THE OSCAR GRANT PLAZA GAZETTE Thursday, October 13 2011

Categories: Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette, Reflections

Thursday, October 13 2011                    Day 4.

the commons is back”

Every day that we are here together we get stronger.  Information is circulating, people are meeting one another, we’re putting down roots.  The food tent is feeding hundreds of people a day, hundreds of people are attending the general assemblies, and our plaza is becoming more and more a vision of what life could be like, if we collectively worked for peoples’ needs (food, water, shelter, sanitation, shelter, knowledge, culture) rather than to enrich the wealthiest 1%, whose continuous enrichment comes from the impoverishment of all of the rest of us.

Not only what life could be like.  What life will be like.  Because we are collectively working to make that new society of mutual aid, today, here, October 13 2011 at Oscar Grant Plaza.  We’re meeting each other, making bonds of solidarity that are strengthened by collective labor & love & support, the bonds that will carry us through tough times, rainstorms, setbacks, and the violence of state power that will be marshaled against us.

As activists and citizens involved in the historic Occupy Wall Street protest have observed, our spontaneous communities here form a model of the society that we want — a society organized around the needs of everyone, not just the property rights of those who have accumulated wealth.  The property rights of this class, the class of owners, is what the police & the state exist to protect.

But we who are not owners, who are forced into debt in order to pay for our educations or our homes or even just to buy groceries, we know the score very well by now.  The problem is that the entire society continually reinforces the idea of selfishness and self-interest, meaning that even those of us who want to be generous are obliged to hold back in order to keep ourselves afloat.

That’s what makes moments like this one so very precious.  A clearing has opened up, in which we can see the unbelievable generosity of those who are continuously donating their labor-power and whatever goods they have to the collective task.  This is a picture of a society not ruled by the logic of money — a society where everyone has what they need.

There is absolutely no possibility of a meaningful political democracy without an economic democracy — which means, at the very least, a guaranteed standard of living.  We cannot purport to be a civilized country while our citizens are starving on the streets.

Nor can we purport to be a civilized country while we conduct multiple imperial foreign wars, murdering poor people in foreign countries while the poor people in America are either abandoned to neglect or forced by the “economic draft” into the armed forces.

California’s taxpayers will contribute $21 billion to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan this year.

Read it again : $21 billion.

This is at the same moment that all public services are being utterly destroyed and the bureaucrats are throwing up their hands saying : What can we do ?

What we can do is obvious.  In fact, at long last, we are doing it.  We are refusing the world in which the 1% has imprisoned us — a world of impoverishment and humiliation, of apartheid and hate, of imperialism, war, and slavery, of injustice.  We are refusing the capitalist insanity that is systematically destroying the natural world & obliterating the futures of our children and their children.

We know this has to be stopped, for the sake of the living, for the sake of our children and those yet to be born, and for the sake of our ancestors.

Go meet everyone in the plaza, shake hands, exchange names.  These are your brothers and sisters.  This is our struggle.  We must find the ways to work together, here, today.  There is no time to lose.



Here at work today in an office in SF, and I’d rather be no where but at Occupy Oakland right now! Being a worker for money in this hierarchical structure dictated by managers and bosses, and the mutual aid and communal resistance of Occupy is so incredibly different, such a contrast.

We are all together truly creating something amazing here at Oscar Grant Plaza – we all participate as much as we can, when we can, for the benefit of everyone here. And when I leave the plaza, I carry this with me now, I carry this solidarity. I want to talk to folks on the bus now, talk to my people in the world. The world has broken open, in the best way.

I want to say I love you to all of you beautiful people. Keep resisting, keep loving. I can’t wait to join you today, to jump off the BART train and into our music, our love, our co-existence, our mutual offerings, our struggle – ONWARD!


Did you know that MoveOn — which is essentially a front for the democratic party — is leading a march to the Occupation on saturday, a march which includes the mayors of several cities, and which will end in a rally at the Occupation?  Are we OK with this?  Do we want to allow this Occupation to become a platform for politicians and electoral politics?

The Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette aims to be a voice & record of the historic Occupy Oakland movement, part of a national & international movement of resistance.  Please consider writing your thoughts, reflections, opinions, and what you’ve seen — you are part of this movement & we want to get your words out there !

Please send submissions to or drop a hard copy by the information tent at Oscar Grant Plaza.  We will endeavor to publish all materials received.  For the purposes of collective self-defense we will reserve the right to decline to run materials which would render us legally liable.


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