Reconsidering Occupy Oakland and Its Horizons: Media Misframing, Decolonizing Fractures, and Enduring Resistance Hub

Abstract

Reconsidering Occupy Oakland and Its Horizons is an archival study of the creation, reception, evolution, and remembrance of Occupy Oakland using a feminist lens. I investigate how Occupy Oakland’s radically democratic mobilization against economic violence, racism, and police violence was undermined by local and regional news coverage—namely in the San Francisco Chronicle and Oakland Tribune—through framing devices that demonized protesters and delegitimized the movement. I nevertheless found differences between local and regional coverage. Occupy Oakland challenged existing hegemonic boundaries regarding participatory democracy as its activists –seasoned and less experienced people from multiple generations – experimented with horizontal world-building through community structures, methods, and processes. This horizontal radical movement nevertheless struggled with the same divisions and inequalities that existed outside its camps: heteropatriarchy, white supremacy, and classism. The “stickiness” of embodied and structural inequalities persisted in Occupy Oakland camps despite efforts to create a radically egalitarian community. The nature of this stickiness can only be understood by taking seriously the local material and institutional conditions, obstacles, and histories that shaped the spaces of protest and its participants. Though news coverage often describes the movement as a failure, several new projects and coalitions formed during and after Occupy Oakland, illustrating its dynamic legacy and challenging social movement scholarship that reproduces temporal demise frameworks in its analysis. A feminist examination of these projects demonstrates how stories of Occupy Oakland’s “failure” or “death” miss the nature of projects attempting to radically reimagine a patriarchal, racist, neoliberal social world along more egalitarian and just lines. The problems Occupy Oakland struggled against and challenged have only intensified during the CoVid-19 pandemic.

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Citation

Alvarado, Madisoon (2021). Reconsidering Occupy Oakland and Its Horizons: Media Misframing, Decolonizing Fractures, and Enduring Resistance Hub. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/22664.


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