The Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette: Day 95

Posted on 15 January 2012 by @benzotweet

Friday, JANUARY 13th, 2012 DAY 95

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.


Occupy Oakland is about people providing for themselves and for others, since it is clear that the system can no longer provide for them. It is a place where people who are fed up can come together and develop new forms of struggle.

Since November, the city of Oakland and its police force have made it impossible for us to meet, to serve food, and to provide a place for people to stay, in our original home at Oscar Grant Plaza. At the same time, all over the city, thousands of buildings sit empty for the simple reason that they exist to enrich the 1% rather than meet people’s needs for space and shelter.

Occupy Oakland has a demonstrated need for such a space. We have served tens of thousands of meals without charge, provided a place for thousands of people to sleep free from police repression, planned and carried out actions in which tens of thousands of people have participated. Most importantly, unlike a charity, Occupy Oakland provides people with the opportunity to get involved and determine the direction of the movement. It is open to the initiative of everyone.


The full shape of the activities that happen in the building is yet to be determined. We need you to come help us do that. For now, there are plans for a kitchen, sleeping quarters, meeting space for committees and working groups, a space for kids, a library, and media room. The possibilities are endless!
*We have learned from the experience at Oscar Grant Plaza that we can do much more to make this space safe for everyone, especially women and queer people. We will continue to develop our capacity to take care of each other and keep each other safe without resorting to the police.

*The Occupy movement is largely based on direct action outside the law. Like the encampment at Oscar Grant Plaza, the building move-in is not legal. As with the plaza, however, there is safety in numbers, and we believe that the best way to protect each other is to set up a free, open space in which people can come and go. We hope that eventually our presence in the building will become normalized and we can keep it long term. To that end, we intend to have a large festival during the move-in weekend, which will invite people from all over the city to come and celebrate the new space with us. During those two days, we will hold assemblies to further define and organize the use of the building.

COME TO OUR PLANNING MEETINGS before the GA – Wednesdays @ 4:30, Sunday @ 12:30, in the amphitheatre at Oscar Grant Plaza
ON THE WEB, visit; on twitter, visit OO_Movein; send questions to [email protected]

Mark Your Calendar for Comrade Support: Important Upcoming Court Dates Jan 17th: Wiley Manuel: 9am or 2pm Jan 30th: Kali arraigned at Wiley Manuel (arrested December 16th during a raid on the plaza): 9am or 2pm Jan 31st : Truth arraigned at Renee Davidson (arrested during the nov. 2nd general strike): 9am or 2pm. Please write him at Eric Bernard, PFN# AWK 373, 550 6th St, Oakland CA 94607 Feb 6th: Pretrial hearing for folks arrested in Jan 4th sweep of Oscar Grant Plaza: Wiley Manuel: 9am or 2pm

Feb 6th: Kali arraigned at at Gale-Schenone “Hall of Justice,” 5672 Stoneridge Dr. Pleasanton: 9am.

The Global Revolt Continues… (excerpted from “Wukan Peasant Victory Sets Stage for Chinese Turmoil” at

The villagers of Wukan in south-east China appear to have won a victory over the misnamed Communist Party, and prevented the sale of some communal land. This triumph is the result of direct action, direct democracy, and the community’s ability to get the word out, in spite of government censorship. These factors will be crucial in 2012, as factory workers come into conflict with multinational corporations in the cities.

The struggle began in September, when Wukan residents became suspicious that the local government was in the process of selling common farming land to a company which builds residences for the rich. The 21st saw hundreds of villagers gathered at nearby Communist Party offices, to nonviolently protest against the sale. But as crowds grew and grew in numbers, so too did their confidence. Protesters began blocking roads and attacking buildings in an industrial park.

Three villagers were arrested at the Communist HQ demonstrations, and the next day hundreds laid siege to the police station, demanding their release. The state responded to this challenge with unrestrained ferocity, with police and mercenaries beating villagers apparently without discrimination – men and women, children and the elderly.

Cops were eventually called back to their posts, and the government struck a conciliatory tone, even asking villagers to elect delegates who could air their grievances. In retrospect, this seems to have been a ploy to uncover the ‘leadership’. One of these – respected village butcher Xue Jinbo – died in police custody, apparently the victim of a state killing. The state news agency claimed that Xue was the victim of a heart attack, but the bruised knees, bloodied nostrils and broken thumbs reported by his son in law indicate this took place under torture.

What happened next stunned Beijing authorities, and sent shockwaves around the world in mid-December. The furious Wukan villagers banded together and drove the police and Communist Party officials out of town. They then set about running things for themselves. Meanwhile, cops maintained a blockade a few miles away. At this point, the central government’s strategy appeared to be one of containment. They shied away from a violent restoration of ‘order’, perhaps wary of inflaming tensions nationwide. But if they could successfully stop the story from getting out to the wider world, Wukan residents would soon be faced with a choice – surrender or starvation.

However, that is not how the story ended. Despite the blocking of Wukan-related internet searches within China itself, some international media were in town to spread the word, and villagers even set up their own press office. People from nearby villages managed to smuggle food in – their solidarity directly fuelling the resistance. There was also some wealth redistribution from the wealthiest to the poorest, ensuring that everyone would survive the blockade.

Frustrated, the Communist leadership eventually cut a deal. Though details are scarce and unreliable, the provincial government has reportedly agreed to buy back land it had seized, and allow the peasants to collectivise it once more. Detained villagers have been released, and an ‘investigation’ into the death of Xue Jinbao has been announced.

There are growing indications that the national export-led economy is being dragged down by rising recessionary tides in the western world. Factory bosses have already been compelled to attack jobs, wages and conditions across the country, and a Chinese strike movement seems to be gathering pace. During the first recession of this global depression, Chinese leaders threw money at the problem, and seemed to have headed off a broad revolt. But that money has now been spent, and indeed led to more problems, as a property bubble seems fit to burst.

We are in unchartered territory here, so the future development of Chinese struggles is difficult to predict. But we can be sure that turmoil in China will have a huge impact around the world, due to the country’s pivotal role in commodity production. It it now possible to envisage a largescale uprising of the Chinese industrial proletariat, which would no doubt find support in peasant villages like Wukan. To paraphrase the supposed Chinese curse, we may live in very interesting times.

General Assembly Schedule:
Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Sunday at 6pm in the amphitheater of Oscar Grant Plaza

The Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette ( aims to be a voice & record of the historic Occupy Oakland movement (, part of a national & international movement of resistance. Please consider writing your thoughts, reflections, opinions, and what you’ve seen – you are part of this movement & we want to get your words out there! Send submissions to [email protected]– we’ll strive to publish all materials received. We reserve the right to decline to run materials which would render us legally liable.

Download the PDF of this issue here.