Inside OccupySF's ongoing building takeover

The welcome desk at the emerge SF Commune,
Yael Chanoff

UPDATE 1:15 PM: Without warning or an order to disperse, riot police arriving by bus suddenly raided the building moments ago, making more than a dozen arrests so far. More soon as the story develops.

Editor's Note: Guardian staff writer Yael Chanoff reports from the inside of vacant building that Occupy SF has taken over in hopes of creating a community center.

The inside is mainly filled with people organizing, exchanging ideas, and e-mailing and calling contacts from around the city who may be able to provide assistance for the effort. Many are coordinating for a meeting with the Catholic Archdiocese – which owns this former mental health clinic at 888 Turk Street – that is scheduled to take place this afternoon. A delegation from the Interfaith Council of San Francisco and the National Lawyers Guild are also on their way to building to help plan for the meeting.

A head count last night showed there were about 125 people here. Some have left, but many arrived this morning, leaving about 100 at this point. Various rooms in the building have been organized for different purposes including a welcome desk and information center, sleeping quarters, library, and medical clinic.

Last night, it was a relaxed party atmosphere with groups in every room expressing ideas for the community center and employing strategies for keeping the space. Graffiti art and messages were painted in hallways, a free hot meal was served, and people mostly respected designated composting, recycling, and trash bins. The commune received at least five deliveries of donated pizza.

By 7 am today, occupiers were sweeping, scrubbing and picking up stray trash, as well as painting over most of the message on the walls with white paint. The police are holding a partial line, with barricades blocking the sidewalk on two sides of Gough and Turk streets, and officers are attempting to prevent people from entering the building.

However, they have not blocked off the street and many people have entered by riding up to the entrance in bikes, cars, or simply walking past police. Deliveries of supplies this morning includes breakfast of cereal, milk, coffee and fruit; as well as mattresses and warming clothing.

About 20 people are sitting outside the building in the sun blasting KPOO radio, which made an announcement on air a few minutes ago that it is the soundtrack of the SF Commune. There is a tent set up on the roof, and a group up there doing a coordinated dance number.

There is a general assembly meeting set for 6 pm and most occupiers are hopeful that there won't be a police raid before then.


The Archdiocese should turn off the power and the police need to get those criminals out of there. They have crossed the line from protestors to criminals.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 12:55 pm

squatting here for the long haul and then, as soon as the cops tell them to leave, they'll leave.

Occupy is a joke at this point.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

You must be a Christian....sounds like something a Godless-Jebus follower would say "turn off the power" and get the scum poor people out. No wonder why I left the church...too many scumbags like you in them! You'd kick Jesus out !!!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 8:16 pm

Wonderful, OSF hijacked by apostate Catholics trying to work through their rage against the Church via activism.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

Another instance of the failed San Francisco housing agenda being grafted onto Occupy. As on January 20, the nonprofit sector not only could not successfuly graft its agenda onto Occupy but it failed, and by casting Occupy as Yet Another Poor People's movement, got its stink all over Occupy.

Some self-styled "revolutionaries" who fear confronting the cops!

The reason why progressivism is failing in SF is because it was cast as a poor people's movement. The reason why OWS has succeeded to the extent that it has is because it is a movement of the 99%.

Poor people not only have no money, because they have no money they have no political power. Of course there were few actual poor people involved in planning this. The nonprofiteers from the "Action Council" make much more money than the poor they purport to represent. In fact, they are paid to ensure that the voices of the poor are drowned out by the activists. There is fear of letting the poor speak for themselves because the poor might say the "wrong" thing.

Casting this action as the "San Francisco Commune" alienates more of the 99% than it magnetizes. Leading with a denunciation of Sit/Lie Prop L further tars OSF and OWS with the failure of the San Francisco progressive left. This steadfast refusal to focus on the goddamn banksters and warmongers and instead on the progressives' eternal enemies further devalues the currency of OSF/OWS.

This was a typical Homes Not Jails action and ended like every Homes Not Jails action, in retreat. Why would they have expected anything different this time?

OSF really needs to dispatch with the OSF Action Council.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 4:47 pm

God bless these occupy folks for connecting the dots between the MILLIONS OF SQUARE FEET just laying EMPTY in San Francisco and elsewhere, and those that NEED SHELTER - - REAL shelter, and NOT just a 'bed'....


Posted by bbbbmer on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 4:58 pm

So who called out the pigs and gave them their marching orders, eh? I'll give you one guess and his name is Lee, acting under orders from corporate plunderers and their City Hall henchmen. Next up: Occupy City Hall. You've been warned Mayor Pants on Fire.

Posted by barry eisenberg on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 5:00 pm

Wow, I can certainly understand why you wouldn't want that.

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 5:34 pm

If you can't DO something better than what Occupy is attempting to do, if you can't even SUGGEST something better than what Occupy is doing, then shut the puck up until you do. I am so tired of the tired lefty "critics" telling itself it's tired and giving no new ideas or actions to the mix other than spouting off criticism of people actually trying to do something about the problems.

Vacant buildings, the hording of property and manufactured scarcity is a huge problem at the rotten core of capitalism. At this time in history the 1% is using the economic crisis it created as an opportunity to buy up all the single family homes and real estate it can. Their derivatives casino has accumulated vast amounts of shadow capital which just sits in their digital vaults. They're not taxed. They've depleted earth's natural resources and reduced the need for labor while booming the population and the supply of labor. Consumer products have zenithed and there's no where else to invest except buying up all the 99%'s stuff and renting it back to us at exorbitant rates. Privatization of public resources and mass purchase of pennies-on-the-dollar real estate is the order of the day and Occupy is nailing this abominable paradigm face on. And what do does the Whining "Left" Critique Club do? Help the 1% keep doing the same thing apparently, by sitting on the butts and spinning their postmodern hot air.

Posted by Sandy Sanders on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 9:16 pm

What the "Commune" did yesterday did nothing to make any progress on any of what we agree on and what gives OWS/OSF power.

The way to ensure the continued rule of the 1% is to keep on doing what's not worked and to lash out at anyone who brings this up.

The same people doing the same thing over and again and failing worse each time is getting really old. The exclusive focus on "the most vulnerable" has killed the SF progressive electoral movement and cannot be allowed to take OSF with it.

The power of OSF is in the GA not the Action Council comprised of professional nonprofit and labor activists who represent potential for cooptation.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 9:43 pm

Solidarity from Cascadia! Haters gonna Hate, Pigs gonna Pig.. but you have inspired many here and across the Country. Love the "Commune" name to and hope it spread. Keep it Up, Escalate, Be the Crisis! See you on the barricades!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 10:31 pm

Solidarity from Cascadia. Haters gonna hate, Pigs gonna Pig... but you have inspired many up here and across the country. Keep it up, Escalate!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 10:27 pm

Solidarity from Cascadia! Haters gonna Hate, Pigs gonna Pig.. but you have inspired many here and across the Country. Keep it Up, Escalate, Be the Crisis!

Posted by Guest on Apr. 02, 2012 @ 10:29 pm

Solidarity means standing with people, making sacrifices so that others might WIN, not standing with people when they repeatedly make poor choices and eat the proverbial political shit sandwich.

Occupy has been successful because it represented a moment of popular evolution to an increasingly corrupt state controlled by banksters. We need to be doing more of that evolving and less of the devolution to the failed political practices of the past that got us into this fucking mess in the first instance.

The days of leftist oversocialization combined with feelings of inferiority as organizing tools are OVER.

Posted by marcos on Apr. 03, 2012 @ 7:12 am

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