[lbo-talk] the beating heart of oakland commune: the kitchen

123hop at comcast.net 123hop at comcast.net
Wed Dec 7 15:25:48 PST 2011

Yes, I would agree with all this. Oakland is an interesting case. It is such an amazing mixture of ethnicities and modes of separation.

Here's the ethnic break-down:

White: 26% Asian: 17% Black: 27% Hispanic: 25%

Pretty segregated for the most part, especially the poorer segments.

I live near Lake Meritt, in a gray area of newly arrived Asians, a few blocks north of the hood, which is itself divided into a black hood and a latino hood.

Petty crime is common. In the last few years I don't seem to be able to keep a garden hose more than a month or so. Last year, I gave an outdoor party and the next day an ice chest went missing. Who stole it? As it turns out, a middle aged, overweight asian man, whom I caught hauling it down the hill a few minutes later. Also, last year some kids stole my new/old Toyota Camry and smashed it up. But mostly it's garden hoses, and spades , and rakes, and car radios.

It's a really beautiful city though. Lots of craftsmen homes, a lake, a rose garden, and very good humored people for the most part. Three hundred sunny days per year.


----- Original Message -----

Aaron Bady's piece is required reading: http://www.possible-futures.org/2011/12/05/oakland-commune/

As a site of resistance, “Wall Street” is a metonym for a system, a transnational apparatus of capital and political oligarchy. We don’t have to get too specific, because we all know what we mean when we say “Wall Street” (even if we don’t agree on what that thing actually is). And so while that particular part of Lower Manhattan might be a focal point of a gigantic process of accumulation and dispossession, “Wall Street” is still just a concrete symbol for that larger and much less tangible process. The fact that so much financial work is actually done elsewhere is not that important; to “Occupy Wall Street” is to attack and de-legitimize the thing it symbolizes, the ordering structure that builds and rebuilds the world around us, that the rest of us have no choice but to inhabit and endure.

This is why it has meant something very different, from the beginning, to “Occupy Oakland.” In a just world—in the world the occupiers are trying to usher into existence—there might be no such thing as “Wall Street” at all, and certainly not in its current form. But Oakland is not a center of finance and power or a locus of political privilege. There is a “here” here. No one really lives in Wall Street, but those who “Occupy Oakland” do so because they already did. As a result, when we “Occupy Oakland,” we are engaged much less in a symbolic protest against “the banks” or “the 1%”—political actions which are given their shape by the political terrain of protesting abstractions—and much more in a very concrete struggle for a right to the city.

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