Truth be told: There is no place like this one.
Figuratively and all too literally, things here at the compound are a frothing, molten pit of hope, shit and reverie. We have big dreams for this space, but are at a constant battle with the ubiquitous decay of our beautiful broken home and social center. Projects in the works are a neighborhood infoshop, community apothecary, medicinal garden, and an improved event space for benefits. By the end of summer we hope to have all of them under way. Before they are to become a reality we have to deal with our shit, in all forms, by fixing the plumbing in the downstairs RCA TV repair shop.
Friday July 19 we will be hosting a good ol’ fashion, moral boosting, fun time having Secret Garden Party dinner fundraiser. There will be delicious food, live music, acts of talent, games and more. All proceeds will go to the social center and future infoshop. Dinner will be served from 5 to 8. Come ready to indulge in decadent fare catering to Vegan and gluten free folks, homemade ferments and fancy cocktails. Music lineup to come.
After 2 years and six months of exponential accumulation, countless projects (completed and otherwise), an eviction defense saga to rival the trilogy series of Lord of the Rings, and countless creative acts of destruction, we are finally sending out our trash on a West bound train. Join us! in cleaving the fat from the proverbial bone from our “esqueleto bonito”
We’ve ordered a 30 yd dumpster and are holding a work party this Saturday and Sunday 11am to 7pms.
Some projects to look forward to: trash removal, fire pit building, window replacement, couch demo, bike storage, shitty tag removal, garden planting, painting, plumbing, door installation.
Here’s a couple things we could use more of: Gloves, Hazmat suits, sledgehammers, regular hammers, drills, brooms, shovels, trash bags, saws, fasteners, painting supplies, Safety wear, snacks, bbq materials
Punk Show Saturday night after the work party. Bands: St. Lorena, Tiny Knives, No Business, and Looms.
Leave your dog at home. Come expecting to work and work it good.
Although many of you have already heard of our recent victory in our legal battle against Rockridge Properties over possession of the Hotmess/RCA, it is worth repeating in summary: “Developers Fuck Off!”
For us it is a historic moment! That the last eight months of emergency meetings, eviction threats, “construction”, living in the law library and Alameda court houses, emotional breakdowns and insomnia, has carried us to this success reminds us of our collective power and opens new possibilities for our future.
Though we are far from legalized, far from anything less than precarious, let’s draw strength from our success in preparation for a deepening in our investment to each other, our concentric circles of affinity and autonomous movements.
We can envision a future where we are more focused on the decolonization of everyday life, work towards the cessation of patriarchal oppression, forge alliances between tenants and squatters, people of color and workers, and create situations that reproduce queer transcendence of State and Capital.
We continue to regard the authority of the Judicial system as illegitimate and absurdly injust. Our being criminalized for having no where else to live doesn’t end with this ruling. We are proving that squatters can be more than opportunistic, that we are willing to take risks in defending others and holding space for the anarchist project of total liberation.
It’s imperative that we expand our circle, that we continue to open abandoned properties for our practice of self-determination and live without contract or citizenship, collectively invested the rejection of all domination, and returning of this land to those indigenous to it.
Let’s put together some events, queer and transgendered intimacies, engage in discussion and criticism. Thanks to everyone who made it happen, for securities sake…we know who we are! Let’s take it to the next level!
We got the ruling overturned!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
The Compound: 1, Rockridge Realty/Bruce Reeves: 0
After 6 months of post-trial fighting, 10 months of legal battle and 1 year of eviction threats, we have FINALLY gotten a break and won the first round in the fight for our home. No, this is not the end. Have no doubt that they will come swinging in the next round tenfold. But for now, we are safe.
Since the legal fight began we have chosen tactics that some of you disagree with. We are not deaf to the argument that entering into the courts of the bourgeois, on any grounds, is a concession of our anarchist principles. We ask that you don’t use this as a reason to disengage yourselves from the space. Trust us that the fight that we engaged in the courts was a subversive one. We followed no rules, got away with things no lawyers ever could and depleted our opposition of extensive money, time and resources. And we simply cannot theorize ourselves out fighting in every way possible to prolong the life of a space that provides housing to so many folks who could otherwise not afford it.
Friends, it has been an arduous struggle and we have not come out unscathed. We are wounded and exhausted but proud of our collective perseverance. Help us breathe new life into the space and make the best of our precious time we’ve fought so hard for. It was a brutally cold winter and with the thaw of spring new potential is found.
Long live the compound. Long live Autonomy. Long Live Anarchy
Hot Mess/RCA 2043. Hot Mess/RCA Infinite.
Dear Comrades, and whoever is left…
Once again the Hotmess/RCA compound is expecting a judgment sometime this week that we expect will put us back on the Alameda Sheriffs eviction list. We have every reason to believe that the Police are hungry to put an end to our autonomous space, and we may be finally reaching the end of our ability to litigate our way into a longer occupancy by legal means.
These are dangerous times for us. Collaboration between squats is evaporating. We have lost a dozen collective members since the New Year and we feel too that our support outside of the compound is waning.
Believe me, if we could give you a fixed time and date to organize a defense for this space around, we would. It’s in the interest of the State to organize it’s eviction as an ambush and catch us off guard at some absurd hour.
Forgive us if it feels like we “cry Wolf” every few weeks. Our eviction has legitimately been pursued by the Sheriffs numerous times since Judge Victoria Kolakowski ruled against us in October. It is only through our collective perseverance and your much appreciated communal support that we have kept this space.
Forgive us also for being so dominated by this protracted legal battle; it has jeopardized our ability to come out and support you and your projects. This is also a strategy of the State and Capital: to wear us down, to alienate us from our community, to deny us resources, and ultimately make us a ghetto within a ghetto.
Friends we are more than a squat, more than a land-project, more than the mythological autonomous zone alluded to in so many zines and idealistic visions. We are a home, a radical family, a vacuum in capitalist time and space. We are the best kind of spectacle, and thankfully (and in some ways regrettably)…not yet Hellarity.
We call on you now in preparation for the end, and the possibility of new beginnings. We are holding space for radicalized People of Color, Womyn, and Transgendered/Queer persons who would like to become collective house-members. As always (and I quote): support means painting murals, raucous events, community
meetings and educational workshops, gardening, and breaking all the barriers that pose us as “others” against each other.
There may not be another space like this, given the absurd investment we are seeing in the re-development of west Oakland. For now the corner of west Macarthur and MLK is out of the hands of private capital, city tax, and the prison-industrial-gentrification-complex. It’s imperative that we fight for this space, and continue to threaten the mores of private property. This, we cannot do without each other.
“The squatters defied simple classification: from rockers with working class roots to feminists, …immigrants…to the elderly, students to single mothers, and born-again Christians to ideological anarchists, they were more a motley collection than a self-defined collectivity of mainly students like the New Left…As living behind barricades became a way of life for many squatters, the illegality of their everyday lives radicalized their attitude toward the state and hardened their own feeling of self-importance.”
This excerpt, from The Subversion of Politics, describing the squatters of 1980′s Berlin, describes accurately our condition today. There is still time go deeper in our confrontation with Capitalism and Empire, to decolonize everyday life and find each other in this space where we can choose our own destiny. Where no one is turned away for lack of funds.
Mad Love and Solidarity
In our time squatting we’ve learned unconventional methods of survival. A
blurring of means and ends. Not least of these is the ability to adapt, to
disappear from one circumstances and hold our ground in others. To
understand the difference between defensive and offensive actions.
And once again, the need for action and for offense rises in our hearts.
The calls for passivity and obedience ring hollower each day, as building
by building our autonomous experiments collapse at the intervention of the
Police or the County Pigs. We are forced to look at the escalating
repression of squatters and autonomous spaces from within the situation,
as new partisans in a social war of evolving terrain.
*The Stayaway has received notice to vacate for Wednesday, February
13th at 6:00am,
*The Hot Mess/RCA Compound (Oakland’s Squatted social center) teeters
at the outer limit of ability to delay eviction in court, with a final judgement
ruled against them on February 8th. Both spaces could face raids on or
before Valentine’s Day.
The forces of Capital and Order have been chopping the Bay up like a pie,
each slice more lucrative than the next. Hot Mess/RCA stands as a
bulwark of autonomy amidst a West Oakland landscape that is rapidly
transforming into posh condos and shops for the petit-bourgoise of San
Francisco’s commuter class. An anonymous communiqué from BayofRage
published last year spells out the plans for The MacArthur Transit Village,
and in a broader sense, the MacArthur Corridor, of which Hot Mess/RCA
occupies an important point on:
“Once constructed, the Transit Village will be more a part of San Francisco
than of Oakland. The transit village is designed as a commuter enclave.
Without ever stepping into the surrounding north Oakland neighbourhoods,
yuppies can live near BART, travel to and from work and, on their Friday
nights, visit the upscale restaurants on Telegraph. This is not to say that
the Transit Village will have a neutral effect on surrounding areas…. there
is talk of revitalizing an ailing neighbourhood or, worse, reducing the
existing neighbourhood to a blank canvas on which developers can
capitalize on a “booming real-estate market.”…the construction on the
Transit Village can be anticipated to bring an increased security presence,
a fresh assault on graffiti and street art, and scores of new residents
sympathetic to the police and unaware of the neighbourhood in which they
- “Oakland is for Burning? Beyond a Critique of Gentrifcation”
The Stayaway is an intervention on a different aspect of Capital’s
restructuring project- the Foreclosure Crisis. This four unit apartment
building in the Highland neighbourhood was foreclosed on by Bank of
America and left squalid and vacant for years. Bank of America left the
house to rot, but in November 2011, squatters were invited by an adjacent
neighbor to restore the building, and they methodically scaled back the ivy
and blackberry vines that were threatening to swallow the entire property.
The Stayaway is only one among the tens of thousands of foreclosures
that have swept across in Oakland since 2008. The majority of these
foreclosures were on families of color, especially Black and Latino
residents of West and East Oakland. In 2011 and 2012, over 40% of
foreclosed property sales were to Real Estate Investment groups, not
families or individuals with planned tenancy.
This glut in foreclosures has led to countless stories of blighted and vacant
properties forgotten by their Mega-Bank owners, who found themselves
unable to juggle the thousands of homes they were now responsible for
maintaining. The Stayaway has frustrated Bank of America tirelessly in
their efforts to resist eviction, having already fended off the Sheriffs
successfully in September of 2012 through a combination of barricades,
thorough planning, and the presence of over 40+ supporters upon the
Sheriffs 8am arrival.
But the eviction notices have come anew, and that is why on the eve of
coming repression we find it necessary to define the terrain of our struggle,
to elaborate a discourse on autonomous spaces that is simultaneously
more than a How-to-Build-The-Barricades manual and more than a
screechy list of our grievances and injuries. We are not a militant vanguard
, nor are we liberal Citizens clamouring for our rights. We are a counterpower,
organized outside of the logic of rental agreements and mortgage
payment, landlord and property value. Our ability to hold and maintain
space rests not our lines of credit, or valid immigration documents, or
building our home-additions up to code: instead our social fabric is woven
from a will-full rejection of all of these things.
We’ll examine the evident:
Capital and the State have begun a massive restructuring and up-scaling
of the Greater Oakland area, that is inherently hostile to our project of
growing autonomous spaces.
This re-organization by its nature will seek to eradicate autonomous
spaces by swallowing them back into Order and Society. Every formerly
Autonomous space will be tamed by re-imposing the social relationships of
the Landlord, the Leaseholder, the Tenant, and the Home-Owner.
Every eviction of an autonomous space strengthens global capitalism and
weakens our ability to organize against it. These evictions reinforce the
oppressive social and economic relationships we are seeking to live
The trajectory of a “Renovated Oakland” in the era of San Francisco’s
second Tech Boom is as obvious as it is alarming- the creation of
infrastructure for an extended commuter metropolis, new surveillance
systems with the latest cameras, and the proliferation of Private Security
“Ambassadors” who work with business interests and the police to
maintain control of the streets. San Francisco will tower over the west
coast as a model of The New Tech City, responsible for much of the social
infrastructure that increasingly comes to define middle and upper class
identity in the era of smart-phone Facebook log-ins and OkCupid dates.
Gentrification and development will march in lock-step through the very
streets on which we had once sought reprieve from them. Social Centers
will be demolished to build condos, and squats in foreclosed homes will be
evicted by Investment Groups, who will oversee their gutting, remodelling,
and finally their marketing for sale.
Much of our shared history of resistance here will be willfully erased, not
only by bulldozers and development but in the minds of the new social
class arriving that will have neither seen nor care to see the battles for
freedom that we’ve waged here, in recent years and across history, from
the Indigenous Ohlone People to the Black Panther Party.
To Draw a Line in the Sand
Against these lapping waves of repression we choose to draw a line in the
sand, across our doorstep and before the boots of the fascists. We look at
these “Notices to Vacate” from within the situation and understand all the
threat of violence that piece of paper implies, the entire Apparatus of State
power that throws their weight onto these documents.
We have not forgotten the multiple raids on autonomous spaces here in
Oakland and San Francisco.
We have not been deaf to the repression of autonomous spaces close to
us in Portland and Seattle.
We have not been blind to the crackdown on squatters in Moscow, Athens,
Barcelona, and throughout the world: on the contrary we have watched
closely and found recognition of our struggle in yours. They are the same
struggle, the same position against the system that is not reducible to
ballot-casting or Voting Yes, but a real and tactical position in contested
territory of the Social War.
We have exhausted ourselves in the courts of Bourgeois justice, stretching
our knowledge of legalese and eviction law to their extent. But the courts
were not able to save us; they were not designed to legitimize our struggle.
Instead, we return to the defensive position we began in, holding a space
and refusing to move.
Our call then is not only for the protection and defence of The Stayaway
and the Hotmess/RCA, but for a renewed offensive of cracking houses in
the San Francisco Bay Area and throughout the world: One, One Hundred,
One Thousand Squats! And if we succumb to eviction, then we would see
the boarded windows of our former homes fall to the crowbar and hammer,
we would see the fences clipped full of holes and torn down for the
continuance of our struggle for new social arrangements in opposition to
LONG LIVE ANARCHY
IN SOLIDARITY WITH SQUATTED SPACES EVERYWHERE
IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE 100 GREEK COMRADES ARRESTED
DURING THE RE-OCCUPATION OF VILLA AMALIA IN ATHENS
FOR AN ANARCHIST REVOLUTION AGAINST PROPERTY AND THE
TOWARDS THE BUILDING OF EXARCHIA
- Some Oakland Anarchists
Act like it ain’t happening.
LEGAL: We have court tomorrow at 2. The long story short is that we should win this case and they keep making weak-ass excuses to rule against us. So we will be going in tomorrow to ask the judge politely, again, to overturn her ruling.
We’re prepared for an eviction any day though and need all y’all to be too. Thanks to those who showed up for the scare the other day.
IN THE MEAN TIME: Lets fucking rage.
- Comrade and honorary housemate C gets outa Santa Rita tomorrow and wants to have a bbq at the compound on Saturday with “lots of meat and some veggies.” Come over in the day time for food, fun and catch-up.
- The 3-day workshop extravaganza is on for February 8, 9 and 10. It will be a mix between hands on workshops and discussions about an array of topics. Each night we’ll show a movie and the last day will cap off with what we do best, a wild ass party. We have lots of spaces to fill so let us know, via email or the old drop by, if you have any idea for any of the forums.
AND REMEMBER KIDS:
All cops are bastards.
Thanks for bein our friends.
Endless summer in the dead of winter!
The first annual (and most likely the last) Compound 3-day workshop extravaganza!
Tentative dates are Feb 8-10.
Interest meeting for those, you know, interested is at noon on Saturday January 19, 2013 in the RCA TV repair shop.
Got a skill/idea you wanna share?
Workshop to give?
Movie to watch?
Writing to read and discuss?
Lets do it!