In the early hours of December 11th an autonomous group of individuals launched a handmade raft in Lake Merritt, the SS Don’t Let the Banks Punk You Out. Their aim is to bring attention to the occupy movement, which has been evicted from Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza and has faced repression across the country and all over the world.
The raft is hopefully the beginning of an occupation of Lake Merritt. One participant said, “They kick us out here, they kick us out there, where else could we go? The lake!” This autonomous group encourages others to make their own rafts to join their aquatic occupation. “There’s plenty of space and it’s a really beautiful place!”
The occupants of the SS Don’t Let the Banks Punk You Out also hope to bring attention to the upcoming coordinated west coast port shutdown happening tomorrow. The shutdown is in solidarity with the longshoremen against the multinational corporation EGT and the truckers against one of the main culprits of the financial crisis, Goldman Sachs. Cities participating in the port shutdown include: Oakland, Los Angeles, San Diego, Tacoma, Olympia, Seattle and Vancouver. There will be solidarity actions in cities without ports, such as Denver and Houston.
Lake Merritt is a public place and open to use by the public. The crew of the SS Don’t Let the Banks Punk You Out hope other occupations in other cities will be inspired by their action and will find creative ways to continue to occupy public space and bring awareness to the issue of economic injustice.
From the SS Don’t Let the Banks Punk You Out:
Why build a junk raft and float it on Lake Merritt?
A large part of the explanation is beyond words, you look at it, if you feel it you know.…it has something to do with the future….
We did this because it’s big, beautiful and stupid and daring.
We needed to do something that couldn’t be dismissed as typical protest.
Something playful and innovative in a way that will get people excited and thinking about other creative ways to continue to occupy public space.
Kick us out of here, kick us out of there, where else could we go? In our case we chose Lake Merritt.
Take chances. Be daring. Occupy everything!
More info about West Coast Port Shutdown: http://westcoastportshutdown.org/