On January 28, Occupy Oakland will take over a vacant building in the city of Oakland to establish a new home, social center and meeting space for the movement. The “Move-in” action will begin with a two-day festival at the new building site, the location of which will remain undisclosed until the day of the event. The seized building will be converted into a social center for the movement. This building takeover/move-in action was approved by the Occupy Oakland General Assembly and signals a new direction for the Occupy movement: putting vacant buildings at the service of the community.
Despite a nationwide housing crisis and increasing homelessness, thousands of buildings lie vacant in Oakland. The Occupy Oakland Move-In Committee, which is coordinating the event, states:
“Like millions of people in this country, Occupy Oakland has no home. On January 28, Move-in Day, we’re going to change that. We’re going to occupy a large, vacant building and convert it into a social center. Come join us for the initial occupation. There will be a festival all that weekend to celebrate our new home.”
During the Occupy Oakland camp, the movement provided food, shelter, medical services and much more to anyone who asked for them. It was recently disclosed that crime in Oakland dropped by 19% during the weeks of the camp, and further, that Oakland Police Chief Jordan was aware of this drop. A letter from Jordan to Mayor Quan stated: “Not sure how you want to share this good news… It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is negatively impacting crime in Oakland.”
Nonetheless, the camp was forcibly evicted twice from Oscar Grant/Frank Ogawa Plaza, on grounds that it threatened the health and safety of citizens. The OPD is being investigated for its actions against Occupy Oakland; they also face federal trusteeship after over a decade of abusing Oakland residents.
Occupy Oakland responded to the first eviction by calling for a General Strike and responded to the second with a coordinated West Coast Port Shutdown. Both events succeeded in shutting down the Oakland Port, due to the tens of thousands of supporters who were willing to defy the City in this direct action. Despite this support, since mid-December the Oakland Police Department, under Mayor Quan’s watch, has arrested dozens of Occupy Oakland people at Oscar Grant Plaza. Many were detained for days though the charges were not pursued because they would not stand up in court. As a result of this persistent repression and harassment, the movement has been unable to continue to provide food, shelter, medical care, and other services at Oscar Grant Plaza. The City, while claiming it cannot afford to provide these services itself, has spent millions of taxpayer dollars on police actions against Occupy, while neglecting the needs of its citizens.
On January 28, the day of the take-over, occupiers will rally at Oscar Grant Plaza at 12 pm at 14th and Broadway, march to the take-over destination, and Occupy. A two-day festival at the seized building location, will include special events, speakers, music, and workshops. At the end of each day, the Occupiers will hold a General Assembly to further define the uses of the building.
The Move-in Building Committee is actively soliciting requests from residents of Oakland and the Bay Area who want to get involved and have suggestions for specific uses of the space that are in accordance with Occupy Oakland principles.
For more information, updates and a schedule for the 2-day festival please visit: occupyoaklandmovein.org