No justice, no peace FUCK THE POLICE
Occupy Oakland was one of the American occupies that we heard most about in Europe. Despite the excessive violence used against protesters, resistance is still very much alive. It’s hard to keep track of everything that’s happening in and around Oakland, you will definitely not get bored here.
Despite the lack of a shared space and public presence, occupy Oakland still holds GA’s every week. Last Sunday a group of about 20 – 30 people assembled to give each other updates on last week’s actions and call out for the actions coming up. The group was very mixed, people of all ages, color and background. The issues talked about were very different from the ones activists back home worry about; foreclosures, the death of a black boy by the hand of a police officer, homeless women and young mothers, prosecuting Bush for the deaths of the soldiers who died in Afghanistan.
Throughout the week people are busy organizing different things; food not bombs serves warm lunch every day, people are squatting, occupying a library, fighting foreclosures, organizing marches and the list goes on and on. Every Friday they draw a true artwork at the plaza where they had their tents up just a year ago. This week they drew a portrait of Alan Blueford, who was killed by an Oakland Police last May. Months later the police has still failed to provide the police rapport and the officer who killed him is still out on the streets.
On Friday night a group of between 70 and 100 people marched against sexism and gender based violence. Most people were masked, wearing colorful glittering scarfs in front of their face. It surprised me that, despite the fact that there was hardly any police present, the chants turned quickly from hehe heho transfobia has to go, to anything including FUCK THE POLICE. Of course we all love saying that, but usually you would try to save that for a moment where the police is actually doing something wrong.
On Saturday, when the rest of the country celebrated the day that Columbus ‘’discovered’’ the Americas, there was a march against colonialism and capitalism. The police was present in overpowering numbers. The march started on one of the busiest tourist squares in San Francisco, so of course they let us walk out of there peacefully. The further we got away from the tourists the grimier the atmosphere got. Once more everyone was masked up, but instead of glittery pink masks, a big part of the crowd was, of course, in black. There was police in front of the march, they were following us from behind and if you kept an eye on them you could see cars driving around the block to approach us from the sides. Some officers were shouting at the crowd to stay on the side- walks if they didn’t want to get arrested, but for the biggest part of the crowd this was inaudible. I drew back from the march as soon as I saw the police circling us, knowing there was only one possible outcome for the confrontation the police were forcing upon us. Some of the protesters threw some paint bombs at the police and this was used as an excuse to clash down on the march, as soon as they were properly surrounded and cut off from any public that might take offence to the police violence. Surrounded, trapped, people started running in all directions and the march was effectively scattered within its first 10-15 minutes.
On Sunday, the 11th anniversary of the war in Afhganistan, there was another march, this time in Oakland. I wasn’t there, but from what I’ve read no one was arrested. Though I can understand people’s frustration, I find it a little disappointing that when given the chance to march without police harassment, people turn to smashing windows, from a bank of course. This is just providing the police with an excuse to clash down on people the next time. On the other hand I can understand people’s frustration. I am always try to remind myself that in the end police officers are human beings too, that just because a whole bunch of them are jerks, doesn’t mean that all of them are. But as long as they stick together, and refuse to bring their collegues who kill people to justice, we also have to stick together. Which is why, for now, I stand in solidarity with the people shouting: No justice, no peace FUCK THE POLICE.
FUCK THE POLICE who killed Alan Blueford and got away with it, FUCK THE POLICE who purposely trap protesters so they can beat them up, FUCK THE POLICE who are there to clean the streets of protestors, but aren’t there to keep those same streets safe, FUCK THE POLICE who take away our freedom, always in service of the banks and corporations, FUCK THE POLICE who are hired to enforce upon us the rules of capitalism, a system we do not recognize. We are here. And we’re willing to fight. The police is always welcome to join us. But as long as they fight us, we will stand up and fight back.