General Strike in Oakland

 

October 27th, 1am:
A general strike has been called for Oakland on November 2, 2011 after a General Assembly of almost 2000 people overwhelmingly voted for it. Events in Oakland and the Bay area have moved faster than anyone - even the most delirious anarchist - could have predicted.

I am going to attempt to summarize events, then refer you to the websites of Occupy Oakland, IndyBay, CounterPunch and particularly the Twitter feeds of Occupy Oakland for more recent news (double verify though. Twitter is frequently just electrified rumor). The major media and the papers of record - the SF Chronicle and the Oakland Tribune are both behind the curve and missing what is happening. What I am writing will be out-dated by events tonight as well. As I write, a large group of Occupy Oakland supporters are still marching through the downtown, though they were unable to march over the Bay Bridge to Occupy SF.

After the police removal of the Occupy Oakland camp from Oscar Grant Plaza in the early morning of Tuesday, October 25th, a rally/march was called for that evening. Over a thousand people showed up. A march led to several confrontations with the police during the evening, starting at the Oakland jail, where Occupy Oakland prisoners were still being held.

Those confrontations filled the streets with tear gas and plastic projectiles. For the most part, the crowd was relatively disciplined. In front of major and independent news media crews, the police shot a Iraqi-era former Marine at close range with a projectile; he is currently in serious condition post-operation. The police fired flash bang weapons and more tear gas at those who were attempting to treat and remove the vet. Only the OPD have attempted to defend these actions; no one watching the videos can be other than horrified, angered and outraged.

Confrontations continued late into the night. The mayor called a press conference during the day on October 26th where it became clear that she is not in charge.

This evening, over 2000 people, the largest body to date, showed up to reclaim Oscar Grant Plaza. Spurred by the victory of being in a space where yesterday people had been beaten for assembling, a call for a General Strike was raised before the General Assembly. It was debated and, despite the 90% rule, passed by the body overwhelmingly. As the meeting progressed, messages of solidarity came in from Egypt, where a solidarity rally in Tahrir Square has been called.

This situation cannot continue indefinitely. E.g., the strike, as a defensive measure, could move us forward and spread to other cities and nationally or, and I believe this is far more likely, a pre-emptive move to martial law and the National Guard in Oakland will occur. The mayor will be shoved into submission by Governor Brown and Obama, if need be. She will rubber stamp almost any repressive measure at this time.

The uneven-ness of the Occupys in the Bay area, plus the simple fact that those who called for the strike are not those who would carry out the strike, places us in a precarious position. As well, though checking the crowd in darkness is never accurate, it was clear that the proportions of people of color and 'real people' had dropped sizably and tonight's Assembly meeting was filled with every activist in the Bay area.

We will know more by tomorrow, but our place must continue to be in the streets.