Oaktown Pirate


“I had journalists who were poking fun at me, while I was in jail, on Twitter and social media” ~ journalist Susie Cagle

Today is the anniversary of the 1886 Haymarket Square bombing, where someone threw a stick of dynamite at police attempting to disperse a labor demonstration; the ensuing melee killed seven police and four demonstrators. It is also the anniversary of the Kent State massacre of 1970, where National Guardsmen used live ammunition to disperse a student protest, killing four and wounding nine others. It is also Oakland’s 160th birthday. A city founded by squatters who staked a claim to land owned by rich conquerers in the first half of the 19th century shares its origins on the calendar with two points of America’s most violent domestic political history. I can think of no better time to recount its current state at the nexus of radical politics and militarized police. Exactly 160 years later, this is still the Wild West.

Occupied Oakland’s May Daze, me for Truthout. (via susie-c)

this was a really, really great article by Susie Cagle. 

(via scottrossi)

May Day 2012, Oakland, CA (RAW VIDEO)


Here are the raw video segments from the TOL May Day 2012 Broadcast.

All Team Oaktown Live videos are Creative Commons licensed (reuse,remix/non-$/attribution). Any booshwa from YouTube about “Matched Third Party Content” is in dispute as these were all captured at public, newsworthy events and come under “Far Use”.

Highlight clips to follow.

Oakland May Day 2012 Pt 1/7

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The subject of stay-away orders has been something that TOL has been mentioning on the stream for a while now. To summarize, the Alameda County District Attorney has has been issuing so-called “Stay-Away Orders” against people taking part in Occupy-related protests and activities, most noticeably in Oakland and at UC Berkeley.

These orders require people to stay 100 to 300 yards away from Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza or, in the case of the UC orders, away from ANY UC PROPERTY IN THE STATE, with the exception of going to class or to work-related activities…

Several weeks ago at a protest, Pirate bumped into Joseph (“L.A. Joe”) Briones, one of the recipients of a stay-away (and the first to be arrested for violating his order… or did he?) who had just been released from custody. At the time, Joe was recently free from a week in Santa Rita jail and didn’t feel up for speaking about his experience.

Wednesday afternoon, while attending an OO rally in support of Oaksterdam after Monday’s Federal raids, Joe caught up with Team Oaktown Live and was ready to talk about his situation, his experience with the stay-away orders, and how he never got arrested before Occupy…


Guerrilla camping is a tactic du jour for some in Occupy Oakland.

After a night and a day of occupying Mosswood Park (renamed Huey P. Newton Park by the occupiers), the expectation was that if the park remained occupied at 10pm Thursday night, the OPD would clear the park per the posted closing times.

By the time I got home from the jobby-job and got my gear rolling, it was closing in on 10pm. I tweeted that Team Oaktown Live would be going Live & Direct.

But there would be no livestream that night.

While pedaling up Broadway I heard an Occupier holler at me from in front of Luka’s. I pulled over quickly and was told that the park had been abandoned… BUT, there was a super-secret replacement camp being set up at a different location.

Then came the kicker: the occupiers setting up the camp were requesting a total media blackout: no tweeting about the secret camp, communication via trusted word of mouth only, and no livestreaming. The rationale given was that the occupiers wanted to avoid police harassment at least until dawn when the park opened, and that livestreaming would likely give away their position.

I learned the location of the park through non-public channels. Its existence wasn’t even being tweeted about, that I was aware of. But I knew where it was.

I thought about TOL’s position re: Sunshine Bloc and what that means and came to the following decision: In my role as citizen journalist I would go to the camp, camera off. If the cops showed up, I would go live. I decided to respect the request for media blackout (discussion of this choice below) in exchange for being able to go in person to take some notes and pix.

When I got to the new camp, it was about 11pm. Tucked off in a grassy corner without a direct view from the street were 3 small and 1 large tents, with more laid out on the ground awaiting poles. A large easy-up canopy with a broken, jagged metal spar was being jury-rigged into service and hung with an “Oakland Commune” banner. Around a tree were several smaller occu-signs, as well as the now notorious red Occupy Oakland sign.

My estimate is that there were around 15-20 occupiers, but it was dark and some of the tents were already occupied. Several unfortunate souls were puppy-piled together on top of a tarp without benefit of tent. Others were sitting around smoking cigs, toking on/passing the pipe, and generally cccu-chatting in the dark.

Some folks hadn’t heard that marchers in the Million Hoodie March broke past the fencing and stood on the Wall Street Bull, and we talked about that. We talked about how other Occupies have had to avoid smoking pot because of hassles from the cops. Not Oakland.

Then someone checking Twitter mentioned that people were tweeting about the existence of a secret camp, and wasn’t that something they should have thought better of? The location wasn’t mentioned, but the fact that there was a camp was brought up. Hello, media blackout?

Around 11:30, some guy walking through the area started laughing quite enthusiastically. People speculated as to whether or not seeing all the tents with Occupy Oakland signage was the cause of his mirth.

A little before midnight, with most of the camp bedding down for the night, I bid them farewell and mounted my bike for home thinking about what I’d seen.

On the one hand, the “War On Tents” has been most vigorously prosecuted here in Oakland. An out-of-town livestreamer planning on coming to town asked where the Occupy camp was, where he could pitch a tent. I told him don’t try it in Oakland.

Most of the anti-camping laws are actually anti-homelessness-in-public laws. Human necessities like warmth, food, a place to sleep, somewhere to shit/piss, these are things one has to pay for or GTFO. The fact that these are available to those who afford them makes the act of simply being HUMAN IN PUBLIC WITHOUT MONEY a crime.

That being the case, the ability to set up an encampment, even for one night, is almost an act of counting coup against the city and the OPD for Occupy Oakland activists. With so many Occupy camps torn down by so many police departments, any time we hear of a camp that still has tents… MASSIVE UPTWINKLES! Oakland ain’t never gonna forget October 25, 2011.

Saturday, March 17, 2012, the 6-month anniversary of the founding of Occupy Wall Street saw massive police repression by the NYPD. Some might even call it abusive behavior under the color of authority. Sunday night in Oakland saw (among other things) an epic dance party on the doorstep of OPD in solidarity/OWS. YES, in Oakland dancing at the police is a sincere act of revolutionary solidarity. And the “secret” camps were set up as solidarity as well, to say “Oakland still camps, if only this much!”

Counting coup, but a small private one. A night full of secret tents somewhere in the East Bay is not gonna affect the Oakland City Manager or the OPD or the 1%. In many ways, it’s a tiny, possibly insignificant gesture. [Transparency note: half of TOL thinks the gesture is pointless and insignificant but still worth paying attention to.]

But Winter is ending here in the Northern Hemisphere. It’s hard to maintain a camp during the cold, wet, dark season, even with permission. A lot of people have been talking about Occupy having gone into hibernation.

And yet the American Spring is on its way.

The May 1st General Strike is on its way.

And on the cold, dark streets of Northern California, there is a tent-shaped spark being kept alive.

Those who are betting against Occupy once the warm season arrives… I suggest you look at the cards and reconsider.

[Pic enhanced w/ Photo Toaster to try to fix low light levels]


[NOTE: The location of SSC2 is no longer secret, and has been called “Elaine Brown Park” after the former Black Panther leader. DOn’t go looking for them, the camp has moved on. Next location? Secret.]



[T]here’s no such thing as a neutral story. But there is such a thing as an honest story. An honest story is one that makes a good-faith effort to be forthright about the circumstances of its own creation.

The following is a joint section by both members of Team Oaktown Live. The super-secret second camp episode has raised the question, “Given that Team Oaktown Live espouse Sunshine Bloc, was it right for Pirate to participate in the media blackout around Secret Solidarity Camp 2? Would it have been better for Pirate not to have gone at all, rather than accede to the ‘No livestreaming except in an emergency’ request of the occupiers?”

What do we mean by Sunshine Bloc and embracing transparency as a value?

Believing in the values of Sunshine Bloc does not mean living in a glass hothouse. As Lexi’s mother used to say, “Some things are nobody’s business.” Both members of TOL appreciate being able to pick our noses in private, for example. Sunshine Bloc also doesn’t meant trying to force everybody around one to live in public 24/7. There are places and times when people have reasonable expectations of privacy. Because it’s not an on/off, all-or-nothing thing, some of the places and times when a greater expectation of privacy is reasonable do happen in public; for example, you’re unlikely to find Pirate busting the privacy of somebody smoking a joint in the alley behind a club.

Sunshine Bloc doesn’t mean everything that happens is equally newsworthy. The first time a flag gets burned on an FTP march, it’s worth showing. The seventh time… less so. Sunshine Bloc does not mean being a passive transmitter of recorded images with no judgment or decisions. Where the person holding the camera chooses to point it makes a difference; it affects what’s being shown and what conclusions viewers are likely to draw from what they see.

Sunshine Bloc doesn’t mean “if it’s not live, it has no value”. And it doesn’t mean “choosing not to go live means you’re trying to hide something.”

What TOL feels Sunshine Block is about is being as honest as we can be about what we’re doing, how we’re doing it, and doing our best to do so in “Fairness to the Truth”. Not all sides are equally valid, spin is not on equal footing with more honest interpreting of events, and true objectivity may be humanly impossible to achieve.

There are absolutely times when secrecy and confidentiality are warranted. Sunshine Bloc is not at odds with that idea.

When Pirate learned about the Super Secret Second Camp, its location and even existence were something of a secret, which went into his decision-making process. If the situation had been different — if the existence and location were being discussed on Twitter at the time and OO groups were openly having meetings — that would have been a much more public situation, with a correspondingly lower expectation of privacy, and Pirate probably would have refused to participate in a media blackout.

Pirate made the decision to go along with the media blackout because giving away the position of the secret camp did not (to his analysis) seem newsworthy or of public interest. Streaming live would probably alert the police, something the occupiers were attempting actively to stave off.

Pirate made the decision not to tweet or mention the new camp. When people queried about where his announced livestream was, Pirate mentioned the changed circumstances at #HPNP, but not the new camp. Pirate was up front with the Occupiers he spoke to that he would not be going live at the time but was planning to write about it after the fact.

Since then (or since waking up the next morning, to be precise), Pirate and Lexi have been discussing whether or not it would have been better for Pirate (on behalf of TOL) to choose not go to the camp rather than take part in the requested media blackout. (As we have said before, TOL are not members of OO and therefore do not consider ourselves bound by the “Vow of OOmerta”.)

(For what it’s worth, Lexi’s feeling is not that going somehow violated Sunshine Bloc principles, it’s that it wasn’t a good use of time. It was too late at night to be able to interview the people there to find out what they thought and why they were doing what they were doing, it was too dark to get any good pictures, and nothing happened to give Pirate any new or different ideas about the importance (or not) of camping. Given that, Lexi feels like Pirate did a rapid late-night ride to UnspecifiedLocationSeveralMilesFromHome and back and wasted several hours in the process just to be on hand “in case OPD does something”, without gaining much/anything in the way of new ideas, perspectives, images, sounds, or video.)

So to those who think transparency and Sunshine Bloc principles matter: What do you think? Did Pirate make the right call this time? Are media blackouts something Sunshine Bloc should participate in?

Disqus is enabled on this tumblr, or you can email us at TeamOaktownLive@gmail.com. We may post some of the more thoughtful responses to a future “Viewer/Reader Feedback” page, so if you don’t want your name/userid mentioned, or if you want us to paraphrase you rather than quoting directly, please let us know.

Pirate & Lexica
Team Oaktown Live


#OO #InterfaithTent #Sanctuary for #StayawayOrders #OccupyFaith #OWS

As part of the Occupy Faith conference being held by the Occupy Oakland Interfaith Tent, Conference members erected a sacred space in the form of a canopy, then walked the canopy into Oscar Grant Plaza for a multi-faith service.

This canopy was a form of religious “Sanctuary” for Occupy activists who have been given stay-away orders from the plaza. Supporters were encouraged to wear masks and bandanas to cover their identities.

Underneath the canopy were several masked people who may or may not have had stay-away orders

Taking part in the service were clergy from many faiths, 14 states, and two representatives of Occupy Wall Street’s faith community.

Recorded live on my iPhone on 3/21/12 at 17:35 PDT

Previously: Live & Direct from Occupy Oakland: Interfaith Sactuary For the Stay-Away Cr3w


TOL will be #LiveAndDirect from tonight’s #OccupyOakland’s #FTP march ~8:15pm PST #OCAM #OO #SunshineBloc http://www.ustream.tv/channel/oaktownlive

The epic rain of the last few days seems to be backing off. Unfortunately, the stabilizer Pirate ordered arrived without an essential part, and the…


Tony from #OO ARC: Stay-Away orders #PressConference. #Ocam #StayawayCr3w #Occupy

Tony Marks-Block of the Stop The Injunctions Coalition and the Occupy Oakland Anti-Repression Committee speaking after the official press conference about the stay-away orders issued by the City Government against several OO activists. Thu Mar 8, 2012.

Thursday the ACLU filed suit on behalf of several OO activists given stay-away orders.


#OO Stay-Away Orders #pressconference, Th Mar 8, 10:00. #StayawayCr3w #Oakland #Occupy #OWS

Joint Press conference between the Occupy Oakland Anti-Repression Committee and the Stop The Injunctions Coalition protesting “stay-away orders” against OO activists, as well “gang injucntions” issued in parts of Oakland, both seen as violations of constitutional rights

Thursday the ACLU filed suit on behalf of Occupy Oakland protesters hit with stay-aways


Thu M8 10:00am TOL will be #LiveAndDirect @ #OO’s press conf re: stay-away orders against Occupiers. #StayawayClub http://Ustream.tv/channel/Oaktownlive

NOTE: Social Stream will be disabled during this broadcast. Lexica will be at the jobby-job Thursday, leaving the stream w/out moderator…