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Center Column Archives
President Obama was in Mountain View on May 9 to promote initiatives that expand solar energy use. He had special praise for Walmart because it uses some forms of alternative energy. Labor advocates protested outside the megastore where the president spoke, saying that Walmart is anti-union, keeps workers' wages low, and provides few benefits.
Scott Olsen's skull was shattered and part of his brain destroyed when an OPD officer shot him in the head with a Specialty Impact Munition (SIM) at a 2011 Occupy Oakland demonstration. As he lay critically injured on the pavement, an OPD officer threw a CS Blast grenade onto him — a teargas device that explodes with a flash of light and loud bang. A new petition demands that OPD be prohibited from using SIMs and CS Blast grenades at demonstrations and other crowd events.
Jonathan Nack reports from Havana:
Hundreds of thousands of Cubans demonstrated unmistakeable enthusiasm while marching in the Cuban capitol on May Day – International Workers Day. Marchers chanted, danced, sang songs, and blew horns throughout the festive march. It was a clear statement of support for the Cuban government. CBS News reported an estimated 600,000 participated. Trade unionists, community groups, members of cooperatives, and even unions of small businesses demonstrated their support for the Cuban Revolution.
Two communiqués posted to Indybay claimed credit for attacks on three different gentrifying businesses in Oakland and San Francisco on April 28.
Of the San Francisco action, "anarchists
" write: "Last night we attacked the Sales office for the in-construction Vida Condos on Mission St." Of the Oakland action, "vandalists
" write: "Early on Monday morning, locks were glued at Dogtown Development and at a new fancy coffee shop in the lower bottoms."
Tech buses have come to symbolize the increasingly unaffordable rents and rampant evictions in San Francisco. The City's response to protesters' objections to the buses has been to propose that the tech shuttles start paying a fee of $1 per stop in a limited number of bus stops. On May 1, however, a coalition of environmental, labor, and tenants' rights groups filed suit, declaring that the "Commuter Bus Program," aka the "Google Bus Giveaway," is illegal and should be set aside. The suit contends that it is against state law for private buses to use the public bus stops.
San Francisco has seen a 178% increase in Ellis Act evictions over the last 3 years. A group of seniors, people with disabilities, supporters, and co-sponsors confronted the San Francisco Association of Realtors on April 22. The San Francisco Board of realtors has opposed legislation beneficial to tenants in the past. The activists delivered a letter of demands and then held a rally and press conference with testimonies from seniors and people with disabilities.
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.