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Letter of Solidarity with the SF Commune @ 888 Turk from a Free Farmer

by The Farm’s “resident anarchist”
On April 1st, when Occupy San Francisco liberated two of the neighboring long-vacant buildings at 888 Turk St, many within the farm we excited about the development. We welcomed our new neighbors and the great possibilities of collaboration between the two projects.
Letter of Solidarity with the SF Commune @ 888 Turk from a Free Farmer 4/2/2012

I am a regular and long-time participant at The Free Farm in San Francisco, a collectively worked farm which grows food to be distributed as a gift in low-income neighborhoods of San Francisco. The Farm is located on the same block of Gough St. as 888 Turk, formerly and forever the SF Commune. I am not speaking for the entire Free Farm community, only myself and those who have communicated their support.

On April 1st, when Occupy San Francisco liberated two of the neighboring long-vacant buildings at 888 Turk St, many within the farm we excited about the development. We welcomed our new neighbors and the great possibilities of collaboration between the two projects. Occupy SF asked for and received permission to access to The Farm shortly after the group occupied the building. The occupiers treated The Farm with respect and were our welcome guests.

On April 2nd, when SFPD violently entered the SF commune, they destroyed the lock and chain that secured our front gate and invaded The Farm to prevent our comrades from reaching the offered sanctuary. The Free Farm has a different address and is owned by a different church, St. Paulus Lutheran Church. SFPD did not have the permission of any member of the Free Farm community nor any member of St. Paulus to enter. Myself and others have I spoken with are deeply hurt that SFPD destroyed our resources and violated our space, bringing their violence and terror into a peaceful, spiritual urban oasis. Because the lock had to be replaced for the farm to be secure, The Farm is temporarily inaccessible to the community members who work there, plants cannot be watered, food cannot be harvested, compost cannot be sifted.

The Free Farm broke ground in January of 2010 was built on the site of a church which had been destroyed by fire and lay vacant for 15 years prior.

Since then, we have grown and gifted thousands of pounds of hecka local produce to our hungry friends and neighbors.

Since then, we have shared our visions and our knowledge of food production with hundreds, if not thousands of people, including folks from other community gardens, school groups of all ages from around the world and the residents of the surrounding neighborhood.

Since then, we have shown what can be done with vacant spaces, we have shown communities can self organize to increase their food security and access to healthy, eco-harmonious food options.

And since then, knowing the power and potential of liberated spaces we have watched the adjacent property, with three, large vacant buildings and decried their wasted potential. It is with deep sadness and disappointment that we have now seen our new neighbors evicted.

Liberate all property! Long live the SF Commune!

With revolutionary fury,

The Farm’s “resident anarchist”
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by SF Commune resident - If it's vacant, take it
Thank you so much for sharing you're insights, support, and solidarity!

Here is another community response to the SF Commune - 888TURK Open Occupation

Mr. Scudder:

An open letter to the president of Sacred Heart Prep School

There are three buildings in this compound, 888 Turk St., 950 Gough St. and another address on Turk St. While St. Paulus Lutheran Church owned them, they illegally evicted two HIV+ gay guys from the third building on Turk St. Arch Diocese of San Francisco and/or Sacred Heart Prep School bought them from St. Paulus about 5 years ago to tear down and build a 250 seat theater. They changed their mind and built the theater in a different location in our neighborhood.

A few months ago I video taped a woman and her boyfriend on my front porch in the same block as 888 Turk St. as they made terrorist threats against me. I gave a DVD of that threat to the SFPD. They refused to arrest her and accused me of provoking her from inside my house through the door glass. I found out from a friend that she was in police custody for stealing a car. He also told me they were often camping on your property at 888 Turk St. I called the police to see what the status of the case was. They pretended to not know where to find her even though she was in jail for car theft.

Recently, I caught her on my front porch again and she threatened me again. I called 911. She left and sought refuge on the 888 Turk St. Property. When the officer arrived, I told him that’s where I saw her go. He got in his car and went around the block. I watched him secretly and he did not get out of his car or even park in such a way that he could see that property. He sat in his car for 5 minutes and then drove away. I called 911 agin and made a complaint and at 4 AM, about 5 hours after my first 911 call, the police looked at that property and said she was not there. They indicated that they checked the tent of the person who also camped there and she was not in it. They indicated that they knew someone camps there every night in plain view This proves the SFPD had knowledge of these people camping on the property. I'm sure the Arch Diocese and or the school did too. I filed a complaint against that officer who faked the investigation with the SF Office of Citizen’s complaints and reported the church property to the San Francisco department of building inspection as a public nuisance abandoned building property that was providing a hiding place for people who had committed crimes against me or others. The buildings had graffiti and peeling paint. That was over a month ago, and the city still has not to my knowledge cited the Arch Diocese for maintaining a public nuisance. The $1 million and counting bill for the police to evict the occupy people should have to be paid by the Arch Diocese of San Francisco, and the city should tell them to give the building to the occupy movement or face prosecution for maintaing a public nuisance. Churches should have to pay property taxes like everybody else, but they don't.

For many years I have watched the parking control officers turn a blind eye to school staff illegally parked. All they had to do was put a Sacred Heart Prep School business card in their windshield and they were not ticketed, while residents of the neighborhood had cars ticketed, booted and towed.

Your school has treated this neighborhood with contempt the entire time I have lived here. You never notified the neighborhood when you built that huge addition atop your building on Ellis, or anything else to my knowledge. You are above the law. You get special treatment from the planning department, the building inspection department, the parking control officers, and the police department.

I hope that the chickens have finally come home to roost re your abandoned building properties. I intend to see that your school pays for all the expenses the city incurs as a result of you willful neglect of your property and illegal favors you receive from city employees re willfully ignoring your violations.

I believe that your behavior and lack of behavior is grounds for a claim by the Occupy people that you had abandoned these buildings to homeless people, and they have right to occupy them.

Why did you wait till now to send in those guys in the white pickup truck today to board up the building? Why didn't you fence off the property and have it patrolled by your security guards when you saw people camping there day after day, or after I made this complaint over a month ago? Are you going to have Occupy or homeless people evicted if they occupy the building on Turk St. where St. Paulus illegally evicted two HIV+ gay guys?

I heard that a man was injured by the police today and they refused to let his injures be attended to in the police lockup bus by the paramedics who were on site and waiting. This was announced by loudspeaker for everyone to hear. A woman testified that she had spoke to the paramedics and the police would not let them provide aid to the injured man under custody, and she said he was crying out in pain. I saw the paramedics at the Shell Station standing and waiting outside their vehicle. Do you think the school is in any way responsible for turning the neighborhood into a harbor for criminals and then a police state?

Mark Pope


Cathedral Hill/Van Ness Neighborhood Association

by Sylvia
What is the history or precedent around returning long-vacant spaces to the commons? Is there an argument to be made about hoarding, greed, stockpiling, ... Should the rights of private property ownership trump? Does homesteading relate? Squatting? Thank you for helping me to think about this question, and sending nourishing thoughts to you, your grounds and your neighbors.
by ntuit
SF Pigs and city officials showing once again how "progressive" San Francisco truly is.
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