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Building the Red Army: The Death and Forbidden Rebirth of the Oakland Commune

Building the Red Army: The Death and Forbidden Rebirth of the Oakland Commune

“Don’t fuck with the Oak­land Com­mune.” Words which will live for­ever in his­tory, to be remem­bered and repeated at every glo­ri­ous defeat inflicted upon the heroes of the future by may­ors, police offi­cers, unions, churches, and chil­dren. A let­ter, signed by the Occupy Oak­land Move-In Assem­bly, promised to respond to the inevitable evic­tion of an ille­gal build­ing occu­pa­tion by “blockad­ing the air­port indef­i­nitely.” Tac­tics only dreamed of by al-Qaeda, within the reach of Occupy Oak­land after just four months. Yes­ter­day these words were at the cen­ter of a mate­r­ial prac­tice which brought our move­ment up against its limits.

Voices from the Rank and File: Remembering Marty Glaberman and Stan Weir

Voices from the Rank and File: Remembering Marty Glaberman and Stan Weir

I have been asked to say a few words about Marty Glaber­man and Stan Weir. It may be that the request is prompted in part by recent events on the West Coast water­front. I have fol­lowed those events with inter­est, but I am not there and I have not had an oppor­tu­nity to talk with par­tic­i­pants. Accord­ingly, please con­sider my remarks about my departed friends and com­rades on their own mer­its, such as they may be, and accept my assur­ance that no implicit mes­sage about cur­rent events is intended.

A Constituent Power Greater Than its Parts: Occupy and Workers from the Port Shutdown to the Primaries

A Constituent Power Greater Than its Parts: Occupy and Workers from the Port Shutdown to the Primaries

From its begin­nings in New York City to the recent West Coast Port Shut­down, the Occupy move­ment has con­sis­tently con­fronted the issue of co-optation. About a month and a half or so ago, many par­tic­i­pants voiced wor­ries about being co-opted by MoveOn, the Democ­rats, unions (to a lesser extent, since they had shown up as allies with­out seem­ing to try to monop­o­lize the def­i­n­i­tion of actions and events), and other groups affil­i­ated with the polit­i­cal parties.

"It is better to fight": On Martin and Malcolm

“It is better to fight”: On Martin and Malcolm

The effigy of a black man, a son of South­ern soil and descen­dant of slaves, now stands over the nation’s Mall among its found­ing fathers, noto­ri­ous slave owner in front and the so-called Great Eman­ci­pa­tor to his back. Look­ing out over the placid Tidal Basin with a steely-eyed reserve and chis­eled deter­mi­na­tion, the Mar­tin Luther King, Jr. National Memo­r­ial, the first mon­u­ment on the Mall ded­i­cated to a man of color, has whipped up yet another tem­pest of protest. Besides the same types who did not and still do not com­mem­o­rate the life of this influ­en­tial Civil Rights leader on the third Mon­day of every Jan­u­ary, other dis­senters have noted that the veined, con­fronta­tional depic­tion of the Brother Preacher by the Chi­nese sculp­tor Lei Yixin does not evoke the round docil­ity asso­ci­ated with the open-armed love of non­vi­o­lence. For them, the image goes against what they see as King’s true legacy, while oth­ers see the statute as an appro­pri­ate stance of well-grounded, stony defi­ance and pride.

Hostile and Notorious: The Conditions of Private Property

Hostile and Notorious: The Conditions of Private Property

Fol­low­ing the recent four-day occu­pa­tion of an empty bank build­ing at 75 River Street in Santa Cruz and the attempted occu­pa­tion of an empty ware­house in Seat­tle, the con­tro­ver­sial tac­tic of attempt­ing to seize and hold vacant pri­vate prop­erty has been taken up as a new front of a sprawl­ing social move­ment. These actions move beyond protest­ing the enclo­sure of pub­lic space and sti­fling of free speech; they aim to expand the scope of cri­tique to the role that pri­vate prop­erty plays in our cur­rent cri­sis. This change in scope has not been lost on the land­lords. “I’m def­i­nitely not in agree­ment with this group tak­ing over pri­vate prop­erty,” a local prop­erty owner told the Mer­cury News.