« | Home | »

Portraits from the Occupation

Tags: |

Earlier this year, Lucy Raven and I were commissioned by the Oakland Museum of California to make a series of short video portraits of people involved in, opposed to, or otherwise affected by Occupy Oakland.

After Occupy Wall Street, OO has been the most visible American Occupy. It has also been the most militant, and following Oakland’s efforts to clear the physical encampments at City Hall Plaza – which involved mass arrests, and the wounding of Scott Olsen, a former marine – OO became a constant presence in the news cycle, and a pilot light for the whole Occupy movement.

In November, OO called for a citywide General Strike. (The last General Strike on American soil had also taken place in Oakland, in 1946.) In January, protesters tried to take over the city’s Civic Auditorium, which has stood empty since 2005. (This photograph, taken a block or so from the auditorium, and directly in front of the Oakland Museum, catches the resulting street battle from a rather dramatic angle. Lucy and I are in there, somewhere, standing just inside the museum’s entranceway.) The project we ended up making launched on 1 May, which was widely advertised as a ‘Day of Action’ throughout the Bay Area.

We conducted the interviews in March and April, aiming for the best cross-section we could get within the time and space we’d allotted ourselves, and editing minimally, for length and clarity. They appear in the order they were recorded in, starting with Susie Cagle, an independent journalist who’s been arrested, twice, in the course of reporting on OO, and ending with Anthony Batts, Oakland’s former chief of police, who handed in his resignation just as the first tents were being pitched at City Hall Plaza. Our hope was that the video portraits would serve as a sort of crib-sheet. Watching them now, we’re struck by the distance between various sides, by the ideological stalemates they describe, and by the way those stalemates have played out, in real time, on the streets of our city.

Comments are closed.


  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • Timothy Rogers on An Exercise in Forgetting: Using WWI as an exemplary case, it would be easy to demonstrate that “most soldiers” do not willingly sacrifice themselves on the altar of nation,...
    • steve kay on An Exercise in Forgetting: Sadly this year, friends and I experienced more hostility to white poppies than ever before. Usually merely mutterings, and Quakers got away with by a...
    • Joe Morison on An Exercise in Forgetting: The morality of the First World War is as hard to pin down its causes. Just because it was a moral catastrophe that should have been avoided doesn’t...
    • ejh on Sporting Facts: Remarkably, it transpires that the seventy-quid plus that AGON are demanding of spectators in Holborn doesn't even give the purchaser more than thirty...
    • kathleen conway on In Squirrel Hill: Poignant article, beautifully written. Thank you. On this election day, we can hope for a change in our nation. Maybe this will be the day that will...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

Advertisement
Advertisement