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In a courtroom packed full of supporters at the Yolo County Courthouse in Woodland, California, all twelve defendants, known as both the "Davis Dozen" and the "Banker's Dozen", pleaded not guilty at their arraignment on May 10th. They also rejected a plea deal offered by the Assistant District, calling the charges against them "a sham." On Friday, June 1st, the Davis Dozen returned to the Yolo County Courthouse for a pre-trial conference. A June 1st pre-trial conference was brief, and a date was set for another pre-trial conference to file motions on Friday, June 22nd.
The students of Quebec have taken a struggle against tuition hikes and mobilized hundreds of thousands against austerity and state repression. What began as a one-week university student strike has widened into an anti-capitalist revolt against universities, banks and police in what many are calling a general and indefinite social strike. In the face of state repression, the students of Montreal have returned to the streets night after night for over 100 days. On June 1st, an evening march was held in Oakland to show solidarity with the student struggle to the north.
May Day in downtown Santa Cruz this year saw a wide variety of community members coming together and rallying to honor the global struggles of the worker. On the morning of May 1st, students at UC Santa Cruz supported AFSCME local 3299 union members at the university, and then later in the day marched downtown where a group of community members, populated largely with people active with Occupy Santa Cruz, met them on Mission Street after themselves marching up Pacific Avenue.
On Wednesday, June 6th, the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO) is set to vote on one of two motions that would approve the expansion of UC Santa Cruz while imposing conditions on the availability of water service to the Upper Campus. Community members have planned for a 5-mile walk after the meeting to the UCSC administration, and then to the forest, if a decision is reached permitting development in the Upper Campus.
At least two individuals have been subpoenaed to a federal grand jury that appears to be investigating a fire set at the home of a UC Santa Cruz animal researcher in 2008. There was no claim of responsibility for the fire, and there is no evidence activists were responsible. Nonetheless, the incident became the impetus for the "AETA 4" case, which saw the indictment of four Bay Area activists before charges were dismissed in 2010.
In downtown Santa Cruz on April 20, LGBQT community members from the Diversity Center's Youth Program and their family members and allies held a "Breaking the Silence" rally in front of the Del Mar Theatre before a showing of the film "Bully". People held signs and shared stories. There was a group shout out, and many involved with the youth program wore tape x'd over their mouths to both symbolize the silencing effect of bullying on the LGBQT youth community, as well as to be an expression of solidarity with those who could not attend the rally in person for many different reasons of privacy.
On April 20th, thousands of people descended upon Porter Meadow at UC Santa Cruz for Four Twenty (420), a counterculture holiday observed in cities throughout the world, where people gather to celebrate and consume cannabis. Four Twenty in Porter Meadow at UCSC is an unorganized annual tradition. Last year, rain caused people to seek shelter under the forest canopy. This year, it was the hot sun which drove people to the shade provided by the trees.