This post about “day 20” is less about a specific day and more about the blossoming over the days here of a commons. A commons against capitalism, and if it is allowed to grow, perhaps it will someday become a commons beyond capitalism.
This morning, I awoke to news that another newly formed commons, across this continent—the occupation in Oakland, California—was brutally raided, rousted, and destroyed by riot police, who then arrested some ninety people. Those in power in Oakland first isolated that part of the city, to prevent others from coming to the aid of this two-week-old encampment. One of the first acts of the Oakland occupation on city hall square, called Frank Ogala Plaza, was to rename the space Oscar Grant Plaza, in memory and honor of the young black Oaklander who was murdered in cold blood by police on New Year’s over two years ago. The occupiers plan to regroup today at 4 p.m. at the Oakland Library, but their embryonic commons of a general assembly and working groups, makeshift homes, self-managed food and health care, music and education, safety and new ideas like a service-workers’ union has, for the moment, been squashed by those who want to hold power close and are scared by the sight of people trying, with all the contradictions and difficulties it entails, to spread power among everyone, and use that shared power to envision our own cities, to sustain our lives in common. [Update: the 4 p.m. reconvergence in Oakland turned into a massive peaceful march of some 2,000 people, to which Oakland Police Department is responding, as I post this, with clouds of teargas. All eyes on (re)occupy oakland, and bravery in the face of brutality.]