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.

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 Actions – Perseverance

To have a successful action, you must keep the crowd.

Today’s Martin Luther King Jr. holiday “Occupy the Dream” action in San Francisco went well, with about 150 peaceful participants, but ended early. The cold weather and subdued nature of the protest, in the empty financial district, dwindled to about 20 people by noon. The action was planned until one.

The success of this action is that it gathered a good crowd in solidarity with 15 other cities holding actions. Coordinated events like this have a wide reach and great potential for impact. It shows a unified front and can greatly boost morale through numbers (Los Angeles apparently had a great showing and lively crowd).

Where this action was not successful, was in its lack of determination. On a day to honor one of the most tireless, dedicated non-violent activists in our nations history, protesters should have actually honored his legacy with emulate perseverance.

Leaving because of cold or hunger should not be an option. Occupiers in Denver are still holding strong with 24/7 Occupation in front of their capitol building in sub-zero temperatures. It’s true. I’ve seen it. A chilly day in the bay should not send Occupiers heading for warmer climates.

The designated ending time for the action was 1:00 p.m. PST. Having dismantled the action before the indicated time was disappointing to many in the movement. It also undermines the credibility and dedication of the organizers.

Those who did remain voiced their disappointment with the loss of strength and continued to hold discussions and chant in front of the deserted Federal Reserve building.

Families even brought their children to the event, only to be disappointed that it had already ended, because it was a peaceful day and safe environment to introduce them to the fight for their future. (This methodist family from Palo Alto brought their children specifically so they understand that this is part of a struggle to ensure their rights for when they grow up. They were not hippies. Not radicals. Just concerned American parents.)

It is true more actions could have been planned, or that there were not enough people to have an impact, or the place was deserted so what is the matter? But none of those are good excuses.

If the area is deserted, an impromptu march should not be out of the question.

If there were not enough people around, move to a new location.

If there was another, bigger action, TELL PEOPLE ABOUT IT!

There is much strength in numbers. If you already have a crowd, USE IT. There is no reason for any action to end in desertion. Every opportunity should be used to its fullest extent through spreading awareness, information or actions. Letting people leave early without a completed action is a travesty to the movement and to activism.

Use your strength, direct your actions, have an impact.

– Serious Note

On Actions – MLK Day “Occupy the Dream”

In solidarity with the black community, and Rev. Martin Luther King’s struggle for economic equality, Occupy movements around the country have organized events at 16 Federal Reserve locations on Monday, Jan. 16.

The actions are an effort to bring visibility and awareness to the vast inequalities inherent to the financial system in America.

– Here is a quick primer on just what that that means.-

Those people without companies to hide behind bear the biggest burden of taxes.

Average Americans paid for the bail-out of the banking industry, even when that very industry was at the root of the problem. The Fed, who is supposed to be looking out for these people, instead works to preserve the current system of targeted lending and systematic impoverishment of the population.

As the regulatory agency for the banking industry, they failed to see the housing bubble, or do anything about it. They continue to allow repackaging of debt and risky lending practices that result in high foreclosure rates and diverted responsibility.

The following is an excerpt from their informational booklet on how The Fed works and what they do:

Today, the Federal Reserve’s duties fall into four general areas:

  • conducting the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the monetary and credit conditions in the economy in pursuit of maximum employ- ment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates

  • supervising and regulating banking institutions to ensure the safety and soundness of the nation’s banking and financial system and to protect the credit rights of consumers

  • maintaining the stability of the financial system and containing systemic risk that may arise in financial markets

  • providing financial services to depository institutions, the U.S. gov- ernment, and foreign official institutions, including playing a major role in operating the nation’s payments system

In reading those points alone, and seeing the shape the economy is in, how well the other banks are regulated, how well protected U.S. consumers are and how sound our financial system is, should give you an idea about how well they are doing their job.

Bankers are making money from trading nothing. The Fed distributes the money the U.S. mints and charges interest for it. They sell bad debt back to the government for cash, leaving consumers with defaulted loans and bankrupted companies that they will never get reimbursed for.

They regulate the system that created the financial crisis. Their policies are the reason banks and real estate companies got away with targeting poor populations for balloon rate mortgages on houses they couldn’t afford, that weren’t really worth what they were priced at, and then foreclosed on them as soon as possible.

Yet, we still pay them every year. We could go back to paying for government services through tax money instead of loans from The Fed, but that would mean we would actually have to pay taxes.

Not the average American though, because we already pay taxes, some pay almost half of their salary to the government, if they still have a job.

This means companies would actually have to pay taxes again.

The majority of tax cuts are for corporations and those already wealthy. If we actually demanded taxation at the same rates for the upper tier of Americans as we do on ordinary citizens, we might just be able to stop borrowing money and pay for our own programs.

Or we could stop spending so much on the military.

Or tax 94% of income over $2.5 million (at least the equivalent amount at the time) as we did in the 1940’s.

Or raise taxes (tariffs) on imported goods, incentivizing U.S. made products, which would stimulate job growth and internal spending.

But all those seem to be too complicated and counter productive to the private company that is supposed to be regulating the public economic sector.

For a simplified explanation of how the fed works, try this link http://youtu.be/Oe0fGXzKb1o. Click this one if you want to read how The Fed sees it http://www.federalreserve.gov/pf/pdf/pf_1.pdf#page=4 and here for some perspective http://www.forbes.com/sites/paulroderickgregory/2012/01/15/and-deliver-us-from-systemic-risk-the-fed-transcripts/.

I am not saying any of this is right, but these are just a few reasons people will be Occupying The Fed today.

You can visit the Occupy the Dream Website for more information. Actions will be held in places like LA, SF, NY and elsewhere. See the list below.

All actions are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

Washington, D.C.

20th Street and Constitution Avenue N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20551

Clergy Point of Contact

  • Pastor Jamal H. Bryant – Dr. Jamal H. Bryant is the Pastor and Founder of Empowerment Temple Church

Contact person: Nicole Kirby
(410) 225-3494


1000 Peachtree Street NE
Atlanta, GA 30309
(404) 498-8500

Clergy Point of Contact


600 Atlantic Avenue
Boston, MA 02210
(617) 973-3000

Clergy Point of Contact


When: 3:00 PM

230 South LaSalle Street
Chicago, IL 60604
(312) 322-5322

Clergy Point of Contact


1455 East Sixth Street
Cleveland, OH 44114
(216) 579-2000

Clergy Point of Contact


2200 North Pearl Street

Dallas, TX 75201
(214) 922-6000

Clergy Point of Contact

Kansas City

1 Memorial Drive
Kansas City, MO 64198
(816) 881-2000

Clergy Point of Contact

Los Angeles

When: 3:00 PM

950 S. Grand Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90015
(213) 683-2900

More Details


90 Hennepin Avenue
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 204-5000

Clergy Point of Contact

New Orleans

Clergy Point of Contact

New York

33 Liberty Street
New York, NY 10045
(212) 720-5000


Clergy Points of Contact


When: 3:00 PM

Ten Independence Mall
Philadelphia, PA 19106
(215) 574-6000

Clergy Point of Contact


701 East Byrd Street
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 697-8000

Clergy Point of Contact

San Francisco

101 Market Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
(415) 974-2000

Clergy Point of Contact

St. Louis

One Federal Reserve Bank Plaza
Broadway and Locust Streets
411 Locust Street, St. Louis, MO
St. Louis, MO 63102
(314) 444-8444

Wilmington, Delaware

Clergy Point of Contact