From Applied Nonexistence:
There is something to be said about the response of state apparatuses against an escalation in what is being billed as a popular, broad-based movement’s progression of objectives. This afternoon was a rather sobering experience for the activist-left in the East Bay – and it’s probably for the better in terms of the evolution of tactical praxis which will ideally follow today’s events. This afternoon’s action can be read in multiple ways yet we believe that the two most pertinent points are as follows:
The sheer impossibility of Occupy taking and the immediate defense by OPD of the Kaiser convention center, proves that the timbre of Occupy Oakland’s demands moving into the realm of the acquisition of private property (indoor space in particular) is much more confrontational, and by extension more desirable, than the tamer stages of Occupy’s initial forays into the repurposing of the public commons. If the implicit threat of taking an abandoned building was enough to warrant such a response which, tactically at least, completely nullified any potentiality which may or may not have existed in seeing this objective to its fruition, then it is telling that it is precisely along these lines which such energy needs to be propelled and proliferated. In national states which have a much more visible squatter’s culture (The Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Greece for example) the actual laws around the legitimacy of squatter’s rights and the legality of acquiring previously dormant physical spaces are actually much more lax than what we have here in the US. Seen within this context, in the United States the occupation of private property with the aims of creating spaces for a distinct sociopolitical body is at once almost guaranteed to be impossible – but nonetheless desirable precisely because of this impossibility.
Aside from the obvious critiques in terms of errors in the “on-the-ground” tactical maneuvering (i.e. bottlenecks at Laney/bridge-crossings, self-imposed kettling on E. 14th, linear confrontational exchanges in front of the Oakland Museum) we’d still like to make the case (the same redundant shit we here at AN always say) for “exploring” sites on the periphery. While the carnivalesque atmosphere can often fulfill latent psychological manifestations for some individuals it often is not the most tactically sound site for engagement. If anything it creates a veritable vacuum around the locus of contestation itself – and this is not something which has yet been explored in conjunction with high-profile events like today’s (this would look like “X” happens here, while “Y” happens here – where X is the much more high-profile and accessible action which commands ALL the resources of the authorities, and “Y” are a disparate number of smaller yet higher-stakes actions happening far away from the main spectacle). While the locus always has an undeniable magnetism, laden with the desire to participate in narratives of resistance, the periphery is always more vulnerable and higher-stakes during such carnivalesque moments. Explore the periphery.
Solidarity to the friends arrested and hurt. Solidarity to the FUCK THE POLICE 5 march about to pop of right now.
From Oakland with Love,