Posts Tagged ‘#OO’

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:

Square and Circle: The Logic of Occupy

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)

LIES vol.1 has dropped

15 September 2012

from LIES Journal:

LIES came out of our experience within struggles. The story of the journal is the intersecting narratives of our involvement with the occupations and strikes of recent years and the gendered fault lines that emerged within them. We met in the midst of these activities. We felt the need to organize autonomously as feminists. We started reading groups, held summer camps, met friends in other cities, and developed forms of mutual aid and solidarity. We did not want to go home, or maybe home suddenly felt like a more hostile place. Things got harder. But the more we read and wrote together, the more we desired a means to devise a theory and politics that is inchoate but at least our own. This journal is that: a way to communicate, to be overcome by the feminist commune, to survive with lesser pain or better pain, to be- come a more precise and effective force.

Get it here.

Related:

  • In case you missed Escalating Identity’s “Who is Oakland,” you can read it here.
  • Bay of Rage’s “Unfinished Acts” on Oakland in 2009.

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.

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 Building Occupied

18 June 2012

Tents at Lakeview Elementary Sit-in

OAKLAND, California – The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) is closing 5 schools reportedly due to budget cuts. Parents, teachers, and community members are in an uproar as access to public education dwindles–particularly in poor communities of color. In protest to the school shut downs, a handful of community members set up a tent encampment outside the Lakeview Elementary campus on Friday, the last day of school. In tandem with the “sit-in,” teachers have been organizing classes for kids at the encampment during the demonstration, dubbing it the “People’s School for Public Education.”

The tent sit-in continued into Monday morning, when police arrived and posted flyers stating:

Safe, healthy and supportive schools require good order and peaceful conduct. Notice. Willful interference with the good order of a school is a misdemeanor. You are interfering with the good order and peaceful conduct of this school. You are directed to leave this school immediately and you may not return for 30 days.

The flyer continues by stating the penal code in violation and redirects all inquiries to the [Police Dept. of OUSD].

In front of the Front Doors of Lakeview Elementary

Around 10am, the demonstrators held a brief press conference, then decided to open up the building. The police reportedly set the alarm off in the building. Reportedly, one of the officers patrolling around Lakeview is Sgt. Barhim Bhatt who killed Raheim Brown last year.

Organizers have announced that a support rally will be held today, Monday, at 4pm at Lakeview, on 746 Grand Ave.

Follow them on twitter.

Update:

Monday, 18 June

3:45pm – Police arrived and inspected the building, while an organizer and media joined their tour. Around 20 minutes later the police and their negotiator left the campus through a back entrance.

Gill Tract Farm Raided

14 May 2012

ALBANY, California – Early Monday morning, around 80 Alameda County Sheriffs and UCPD raided the Gill Tract Farm and arrested demonstrators. The farm was established on April 22nd at a vacant lot owned by the University of California. Despite dialogue and signs of progress, the UC gradually began locking gates and blocking access to the urban farm last week. The UC expressed concerns over the periodical use of the land for research, to which occupiers and some UC researchers responded by agreeing to work together to find an amenable solution to allow coexistence. Around 7am, the police declared the area an unlawful assembly and summarily arrested those in the encampment.

A re-convergence action has been organized for 5pm, Tuesday at the Albany Library, 1249 Marin Ave.

Related:

Police Lockdown the Gill Tract Farm Occupation

9 May 2012

ALBANY, California – On April 22nd, a few hundred demonstrators broke ground at the Gill Tract empty lot on San Pablo and Marin and established a guerrilla garden. The land owned by the University of California, Berkeley, was periodically used for agricultural research, but was otherwise untouched. Community activists have spent a decade in dialogue with the university to open the land to the public. However, talk of selling the land to build a strip mall on this high grade agricultural soil launched demonstrators into action. On the 22nd, demonstrators tilled the land, transplanted seedlings, established chicken coops, set up tents, organized events and workshops, and inspired the community to flourish.

Although support for the new community farm flooded in from neighbors and members of the University of California, administrators at the UC threatened eviction multiple times through the course of the next two weeks, and then last week they finally gave demonstrators an ultimatum. Around 7am on May 9th, the UCPD [locked the west gates and placed concrete barricades to prevent vehicular traffic].

Update:

8:00am – The UCPD told press that they are only restricting vehicular access, and that the East entrance is still accessible. (via Susie Cagle)

10 May, Thursday

Around noon, UCPD closed the last remaining pedestrian gate. However no arrests have been made as of Thursday night. Read more.

Read more:

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:

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.

Oakland Commune Retrospective

23 January 2012

Upcoming January Events

27 December 2011

NYE – Prison Solidarity March and Party – 9pm Oscar Grant Plaza

1 Jan.Oscar Grant Memorial – 1pm Oscar Grant Plaza

7 Jan.Anti-Police Repression March – 8pm Oscar Grant Plaza

8 Jan.Feminist/Queer Block – Noon to 5pm at 19th & Telegraph

9. Jan. – American Licorice Strike/Picket – Beginning at 5am at 2477 Liston Way, Union City, CA. Additional support is needed at 2:30pm to 11pm.

19 Jan.UC Regents Meeting at UC Riverside Protest

22 Jan.Justice for Kenneth Harding Jr – Noon at Third & Palou in Bay View, SF

  • More on Kenneth Harding Jr.

28 Jan.Occupy Oakland Building Occupation – 5pm Oscar Grant Plaza

Related:

  • #OccupyOakland establishes a new encampment on Tuesday, 27 December at 21st and Mandela in West Oakland. The encampment is being called the Cypress Triangle. Update: Cypress Triangle was evicted shortly after being established, much like at many other reoccupations.