Sunday, October 6, 2013

Albany Bulb Residents and their Supporters Plan to March and Campout on Solano Ave

People gather to discuss action.
Resistance to the impending eviction of the 20 year + squatter community, dog park, and rebel art space on the Albany Bulb continues. Solidarity actions, marches, community events, banner drops, protests at the homes of those involved in the eviction, and camp-outs have all been used so far to mobilize both those living on the Bulb and those who use the space that wish to fight to keep it wild. Here's a list of actions that have taken place so far since September:

*September 3rd: Bulb residents and supporters march from the Albany Bulb to the Albany City Council.
*Throughout September, various film showings of "Where Do you go When it Rains?" and "Share the Bulb" take place throughout Albany, Oakland, and Berkeley.  Films are followed by community discussions and panels.
Banner drop on University Ave.
*September 21st, Solano Community Church and friends make chalk messages up and down Solano Ave promoting the message of "Share the Bulb."
*Late September, banners are dropped over the University freeway over pass proclaiming, "Defend the Bulb!"
*September 28th, several hundred people throughout the day participate in community discussions around fighting to save the Albany Bulb and enjoy a potluck and live musical guests.
*October 2nd, between 50-75 people participate in a general assembly to plan actions to defend the Bulb and also stage a "solidarity camp-out."
*October 4th, a Bulb resident, Amber, files a lawsuit against the city of Albany, claiming the city broke the law by failing to provide access to low-income housing. 
*October 5th, a small group of protesters demonstrate outside of Robert Cheasty's home. Cheasty is one of the most vocal proponents of the eviction of the Bulb. Read more about him here.

Monday, October 7th
On October 7th, Bulb residents and supporters are planning to take their battle to the steps of the city and also the up-scale streets of Solano Ave. People plan to gather outside of city hall at 6pm, speak before the council and then march on Solano Ave where they will plan a camp out on the street. Residents and supporters want to show the impact of what 60-70 residents evicted from the Bulb will have on the bourgeois streets of Albany.

For more information on the rally, march, and camp-out, please go here

Monday, September 30, 2013

Reportback from the 9/28 Gathering at the Albany Bulb

 Taken from:

People trickled in slowly, on 'bulb time', to the potluck on the neck of the Albany Bulb. Food from East Bay Food Not Bombs, alongside contributions from others, were laid out on a table. On that table hung a banner that read "Defend the Bulb" with the "n" doubling as a squatter's symbol. The food was not only plentiful, it was delicious.

As folks ate, they swapped stories about the bulb. Some people talked about walking their dogs, others about the logistics of having to carry all potable water to their campsite. Some discussed the sculptures, others broke down the finer points of graffiti style present on the bulb. Those at the event were from all walks of life, people who might not have interacted otherwise. Everyone agreed about the importance of "sharing the bulb," of "keeping it how it is" and of the personal importance of the place to them. The bulb residents mingled with the supporters, joking and eating together. One resident had just found a gopher snake. It twisted around her arm as kids came up to pet it.

People announced a camp-out on October 2nd as a practice run before the eviction is imminent. It was requested that people bring water, both for themselves and for sharing, and camping gear. The evening of the October 2nd gathering will also be a time when people come together to clean trash from the bulb. That action was suggested both by the residents as a way of helping them with things they do everyday. It was also suggested by others as a way to demonstrate that the Bulb is self-regulating and in no way needs city or state intervention. From here, the discussion diverged in many directions. People clearly had many different ideas of what would be the best way to defend the space. Rather than let these differences become division, let's open up a wide space of resistance. Many of the suggestions are not mutually exclusive. While a good deal of respect for the residents and their wishes is warranted, a wide range of practices and perspectives can coexist in the struggle to defend autonomous space at the Bulb.

Around sunset, everyone walked back to the Bulb amphitheater to listen to acoustic music. Some bands were invited and others just showed up--the whole evening came together organically. A large campfire was started, fed with last year's Christmas trees. After a folk punk set by a Danny Discord (Modesto, CA), a string band played a song about the Bulb and the sense of freedom people feel there. Everybody sang along. Blackbird Raum played well after dark at the south end of the amphitheater. People danced, tripped over chunks of sidewalks and screamed along with the band. Enjoying the space, making friends around the campfire, listening to acoustic music together--sharing these experiences helped to connect people to that space.

Outside of the residents and their legal team, substantive resistance to the current efforts to evict the Bulb residents and manicure the space for "passive recreation" is still forming. The event on Saturday was an opportunity for people pissed off by the current plans to meet each other and hear updates about the situation. These conversation will continue at the October 2nd campout. Come to the campout, stayed tuned for future announcements and, most importantly, find your own methods in the defense of this wild autonomous space.

The sun lowered towards the Marin headlands as everyone gathered into the cove (the stepped concrete plaza at the neck of the bulb) to discuss the current situation at the bulb and what can be done. One man, there with his two daughters and their dog, spoke spontaneously to open the meeting. He talked about the importance of having wild space and of how his experiences at the bulb over the years have moved him deeply. The legal team came to the meeting with a very interesting announcement. An agreement was reached that will give residents a 7-day warning before they are evicted. Participants in the assembly thought that a week is enough time to plan and execute a response to the threat of an eviction.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Against Political Managers: A Reportback from the Uprising in LA after the Zimmerman Verdict

What follows is an original submission around the uprisings that occurred in the wake of the Zimmerman verdict. While much as been written already about the riots and revolts that happened in Oakland for several nights, this piece touches on the drive by various elements to control and manage the events as they happened. The author makes connection between the push by some to manage the revolt and actions of others that has happened both in LA and in Oakland.  

Proponents of the popular narrative in Los Angeles after our displays of rage around the Zimmerman verdict made no effort to challenge the media and police agenda. The initial outrage of community members intent on taking streets (defying both the state and political managers) was an expression against racism and hegemonic power, but as usual, mainstream organizations were intent on urging people to continue enduring structural injustice. This led to controlled protests within days, poised to be easily recuperated by the policy making agenda of institutional power. They did this with constantly appeasing and pacifying rhetoric while demanding people stay in Leimert park or on the sidewalk. In other words: by not being disruptive.

The statewide mobilization at Corcoran Prison, July 13th, in solidarity with hunger striking prisoners, where political managers discouraged taking to the streets, serves as an interesting contrast. We were able to witness the limitations and powermongering of protest politics at its finest. Whereas the planned protest at Corcoran left no room for the questioning of tactics, the uprising after the Zimmerman verdict took a few days to get under the traditional control measures of planned protest. The outrage at the verdict (a legal example of the racism and apologist agenda of the state) led folks into the streets. It is in these ruptures that we are able to act, to carve out our intent. And hopefully, replicate and build this energy beyond the immediate spaces in which we act.

The moderates did not know what they wanted, but they were certain that we should be well behaved according to the propriety of our oppressors. They did this by dictating, megaphones in hand, what the ‘appropriate’ response to our oppression should be, colluding with police and media to manage the organic resistance of impacted youth and filtering our pain and rage into symbolism and vigils.

By the third day following the verdict, mainstream news articles were coming out misattributing the actions of the previous days to ‘outside agitators and anarchists'- a narrative very familiar to Oakland. By the fourth day, Tuesday, the Crenshaw district was under tactical alert (7 choppers, and crews of 6-8 squad cars each combing neighborhood streets). The message was clear- the protests are OVER.

One wonders how aware these organizations are of their role in apologizing and protecting the state from the threat of our collective rage or any real challenge to structural injustice.

Instead of recognizing the willful acts of defiance of the people who took freeways, defied police lines, and marched 11 miles through the streets of Los Angeles, these organizations turn their heads away from us. They are both, 1) entitled enough to believe they have the right to lead the struggle and ‘protect’ people (management usually comes under the mantra of safekeeping) and, 2) are threatened by something outside of their agenda-setting, and thus seek to neutralize and recuperate our energy. The channels for this are well established, the political process and the learned passivity they depend on.

We took to the streets to express our ongoing rage against exposure of the determinant worth that people of color have in this society comparatively to whiteness or assimilation into that whiteness. We were met with brutal retaliation from the protectors and beneficiaries of these systems of
oppression; namely by the Los Angeles Slave Patrol aka the LAPD, though we were also forced to confront homophobic/hetero-sexist bigots, infiltrators, and others of a likeminded fascist variety.

We hold that practice and implementation of resistance is not just against overt enemies, but their apologists (namely organizations that cater to institutional power and seek to manage our people) and believe that our practicing can inspire us beyond space and energy to be replicated and experimented from LA to the Bay.

To discredit the current [mis]narrative we must continue to wage war on white het/cis male capitalist supremacy with our bodies and spirit of unapologetic resistance, not just in the streets, but in every space we hold.

- From your friendly co-consipirators in LA

Monday, August 26, 2013

Rally and March on AC Transit against Fare Hike Wednesday, August 28th

Hundreds March in Solidarity with the Prison Hunger Strikers in Oakland

Last night, over 300 people marched in downtown Oakland in solidarity with prisoners on hunger strike throughout California. Recently, a judge has ruled that legally the state can now force feed inmates as a way to break the strike. While Brown uses cooling-off laws to break the BART strike, so too are judges using force feeding tubes to break the hunger strike. Solidarity is needed more now more than ever. Revolt on the inside, revolt on the outside.

To view a great video of the march, go here.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

BART, AC Transit, and other workers blockade BART Office, August 1st

On August 1st, BART workers rallied and announced that they would continue their strike (which has now been put on hold by the Governor), that was called off a month ago after 4 1/2 days of shutting down the bay area's rapid transit system. Police announced that they would be heavily watching the march in fear that union workers would be joined by Occupy protesters as well. In top form, union heads stated in the media that they would not tolerate any sort of 'occupy violence.' This creation of two tears of protesters, one 'bad,' one 'good,' has been seen again and again in bay area struggles. Those that are contained, organized, and managed by groups that work closely with the government, (such as they unions and non-profits) are "good," as long as they stay in the bounds of the law, while groups and individuals which do not work with the state and take action on their own accord, are "bad." Sometimes they are labeled "occupy," or "anarchists," but the intended effect is the same. Workers and others are scared into taking action outside of the bounds of the law or outside of the direction of their leaders which might place their own struggle in their control. This is why we are including this video of workers taking action blocking the front the downtown Oakland BART office along with rank-n-file AC Transit workers and others. As workers gain experience and confidence in their struggles and make connections with others around them, they can begin to take control of their own struggles.

Both AC Transit workers (who's union excepted a tentative agreement that gives concessions to management) and BART workers are angry that union heads have not brought workers out on strike together. Workers understand that both groups out at the same time would shut the bay area down and give them more power to fight against taking concessions. It was the 1946 Oakland general strike that began just blocks away from where the downtown BART rally took place that set in motion the ruling elite to push the Taft Hartley Act which curtailed the ability of labor unions to launch strikes and helped pave the way for McCarthy attacks on organizers. While labor bureaucrats fear the coming together of the Occupy movement with their own members, the ability of the working class to organize itself and carry out it's own struggles is the only way forward. With the California government possibly placing BART workers in a 'cooling off period,' for several months, denying them the ability to strike, and AC Transit workers stuck with a contract that offers concessions, workers will have to make the choice to organize themselves, together, or continue to lose. This struggle will go out of the bounds of the law, involve workers from a broad range of industries, students, the unemployed, and will come up against the power of the state and the existing union leadership.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Save the Berkeley Post Office Encampment

Recently, police have tried to push out a group of workers, homeless people, and protesters who have set up an encampment outside of the historic Downtown Berkeley Post Office. The group is trying to stop the privatization of the postal service and the closure of the office. The closure would be an attack on the workers who work there and a cut in service to people in Berkeley. David in this video also discusses the encampment as well as the historic 1970 wildcat postal strike.