Where is Occupy SF now?

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GUARDIAN PHOTO BY YAEL CHANOFF

On the anniversary of Occupy Wall Street, Occupy San Francisco also celebrated its birthday.

Demonstrations throughout the day Sept. 17, focusing on a variety of topics, converged at 5pm at 555 California, Bank of America’s west coast headquarters. A lively march of about 600 became a street festival down the block. There, protesters stopped for a circus of birthday activities. In one corner, people saddled by debt wrote their debt information on pieces of paper, explained their situations to the crowd, and dropped the papers into a trash can for a symbolic burning. One person also burned cash. “Hell no, we won’t pay,” the crowd chanted.

A few feet over, protesters painted the street with a bright yellow sun declaring “democracy not debt.” Volunteers then fed a free meal to the hundreds in attendance and wheeled in a video screen to watch some recaps of the year’s best moments. Around 8pm, the group left as peacefully as they had come.

In the darkness, a few hundred headed east on Market. When they arrived in Justin Herman Plaza-- or Bradley Manning Plaza, as Occupy SF has christened it, in honor of the whistle blowing soldier- a few police stood guard around the perimeter. Undeterred, protesters walked in, and shouts of “happy birthday” gave way to “welcome home.”

The birthday party continued with a night of music. Five tents were pitched, sleeping bags were brought out. Police vehicles carrying truckloads of barricades drove by, but police told protesters they would have to leave the park by 6am, the hour the park opens.

30 or 40 spent the night. In the morning police came back. As ukelele and drums continued to play, tents were dutifully broken down. A few went back to sleep.

Video by Eric Louie

Last fall, Occupy SF could basically be found here. The camp was at Justin Herman Plaza. The ever-expanding list of working groups sometimes met somewhere else, but Occupy was at camp. But after a series of police raids, from Oct. 5 to the raid that finally brought the camp down in December, this camp was no more.

Now, Occupy SF is found all over the place.

As longtime Occupy SF activist Vi Huynh said while celebrating the anniversary: “I think it's good to honor these milestones because, unlike the mainstream media would have us believe, we haven’t gone away. We’re not dying either. They’re writing our obituaries, but we’re very much alive. And we’re doing things every day.”

Here’s an uncomprehensive list of active groups from Occupy in San Francisco.

101 Market. This is the old camp of Occupy, “re-occupied” in February in response to a national call. At least 30 sleep there every night, and the camp is a veritable fortress of furniture and belongings. They’re mere existence is a refusal to humor the concept of private property. General Assembly meetings occur at 101 Market Tuesdays and Thursdays at 7pm.

Action Council. Action Council is a forum meant to connect Occupy with unions, non-profits, and community groups. They played a big role in planning demonstrations like the Jan. 20 shutdown of the financial district and the May Day solidarity demonstrations. Action Council meets weekly, Sundays at 2pm at Unite Here headquarters, 215 Golden Gate Ave.

All Streets Yoga. Since last winter, All Streets Yoga, formerly known as Decolonize Yoga, has been transforming part of the sidewalk at the 16th and Mission BART station into a yoga studio free for all. Volunteer yoga teachers lay out rugs and lead personalized yoga sessions for anyone who chooses to join. They transform space and creating calm in the busy city landscape. Join them Fridays 5-7pm.

Community Not Commodity. Also known as Bay Occupride, this group formed to protest commercialization of the Pride Parade. On the Sept. 17 anniversary they did a march on the Castro banks and a sit-in to protest sit-lie at Harvey Milk Plaza. CNC describes itself as “a collective assembly of queer/trans-focused community groups with established reputations in the Bay Area that have come together to strengthen and unify our diverse communities. We have come together to confront the 1% within our movement. We work for complete liberation of queer and trans people!” They meet Sundays at noon at Muddy Waters Café, 521 Valencia. See more at www.bayoccupride.com.

Direct Action working group. Direct action is a central tenant of Occupy. It means taking action to prevent something bad or create something good without permission or help of those with political power. In a 1912 essay titled Direct Action, Voltairine de Cleyre cited the Boston Tea Party as an example and wrote that “Every person who ever had a plan to do anything, and went and did it, or who laid his plan before others, and won their co-operation to do it with him, without going to external authorities to please do the thing for them, was a direct actionist. All co-operative experiments are essentially direct action.” The direct action working group meets Wednesdays, 6pm, at the Redstone Building at 2940 16th Street.

Environmental Justice working group. The environmental justice working group keeps the pressure on the corporations that exploit the planet. They’ve protested hydraulic fracturing and the nuclear industry. They meet Tuesdays at 4pm at 101 Market.

Food bank of America. Occupy SF set up the first Food Bank of America to feed thousands of hungry protesters and passers-by on Jan. 20. A Market Street Bank of America branch locked its doors when volunteers set up a food table and passed out hot meals. Now, Food Bank of America continues in front of the mega-bank’s 23rd and Mission branch, where volunteers pass out produce, mostly donated from farmers’ markets, along with literature on switching to credit unions. They’re usually there Thursdays 5-6pm.

Ideological Liberation working group. This working group has produced pamphlets explaining Occupy, trading cards of especially greedy bankers, and postcards summarizing issues like the foreclosure crisis and the National Defense Authorization Act. They also created the Occupy SF Declaration. Brainstorm and write with them on Tuesdays, 7:30-9pm, at the decidedly ideologically un-liberated meeting spot of the Starbucks at 27 Drumm.

Occupy Bay Area United. Occupy Bay Area United spent the night outside 555 California on the eve of the Occupy SF anniversary, an occupation complete with tents and signs. They are “committed to non-violent direct action.” They meet on Sundays, 5-7pm, and post meeting locations on their website, www.obau.org.

Occupy Bernal. This neighborhood-based group is largely considered one of the most effective and desperately needed parts of the Occupy movement in San Francisco. Occupy Bernal is in the business of stopping foreclosures and evictions. “Since January no one we worked with has had an auction. People we work with who already had auctions, we’re stopping their evictions. We’ve stopped six of them so far. So we’re almost done with all the evictions, and we can go back to just stopping the auctions. We have 60 people in line to get loan modifications from Wells,” said Occupy Bernal organizer Buck Bagot. On the anniversary, Occupy Bernal hosted a rally highlighting the disproportionate effects of the foreclosure crisis and veterans and elderly and disabled people. “There were about 100 of us at the protest and five people, all over 80, veterans who are all at risk of losing their homes because they don’t have very much income,” said Bagot. Occupy Bernal meets 7-9pm on the second and fourth Thursday of each month at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center at 515 Cortland Ave. See www.occupybernal.org for more information.

Occupy Forum. Occupy Forum started up in early June in the Women’s Building, and has since moved to Justin Herman Plaza. The well-attended forums, usually around 70 people, are a time to discuss issues that concern people in Occupy. From the beginning Occupy has been said to have “no focus”-- maybe that’s because those involved saw that everything from greedy banks to income inequality to homelessness to discrimination in loans to healthcare to racism to wars were all connected. The forum is a chance to focus in on a different topic every week. Check them out Mondays at 6pm at Justin Herman Plaza, at Market and Embarcadero.

Occupy the Richmond. A philosophical Occupy. If you’ve ever gotten sick of decrying problems in society and yearned to discuss creative solutions, Occupy the Richmond may be your cup of tea. A philosophical Occupy. Saturdays at 4pm, Occupy the Richmond gets together at 11th Ave. in Mountain Lake Park “to talk about what kind of society we want to organize together,” according to Occupy the Richmond participant Alex Zane. “Occupy opens up the possibility for talking about that. Otherwise, people would be stuck behind their screens freaking out about what kind of society we should organize. We should get together and talk with real, living people about how we’re supposed to reorganize our society,” said Zane.

Outreach working group. A group that spreads the word about Occupy and speaks with people and community organizations about working together. They meet Wednesdays at 7pm at One Rincon Center, also known as 121 Spear.

This article has been corrected. Bradley Manning served as a soldier in the Army, not a marine

Comments

Other than a so-so catch-phrase in "the one percent", I'd assess the impact of Occupy as being so close to zero that the effect cannot be scientifically measured.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

As you can see from the list -- just a small sample -- hundreds of working groups have come out of Occupy WS. The movement has simply diversified and grown in other ways, even if the media refuses to report on it. When the economy crashes, as it will, the movement will only grow that much stronger. Movements take time (years even) and Occupy is still in its infancy. We will build nothing less than brand new society. Another world IS possible.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 1:32 pm

Occupy has achieved anything. After a year, the Tea Party was winning elections. What has Occupy done? Made a lot of noise, and then they ran away as soon as it got cold and wet.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 1:58 pm

Anyone who was following the events of the past year knows that the Occupiers held out through rain, sleet and snow. It was only when the cops cracked down and forcibly removed their encampments (fencing in public spaces to prevent their return) that they finally dispersed. Then they decided that the encampments were just one form of protest. It was time to take it to the next level, and that's where they are now, building on what they started. Movements aren't successful overnight. It takes many years of organizing. Occupy is alive and well, and will be around as long as there is oppression and inequality in this society and in the rest of the world. Long live the Occupistas!

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

I guarantee you that nobody I know has any concept that it didn't end last Christmas. If that's success, it's not clear how you'd define failure.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 4:25 am

for all Occupiers! Also, it might be nice if they learned that occupying a woman's vagina without her consent is called "rape."

Posted by Ruth Bladder Ginsu on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 6:09 am

We know that. We have the fiercest warrior women you will ever meet, and the men defend them. Women come to our camps for safety. Just try hitting one of them. No, don't, it would hurt you worse than it would hurt them.
(And we bathe as often as our circumstances permit. How long are you going to keep repeating those tired old chestnuts?)-

Posted by Guest ethan davidson on Sep. 25, 2012 @ 10:22 pm

Not sure how 101 Market and All Streets Yoga supports your message that greed is evil.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 10:23 pm

Occupy has had quite a number of very concrete successes - see below for just a few. The best is yet to come, however. Other movements, like the civil rights movement, took a number of years to achieve their most significant victories, and I believe the same will be true with Occupy.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175593/tomgram:_rebecca_solnit,_success_...

Posted by Friend on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 1:10 pm

Just brilliant. Love, love, love Rebecca Solnit :))

Posted by Guest on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 12:49 pm

Occupy has had quite a number of very concrete successes - see below for just a few. The best is yet to come, however. Other movements, like the civil rights movement, took a number of years to achieve their most significant victories, and I believe the same will be true with Occupy.

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175593/tomgram:_rebecca_solnit,_success_...

Posted by Friend on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 1:16 pm

Nitpicky, I know, but Manning is in the Army, making him a Soldier, not a Marine.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 20, 2012 @ 4:06 pm

Chomsky: OccupyWS "has Created Something That Didn’t Really Exist" in U.S. — Solidarity

"...the Occupy movement is—it was a big surprise. You know, if anybody asked me a year ago, "Is this possible?" I would have said, "It’s crazy. Don’t even try." But it lit a spark, took off. There are now Occupy movements in thousands of American cities, spread overseas. I was in Australia recently, went to the Occupy movement in Sydney, in Melbourne. There’s one in Hong Kong. You know, everywhere. And there are parallel movements in Europe.

"It’s the first—and it’s very significant, I think. Already in—it’s only been around for a couple of months, so, you know, you can’t talk about huge achievements. But there are two kinds of the achievements which I think are—have already had an effect that probably is permanent, but anyway significant. One is, they just changed the national discourse. So, issues that had been, you know, marginalized—they’re familiar, but you didn’t talk about them—like inequality, shredding of the democratic process, you know, financial corruption, environmental issues, all these things, they became—they moved to the center of discussion. In fact, you can even see it from the imagery that’s used. You read about the 99 percent and the 1 percent in the considerable press of the business press. That’s just changed the way lots of people are looking at things. In fact, the polls show that concern over inequality among the general public rose pretty sharply after the Occupy movement started, very probably as a consequence. And there are other policy issues that came to the fore, which are significant.

"The other aspect, which in my estimation may be more significant, is that the Occupy movement spontaneously created something that doesn’t really exist in the country: communities of mutual support, cooperation, open spaces for discussion. They just developed a health system, a library, a common kitchen—just people doing things and helping each other. That’s very much missing. There is a massive propaganda—it’s been going on for a century, but picking up enormously—that you really shouldn’t care about anyone else, you should just care about yourself. [...] It said, "Yeah, we’re in it together." That’s what the old labor movement used to be. I mean, I can remember, as a kid in the '30s, when the situation was objectively much worse. But then, my family was mostly unemployed working-class here in New York. But there was a sense of hopefulness, largely because of labor organizing, which not only provided benefits to the people involved, but also made them part of something in which we can work together. The term "solidarity" wasn't just a vacuous term. And to rebuild that kind of thing, even if it’s in small pieces of the society, can become very important, can change the conception of how a society ought to function."

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/5/14/chomsky_occupy_wall_street_has_cre...

Posted by Guest 99% on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 12:50 pm

The American Dream, that is.

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

righteous comedian

Posted by Guest on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 5:20 pm

"FRANCES FOX PIVEN: Well, I think the movement is reconnoitering at the—after two months of occupations, which were dramatic, brilliant, imaginative, I think captured something for the American people. I think the American public resonated to the "We are the 99 percent" Occupy Wall Street slogans. After two months, a lot of the occupations were leveled. And I think that what has been happening is that the occupiers and all the people who really responded to their rhetoric, to their dramatic depiction of financial capitalism in control and out of control, what people have been figuring out how to do is to move the protest into the neighborhoods, into the workplaces, into the schools.

"I think, in the end, it may turn out that evicting the occupations was the precipitant of expanding the movement, because the movement’s agenda has broadened, and they’re now experimenting with reoccupying foreclosed homes, for example, with ways of rallying to the defense of workers who are locked out or on strike. And with the spring, I think there’s going to be a lot of protest in the universities and the colleges. And young people are very responsive to the appeals of Occupy, to their cultural style. And everybody in the colleges understands that high unemployment, high student debt spells foreclosed opportunities for a life."

http://www.democracynow.org/2012/3/19/strategic_directions_for_occupy_wa...

Posted by Guest 99 on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 1:08 pm

National End The Fed Rally – at all Federal Reserve Branches Across the USA.

Where: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
101 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94105

When: September 22, 2012 @ 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

http://endthefedusa.ning.com/group/sanfranciscoendthefed

Posted by Guest 99% on Sep. 21, 2012 @ 1:17 pm

bleach the the sidewalk before they do the yoga protest. Do the Judean people's front do yoga or are they boycotting because the people's front of Judea are there?

Posted by matlock on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 5:39 am
Posted by Guest on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 12:13 pm

I support that you support my right to have a baby, sadly the establishment doesn't.

When will my supervisor David Campos put forth a resolution supporting my right to have a baby.

Until my right to have a baby, although biologically impossible, is gained no one will be free.

Posted by matlock on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 1:33 pm

but only AFTER we do yoga (all that sweat makes the sidewalk sticky)

Love and kisses,
The People's Front of Judea

Posted by Guest on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 12:15 pm

Where: Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
101 Market Street, San Francisco, California 94105

When: September 22, 2012 @ 11:00 am – 7:00 pm

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_szZvElIRyo&feature=related

Posted by Guest 99% on Sep. 22, 2012 @ 12:36 pm

Thank you, Ethan and others for setting the record straight. Occupy has a role to play but is not everything and no-one should expect it to be. However, greater diversity of efforts does not necessarilly constitute the building of a movement unless the consensus has changed to embrace radical politics with the character of a party and/or organized movement.

Posted by nimblecivet on Nov. 14, 2012 @ 10:04 am

Okay so now everyone knows that we are all being lied to and robbed blind and being made into slaves by corporations with a fascist police force to use violence on us if we disagree. We don't believe the media in general because we know the international banker is using it to lie to us. In fact the zillions of us basically EXPECT to be injured by products with lies on the packaging. We got that far. So now we need to finish the job- basically we all protest this stuff or down the toilet with us all. I want to ask the peron posting above if the 'right to have a baby" thing is based on cloning? If we are talking about gay rights to clone or what.

Posted by GuestRaul on Nov. 16, 2012 @ 3:54 pm

Can I get you something for your anger?

Posted by Guest on Nov. 16, 2012 @ 4:38 pm

And you're not a guest

Posted by GuestRaul on Nov. 17, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

And you're not a guest

Posted by GuestRaul on Nov. 17, 2012 @ 6:27 pm

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