Oakland in Rebellion

UPDATE 9:55 a.m.

About 300 protesters were arrested yesterday during the Move-in Day Activity. There is still a festival and action planned today at Frank Ogawa (Oscar Grant) Plaza.

Police said many of those arrested are not actually from oakland, which poses a potential problem for the movement. It brings to question if those actually throwing objects and instigating confrontation were Occupy Protesters dedicated to the movement or infiltrators and outside antagonizers.

Police say they gave 3 orders to disperse that were not obeyed yesterday during the marches and activities. Protesters continued to march and hold actions before they were surrounded and arrested.

The plan was to Occupy and abandoned building and use it as a social and political organizing center. After those actions were stifled protesters forced their way into both City Hall and the YMCA at 2350 Broadway.

Click the link for a video of the clash between protesters and police – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5WEK6HgXBsQ

UPDATE 9:55 p.m.

The Oakland Police Department has announced that the FTP on 14th Avenue is an unlawful assembly and that chemical agents can be used to disperse protesters.

Westbound 14th St. towards Clay is designated the safe exit route.

The Occupy FTP march is being held at the intersection of 14th and Broadway. About 30 people are at the location from the available video footage. Most have already dispersed from the area.


UPDATE 9:38 p.m.

The Occupy Oakland movements has held actions at Oakland City Hall and the YMCA. They also have Fuck The Police or FTP marches throughout the city today.


There are about 100 people sitting in zip-tie hand cuffs in front of the Oakland YMCA, waiting as the second bus of around 60 people is being loaded.

The mass arrests were brought about through repeated marches and actions aimed at taking residence in the Oakland Municipal Auditorium, also known as the Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center.

Protesters were trying to set up a social and political organizing center at the vacant building. They have made demands for weeks now that they need adequate housing and a space to help serve the needs of their community directly.


There are also arrests happening in front of the Oakland City Hall, another site of interaction between protesters and police today. Occupiers are also being fed at Frank Ogawa Plaza, the staging site for their repeated marches and actions today.

Occupy Oakland medics OccupyOaklandElle and OccupyMedic, identified by the twitter usernames, have been taken along with several other notable Oakland Occupiers. Many people have shouted their names for future help from the National Lawyers Guild.

The NLG has had legal observers on site all day and is offering legal support for those protesters who need it.

There are several police without name badges in riot gear are participating in armed actions against the protests. NLG observers are at the site noting the violation of California Policy. They must by law at least have a badge number as identification.

Oakland videographer Spencer Mills, widely known as OakFoSho on Twitter and Ustream, is on the site taking live footage of the arrests from a rooftop above the  YMCA.

“Welcome to Oakland,” he said on his webcast. “OPD is a special case.”

OPD used tear gas, flash grenades and, according to Occupiers, rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. About 200 people have been arrested at the YMCA alone.

There were dozens or arrests earlier in the day as Anarchist factions had been throwing pipes and bottles at police. Some formed a black wall of trashcan shields at the head of the protest marches.

This weekend was billed as a Move-in Day and Rise Up Festival weekend on the OccupyOakland Website with events planned tomorrow at the taken building.




UPDATE 8:22 p.m.

The first bus of 64 people left from the Oakland YMCA, where Occupy Oakland protesters took up their Move-In Day action, at about 8:20 this evening

UPDATE 5:20 p.m.

Occupy Oakland Protesters are attempting to take another abandoned building in Downtown Oakland.

They are meeting at 14th and Broadway to start their second march of the day. If it is not successful they will be reoccupying the Frank Ogawa plaza tonight.

Occupy Oakland is making their stand. They are demanding a community space to organize for direct actions that will benefit their community. All they are met with is resistance and violence.

It is interesting that the media reports on the actions, and the 19 arrests today, but not the reasons why all these people are so angry with their government, their city and their police force.

Food for thought:

What would you do when your government no longer served your interests but instead allowed private companies to benefit from your hardships?

Now go do it. Occupy Oakland is.


…and 2,000 people later the police started lobbing tear gas and flash grenades.

Fox News is the top hit for reporting on this. Big surprise.


OAKLAND, Calif. –  Oakland police have started making arrests as a protest involving an estimated 2,000 Occupy protesters has turned violent.

Oakland police Officer Jeff Thomason says about 10 people were arrested when some in the crowd started throwing objects at police.

Oakland officials said about 250 people were in the group when the protest started around noon Saturday. But KCBS-AM reports the crowd has since grown to about 2,000.

The group was being monitored by dozens of Oakland police officers, as well as officers from nearby police agencies. Police began firing tear gas and flash bang grenades as things began to get out of hand.

The protest comes after Occupy protesters said earlier this week that they planned to move into a vacant building and turn it into a social center and political hub.

A much more complete play by play can be found at: http://www.ktvu.com/news/news/occupy-oakland-march-new-headquarters-meets-resist/nHJ8W/

It surprises me still, or not so much really, that this protest gathered such varying amounts of protesters, but from the looks of the live streams, it could easily be more thant 2,000 people now. Check out the links below.

Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

– Serious Note


On Answers

“‘I don’t know’ is no longer an acceptable answer.”

That statement was one of the greatest things I heard from anyone during my trip across the Western Occupations.

A protester at the Occupy Seattle General Assembly stood up and said his piece. That was one of his boldest statements, and I am inclined to agree.

Though many people are still only now warming up to this movement, and activism in general, there should never be an instance where that phrase is acceptable. People should know why they are out there, what they are fighting for, how they want their society to run.

And if they don’t, here are a few possible answers.

The Occupy Movement began with Occupy Wall Street, a social change protest movement,  inspired by the Canadian Adbusters Magazine. It focused on the deceptive and oppressive practices of major wall street finance and investment corporations.

The frustrations are loosely focused around major banks, hedge funds, mortgage lenders, energy companies, war profiteer weapons suppliers, chemical manufacturers, agribusiness, big pharmaceutical firms, oil dealers and multinational corporations, job exporters and social destructors in general.

Often, these companies are one in the same. They all finance, own subsidiaries of, partner with, or otherwise collude with other companies of the same scale to enact practices which benefit only those in power and impoverish most others.

The banking reform issue cannot be addressed in an isolated fashion. Their shady practices are linked to all these other corporations as their financiers.

All these are and more are what the Occupy Movement and others are addressing. When asked, we must have answers, not for everything, but at least for something.

On Legacy

What we leave behind is our only proof of existence. 

Space Needle

One of the various monuments I saw on my travels, the Space Needle in Seattle,WA, stands a proud over its city, a great achievement of human engineering. Photo by F. Thomas Cardenas.

If we are to leave anything, it should be good. Full of life and boldly telling a legacy worth remembering. Despots and misers live in infamy but those who build nations wear the same cloaks. Positivity is all subjective based on the perspective of those interpreting the actions of another completely separate entity.

If we are to move forward with good will towards all, which I understand is not a universally held belief, we must also look to our past with admiring eyes. If all we remember and spread is our negativity, that is bound to also be what returns.

By remembering and honoring the good and striving to be more like that, instead of repeating the viciousness and violence of our daily transgressions, we might then also improve our own morale and aspirations to a positive difference being made.

Whether it is a footprint, a monument, or a message in a bottle; we should only leave the best for our descendants, and for ourselves, collectively.

– Serious Note

The Beginning of Spring

There is no time like the present.

The present may be Winter, but Spring is already upon us.

It is not so much the Spring though, as much as it is the fresh energy of the warmer months. Occupy actions have been springing up all around the nation, even during these bitter cold times.

As I saw on my tour of the Western Occupations, the movement is still growing. Super active core groups and organizers are using these lean times to plan and coordinate. Out of these more focused actions has come a renewed sense of urgency.

Occupy activists have taken part in several actions lately, and more are still being planned.

Below is a excerpt from The Occupied Wall Street Journal‘s Jennifer Sacks series entitled Reports from the front lines. It does a great job of breaking down what’s been going on the past few days in the movement from the viewpoint of someone who’s been there.

This week in Occupy, demonstrators swarmed on Washington D.C. to mark three milestones: the 83rd birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr., the return of Congress following the holiday break and the second anniversary of the Citizens United Supreme Court decision.

#On January 16, in observance of Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday, the Occupy The Dreamaction drew hundreds of demonstrators to Washington D.C. to protest the Federal Reserve Bank’s monetary policy and growing income inequality.

#On January 17, occupiers entered the Rayburn House Office Building, the home of Congress, where they dropped a banner from the front of the structure and roamed the hallways in search of representatives to talk policy with as part of the Occupy Congress action. Demonstrators outside were serenaded by Madison Rising, a self-described “pro-American” conservative band, who performed an impromptu five-song set. Lead singer Dave Bray said that, to his shock, “we were met with a warm welcome.”

Sgt. Shamar Thomas at Grand Central Station, January 3. Photo: Allison Kilkenny

#Elsewhere on January 17, occupiers demonstrated outside the Apollo Theater in Harlem, where President Obama was holding a $36,000-per-ticket fundraiser. (The average median income in Harlemis $27,515.)

#On January 20, the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision – which granted corporations the same rights as people when it comes to political spending, prompting the rise of wallet-busting SuperPACs – demonstrators occupied 75 federal courthouses across the country, including the Supreme Court, and staged Occupy the Courtsto promote a 28th constitutional amendmentdeclaring that corporations are not people and that campaign contributions are not a form of speech. Once the peaceful demonstration reached the steps of the Supreme Court, police swooped in, arresting 11. Activists in more than one hundred cities participated, including Boston, Minneapolis, Cleveland and London.

These highly coordinated actions were in the planning stages as I took my tour. The Occupy Portland Camp, as well as those is Denver and Phoenix, were planning these actions for weeks before they happened.

The discussion of change and its path to fruition are still ongoing.

Don’t be fooled by the media blackout. These events are still in your town, even the deep Red like Idaho, are planning events and action in solidarity with these national movements.

Occupations are spreading to smaller divisions, individual neighborhoods within bigger city Occupy flags. Neighborhood GAs with report backs and individual autonomous Occupy locations as well.

The stronger numbers are increasingly coming from retirees, working families with children, and small business owners. These are things I have seen with my own two eyes.

Entire families, conservative religious families, two children in tow, are showing up to rallies.

Local business are not just sympathetic, but actively working with Occupy organizers to provide shelter, food, supplies, services and even rally points.

The retirees are coming from all walks of life. From nursing home patients, those with fixed incomes, veterans of more foreign wars than were formally declared by congress, and regular blue collar workers just trying to get back what they put in.

This movement is so much bigger than the mainstream media would ever allow to be shown.

Don’t fall victim to the apathy that has been so effortlessly imposed upon us. Real change is possible, if only through perseverance through opposition and hardship, it is achievable.

Direct actions are taking hold. Incremental gains are being made. The focus on local government and sustainability has been effective. 

Localities are putting forth the resolutions the Occupy Movements are calling for. They are beginning to listen to the people’s voices once again.

As always, we must think globally, but assert our demands for positive change locally.

On Privilege

Something that struck me as odd during my travels was the pervasive awareness of privilege, White privilege in particular.

Not just by people  of color, but by White people with those advantages, coming down on themselves for the abuses their peers have committed, and the legacy they have been born into.

Those of different ethnic and cultural backgrounds other than those of the first English and Anglo  have always known of the challenges that face us simply due to physical appearance,

The mistrust is culturally ingrained as part of our history in this country. But it is making progress.

I have personally heard privileged Anglo individuals admitting that it is people like them that have taken us into the sad state we’re in.

It was literally a rich White male saying rich White males are the problem. But it was that exact statement that truly gave me pause.

He wasn’t actually saying all rich White men are a problem with society, he was just finally acknowledging the fact that privilege and advantage is given to a very small segment of society in this county, and in turn, being exploited for their own benefit to the detriment of nearly all others.

He was acknowledging the fact that our current society marginalizes people of color at every turn.

Some people of color dismiss it as fashionable in these types of situations, but I saw their intent to be genuine.

I come from privilege too. As a second generation American of Mexican descent, I did not know the same rough barrios my parents did. We struggled, but I always had food on the table.

It was not until I got older and experienced those same drug infested crime riddled streets for myself that I began to understand. I had to find out for myself how these realities were, they were not my daily life, as they were for my parents and grandparents.

Still, I see their struggle as part of my own. I am only able to do what I do through the efforts of my grandfathers in the fields and the Army, my grandmothers care and supervision, through the constant raw physical exertion of my father and the dedicated perseverance of my mother. Their struggles to give their children better lives have given me these wonderful opportunities to share information and help facilitate change.

It is the privileges they have afforded me that makes me want to do what I can for others.

We all have certain talents, strengths and privileges. Whether it is our skin color, socio-economic status, natural ability, or hard work ethic, we all have gifts at our disposal.

We should not ever be ashamed of who we are or what we have been given. It is simply that we must use these gifts to their full extent.

Having a gift is not something to be ashamed of, not using it, is.

On Racial Inclusion

There is a very real mistrust of the Occupy movement among many people of color. This has led to a widespread push to consider renaming or creating sub committees and working groups for the Decolonize movement.

I do not think either movement is exclusive, and do see the value of both, but this post is just to explain a little bit about why the differences are felt so that each side may understand why their is such intense feelings for names.

First is an example of movies.

Pop culture reservations aside, most of America watches movies. Whether it is on TV or the internet or even in a theater once in a while, people watch these movies to be entertained. It shows the a world they can relate to in some way. Even when it is a cartoon or film about another world, there ares still themes and character types that translate into our own experience.

Well what about the people that don’t see themselves in those movies? Or only see things they recognize and identify with portrayed in negative fashions?

This is what happens to people of color.

In the movie industry, which pervades most American’s lives as well as those around the world, race and socio-economic status are typically favored to white individuals. Being a person of color usually makes you the villain or comic relief, very rarely a serious hero.

Only independent or blacksploitation, or foreign-made films really take a look at these serious inequities which are being reinforced with every single piece of media we watch, read or listen to.

Then you look at the history.

This nation was built by imperialist Anglo slaveholders who wished to be free from persecution. They slaughtered most of an indigenous population of unique cultures to create their own utopia.

The system was set up for the benefit of these first immigrant men and all others were marginalized. It has been less than a century since even women could actually vote in our government. Not to mention the Civil Rights movement and Chicano movements, whose gains can still be counted in small victories, later infringed upon anyway. We locked up thousands of U.S. citizens of Japanese ancestry during the WWII. We’ve swept aside treaties with Native American peoples pretty much at whim for out entire history as a nation.

Reading something so blunt strikes many people as odd, or wrong in some way, but I am not naive. Call it conspiracy or consciousness, adversarial nature or awareness, it doesn’t matter much.

This is reality.

Which is not to say it is not to say change isn’t coming. We should consider these failings as lessons we can build on. The only real failure would be letting the status quo continue and these gains taken back and forgotten.

This is not meant to blame anyone directly, it is simply the system that has been set up and complied with by everyone. Some are simply unaware of what they are doing,

The system is incredibly insidious because of the subconscious delivery of these messages. Anyone not taking the time to deconstruct them might overlook their significance. They might just be pictures on a wall. But that is only on the surface.

Everyone should take a second to look around, analyze their surroundings. They must actually think about the pictures, literature and other messages they are constantly fed.

These messages are not there  by accident.

People in power write the policies that create these messages. Not being aware of their impacts is no excuse. Being aware of them and continuing to comply with them only continues the cycle of oppression.

When you only see good things happening to White people, and people of color being portrayed negatively, you don’t have to be racist, you’re just judgmentally socialized.

It becomes a structural part of your psyche. You don’t have to know it to be the truth, it just is. The same way the military trains you to do things without question, children are being raised with preconceived notions that will rule their lives.

We are all just people, with the same problems, the same successes, the same capabilities. We must show that in everything we do if we wish to see a change. Simply overlooking things so innate as movies, literature and  can undermine a whole generation.

There are only so many times I can say this.

Be conscious. Deconstruct your world. Build it anew. Build it better.

Which all comes back to the movements, whether it is Occupy or Decolonize, I think there is room for both.

They are separate ideals with overlapping concerns. If you are mindful that there are other groups working towards the same goals, cooperation can be used to build both movements, creating a strengthened base while maintaining diversity of thought.

There is long-standing mistrust and issues between those who have been working for specific causes, especially those of color, and the newcomers to the Occupy movement specifically.

The Occupy movements are a larger forum though, Decolonize concerns are directed and specific, combining them and spreading awareness is key to the success of both.

We must work together to make process real.


UPDATE 1/20/11 – 1:02 p.m.

SOPA and PIPA are theoretically defeated. Major sponsors, who suggested calling in “nerds” to actually tell them what all this meant, pulled back their support under mass protests this week.

Now the question is, “What will the next battle be?”


Photo by Craig Kanalley for MSNBC.com. Protesters participate in an emergency New York Tech Meetup, held Wednesday at 49th Street and 3rd Avenue in New York City to protest the SOPA and PIPA legislation.

The free and open internet is under attack.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA) are a pair of bills introduced to the House and Senate respectively this past year to help curb access and downloads of copyrighted content from online sites.

There were large website blackouts yesterday, which is why this site did not have its daily update, in cooperative protest of these bills.

Even though SOPA is currently undergoing massive rewrites before it goes to a vote, that did not stop the American government from coordinating warrants and arrests internationally to charge seven foreign nationals with “Online Piracy”.

The backlash has been dramatic.

There have already been mass protests, both online and physically, to the legislation. Petitions circulated via google have already counted 7 million signatures. Protesters in New York launched actions in front of the offices of Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand.

Online hacker-activist guild Anonymous has already responded with multiple attacks that the shut down of the Department of Justice website as well as the sites of several other SOPA advocates, including recording labels and film studios.

SOPA is obviously facing heavy opposition from tech giants; they are calling its language too broad and fears unintended repercussions from the measure.

Content owners could bring charges agains sites deemed as “pirates” for “facilitating” the exchange or access to copyrighted content. The burden would then land on the company to prove its innocence.

Whatever happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? Seems like due-process and the 5th amendment are being bypassed in no small measure.

Of course, movie studios, record labels and other content producers are hailing this bill as a savior. They are backing it as a way to protect jobs and revenue that has otherwise been stolen via online sites like MegaUpload and ThePirateBay.

Either way, this fight is far from over.

You can find a little more about what these bills mean from this CNN Money Report, although, it is an article on CNN Money, so be aware of that.