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Center Column Archives
Two squats located in Oakland are facing eviction in the coming weeks. The Stayaway, located in the Highland neighborhood of East Oakland, received a "Notice to Vacate" for this Wednesday, February 13th. The RCA/Hot Mess compound, located in North Oakland, has been fighting eviction through court proceedings, but organizers believe eviction orders will be coming in the next week. Many of those organizing defense for the squats believe that "both spaces could face raids on or before Valentine's Day."
On January 10th, IWW members and community allies staged an informational picket and rally to build energy towards what organizers think will be a protracted contract negotiation with Berkeley's Ecology Center. Management at the non-profit recycling center is looking to offer minor wage increases over the next two years, impose a wage freeze for the remaining three years of the new contract, and remove any employer-related benefit contributions. Workers have vowed to continue fighting against any and all concessions proposed by management of the company.
On Tuesday, January 15th
, hundreds of community activists from groups including Stop the Injunctions Coalition and Justice for Alan Blueford gathered at Oakland's City Council Public Safety Committee meeting to protest Oakland's plans to hire former NYPD and LAPD police chief William Bratton as a consultant to the OPD. Bratton is well known for the implementation of aggressive policing tactics known as "zero tolerance" policy which applies aggressive policing tactics such as New York's infamous "stop and frisk" to target minor infractions within the city. Even though the public safety meeting was well attended by those opposed to the contract, the committee voted unanimously to recommend that the city council vote on the proposal.
Four people were arrested and one was tased by sheriff's deputies after protesters became boisterous in an Alameda County Wiley Manuel courtroom on January 8th. Of the courthouse disruption, Bay of Rage writes
: nearly 100 people gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza to say goodbye to Jack. Jack was arrested on January 7, 2012 during the very first FTP march in downtown Oakland.... Together with our comrade and his family leading the way we walked quietly in the street some eight blocks to the court house. About 50 of us somberly filed into the courtroom.
For the second New Year's Eve in a row, nearly two hundred people chose to forgo traditional evening indoor parties and instead demonstrated in the streets of Oakland against the racist prison industrial complex. After a noisy march with a sound system, a symbolic attack was made against the North County jail by a barrage of fireworks shot high into the air towards the jailhouse walls. Participants marched back to the plaza in time for the midnight count down to 2013, right in the middle of the intersection of 14th & Broadway.
Family and friends remembered Oscar Grant during a January 1st, 2013 vigil at the Fruitvale BART Station where his life was taken New Year's Day 2009. Four years after his murder by BART police officer Johannes Mehserle, Oakland has not forgotten Grant. Over 150 people came out in Grant's memory.
A forum on the UC Berkeley campus called “We Witness: A Panel on Digital Video, Social Media, & Political Protest,” was held on Monday, December 10, and presented by the CITRIS Data and Democracy Initiative. It featured Witness, an NGO documenting human rights violations, The New Media Advocacy Project, and Ustream, a commercial service for live video streaming.