From the Streets of Oakland: Report on Anticut 1

From bay of rage

Thanks to everyone for coming out to Anticut 1 on Friday. The consensus seems to be that this was a very successful evening, a promising opening act to what we hope will be a long, hot summer. There were probably about 100 0f us in the streets — good turnout for something organized with only a couple of weeks of notice,  especially after a period of relative quiet. Let’s see if we can double this next time.

Here (in the picture on the left) we are gathering at Telegraph & Broadway. We chose this spot not only because it opens onto a network of streets and therefore seems tactically strong, providing us with a number of ways to exit, but because it sits at the meeting point of two major East Bay thoroughfares.  One of these, Telegraph, ends on the other side at UC Berkeley, and for many of us, joining  (or finding points of connection between) the rebellions of Oakland and the campus rebellions of the last couple of years has been a really important, if unfinished, endeavor. This is also the place where the 1946 Oakland General Strike began.

One of  the things we want to do with this summer project is to create a territory, to mark specific spaces with specific values, habits, ideas. What if the triangle where Telegraph and Broadway meet was known as a gathering point for anarchists and antistate communists? What if we could be certain that, every Friday night, there were going to be people there, ready to make things happen? What if we had a space where we could be certain to find each other when shit goes down?

Here we are stepping into the street and heading north toward Art Murmur. . .

These are some of our banners. On the top is a slogan stolen from recent Greek anti-austerity protests: “They have scissors. We have rocks. Rocks beat scissors.” Later in the night, this banner was parked right in front of Rock Paper Scissors Collective, one of the original galleries in the area. RPS recently pulled out of Art Murmur because of its increasingly embourgeoisified inanity, so perhaps they support this statement. The second banner reads “Save the Libraries. Destroy Capitalism.” I think this last banner is what people call dialectical. . .In other words, today, there should be no meaningful distinction between reformists and revolutionaries, since it seems that  the only way to protect even the smallest of gains is to bring force of a near revolutionary intensity. And in that case, you might as well just have a revolution.

Austerity ♥ Gentrification.

Once we turned off of Telegraph onto 25th, a local gallerist found this particular banner very dismaying.  He quickly accused me  of “wanting downtown to be an ugly, crime-ridden place that no one wants to come to.” I asked if by “no one” he meant prosperous, white people like himself. At this point, the gallerist tried to change tack and suggested that we needed “balance” and that really all he wanted was for things to be “nice.”  I scratched my head and wondered out loud if we had the same idea of “nice” and whether or not nice meant, for him, a space shaped by the values and attitudes and habits of middle-class white people. Finally, he concluded that I was a lost cause. We recognized our mutual enmity and parted ways.

But I’m getting a little ahead of myself here. Before we turned down 25th, we stopped at the corner of 23rd and Telegraph for about 30 mins, dancing and distributing various items of propaganda to Art Murmur attendees. This is the statement which we distributed:


After this, Eddie Falcone, member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, took the mic and entertained us with  some of his “anarcho-gangsta” rap.

Thoroughly anarcho-gangstified, we turned the music back on starting moving north on Telegraph again, our numbers increased by some Art Murmur attendees. We took a right on 25th, hung out in front of a few galleries for a bit (see above) and then went to  the parking lot on the corner of Broadway & 25th so that we could shift gears and begin the video-screening portion of the evening.

The weather held, and despite a few drops of rain, the parking lot was dry enough for us to sit down and watch the hour-and-a-half worth of clips.  We started off with a tribute to Gil Scott-Heron, then watched the always-unbelievable  Oscar Grant video by Turf Feinz, then a short documentary about the encampment at Glen Cove, then a sequence of clips from the Bay Area and far away that a comrade edited.  Finally we closed with a video about the Oaxacan insurrection of 2006 and then 20 mins of The Take. . .

After that, most people left and about 25 of us took the soundsystem back to its home. . .

Anticut 2 will take place on the afternoon of the 17th. We’re going to kick it up a notch. . Follow for details. . Bring friends! Austerity means class war!

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