Tasneem Raja, Interactive Editor

Tasneem Raja

Interactive Editor

Tasneem Raja is MoJo's Interactive Editor. She specializes in web app production, interactive graphics, and user interface design. Before joining Mother Jones, she was an interactive producer at The Bay Citizen. Before crossing over to the dark side, she was a features reporter and copyeditor at The Chicago Reader.

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What Does the Occupy Oakland Strike Have to do With 1946?

| Wed Nov. 2, 2011 1:06 AM EDT

When the acrid fog of flash-bang grenades and tear gas cleared on last week's violent clash between protesters and police in Oakland, the city emerged as a new focal point of the worldwide Occupy movement. On Wednesday, thousands are expected to flood downtown and march on the Port of Oakland—the country's fifth-largest—in a massive daylong protest and general strike. It's an impressive escalation from a patchy idea first tossed out just days ago at a General Assembly meeting in Frank Ogawa Plaza, the scene of last week's showdown. This is collective action on speed, and while most (not all) Occupy protesters are calling for a peaceful protest, city officials are preparing for trouble, just in case.

So can you really organize a citywide general strike in one week? Local Occupiers like to point out that Oakland hosted a general strike in 1946, and are using the city's claim to history as a rallying cry. So what worked then, and what would it take to pull it off again?

Fred Glass, a professor of labor history at City College of San Francisco, recently went on local public radio show KQED to discuss optimal conditions for brewing up a general strike. His recipe calls for four conditions: widespread anger among the working class, a "spark" to kick things off, someone willing to stick their neck out and call for a general strike, and an organizing structure. In Oakland today, the first is largely a given and Occupy Oakland has provided the latter two. If school teachers and port workers don't show up for work en masse on Wednesday, the injury suffered by Iraq vet-turned-activist Scott Olsen last week could be credited as the spark that drew mainstream sympathy to the local Occupy movement.

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Open Letter from Oakland Police Union: "We Are Confused"

| Tue Nov. 1, 2011 6:46 PM EDT

On the eve of a planned general strike in Oakland, the city's 645-member police union is blasting Mayor Jean Quan for "mixed messages" about the #occupyoakland tent city and tomorrow's labor protest. The strike is expected to draw thousands to downtown Oakland and its industrial port, hot on the heels of last week's violent clash between protesters and police. Facing down furious accusations of police brutality and blame for an Iraq war veteran's serious injury, Oakland police say they're part of the 99%, too, and they just want the mayor to make up her mind. Full letter:

AN OPEN LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF OAKLAND FROM THE OAKLAND POLICE OFFICERS’ ASSOCIATION

1 November 2011 – Oakland, Ca.

We represent the 645 police officers who work hard every day to protect the citizens of Oakland. We, too, are the 99% fighting for better working conditions, fair treatment and the ability to provide a living for our children and families. We are severely understaffed with many City beats remaining unprotected by police during the day and evening hours.

As your police officers, we are confused.

On Tuesday, October 25th, we were ordered by Mayor Quan to clear out the encampments at Frank Ogawa Plaza and to keep protesters out of the Plaza. We performed the job that the Mayor’s Administration asked us to do, being fully aware that past protests in Oakland have resulted in rioting, violence and destruction of property.

Then, on Wednesday, October 26th, the Mayor allowed protesters back in – to camp out at the very place they were evacuated from the day before.

To add to the confusion, the Administration issued a memo on Friday, October 28th to all City workers in support of the “Stop Work” strike scheduled for Wednesday, giving all employees, except for police officers, permission to take the day off.

That’s hundreds of City workers encouraged to take off work to participate in the protest against “the establishment.” But aren’t the Mayor and her Administration part of the establishment they are paying City employees to protest? Is it the City’s intention to have City employees on both sides of a skirmish line?

It is all very confusing to us.

Meanwhile, a message has been sent to all police officers: Everyone, including those who have the day off, must show up for work on Wednesday. This is also being paid for by Oakland taxpayers. Last week’s events alone cost Oakland taxpayers over $1 million.

The Mayor and her Administration are beefing up police presence for Wednesday’s work strike they are encouraging and even “staffing,” spending hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars for additional police presence – at a time when the Mayor is also asking Oakland residents to vote on an $80 parcel tax to bail out the City’s failing finances.

All of these mixed messages are confusing.

Week in Pictures: Must-See Occupy Oakland Photos

| Sat Oct. 29, 2011 6:00 AM EDT

From the West Coast's answer to #hipstercop to an intense photog-police showdown, here are the must-see images from this week's #occupyoakland crackdown.

Top Tweets From Tuesday's #OccupyOakland Clash

| Wed Oct. 26, 2011 6:05 PM EDT

According to Topsy, a Twitter analyzer, these tweets got top billing around the Twitterverse during and immediately after Tuesday night's violent clash at Frank Ogawa Plaza.

Charts: How the One Percent Doubled Their Income

| Wed Oct. 26, 2011 6:00 AM EDT

If you're looking for stats on the growing gap between the 99 percent and the 1 percent, the Congressional Budget Office is a good place to start. The staid bipartisan number-crunching agency is the source of some of Mother Jones' ever-popular (and poster-izable!) income inequality charts. Now the CBO has a new report full of data whose takeaway, Kevin Drum notes, is pretty simple: "The rich are getting richer, the rest of us are just kind of drifting along."

Here are a couple charts that illustrate the trend. First off, a look at how wealth has been steadily redistributed upward over the past 30 years (hover over a column to see more data):

Hover over a column to see more data.

The richest Americans have seen a nearly 120 percent increase in their income since the late '70s. Meanwhile, the middle quintile of earners have seen their incomes grow 30 percent (hover over a column to see more data):

 Hover over a column to see more data.

Want more charts like these? See our charts on the secrets of the jobless recovery, the richest 1 percent of Americans, and how the superwealthy beat the IRS.

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