All are welcome to the…
RESEARCH WORKING GROUP MEETING
_____DATE: Sunday, January 8th
_____LOCATION: Farley’s East, 33 Grand Ave (bet. Broadway and Webster), Oakland, 94612. Two blocks north of the 19th St. BART.
_____MORE INFO: Contact Yvonne at yvonnegrapher at gmail.com or Darwin at darwinbondgraham at gmail.com.
1) To build a research community in Oakland and to share skills
2) To support Occupy Oakland’s upcoming actions, such as the building occupation on 1/28
3) To provide research for long-term strategy and action, such as targeted research about Oakland’s 1%
1. Introductions and check-ins: What are your new year resolutions?
2. Share existing research
_____a) Chamber of Commerce
_____c) Business Improvement Districts
_____d) City budget cuts (see Resisting Austerity Measures by Darwin, below)
_____e) Shredded safety net
_____g) School closures
_____h) OccupyResearch.net survey, Oakland respondents
3. Report on Occupy Oakland: current status and upcoming actions on 1/28
4. Discussion on short-term research needs for 1/28
_____a) Fact sheet on budget cuts and shredded safety net
_____b) Survey on social services provided by Occupy Oakland
_____c) Projection of how many city residents can be served by a community center
7. Next steps
_____a) Next meeting?
_____c) Long-term goals?
8. Check-out: Where do I see Occupy Oakland a year from now?
RESISTING AUSTERITY IN OAKLAND by Darwin Bond Graham
“There was a time, owing to the Breakfast for Children program, where the Black Panthers were feeding more people than the government of the State of California were feeding. And this was no small embarrassment to the government of California. What is interesting is that the Black Panthers were revolutionaries who understood that there was an emergency happening among their constituents, which they needed to meet in a dignified way, while at the same time providing a mechanism through which people might transcend the conditions that create such emergencies in the first place. You can’t just build a revolution by demanding that people sort of go out and take on the police. It involves articulations about demand and imagination – precisely the kind of thing we were talking about earlier on. Food was a weapon in that war. And the organizing to provide that food was also a weapon in that war.”
Occupy Oakland finds itself engaged in a political struggle on two important fronts. First, the occupiers and allied, more established community and labor organizations, are resisting the imposition of austerity on the people of Oakland by demanding legal and institutional reforms to produce greater income equality, to produce a more progressive tax and revenue system, to achieve greater democracy in local and national government, and most immediately to maintain or even expand important social services provided by the state.
On another level the occupiers and their allies are attempting to critique the failure of the state and corporations to provide the most basic conditions of dignified life. This criticism manifests itself largely through the establishment of alternative institutions to provide for people’s needs as budget cuts decimate healthcare, schools, parks, and libraries, and take away job and income security, housing security, and other human rights.
In order to advance to the movement —resisting both within the established political institutions, and by building alternative institutions to meet emergency needs— we propose to document, broadly and systematically, how austerity is being imposed upon Oakland’s communities, and the ways that the people are directly countering these budget cuts.
To do this we propose to create a comprehensive tally of city, state, and federal budget cuts, with explanations of how these cuts are harming Oaklanders. Counterposed to each specific cut we will attempt to describe how Occupy Oakland and other community groups have stepped in to meet people’s basic needs and rights, for example by providing meals or defense against evictions.
The outcome of this project will be a paper, fact sheets, and other materials that organizers can use to inform their campaigns to resist further budget cuts, and also to build alternative institutions. Furthermore, it will help immediately by demonstrating the ongoing failure of authorities at all levels of government to respond to the crises that plague the people of Oakland.