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Letter from OaklandDAVID LAU
reports from the Bay Area, before and after the general strike.
Photo: David Lau
PART 1: Impressions on October 30, 2011
Occupy Everything, Liberate Oakland!
Late last Tuesday night, October 25th, social media feeds buzzed with the story of a two-tour Marine veteran of Iraq, Scott Olsen, struck by a police projectile fired at close range and left unconscious with a fractured skull. By Wednesday morning it was the lead story on Berkeley’s Pacifica radio. A member of both Veterans for Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War, the twenty-four-year-old Olsen had been on the front lines of the downtown Oakland march, protesting the dawn eviction of Occupy Oakland. Police from seventeen different cities and from as far away as Gilroy exercised their right to assemble long-coordinated strategies of repression on Tuesday night, shooting teargas and “fin-stabilized” rubber bullets at the crowd from behind shields and body armor (all courtesy of last decade’s Homeland Security grants). The cops even lobbed a “flash bang” grenade at the group of protestors who attempted to pick up the injured Olsen, who now languishes, finally conscious though unable to speak, in Highland Hospital.
Hearing the news, I thought of Rubén Salazar, struck in the head by a LAPD teargas canister inside the Silver Dollar bar in the aftermath of the East LA anti-Vietnam demonstration known as the Chicano Moratorium, in 1970. I thought of the several strikers shot and killed by Bay Area police in the 1934 Maritime strike. The workers’ answer to police murder in 1934 was to call a general strike in San Francisco.
from David Lau, "Yucca Flats"
In clover, you flopped
a feedbag phoenix
while I made oars with raised
lashes, unlimited calling
autographed by the rain
as surely the battlements
undergo cyst drainage
was how the movie ended,
In a gorge of whiplash
pigeons effect a great forgetting zone.
You were right before your original thought.