By JP Massar
First they came for the anarchist books,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t an anarchist.
Then they came for the trade union books,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t a trade unionist.
Then they came for the religious and political books,
and I didn’t speak out because I wasn’t religious or political.
Then they came for me, and I objected,
But they had already seized the books with the Bill of Rights in them.
They came, as usual, in the middle of the night. Fifty or so of them, armed to the teeth and ready to carry out their mission. They came not to occupy, but… to remove the books.
Oakland Police evicted the first Occupants in many years of the abandoned building at 1449 Miller Street late on August 13th. That was the same day the abandoned building had been proclaimed a people’s library and public space, a Biblioteca Popul for a neighborhood in East Oakland sorely in need.
The keepers of the books were undaunted. The next morning they were back. They decided to re-establish the library on the sidewalk. Kids came. The children wanted to restart the garden, now inaccessible out back, and so a sidewalk garden was started. More kids came, some asking for books about dragons. Perhaps someone found them The Hobbit or The Chronicles of Pern, I can’t say for sure.
More people came, some dropping off books, some browsing, some borrowing. The book keepers announced a pot luck dinner, and then kept vigil through the night. For four days, with the Oakland Police hovering threateningly in idling cars just tens of yards away, they kept at it.
On Friday, they tweeted their announcement of a BBQ and community meeting for Saturday. The Occupy Oakland BBQ Committee, having previously proclaimed its own dissolution, nonetheless did not hesitate. Back they came, rivaling Lazarus, and with a little help from their friends…
produced, by 2:00 PM, one of the finest spreads in East Oakland.