 mark; the next one is just after 01:11:00.
So those crazy kids at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco thought it would be a nifty idea to hold one of their “inforum” panel discussions tonight on “Occupy: What Now, What Next.”
Iris Brown, Organizer, Occupy Oakland
Nadim Haidar, Nonviolent Direct-Action Trainer; Travelling Occupier, Denver, Boulder, Santa Fe, Oakland
George Lakoff, Cognitive Linguist & Professor, UC Berkeley
Jean Quan, Mayor, Oakland
Melissa Griffin, Columnist, San Francisco Examiner; Co-Host, Necessary Conversations- Moderator
The notion that Mayor Quan – whose contributions to the Occupy movement to date have included at least $5 million worth of damage and destruction to people and property – should be on a panel discussing the past, present and future of the Occupy movement was not just offensive but patently ridiculous. Also ridiculous was any expectation that the event would proceed as the organizers planned. The audience of what appeared to be mostly Oakland and SF occupiers was relatively subdued for the first 30 minutes or so, given that Quan used her time to spew her same old, same old litany of lies and revisionist history about OO. Ali, one of the OO facilitators, stood silently with his back turned to Quan every time she spoke. Quan’s remarks about OO’s refusal to take a vow of non-violence and her suggestion that OO should be split into two groups proved too much for the crowd. Another facilitator, Sara, joined Ali and mic checked Quan. They were eventually led out of the room; while the Commonwealth Club wanted to pretend they were having an Occupy General Assembly-type event, they weren’t willing to be quite that democratic.
Many of us had our doubts about having occupiers on such a panel, but Iris, Nadim, and Diana (not listed above; she is from Occupy SF) were excellent. George Lakoff suggested that we occupy the Democratic Party and tried to defend capitalism. He and Quan looked like two dinosaurs flailing about in the tar pits, about to be swallowed up by history.
The final question the panel was asked was “What is your 60-second idea to change the world?” I will leave you with Nadim’s answer: “The best thing we could do is to dismantle all forms of illegitimate authority: authority based on violence, authority based on unjustified premises, and to do it out of love, not out of revenge.”