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.

http://www.livestream.com/occupyoakland

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.

AT THE YMCA

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.

AT CITY HALL

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.

LINKS

http://occupyoakland.org/2011/11/neighborhood-reclamation-proposal-occupy-the-oakland-municipal-auditorium/

http://www.livestream.com/occupyoakland

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.

ORIGINAL POST

…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.

http://www.foxnews.com/us/2012/01/28/occupy-oakland-protest-grows-to-about-2000-people/

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.

http://www.ustream.tv/embed/9636787
Live Video app for Facebook by Ustream

– Serious Note

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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 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.

On SOPA and PIPA

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?”

http://www.hulu.com/embed/FzclYEIF3PZTu_8jJgJ5Bg?shared_ad_id=79314

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.

On What I Learned – The Conclusion

The Preamble

Hundreds of people signed a large copy of the preamble of the United States Constitution as part of the mass action for Occupy the Rose Parade in Pasadena, CA on Jan. 2.

It took many sleepless hours, eyes red and burning, staring at desolate roads through narrow headlight beams, to get to where I was going. But in the end, it was exactly where I wanted to be. Everywhere.

It took 14 days and roughly 4,500 miles to complete my tour of the Occupy Movements in the Western U.S. I started in the South, visiting Occupy San Diego, and worked my way up through California and Oregon to the Occupy Seattle General Assembly, East through Idaho, Utah, Wyoming, before finally head South through Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona, and back to Los Angeles.

I was able to talk to all different kinds of people through this experience; young, old, rich, poor, students, teachers, factory workers and families. Everyone had their own reason for participating in the movement, but they also understood that those different goals could only be realized by working together.

The actions in each city were all a bit different. Some were able to work with police, secure permits and retain their encampments with help from local agencies. Others only maintained their Occupations through dedication and continued resistance to local government. Still, violence at the Occupations is usually coming from police.

It is true that there are still controversies over assaults, drug use and rapes that have occurred at the sites, but those are problems inherent to life in the open, not tied specifically to these actions. Neither the violence nor the drug use is condoned, but they are acknowledged as realities of life in the streets and at least being addressed; before the Occupy movement began drawing attention to public space, these issues were merely swept under the rug as the dirty little secrets of our society.

There are many issues this young movement is facing, as it is far from over, but at least these important discussions are happening.

In these small communities of conscious people, the discussions that will shape the future of our nation are happening. Between young and old, privileged and poor, all different races, cultures and backgrounds. People of all kinds are finally participating in the way we run our society. It is no different than the civil rights movement before it, or the fight for independence before that. There will always be those dedicated to the betterment of their country for the benefit of their peers.

This movement is dealing with the problems our society sees today. It is a sounding board for those who have been campaigning for individual causes their entire life, as well as newcomers, from all different strokes, who wish to take part in shaping their own futures. Many different groups are coming together, sharing their strengths, to build the country they wish to be a part of.

By stressing equality and community, these local movements are working towards a collective good through individual efforts. They are all trying to give the government back to the people, removing corporate influence over their decisions. They are working to stop exploitation of people, resources and environments for the benefits of individual companies who concentrate that wealth. They are doing all they can to reinstate the benefits of being part of this country to all those in it, not just a few. The people I met were all working altruistically, not just for themselves, but for all those being oppressed, especially the ones who cannot do it for themselves.

After seeing all these cities, all these different people, I realized that they were all working for one thing: each other.

– Serious Note

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