Oakland, CA – March 5, 2012 – Last week, three of our comrades from Occupy Oakland were charged with robbery and “hate crimes” against someone for allegedly making hateful remarks about her (perceived) sexuality. Our perspective is this: police frequently lie, and we have no reason to believe them now.
We have worked with and alongside these three people with solidarity and love for months. These are people we’ve cooked with, cleaned with, cracked jokes with, and danced with, at Occupy Oakland encampment, and at countless events. We will be at their court dates and ready with warm food when they are released. On the other hand, we have experienced nothing but brutality from OPD. We have been terrorized, assaulted, condescended to, verbally abused, and called gendered and homophobic slurs by officers in the Oakland Police Department and deputies in the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office.
We want to make something unquestionably clear: The exclusive role of the police is to serve and protect the interests of the ruling class. Some may not like to use the words we identify ourselves with, but we use them here intentionally. The police and the state do not care about us women, fags, dykes, trans people and queer people, unless one of us also happens to be rich and powerful. Or, unless giving the perception of protecting us helps to justify their racist, patriarchal attacks on poor people, as they did on Friday, March 2nd in their press release.
We have seen the city and the police department lie on a regular basis in order to throw occupiers in jail, particularly homeless people and people of color. While we in Oakland Occupy Patriarchy challenge misogyny and gendered violence, the OPD appropriates the language of our struggles to serve its own purposes.
If someone hurts us because of our gender, race, or sexuality, that is something for us to handle ourselves, whether it means mediation, accountability, reparations, violent retaliation, or exclusion — that is for us to work out together, without the police. In order to do that, we need to break down the barriers that the police and the capitalists are so interested in building between us, so that we can start learning how to work together. It is something we began in the Oakland Commune before the City of Oakland cracked down on our collective projects.
The OPD writes, “The Oakland Police Department prioritizes hate crimes for immediate investigation.” Their claim that they care about “hate crimes” is a manipulation of our identities as women and queers in order to justify state violence that we absolutely oppose.