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Center Column Archives
Since Cinco de Mayo, when local anarchists and housing advocates organized a block party in the Mission to call attention to the ongoing onslaught of Ellis Act evictions, a new ground swell of support has risen for direct action against displacement and gentrification in San Francisco. In June, a two week occupation began of the Hayes Valley Farm to block the construction of condos and in solidarity with the Turkish Uprising around Gezi Park. As the summer wore on, a new organization was formed, Eviction Free SF, which vowed to take on landlords that were evicting tenants to pave the way for converting homes into condos.
SodaStream, manufactured in an illegal Israeli settlement in the West Bank, is a popular home seltzer maker. The company markets its product as a green, clean alternative to buying soda in plastic bottles. But Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism (QUIT!) and others counter that stealing Palestinian land is not green or clean. As costume shoppers flocked to Cliff's Variety in the Castro on the Saturday before Halloween, Frankenstein and a gaggle of witches were on hand to educate customers about the impact of settlement industries on Palestinian life and alternatives to SodaStream.
On September 18, Greenpeace activists protesting Arctic oil drilling attempted to climb and establish themselves on the outside of a Russian company's oil platform. The Russian Coast Guard responded by threatening activists at gun point and seizing control of the Greenpeace ship and all who were aboard. A Russian court has now charged twenty-eight Greenpeace International activists and two journalists with piracy. A global day of solidarity with the jailed activists was held on October 5, with tens of thousands of people participating in more than 200 events throughout the world.
On October 5, the eighth U.S. fur farm raid since July saw 2,000 mink freed from a farm in New Holstein, Wisconsin. Across the U.S., over 10,000 animals have been released since July — a level of activity not seen since the late 1990s. The latest raid also marks the 100th (known) release of animals from a fur farm since the Animal Liberation Front officially began it's fur farm campaign in 1995. The ALF appears to be targeting newly discovered farms, with six of the eight farms visited this summer having been made public in the last two years.
As the U.S. government marched towards war with Syria in late August, anti-war groups and activists across the state responded with two weeks of emergency demonstrations. The ANSWER Coalition organized a series of protests, and actions were planned for the offices of Nancy Pelosi, Dianne Feinstein, and Barbara Boxer. Events were also held at well known anti-war protest locations such as Peace Crossroads in San Jose and on Ocean Street in Santa Cruz.
Following the unauthorized release of information by Edward Snowden on June 7, the NSA has faced an unprecedented wave of public scrutiny. On July 23, the California Department of Corrections (CDC) "apprehended, rehabilitated and discharged" a billboard in San Francisco, one day before a U.S. House of Representatives vote that would have curtailed the NSA's surveillance inside the United States. On July 24th, the U.S. House of Representatives voted on an amendment to a military appropriations bill that would have eliminated funding for the agency’s vast phone data collection. The amendment was narrowly defeated by a margin of 205 to 217
At the UC Regents meeting on July 18 at the UCSF Mission Bay Campus, students and workers protested the appointment of U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napaolitano as the president of the UC education system because of her role in targeting immigrant youth and immigrant workers.