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Center Column Archives
On November 29, Black Friday 2013, Walmart employees, family members, and allies protested at hundreds of Walmart stores across the U.S. to demand improved working conditions, including increased wages, full-time jobs, and an end to retaliatory practices against those who stand up for workers' rights. Among other Northern California outlets of the retail giant that were targeted, demonstrations were held in San Leandro, Roseville, and Fresno/Clovis. Fifteen people in Roseville and five people in San Leandro were arrested for civil disobedience.
Gentrification is a growing issue in neighborhoods across the Bay Area. Many areas in San Francisco, Oakland, and other cities look completely different now than even ten years ago, and the process appears to be accelerating. The East Bay Solidarity Network has produced a 79-page pamphlet entitled Evict This!
which breaks down the history of displacement in Oakland and the resources available to fight the ongoing gentrification.
Independent truckers staged a job action that slowed work at the Port of Oakland on November 27. It was the truckers' third job action since August. The Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) said the strike was “in protest of unsafe working conditions and unfair labor practices by terminal owners and Port of Oakland management.“ About a hundred independent truckers were joined by at least that many community and labor supporters at the entrances to the SSA terminal. Five people were arrested and at least two were injured by cars crossing the picket lines.
In March of 2013, the city of Oakland signed a contract with Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) for design and construction of the first of two phases of a city-wide surveillance system called the Domain Awareness Center, or DAC. Recently, however, the Oakland city council learned that its prime contractor for the project is involved in the U.S. nuclear weapons program, a fact that violates Measure T, a city voter proposition that makes Oakland a nuclear free zone.
Despite a second round of public comment against the DAC at the November 19 Oakland City Council meeting, as well as the ongoing controversy with finding non-nuclear contractors, council members voted yet again to continue with the city-wide surveillance project.
Sacred Sites Protection & Rights of Indigenous Tribes (SSP&RIT) advised the Vallejo City Unified School District Board of Education on November 20 to remove its mascot as it is offensive to Native Americans. SSP&RIT stated, “Native mascots perpetuate the myth that Native America is purely historical and devoid of any contemporary relevance”. After hearing SSP&RIT's appeal, the school board voted unanimously to abandon the high school's racist Apache mascot.
Oakland Port Truckers have formed the Port of Oakland Truckers Association (POTA) to organize for better conditions and compensation. On October 21, hundreds of independent truckers and over a hundred supporters turned out at 5am at the Port of Oakland in protest of escalating costs for truckers and deteriorating work conditions at the Port. The two largest terminals were shut down, and multiple smaller terminals were disrupted or shut down. Alameda County Sheriff's Deputies attacked picket lines, injuring at least two, and forced many picketers onto the sidewalk. Longshoremen refused to cross the picket line and went home for the day, despite losing pay after an unfavorable ruling from labor arbitrators. Port Truckers returned to the Port at 5:30pm to shut down the evening shift, and they continue to ask the public for support.
On the morning of October 22nd
, supporters and members of some 50 families of those executed by California police will converge on Sacramento as part of the National Day of Protest to Stop Police Brutality, Repression, and the Criminalization of a Generation. They will demand proper investigations into their loved ones' deaths — not whitewashes by police and District Attorneys refusing to thoroughly investigate. After the rally In Sacramento, there will be two more rallies in Oakland along with events held in Fresno, Hayward, Redding, Los Angeles, San Diego, and other cities in California and across the United States.