OccupyThe Farm plot in Berkeley/Albany, where there were a lot of families and programs for kids. Various established community gardens in SF are donating starters to the farm. See a great article on the Gill Tract Farm.
Extract from the "Occupy The Farm" site above: "
Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers.
For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education. With deliberate disregard for public interest, the University administrators plan to pave over this prime agricultural soil for commercial retail space, a Whole Foods, and a parking lot."
Faces in the march:
|The picture depicts farmers protesting against Monsanto.|
|THIS MEANS YOU!|
|Heading north on Van Ness|
|Eduardo Galeano cameo appearance in the crowd.|
|The cops lined up on the sidewalk, and didn't interfere with|
|the takeover of the abandoned ArchDiocese building. This is not a Liberation Theology church, it doesn't seem.|
Long video (almost 4 mins) of walk through the building.
During the march, there was a police escort of 3-4 motorcycles in front, and a single file of about 30 cops on each flank of the marchers. Soon after the building had been taken over, most of the cops seemed to disappear, there were about 15 left milling about and videographing the entrance and crowd from the opposite sidewalk. But cops never mill about, they never just disappear, and I'll confess to being nervous.
|The feeding of the people.|
|This man brought 8 trays of food to the commune.|
|The chain link fence was taken down peaceably, not torn down.|
|Why we do this: Jim Dorenkott, of VeteransForPeace. The T-shirt states "One of three homeless adults has served our country. Help house our homeless veterans." This is the practical meaning of "support our troops".|
|A poster inside the building, Top|
|I just loved this! You can add Bhagat Singh, Tupac Amaru, Steve Biko ...|
|The woman on the right is a what-passes-for-a-journalist for KGO/FOX, who went around asking what I considered antagonistic and provocative questions.|
|People on the second floor, playing music. Yes, I do realise its similarity to Munich Olympics 1972. Without comparing or judging the causes, one difference is M/C gun vs. laptop.|
|Puerto Rico Libre!|
|Messages on the sidewalk|
|and on the chain link fence.|
|Left. They cleared and barricaded the sidewalk.|
|The embedded journalist again.|
|Videographer for CBS I think.|
|An Occupier asking the police to leave.|
|Moving in for action from across the street.|
Since the cops were using the barricades to encircle the occupied building (I'll confess to not having found the courage to stay on the inside.) and pressing people on the inside, confrontations were increasing. The cops would push the barricades in and then say, "Don't touch the barricade!". Batons were lifted and brought down on people who tried to push back against the barricades. I admire the cops for their bravery against overwhelming odds: against colorful skirts, hoop ear-rings, tattoos, masks, bandanas etc. any sane person would go armed with flak jackets, helmets, face shields, batons, guns, tear gas, rubber bullets. Did I already mention that they outnumbered the people by 2:1? To defend an unoccupied building? In a city with numerous homeless and a 60% ILLEGAL foreclosure rate? Of course "Occupy is costing the city millions.".
See a video-poetry version of the following indictment of US Police.
"Our security depends on regulation but the police have turned bandits. They don't obey the rules. (Nor their own mission statement.) They are swarming into civic life. ... The security forces have rebelled. The people are the victim of a coup. ...
Who comes here? Let me hold up my lantern. It's only the police ... just a few of them as always whistling as they go.
The faithful body public has made a mistake. ... Coming up behind are hundreds of them. Hundreds too many, armed to the teeth for a job that doesn't need doing. Not needed? With all that weaponry?
Here they come, hurtling through the lifestream trying to pick a fight. There's no one to fight but you. You're the foreign body now."
-- paraphrased from pg 115, Written on the body, Jeanette Winterson
Bad stuff goes down. Someone on the inside of the building climbed onto the top of the roof and stood there crowing. At some point he picked up some bricks, and periodically held them aloft. The cops took no action, they did not respond to this (for at least 15 minutes) leave alone anticipate this - there were numerous higher vantage points on buildings the cops could have climbed up onto.
We were in the street, facing the building, with the cops lined up 1-2 deep in front of us, any observer would have thought they were protecting us. There were people in the crowd who were shouting to the guy on the roof to get off, that he was not one of us, that he did not represent us. At some point the idiot on the roof, with no warning, threw a brick, I would assume at the cops. The idiot aimed high, the brick sailed over the impassive cops' heads, but only a couple of feet over. I could see it coming in, in seeming slow motion, rotating slowly, I seemed to think there was plenty of time to react, to yell a warning to the guy one person removed from me in the crowd, to move around and push him out of the way. In that millisecond after I spotted the brick over the heads of the very very smartly dressed cops, it was over! The brick smashed into the face of the guy, he fell down, unconscious, two people in the crowd quickly grabbed him, supported his head and dragged him to the sidewalk and started aiding him, with his head on one person's lap.
I didn't have time to respond, I was frozen, didn't see the brick until it was above the cops. Q: Weren't even some of them looking up at the roof, at the idiot in plain sight? A: They hadn't been ordered to. Q: Could none of them, with all their training, have anticipated the brick, responded to it by trying to block it? A: They hadn't been ordered to. Q: Could none of them, helmeted and flak jacketed (and nattily dressed) as they were have thrown their body on the line to save a fellow citizen, as the soldiers in the war movies seem to throw their bodies on a grenade to save their comrades? A: We aren't their comrades. A cop who'd done any of the above would have deserved a commendation for bravery, but ...
Someone in the crowd had called an ambulance, but the surrounding streets had been blocked by cops. It took the cops themselves two minutes to realise someone had been hurt, and one turned around and asked me whether the victim was okay and where he was. I said, "He's right there on the sidewalk.". Five feet away.
In the meantime, an experienced occupier had climbed up on the roof, disarmed the brick-throwing idiot and gotten him to disappear. The crowd yelled deprecations up at the brick-thrower, one young woman next to me was crying, "He doesn't represent us, he's not one of us!" See also OccupySF's response to the violence on Valencia.
So now the cops pulled out their guns (tear-gas and rubber bullets, I was told) and aimed them at the Occupier who'd controlled the brick-thrower. Some of the cops then lowered their sights and aimed them at the people in the windows on the second floor. I and others yelled at the cops to please lower their weapons, that the guy now on the roof had eliminated the cockerel brick-thrower. No avail.
ORO EN PAZ, FIERRO EN GUERRA
(GOLD IN PEACE, IRON IN WAR).
I'd started shouting their motto back at them, repeating it three times, sometimes in English, and then adding, "ESTO NO ES GUERRA, ESTO ES PAZ, QUE SEAIS DE ORO." (THIS IS NOT WAR, THIS IS PEACE, BE GOLD!)
A police higher up approached me, I told him, "You are stronger than us, hold your peace." He said he was only moving us off the street (?), "Everything had changed."
|The civil suit is a reporter.|
|The brave, the few.|
So an empty building has been rescued from use by homeless via the massive deployment of police force. Was that expense necessary, given the situation of the homeless in SF?
Meanwhile in Oakland