In a world devastated by poverty, austerity cuts, and bank foreclosures, community action like Occupy Oakland’s recent attempt to turn a derelict building into a vibrant social center for the needs of the 99% should be applauded. Instead, the agents of the 1%, in this case the Oakland police – already under investigation for excessive force – once again attacked. Using flash bang grenades, projectiles, batons, tear-gas, and other weapons, police arrested over 400, bringing total US Occupy-related arrests to over 6,300. As the Occupy Oakland Media Committee said:
“With all the problems in our city, should preventing activists from putting a vacant building to better use be their highest priority? Was it worth the hundreds of thousands of dollars they spent?”
Posted 6 days ago on Jan. 31, 2012, 8:58 a.m. EST by OccupyWallSt
On Saturday, January 28, thousands of parents, families and engaged citizens gathered together to open a community center in the heart of downtown Oakland. The Police, under orders from Mayor Quan, responded to this peaceful demonstration of direct democracy and community building by arresting around 400 people. Hundreds more were injured when an army of officers marched on these unarmed families, raised their guns and fired bullets, tear gas canisters, smoke bombs, concussion grenades and other explosive devices into the crowd. Mayor Quan, on the same day as solidarity marches were organized by dozens of occupations across the nation, has called on the Occupy Movement to denounce Oakland’s show of bravery under fire and community strength. We stand with Oakland and call for the immediate resignation of Quan, who on Saturday made it clear that the state has abandoned democracy and joined the 1% in declaring war against the people.
[If video doesn't embed, watch it here.... http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=sFaviIoy4rg]
Extreme economic injustice and true democracy can never co-exist. We have seen this violent truth before: in Pinochet’s Chile, 1990’s Russia, Suharto’s Indonesia. Four months ago, the Occupy Movement showed that this historical truth has finally come home: The economic oppression by the 1% has become so egregious that it cannot exist without destroying the spirit of the American democratic system. Across the country, people are rising up to demand a more just nation, and police brutality and state violence are the only things keeping this injustice in place.
In Oakland, thousands of active community members chose to engage in true democracy by supporting the real and pressing needs of the people. The state, which supposedly represents these people, exercised extreme police brutality and violence to protect the 1%'s vacant assets. The explicit goal of the action was to build community—to open a desperately needed community center with a library, medical care, free education and emergency housing in a city that has suffered massive budget cuts, high unemployment rates and ravaged public schools. In response, the city government poured hundreds of thousands of dollars, bullets and canisters of tear gas into declaring open war on these parents, students, workers, artists, teachers, children and veterans. These people’s only offense was to believe so deeply in the American tradition of democracy, self-sufficiency, and sacrifice for the next generation that they were willing to put their bodies on the line to make this nation the empowering democracy that we know it can be.
On Saturday, Mayor Quan's actions again demonstrated that open war has been declared on the spirit of democracy and the people of Oakland and this nation. We call for the end of Mayor Quan's administration and a regime change in Oakland. We continue to stand in solidarity with Occupy Oakland and will support them as they continue peaceful protest and community building until this and all other authoritarian administrations have been ousted from their place of illegitimate power. Together, we are building a stronger world, a stronger community, a stronger promise for the next generation.