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Report From South Grand Oakland Solidarity March & Solidarity Actions Around the Country

In response to police activity in Oakland on January 28, and a request from the Oakland Commune, people around the country have taken action against the police. A Wells Fargo was attacked in Seattle and another in Santa Barbara, a Landlord’s office in Modesto, the Police Bureau’s office and probation office in Portland were also attacked. There was a march in Atlanta as well as the one here against recent police shootings and murders, as well as their very existence. Comrades in Oakland have called for an official day of action against the police and their repression on February 6.

Sadly, in response to the January 29 march, certain people in occupy have once again tried to stop such cathartic moments from happening.

In addition to the  march Tuesday night, it seems as though two st. louis police substation were attacked with rocks and paint. A report from the rowdy St. Louis march:

On Tuesday January 31st around 40-50 people marched down south Grand Boulevard-a bar district hotspot- to protest recent actions by the police in Oakland and St. Louis.

As we assembled, unmarked cop cars hovered on the periphery. Others, marked and un-marked quickly arrived as we left Tower Grove Park behind banners that read “COPS OUT OF OUR NEIGHBORHOODS-OUT OF OUR LIVES” and “(A)WAR ON PRISON SOCIETY(A)”. The march slowly proceeded down s. grand while the mobile sound system thumped amid cries to “turn it up!” A string of cars began to form behind us and hundreds of flyers were distributed to on lookers and motorists. As we went, the same flyer was wheat pasted along the route. Strangers joined the fray by stepping out of the bars and off the sidewalks. Happily bewildered faces greeted the march along with shouts, pumped fists, jumping up and down and excited honks.

The social facade slipped for a moment: no one likes the police. How wonderful it is to scream it!

Our rage over people murdered by the police in the streets of St. Louis, and our horror at the videos of friends and comrades shot with “less lethal” weaponry was still fresh. And we marched carrying those histories. There have been a string of demos these past months. When California prisoners rise up in unison, when Scott Perry was left to die while in custody at the downtown jail, when Anthony Smith and so many others were gunned down by trigger happy STLPD, or just when we felt the moment was right. Our confidence to hold the space we want on our own terms has been growing. These moments have helped us learn how to better move amongst one another, and how to keep each other safe. This progression has us move more slowly, but ever forward, working within the confines of the city around us.

Eventually, spurred by our refusal to acknowledge them or their orders the police aggression escalated. The march turned itself around with raucous cries of “fuck you!” and snaked its way past and through the line of police cars. Helicopters circled overhead, their whirring blades adding to the drama of the night. Time was found to hurl paint at the police substation along the route while “fuck the police” was tagged along the side of a city bus.

At the end a brief scuffle with the police ensued ending with one comrade pinned against the wall and arrested. A chant of “COPS, PIGS, and MURDERERS” grew louder as attempts to prevent the arrest failed.

We know how to start a rowdy demo, but how do we end one? Without the university or autonomous neighborhood to retreat into how do we creates spaces of asylum? Spaces where the police do not enter. Occupied Kiener Plaza partially filled that role for a time, but with what concessions? Our exits must be as graceful as our grand entrances if we are to have the energy to keep returning.

After our comrade was led away dozens of police lingered attempting to keep us from re-taking the streets. Which they proudly boasted as a victory on local media outlets. What they do not understand is that they cannot win these skirmishes if we continue to decide the battlegrounds and on what terms we fight. It was already over when they decided to attack; the street was theirs simply because we had no use for it anymore.

Exit strategies and march coordination can be our downfalls. So we constantly ask; what is our capacity? How do we recognize the things that expand it? And the things that diminish it? As long as we keep these questions on our lips and our collective rage boiling there is hope.

Love to comrades and people fighting back in Oakland, Riager 94 and the world over…
Fuck the OPD, STLPD and police everywhere!
Avenge Anthony Smith and all those murdered by the State!

Discussion

11 thoughts on “Report From South Grand Oakland Solidarity March & Solidarity Actions Around the Country

  1. It’s interesting that marches like this have lead to such a debate, and that one of the main objections to stuff like this is that it’s inaccessible or alienating to people seeing it . . . . I don’t know if I’ve ever been at a march that on-lookers were so excited, engaged or turned-on by.

    I might be living in a bubble, but I’m pretty sure that anyone who thinks marching down south Grand at 9pm chanting “Fuck the Police” is going to alienating the people living/hanging out there is *definitely living in a bubble.*

    Posted by Anonymous | February 3, 2012, 9:11 am
  2. I second that. People were definitely excited during the march. Every march I’ve been on where we’ve stopped traffic has generated way more support and excitement than I had expected, even from a lot of the people that we were “inconveniencing.”

    I imagine that some of the smiles and support are real — coming from people that actually have to deal with police violence — and others are from people who are just enlivened by the fact that we were doing something different, breaking the standard flow of the evening’s work and consumption. Either way, something productive was accomplished: support was shown for the victims of police violence and imagination was expanded for the victims of consumerism.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 8, 2012, 10:35 am
  3. I hang out in this neighborhood, and live very close to it. Chants of “fuck the police” are very offensive and alienating to me. The video is repulsive, the police are also part of the 99%, and the hate spewed at them is ridiculous. STLMPD have been very good to the movement. If you have an issue with the Oakland police, go to fucking Oakland and say those things to the cops there. I am not living in a bubble, I am, instead, one of the many, many people you alienated due to this stupid, immature crap. That is, I am one of the people that lives and hangs out in this neighborhood.

    Tagging city busses and throwing rocks and paint at police substations is not only massively immature, but extremely ineffective. You will lose public support for the Occupy movement quickly if you keep up these types of actions.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2012, 12:15 pm
  4. The people living in a bubble/disillusioned are the ones that think this march actually accomplished anything productive. What delirium!

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2012, 12:16 pm
  5. im sorry they are alienating to you. but you are just one voice. a lot of people live in this city. you can’t expect them to all agree on something. i dont think anyone is saying that the “People” are more on our side or that they are more on “occupy’s” side. that’s a pretty brain dead attitude.

    im sure there are many who are alienated. but the point is that there is actually a lot of support from others, namely people who have no idea about occupy or give a shit about it… maybe if you were there, you might have some perspective. you might of seen the smiling faces of people who heard “fuck the police” and the fist pumps from bar goers and people on the street.

    so many people in st louis experience police harassment and violence everyday. maybe not you…. it’s not just about oakland, it’s about the use of police to harass and stifle peoples freedoms. and to stifle movements. the police in st louis shoot people 3 times more often than any police force in the US. I don’t really care if they were nice to the occupy movement. they also evicted us from the plaza.

    the occupy movement is full of lots of different people with differing ideas and feelings. and it’s also not the only movement in the world.

    Posted by whatever | February 12, 2012, 7:32 pm
  6. I’m one voice, typical of the people that live and hang out in this area. Were you not all saying, “I’m pretty sure that anyone who thinks marching down south Grand at 9pm chanting “Fuck the Police” is going to alienating the people living/hanging out there is *definitely living in a bubble.*”? I call bullshit. The people living in a bubble are the ones thinking that this type of message appeals to average people living in this ‘hood.

    There are MANY, MANY people who are alienated by this type of immature crap. I’m only one, true, however, the ones that were smiling and fist pumping for you are the definite minority in my neighborhood. If you think you are garnering massive public support with this kind of crap, you are completely delusional. That was my point, that these commenters, and the original poster, claiming that you have so much support in the neighborhood, etc., are full of shit.

    Contrary to your stereotypical pigeonholing of me, I *have* experienced police harassment. I am just smart enough to realize that the minority of police are the ones harassing people. The majority are good people, part of the 99%, who are just trying to do their jobs of protecting us. They evicted us from the plaza because the political powers that be ordered them to do so. You are directing your anger at the wrong targets.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2012, 9:29 pm
    • ok. my point is not that many people dont feel alienated, it is that not everyone feels alienated by it. this is not a numbers game for me. it’s about meeting and find others who have a distrust for a society based on imprisoning people in cages or a distrust in a the most dangerous gang of people in the city (the police, of course) who has a hand in imprisoning people. i personally dont care if i am a minority, and really i dont think it’s such a minority (or a majority) viewpoint to be distrustful or hateful against the institution of the Police. so be it, if it is.

      the police can be nice, mean, whatever. it doesn’t matter to me. they are only doing their jobs, you’re right. but their job is entirely counter to the world that i aspire to. they might say nice things to me or beat me, but i could careless about them as individuals. what i am against is the Police as an Institution. if an officer renounced his/her role in the management of the prison society we live in… i’d be excited. i refuse to get in a personal grudge match with particular police, but rather recognize their role as an oppressive one (regardless of their personality).

      they evicted us because they couldn’t refuse to follow orders. and besides, the police do not have to listen to the political powers.

      Posted by whatever | February 13, 2012, 6:12 pm
  7. P.S.: All of my neighbors were flaming pissed at you people. ALL of them, and that is about 2 blocks of people around where you were marching. So, where is this massive amount of support from the people who live and hang out in South Grand that you are crowing about?

    Posted by Anonymous | February 12, 2012, 9:31 pm
  8. I live pretty close to south grand and i thought the action was good fun….except for the arrest. In any case what about a solidarity action for Greece? Folks there need to know that even here in ST. Louis we are with the Greek people in their fight against capitalist pillage….just a thought, Lin Biao

    Posted by Lin Biao | February 13, 2012, 10:08 am
  9. i know mulitiple people who live near grand who thought it was awesome. its obvious that you don’t know everyone who lives around grand. why do people talk like that?

    registering anger at the system for the sake of it has a place, and so i understand the idea of it not being about a “numbers game” (which to me is an alienating manipulative term ) – but i have enough of my own shit to deal with in my life to put myself at risk of state violence for the sake of making a righteous point (if i can help it). if my goal is for things to be different from how they are now, i want to figure out and understand – how can we make things different? how can i use my limited energy to make things different? and while i don’t think there is anything wrong with being angry at injustice and being really loud about it and would defend people’s right to do so, if i am going to risk state violence, i would like to have it possibly contribute toward making things different. i would like take action with people who are also trying to figure out how to possibly make things different and go beyond expressing justified, but ultimately righteous, indignation/anger.

    i think that anyone who talks in terms of there being a “right” way and people who are hyper-focused on the idea that everyone and everything outside of their own worldview and methodology is stupid/counter-productive is an elitist who is subconsciously/explicitly seeking concentrated power around themselves, and they can suck my dick. maybe I haven’t read enough theory, but i just sincerely don’t understand how people that focus exclusively on “black bloc” tactics in our current context see them as ultimately leading toward things being any different from how they are now. ?

    Posted by Anonymous | February 14, 2012, 12:55 pm
  10. Perhaps another angle to conversation is that of the community or neighborhood. They aren’t homogeneous, and in general most communities are a myth. Even though we’re told certain neighborhoods mean this and certain neighborhoods mean that there’s all sorts of other tensions and dynamics at play: class, race, to what level you’re respectful of and following of power, all the petty privileges that go along with that. etc. South Grand is totted as one of the most ethnically diverse neighborhoods in st. louis, and there is a fair amount of class diversity too. Sadly, people usually prefer to identify along lines of race or sexual identity even when those aren’t the same as identifying along lines of exploitation.

    Posted by Anonymous | February 17, 2012, 11:07 am

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General Occupy STL Links

Thoughtful Perspectives on other North American #Occupy Movements

Albany, NY: Ben Brucato
Atlanta: ATL IMC / Little Advances
Baltimore: bmorewomentrans
Bloomington, IN: Rififi
Boston: Boston Indymedia
Carbondale: Occupy SIUC
Chicago: selfactivity
Chapel Hill: triANARCHY
Davis, CA: Bicycle Barricade
Denver: Ignite!
Detroit: Third Coast Conspiracy
Gulf Coast: The Raging Pelican
Iowa City: Smooth Spaces
Los Angeles: UnpermittedLA
Miami: Autonomy & Solidarity
New York City: Malcolm Harris
Oakland: Bay of Rage / Hyphy
Philadelphia: radoccupyphilly
Phoenix: Fires never extinguished
Portland, OR: Grey Coast @ News
Richmond, VA: The Wingnut
Seattle: Puget Sound Anarchists
St. Louis: STL FTP
Toronto: ...To the Roots of Capital
Vancouver: Van. Media Co-op
Washington DC: BroadSnark

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