All Power to the People! A Rally in Solidarity with the West Oakland Community, August 1, 1pm @ West Oakland Bart

The coronavirus pandemic and the recent uprisings against white supremacist police terror after the murder of George Floyd have rocked the U.S. and the world. With over 15.5 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and 650,000 deaths worldwide, and over 4 million cases and 140,000 deaths in the U.S. alone, it is clear that the pandemic will not be over anytime soon. In the U.S. we have witnessed the horrible and untimely response by the U.S. government to the pandemic as the American medical system has been exposed in its lack of preparedness for the pandemic. Testing for the COVID-19 virus has been abysmal as it has been extremely difficult to find access to testing centers, particularly in working class communities of color such as West Oakland.

Alameda County has the highest amount of cases in the Bay Area with over 10,000 cases confirmed. In Oakland, homelessness is on the rise and those who are homeless receive little to no support from the city. For example, the West Oakland Wood Street Homeless Community, which is one of the largest homeless communities in the Bay Area, has received no resources such as access to clean water, hand washing stations, showers, porto potties, or even trash dumpsters since the pandemic has started. This type of carelessness and incompetence on the part of the City of Oakland is indicative of the nature of the current system where profit and private interests are prioritized over the livelihood of working-class Oaklanders. The police have continued to harass, displace, and terrorize people in these communities, many of whom have lived in Oakland for their entire lives.

What is going on in Oakland is representative of the national situation. Due to the pandemic, tens of millions have been forced into unemployment, struggling to pay for rent and other necessities. Homelessness has continued to rise and the police have proceeded to terrorize and harass homeless people and working-class Black people more broadly. Over the last two months, we have seen millions across the world rise up against the oppressive system that has doomed millions to suffer unemployment, poverty, and police brutality. We need to act now, and build upon this momentum and advance a long term, sustained mass movement against white supremacy, police brutality, and the capitalist system as a whole.

We have come up with a list of demands to counter the terrible situation that the U.S. state has subjected working people to endure. We demand:

1. An end to police brutality on Black, Indigenous, Trans, Queer, and homeless communities.
2. Proper sanitation services for all homeless communities.
3. Housing for all. There is room for everyone!
4. Cancel rent, back rent, and information on landlords should be publicly available to all renters.
5. No re-opening of workplaces until there is comprehensive COVID-19 testing for all.
6. Protect students, families, and teachers as the new school year approaches.

These demands address the symptoms of the capitalist system in which we live in. Under capitalism, healthcare is for profit, millions are homeless as millions of homes remain vacant, landlords live off the backs of tenants, the government puts people at risk for the sake of economic growth, and the police terrorize and harass working class people while they protect private property and the status quo. We have had enough!

We put forward these demands in the spirit of the ongoing revolutionary struggle against capitalism which continues today in the legacy of the heroic acts of people and organizations like the Black Panther Party. The Black Panthers stood in armed self-defense against the police with the belief that the police do not serve the interests of the communities they patrol. The police will not protect the masses of people who are without work, healthcare, and the means to subsist in this society. They will only crack down when the people rise up. But we must rise up if we want to change this rotten system!

Please come out to West Oakland Bart Station on Saturday, August 1st at 1pm to participate in a rally for our demands in solidarity with the West Oakland Community. We ask that all those in attendance wear masks and practice social distancing when possible.

All Power to the People!

This event is organized in collaboration with Revolutionary United Front.

Social Media:
Twitter – @revunitedfront & @theufad
Instagram – @revolutionaryunitedfront & @theufad
Reddit – u/revunitedfront
Facebook – facebook.com/revolutionaryunitedfront
Website – revolutionaryunitedfront.com & theufad.org

Oakland Police and Caltrans Continue to Harass Homeless People Despite Moratorium on Homeless Sweeps

The California Department of Transportation (District 4), the Oakland Police Department, and the California Highway Patrol have continually harassed homeless people in Oakland. Over the last month, the West Oakland Wood Street Community, which consists of nearly 200 residents, has received threats of losing property and having their vehicles towed. The particular area in question is the southern portion of the Wood Street Community on Caltrans owned land beneath the I-80 freeway.

Many of the current residents of the Wood Street Community were once renters and homeowners in the City of Oakland. People come to Wood Street when they have no other place to go. For years the Oakland Police Department has had an unofficial policy of directing people to move to Wood Street who live in their vehicles or who have been cleared out of other homeless encampments.

Caltrans posted on set of notices to inform almost 20 people that they had three days to move

At the beginning of June, Wood Street Community residents residing on Caltrans land were told that they would have to relocate or risk losing all of their possessions in the scheduled “cleaning.” When residents asked where they were to relocate, the Oakland Police Department told folks to move one block away on West Grand Ave and Wood St. Oddly enough, many residents had already been pushed off that very corner a few months ago! The City of Oakland and the State of California has offered a solution that is not a solution at all. In fact, it is an extremely serious health risk.

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, people are being told to shelter-in-place and maintain a safe distance from others. But when it comes to homeless folks, the city has no problem with forcing dozens of residents to cram themselves into an area consisting of less than 100 feet of curb. These living conditions put people at extreme risk by increasing their chances of contracting the COVID-19 virus. This lack of humanity on the part of the City of Oakland is unsurprising given that the city has made no attempt to protect the Wood Street Community by providing basic sanitation to combat the virus. It has fallen into the hands of residents and organizations such as the United Front Against Displacement and the Berkeley Free Clinic to work to improve basic sanitation resources in the area in an attempt to protect residents and prevent the spread of the virus.

The UFAD has worked with residents to build public Sanitation resources such as this community shower.

The eviction led by Caltrans is part of a larger strategy to get rid of all homeless people living on land owned by the State of California in West Oakland. This is in contradiction with the State’s goal to get people off of the streets into long term housing because breaking up encampments make it harder for people to get off the street. This is why the United Front Against Displacement called for an eviction defense to come to the aid of residents.

Despite the fact that a few residents were illegally coerced into moving, there was no significant loss of property. This should be viewed as a major success given that at the beginning of the month OPD tagged over a dozen vehicles to have towed if they did not move from the area. This is an extreme threat being that people use their vehicles to live in, commute to work, and run essential errands. This threat is unsurprising given that the police constantly harass and terrorize poor homeless people, especially during the pandemic.

The city of Oakland and the state of California spent thousands on heavy equipment and dozens of personnel but almost nothing on handwashing stations and housing resources

While the eviction defense was an overall success, it is important to recognize that this is just the first stage of Caltrans’s attempts to displace residents on Wood St. They will be back in the near future to either finish evicting residents on the southern end, or force residents on the northern section of Caltrans land to move. If they are successful in their next operation it will be a step closer to displacing the entire Wood Street Community, which has perilous implications not only for the residents of Wood St., but all houseless and vehicularly housed people in Oakland. It is imperative that we come together to push back against the government’s attempts to displace working people. If we work together, we can not only fight back more effectively, but stop any and all attacks against the working people of the Bay Area.

Activists and residents installing a new handwashing station on Wood st

Caltrans Eviction Indefinitely Postponed!!!

We were just notified by the California Department of Transportation will not be coming to evict homeless West Oakland residents this week or next! We believe the ongoing uprisings in Oakland as well as our activism have played a role in this deferral.

The community is not out of danger, Caltrans stated that they plan to return at the end of the month. We have more time to plan resistance. Please keep an eye out for updates!!

Founding Statement & Points of Unity

The United Front Against Displacement was formed to fight the displacement & criminalization of working people. In this society, working people are made to live in many different levels of insecure housing and are subject to all manner of abuse at the hands of law enforcement and landlords. It is the poor that have to share small, run down housing units with multiple families, sleeping on couches and in bath tubs. To make ends meet, many more live in RV’s and vehicles. There are tens of thousands of people forced to live on the streets of the Bay Area, and millions more across the country who are homeless and housing insecure. We work to end homelessness, which is caused by growing poverty, the rising cost of living, and the for profit nature of the real estate market.

When working people find themselves on the street, they find few options off of the street and must contend with hostile cops, city workers, NGOs, and business interests that harass them constantly. 

We work to bring housed people into the struggles of homeless people and work to unite the struggle against homelessness with surrounding tenant struggles. Only by coming together can we not only improve the situation for working people, but work towards creating a new system that will serve the needs of all people, not the wants of a few for profit.

Housing is a Human Right

Points of Unity:

We oppose all Evictions

Evictions upend lives and affect the most vulnerable in our communities, rather than improve a community. Landlords extract the maximum wealth that they can from properties that they own. They evict tenants to find wealthier tenants or to redevelop existing real estate, all to make more money! Developers often buy up houses when communities are struggling economically as speculative “investment properties,” greatly increasing rents to the point that people suddenly can’t afford to live in communities they may have spent their entire lives in. As working class neighborhoods gentrify, developers and other businesses work to eliminate informal settlements of desperate people. Most residents of homeless communities used to rent or own in the same neighborhoods from which they are “swept.” The UFAD will work to defend homeless communities from being doubly displaced and stand in solidarity with tenants battling evictions.

We oppose the criminalization and harassment of poor people 

Law enforcement targets the poorest among us, with Black, Latino and LGBTQ people facing especially brutal levels of treatment. While homeless, people find even their very existence a reason for them to encounter law enforcement. Additionally, homeless people are continually targeted by city workers (the most frequent department being the Department of Public Works) and towing companies contracted by local governments. People on the street constantly have property stolen from them, be it documents, laptops, clothes, heirlooms and entire vehicles. Towing companies steal homeless people’s vehicles to make some quick money, while city workers trash their belongings in an attempt to clear out homeless settlements. When people seek to reclaim their vehicles they often find numerous, insurmountable bureaucratic obstacles in their path. Local governments often claim that these events are meant to improve “public health” but they continually refuse to provide proper sanitation services to informal settlements, let alone resources that will help residents off of the streets. The government and it’s lackies are responsible for all crises of public health.

We work to end homelessness and want to live in a world where housing is a right for all people.