O% Year Of The Dragon: A Report On Oakland Commune Move In Day

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On the first Saturday of the celebration of this year of the Dragon, the Oakland Commune attempted to seize the abandoned Kaiser Center and to occupy it as their new home. They were met with brutal opposition from the Oakland Police and other area departments who repeatedly announced their intention to use chemical agents and cause severe injury.

People assembled at Oscar Grant Plaza and after some talk, set off through the streets of Oakland to an as yet undisclosed location. A brass band dressed in pink and black tutus with shock pick tights played. The pigs used choppers to monitor the crowd’s route and soon blocked it at Laney College. A sound system on a truck ensured that the assembly proceeded in the spirit of dance. A few dozen pigs declared an unlawful assembly and confronted the demonstrators – threatening violence and ordering the crowd to disperse through loudspeakers.The sound truck that had accompanied the march, carrying furniture for the occupation, was missing. Reports said it had been pulled over. Most apparent exits from Laney campus were blocked by OPD.

With no other way to make a decision and no contingency plan, the crowd held a cumbersome  general assembly. Eventually it headed over a bottleneck bridge and dodged the police to approach Henry J. Kaiser Convention Center,

which was surrounded by fences and cops. When the crowd started tearing down the fence, police shot off smoke bombs to disorient the Communards.

The pigs in riot gear formed a line blocking Oak Street.

The Oakland Museum lay to the left of the crowd, an apartment complex to the right. The group pushed forward led by shields and reinforced barricades. The police launched flash grenades, bean bag rounds,

and gas. They attached flash grenades to smoke bombs to maximize panic and confusion among the people.

The commune responded with rocks and flares and bottles, moving forward behind shields made of trash can lids, corrugated metal siding and other materials.

Reports from the crowd say that the shields were somewhat effective in protecting against police projectiles. Though when the formation was broken, many were seriously injured.

Some were traumatized by gas.

some were hit by rubber bullets – still others others were burned by flash grenades.

Residents of a nearby apartment building brought the protestors pitchers of water to wash off the gas. The Commune retreated to OG Plaza, many of them carrying comrades.

A thousand people set out from Oscar Grant Plaza an hour later. After failing to gain access to a second building, they proceeded to a third.

The pigs kettled them in a park alongside 19th and Broadway – a location that had been occupied on a previous occasion. The crowd tore down the fences surrounding the park and escaped, only to be kettled once again outside the YMCA.

A sympathetic YMCA employee opened the door and some were able to escape through the building and out rear exits. The police became aware of both escape routes and begin attacking and trampling those who failed to escape. Those remaining in the kettle were brutalized further and forced to submit to arrest. People were held on the street in zip-ties for hours.

Those incarcerated in Santa Rita and were kept in extremely adverse conditions, threatened with separation into the general prison population and denied medical care. Bail for some was set at over $50,000.

A few hundred people kept going. In anger, some broke into Oakland City Hall – holding the space as long as they could and vandalizing it in a beautiful act of negation. More than 35 pigs from various departments came to clear them out.

#Anyone wrote “When else in recent history have 2000 people been ready to participate in the illegal action of taking over a vacant building as a political act? The success of the movein action was as an act of delegitimation of the power and authority of the state and it’s repressive forces.”

Map of Move In Day:


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Move In Day demonstrated that the Commune needs “space that would make us permanent, make our own ways, our own ways of making things livable, a center from which our resistance could grow, prevail.” The city authorities are scared of such a possibility because they know that unlike the spaces they have offered to the Commune, such a center would allow for the development of actual dual power. They know it would function “to counter their ideas of belonging and private property and “the proper channels” of “community activity” — properly coded, surveilled, declawed.”

Those who have been blind to the war should now open their eyes to the true character of this low-intensity conflict. The police have repeatedly announced their willingness to brutalize us using military weapons to protect private property. The willingness of Bay Area pigs to kill has been amply demonstrated — there’s a reason we renamed the plaza after Oscar Grant.  Although many tactical lessons should be drawn from the events of January 28th, abandoning the projects of moving inside and of engaging the Repressive State Apparatus should not be on the table. The questions that we must grapple with now are: what weapons and tactics are necessary to defeat the police? Which spaces must be taken before taking a facility the size of Kaiser Convention Center? Is a mass mobilization the most effective way to initially seize such a space or would it be easier for a guerilla group to accomplish? We need to remember that the Black Panthers in Oakland were able to organize an armed pressure group that saved Huey Newton from the gas chamber – and we need to do more than that. One reason that 0% movements should establish solidarity with the incarcerated is that we will be spending time in jail and need to learn to do so effectively.

The war has already (hardly) begun. This is not a time to fall back on a mass movement or a party to protect the working class. As #Anyone among the communards knows, the working class has been reordered since 1848. It has been globally segmented; in the US and Europe it has been “fragmented and distributed into networks colonized by rhetorics of self-management and flexibility, rendered part-time and pushed into industries devoted to sale, distribution, management and circulation of commodities … These conditions render the conversion of the working class into a proletariat, as revolutionary self consciousness, nearly impossible.” However, 0% action is possible and will continue. Insurrection involves education and conspiracy. Breathing together, we will inhale our cities.

Much love and respect to the courageous people of Oakland.

All Power To The Commune! Bring It Where You Live!

DONATE TO THE COMMUNE BAIL AND MEDICAL FUND! THIS IS AN EMERGENCY!

Cuntrastamu! mashed up this report from various online sources — even some I oppose. If I bit your post, thank you, it was done in a genuine spirit of solidarity in separation.