Text from flier that was thrown from the roof:
As winter approaches, we need a space to stay dry and healthy. We need a place to have a stable kitchen to feed our collective self. We need a space where we can better share our ideas and experiences – rooms for discussions, a library, space for workshops and casual conversations – all of which have become harder and harder to have in the plaza.
The occupation of this building is an act against the structural violence entrenched in our political, economic and social systems. As we move into the space, our intention is to collectively re-appropriate its use. We’re trying to discover ways of interacting with each other as equals. How to talk so everyone is heard; how to make decisions so everyone’s considered and included; how to feed and maintain a shared space; how to make sure work, responsibility, pleasure and ownership don’t fall on some more than others. It’s a hard process in itself, but it’s made even harder by the fact that it flies in the face of how almost everything in this city (the whole world practically) is run.
We know our ideas and actions, while currently small, have already proven to be contagious. They have the power to expose the explicit violence that we see in the police department and the jails. That violence also exists in work-related deaths and injuries, in deportation camps, and in communities that have been promised so much only to be left to rot in poverty and addiction. Our very homes and bodies are pushed to the limit by laws and workloads. Wilderness, which has the chance to exist outside of this madness, is, like the County Parks, slowly being sold off to those who want to drown it in this misery.
What would our world look like if we decided how our communities and neighborhoods functioned? What would this self-directed process be like, without a handful of people in charge of it all? What would our workplaces look like if those who actually did the work got to control them, too? What if schools were run by those who learned and taught in them, not by the dictates of careers or the economy? What if your own household, whether shared with friends or family, ran the same way?
So much of our lives are decided without our say. It’s made all the more degrading and humiliating by the fact that those who make the decisions claim to do so for our benefit or in our name. We no longer want to continue the farce. If the word of the handful of people who run this city and our lives is to be taken at face value, this is hardly an unreasonable request. They’ve left this building to rot. It isn’t the site of spectacular sporting events or corporate Christmas tree lightings. The city officials have long-since abandoned the building – much in the way they have abandoned us.
We have no intentions of reforming capitalism or improving democracy. We know there is no golden era to harken back to and restore – this country (like so many others) was founded on genocide, slavery and exploitation, and it continues this tradition today. We have only each other to have hope in.
We occupy in solidarity with those who struggle, but will not look towards the empty promises of politicians. We need to think beyond the Downtown Partnership and the Mayor’s ideas about creating condominiums for the elite, and start thinking about using these buildings for collective purposes. As long as we continue to look to politicians to solve our problems and the ruling class to have a conscience, things will only get worse. Power concentrated in the hands of a few will only bring more oppression and exploitation. We want to make decisions horizontally, and to share the little we have. Who knows, we might even surprise ourselves by what we’re capable of.
Come join us if you’re interested in getting to know each other, treating each other with genuine respect and plotting ways out of this mess. We carry a new world in our hearts, one much more fantastic, more empowering, and more just than the current.