24 hours of occupation - Page 4

Oakland activists transform a city square and wrestle with organizing a movement

"I've been struggling all my life," Adams said. "My dad did, my mom did, my grandmother did. And for what? To have no money." But he said he was amazed and inspired by the occupation. "I like the fact that people can get together and discuss issues. How can we implement programs to do what California has failed to do? It's a big task. We're just working toward betterment. Lasting changes, not just temporary shit."

Michel echoed these goals. "It's really bold, and it's really complex, but no one's ever lived what we're trying to do," she said. "People feel a lot of ownership over what we have here. There's a sense here of people having each other's back. Politically, it's huge."

During my last hour at Occupy Oakland, David Hilliard, a founding member of the Black Panthers, delivered a speech, driving home the point that the occupation should be organized and focused.

"You're here, which is a wonderful thing," Hilliard told the occupiers. "Now we need to have some very basic programs dealing with desires and needs here in Oakland. It can't be abstract. I can assure you, in a very short time, they're going to run you out of here. Put something on paper that can help you address the basic desires — otherwise, you're not going to last long. Get some concrete demands." *