Josh Rotsten Photography

After several months of quiet, Oakland’s most notorious activists/merry pranksters/anarchists/guerrilla underground people’s army are once again making global headlines. First, there was this weekend’s attempted takeover of a vacant building. By now we can pretty well guess how that was going to go before it even got started:

  1. Organizers advertise peaceful daytime rally. Lots of goodwill.
  2. Night
  3. Masks
  4. Riot police
  5. Antagonize police
  6. Antagonize protestors
  7. Arrests
  8. Accusations of policy brutality
  9. Accusations of idiot mob mentality

So it was a welcome surprise to come to work Tuesday to find a much more sanguine protest on Lake Merritt, “the crown jewel of Oakland” that gets undue attention for smelling like rotting animal (in all fairness to Lake Merritt, it’s actually beautiful, and any site with a title like “Crown Jewel of Oakland” is pretty much condemned to irony).


Right now its just some dudes living on a houseboat. They’re pretty friendly—worked on it a month, and welcome supporters. “Grab a boat and join us!” they said, as if I had a kayak handy in my office.

The question is, is this effective marketing? Will all of the gawking pay off in renewed community attention to homelessness (the goal of this particular protest)? I’m only being a little facetious–what do you all think of this particular effort?