Archive for the ‘Oakland’ Category

The Good Worker, Property Destruction, and Trayvon Martin

17 July 2013

from ofCLRJames:

Even before the city street fully absorbs the resonant sounding of shattering glass, the press—mainstream media or citizen journos, it doesn’t matter which—introduces us to a stock figure whose words are nonetheless accorded a special status. You’ve met him or her before. We’re now all old friends with The Worker Who Doesn’t Like Property Damage. The prolie who picks up the shards after the anarchists have had their smashy-smashy fun.  The employee who tells us he is sympathetic to the anger, but there must be another way. Days after Trayvon Martin suffered his second death—the juridico-political death that retroactively strips him of property in himself, the juridico-political death that came after but always came before, the juridico-political death that laid down the path that Zimmerman would follow—media outlets have dusted off the Good Worker and set her to work to chastise those whose outrage at Martin’s second death has taken the form of smashed windows, burning dumpsters, courthouse graffiti admonishing us to kill all the pigs.

The Good Worker knows that property damage is no way to protest the fact that Martin had no property in himself. The Good Worker knows that violence dishonors Martin’s memory. Of course, everyone already knows that; this is the USA, after all. But the Good Worker knows something special, something more. She possesses a particular knowledge derived from a quotidian detail of her life. She is the one who has to sweep up the glass. He is the one who has to wash off the paint. After the party of anarchy, the Good Worker appears on the scene and, with a sigh, dispenses his special knowledge: the infantile leftism of the anarchists and the outraged hurts no one but those whom they claim to defend.

Through the Good Worker’s resigned affect—“I’m the one who has to clean up”—liberals convert dependence on capital into an alibi for capitalism, transform the worker’s binding to the propertied as property’s normative basis. Relations between capital and labor never seem so free from compulsion as when the Good Worker laments the extra work imposed upon her by…other workers, maybe, but more likely dropouts and nogoodniks. The discordant symphony of shattering glass resolves itself in Careyite harmonies. One is encouraged to imagine that the Good Worker’s Good Boss never demands a little overtime, never subjects her to work that go beyond the parameters of the job. But that is precisely what is happening, and not just because he is sweeping up a window: the very articulation of the lament is itself a form of surplus extraction. After all, the political geography of smashy-smashy and political economy of U.S. cities ensures that the Good Worker’s skills will tend toward the communicative, the affective. He doesn’t work in a factory, but in a shoe shop, a restaurant, a boutique cheese store. And she possesses the corresponding skills: she can read inchoate desires and conduct them toward an object, respond to pressing demands, defuse awkward situations. After the windows come smashing down, the general capital exploits these affective competencies. It shoves a microphone, recorder, or someone with a Twitter account in his face and asks him to work a little bit longer, to piece the shattered norms of capitalist society back together with his words. And she does, bearing tidings that an assault on property is an assault on workers, because workers have nothing but the property of others. To harm property is to harm ourselves. The Good Worker’s stoic acceptance of her lot is converted into a quasi-proprietorial care that simulates a property in something that could never be hers.

This equation has been literalized in the case of the Oakland protests over the juridical fact that Martin had no property in himself. In an article entitled “Waiter attacked, freeway blocked in 3rd Oakland protest,” the reader is informed, “As the night wore on, violence grew. About 11 p.m., a masked protester hit a waiter at Flora Restaurant and Bar on Telegraph Avenue in the face with a hammer as he tried to protect the restaurant, whose windows were broken two nights ago.” That this happened is undeniable, terrible, and has been condemned by pretty much everyone (minus some with what I think are fantasies of an agent provocateur). I can’t think of any anarchist who would approve non-defensive violence, particularly against a worker, during a demo; we’d gladly leave a window untouched so as to not harm a human. As the masked protestor’s action strikes us all as aberrant and abhorrent, what intrigues me is the description and naturalization of the waiter’s (named Drew Cribley) act. The causal determination of the worker’s intention is established—windows had been broken before. The deeper emplotting of the event comes at the end of the sentence, and retroactively accords his action—tensed with “as he tried…”—a drawn out, durational quality where one might only read temporal simultaneity or, indeed, spontaneity.

Yet, as another article reveals, the waiter’s defense of the restaurant was indeed spontaneous:

Cribley said his black-masked attacker passed him on the sidewalk, then started pounding on windows with a hammer when Cribley turned and told him to stop. “I kind of instinctively pushed him away,” Cribley said. “That’s when he turned back at me and cracked me in the cheekbone.”[…] “Looking back on it, it was a really stupid thing if you thought I was going to interfere,” he said.

Strikingly, Cribley didn’t think he was going to interfere, he didn’t intend to, not consciously, but a “kind of instinct[]” drove him to “turn…and [tell] him to stop.” It is as if the thump of the hammer on the window sounded out like Althusser’s policeman’s hail: Cribley can’t not turn, even if he doesn’t know what he’s turning toward, turning for. With its direct access to the habits of head and heart of liberal capitalism, the newspaper reveals why. Cribley turned to “protect the restaurant”—not himself, not a window, but the corporate/fictive entity of the restaurant. According to the paper, he wasn’t protecting an object so much as the idea of property itself.

It seems perfectly natural, even laudable, that a worker’s body would absorb the blow intended for a capitalist’s window. Indeed, the article establishes a striking fungibility between (capitalists’) objects and (workers’) bodies. Both are, in effect, absorbed into the fictive person of the firm and, indeed, are little more than the business’ precipitates, the accidental bearers of capital’s personhood. (The assault on Cribley doesn’t even make it into the lede; it is only reported after destruction of other property is detailed.) After the windows come smashing down, the press impresses the Good Worker to restore the commensurability of bodies and objects, people and things.

It was this form of commensuration that killed Trayvon Martin, and killed him twice. The trial of Zimmerman briefly extended to Martin something that could never be his—a proper claim to himself, a juridico-political identity that did not position him as some bizarre thing midway between object and person. If the court’s decision confirmed Martin’s status as a being that could be killed but not murdered, the discourse surrounding property destruction in Oakland confirms neoliberal capitalism’s commitment to reproducing and repairing that order. Through the Good Worker, it first indicts those who actively refuse this commensuration with the charge of exposing its ugliness, for directing conversation from Trayvon Martin to smashed windows (as if anarchists are to blame that the media cannot control its vulgarity, as if anarchists are to blame that the media can’t not stop a conversation about Martin because a violated property hails). It then tells us that Martin would not approve of this violence, that violence against property is no way to honor Martin. Indeed, it posthumously transforms Martin into the Good Worker, someone who knows that to harm property is to harm ourselves. Someone who knows that because we have no property, because the property of others has subsumed any claim to property in ourselves, we have to identify ourselves with it. Someone who knows that our being can be exchanged with objects and things and that, indeed, we should be prepared to “protect” windows—even if we risk extreme bodily harm in so doing.

Feigning outrage, the media is hard at work restoring the logic of racial, neoliberal capitalism that killed Trayvon Martin twice. But there’s grumbling in the ranks: the Good Worker isn’t complying. The follow up article on Cribley concludes with the paper asking him to play his appointed role.

Cribley said he sympathized with protesters and their right to voice outrage, yet feared the violence would overshadow their goals. “It sucks for the people who are really trying to be heard because it starts to take away from their message,” he said. “People around the country look at Oakland and feel like there’s a bunch of vandalism and violence rather than intelligent people with an actual cause they believe in. Instead of talking about that, you’re talking about the guy who got hit in the face with a hammer.”

Note the striking disparity between the paper’s gloss and Cribley’s words. Cribley’s final quote is introduced as if what follows is pure Good-Workerism. He’s sympathetic to the protestors, sure, but, like, he wonders: this couldn’t be the right way. But, as his words actually reveal—his words, what he thinks when his personality is not subsumed into the indirect discourse of capital’s mouthpiece—he does not disavow property destruction. He does not oppose “vandalism and violence” to “an actual cause.” Rather, “people” do, people who “feel” a certain way about Oakland because the reporter, instead of talking about the cause of the demonstrators, is busy “talking about the guy who got hit in the face with a hammer.” Cribley is basically asking the reporter, the you of his address, to write about something else, to write about the actual cause of the violence, the actual meanings it conveys. Cribley refuses to be the Good Worker, to simulate investment in an order of property, of proper being, that left him with a hammer to the head, that left a black boy twice dead in Florida.

But the propertied order has the last word: “Cribley said he’ll return to work Thursday.” And the windows will be repaired by then, too.

No Justice for Trayvon Martin

15 July 2013
image

Banner Reads: Vengeance By Dawn for Trayvon

CALIFORNIA — In the wake of George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict demonstrations quickly followed throughout the US. Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-yr-old Trayvon Martin was charged with 2nd-degree Murder, but was set free Saturday evening by a jury of six women, five White and one Asian juror. Hundreds flowed out into the streets that evening in San Francisco,  Oakland, and Los Angeles among cities throughout the US—the largest in NYC. Although some windows were broken and flags set alight in Oakland, the media-hyped riots failed to materialize. Further demonstrations occurred Sunday evening throughout California and in other major cities in the US. In Los Angeles, hundreds blocked freeway 10 for some 30 minutes Sunday afternoon. Police fired non-lethal rounds into the crowd of demonstrators in LA.

In Oakland, perhaps at its zenith, as many as a thousand marched through downtown. The Oakland march culminated in blocking the intersection of 14th and Broadway for several hours.

More demonstrations are planned.

Update:

Monday, demonstrations continued throughout the state. In Oakland, hundreds if not closer to a thousand demonstrators briefly took over a freeway near downtown, rechristening it the Travyon Martin Freeway. Oakland demonstrators continued to march, returning to Oscar Grant Plaza, then headed toward the Fruitvale BART Station. Poignantly, the recent Sundance award winning film, “Fruitvale Station” premiered in Oakland over the weekend coinciding with the verdict of George Zimmerman. The film centers around the last 48 hours of Oscar Grant, a black youth killed while cuffed and laying on the ground by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle. Subsequently, demonstrators swept around Lake Merritt, forced to find new routes due to a heavier police presence than the past two days of marches. Demonstrators circled around Lake Merritt, then moved towards the highway 580 on-ramp. Police blocked demonstrators from entering 580, so demonstrators turned around and continued towards the Fruitvale BART Station with locked arms. However, demonstrators later turned back, paused in front of the county courthouse for a few moments, then returned to Oscar Grant Plaza around 10:30pm. The march promptly resumed leaving a trail of smashed windows, including a Comerica bank and a Men’s Warehouse. Police (with mutual aid) confronted demonstrators following the property destruction, leading to a tense stand off. Police shot tear gas at demonstrators, receiving a response of firecrackers. Police then delivered a dispersal order. Demonstrators left the police line and marched North and reportedly continued smashing corporate businesses. One live streamer was confronted and assaulted by an individual, purportedly for filming the property destruction; the streamer’s footage doesn’t appear to have captured anything illicit. Several arrests occurred throughout the night, but the march continued past 11pm, although it was largely dispersed by 11:25pm.

Watch Monday’s live stream of Oakland here, and here.

TravyonMartin-Oakland-Jul15-2013-BPRLvsqCAAA1dQU.jpg_large

In Los Angeles, a rally began Monday evening at Leimert Park, then descended into Crenshaw Blvd. Reportedly, demonstrators marching through Crenshaw participated in property destruction, including vandalizing shops, cars, and police cruisers. Shortly before 10pm, police kettled and dispersed the crowd at the corner of Leimert and MLK. Some time after the 10pm dispersal, LAPD arrested a small crowd of demonstrators.

See More:
List of Demonstrations for July 15

Vigil in San Jose, CA on July 14

HyphyRepublic – Racist and Deracinated: Towards a More Inclusive White Supremacy

Confronting the Many Faces of Repression

22 October 2012

from OccupyOakland — Anti-Repression Committee:

Rethinking Repression

Over the past year, we have experienced many forms of overt police repression, from the camp eviction and night of tear gas on October 25th, to raids on the vigil, to snatch and grab squads on May Day.  We have come to expect the riot-clad police, with their batons and chemical weapons, although repression comes in other forms as well.  As a community, we have not been sufficiently attuned to these other faces of repression.  As the Anti-Repression Committee (ARC), we too have focused primarily on the overt police violence on the street and its counterpart in the jails and courts.  We have spent countless hours in communication with people in jail, working with NLG folks to secure lawyers when possible, doing and mobilizing court support, and providing commissary and other forms of support for our comrades who remain locked up.  We have also held workshops to talk about some of the other forms that repression can take–and ways that we as a community can keep one another safe–but we have not done enough as a committee to address these other faces of repression. We feel that as a community we need to shift our thinking about repression, to recognize the subtler more insidious forms that it takes and the ways that it targets our sources of strength and plays on existing conflicts and divisions in an attempt to weaken, distract, and consume us.  This does not mean that we should become mired in trying to identify state infiltrators and agents. We may never know who the infiltrators are, and ultimately, whether individuals are directly working for the state when they engage in disruptive and divisive behaviors is not the point.  We need to instead focus on behaviors. If behaviors support and consolidate state campaigns of repression–then they do the state’s work of repression. (more…)

Hoodies and Hijabs

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.

Related:

Victor Martinez People’s Library Open

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.

Update:

~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).

Related:

  • 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.

Friday Night in Oakland

5 August 2012

Read more.

Lakeview Elementary Raided

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.

Related:

Lakeview Elementary Sit-in

16 June 2012

OAKLAND, California – As multiple schools in Oakland are closing due to budget cuts, parents and teachers have decided to hold a sit-in at one of the schools being closed.

On June 15th, after the last day of school, Oakland parents and teachers will sit in at Lakeview Elementary demanding that the district keep all neighborhood schools open. The district has not listened to lawsuits, pleas from parents and teachers, or protests. We know the money exists, but still they insist on closing flatland schools serving predominantly black and brown children. We say no more excuses! We’re keeping the schools open the last way left to us, by sitting-in. But we cannot do this alone. We need your support! Demand the district and the politicians give us full funding for quality education in neighborhood public schools. Join the fight for our kids’ futures! Read more.

Related News:

May Day 2012

1 May 2012

OAKLAND, California – Demonstrations for International Worker’s Day began in Oakland with scheduled actions focusing on anti-gentrification, anti-capitalism, and anti-patriarchy. Demonstrations began around 8:30am at different locations through out the city. By early morning, banners hung from several overpasses along 980 and other freeways.

A number of arrests occurred in the morning, particularly at the anti-capitalism march. Around 11:30am, the anti-capitalist and anti-patriarchy marches converged on 14th & Broadway (adjacent to Oscar Grant Plaza), where dozens of marchers embraced each other, cheers rang out, and people danced in the streets.

Shortly afterwards, the crowd was informed that banks in downtown were still open despite targeted shutdowns by the anti-capitalist march earlier. A crowd of some 400 on 14th and Broadway responded by heading north up Broadway to shut the bank branches down. The march successfully entered a few banks, but were stopped by police in riot gear along much of the march. The marchers were prevented from turning down several roads, until eventually pouring out onto Lakeside Dr. As the march passed the Bank of America branch, more police spilled in front of the wide glass exterior. After some tagging and vandalism, the march continued back to Oscar Grant Plaza. During the return to the Plaza, the police brazenly entered the crowd near 15th and Broadway, partly splitting the crowd in two without apparent purpose.

As the crowd reached 14th and Broadway, police attempted to evict the demonstrators from the intersection reportedly using flash-bang grenades, tazers, batons, and other “non-lethal” weapons. [Several people were arrested during the altercation with police, including some who were injured and taken to the hospital].

By around 1pm, the crowd swelled to about 1500 demonstrators at Oscar Grant Plaza for a rally. Police continued apparent intimidation tactics by forming police lines at various walkways into the Plaza, making their presence felt within the former perimeter of last Fall’s tent city. Around 2pm, police evicted demonstrators from Oscar Grant Plaza; some left to join the march leaving from East Oakland, while others seemed to disappear into other parts of downtown. During this confrontation, Alameda County Sheriffs deployed an armored vehicle equipped with what appeared to be LRAD sound cannons.

Around 3:30pm, a march left from Fruitvale BART station to head toward Oscar Grant Plaza. By 4pm, the march had reportedly swelled to thousands strong, while as many as a [few thousand] wait at San Antonio Park to join the Fruitvale marchers.

Update:

5:10pm – The Fruitvale marchers have arrived at San Antonio Park. As many as 5000 demonstrators now rallying, waiting to continue the march to the Plaza.

Marchers from Fruitvale arrived around an hour later, ending with thousands in the intersection of 14th and Broadway for a rally. As the sun set, numbers dwindled. Notably, police held a heavy presence all afternoon, keeping several dozen officers on the north end of the plaza, as well as on neighboring streets and alleyways.

When darkness fell, the approximately thousand person crowd muddled about on 14th and within the plaza. The heavy police presence and the lack of clear objectives for the evening created a sense of uneasiness in the crowd.

Eventually the tension was cut by a police instigated maneuver, apparently targeting people holding shields constructed of wood and corrugated metal. As the 500-600 strong police force squeezed into 14th and Broadway from three sides, some demonstrators were trampled and arrested. Police reformed lines multiple times, gave multiple dispersal orders and eventually pushed the crowd north on Broadway towards 15th. In the final standoff, the police charged the crowd, viciously tackling and beating protestors to the ground. The remnant several hundred traveled further north along Broadway or scattered.

For the next several hours hundreds of police roved through streets on foot, on motorcycle, in squad cars, and in rented white vans. The police targeted previously arrested and well known Occupy Oakland demonstrators, while playing a cat and mouse game with the larger groups vandalizing property.

As the night wore on, a few hundred demonstrators returned to 14th and Broadway. However, police were eventually able to separate and push demonstrators away from the intersection. Notably, a few dozen police on motorcycles aligned themselves next to the demonstrators and began loudly revving their engines and blasting their sirens.

LOS ANGELES, California – Some 1200 United Service Workers West Union members have shut down normal operation of some terminals at LAX. Traffic has remained tenuous through out the day with dozens of marches.  There have been small altercations with police throughout the day with a few possible arrests, but police are allowing protesters to gather at Pershing Square in Downtown LA for the evening events.

Read more:

SAN FRANCISCO, California – Despite the high anticipations for the Golden Gate Bridge shutdown, plans to occupy the bridge were called off only days before May 1st. However, Ferry service in SF was shut down due to striking workers. In the early afternoon, the 888 Turk building was reoccupied.

Update:

  • #888Turk was raided before dawn on May 2nd. Read more.

Related:

Occupy the Farm: Gill Tract Farm

22 April 2012

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

April 22, 2012

Occupy the Farm Activists Reclaim Prime Urban Agricultural Land in SF Bay Area

Contact: GillTractFarm@riseup.net

(Albany, Calif.), April 22, 2012 – Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers.

For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education. With deliberate disregard for public interest, the University administrators plan to pave over this prime agricultural soil for commercial retail space, a Whole Foods, and a parking lot.

“For ten years people in Albany have tried to turn the Gill Tract into an Urban Farm and a more open space for the community. The people in the Bay Area deserve to use this treasure of land for an urban farm to help secure the future of our children,” explains Jackie Hermes-Fletcher, an Albany resident and public school teacher for 38 years.

Occupy the Farm seeks to address structural problems with health and inequalities in the Bay Area that stem from communities’ lack of access to food and land. Today’s action reclaims the Gill Tract to demonstrate and exercise the peoples’ right to use public space for the public good. This farm will serve as a hub for urban agriculture, a healthy and affordable food source for Bay Area residents and an educational center.

“Every piece of uncontaminated urban land needs to be farmed if we are to reclaim control over how food is grown, where it comes from, and who it goes to,” says Anya Kamenskaya, UC Berkeley alum and educator of urban agriculture. “We can farm underutilized spaces such as these to create alternatives to the corporate control of our food system.”

UC Berkeley has decided to privatize this unique public asset for commercial retail space, and, ironically, a high-end grocery store. This is only the latest in a string of privatization schemes. Over the last several decades, the university has increasingly shifted use of the Gill Tract away from sustainable agriculture and towards biotechnology with funding from corporations such as Novartis and BP.

Frustrated that traditional dialogue has fallen on deaf ears, many of these same local residents, students, and professors have united as Occupy the Farm to Take Back the Gill Tract. This group is working to empower communities to control their own resilient food systems for a stable and just future – a concept and practice known as food sovereignty.

Occupy the Farm is in solidarity with Via Campesina and the Movimiento Sin Tierra (Landless Workers Movement).

The Gill Tract is located at the Berkeley-Albany border, at the intersection of San Pablo Ave and Marin Ave.

• Join us: Come dressed to work! We need people to help till the soil, plant seedlings, teach workshops, and more.

• Donate/lend: We need shovels, rakes, pickaxes, rototillers, drip irrigation tape, gloves, hats, food, and anything else farming related!

• Monetary donations can be sent through our website at www.takebackthetract.com

(via reclaimUC)

Single Mother Falsely Accused of Endangering Her Children at Occupy Oakland

17 April 2012

from OaklandOccupyPatriarchy:

The authorities apparently stop at nothing to intimidate and scare people from participating in a movement that they fear. Stayaway orders, bogus arrests, heavy charges for minor offenses, sham “lynching” laws, and, most recently, deploying the Child Protective Services to attack a single mother for participating in Occupy Oakland.

Kerie Campbell is an all-star activist at Occupy Oakland. There from the very 1st planning meeting in Mosswood Park, there the night the camp struck back in October, Kerie is also an admin on the OO (Occupy Oakland) website and co founder of the Occupy Oakland Children’s Village.  The Children’s Village is an area for kids and parents/legal guardians to hangout and feels safe, and is designed to create a space for children to have their voices respected and heard in ways not common for them.  It allows people come to OO events knowing they will have a safe, friendly place to spend time with their kids. Most recently, at the OO Barbecue/Speakout series, kids in the Children’s Village made puppets, got their faces painted, and otherwise hung out together with their parents or guardians.  Considering that Kerie is also a single mother with two young children, the fact that she is so heavily involved is impressive.

Around Occupy Oakland Kerie and her children are welcome, familiar faces that everyone loves. Like many other children who spend time around OO, Kerie’s kids became part of the larger OO family.  But recently something tragic happened in her life that is angering her and the larger community of OO. This activist who has such a standing in the welfare of children had her own children forcefully taken away from her by an Ex-Husband under ridiculous charges that are clearly politically motivated.

Throughout Kerie’s marriage to Anthony Sprenger and during the 6-year custody battle of their 2 children, Kerie and her ex-Husband had a tumultuous relationship to say in the least. However their legal situation was finally worked out and she had two years of relative calm, which made this most recent attempt to bar Kerie from seeing her children come seemingly from out of the blue.

On Friday afternoon Kerie arrived at her children’s school like any other Friday, the day she her Ex-Husband normally switched custody. The Friday custody switch-up, until this point, went “like clock work.”  Thursday night Kerie’s daughter called her, crying about a classroom conflict. “I told her that I would see her the next day.” Kerie recounts with tears in her eyes.  But when she got to school, her children were nowhere to be found. She panicked, until a friend told her that her ex husband had come to pick the kids up before she got there. Frantically, Kerie went to different school administration officials to find out how exactly her Ex Husband had done this without any warning to Kerie. The search for more information from the administration, with which she had a good relationship up until this point, was to no avail. “They had their heads and eyes down and said that they couldn’t do or say anything.”  Finally, she was forced to call the police (which she did not want to do) who eventually, after a lot of back and forth, produced the Temporary Restraining Order (TRO) her ex used to take the children. The Restraining Order was supposed to be served her before taking her children. It had no supplementary declaration or evidentiary documents.

The TRO stated that Kerie’s children were at risk because she had taken them to the Mosswood Encampment, which was an Occupy Oakland re-occupation that occurred on March 22nd, thus endangering them. That day the encampment was granted permission to be at Mosswood by OPD once the occupiers had taken their tents down. The “recklessly endangering” activities that Kerie and her children were taking partin? They ate pizza, wrote letters to imprisoned comrades, played Frisbee and tag,and read books in an environment largely resembling a park picnic. Clearly, this event was not dangerous. The TRO mentioned quite a few other charges that cite Kerie as an unfit mother because of her involvement in OO, which is absurd given her activities in Occupy Oakland.

This attack has disturbing implications for how repression could affect single parents involved in OO and is something the larger OO community must be on the watch for.  Kerie believes this was a targeted attack against her involvement in Occupy Oakland.  “[My ex-husband] had gone after everything else before, this was all he had left to go after.”

As occupiers and feminists, we must support Kerie against this attack, and we must continue to provide spaces like Children’s Village that support people with children   who want to participate in this movement.

To donate to Kerie’s legal fund send checks to her friend Don Macleay:
“KC”. C/O Don Macleay, P.O. Box 20299, Oakland CA, 94620

Related:

Oakland: Donate to #J28 Arrestee

26 March 2012

On January 28th, Occupy Oakland hosted a “move-in day” in order to occupy a building to turn it into a community center. The police intervened and refused demonstrators access to the building. After returning to Oscar Grant Plaza and regrouping for a few hours, demonstrators initiated a second march to take over another potential space. However, the police increased their hostility towards demonstrators and repeatedly blocked the march through downtown Oakland. Eventually, the police kettled (surrounded) some 400 marchers and arrested them without reading a dispersal order. The kettle occurred in front of a YMCA building, where some staffers opened the doors to a handful of marchers wary of police violence. The police followed those individuals into the building and subsequently arrested them, charging them with audacious claims of felony burglary.

Among a number of stories that emerged from jailed demonstrators concerning denials of prescription medication include Laura Em. Charged with felonies, Laura faced spending an unknown number of days in jail without necessary medications refused to her by Santa Rita sheriffs. Facing this difficult decision, she opted to bail herself out, costing her some $4,000. She is in need of financial support. Please consider donating!

DONATE HERE

Suppression in Oakland

8 March 2012

from hyphenated-republic:

Months ago, District Attorney Nancy O’Malley, in collusion with Mayor Jean Quan’s office and the direction of Deanna Santana, began a series of strategies designed to silence free speech—that is, from their perspective, the wrong kinds of speech directed at powerful local actors. As a recent dump of emails show, Quan was quite keen to explore ways of co-opting the Occupy Oakland movement when she thought the message was directed impotently at far away targets in Washington and Wall Street, even going as far as commissioning a series of “initiatives” that would make her seem aligned with the movement’s goals, and empowering operatives to co-opt the movement’s message [p. 1058]. When the Mayor and City Hall discovered that they would not be able to ride the Occupy Oakland train to cynical political gain, an ugly series of tactics were arrayed to chill free speech and intimidate protesters. These culminated in violent raids that nearly took the lives of two activists. These are well-known, but the violence and repression from police and city designed to suppress the Occupy Oakland movement did not stop there. Read more.

Related:

  • Three Oakland occupiers have been given ludicrous charges, including hate crime, for a recent demonstration at a bank. Although the bail amount varies with each of the occupiers and is seemingly fluctuating, it has been set as high as $1 million for one of the arrestees. Donations are being requested to help bail out at least one occupier (with the lowest bail).
  • Around a dozen demonstrators involved in OccupyCal last fall have now been charged by the Alameda County DA for their actions during the statewide education demonstrations on November 9th. Read more.

OccupyOakland: Convergence Against State Repression

3 February 2012

Related:

Occupy Oakland Move In

28 January 2012

OAKLAND, California – Over a month in the planning process, the Oakland Commune held a “Move-in Day” to take over a building and hold a festival on Jan 28. As of around 12:30pm a rally at Oscar Grant Plaza began, with a march to follow. [Updated Jan 31 - 7pm. Read below.]

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Update:
1:30pm – the intersection has been taken at 14th and broadway. Waiting for the sound truck.

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1:35 – march begins down broadway.

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1:50 – going east on 13th

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1:57 – south on jackson. Then left on 11th, right on madison. Some 1500 here

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2:15 – marching through laney college to avoid cops.

2:30 – bottlenecking through laney

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2:50 – at 12th and lake merrit. Cops telling us to disperse or else harm may come to us.

3:05 – stand off over, folks marching back downtown

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3:15 on oak. Smoke grenades.

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3:20pm – stand off at 11th and oak st. While another large group chills on 12th and oak.

3:25 – cops push us back with tear gas and rub bullet

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4pm – Back at Oscar Grant Plaza to reconnoiter.

5:34 – were on the move to attempt to occupy a building again

5:56 – surrounded at 19th telegraph lot after marching

Update:

After marching down different streets and being consistently blocked off by police, the police surrounded demonstrators in front of the YMCA. They kettled demonstrators and summarily arrested them. Most arrestees were charged with “409, Failure to Disperse”. Some were given a number of other charges like burglary — given to folks who were allowed into the YMCA by a staffer. By early Tuesday morning most arrestees were released. Demonstrators held in Santa Rita County Jail who required medication for serious conditions, like HIV, were not allowed their medicine. Those with felony charges were arraigned Tuesday afternoon, some having no charges filed against them by the District Attorney.

When the march arrived at Broadway between 22nd and 23rd streets, protesters asked to be let into the YMCA and someone who was in there opened the doors. Police later closed in on both sides until they had formed a line preventing the approximately 400 protesters from exiting.

On Broadway, there was no dispersal order issued. This is in violation of the Oakland Police Department’s crowd control policy, which states that “If after a crowd disperses pursuant to a declaration of unlawful assembly and subsequently participants assemble at a different geographic location where the participants are engaged in non-violent and lawful First Amendment activity, such an assembly cannot be dispersed unless it has been determined that it is an unlawful assembly and the required official declaration has been adequately given.”

About 6:30 p.m., police announced that all of the blocked-in group was under arrest.

It was more than six hours before the sidewalk was cleared of all detainees. Most are charged with failure to disperse. Some, such as those who entered the YMCA, have been charged with burglary.

Dozens of protesters who had avoided arrest marched back to City Hall. There, they illegally entered the building and committed several acts of vandalism. According to a press release, these included “breaking an interior window to a Hearing Room, tipping over and seriously damaging the historic model of City Hall, destroying a case containing a model of Frank Ogawa Plaza, and breaking into the fire sprinkler and elevator automation closet.” Protesters also report setting off fireworks in the counsel chambers. (via SF Bay Guardian)

Read more: