Open Letter To The Business Community

Categories: Local Business Liaison Committee, Open Mic

Dear comrades,

First, for the plebs in room, let us specify who we are. We are Oakland Grown, NoBAWC, retailers, street vendors, weed merchants, sex workers, entrepreneurs, artists, and proles of every collar. We are anarchists, communists, feminists, radicals, queer, PoC, and we are from here. As a community, we are proven allies, even after getting smashed and looted in the chaos of the movement. Those of us who have been able to survive the impact of vandalism, looting, and riotous cops who fill our streets and stores with poison gas, must defend ourselves. Self defense is our right.

For too long we counted on OPD, incapable of fathoming the depths of their incompetence and buffoonery. Oakland’s vandalism culture is as unique and notorious as OPD, as it is their creation. This phenomenon did not come out of nowhere, and without fail, OPD has made it worse at ever turn. It is worth noting the first window broken in the Occupy Oakland movement, was broken by the police, the same night they shot Scott Olsen. Hooligans now travel from around the country to smash windows in our fair Town. OPD’s only solutions being blind force and brutal intimidation, do not serve the business community. OPD doesn’t care about us, and like so many vandals, they are not from here. At times, it is near impossible to tell them apart.

The solutions for hooligans and OPD are the same, boarding up windows, rising into the streets with the protests, arming ourselves, and the use of private security.

Boarding up windows: This reasonable measure still the harms business community. Even insured businesses can struggle with deductibles, especially indie and collectivized establishments. Boarded windows are an eyesore and a heartbreak, diminishing bottom lines, safety, wages, and tips. It impinges upon our artistry and our sense of dignity.

Joining the protest: This is a very profitable and effective tactic. This is what created First Friday, the intersection of activism, culture, and commerce. Unlike OPD, the vandals can not be bribed. No matter how much your business supports the movement in material, labor, and words, at the time of a protest event, your business may be vandalized and looted. Showing solidarity is wise as a safety measure, but is also lucrative and powerful in terms of revolutionary goals. If you are unfamiliar with the messaging and theme of a particular protest, simply yelling Fuck The Police is guaranteed to ingratiate you with even the most ruckus of revelers.

Arming ourselves: No comment. That’s your business.

Private security: Private security has proven itself effective in handling thousands of protestors without incident. They are more engaged than the police, protecting every business (not just banks), all without the use of poison gas. Unlike OPD, private security hires locally, which is not only good for Oakland’s economy, it also assures better service and a higher degree of professionalism.

As the business community can not trust OPD, the use of private security to mitigate vandalism has risen. Recently, the threat of protest vandalism alarmed both OPD and the business community. When OPD realized the business community responded with increased levels of private security, OPD took the night off. Fewer pigs in the streets is ideal and a victory in itself. However, why is the business community paying for private security in the absence of effective police? Is that right? First we pay taxes, and then we still have to hire security for the community? We pay twice for the same service, the protection of persons and property.

The city of Oakland contracts with private security anytime they really care about safety. The government knows private security is superior and cheaper, they just want it for free, to pass the cost along to the business community. Oakland’s government is content to strangle us economically, and leave us physically prone to any menace. Outsourcing protest security to the private-sector is a win-win situation, but only if it is paid for by the city.

We know the solution and can not wait for government to do the right thing. Government must be told what to do, how to spend our taxes. Tomorrow, August 8th, is the the National Day Of Rage for Sandra Bland. Such a strongly themed event warrants concern for the safety of people and property. Let’s not panic panic and board up our windows. Let us stand and make it clear to the vandalism-tourists what side we are on, and who we are. Let’s not rely on OPD, as that has proven foolish. In hiring private security, let’s keep the receipts and seek reimbursement from the government (when they return from their vacation), especially if OPD decides to take the night off again.

Dictated but not read,
J.D. Atwater


Comments are closed.