Sunday, December 25, 2011

First Building Occupation Assembly

On December 21, the Occupy Oakland GA voted to approve a proposal to occupy a building that would serve as "a social center, convergence center, and headquarters of the Occupy Oakland movement":
We propose to occupy and hold a large building that will serve the purpose of becoming a social center, convergence center and headquarters of the Occupy Oakland movement on Saturday, January 28th, 2012. The building will have sufficient office space for all of the Occupy Oakland committees and an auditorium large enough to hold Occupy Oakland general assemblies and adequate sleeping space. It will be a vacant building owned either by a bank, a large corporation of the 1% or already public. The occupation of the building will take place in daylight and on a weekend to ensure more safety and aim for maximum participation. The building will be the destination of a mass march, promoted as a “Move-In Day March” starting at Oscar Grant Plaza at 1pm and finishing up in the new building. Together we will enter the space, clean it, set it up and occupy it.

Having learned from the previous attempts at occupying spaces or buildings where we weren’t able to hold space because of police crack-downs and/or poor planning we know that the only way for this to work is having massive participation and when the time comes, effective defense of the building. To work out numerous details we propose having Building Occupation Assemblies that meet at Oscar Grant Plaza on Wednesdays at 5pm and on Sundays at 1pm with representatives from the Occupy Oakland committees and individuals. The working groups of this assembly will meet to discuss the plans necessary to make the move-in successful and create a vibrant social center. The strategies for the defense of the building will be decided collectively in these meetings.

We further propose a 2-day festival at the start of the occupation which would include cultural events, workshops and strategy sessions to generate community support and participation to further the occupy movement. The Building Occupation Assembly will coordinate this weekend festival. They will plan a full schedule of events, as well as coordinate outreach.

Those writing this proposal are in full agreement that keeping the address of the building a surprise is necessary when planning an action of this scale, so that the building proposed doesn’t have a preemptive shutdown by the city. On the other hand, to make this an all-inclusive action by Occupy Oakland, the authors of this proposal have been in touch with various individuals from committees regarding the particular address of the building. These include: the Kitchen Committee, Events Committee, Supply Committee, Sound Committee, Medics, Free School, Library, Finance Committee, Occupy Legal, Anti-Repression Committee and the Facilitation Committee yet we hope to expand this list. These individuals know the exact address of the building in order to help organize this action in a coordinated yet decentralized manner.

To conclude, in talking to members of our community and upon consulting committee members, many feel strongly that it is time to get Occupy Oakland indoors. The winter and rainy season is upon us and has taken its toll on our numbers, our strength, and our will to continue. We know there is much more to do, and we are excited to see our projects and political endeavors through by fighting for a new space seized from the 1% without permission that will suit our needs, and become something cherished by Occupy Oakland, residents of the Bay Area, and beyond.
As expected, the first meeting to start planning for the occupation will take place at 5pm on Wednesday, December 28th at the North Steps of Oscar Grant Plaza. The invitation we received via email reads as follows:

Recently, the GA passed a proposal to take a large building as a social center for Occupy Oakland. The date for this action is January 28, 2012. The intention is that this space will become the new home for Occupy Oakland, providing ample space for all of our committees and activities, room for assemblies, and sleeping space. (It must be added, however, for those who are concerned about it, that there was much support at the GA for retaining a presence at Oscar Grant Plaza, and even re-encamping at the plaza at a later date, projects which many in attendance at the GA did not think were in opposition to each other). This is a huge, exciting and important step for Occupy Oakland, one that many have been talking about for a very long time -- at least since November 2 -- and we expect that success in this regard will likely be very inspiring for other cities. In order to succeed, we will need this building to be as vibrant and full of activity as the camp was. Therefore, we want to have the full participation of all the committees, groups and individuals who have so far made this experiment so powerful. The first meeting will be on Wednesday December 28 at 5pm on the north steps of Oscar Grant Plaza, and we strongly encourage everyone who can to attend.

Future Meeting Schedule: Until January 7th, the Building Occupation Assembly will meet Mondays and Wednesdays at 5pm (in accordance with the modified GA schedule). Starting Sunday January 7th we will meet Sundays at 1pm and Wednesdays at 5pm. If needed the frequency of these meetings will be increased by the assembly.

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