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Center Column Archives
At a preliminary hearing on January 8, all charges against Desiree Foster, Robert Norse, and Becky Johnson in association with the occupation of a vacant bank building in 2011 were dismissed by Santa Cruz Judge Paul P. Burdick. Charges still remain in effect for four defendants, though Burdick removed conspiracy from the counts they face. Additionally, the judge sanctioned District Attorney Rebekah Young with a $500 fine for the violation of a discovery order, saying that he had never imposed a sanction like this on the District Attorney's office before.
Saying that Wells Fargo has "case after case of folks who are in foreclosure, forced out of homes they have lived in for decades," protesters portrayed the mega bank as "the Grinch that stole Christmas" on December 18th. Two senior citizen organizations took their money out of Wells Fargo and joined a protest rally outside at Grant and Market in San Francisco.
On November 22nd & 23rd, Walmart workers and supporters demonstrated at the Richmond and San Leandro Walmarts as part of the national Black Friday protests against the nation's largest retailer. In San Leandro on November 22nd, Walmart threatened the use of the police to remove the protesters, including their own workers. On November 23rd, demonstrations were held in San Leandro and Richmond. Walmart workers spoke about the intimidation and terrorism on the job to silence them from speaking out and organizing.
Occupy the Farm writes
: "On Friday November 16, 2012, the University of California (UC) razed all of the publicly planted crops on the Gill Tract. Occupy the Farm is disappointed that the UC has unnecessarily destroyed the hard work of the community and food that could have fed it. The weekly distribution and harvest events could have continued that, over the course of the summer and early fall, have yielded over one ton of food from the crops planted during the occupation last Spring.
For a few hours on November 17th in San Francisco, a Wells Fargo Home loan bank branch was turned into a homeless shelter and soup kitchen to highlight the harm caused by the bank to numerous communities across the U.S. The action was "Brought to you by Occupy Bernal, ACCE-SF, Occupy Direct Action Workgroup, Occupy Action Council of SF, Occupy SF Environmental Justice Workgroup, Community Not Commodity, Occupy Noe, San Francisco Tenants Union, Senior and Disability Action, Manilatown Heritage Foundation, Communities United in Defense of Olmsted."
Occupy Oakland Anti-Repression Committee writes:
"Over the past year, we have experienced many forms of overt police repression, from the camp eviction and night of tear gas on October 25th, to raids on the vigil, to snatch and grab squads on May Day. We have come to expect the riot-clad police, with their batons and chemical weapons, although repression comes in other forms as well. As a community, we have not been sufficiently attuned to these other faces of repression."
On October 10th, Homes Not Jails and their allies occupied a building in the Castro neighborhood in San Francisco in solidarity with the 3rd annual World Homeless Action Day. The action began with a rally in Dolores Park, followed by a march to the occupation site. Homes Not Jails reclaimed the vacant space in an attempt to provide housing through direct action and protest the criminalization of homelessness. San Francisco police arrested twenty people on charges of burglary, conspiracy, and vandalism. Homes Not Jails intends to continue “to take to the streets to and take direct action” by occupying vacant buildings until their needs are met.