8 October 2012
On Saturday, a march in San Francisco against Colonialism and Capitalism resulted in 20 arrests. Police had a significant presence early on, and forced a confrontation, in turn demonstrators threw a few paint filled balloons at officers and at an ATM machine. A police officer then rammed his bicycle into a crowd member, launching a wave of riot police at demonstrators. Police wielding batons, indiscriminately pushed & struck anyone in the area. All of the demonstrators who were arrested are facing 5 or 6 charges, including inciting a riot, conspiracy to commit a crime, obstructing a peace officer, failure to disperse, and what appears to be some variant of jay walking.
Some charges have been dropped and others reduced; most arrestees face 3 misdemeanors each. Trial has been set for November 9th.
7 October 2012
OAKLAND, California – Some 200 demonstrators gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza Sunday for the Hoodies and Hijabs action. The demonstration takes place on the 11th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. Demonstrators rallied, then began to march around 7pm. Shortly thereafter, windows of multiple bank branches, a police recruiting office, the Oakland Tribune, Oakland City Hall and other businesses were smashed. The march returned to Oscar Grant Plaza with no arrests. Reportedly, police arrived in “snatch squads” after the marchers began to disperse in the Plaza, but failed to apprehend anyone.
6 October 2012
SAN FRANCISCO, California – Demonstrators gathered in San Francisco on Saturday against Colonialism and Capitalism in anticipation of Columbus Day—a day in the US that typically celebrates the European colonization of the Americas. Further action is planned for the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan (Sunday) in Oakland titled Hoodies and Hijabs.
The march set to begin at 3pm met early police confrontation with multiple arrests—effectively dissolving the march. The march began at Bradley Manning Plaza and within 15 minutes, some demonstrators threw paint filled balloons at the police. Police reportedly identified one of the individuals with paint and tackled the individual and surrounding marchers at Battery and California. Reportedly,  were arrested. Watch the recorded video stream of the arrests here (skip to 4:00).
- Donate to the Occupy Oakland Bail Fund
25 September 2012
Jasper Bernes and Joshua Clover deliver a superb review of Alain Badiou’s The Rebirth of History: Times of Riots and Uprisings, challenging cries for greater “organization” along the way.
The exhortation to organize has been often heard in the dissolution of the various Occupy encampments here in the US, from left thinkers as various as Noam Chomsky, Doug Henwood, and Jodi Dean. And “organize” must in some regard be the right thing to do, in so far as it is a term both common-sensical and capacious in its lack of specificity. It risks being what Fredric Jameson calls a “pseudoconcept”: the imperative to “organize” comes down to, do that thing that causes you to be more rather than less effective. But lacking any further tactical clarity, the word inevitably backslides into the meaning it offered the last time around, redolent of sad-faced activists trying to sell you copies of Socialist Worker. In the face of this vast and mercurial irruption which Badiou’s book wishes to register, the call to “organize” serves for the moment as the chorus to a paradoxical song: this new politics is fantastic, but it seems to have reached its limits; we need…the old politics!
(Read more on Los Angeles Review of Books )
23 September 2012
Columbus Day 2012 marks the 520 year anniversary of the genocidal and ecocidal project of Empire building and colonial expansion that began with the conquistador invasion of this continent and continues to this day through the daily violence and exploitation of global capitalism.
It also marks the 20 year anniversary of the first American Black Bloc which disrupted the 1992 Columbus Day Parade in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood. Read the rest of this entry »
22 September 2012
SAN FRANCISCO, California – On Thursday night, an undercover police officer shot a man in the Mission District—reportedly firing three shots in the man’s back. The shooting victim is not in a life-threatening condition. The police officer alleges that the man was about to fire a Tec-9 pistol and claims the shooting was in self-defense. However, skepticism around this police account immediately surfaced in parts of the community due to a history of fabrications police often contrive after shooting incidents, such as the recent case of Alan Blueford.
On Friday night, demonstrators marched through parts of the Mission District smashing bank windows, upturning tables at local “yuppie” restaurants, and throwing paint at a police station. No arrests were made.
17 September 2012
A sobering analysis of #Occupy on it’s first anniversary, by Jasper Bernes:
Why Occupy? This is the question I want to answer in what follows. I ask, in this regard, not just about the tactical or strategic benefit of the outdoor occupation, but about the causality of the Occupy phenomenon in its entirety. Why did it arise at this particular moment and not some other moment, in this particular form and not some other form? Why did the occupations unfold in the way they did? Who took part and why?
First off, the question of timing. Why now? Or rather, to put it in more pointed terms, since the economic crisis has ushered in a newly volatile and riotous age, why did it take so long? Why did Occupy erupt in 2011 and not 2009 or 2010? Did people reach some kind of breaking point, as the economic crisis worsened month by month, as unemployment came to seem a permanent rather than transitional stage, as debts became more and more unpayable, mortgages more and more burdensome? Notably, 2011 was the year in which the effects of the crisis were particularly devastating for governmental budgets, precipitating numerous opportunistic austerity programs, particularly at the state and municipal levels. But why, then, didn’t Occupy emerge as an anti-austerity movement, as observers of events in Europe since 2008 might have predicted? Why did attempts to reproduce the Madison Capitol occupation of the preceding spring fail so miserably? Is it because of the weakness of the traditional actors in such movements, such as public sector unions? Or the deep-seated anti-statism of Americans? It is certainly notable that, unlike Greece or the UK– where the capital is also the largest city, capable of generating the largest protests – most major cuts in the US are undertaken by state rather than federal governments, meaning there is unlikely to be a single piece of austerity legislation that will conjure forth a nationwide protest movement.
As we know, Occupy imagines itself as a link in a global chain of protests which begins in Tunisia, spreads to Egypt and from there to the cities of Spain, to Greece and beyond. By the time it gets to Europe and the US, this new International of protest quite self-consciously casts itself as propagated spontaneously through ineluctable processes of contagious, “viral” replication and imitation, sometimes attributed to the dispersive, participatory character of social media. In my view, “spontaneous” is simply the name we apply to those social manifestations whose causality we don’t really understand, and if one looks closely at any of these instances, one sees groups reading the direction of the historical winds and making choices based on their sense of what’s possible. In other words, there are always specific acts of will within, if not behind, any spontaneous emergence – as we learn from the text messages the rioters of Britain sent each other – and this is certainly the case with Occupy Wall Street’s original manifestation. What distinguishes it from the earlier sequence is how long it took, how much delay there is between Syntagma Square and Zuccotti Park. This is one question we need to answer: why did it take so long? And what is it that this delay measures? One answer might be that it measures the uncertainty, here in the US, about the target, the object, around which a protest movement might cohere. As we will see, this uncertainty turns out to be crucial to the course Occupy takes.
(Read more on The New Inquiry)
13 August 2012
OAKLAND, California – On Monday morning, the former 23rd Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library was occupied and renamed the Victor Martinez People’s Library. The building was shut down as a public library in 1976 and was briefly an alternative school and later a social services facility(1). The building has been vacant since 2010, located on 1449 Miller Avenue in East Oakland.
Here’s an initial statement from the people’s library:
The building unveiled today as the Victor Martinez Community Library was part of a Carnegie Foundation endowment of four libraries given to the city of Oakland between 1916 and 1918. Oakland’s librarian at the time, Charles S. Greene, believed that the city’s people would benefit most from libraries placed within their communities.
Despite this vision, the building was one of seven branch casualties of budget cuts in the late seventies, severing vital library life-lines in poor and working communities. Since then, the “Latin American Branch” library building located at the corner of Miller and 15th st. has mostly sat empty, despite the fact that the next nearest library is miles away, and increasingly difficult to access in a city like Oakland with an increasingly expensive transit system. With its eroding chain link fence and decaying, armored exterior, the building is much more than an eyesore; the unused, but inaccessible, space creates a life-draining dark vacuum of stability that serves at best as a convenient place for the unscrupulous to dump their old mattresses, couches and assorted garbage.
This morning, a group of activists opened this building again for use as a library. Inside is the modest seed for a library and community center—hundreds of books donated by people who envision the rebirth of local, community-owned libraries and social and political centers throughout Oakland. We’ve named the building after recently deceased author, Victor Martinez, who overcame a young life of hard agricultural work to become a successful writer in the Bay Area. His semi-autobiographical novel, Parrot in the Oven, has become a seminal work of the Latino experience. Martinez died last year at 56 of an illness caused by his work in the fields.
If you live in this community, we only ask that you think about how you can use this building. Name it anything you like. Purpose it to any goal that benefits the community—library, social or political neighborhood center. All we ask is that you consider keeping it out of the hands of a city which will only seal the fence and doors again, turning the space back into an aggregator of the city’s trash and a dark hole in the middle of an embattled community. The doors here are open. And there are many others simply waiting to be.
~7pm: The library needs the listed items.
Removing old graffiti and beautifying the people’s library.
11:40pm: Police raid the library, boarding it up and closing the fence off. Organizers call for a meeting outside the library for 10am (Tuesday).
- Read more about the life of Victor Martinez.
- In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the first BART protest over Charles Hill’s death, #opBART has been rebooted today, August 13th, for 5pm at the Fruitvale BART station.
25 July 2012
ANAHEIM, California – On Tuesday, a demonstration against two fatal Anaheim police shootings attempted to bring their voices to a city council meeting. Many were unable to enter and the crowd outside rallied. Eventually police and demonstrators clashed. Police used pepper bullets, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds on the crowd, reminiscent of police actions only days prior when community members discovered that police had killed Manuel Diaz and confronted officers–only to be shot and have a police dog attack the crowd. As police fired into the crowd on Tuesday, some demonstrators attempting to flee were hit, leaving bloodied injuries[1, 2].
Street skirmishes continued into the evening Tuesday night, as community members were incensed by the extra-judicial killings and the brutal police response to dissent. Reportedly, blunt objects and plastic bottles were thrown at police. Fires were set in trash cans and dumpsters, and several strip mall shops had windows smashed, including Vons, Starbucks, a restaurant, a check cashing store, and a vacant store front. Police fired non-lethal rounds at two journalists. Some 24 people were arrested during the course of the afternoon and evening.
Organizers against the police killings will hold another demonstration outside of an Anaheim Police station on Sunday at noon. In Oakland, a solidarity demonstration is being held on Friday at Oscar Grant Plaza at 5:30pm. In San Francisco, a solidarity action will be held Thursday, 6pm in front of the Ferry Building. Organizers are holding a solidarity march in Harlem on Friday as well. In Atlanta, a solidarity march will take place starting at Piedmont Park, 8pm Friday. In Seattle, there will be a solidarity anti-police repression march at 8pm on Friday, starting at Edwin T Pratt Park.
Read more on the killing of Manuel Diaz.
22 July 2012
ANAHEIM, California – On Saturday afternoon, Anaheim police approached three men for undisclosed reasons including, Manuel Diaz, who then attempted to flee. The altercation ended with the police shooting Diaz [in the buttocks; as Diaz fell to his knees police fired another round into his head]. The police then cuffed the fatally wounded Diaz. Witnesses say that the police overreacted. As community members gathered, they confronted police and demanded answers. Police in turn reacted by unleashing a dog and firing rubber bullets into the crowd that included small children on La Palma Ave. Police reportedly went from house to house in the neighborhood to purchase footage of the shooting incident. As the evening progressed, a “near riot” situation developed, but failed to escalate. According to Orchestrated Pulse, the Anaheim Police are responsible for six shootings already this year. (via reclaimUC)
A protest is planned for noon (Sunday) in front of the Anaheim police station. UPDATE: Some 50 or so demonstrators protested inside the lobby of the Anaheim police station. Demonstrators plan on returning every Sunday at noon.
Read more on Orchestrated Pulse.
- Another Anaheim police shooting occurred early Monday morning (23 July). Police allege that the shooting victim, Joel Acevedo, fired at the police. The altercation occurred after a car theft.
8 July 2012
Though Jasper was on track to have a probable cause hearing for the May 1 arrest on June 29, one of the officers subpoenaed was on vacation. As a result, the hearing was rescheduled for July 20. He has an intervening court date on July 11, but does not need supporters to show up then. The hearing on the 11th is a routine appearance, designed to give his lawyer a chance to speak with the judge and the DA.
Essentially, Jasper is hoping to resolve the case through an agreement with the DA. Because the case has dragged on so long, and because he has taken a postdoc at Duke University and is scheduled to begin teaching there in August, he is willing to accept a reasonable plea deal. Though all of the charges are spurious, he wants to get this over with and go on with his life, and has indicated to the DA that he is willing to plead guilty to one charge from May 1, as long as the terms offered are not too onerous and will allow him to move to North Carolina with his family in August. So far, the DA has been unwilling to make a reasonable offer, and is insisting on certain terms – such as a stay-away order from UC property – that are unacceptable. Given the fact that Chancellor Birgeneau has already told the DA to withdraw charges for November 9 (thanks to phone calls and pressure from supporters) it is more than ridiculous for the DA to continue to pursue these kinds of punishments.
At this point, the best way to support Jasper is to continue to call the DA and to tell them to drop the charges for Nov. 9 and make a reasonable offer. It’s best to contact the Deputy District Attnorney handling the case directly, Chris Cavagnero, as well as his supervisor, Paul Hora. Call (510) 272-6222 and ask to be put through to them. It would be best if calls happened this Monday and Tuesday (July 9 and July 10), before his appearance on July 11.
Jasper has taken a “pretty miserable deal” and plead guilty to a number of counts. However, Jasper feels he is “lucky” as he will not have to serve prison time.
- Information on the Sproul 13 can be found here.
3 July 2012
OAKLAND, California – The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) shut the doors to 5 elementary schools in June reportedly due to budget cuts. As community members including teachers and parents first heard about the proposed shuttering of the schools over a year ago, they began organizing against the school closures. The 5 schools closed were all in areas of the city home to low-income families of color.
On June 15, parents, teachers and some children established a camp outside the Lakeview Elementary campus in protest. In a matter of days, demonstrators reopened the school building and established a summer program open to all children, supported by teachers working voluntarily. Although concerns of police raids were raised, no immediate action was taken by police other than giving a dispersal order in paper form. Over the next two weeks, the occupied Lakeview summer school taught a number of different subjects to some 30 students.
Around 4 in the morning on July 3rd, Lakeview Elementary was raided by police, resulting in 2 arrests. In response, Lakeview organizers are requesting supporters to join them at 5pm today for a march.
25 June 2012
BERKELEY, California – The UC Berkeley Police department is using funds from the Department of Homeland Security to purchase an armored vehicle known as the bearcat. In previous protests in the East Bay, armored vehicles often referred to as “tanks” have been seen in use, as recently as May Day 2012 in Oakland, as well as during Oscar Grant protests. Both the Alameda County Sheriffs and Union City reportedly own armored vehicles for “crowd control” purposes. The new addition for UCBPD will also be shared by Albany and Berkeley police. (via reclaimUC)
UC Berkeley Chancellor Birgeneau cancelled the order for the armored vehicle!