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Center Column Archives
On Monday, April 4th, the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King’s assassination, local coalitions participated in nationwide actions to support Wisconsin workers, public services and the middle class. Organizers of the rally at the Santa Cruz County Government Center stated, "Dr. King was killed in Memphis, TN, where he had stood with sanitation workers who were struggling for the right to bargain collectively. The actions by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker to eliminate collective bargaining – and the gradual eroding of the American middle class - only undermine that struggle."
On March 19th, thousands of people took to the streets to demand an end to U.S. war and military intervention abroad and funding for peoples' needs at home. Demonstrations took place in San Francisco, Fresno, Santa Cruz, Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and many other cities across the United States and the world. At the opening rally in San Francisco, speakers condemned the launching of a new war against Libya, which had begun just hours before.
On March 8th, several hundred Modesto Junior College students responded to a call for a walkout against budget cuts that would result in the gutting of various departments and the laying off of faculty. Students rallied in the quad in front of the administration building for over half an hour. Also speaking at the rally were several faculty members who expressed solidarity with the students for standing with them. After rallying, students marched around campus then moved downtown, disrupting an event held by the Mayor of Modesto.
On February 11th, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Republican state legislators introduced legislation to end collective bargaining for public employees on the premise that the attack on unions was motivated by budgetary concerns. Within a week, tens of thousands of public employees and labor supporters were demonstrating daily in the capital of Madison. Protests and solidarity rallies have since spread across the U.S. On February 26th, rallies were held in over 50 U.S. cities as part of a national day of action to demand an end to the attacks on workers' rights and public services across the country.
A lawsuit, filed in Fresno Superior Court on February 24, says that Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer's ringtone for Cynthia Sterling, an African-American former counsel member, is a slave song: "Mammy's little baby loves short'nin' bread." The lawsuit also alleges that Dyer mimics stereotypical slave dialect, making comments including "yessa massa, I is yo pet" and "Um hum, I'm the mayor's boy, I'm the mayor's boy, yes'um, I'm the mayor's boy."
About 650 people marched to honor Martin Luther King in downtown Fresno on Monday, January 17, 2011. When the march stopped at Fresno City Hall, elected officials and a couple of community activists spoke. Newly elected Fresno City Council member Clint Olivier spoke out strongly against the war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Olivier’s speech was followed by Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer, who described himself as “God’s Minister of Justice as described in the bible.”
Anarchists Against the Wall (AATW) is an Israeli direct action group established in 2003 to resist the Annexation Wall being built by Israel on Palestinian land in the Occupied West Bank. They support Palestinian civilian resistance to massive confiscation of land and denial of freedom of movement caused by construction of the Wall. AATW activists have joined thousands of demonstrations against the Wall and against the Occupation in dozens of villages throughout the West Bank. They are currently touring in the US, including giving several presentations in Northern California.