The Safehouse was West Oakland’s anarchist mothership.
This three-story building at 3277 MLK Jr. Way housed a squatter commune for eight months in 2010. About 20 young occupants were evicted by the owners in December of that year; by then they had already started branching out to other houses in West Oakland. In the early morning hours of May 1, The Safehouse was gutted by fire. This particular house had been vacant for over a decade before it was occupied by squatters; rampant foreclosures have given them even more homes to choose from. These anarchist communes serve as hubs for many of the core activists at Occupy Oakland.
Initially occupied by a few heroin junkies in early 2010, the building somehow evolved into a magnet for young anarchists, “crusty travelers,” or just plain wayward youth from all over. The road between Eugene, Oregon, and Oakland seemed particularly well-traveled. (The very compelling story of The Safehouse, told by one of the occupants, may be read in the Anarchist News forum, here. The eviction of the group can be seen on YouTube here. A news blurb on the fire is here.)