If at first you don't succeed, it turns out that there are thousands of vacant or foreclosed buildings and lots in Oakland, CA.
It seems like through some investigative saavy, hard work, a determination not to repeat the embarrassment of their first foreclosure occupation attempt, and a bit of karma, the Tactical Action Committee of Occupy Oakland may have found their proverbial God's Little Acre in the middle of the commercial district of West Oakland.
#OO Tactical Action Committee, with their now-iconic 'Occupy Oakland' sign, at the Port of Oakland on the morning of December 12th. Photo: allie123
The Committee has learned a few things since then, holding down the living-area portion of the historic foreclosure occupation they share with Causa Justa just a few blocks down the street. They noticed the triangle of barbed wire and graffiti in their neighborhood and began investigating at the assessor's office. According to Chris M., an original member of TAC, who I talked to the first night of the 18th and Linden occupation, their research showed that none of the five parcels that constitute the lot are owned -- not by private interests or city.
There's also no tax history for the lot, according to TAC, and neighbors say that for at least a dozen years, there’s been no use or ownership. Remarkably, from a capitalist-bureaucratic perspective, the lot does not seem to exist. Hence, the albatross of unclear ownership and undecided sponsorship that created so many problems at the last West Oakland occupation, has been eliminated. With no middle man, or woman, to complicate the matter, it is now just an issue between the camp and the city authorities.
Yup, there's a new Occupy Oakland encampment; it's been in existence for a a few days now, but it's location was only revealed yesterday (at 20th & Mandela). True, it's legal status is uncertain, but for the moment, the forces of
evil city government have not been unleashed. Apparently the police came around yesterday, but
... didn't seem to know what to make of the situation...
Property that no one apparently owns; space that hasn't been used or claimed. As far as I grok California homesteading law, which is pretty liberal as I understand it, that makes this property fair game for anyone who wants to occupy it (in the literal sense).
There can be no doubt that Occupy Oakland is living its name. They've #Occupied Frank Ogawa Plaza / Oscar Grant Park -- twice. They've #Occupied the Port of Oakland -- twice. They've #Occupied a tree. They've #Occupied Lake Merritt. They've helped #Occupy two foreclosed houses to date. They #Occupied the Oakland City Council meeting on December 20th. They've #occupied our storefront windows, and they've #occupied our hearts. Now they're #Occupying a literal no-man's-land.