NYE Prison Noise Demo & Party with the Oakland Commune
The New Years Eve noise demo and dance party was a well overdue event for Oakland. Following the arrest of dozens in previous days, the Oakland Commune family sought vengeance upon the police and total solidarity to extended family members behind bars.
Over 200 hundred people gathered on the North steps of Oscar Grant Plaza at 9pm. 14th and Broadway was held until the sound system was functional and then we headed South on Broadway toward the Glenn Dyer Detention Facility.
The police remained at bay. They dared not even escort the march. They pathetically massed inside their station in riot gear, safe behind the massive glass panes of the station’s entrances, for show. On the other side of the glass their opponents taunted and harassed them. The Oakland Commune was nothing to fuck with tonight.
Once we reached the jail a firework free-for-all ensued. Roman Candles, M-80s, screamers and mortars shook the intersection. An American flag, with much effort, was set on fire. “The passion for freedom is stronger than their prisons!” and “Inside, outside, we’re all on the same side!” and a few other chants filled the voids of quiet between explosions.
Headed back to the plaza, 7th and Clay was held to taunt the pigs some more. A few rocks and bottles were launched into the windowpanes of the police station. Back up on Broadway and 14th, the intersection was held again. We then proceeded west on 14th, circling the plaza and back through the North entrance where police cruiser tires were punctured and flattened.
The party went late into the night. Those who showed up for the dance party were teased about missing the unforgettable march. We chanted “Oakland Commune”, sang Happy Birthday to a comrade and danced wildly until midnight. The first song of 2012 – We Found Love by Rihanna. To many of us this symbolized the impossible, “no future” feelings that inspire the many uprisings we have witnessed or have been a part of throughout this past year.
This was all following a series of arrests and harassment by OPD. On December 28th a new encampment on 20th and Mandela was evicted. On December 29th a liberated/squatted house on 10th and Mandela was raided and several comrades arrested. On December 30th the plaza was attacked and many more were arrested but not without a fight. Last night, Jan 1st, the police raided the 24/7 vigil again and arrested one more comrade at the plaza.
This repression is strategic and targeted. After several months of efforts directed toward destabilizing the city and relentless counter-offensives by the OPD, the movement is growing tired. But there are many who do not experience this fatigue and have made the Oakland Commune a physical and intellectual home, a battleground where turf wars between rebels and police occur regularly. The populist movement is not what bore the Oakland Commune but it will be the knife that cuts the line between assimilation and war.
As a major building expropriation project, as well as a queer and feminist occupation project nears, police repression will only fuel the fires of the coming barricades. In Oakland, debt, home evictions, daily harassment and imprisonment are manifestations of this extended social crisis that have become all too common. The relationship between these conditions and the police is well known. For the Commune, there’s no turning back now.
A few from the Commune