How does Occupy Oakland work? And could it be a model for the Occupy Together movement as a whole?

Since the camp at Frank Ogawa/Oscar Grant Plaza first coalesced on October 10, it has grown rapidly to fill the plaza; and just as quickly, demonstrators have worked to create an infrastructure that turns this protest into a commune that welcomes a broad range of residents with a functional kitchen, library, media center, childrens space and their own camp security. From the General Assembly to the food lines to the self-policing, I will be producing a five-part series of graphic reportage to show how this movement is working for the diverse population of Oakland.

Occupy Oakland has not been without its incidents and backlash over cleanliness, substance use and mainstream media access. But as authorities are cracking down on occupation demonstrators across the country, and just across the Bay in San Francisco, Oakland presents another option for movement organizers as well as local officials -- even as Oakland is threatened with eviction, too. 

I have been drawing and speaking with people at the occupied camps since day one. (You can see a sample of one of my quick sketches as the photo here.) I will be turning those raw drawings and interviews into a graphic series that aims not to delineate demands or boil down this national movement, but to provide an immersive document of a unique and exciting point in time.

Video coming soon!!!


Susie Cagle has covered national events and issues for the American Prospect, Truthout, Campus Progress, the Awl, Grantmakers in the Arts, Cartoon Movement and others. She's also worked locally with the Bay Citizen, SF Weekly, the Bay Guardian, SF Appeal, 7x7, Curbed SF and others. Her work has been featured on BoingBoing!, the Huffington Post and other fancy websites. She is also a founding member of the Graphic Journos collective, and a graduate of Columbia's journalism school.


This piece will run as a five-part series over the course of a full week at Oakland Local. Each part will deal with a different aspect of this incarnation of the occupation: people, exploring both individuals' reasons for demonstrating as well as the social and decision-making structure of the camp; place, looking at the camp and plaza themselves, how they work and where they stand in a history of Oakland worker resistance; things, the stuff that keeps the camp going and how; actions, focusing on the specific events, marches and protests that revitalize the camp, beyond the nightly General Assembly; and media, a bit of a meta discussion of the difficult relationship the Oakland occupiers have with reporters and how that developed. Each part will consist of several pieces of art with accompanying text.

In addition to Oakland Local, there is already interest from other independent media outlets in running the full piece under the Creative Commons license granted by this Spot.Us pitch. 

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