A year ago today, in a dawn raid, Oakland police cleared the downtown encampment that was drawing national attention as the center of Occupy Oakland. This story reconstructs that raid and the remarkable, controversial sequence of public disruptions that held the city’s attention for many weeks.
The one-year anniversary commemoration of the first early morning police raid on the Occupy Oakland encampment at Frank Ogawa Plaza has been quiet so far, and a press conference sponsored by Occupy Oakland scheduled to take place at noon failed to materialize.
For the two years since Jean Quan was elected mayor in Oakland’s first ranked-choice voting election, the voice of her administration—through multiple turbulent situations—has been Susan Piper, who retired last month as Quan’s official spokesperson.
In May, Rob “Reason” Silver, a part-time record producer from Oakland, and Jason Samel, the owner of a small insurance brokerage in New York, announced their nearly identical but independently conceived plans to bring a new element into the national Occupy protest—marketability. Both had come to the conclusion that there was potential within the anti-capitalistic, determinedly decentralized protest to sell a product that could help raise funds and draw in new supporters. In May, both men launched Occupy benefit albums.
Over the past two weeks an impromptu library has sprung up on the location of the former Latin American Library in the Fruitvale district. A group of nearly fifteen people, including a few Occupy Oakland protesters and several community members, have been loaning out books, constructing planters for gardening and holding community meetings.
Nearly a year after the Occupy protest coalesced in downtown Oakland, a longsuffering casualty of the protest is finally being attended to as the City of Oakland begins a full-scale restoration of the lawn of Frank H. Ogawa Plaza. The project involves the removal and replacement of all grass sod in the plaza—a new lawn, essentially, from scratch.
Barely one week after the Obama campaign office on Telegraph Avenue in downtown Oakland had one of its window panes shattered by Occupy protesters, at least 100 protesters calling for the release of jailed U.S. Army soldier Private First Class Bradley Manning invaded the campaign offices Thursday, occupying them for at least three hours and bringing business to a standstill before police forced them out.
It’s Wednesday night, and just over a hundred people had filed into Lakeside Park—just off of Bellevue Avenue—to see The San Francisco Mime Troupe perform “For The Greater Good, or The Last Election” during it’s annual run through the city. The play transformed the Occupy protests into a melodrama. Its narrative, filled with the tensions of Occupy—protests, an encampment, and death—also played on morality and the nature of fate.
Canopies were up for The People’s School For Public Education on Tuesday at Splash Pad Park, where protesters who had previously been camping at Lakeview Elementary School have relocated the volunteer-run summer program to teach kids about social justice issues. Protesters are saying that Thursday will be the last time the People’s School will be held at Splash Pad Park before they choose another location.