Oakland

On the ground at the Oakland general strike

An account by K.R. about the November 2nd Occupy Oakland 'general strike'.

On Wednesday morning, Nov. 2, I sent a text message to my boss that read “Cough, cough. Capitalism is making me sick. I will be seeking treatment in downtown Oakland today.” He wrote back, “Nice try, you communist.”

Thousands march & shut down port, Oakland

An article by Bruce Valde about the November 2, 2011 Occupy Oakland 'general strike'.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, we arrived at the intersection of 14th Street and Broadway in downtown Oakland. It was 5:30 a.m. The sound truck was already parked at the corner and the sound system was being set up. The encampment was still pretty quiet and most of the activity centered around the news vans parked along 14th Street. We deployed a pop-up tent and an IWW literature table and banners.

Whole Foods shut down in Oakland

An article about the shut down of a Whole Foods during Occupy Oakland's 'general strike'.

In the weeks leading up to the Oakland General Strike on Nov. 2, Wobblies across the bay in San Francisco circulated agitational leaflets calling on workers in unorganized shops to “sick out” for the day. The city, under pressure from local labor groups, adopted a sick leave policy in 2006 which entitles most employees to paid days off if they’re sick or caring for a sick family member.

Under the riot gear - Rust Bunny Collective

An account and analysis of the Oakland Commune and wildcat general strike attempt of 2011 by the Rust Money Collective in Sic.

We would therefore suggest that Gemeinwesen [community] be each time substituted for State; it is a good old German word that can very well do service for the French Commune. (F. Engels, letter to A.

Images from 1946 Oakland general strike

Images from the 1946 Oakland general strike. Mostly taken from the University of California-Berkeley's online archive.

Insurrection, Oakland style: a history

An article by Matthew Edwards on the roots of Occupy Oakland, which includes the movement and riots that happened in response to the police murder of Oscar Grant in January of 2009.

This is an unfin­ished work – a snap­shot of his­tory as it occurred, expe­ri­enced by me, reported on social media, or retold by trusted com­rades. It will lack the final­ity of hind­sight. Con­tained within is my account of the Oak­land Insur­rec­tion, as it has unfolded over the past days and weeks. Both the insur­rec­tion and this essay are works of hope.

Against Academic Alibis: The Best Education is the Struggle – George Ciccariello-Maher

Drawing on his experiences in the “cauldron of resistance” of Oakland, CA, George Ciccariello-Maher speaks on the relations between organizing in universities and struggles against police and prisons. Against academics’ use of alibis, such as ‘changing the world by teaching,’ to legitimize anything they do as a contribution to radical movements, he calls for academics to more clearly distinguish between their jobs and their political work.

[Reposted from ClassWarU.org]

CW: Could you say a little about how you got involved in radical organizing, particularly in relation to universities?

Stan Weir's oral history of the 1946 Oakland general strike

Stan Weir in 1990 at time of Oral History Project at CSU Long Beach

This is the transcription of a 1990 interview with Stan Weir for the Virtual Aural/Oral History Archive at California State University Long Beach (the audio is available here interview #3, section "3 of 9 items" ). In this segment Stan talks about his involvement in the 1946 Oakland General Strike.

Pat McAuley: What I meant to ask was: a lot of these short, wildcat-type strikes, like the sit-down strike that you led, did these contribute to the General Strike that occurred in 1946 or 1947 in Oakland?
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The Oakland general strike - Richard Boyden

Striking shop clerks in Oakland, 1946

This article by Richard Boyden is the most comprehensive account of the 1946 Oakland General Strike. It relies extensively on first-hand sources, such as Boyden's good friend and comrade Stan Weir. Additionally, it shows the continuity between the San Francisco General Strike in 1934—that shut Oakland down completely too—and the sequel 12 years later. Teamster piecard Dave Beck, in trying to kill the strike, put it best: “I say this damn general strike is nothing but a revolution. It isn’t labor tactics. It’s revolutionary tactics.”

You are not Durutti, but we are uncontrollable: beyond a critique of non-violence

Critical reflections in late 2011 on Occupy Oakland and the debate around non-violence and a critique of the Left.

At a recent forum on “non-violence” vs a “diversity of tactics,” an event that was attended by over 400 people for the purpose of discussing the role of violence within Occupy Oakland, the MC of the event, Rahula Janowski, put many things in context. “The occupy movement, the movement of the 99%, has already had a pretty enormous impact.