Tag Archives: Occupy Oakland

Occupy, Resist, and Grow

By Guest Contributor Yvonne Yen Liu, cross-posted from Mobilizing Ideas

Marshall Ganz calls Occupy a moment, but we have a history and a future.  My generation, in North America, was birthed over 12 years ago, in the streets of Seattle, when trade unionists joined with anarchists to disrupt the workings of global capital, well, in this case, the meeting of a major player, the World Trade Organization.  We refused to accept capitalism as a natural way of ordering our social world; “Another World is Possible” was a popular slogan.  We manifested alternatives in organizing our collective refusal.  Instead of relying on institutions created under capitalism, we created our own clinics, schools, decision-making bodies, and media outlets.  Some of which have formalized into counter-institutions that exist today.  The global network of independent media centers and community health centers, like the Common Ground clinic in New Orleans, started after Hurricane Katrina, are our legacy.

The Millennials may find inspiration when their peer, 26-year old Mohamed Bouazizi, educated yet unable to find a good job, self-immolated himself on the steps of the Tunisian governor’s office, sparking the uprisings of the Arab Spring.  Or, when 24-year old Bradley Manning, in a fit of frustration with military bureaucracy and the war abroad, uploaded confidential documents onto the Wikileaks website.  What is the future of the Occupy movement?  Approximately a half-year in and many camps have been violently evicted from the land on which they pitched their tents.  Many of us spent this late fall awake in an overnight vigil to defend a camp or recovering from being pepper sprayed by cops when trying to setup a new one.  At the time of writing this, only Occupy D.C. remains intact.  But, that is not the end of Occupy.

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Jean Quan and the Death of Asian America

Illustration by Gary Bedard

By Guest Contributor Chris Fan, cross-posted from Hyphen Magazine

Last Monday, Oakland’s mayor Jean Quan ordered the forcible eviction of the Occupy Wall Street movement’s Oakland encampment, which had been situated directly outside of her office at City Hall off and on for the past two months.

Wakened in the early morning by an army of police outfitted in riot gear, demonstrators remained peaceful as more than 100 tents were destroyed, and dozens of arrests were made. The action precipitated the resignation of two of Quan’s top staffers, bringing the total resignations in response to her handling of Occupy Oakland to three. It also deepened this writer’s disappointment and embarrassment over the actions of someone who, not too long ago, could have been described as embodying the best of the Asian American movement of the ’60s and ’70s.

As an undergraduate at UC Berkeley, Quan was intensely involved with the Third World Liberation Front’s (TWLF) radical efforts to create ethnic studies programs, ultimately spearheading the establishment of the Asian American Studies program there. After graduating, she continued her activism in New York’s Chinatown, and, much later, joined Oakland School Board, and City Council, where she fought for a variety of progressive causes. Last summer, when large-scale demonstrations broke out in protest of a lenient verdict handed down to BART police officer Johannes Mehserle — who was on trial for shooting Oscar Grant while the latter was face-down and restrained — it was hardly a surprise when Jean Quan joined in a human chain to protect demonstrators from riot police. She was just dusting off an old skill set.

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Words + Images: Occupy Oakland Stages General Strike

Source: @mrdaveyd

Compiled by Arturo R. García

Did a small group of activists manage in just 5 short days of organizing to bring about the first general strike in the United States in generations?

Not exactly. But while there was no broad, city-wide general strike of the sort last seen in this country in 1946, one shouldn’t judge the effort a failure. A day of scattered actions across the city culminated in a massive “occupation” that shut down the Port of Oakland, the fifth busiest container port in the country. When it was announced that operations had been suspended for the night, thousands of people partied around trucks halted in their tracks, celebrating a victory in their struggle with authorities that began with the violent eviction of Occupy Oakland last week. The Oakland police, and Mayor Jean Quan, stung by negative press stemming from the clashes, essentially gave the port to the movement.
- Joshua Holland, Alternet

Source: @reclaimuc

Oakland school officials say about 360 teachers didn’t show up for work, as thousands of people joined anti-Wall Street protests throughout the city.

Oakland Unified School District spokesman Troy Flint says roughly 18 percent of the district’s 2,000 teachers were absent. That’s compared to the 1-percent rate on a typical Wednesday.

Several teachers’ unions have expressed support for the Occupy Oakland movement.

Flint says the district got substitute teachers for most classrooms. Where that’s not possible, children were moved to other classrooms.

In addition to the school district absences, employees of city-run preschool programs for low-income children also took the day off in large numbers.

Officials say 15 of the city’s 17 Head Start centers had to close because of low staffing. Parents were notified in advance and made other arrangements.
- The Associated Press

Source: @ThinkProgress

Mayor Jean Quan of Oakland, a supporter of the movement who had nevertheless come under fire from the protesters after last week’s confrontations, had called for a minimal police presence on Wednesday. The police did keep a very low profile throughout the afternoon as the crowd grew and as splinter groups of hundreds of protesters broke off from the main body and pushed into surrounding streets.

“We support many of the demands, particularly the focus on foreclosures, fair lending practices and making capital available to low-income communities,” Ms. Quan said at a news conference.

Police officers needed to be on hand, she said, to protect everyone’s free-speech rights in balance with legitimate public safety concerns.
- Malia Woolan, The New York Times

Source: @garonsen

The demonstrations in Oakland were largely peaceful and police said there were no arrests.

Police estimated that a crowd of about 3,000 had gathered at the port at the height of the demonstration around dusk. Some had marched from the city’s downtown, while others had been bused to the port.

The crowd disrupted operations by overwhelming the area with people and blocking exits with chain-link fencing and illegally parked vehicles. The demonstrators also erected fences to block main streets to the port. No trucks were allowed into or out of the area.

Port spokesman Isaac Kos-Read said evening operations had been “effectively shut down.”

And later port officials released a statement saying that maritime activity would be cancelled indefinitely, but they hoped to resume the work day Thursday.

“Our hope is that the work day can resume tomorrow and that Port workers will be allowed to get to their jobs without incident,” the statement read. “Continued missed shifts represent economic hardship for maritime workers, truckers, and their families, as well as lost jobs and lost tax revenue for our region.”
- Terence Chea, Lisa Leff and Terry Collins, The Associated Press

Source: The Bay Citizen

Courtesy of @northoaklandnow