I just spent about an hour at the Occupy Oakland General Strike today near Frank Ogawa Plaza in downtown Oakland. It was a beautiful day as thousands turned out to peacefully express their various political and economic views.
Most were calling for some kind of economic reforms — greater taxes on the rich, curbing corporate excess, and allocating more public funds toward education and jobs, etc. But there was no "typical protestor;" the folks I saw spanned every age group, racially diverse, and espousing many different causes. There were communists, labor union organizers, buddhist monks, professors and high school students.
I was impressed by how well-organized the rally seemed to be. There were volunteers directing traffic, a staffed lot to park your bike for free, first aid, food and water, and many information and book tables. It had a festive feel with music playing, people drumming, and smiles everywhere.
As I was leaving, hundreds more appeared to be pouring into the plaza from all directions. There's another rally at 5pm and a march to the Oakland ports to try and shut them down starting at 4pm. Hopefully it will remain peaceful and positive throughout the day. There was no visible police presence while I was there.
Here's my favorite sign of the day.
I loved this dapper couple on bikes.
This was some kind of performance art thingee.
These MCs got the crowd worked up prior to the noon rally with some political hip-hop.
This is what democracy looks like!
More of my pictures here.