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Reclaim MLK - Anti-Gentrification Action Disrupts Oakland Home Auction, 1/16/15: photos

by Dave Id
In solidarity with Black Lives Matter activists across the country who set out to "Reclaim Martin Luther King's Legacy" for MLK Day 2015, Oakland's Anti-Police Terrorism Project (APTP) called for 96 hours of direct action in the San Francisco Bay Area. On the first day -- after early morning actions at the Federal building in Oakland, BART stations and the California Supreme Court building in San Francisco, the office of new Oakland mayor Libby Schaaf -- activists protesting gentrification and displacement in Oakland disrupted a home auction scheduled to happen on the steps of the Alameda County Courthouse. Protesters exchanged stories of real estate speculators who have displaced families in Oakland before marching to the courthouse and effectively disrupting the auction with drums, trumpet, whistles, and a sound system.

[Photo: Activists circle up outside the Lake Chalet at Lake Merritt and trade stories of displacement by real estate profiteers.]

Press release announcing the auction disruption:

Oakland Foreclosure Auction Shut Down to #ReclaimMLK and Highlight Connections between Gentrification and Police Violence

Anti-gentrification Action on MLK Weekend connects displacement to national outrage over police violence.

On Friday, January 16th at 12:00pm, a group acting in solidarity with the #ReclaimMLK Weekend will shut down the Oakland Foreclosure Auction in order to make connections between economic violence and police violence. The shutdown will be centered around the stories and narratives of Oakland residents who have experienced eviction and/or foreclosure. The action comes on the first day of a planned weekend of actions called for by groups in Ferguson, MI, and in solidarity with the Anti-Police Terror Project in Oakland, both of which continue to speak out against state-sanctioned, anti-black racism in an effort to reclaim the legacy of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

The auction, which occurs weekly and is open to the public, takes bids on recently foreclosed homes in the Oakland area and serves a critical role in the transfer of wealth from black homeowners to mostly white speculators and developers in Oakland. The group putting on the action explains that, “Instead of creating housing policy that supports residents in remaining in their homes and allocating funds to new, low-income housing developments, the City of Oakland encourages massive private developments and enables home foreclosures.”

The anti-gentrification group also connects the dots between forced displacement through gentrification and the role the police play, saying “These processes are backed and enforced by Alameda County Sheriffs through evictions, as well as the Oakland Police Department through the harassment, brutalization and criminalization of Oakland’s black residents.”

The group contends that the large-scale displacement of Oakland’s historically black residents is a form of economic violence in the same vein of the murders of black men and black people in general, most recently spotlighted in national #BlackLivesMatter protests.


The idea behind reclaiming MLK's legacy is to rescue it from the sanitized version whereby King has been painted by liberals for decades as a make-nice or passive historical figure rather than the defiant radical fighting for justice that he actually was in his time. MLK was very much controversial and often despised, not at all adored by the majority of whites in America, at the time of his assassination.

APTP actions were organized using a spokescouncil/affinity group model, allowing for a diversity of actions in a wide variety of locations. In all, hundreds of activists organized over two dozen actions which brought out a diverse group of thousands committed to racial and economic equality in the Bay Area and across the United States.

For more more info and coverage of APTP "Reclaiming Martin Luther King Jr's Legacy" actions, see:
§Notice to Cure or Quit - To Auction of Alameda
by Dave Id
Click image to see larger version and read text of notice.
§Reclaim MLK
by Dave Id
§Black Lives Matter
by Dave Id
§Policing and Gentrification Go Hand in Hand
by Dave Id
Protesters held an impromptu sit-in at these doors while auction bidders remained inside. Deputies cleared the door, then protesters returned when deputies went back inside. Deputies then came back out and stayed outside the doors. Eventually, auction bidders came back outside to the courthouse steps where auctions are held.
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