Blackspot

#OCCUPYHOMES

We reclaim our property.

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Last week, tens of thousands of protesters at #OCCUPYOAKLAND shut down the nation's fifth largest port in a tremendous show of strength for the movement. It was a rare victory. Less well known is that a few hours later, a bit after midnight, a small number of occupiers may have stumbled across the movement's next great tactical breakthrough.

Walking amongst the crowd on its way to the port, a certain strident militancy was obvious in the way that people, some carrying shields, marched proudly forward. The tense mood quickly turned to joyousness once it became clear that the Oakland Police were not going to stand in the way. Multiple layers of human barricades were spontaneously formed within the port by roving musicians, some amplified by bike-powered speakers, whose indie music magically congregated people at tactically key intersections. A line of thirty vets in uniform protected the flank while elsewhere civilians set up fencing to secure the roads. Free water was brought in on #OCCUPYOAKLAND trucks and everywhere food was being shared with new friends. Most remarkable about this revolutionary moment is that it felt so easy.

Throughout the day, there had been talk of escalating #OCCUPY from being a movement to take the squares into a movement to reclaim foreclosed space. The tantalizing idea of turning bank-owned, dormant buildings into radical housing, squats and community spaces floated amongst the encampment. That night, a small group of occupiers took the initiative and reclaimed a nearby building that was once the Traveler's Aid Society, a non-profit that aided the homeless but had closed after cuts to government funding. "We had plans to start using this space as a library, a place for classes and workshops, as well as a dormitory for those with health conditions," they explained in a communique.

The state response was swift and ferocious: "hundreds of police officers, armed to the hilt with bean bag guns, tear gas and flashbang grenades" quickly suppressed the expansion of the movement while the corporate media ensured that the nation would awake to context-less stories of violence. But, as the protesters pointed out, this over-reaction betrays that they may have stumbled across our greatest strength. Isn't it strange that "the city spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to protect one landlord's right to earn a few thousand every month... whereas the blockade of the port – an action which caused millions of dollars of losses – met with no resistance"? Why did "the attempt to take one single building, a building that was unused, meet with the most brutal and swift response"?

While #OCCUPYWALLSTREET digs in for the winter at Zuccotti, with twenty military-grade tents costing upwards of $20,000, the rest of the movement is looking with trepidation towards the cold nights ahead. Let's learn from the people of Oakland for they have found a very simple and elegant solution: we move indoors, we reclaim foreclosed space.

Every city in America, even the richest areas, have empty storefronts and houses whose tenants have been evicted while their bank owners keep the spaces unused. Each of these empty buildings is a potential #OCCUPY, a future squat inviting us, waiting for us to come.

In a speech at #OCCUPYWALLSTREET, the philosopher Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak urged the movement to not let mere "survival count as enough of a victory." Her point was simple and profound: we do not win by hanging on. We win by continuing to innovate and escalate our myriad attacks until the beast of consumer-capitalism falls to its knees.

Micah White

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181 comments on the article “#OCCUPYHOMES”

Displaying 11 - 20 of 181

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Anonymous

You reclaim WHOSE property? The banks have no contract with you, so if you "squat," you are stealing and will be jailed. Moreover, investors are looking at these properties to refurbish and either re-sell or rent out, a positive process that will help the recovery. This WILL HAPPEN. But if you inject your foul selves into the process, it will simply take longer and cost more money, not to mention add a police record to your sorry backgrounds. And for what? You will not achieve your aims.

Anonymous

You reclaim WHOSE property? The banks have no contract with you, so if you "squat," you are stealing and will be jailed. Moreover, investors are looking at these properties to refurbish and either re-sell or rent out, a positive process that will help the recovery. This WILL HAPPEN. But if you inject your foul selves into the process, it will simply take longer and cost more money, not to mention add a police record to your sorry backgrounds. And for what? You will not achieve your aims.

Anonymous

And you my friend are not bright...try getting a job with a record....then you can only blame yourselfs...selfish people looking for handouts...where were all of you when the homeless needed you..oh thats right your helping the less fortunate by going to fod pantry's and shelters and taking from them..something to be real proud of...Occupy your own island...your "CREW" is wasting more tax $'s money so you guys can do drugs, more than half of you don't know what EXACTLY your standing up for, and have iphones,200.00 jeans, 300-1,000 tents..and are doing quite well in comparison to the homeless....all you people are doing is making yourself look not too bright and other countries see you as a joke...Thanks...you've accomplished sooooo much

Anonymous

And you my friend are not bright...try getting a job with a record....then you can only blame yourselfs...selfish people looking for handouts...where were all of you when the homeless needed you..oh thats right your helping the less fortunate by going to fod pantry's and shelters and taking from them..something to be real proud of...Occupy your own island...your "CREW" is wasting more tax $'s money so you guys can do drugs, more than half of you don't know what EXACTLY your standing up for, and have iphones,200.00 jeans, 300-1,000 tents..and are doing quite well in comparison to the homeless....all you people are doing is making yourself look not too bright and other countries see you as a joke...Thanks...you've accomplished sooooo much

Anonymous

I'm guessing you, VVV, were part of the Anonymous attempt to bring down the "Church" of Scientology.

How'd that work out for ya?

Powerful, my ass. You are children playing in a sandbox. Get a life already.

Anonymous

I'm guessing you, VVV, were part of the Anonymous attempt to bring down the "Church" of Scientology.

How'd that work out for ya?

Powerful, my ass. You are children playing in a sandbox. Get a life already.

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