Its January 29th 2013. I have been occupied for close to 500 days now, with no end in sight. A year ago yesterday was the one year anniversary of “Move In Day” in Oakland, which was a day that changed my life. I cannot believe it has been a year already since I felt the sting of teargas for the first time, was stunned by flash grenades, and ran from “less lethal” rounds. I went to Oakland, already well aware of the atrocities activists were facing, and had historically faced in this city. I knew about Scott Olsen, I knew about the violent evictions, multiple targeted arrests, and non stop political repression of the citizens of Oakland. As much as you can read about it, look at pictures, watch streams and videos of it, you really don’t know what it is like, until you face it yourself. And when you do, it changes you, it affects you on so many levels, and each person in such a unique way, it is hard to capture.
For myself the PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) came in varying forms. It was apparent that the group I was traveling with was affected, when on our way home, a gas station attendant reminded us to pay for our gas over the loudspeaker, and we were sure they called for an “Unlawful Assembly”. Every loud noise made us jump, for me they still do. The nightmares soon followed, the police state invaded my dreams, night after night, waking up traumatized, sometimes shrieking or fighting in my sleep. But no matter how many bad dreams, or how badly the lights and sirens, and loud noises got to me, I couldn’t stay away. If anything going to Oakland, and experiencing the trauma I did at the hands of OPD, only made my will to go out and fight stronger.
Since J28, I had more than my fair share of being rioted upon by police, who claim they are trying to keep things peaceful. Police who have no qualms about drawing their baton, and hitting an innocent bystander. Police who yell at you that your causing unsafe traffic conditions, while running you over with their motorcycles, or cars. Acts of aggression sometimes so violent, it makes me question the humanity of these beings. How is it we have come to a world where “Law and Order” is upheld by bullies, who at times don’t even seem to be accountable to follow the laws they have sworn to uphold.
If you wonder why we’re shouting “Fuck The Police” you obviously are not paying attention to what is going on around you, or you would be shouting right along with us.
Why are we allowing ourselves to be governed by a system like this? Why do people keep insisting we can make it better, when all I see is a growing prison industrial complex, a growing police force, and privatization of these industries with little to no accountability. We are building prisons, while closing schools. Everything you can think of is being criminalized, and we are constantly expanding on this system, with no end in sight. Prisoners are nothing more than slaves to the corporations that run these prison complexes. The corporations do well for themselves, receiving money from the state for care of prisoners, then putting those prisoners to work, for little compensation, to manufacture goods, or provide services they may otherwise have to pay a living wage for. To see how few people are educated about this, or even care, saddens me, and makes me wonder what will it take for people to understand this issue, as it seems its only a matter of time before we are all incarcerated.
We as individuals are at a point where we really need to decide enough is enough, and stop giving up our freedom in the name of “security” because it is a false reality. We need to look into our own communities, and the effects this has on them. If the people cannot petition or protest their government for fear of retribution in the form of brutality, or imprisonment, then what kind of society have we built? I keep hearing people talk about fixing the system, and sure, I will always lend a hand to those who are actually trying, but it is so corrupt, so powerful, that it is no longer under the control of the people. Those who claim to represent us, represent no more than business interests of their investors, otherwise known as “campaign donors”. Even getting money out of politics isn’t enough when those who are already in it are not only taking money in the form of campaign contributions but also are funded under the table by special interest groups. So even if this “amendment” groups are working on passes, politicians will still find a way to take money from “investors” with agendas.
So being as I am so jaded with this system, and it feels like we have been “playing a glitch” for far too long. Its time to press the reset button.