The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

West Oakland House Occupied

Jan 20, 2020

A week before Thanksgiving, Dominique Walker, her two children, and two other families moved into a vacant three-bedroom house in West Oakland, according to the New York Times. The house they moved into is owned by Wedgewood, a Redondo Beach, California company that buys and renovates homes, then flips them to create profits for the company.

For Ms. Walker, moving into the house was a way to find shelter as well as make a statement. She knew that she wasn’t supposed to be in this Oakland house owned by rich property owners, but she did it anyway.

Ms. Walker is one of three founding members of a group that calls itself Moms 4 Housing.

Wedgewood Company declared, “The solution to Oakland’s housing crisis is not the redistribution of citizens’ homes through illegal break-ins and seizures by squatters.” As expected, a judge ruled in favor of the company—Ms. Walker and the other families living there had to leave the house.

Recognizing that sheriff’s deputies could arrive any moment, several hundred supporters of the group packed the street with banners, and created a human blockade on the home’s front steps. The sheriff’s deputies, dressed in riot gear, with armored vehicles, resorted to crude force to evict people.

Ms. Walker said: “We’ve been in this house for 50 days of shelter for us and our children. That’s a win and it’s a start, and people are starting to realize that, ‘Hey, housing is a human right or it should be.’ So that to me, is the absolute success.”