by: Queena Kim, Truthout | Report
A group of protesters at the Occupy Oakland action to shut down the Port of Oakland on December 12, 2011. (Photo: Queena Kim)
The Occupy movement is known internationally for protesting the inequalities of the global financial system, so much so that in four short months, “Occupy” has essentially become a brand known the world over.
But now there’s an effort by Native American activists in Oakland to get rid of “Occupy” and replace it with “Decolonize” – as in “Decolonize Oakland.” They say the term “occupy” is offensive in light of the brutal history of occupation by early colonizers and the United States government. Native Americans in Seattle, Albuquerque, Portland and Sedona have launched similar campaigns.
The name change is proving contentious at Occupy Oakland, with some protesters accusing Native Americans of guilt tripping in the name of supporting the oppressed. But cut through the chatter, and the basic point seems to be this: Occupy doesn’t want to give up the brand.
“That name change could … alienate Oakland from the wider movement,” wrote John C. Osbourn, who has been reporting on the Occupy movement on his blog the Classist. “The brand recognition if you will.”
The irony of Occupy Oakland being captivated by “branding” isn’t lost on Morning Star Gali, a Native American activist from Oakland who’s helping lead the name change effort. The Occupy movement, in general, shuns the corporatization of society. Continue reading