Occupy 2.0 San Francisco Style
As soon as i called David upon arrival in San Francisco, he invited me to come work on the banner he was painting. The last time i saw David he was working on a banner (and giant puppet) also. We needed a new one for re-occupying a house a local man had been evicted from.
When i arrived David introduced me to Amy who was helping complete the banner painting. After chatted with Amy, i again was surprised by the power of Occupy. Amy had never done direct action before Occupy. She felt there were barriers to radical political work, like you needed to have read Marx. She also did not feel like the door was really open for her involvement, until Occupy came along. All doors were open, we were rolling our own – her proactive nature enabled her to feel more than invited. So powerful and early was this invite that she is one of the founders of Occupy SF Direct Action. And most interestingly, she actually works for an investment firm, for which she has to take a different name (Amy is an alias) as to not loose her job. We talked about how Occupy has brought together different classes across the country though this has been far from easy, it has been critical for activists to touch the world of homeless or displaced people.
When i get to the action, there are perhaps 50 people listening to different speakers and we marched and chanted the few blocks to Dexter’s old house. It had been foreclosed on by Wells Fargo and Dexter was evicted. Today we took it back. The doors were forced and everyone was invited in.
There were speeches from the balcony, with union folks, the local arch bishop and folks from Occupy SF direct action. And Dexter himself leading out the shout “An injury to one is an injury to all.” One organizer turned to me and said “This is direct action.” Indeed, very direct. And Wells Fargo which foreclosed on this property has a problem. Dexter has a number of piece of paper saying this is his place. Wells Fargo got control of this house from a collapsing bank with terrible records (using bail out money), it is unclear they will prevail in court. When the police were called about the re-occupation, they said they were not coming to 1335 Quasada, it was a civil (not criminal) matter. Dexter may well get to keep his house.
Political actions, even sexy re-occupations are often dull for many of the participants. David is quick to put protestors to work paint banners for the next occupation The crew above includes Dexter’s kids who were thrilled with the local support in getting their house back. Occupy SF brought food and there was a big old barbeque in Dexter;s back yard protected from the rain. People were happy and the entire event had a festive atmosphere.
Oh and we changed the locks, so Wells Fargo cant get in anymore. Dexter and his kids have new keys. Welcome to Occupy 2.0 – a full service protest movement.
In the last few years 7 homes have been re-occupied this way in San Francisco and most are still occupied by their original owners.