2011 in Photos: From the Front Lines of the Bay

by Bay of Rage  Saturday Dec 31st, 2011 2:15 AM

Over the past few years, a skeptical optimism began to emerge among those in this country who had defined themselves in open antagonism towards capital and the state. It seemed possible that maybe, just maybe, the terrain of struggle was finally shifting and the balance of forces would slowly tip in our favor.

2011 was the year that this desire for a generalization of social struggle and hostility towards authority blossomed in cities across the world, confirming to even the skeptics that times have indeed changed. The radical imagination has been liberated and what seemed impossible only a few months ago has now come to be. In particular, this explosion of resistance found some of its most fertile ground in the Bay Area during 2011. What follows is a chronological story of some of the important moments. These photos only scratch the surface of the many interweaving stories that combined to make this year unforgettable and set the stage for what promises to be a very interesting 2012. 

February 5: Thousands take to the streets around San Francisco’s Civic Center during a solidarity demonstration with the revolutions in Tunisia and Egypt

March 4: Rally in front of Oakland’s city hall against proposed new gang injunctions in the Fruitvale District

April 19: Day 6 of the encampment and spiritual vigil to protect the Sogorea Te sacred site at Glen Cove in Vallejo from development and desecration

April 22: Banner at another rally against proposed Oakland gang injunctions

April 25: Sogorea Te Warriors drum and sing on day 12 of the encampment at Glen Cove

May 17: Nearly 200 speakers denounce Oakland city council’s planned gang injunctions. The meeting goes late into the night but the council eventually votes 4-3 in favor of the injunctions.

May 31: An action in solidarity with the Sogorea Te encampment forces Bay Trail to divest $200,000 from the development project.

.June 17: The first American Book Bloc faces off with Oakland police after a brief scuffle during Anticut 2, an anti-austerity demonstration. The books were brought out to demonstrate solidarity with the struggle against the city’s proposed closure of 14 out of 18 libraries.

July 1: A corridor in the Security Housing Unit (SHU) at Pelican Bay Prison. Tens of thousands of prisoners across California joined a hunger strike started on July 1 by prisoners in Pelican Bay’s SHU.

July 4: Homes Not Jails marches from Dolores Park and occupies the vacant Sierra Hotel in San Francisco’s Mission District.

July 11: Demonstrators take over the Civic Center BART station a week after BART Police gun down Charles Hill on the station platform.

July 11: BART security struggles to keep trains running as anti-police demonstrators hold open car doors and climb on the train.

July 11: Riot police are deployed after demonstrators successfully shut down three BART stations.

July 16: Kenneth Harding Jr bleeds to death after being gunned down by two SFPD officers on a Bayview MUNI line. The officers were chasing Harding because he had evaded a routine fare check.

July 19: An anti-police action called for in response to the police execution of Kenneth Harding advances towards the Castro from Dolores Park.

July 19: Demonstrators smash up the Castro MUNI station during the march.

July 19: Motorbike police guard the Mission SFPD station as smoke bombs, paint bombs, rocks, hammers and flares are thrown.

July 20: Victory is declared on day 98 of the Sogorea Te encampment when the city of Vallejo is forced to cancel its development plans for the sacred site.

August 13: Anonymous hackers declare war on BART after the transit agency temporarily shuts down cell phone service during a protest against the police execution of Charles Hill.

August 15: BART riot police emerge from the Embarcadero station in San Francisco. This is the the first of the weekly BART station disruptions called for by Anonymous. Four stations are successfully closed down in this first action.

August 22: The second Anonymous BART disruption makes its way between stations on Market street in San Francisco.

September 8: The final BART disruption attempts to force open fare gates in the Powell St. station. Dozens of demonstrators are kettled inside the station and arrested.

September 22: After the UC president proposes hiking raising tuition by 81%, the Book Bloc makes its second appearance, leading hundreds of students in an anti-austerity march across the UC Berkeley campus

September 22: After students occupy Tolman Hall on the UC Berkeley Campus, scuffles erupt and people are pepper-sprayed as UCPD officers attempt to break through the Book Bloc defending the building.

September 22: As night falls on occupied Tolman hall, police lock the doors to the building, intending to arrest those inside. Fights break out as people rush the doors and fight the police from both the inside and outside. Rocks, traffic cones and chairs are thrown and the police eventually let the occupiers go.

October 5: Demonstrators block the street with their bodies and build barricades as police attempt to raid the OccupySF camp in front of the Federal Reserve building.

October 10: Occupy Oakland kicks off in front in renamed Oscar Grant Plaza with words from native organizers involved in the successful encampment at Sogorea Te/ Glen Cove in Vallejo earlier in the year.

October 14: Food is served up 24/7 at the Occupy Oakland kitchen in Oscar Grant Plaza.

October 25: Barricades are erected around the entire perimeter of Oscar Grant Plaza in advance of the massive early morning police operation to evict the encampment.

October 25: As the sun rises following the militarized sweep of the plaza, the Occupy Oakland camp lies in ruins. Close to 900 officers were called in to destroy the camp.

October 25: An OPD Tango Team opens fire on the emergency march on the day of the eviction

October 25: Iraq War veteran Scott Olson (right) faces off against lines of riot police preventing demonstrators from re-occupying Oscar Grant Plaza. Minutes later his skull is fractured by a police projectile as officers fire tear gas, flash bang grenades and rubber bullets into the crowd.

October 25: Tear gas fills downtown Oakland streets as clashes with police stretch late into the night.

October 26: Thousands re-occupy Oscar Grant Plaza. In response to the eviction and police repression, the general assembly votes 96.9% in favor of a general strike the following Wednesday November 2.

October 27: Fencing placed by police around the perimeter of Oscar Grant Plaza is mysteriously repurposed.

November 2: Tens of thousands flood Oscar Grant Plaza and the streets of downtown Oakland in the first general strike in the United States since the Oakland General Strike of 1946.

November 2: Graffiti left on a Broadway building during the first half of Oakland’s general strike.

November 2: Whole Foods is attacked during the Anticapitalist march on November 2. Managers had allegedly threatened employees who intended to strike.

November 2: Wells Fargo is smashed up during the Anticapitalist March.

November 2: Tens of thousands swarm the Port of Oakland

November 2: As the sun sets, all operations at the Port are successfully shut down by the strike.

November 2: As night falls, hundreds occupy a vacant bank-owned building one block from Oscar Grant Plaza.

November 2: Clashes break out and barricades are set on fire as riot police move in to evict the building occupation.

November 2: The day draws to a close at the intersection of 14th & Broadway.

November 16: A massive student strike at UC Berkeley ends with demonstrators setting up camp in Sproul Plaza, after being brutally beaten during their attempt to camp the week before.

November 18: Student demonstrators at UC Davis are pepper sprayed by UCPD Lieutenant John Pike.

November 30: Over 100 people in Santa Cruz successfully occupy a former bank building and hold it for three days.

December 12: The Queer & Feminist Bloc marches on the Port of Oakland at 6:00am as part of the massive Coordinated West Coast Port Blockade.

December 12: After successfully blocking the morning shift at the Port of Oakland, demonstrators regroup at Oscar Grant Plaza, resting up before returning to block the evening shift.

December 12: The evening shift at the Port of Oakland is successfully blockaded. Every major port along the West Coast is either successfully shut down or significantly disrupted. Solidarity actions occur in Colorado, Texas, New York and Japan the day of the blockade.

*special thanks to all the sources of the photos, especially Indybay, Dignidad Rebelde, KALW’s Informant & Protect Glen Cove