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On April 17, International Day of Peasant Resistance, and to mark the 30th anniversary of the Movimento Sem Terra (Landless Workers Movement) in Brazil, Bay Area delegates from the 6th MST Congress presented a report on what they had experienced and learned during their trip. The presentation at La Peña in Berkeley took a look at many aspects of the MST and the difficult and sometimes deadly struggle for poverty reduction and agrarian reform in Brazil.
JP Massar writes: On April 17th, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation issued its Preserving Historic Post Offices report to Congress "on compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act for the closure and disposal of its historic postal facilities." This report was requested by legislation initiated by Berkeley's United States Representative in Congress, Barbara Lee. On April 24, postal workers protested USPS privatization at a Staples store in San Francisco.
Advance the Struggle writes: What follows is a critique of the West Oakland Specific Plan – WOSP – which the city of Oakland hopes will help in “developing” West Oakland and is attempting to pass in the coming weeks. The development that’s presented is about attracting an influx of capital investment – retail, industrial, and high wage residents – and transforming West Oakland into a center of commerce for a new set of residents. New growth is about raising property values and attracting new residents and businesses, not improving the situations of those who already live there.
FireWorks writes: Modeled after the Seattle Solidarity Network (SeaSol), EBSN is a group of workers and tenants who use direct action to fight landlords and bosses. Working against both wage theft at workplaces, despicable conditions in housing complexes, as well as against foreclosures, EBSN has worked to combat abuses and build power among workers and tenants. FireWorks through email reached out to the group to get more information on them and what it is they do in the East Bay.
Homeless people in downtown Fresno can no longer set up encampments. They must put up a tent in the evening and take it down early in the morning. During the day, they have to stay with their property or it will be taken and put into storage. On March 6, the Fresno City Council passed an ordinance that makes it easier for the police to remove shopping carts from the homeless. These “quality of life” ordinances add pressure to be constantly on the move and never have a place to stay that is safe and secure.
On April Fool’s Day, protesters blocked an Apple bus attempting to cross the High Street bridge between Oakland and Alameda. On the same morning in San Francisco, a Google bus was surrounded at 24th and Valencia streets. On April 2, protesters disrupted the tech bus pick-up zone in front of the MacArthur BART station in Oakland. An Apple, Google, and Yahoo bus were all surrounded and blocked. On April 3, a Google bus was blocked at Center and 7th Street in West Oakland. On April 6, Google venture capitalist Kevin Rose's home was picketed in San Francisco.
Steve Pleich writes: There has been much discussion over the last several months concerning the wisdom of having a fully functional Needle Exchange Program in our community. Many have expressed doubts about the public health benefits of such a program, but a clear-eyed and dispassionate analysis of those benefits has been subsumed by an overriding public safety concern.