Occupying Oakland

Our buddy Lindsey headed across the bay yesterday to join the fray and saw some wild sights. First there was the truck that floored it into a group of people:

Then there was the line of fixed-gear hipsters waiting for tacos:

Oh and then she got teargassed. Here’s how it started:

Lately, the idea of occupying foreclosed homes has been bouncing around. People have been saying a lot of things about a lot of homeless people, and a lot of homes without people. I am going to keep my opinion out of this, but nonetheless, it appears valid on paper. So protesters started “occupying” a foreclosed building on 16th, and I watched people bring in stacks & stacks of books to turn it into a makeshift learning community. Cool in concept, obviously never going to work. Word got out that cops were coming, and people started barricading 16th, along Broadway & San Pablo. Dumpsters, doors (???), newspaper dispenser things, all building a blockade. People started to get anxious about police presence. I was on the San Pablo side, but I looked over & saw that people had lit the barricade along Broadway on fire. I mean, come on. Enough is enough, people. Riot squads started pouring out of vans, and standing without action. I can’t speak for what happened at the East end of the street, but on the San Pablo side, people started to try & provoke them. Graffiti, bricks through windows, broken bottles. It started to get so vandalism-centered, that when I heard the two booms from Broadway, I thought they were “protesters” dismantling something.

Whoa. It’s a much longer story than that. Read the rest here. Quite an ordeal.

But the good news is it’s working:

21 Responses to “Occupying Oakland”

  1. why says:

    love the note! circumstances beyond our control :)

    except, ummm, aren’t they part of the reason for this movement…

  2. scum says:

    1% of the protesters making the rest look bad. Good job assholes.

  3. Think_for_Me says:

    This is a distraction, not a movement. Get lives, people.

  4. pfffft says:

    I’m sure BofA is really hurting because a branch location in Oakland didn’t open for the day.

  5. sam says:

    Homesteading can work. I was involved with Homestead organizing Project/Operation Homestead in Seattle 15 years ago. OH would occupy a vacant building until the owner agreed to sell make it available for tenancy; HOP would administer the arrangements and pay nominal leases. Residents were expected to contribute to the community, maintain the residence and pay dues to HOP. Many of the buildings were slated for eventual demolition (but not for years), some of the owners relented & sold to housing agencies or public interest groups like Low Income Housing Institute.

    • Ben says:

      Yeah, it’s also only palatable to a small slice of the population and is one of the surest ways to get the movement painted as something that should only appeal to fringe leftists and hippies who want to sit around in a drum circle.

      I’m down with the Occupy movement, but shit like this is going to be the death of it. The whole point of the 99% thing is that we all got fucked by the financial industry, and nobody went to jail. Homesteading is not something that most people get behind. Don’t shoot the Occupy movement in the foot by tacking on stuff like this, do it separately if you absolutely have to.

      • truth says:

        This sort of thinking is counter-productive. This is our movement. Don’t let conventional thinking define you. Conventional thinking would never have agreed with any occupation at all. And yet, here we are, nearly two months after the first day of OWS and we are tilting the conversation. It will be hard, but we can change things.

        • MrEricSir says:

          Hijacking a historical movement with your own misguided agenda is very much conventional thinking, I’m afraid.

        • Ben says:

          No, it isn’t counter productive thinking, it’s being realistic. Do you need hardcore activists to start the occupation? Yes. Have they been effective in shifting public discourse? Yes. Are there enough of them to effect meaningful electoral change? Not by a long shot.

          You have a good message that should appeal to nearly everyone when framed correctly. Every time somebody tacks on a demand for student loan forgiveness, ending the federal reserve, occupies a vacant building or what-have-you, that message becomes corrupted and more likely to get lost in the noise.

          The people defending the status quo will do everything in their power to make the movement look like a bunch of loonies because it’s by far the easiest way to wreck popular support, and you’re only giving them more ammo. Enthusiasm got this thing off the ground but it’s going to take a bit more savvy if you ever want to see it through.

  6. 99% of the human race don’t want to hear your drums and chanting. So there you are — the 1% who want to drum and chant versus the 1% who are your sworn enemy AND the 98% who think you both suck.

    • goldplated says:

      Please only speak for yourself — the 0.000000001%.

      Everybody is claiming to know the truth of what the 1,98,99% are, but no one truly can comprehend just how many people are angry over gov’t hedged roulette playing with YOUR money by most of the for-profit banks.

      I myself don’t know, but fail to see how our country as a whole profits from Wall St. excesses, hence my guess is that it’s more than 1%.

      Second, please be respectful and don’t reduce the movement to “drums and chatting”. I don’t think that hundreds of people who have breathed tear gas are not doing it because it’s fun.

    • rod says:

      99% of mission mission readers no longer bother to read the inane chatter that cranky leaves in every single post on this blog.

      • Herr Doktor Professor Deth Vegetable says:

        Seriously? You’re going to pick on him for saying drum circles are obnoxious? How does that qualify as “inane chatter”? I mean, if you wanted to respond to him with a “No shit, sherlock, of course everyone hates drum circles!” that might make sense. Drum circles are the worst.

  7. Bruce Longview says:

    the BoA sign should read, “Sorry for the convenience.”

    And as has been said, this isn’t about electoral ‘reform;’ this is about societal transformation and taking back your life.