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Center Column Archives
Occupy Wall Street in New York called for a nationwide May Day General Strike. Cities and towns across the United States are heeding the call. Workers will be striking, students will be leaving classes, and banks and other large corporations will be forced to close for the day across the nation. May 1st
, 2012, promises to be the largest American May Day since the Immigrant Rights May Day in 2006 and probably the most widespread and furthest reaching in decades.
Oakland Police claim that they have retrained all their officers in crowd control tactics for the upcoming May 1st general strike. While much is unclear about what will be different, there are things that are sure to be the same. Officers that make up most of Oakland's Police Shootings will continue to be deployed as Tango and QRF (Quick Response Force). OPD Chief Howard Jordan has suggested that he may send specialized units into the crowd for the purpose of making surgical arrests, rather than use lethal force through the deployment of chemical and less than lethal rounds indiscriminately.
(Albany, Calif.), April 22, 2012 – Occupy the Farm, a coalition of local residents, farmers, students, researchers, and activists are planting over 15,000 seedlings at the Gill Tract, the last remaining 10 acres of Class I agricultural soil in the urbanized East Bay area. The Gill Tract is public land administered by the University of California, which plans to sell it to private developers. For decades the UC has thwarted attempts by community members to transform the site for urban sustainable agriculture and hands-on education.
Members of the Winnemem Wintu Tribe from northern California on Monday, April 16 challenged Randy Moore, U.S. Forest Service Regional Forester, at his Vallejo office to protect indigenous women from racial slurs and physical harm during coming of age ceremonies planned for this June. Although claiming to be unfamiliar with the issue, Moore promised to review the Winnemem's request to close 400 yards of the McCloud River arm of Shasta Reservoir for 4 days so that the Tribe can conduct the ceremony. Moore committed to respond to the Tribe's request by May 1, 2012. While closing the river will mean a lot to the Tribe, it will have no impact on the Forest Service, said Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Chief and Spiritual Leader.
The Long Haul and East Bay Prisoner Support have settled their lawsuits over an armed, over-broad police raid after the law enforcement agencies agreed to delete improperly seized computer data and pay $100,000 in damages and attorney's fees. Moreover, the University of California-Berkeley Police Department (UCBPD) acknowledged that at the time of the raid one of the groups qualified for federal protections designed to protect journalists, publishers, and other distributors of information from police searches, despite the police's persistent denial of that status throughout the lawsuit.
On April 2nd, law enforcement agents from the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service, and the U.S. Marshals Service raided the businesses and home of licensed medical cannabis provider and activist Richard Lee in Oakland. Americans for Safe Access (ASA) put out a call for patients and advocates to go to Oaksterdam University in downtown Oakland to protest the raids and support the victims. At least two people were arrested in the street while the raid continued. Richard Lee called the raid a "senseless act of intimidation."
On February 26th, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot dead by self-styled vigilante George Zimmerman in Sandford, Florida. Sanford police did not arrest Zimmerman for killing the unarmed teenager, nor even take physical evidence such as Zimmerman's clothing or the handgun he used that night. Police allowed Zimmerman to walk away without charges under the protection of Florida's "Stand Your Ground" law. Rallies and marches have been held across the country for Trayvon, including at least three thus far in San Francisco and Oakland.