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Communique from Oakland Street Party at Art Murmur

Posted 11 years ago on Aug. 4, 2012, 7:15 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

Protester holding a sign made to look like an City of Oakland permit application with words "No Permit? No Problem! FTP"

Many accusations are currently circulating in the corporate media about events in Oakland last night. To provide clarity, we offer the following Communique, which was distributed by autonomous individuals during last night's street party. Solidarity with our comrades in Oakland!


Oakland’s Art Murmur is supposed to be about art, culture, and community. But all that it represents to the Uptown, Downtown and KONO business district associations as well as the city administration is an opportunity for commercial expansion and business development, a tool to further their agenda of gentrification.

In spite of this, recent months have seen Art Murmur explode with spontaneous energy, with the insurgent spirit of people’s free expression and free association. Rather than a controlled spectacle and disciplined promenade of compliant consumers, it has become a truly communal gathering, an epic block party, the night in Oakland when everyone is out and about in the streets. It is a people’s carnival of street artists, uncontracted musicians, unlicensed vendors, unauthorized performers, random revelers and rebel spirits of the community coming together simply to be together, to socialize and share public space, above & beyond the call of consumption.

When the Art Murmur Corporation took over the original permit from the Rock Paper Scissors Collective to manage the event, it was under the condition that community members be allowed to set up tables & use 23rd street free of charge & without permits. Now the city’s business elite are trying to enforce permit restrictions, sending us the message that our shared social & public space is not ours to use on our own terms. And they are bringing in private security forces to intimidate and coerce us into compliance—wielding the threat of violence and expensive fines.

We’re sick of getting pushed out of our own space. They say we should get permits, but the process is inaccessible, unaffordable, and there are never enough “officially sanctioned” spaces to go around anyway. Their intent is to target street artists and vendors as a means of regulating and controlling the community’s use of public space, for the benefit of expensive galleries, fancy restaurants and developers. The effect is to better provide the capital-owning business elite with a controlled and sterilized neighborhood full of passive armies of docile workers and obedient shoppers. Their ambition is to redraw urban geography according to profit motives, and convert public and social life into the plaything of private interests. This amounts to an attempt to rob us of every free and spontaneous aspect of our communities and our lives, and replace each of them with no alternative but submission and the compulsion to consume.

We refuse to surrender our space. We want to encourage the organic and rebellious elements of Art Murmur to flourish. We are here to exercise a vision of a liberated city full of free art, free music, free culture, free expression, and free streets.

We are spontaneous, insurgent, uncontrollable.
These are our streets, and we are here to take them.