UPDATE: On the afternoon of April 2, the San Francisco Police Department raided the building that occupiers had taken over, arresting 75 people.
On April 1, Occupy SF held a mass march to take over an unused building and transform it into a social center and a new home for the movement. Succeeding in this action not only provided an important step forward for the “mostly moribund movement,” as the SF Chronicle alliterated, but it also disproved the notion that these sort of these are only meant to provoke a police confrontation, as many concluded after the failure to take the Kaiser Center in Oakland on January 28.
While the action and the goals were largely the same as the J28 action, including, there were a few significant tactical differences that may have been crucial to the success of the SF action.
First, everybody likely expected that the march would take the Cathedral Hill building–again. Choosing an unexpected target instead of the expected one may have thrown the police off guard. In fact, holding the action on April Fool’s Day may have confused them even further, raising the question of whether the entire thing was just a joke. Second, the building taken is far more modest that the Kaiser Center and owned by a landlord–the Catholic Church–who would be embarrassed to have the blood of assaulted protesters on their hands. The hesitation of the church to call in the police has been critical to the survival of the SF Commune so far.
Finally, however, is the similarity between J28 and A1, which is that vacant, unused buildings were sought out for occupation and transformation into social centers to serve the community. That these buildings sit empty while homeless people sleep on the streets is a crime that indicts our entire society, far more so than any trespassing charges against Occupiers.
Below are a few photos from the day of action.
(Photos 1,3,4: Alyssa Eisenberg)
(Photo 2: reclaimUC)