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East Bay | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism | Police State and Prisons

Occupy Oakland briefly resurfaces, Obama Headquarters Smashed
by Teresa Smith
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 2:46 AM
Occupy Oakland seemed to briefly resurface as a roving FTP dance party on Friday. Fenses around former a Occupy camp site were pulled down, and the windows at Obama Headquarters got smashed.

August 4, 2012 - Occupy Oakland seemed to reemerge for a few hours yesterday evening, in the form of a roving dance party that made its way through downtown behind a large banner that read “Fuck The Permits, Fuck The Police.”

The dance-march was in partial solidary with the venders of Art Murmur, a street fair that takes place in downtown Oakland every 1st Friday.

Over the last few months, Art Murmur has exploded into a carnivalesque block party, in which Oaklanders have taken over the streets and filled them with art, music, food, dancing, and general revelry.

On July 6, uniformed security officers informed Art Murmur venders that anyone without a permit would be ticketed, starting next month.

According to a statement on a flyer passed out by demonstrators, “the [permit] process is inaccessible, unaffordable, and there are not enough “officially sanctioned” spaces to go around.”

The flyer also explains the deeper motives behind the permits:

“Their intent is to target street artists and vendors as a means of regulating and controlling the community’s use of public space, for the benefit of expensive galleries, fancy restaurants and developers. The effect is to better provide the capital-owning business elite with a controlled and sterilized neighborhood full of passive armies of docile workers and obedient shoppers. Their ambition is to redraw urban geography according to profit motives, and convert public and social life into the plaything of the private interests. This amounts to an attempt to rob us of every free and spontaneous aspect of our communities and our lives, and replace each of them with no alternative but submission and the compulsion to consume.”

Last night, many venders and artists ignored last month’s threat of being ticketed, and set their tables in illegal spaces.

Police kept their distance though, as the dance-protest roved up and down the streets, with demonstrators chatting “fuck the police” between songs.

Many bystanders cheered when they saw the “Fuck the Police” banner as the dance party approached.

Residents of Oakland are still outraged over the police murder of 21-year-old Oscar Grant, who was shot by a transit officer in a crowded BART station on New Year's Day in 2009. The transit officer, Johannes Mehserle, was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter in July 2010, despite publicly released videos showing Mehserle pinning Grant to the ground before shooting him in the back.

The advent of camera phones has allowed the level of police brutality that occurs in Oakland, and nationwide, to be made public.

Last Friday, several hundred Oaklanders marched in solidarity with the growing Anaheim police resistance movement, and a window was broken at a bar where police officers are known to drink.

During last night's roving dance party, as demonstrators passed 19th and Telegraph Ave, a large section of the fence surrounding the former site of Occupy Oakland was pulled down. Many still remember the police raids of Occupy last fall, when protestors were beaten, tear-gassed, and had their belongings destroyed by police.

The dance then continued down Telegraph, pausing in front of the Obama Campaign Headquarters, where the windows were smashed.

The Democratic Party and Obama campaign have continually attempted to co-opt the Occupy Movement. Many Occupiers are critical of the Democratic Party for making promises that it is incapable of keeping, as it is little more than an extension of the corporations that fund it.

Perhaps the smashing of the windows in today’s march was Occupy Oakland’s way of rejecting Obama’s too-good-to-be-true campaign promises—the promise of easy hope in exchange for giving in to the farce of two parties within what is actually a unified totalitarian system.

A few minutes after the Obama Headquarters’ windows were smashed, the dance party turned down 17th. Two children in a mini-van opened the car door and gave demonstrators high-fives.

A few minutes later, the dance party doubled back to Art Murmur and Occupy vanished back into the carnival.
§FTP!!
by Teresa Smith Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 2:57 PM


Comments  (Hide Comments)

by iain
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 12:34 PM
This kind of result is inevitable. You can't continually rip a population off, poison it, work it half to death, take away its rights, cheat it out of its home, take away its freedoms and treat it as a bottomless cash machine without massive reprisals. This kind of energy, once it reaches a critical mass, will be as hard to stop as a battleship. Those things take time to get moving, but once steaming along, there's no point expecting them to turn about or stop on a dime.

The corrupt weapons-controlled US government is heading for collapse. There are 300 million people getting very angry about having been lied to and cheated for so long. Watch the speeches Obama made, on YouTube - thjere is a different lie, an extravagant, pointless lie, every few seconds! The word is spreading like electricity, through the internet in a hundred forums - well within ten years the America of today, the torturing, kidnapping, warmongering black-ops monster, will have imploded.

It is already completely bankrupt, and simply staving off disaster after disaster, robbing Peter to pay Paul. There is no presidential election - both parties work for the same team: the weapons business. Which is doing well, but it gives no structural support to America, only to itself. The branch on which it is growing is splintering, and the ponderous, top heavy structure of America's corporate dictatorship is rocking wildly from side to side!
by Teresa
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 12:55 PM
Now that's how to protest! They hate it when we're happy. Solidarity from Occupy PDX!
by Phil Porter
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 2:00 PM
Yes, there was music and dancing, but a "dance party" that smashes windows and whose primary purpose is to disrupt, destroy, and provoke? I think not. The display by those purporting to be "Occupy Oakland" at last night's First Friday was completely at odds with the intentions of 99% of the crowd who were there to legitimately experience and enjoy art, music and community.

I am a long-time Oakland resident, artist and community-builder who lives in the heart of the KONO district where First Friday takes place and am in complete support of the lively and organic nature of First Friday. A small crowd of people used the event for their own publicity-seeking purposes in ways that did nothing to support the vendors and musicians who want to participate in the First Friday event. If anything, their presence brings a cloud over the event because of their disregard of their fellow Oaklanders who were there to enjoy.

I am also a critic of many of the actions of the Oakland police and was sympathetic to Occupy movement when it was focused on economic injustice. But at the time the crowd purporting to be Occupy Oakland converged on 23rd and Telegraph (where I was standing), there was no police presence. The truth of the matter is that the police had chosen to close off Telegraph above that area to divert traffic, making it safer for all to be able to spill out into the street.

There is a serious conversation going on among city representatives, community leaders in the neighborhoods where First Friday takes place, and vendors and musicians to find ways that all can be included in the First Friday event. Perhaps some of the "dance partiers" will actually come to a meeting to participate rather that striking a pose.
by eat it
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 7:05 PM
KONO? KONO? really, Phil Porter, the heart of the KONO district?

you obviously just moved your "longtime" oakland self in, because noone who's lived in this area more than 2 years refers to the area you THINK you live in as "KONO". thats an invention of real estate agents and the business association, and the fact that you take it seriously means, well, that we shouldnt trust anything youve written about yourself.
by Frugal Tease
Saturday Aug 4th, 2012 7:47 PM
In the mid 1990s some politician found a way to destroy the teamster's union in such a way that made it economically unreasonable to actually become a trucker. So we had a group of angry ex-truckers and ex-almost truckers around Berkeley at that time. The hate man, and his kiln adapted by creating a drum circle that existed until about 2003 or so, almost every evening in upper sproul plaza, people, students, homeless, banged on buckets and metal with sticks and things. I'm wondering if a drum circle shouldn't exist for this Oakland event. Anyone who knows or remembers Crash Worship, or Steel Pole Bathtub would recognize how the frenzy of a percussive scherzo could help transform the event into something much more profound.
by Phil Porter
Sunday Aug 5th, 2012 8:22 AM
Dear Mr/Ms "Eat it",
Actually I've lived in this neighborhood for 27 years. Yes, you are right that the name "KONO" is a recent invention, and yes, it is correct that I serve on the KONO district board. I live and work in the area (I co-direct a non-profit community arts organization) and am committed to supporting the good things that are happening and can happen in the neighborhood. The KONO organization is actually made up of property owners (who agree to pay extra taxes to benefit the area), merchants, residents, local artists, and others who want to see this neighborhood thrive. We don't represent only the business interests in the area.

We have also taken several steps to directly support First Friday: providing neighborhood ambassadors who have helped with traffic flow, safety and cleanup, extra trash cans which we emptied throughout the evening and the portable toilets at three major intersections.

At the moment, our board hasn't taken a stand on the permit question that some of the "dance partiers" were protesting on Friday. Personally, I think the commerce and art-sharing is lively and enjoy the fact that it has grown so organically. I hope the food is safe and I hope that the crowding of the sidewalks doesn't force people onto the street where they might be hit by a car. Perhaps at some point in the future we'll be able to close that portion of Telegraph "officially". I was glad that it happened last Friday both by the actions of the crowd and with the help of Oakland police. (I was dismayed that the "dance partiers" didn't want to let a bus go through and generously tagged it with spray paint as it inched its way forward through the crowd.)

I don't expect to change your mind, but perhaps others who are reading this article and its comments will appreciate the extra information and an openness to dialog.
by reader
Sunday Aug 5th, 2012 1:10 PM
"I serve on the KONO district board."
"The KONO organization is actually made up of property owners"

Pretty much sums it up.

Doubt almost anyone wearing black and holding a FTP banner owns a house, a store, or much of anything like what you and those you associate with own. I would hazard a guess that you voted for Obama, plan to again, and support Jean Quan.

Those holding a FTP banner may likely never own a home or have a retirement account. Most probably don't have health insurance, dental insurance, eye and vision insurance, or own stock, like you probably do.

It's possible some do, but the vast majority whom they represent do not.

You do.

The question is not about how they should just shut up and hit drums but how those lives can be brought closer to your life, and vice versa. Working at a nonprofit isn't a solution. As Dan Bacher illustrated higher up on the column of this page (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2012/08/05/18718916.php), non-profit officers at orgs like National Resources Defense rake in a lot:

Executive Director, Environmental Defense: $347,963.00
VP West Coast, VP Land, Water and Wildlife, Environmental Defense: $304,626.00
Executive Director, Natural Resources Defense Council: $277,846.00
Development Director, Natural Resources Defense Council: $265,001.00

NRDC is "non-profit" isn't it?

A lot of non-profits function mainly for homeowners.
by Destroy everything that destroys freedom
Sunday Aug 5th, 2012 7:08 PM
WE NEED A POLITICIAN LIKE WE NEED A HOLE IN THE HEAD!
by Phil Porter
Monday Aug 6th, 2012 7:06 AM
I think you are correct in asserting that any non-profit that compensates their executives in similar ways to corporations are fair game for critique. In my experience, though, most of the non-profits that I have been involved with have had minimal budgets, powerful service and heart-filled commitment.

I also understand that in the current economic climate the challenges for so many people, especially young adults are huge. If they aspire to owning a home or having satisfying jobs will that be possible? I think those challenges are huge.

But how to create change? Our views on that might both overlap and diverge.

It is easy, however, to paint a broad brush when identifying the "enemy". It may seem necessary to do that especially in the face of what seems to be overwhelming power. I notice that impulse in myself as I look at the way government works, the callow lies of the political right, what seems to be intractable racism and homophobia among other "isms", the overwhelming influence of big money and the destruction of the earth.

Perhaps their is no common ground for you and I to stand on. Personally, I don't believe that and I will carry your comments with me as I discern my own path toward structural change.
by Teresa Smith
Monday Aug 6th, 2012 8:09 PM
Here is some video footage I took of this event: https://vimeo.com/47044854
by reader
Tuesday Aug 7th, 2012 2:30 PM
Making a neighborhood ripe for profits isn't really a common ground. Everyone wants to have neighborhoods where they can get a coffee and feel safe and enjoy themselves, but some people have never experienced that kind of state of being.

How might you show your solidarity with the anger of people who have been abused by police, who have witnessed police murders of people they may have known, who have no property and never will?

Just saying you'll find common ground is only a phrase written on the internet.

Showing solidarity with them via action is a start in finding that common ground.

Acknowledging that some people have the right to be angry from how they've been treated, offering to help organize parallel efforts to address their concerns, etc. is a start.

by Phil Porter
Friday Aug 10th, 2012 11:48 AM
Dear "reader",

If not exactly sure how you would know what my intent is, but if your purpose is to characterize it as "making a neighborhood ripe for profit" that isn't accurate. My basic intent is to "make a neighborhood". I would assume that includes all who are a part or choose to be a part, including those who are angry.

I think there are huge reasons for people to be angry these days. I am, too, and have taken and will take action to work for change. In my own experience, I find that my anger needs to find its expression and release. I believe that can happen without destruction or harm to others. I have also found that it hasn't worked well for me as a strategy for change. I know that others disagree with me on that point, but I'm trying to choose peaceful, incremental paths for change.