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November 9, 2011

Occupy the Banks: Oakland’s General Strike

Filed under: Activism & Media,Direct Action Community,Movement Building,What's Hot — Megan Swoboda @ 10:44 am

The #Occupy movement has gained major momentum, and Ruckus is doing our part to help it grow – stronger, smarter, tougher.  Our folks have been on the ground since Day 1 in New York and other cities across the country, helping provide training and strategic and technical support, and we’re participating in a national process with allies to coordinate support efforts for Occupations across the country. (Read more about Ruckus’s support for Occupy here: http://ruckus.org/article.php?id=800)

And of course, we have been doing our part here in our hometown, Oakland, which has captured the world’s attention after the excessive police crackdown and subsequent mass resistance and resilience, including the the first General Strike since 1946!

The General Strike was a huge victory and proved once again how powerful the 99% is when we turn out in full force!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011, was a historic day in Oakland, CA.  After Occupy Oakland’s encampment was shut down by police using excessive force early on the morning of October 25th, the camp was reclaimed on Wednesday, October 26th, and over 3,000 people attended the General Assembly that night, approving a proposal for a city-wide General Strike Nov. 2!

Ruckus was happy to join forces with LeftBay99 – a loose group of local Bay Area community-based groups coming together to support Occupy Oakland and engage their community members in the movement – to pull off a series of actions throughout the day November 2nd, in honor of the General Strike, to “Occupy the Banks and Foreclose on the 1%!

After the first convening at Grant-Ogawa Plaza at 9am, the “I Will Survive…Capitalism” flashmob kicked off the morning march around 10am, marching to the State Building with a youth delegation to protest cuts to education, and then off to Wells Fargo, one of the leaders in home foreclosures, funding for private prisons and immigrant detention centers.

Photo by Anita Sarkeesian

At noon, folks reconvened at the camp, and started the afternoon march to Occupy another set of Banks – Chase, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.  Ruckus climbers scaled street lamps to hang a banner saying, “Occupy the Banks” across the intersection of 20th & Webster streets in front of Chase, while a team of community members whose homes are being foreclosed on by Chase staged a ‘move-in’ action on the bank – setting up a couch, coffee table and other living room furniture in the middle of the street in front of Chase (‘you’re kicking us out of our homes, so we’re moving in on you!’).

After awhile, the Brass Liberation Orchestra accompanied a second round of the “I Will Survive…Capitalism” flashmob before leading the crowd of over 1,000 people onto the Bank of America, and deployed a giant balloon banner with our friends at RAN reading “Defend Human Dignity: Challenge Corporate Power” that led the march the rest of the way back to the Camp later that afternoon.

The day of course culminated in the truly mass marches to the Port of Oakland to shut down all operations at the Ports for the night.  Some reports say 50,000 people marched and danced the three miles to the ports from Camp, and it was truly an unforgettable experience, marching in a sea of thousands at sunset.

November 2nd proved our power in numbers.  Check out this great video about the day overall!

1 Comment »

  1. As a long time resistor beginning in the days of the sit-ins in the South, I respect and admire what has been accomplished but the movement is beginning to lose my support. I’m now concerned about how the message and the goal has been diluted and taken over by a homeless encampment with little or no interest in Wall Street issues. It was in part your responsibility to maintain order, cleanliness and focus on the primary conversation.

    Comment by Malcolm Lubliner — November 9, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

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