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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Occupy Oakland: Will Protesters Reoccupy?

Posted By on Wed, Nov 16, 2011 at 7:45 AM

click to enlarge Occupy what?
  • Occupy what?
It's been two days since Occupy Oakland was uprooted from its camp on Frank Ogawa Plaza, and the only thing the hundreds of protesters can agree on now is that the capitalism has ruined our lives and corporate media sucks.

Other than that, there's been zero consensus on whether the movement should reoccupy Frank Ogawa Plaza, move on to another space, or find a legal way to occupy (that didn't go over well with the rebels in the group).

"This space needs to continue to be contested," said one protester who took the mic at the plaza Monday night. "We might not need to throw up tents, but we should occupy this space, if for no other reason that they want it back."

Cue major cheers.

Protesters expecting an epic invasion of the plaza on Monday night were sorely disappointed. Not that the march didn't get off to a provocative start: Speakers in front of the Oakland Library announced that the police were surrounding the plaza awaiting the protesters at that very moment. With that, the crowd marched peacefully toward City Hall, stopping about a half block away from the plaza to gather themselves. They then loosed what sounded like a Braveheart-worthy battle cry to rush the plaza. The media positioned themselves on the lip of the plaza and braced for something big. 

But there weren't any cops decked out in riot gear there ready to battle the incoming warriors. Rather, there were only a couple uniformed officers scattered about, and four helicopters circling above. So instead of confronting the cops, hundreds of protesters convened a general assembly on the rotunda steps and broke off into small groups for a brainstorm session to decide how to proceed with the Occupy Oakland movement

Some speakers reiterated that Frank Ogawa Plaza has a symbolic place in the movement and shouldn't be abandoned. Others said the scene at Ogawa has "been played out here and it's time to move on." 

Some brought up the idea yet again of occupying abandoned buildings, with the rainy season around the corner. (One person who suggested they work with lawyers to figure out a way to "legally occupy a building," received a "Boo! Fuck that!" from the peanut gallery.) Others suggested setting up a string of occupy camps throughout Oakland as to not give city officials one mega-camp to target. Others said creating an "archipelago" of camps would actually make it easier for the cops to pick them off. "We are kind of in need of an anchor."

Yet other occupiers suggested forgoing setting up a civilization, and instead set up booths of resources for the homeless. Another wanted to occupy a bank, city hall, abandoned buildings, and trees -- in that order.

One lady took the mic saying the Occupiers should seek sustainability -- staying for at least a year. 

The biggest question now facing Occupy Oakland is this: What, exactly, are they occupying?

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Lauren Smiley


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