Mazin Qumsiyeh writes:
Christmas 2013 in Bethlehem is still a very special and meaningful time even under the brutal Israeli apartheid occupation. Nowhere is there an exhibit of “Occupation Art” shown in a “Peace Center” in front of a large Christmas tree in front of one of the holiest places in Christianity.... It is also a time to reflect on the real message of Jesus.... It is still a message of hope, peace, joy, justice, love, and harmony.... [Yet] on Christmas eve, Israeli forces also bombed Gaza killing at least two including a 3-year old girl and injuring others in her family.
San Francisco and Oakland residents are being evicted as a result of increasing housing costs caused in part by an influx of tech employees, many of whom are provided private buses by their employers to get to offices in the Silicon Valley. Activists first blocked a Google bus in the Mission District of San Francisco on December 9. On December 20, protesters blocked a Google bus at the MacArthur BART station and another at 7th and Adeline in West Oakland. In San Francisco, an Apple bus was blocked at 24th and Valencia Streets.
On December 25, Christmas Day, Santa Cruz Food Not Bombs served a free vegan holiday meal to hundreds of community members outside of the downtown post office. Food Not Bombs co-founder Keith McHenry helped organize the meal, and he has reported that many of FNB groups across the country would be sharing vegan meals during the holidays this year in response to an increased need due to new cuts in food stamps and an extreme reduction of access to food during the holiday season.
On December 9, which was one of the coldest days of the season, the eviction of the Albany Bulb began. Workers from the City of Albany's Department of Public Works used a backhoe to dismantle homes located at the autonomous wild space where people have lived and created art for decades. Bulb residents' belongings were thrown in dump trucks behind the lines of Albany police.
Over 400 people organized by Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s massive water export tunnels, attended a rally on December 13 at the State Capitol protesting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as the 120 day comment period for the BDCP and environmental documents began. Tunnel opponents pointed out “fatal flaws” of the tunnels they said would be too costly, create no new water and do nothing to increase regional water self-reliance.
The Obama administration’s push to modernize U.S. ports to accommodate huge new ships that can pass through the widened Panama Canal worries environmentalists who believe U.S. coastlines will be subjected to enormous damage and coastal residents will face increased health risks. For marine life already threatened by shipping traffic, like the majestic right whale, the odds are even tougher.
Lively protests took over McDonald's restaurants in the Bay Area on December 5 as part of a nationwide series of actions organized by Fast Food Forward, a joint effort by community and labor groups. Young workers in Oakland celebrated and danced as much as they protested, and a raucous rally was held in San José. The rallies demanded a $15 an hour minimum wage for fast-food workers.