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Center Column Archives
From the blockading of Google buses to the blockading of major freeways. From riots against white supremacy and police in Oakland to anti-tech and gentrification brawls in San Francisco, 2014 was an explosive year. Battles erupted in a variety of places and around various issues. This year in review looks at some of the key struggles and outbreaks of rebellion that shook the bay area to its core.
In Oakland, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings organized in response to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for ninety-six hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend. The first action announced was a protest inside Montgomery BART station in San Francisco at 7am on Friday. The weekend’s events culminated in a Jobs and Economy March for the People on Monday, January 19. Other groups organized more MLK-related events in Oakland, Berkeley, Richmond, San Francisco, Santa Rosa, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, and throughout Northern California.
On December, 15, Spain passed the "ley de mordaza", a gag law that makes it a crime to insult a cop, film a cop, or assemble in large groups. On December 16, seven anarchists were arrested on charges relating to terrorism. On December 22, a group of anarchists stormed the Spanish consulate in San Francisco. After throwing leaflets into the consulate, tipping over the Spanish flag, and yelling curses, the group left without incident.
The Indymedia (Independent Media Center) project started in late November of 1999, to allow participants in the anti-globalization movement to report on the protests against the WTO meeting that took place in Seattle, Washington, and to act as an alternative media source. The San Francisco Bay Area Independent Media Center, commonly known as Indybay, started in 2000. By 2002, there were 89 local IMCs around the world spread between 31 countries (plus the West Bank) and 6 continents. By January 2006, the Indymedia network had grown to over 150 Indymedia outlets around the world.
As expected, the grand jury tasked with determining if there was enough evidence for charging Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson for the murder of Mike Brown determined that there wasn’t probable cause. That night, on November 24, people in Ferguson and across the country began to rise up for Mike Brown and blocked freeways, city streets, and more. Fires were set, merchandise taken from stores, and, on Black Friday, BART was disrupted in West Oakland and shopping centers shut down in San Francisco. Protests continued throughout the week, culminating on the annual Black Friday shopping day and continuing into the weekend.
UPDATE 11/14: New CA Ebola Mandate Inspired by NNU Appeal to Gov. Brown, Sets National Model
On November 11, two-day strikes started that effect nearly 20,000 registered nurses at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics, a Sutter hospital in Tracy, and Watsonville Community Hospital kicking off a wave of protests in 15 states and the District of Columbia over eroding patient care conditions symbolized by inadequate Ebola safeguards at most U.S. hospitals. Large noon rallies were held at Kaiser Oakland and Kaiser South Sacramento.
On November 4, Bay Area voters raised minimum wages in San Francisco and Oakland. On November 6, workers at the San Francisco Whole Foods Market at 4th and Harrison Streets took the fight for fair wages to another level by presenting management with a demand for a $5-an-hour across-the-board wage increase for all employees. On November 14
, organized workers at Whole Foods Market will rally with supporters and call on the Regional President to respond at the Northern California Office in Emeryville.