Occupy the Farm film review

By The Red Son

Months after almost all of the Occupy camps had been smashed, the initial occupation of the Gill Tract by Occupy the Farm (OTF) in April of 2012 became one of the most powerful and memorable events of the Occupy movement, not only in the Bay Area but nationwide. The film

of the same name was shot by an embedded and politically sympathetic filmmaker, Todd Darling and follows the group as it continues the 15

year struggle to preserve the Gill Tract as a community agricultural resource and to save the land from development by UC Berkeley Capital

Projects. Through direct action occupation, street marches, neighborhood canvassing and other tactics, the group eventually stopped development on half of the land and won access to 2.5 acres for the creation of a community farm.

Although the film’s release was delayed, premiering more than two years after the majority of events depicted, Darling’s persistence paid off with a final cut that is polished, emotionally moving, and politically useful. Having seen an early version of the film shown at the Wild and Scenic Film Festival in Nevada City, CA, it is clear that the director took great pains to streamline the film, showing the important parts of the story while editing out extraneous material. This tightened up the narrative arc and eliminated the multi-climatic structure that plagued the previous cut. Additionally he was able to include the eventual establishment of a community farm on the tract and demonstrate that the group had won access to and use of the land that they illegally occupied. This strengthened the propaganda value of the film and reframes the events as a successful land reclamation struggle.

What is left is an accessible version of the OTF story which connects the struggle to broader context of the privatization of public

resources, multinational corporate control of the food system and the resulting inequality, and community-driven urban agriculture as a

solution to said inequalities as well as global climate change. At its core, it is a story of people who lost their connection to agriculture

(some through corporate monopolization of family farmland, others through systems of racial and class-based oppression) but took control over their food and their own agrarian roots by reclaiming land for the common good. The film’s message is clear: direct action gets results.

For those present during the initial occupation and involved with the group as it moved forward, the film may suffer from a solipsistic focus on a small number of core organizers while ignoring both the experiences of others involved and conflicts arising from important decisions within the camp. The biggest example of this is the choice to breakdown camp on the tract, depicted as a logistical consideration and gesture of goodwill towards the UC and its faculty, and presented as a logical and necessary move. But in actuality, it was one of the most divisive moments in the occupation.

However the film’s intended audience is quite broad and as such should be analyzed for what it is: propaganda. The film has widespread appeal and will introduce many uninitiated to ideas like direct action and consensus process. It could serve as an introduction and potential entry point to radical politics, similar to Food not Bombs, often called the “gateway drug of radicalism.”

Let’s be honest, radical politics needs more success stories and needs more victories, even imperfect ones. Beyond the actual material benefits of the occupation, it was a great propaganda victory. This type of propaganda-driven direct action draws upon a history of urban social movements employing similar tactics with the goal delegitimizing existing power structures while legitimizing radical groups’ capacities and alternative visions. There is no doubt that the OTF story, as told by the film and other places will continue to inspire people to use direct action tactics to affect the change they wish to see.

I give the film five burning dumpsters.

Occupy the Farm continues to oppose development on the Gill Tract and to support the thriving Gill Tract Community Farm. Ground has been broken on the southernmost portion of the land and construction of a high-end assisted living facility has begun. Meanwhile the 2.5 acre farm on the northernmost section is growing thousands of pounds of produce for equitable distribution, hosting free classes and workshops, and providing open green space for use by the surrounding community.

For more info or to get involved:

occupythefarm.org Occupy the Farm on Facebook/Twitterz The film Occupy the Farm is available on iTunes, Google, Amazon, and VUDU.


Organizer seeds 'a germinating

Thanks if you purchased a 2016 Slingshot Organizer – they are how we pay to print and distribute this newspaper for free. We still have copies if you want to order some. Also we have some seconds so if you can distribute a few free copies to low-income people, prisoners, immigrants or teens, let us know (please no requests for just one copy, though).

Despite our skepticism about computers, it looks like a Slingshot organizer app will be released for Android phones this summer. An iphone app will follow. We hope having an app will help bring radical stuff to otherwise sterile and soulless tech devices and we’re also responding to requests to have an app. If you have a smart phone, we hope you’ll try it. If not, we’re still committed to publishing the paper organizer as long as we can find ink and paper.

The app will automatically import data from a computerized calendar you are already using and let you see your events with Slingshot-style hand-drawn art. At the bottom of each day the calendar will add a radical historical date similar to the paper organizer. Unlike the paper organizer, if you click on the radical historical date, you will see a list of up to 20 radical historical events that happened that day. The app will have a menstrual calendar and allow you to add and edit calendar items just like your existing smart phone calendar app. There will also be links to Slingshot’s on-line radical contact list and the little essays Slingshot publishes in the paper organizer. The app will be free with a donate button should you want to help support Slingshot collective.

To finish the app, we’re looking for a few volunteers to help cut up digital files of hand-drawn art — no computer experience is necessary to help out. We also need to draw and select a screen icon that users will click to get to the app. Three possibilities that are red and black on screen are here:




Please email us to let us know which you like best or better yet, draw us your own colorful icon and send it to us. We’ll pick one soon. We think the app will be called ‘Slingshot Organizer’ and it will be at the Google play store. The first release will be in English but if someone wants to hand-draw some elements in Spanish and other languages, we can offer other languages in a later release.

If you want to plug into work on the 2017 Organizer, here is a rough schedule:

• May/June: We’ll edit the historical dates. Send us suggestions for dates.

• June 26 – July 29: Artists will draw the calendar section for 2017. If you want to draw a 4 week section, let us know. We’ll also call and email all the radical contacts to update the list – send us your corrections in July and let us know if you want to help.

• July 29-30 / August 5-6 We’ll have art and editing parties to put the Organizer together. If you’re in the Bay Area those weekends and want to help out, it is a fun participatory project – no experience necessary.

No matter where you are, you can send us art to paste here and there, cover submissions, feature essays for the back, the letters A-Z, the numbers 1-31, the names of each month, and the days of the week — we’ll paste it in for you.

Finally, there is a big error on page 3 of the 2016 spiral Organizer (only). On the 2016/2017 calendar showing both years, the headline for 2017 is over the 2016 calendar and the headline for 2016 is over a 2017 calendar. Please fix it and let your friends know.


Hot Summer Nights – Calendar issue #121 Summer 2016

May 1 – June 10 FREE ALL AGES

Oakland Spring Rising oaklandwiki.org/40farms


May 4 – 15 FREE ALL AGES

Break Free From Fossil Fuels – People all around the world are joining together in peaceful resistance against the fossil fuel industry, and in support of a just transition to renewable energy. 350.org



Orange County Anarchist Bookfair @ Fullerton College


May 16 – 22 FREE ALL AGES

Rubber Stamp Rebellion – tell the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission no new gas industry permits. beyondextremeenergy.org


May 20 – 22

Left Forum 2016 – John Jay College of Criminal Justice The City University of New York 524 W. 59th Street, NYC



March Against Monsanto – register your city addmymarch @gmail.com


May 22

Wavy Gravy’s 80th Birthday – Somo Village Event Center, Rohnert Park, CA


June 3-5

Sacramento Black Book Fair. Historic Center of Oak Park 35th and Broadway. sacramentoblackbookfair.com


June 11 • Noon – 10pm

SF Free Folk Fest. Everett Middle School 450 Church Street (between 16th and 17th St.) San Francisco


June 10 • 8pm FREE ALL AGES

East Bay Bike Party. 2nd Friday each month.



International day of Solidarity with Anarchist Prisoners. Local events all over. june11.org


June 11 – 13 FREE ALL AGES

Convergence in support of Eco-Prisoners & Against Toxic Prisons. Conference / direct action. Washington, DC fighttoxicprisons.org


June 16 • 7:30pm

Iranian-American Comedian Writer ”How to Make White People Laugh” – 2501 Harrison St., Oakland


June 18 – 19 • 11-5pm

Queer Comics Expo. SOMArts Cultural Center 934 Brannan St. San Francisco.


June 18 – 26

Wild Roots Feral Futures 8th annual direct action eco-defense camp. Southwest Colorado mountains location TBA. feralfutures dot wordpress.com


June 24 • 6pm FREE ALL AGES

San Francisco Critical mass bike ride. Gather at Justin Herman Plaza. Last Friday each month. sfcriticalmass.org


June 29 – July 6

Earth First! Round River Rendezvous. Great Lakes bioregion. Rrr2016 at riseup.net


July 1 – 2 FREE ALL AGES

2nd Feria de Publicaciones Independientes focusing on resisting borders. Hostal Pangea and Cafe A 1st and Revolution St. Tijuana, Mexico.


Month of July FREE ALL AGES

24 Hour Zine Thing – make a 24 page zine in 24 hours, anywhere, anytime this month



July 4 • 2pm FREE ALL AGES

San Francisco Mime Troupe opening performance of “White Rabbit, Red Rabbit” -19th & Dolores, YUPPIE HELL. sfmt.org


Week of July 4 FREE ALL AGES

Rainbow Gathering – ask a hippie for where it is this year.


July 6 – 12

Pacific Northwest Climate Camp. Lemon Island, Oregon – 11 miles from Portland (strategically located within easy paddling distance of railroads hauling oil and coal.) pnwclimatecamp.blogspot.com


July 14 • 2pm FREE ALL AGES

Mad Pride March. Meet at Another Way (125 Barre St Montpelier, VT) and also other Mad Pride events all over.


July 15 – 17

Speak for Wolves. West Yellowstone, Montana. Speakforwolves.org


July 18 – 21 FREE ALL AGES

Protest Republican National Convention. Cleveland, OH Quicken Loans Arena


July 25 – 28 FREE ALL AGES

Protest Democratic National Convention. Philadelphia, PA Wells Fargo Center.


August 13 • 11 – 4pm

Kenosha, WI Zine Fest. Artworks 5002 7th


August 13 • 10am

SlutWalk DC Saturday, a worldwide movement against victim-blaming, survivor-shaming, and rape culture


August 21 • 7pm FREE ALL AGES

Slingshot new volunteer meeting / article brainstorm for issue #122. 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley. Slingshot.tao.ca


September 4 FREE ALL AGES

15th annual SF Zine Fest – Golden Gate Park. SFzinefest.org


September 9

National coordinated prisoner work stoppage supportprisonerresistance.net


September 17 • 3pm

Slingshot article deadline for issue #122. Send articles to slingshot at tao.ca


October 1 – 2 FREE ALL AGES

Olympia Zine Fest. The Olympia Center and other venues in downtown Olympia. olympiazinefest.tumblr.com


October 20 – 23

Black Panther 50th Anniversary bpp50th.com


October 21 – 23 FREE ALL AGES

Dirty scouts jamboree gathering – Slab City, CA squattheplanet.com/fest