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Center Column Archives
San Francisco and Oakland residents are being evicted as a result of increasing housing costs caused in part by an influx of tech employees, many of whom are provided private buses by their employers to get to offices in the Silicon Valley. Activists first blocked a Google bus in the Mission District of San Francisco on December 9. On December 20, protesters blocked a Google bus at the MacArthur BART station and another at 7th and Adeline in West Oakland. In San Francisco, an Apple bus was blocked at 24th and Valencia Streets.
Thousands gathered in the pre-dawn hours for the Indigenous Peoples Annual Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) on November 28. This was the 44th year that the event was held to commemorate the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971. “As we gather today to celebrate, we do not celebrate the re-write of history that has become Thanksgiving," said Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the IITC. "We celebrate our survival as indigenous people."
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.