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Indybay FeatureRelated Categories: East Bay | Global Justice and Anti-Capitalism
Books, Banks & Pigs- videos & report on Anticut 2
Last Friday, we marched on downtown banks behind a bloc of book shields in an anti-capitalist defense of the Oakland libraries. Tensions were high throughout the afternoon and the action quickly escalated into a showdown with police that took many off guard.
Last Friday, we marched on downtown banks behind a bloc of book shields in an anti-capitalist defense of the Oakland libraries. Tensions were high throughout the afternoon and the action quickly escalated into a showdown with police that took many off guard. here and here – explains the connections between bailed out banks, library closures and brutal policing). The vast majority of people didn't hesitate to openly demonstrate their support as well as their hatred of the OPD. After disrupting Wells Fargo, which currently makes a nice profit off the interest from Oakland Unified School District's $100 million debt that the bank bought with federal bailout money, we moved on to our next target.
"White people are getting crazy! Fuck the Banks!" yelled one excited Oaklander. Another ran up to us and exclaimed, "Oh you hate the pigs? I'm getting in there!"Suddenly the cops made their move. We stood our ground when the bike police charged the crowd, trying to break us up and end the action right there on 12th street. Four were arrested in the ensuing clash. We were eventually forced onto the sidewalk where we beat a cautious and frustrating retreat in the direction of the main library branch.
"Safety is not necessarily police," explained children's librarian Helen Block. We all cheered. "Public safety means providing a place for children to learn, for children to form community, and for the community to come together. Oakland is too divided this way. Libraries are one of the few places remaining in this city where people can go and form community. Oakland Unified School District budget has been decimated, lots and lots of kids do not have access to books. Oakland Public Library is the only way that they will get books to read, and we need to recognize it and we need to prioritize it. Thank you so much for your support, and we really appreciate it."Below is the full audio recording of the statements of support made by the three librarians:
The cops, therefore, stand in stark opposition to everything we value about a place like Oakland. You need only listen to the words of one officer as he processed one of our arrested comrades: "Fuck Libraries...Who gives a fuck about libraries?!"Anticut 2 was very successful at drawing these contradictions out into the open and building connections with many different kinds of people who happily sided with us against the banks and cops. The books worked great both on a symbolic level and as a tactical defense for the crowd. Yet there are also lots of lessons we need to learn, as the action exposed some of our serious tactical weaknesses. We were taken off guard by the street fight the police initiated, but it's still too early to tell how those few hours altered the course of this summer anti-capitalist initiative.
One thing we can safely conclude is that it probably opened up more opportunities for future action in this period of crisis than it closed. As such, it was another important step forward.Please join us for Anticut 3 on Friday, July 8! And on July 4, we are hosting an anti-Amerikan BBQ where can can all relax and socialize. Stay tuned to bayofrage.com for updates and details about these upcoming events.
BOOK BLOC NOTES:Six book shields backed by small team wearing matching baseball caps made up this initial North American book bloc. We chose to march behind the following books:
-The Wretched of the Earth by Frantz Fanon -Caliban and the Witch by Silvia Federici -The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf -Assata by Assata Shakur -The Unseen by Nanni Ballestrini -Society of the Spectacle by Guy DebordThe following video was released by Italian comrades that details their construction of a massive book bloc last fall.
ADDITIONAL MEDIA COVERAGEIndybay detailed photo essay: PART 1: Demo Kicks Off – Police Attack PART 2: Police Attack – Rally at Oakland Library
Corporate Media Coverage:http://informant.kalwnews.org/2011/06/16-arrested-in-downtown-oakland-anti-austerity-protest/ http://www.insidebayarea.com/twitter/ci_18302205 http://www.ktvu.com/news/28278662/detail.html http://www.mercurynews.com/breaking-news/ci_18302205?nclick_check=1