There's little like a spirited rally to get the blood pumping. There's nothing like an Occupy-Oakland style march to get the heart beating double-time, even if you are in shape.
And there's really nothing quite like having Scott Olsen showing up at your rally and marching with you, looking better than ever.
Eight days ago, the Lakeview Elementary School in Oakland was Occupied. The school session had ended, and the Oakland Unified School Board had long ago voted to close the school and use it for administrative offices. But concerned citizens have refused to give up.
The Oakland School District, trying to avoid the no-win situation of having police drag parents, teachers and students out of their once-and-hopefully-future school in full view of the media, opted to hope the protest and occupation would wither. They probably didn't contemplate three hundred people showing up in support of the occupation after marching from Oscar Grant Plaza in downtown Oakland, led by a student brigade...
But that's what happened today.
First up was a rally at Oscar Grant Plaza where speakers denounced the closure of five Oakland schools, with as many as twenty-five more to come next year; they denounced the privatization of our schools -- a professor from Laney, a local community college, told everyone that K-12 is just the beginning, attacks on community colleges are next. A school activist pointed out that this Occupation could not have happened and would not still be ongoing without the support of Occupy Oaklanders. Last but certainly not least Jabari Shaw performed his Chop from the Top piece for us -- a message that could be lost on no one who understands how much administrators, bureaucrats and police make in California compared to teachers.
"Chop From the Top" at the rally
"Chop From the Top" music video
After the rally came the march, from Oscar Grant Plaza uptown, then over to Lake Merritt and on to the Lakeview School via Grand Avenue. Here's a short clip as we march out of Oscar Grant Plaza up Broadway (Kossack Alyssa, photographer and indefatigable tweeter pops in in black at 12 seconds, I pop in in white at 35 seconds on the left).
Nearing the school the march poured under the freeway overpass structure, resulting in some amazing acoustics and making it seem like a crowd of ten thousand was approaching. The school is to the left beyond the underpass.
Every march should have to go under an overpass, if only just for the acoustics - the @LakeviewSitIn march arrives.
Then it was time for a short rally, breakout working groups and a barbeque. This rally was co-opted by one of the most dangerously subversize organizations in the United States -- ten year old children with microphones -- who told Tony Smith (Oakland Schools Administrator) exactly what they thought of his actions.
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland I am 10yrs old I dont like what Tony Smith us doing. I don't think he cares abt us.. http://campl.us/...
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland 10yr old thanks us for marching w/him. he says it seems like we really care about them--beautiful
The organizers have vowed to continue the Lakeview Occupation and summer school for at least another week. No matter how this ends, and it will probably end with some ugliness on the part of officialdom and the police, the spirit shown by all today will not soon be forgotten. People, not sheeple, and are coming out not to bow down, but to fight. And that is a good thing.
Here's a bunch of tweets in chronological order capturing, I hope, the spirits of the day.
Alyssa @alyssa011968"Chalkify" artwork at Oscar Grant Plaza, done on Friday. Showing prisons open for business while schools, libraries and homeless shelters are closed down.
#OO on way to march. i hope i get there b4 they leave!
calling out sick for the #lakeviewsitin march feels worse than any time i ever called out sick for a job i had #solidarity
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland about 250 people here. join us! don't let the 1% make education only 4rich http://campl.us/...
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland it only takes a few dedicated, brave people to take a stand- stop neoliberals!
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland organize. we will only grow stronger. join us. we need people out of house in2 street
Eiko Huh @BellaEiko #OO has shaken up the world
Eiko Huh @BellaEiko We've been betrayed by the school board
Eiko Huh @BellaEiko CHOP FROM THE TOP!!
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland probably 400 people here now maybe 500. http://campl.us/...
Eiko Huh @BellaEiko #OPD there r kids here. Behave
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland here we go. children leading http://campl.us/...
Mobilize! Defend the Lakeview Occupation! Close the Jails, End Incarceration! #LakeviewSitIn March chant #OCCUPYOAKLAND #OO
Adam in Oakland @AdamInOakland
#ggi #lakeviewsitin #oakland dozens of people at rally wearing red squares. Fuckin beautiful #solidarity!
Scott in Oakland @OakScott
March just left OGP going to @LakeviewSitIn playing Michael Jackson, feels like #OO again!
Only thing that would make this march more awesome, is if they gave the kids pots/pans! #LakeviewSitIn #Montreal #Solidarity
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland "they got bailed out! we got sold out! education is a right! 4 our children we will fight! http://campl.us/...
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland "Education is a right, not just for the rich and white! http://campl.us/...
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland good is now parents occupying school considered liberals-we r radicals- moved left http://campl.us/...
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland workshops&bbq. need ppl. give it up for the occupiers-they didn't just sit in they transformed to school
Glitter Dog @lolprol
Ppl who think the cops protect us, take note: OPD bailed on crowd control and the bike bloc took care of it. #lakeviewsitin
Kevin Seal @Kevin_Seal
500-700 protesters now arriving at Lakeview to support the sit-in. "Tony Smith: RE-OPEN OR RESIGN" getting louder. #OO
#oo #LakeViewSitIn #OccupyOakland people enrolling children in the peoples school & btw cops didn't take sound system
Occupy Wall Street @OccupyWallStNYC
The @LakeviewSitIn is 1 week young and going strong: http://ow.ly/... #OccupyEdu #Lakeview #PeoplesSchool
Lakeview Sit-In @LakeviewSitIn
#OccupyOakland regulars helped round out a fierce march to #Lakeviewsitin . 'Hella' thanks to #OO bbq committee for holding down the grill
Sammy Beach @OccupyDisabled
Why are special education services being reduced in California? http://prsm.tc/...
Why are special education services being reduced in California? http://www.helium.com/... 1% sociopaths don't give a fuck. #OO
Sharon Higgins @sharonoak
A shout out goes to these Oaklanders working to save a beloved public elementary school. @LakeviewSitIn @DianeRavitch
Photo credits: Alyssa took all of the photographs except for the chalkify one just above; unfortunately I've lost the pointer back to whomever took that one.