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class war on the streets of oakland after the superbowl

After the Oakland Raiders football team lost (48-21) in the Super Bowl yesterday, there was widespread rioting in the streets of Oakland.

Crowds gathered on International Boulevard in East Oakland, taking over intersections and blocking the street. People danced to hip hop music, hopped on cars, and waived Raiders flags.

Police, who had pre-emptively shut down dozens of blocks of downtown Oakland, were quick to respond. Hundreds of police in riot gear moved in, firing volleys of tear gas and wooden bullets in an attempt to disperse the crowds. What had been a party turned into a pitched battle. As one man put it, "Hey we're all cool here. It's when the fucking pigs come down and start shooting at us that the shit starts."

People threw bottles and rocks at police, frequently forcing them to retreat. When groups were dispersed, they reformed several blocks away. A MacDonalds was trashed and set on fire. Several cars were tipped over and burned. A number of police cars had their windows smashed. Benches, dumpsters and debris were placed in the street and set on fire. One police car that attempted to drive through an intersection filled with people was pelted with projectiles as people chanted "Fuck the police!"

The rioters came from a diverse cross-section of Oakland's working class. Black and white, Asian and Latino, joined together against the universally hated Oakland Police Department. Children as young as eight could be seen hurling rocks toward police lines. "It's like fucking Bethlehem!" said one man.

The corporate media were there as well. The following was a dialogue between a journalist from the San Francisco Chronicle and a man on the street.

Man: "Can you believe this police brutality bullshit. You guys should go down there." [points to where the action is.]

Journalist: "No. I was walking around before and some guys said I better watch out, they're beating up white people. The best place to be is right behind the police lines."

Man: "No fucking way, I fucking hate the police."

Journalist: "OK Whatever, you go walk up there then white boy.

Man: "Fuck you this isn't about race, this is about poor people being fucking pissed off at the police. You're a fucking racist, a motherfucking racist bastard."

Journalist: "Hey I'm not racist, my wife is black. So fuck you! You're real working class."

Man: "Fuck you! I can't believe you fucking corporate media fucking scumbags. You come down here--you fucking racists--and hide behind the police lines!"

At this point the journalist got in his car and sped away, narrowly avoiding a shower of rocks and bottles.

In today's San Francisco Chronicle, the rioters are referred to as "troublemakers" who "weren't from the neighborhood."

The rioting lasted well into the night moving from place to place in over 50 blocks of East Oakland. At a late night press conference, the police announced that they had arrested over 25 people. But they were outnumbered and outfought for hours. "They thought this was all they shit," one youth said during the rioting, "but this is our shit now!"
Only in your anarcho-fantasies 28.Jan.2003 13:14

American football sucks

This riot wasn't about "class war". This was about a bunch of lumpen fools pissed off because their team lost. They were just blowing off steam because of the outcome of that stupid game.

I guarantee most of the people out in the streets wouldn't know class consciousness if it jumped up and hit them in the face!

In the US people are painfully aware of class 28.Jan.2003 17:11

GRINGO STARS gringo_stars@attbi.com

I hate american football too.

There is a lot of class consiousness in the US. The concensus seems to be that "I am not in a high enough class" - everyone has the capitalist/gangster mentality of wanting more money all the time. All it takes is one moment of collective outrage (even over a stupid sports game) and people lose their schitt. People in the US are much more comfortable with someone of their own class. For all the egalitarian BS that is propagandized about the US, people are painfully aware of their perceived "shortcomings" of socioeconomic class. From what I hear of my travelling friends, much more so than in Europe.

True, people may not be aware of how the classes are made and unmade, but they are VERY aware of which class they are currently in, what must happen for them to change classes, and the frustrating odds stacked against them of ever "moving on up."

Organized sports suck. 28.Jan.2003 17:27


If you are oppressed, you know it, whether or not you read marx, ADMIRE BUSH, or have an education of any kind. Class-consciousness is something you have whether you want to or not. These people probably were pissed off that their team lost, but that alone is not enough to get people to smash windows. The underlying cause of the "riots" was the fact that poor people are pissed off because they're poor, and they know that there is something fundamentally wrong with shit, and they want to DO something about it, but they don't exactly know what to do. So, they "riot".

Riot: The unbeatable high.
Riot: Shoots your nerves to the sky!
Riot: Playing right into their hands.
Tomorrow you're homeless, tonight it's a blast!

Only Indymedia idiots 28.Jan.2003 17:33

Uncle Sam

Only retards at Indymedia could write drivel like this. So a bunch of losers, upset over their team losing is suddenly a "class" issue? Hahahahahaha they destroy their community, go to jail, get records and waste tax dollars and this is about class?

And you people wonder why no one takes you seriously?

Yo Uncle Sambo 29.Jan.2003 10:15

American footballs sucks

Since when did burning a McDonalds, setting a few cars on fire, and running out into the street constitute "destroying a community"?

Now that the processed Mickey D shit food will be gone for a while, I say they're a lot better off without it!

Class Consciousness 29.Jan.2003 11:38


"I guarantee most of the people out in the streets wouldn't know class consciousness if it jumped up and hit them in the face!"

Just because they weren't spouting Mao or waving copies of the Communist Manifesto around doesn't mean that they aren't class conscious - class consciousness stretches far deeper than facile Marxists would have it. Riots such as these may not be explicitly and overtly class affairs, but within them is a kernel of rage generated by being marginalized by white racists capitalist society.