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Direct actions to defend Knowland Park against fencing and development begin in Oakland, CA!

By Eco-General Strike - Defend Knowland Park, August 11, 2015

Disclaimer: The views expressed here are not the official position of the IWW (or even the IWW’s EUC) and do not necessarily represent the views of anyone but the author’s.

On Friday, August 7th, after discussion amongst participants, Defend Knowland Park took its first direct action against the fencing construction in hopes that people would do the same on a regular basis.  Chain Link Fencing and Supply Inc. has started to construct a mile-long perimeter fence around the proposed development. We can find no  approved building permit for this construction so this fence may be illegal.  No permit is posted on-site and there has been no response about the fencing from the City building permit staff. Therefore, it is within our “legal” right to take direct action  and stop fencing from going up .

Please Join us, Monday – August 17th at Knowland Park to demand their permit to work or if you cannot make it call and email their office repeatedly to jam their lines and respectfully demand information regarding their Work Permit for fencing construction at Knowland Park.

Monday, August 17th, 2015 at 11 AM: Knowland Park entrance at the end of Edgemont way near Edgemont and Malcolm Avenues in Oakland, California.

People assembled in the Oakland highlands to continue the direct action campaign against the East Bay Zoological Society’s “California Trail” project that would expand the Oakland Zoo above the ridgeline into the undeveloped 400- acre region known as Huchiun to Ohlone people, commonly referred to as Knowland Park. The “California Trail” project outlines a 56-acre public land grab for private development. This open space land will be removed from public access and transformed into a “conservation” theme park under the management of the East Bay Zoological Society (EBZS), a private nonprofit contracted with the City of Oakland to manage the Oakland Zoo. Financial donors include the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation (Bechtel made the A-Bomb.) and the Clorox Company Foundation (who will be sponsoring a planned campground within the site to be named the “Clorox Outdoor Over-night Experience”). The “California Trail” exhibit’s website has a virtual tour that depicts Zoo visitors as upper-middle class white people confirms that the plans are neo-colonial and gentrifying. Knowland Park (part of the Ohlone tribe’s Territory called Huchiun) is a 500-acre wild open space in the Oakland hills of California. It was deeded to the City by the State in the 1970′s under the condition that it would always remain a public park but now the Oakland Zoo is trying to expand onto the park, fencing in a large portion of the area and will cut down dozens of trees, some of which are old growth Oaks. The western highlands and northern slopes are currently a home to rare native plant communities, thriving but threatened wildlife, and a critical migratory corridor for coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats. The park is also home to threatened species of animals such as the Alameda Whipsnake and The Great Horned Owl.

A small number of people gathered at the Snowdown Ave. entrance and walked around scouting the new fencing while being observed from a distance by Zoo security.

They found that the fencing, concrete, and building equipment was being stored below the proposed development in the Zoo parking lot North West of the Veterinary Hospital.  (depicted in the image below as the green mark on the “Knowland Park Defence Map”.)

Later as they were forming their collective action strategy for their affinity group of 3 built a creative blockade of the fencing by piling wood on the fencing pole in an artistic manner looking something like a Mourning Dove resting. We would like everyone to feel empowered to take a low risk and effective action like this. We feel that there was only a security presence because our action was announced but even in the even that security increases the land that they would have to cover would make surveillance very expensive and ineffective.

Affirming the low security, Over the weekend Defend Knowland Park received an anonymous communication with pictures that construction flagging and markings were removed to prevent electric lines from being buried.

Defend Knowland Park supports the autonomy of affinity groups to act within  an anti-oppression framework and non-violence direct action and if any actions take place outside of these principals they are not associated with Defend Knowland Park. For example, We strongly discourage tactics like tree spiking that could endanger workers.

Here are some concrete ideas and instructions for resistance from the Earth First Direct Action Manual 1st Edition.

Direct actions to defend Knowland Park against fencing and development begin in Oakland, CA!

  • Defend Knowland Park supports and encourages autonomous non-violent direct actions to slow and hopefully stop the privatization of 56 acres, cutting of over 400 native and non-native trees, and neo-colonial gentrification of Oakland. As we have stated before, we need to resist the destructive and gentrifying Zoo development to protect the animals, land, and neighborhood. We invite everyone who feels compassionate about environmental justice, animal rights, and tenant rights to join us, organize, and take direct action.
  • Please read more about and support the campaign:


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