This is an archive of much of the work I did on Occupy Oakland. My views have changed and varied over the past year, as a product of being intensely involved with actions and community that grew out of Oscar Grant Plaza’s short life as a political entity. I’ve removed much of the extraneous stuff, but have done my best to include everything pertinent I was writing in real time, even when my analysis was embarrassingly wrong, as well as when it was awesome and right-on. Here you have it, warts and all.
Obviously, the content and recollections and focus will differ from the writings and tellings of others, and that’s fine. I don’t seek the title of Occupy historian, nor of creator of a definitive narrative. I was not involved in some actions or currents in the movement that many consider valuable [and that I do as well]. The Labor Solidarity Committee, the Foreclosure Defense Committee, the Anti-Repression Committee and various food committees and autonomous and ad hoc groups will have to tell their own stories, and I look forward to hearing or reading them.
There is obviously special emphasis on the actions I was most involved in. As Occupy Oakland began to fragment in 2012, it was more and more difficult to be involved with everything that was going on, and I began to focus more and more on bottomlining and organizing projects I felt were important–the Lakeview Sit-In and the Biblioteca Popular Victor Martinez.
I regard that fragmentation as a positive and hopeful outcome of what could only at best be a temporary movement that outlasted all expectations–there are now several strong and networked groups adding power and ferocity to the labor movement, the anti-foreclosure movement and to the political work of other groups around the city.
I hope that folks will be able to learn something about the Occupy phenomenon and its Oakland iteration by reading some of the writings here, and that they will be of some use to the activists and historians of future years. That’s all one can hope for from one’s writing.
Additionally, I recorded several months worth of General Assemblies and I’ve posted a link to that archive in the sidebar.
A note about the photo above: I chose this photo because I think it really speaks to what Occupy Oakland was around its apogee, after the fall of the camps, and around the time of the second port shutdown, where all of the promise of a peopled mass movement that could have grown much larger was still visible. Little did people know that the movement would grow increasingly smaller after that point, but ignorance is bliss. In this photo, you can see that the GA has been brought to the corner of 14th and Broadway for greater visibility, a new practical step without a camp. To the right, some folks are holding up the old “Revolt” banner; a breakout group is in its own world hashing out whatever action or discourse was important at that time; people on the outskirts are catching up with comrades; the tree sit is waving its tattered upside-down American flag; and then the core, totally caught up in the political process. It was cold as hell out, but no one cared.