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Center Column Archives
The National Lawyers Guild and Prison Radio will present two films on repression and resistance on Saturday, October 19
at the The New Parkway Theater in Oakland. The Battle for Oscar Grant Plaza
is a short documentary about how the City of Oakland and its police tried to shut down the budding "Occupy Wall Street" movement, turning downtown Oakland into a teargas-filled war zone and injuring numerous people. Manufacturing Guilt
takes on Abu-Jamal's contentious case, distilling a mountain of evidence and years of oft-repeated falsehoods which illustrate a clear and conscious effort to frame Mumia Abu-Jamal for murder.
Long-time residents of the former landfill known as the Albany Bulb are facing eviction as early as this month. For decades, however, the Bulb has been a safe place for those in the East Bay without traditional housing to make a home. The Sierra Club and Citizens for an East Shore State Park have pressured the Albany City Council to take action to remove those who live at the Bulb and declare the land "recreation only." Residents are now organizing and taking action to raise awareness of their plight and fight impending eviction. On October 7, residents of the Albany Bulb and local community members rallied, marched, and set up a one-night encampment on Solano Avenue, demonstrating what Albany's main street will look like if the Bulb’s 60-plus residents are evicted from their homes.
On August 3, over 2,000 people marched from the Richmond BART station to Chevron's Richmond refinery. Over 200 people were arrested at a sit-in at the gate and released on the scene. There will be a protest on the one-year anniversary of the explosion on August 6
at Richmond Civic Center Plaza. On August 17
, the coalition that organized the action will meet at the Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalists.
Oakland City Council voted 6-0 to continue development of city-wide surveillance program.
The Domain Awareness Center started as a nationwide initiative to secure ports by networking sensors and cameras in and around the facilities. The Oakland DAC has ballooned into a surveillance program for the entire city. As planned, the center would integrate computer dispatch systems, gunshot detection microphones, license-plate readers, crime mapping software, stationary video cameras, private alarm detection programs, Twitter feeds, news feeds, other alerts, and eventually it could feature facial recognition. Civil liberties advocates intend to make a stand against the program at the Oakland City Council meeting on July 30.
The Berkeley Post Office is being sold off as one of the first steps in the privatization of the Postal Service. Despite what seems to be the end of the road in terms of administrative challenges, a three-pronged local attack is being launched by various Berkeley community groups, Save The Berkeley Post Office and Strike Debt Bay Area. The first is a medium term threat of a lawsuit to block the sale. Secondly, a direct defense of the Berkeley Post Office begins on Saturday, July 27th. The third is an attempt to rezone the space the Berkeley Post Office sits on so that it cannot be used for private, commercial enterprise.
Following the acquittal of Trayvon Martin's killer, George Zimmerman, on July 13, hundreds took to the streets in Napa, Oakland, Sacramento, San Francsisco, San Jose, and Santa Cruz. At rallies, candle light vigils, and marches, community members have called for justice for Trayvon and an end to the racial profiling and police abuses that occur on a day-to-day basis across the country. Demonstrations for justice continue locally and nationally.
The Gill Tract in Albany has been a battleground in recent years as the University of California's development plans have met repeated resistance from Occupy the Farm and others fighting for land sovereignty. The tract was first occupied and farmed in 2012, providing hundreds of pounds of free produce to local communities. This year, in the space of nine days in May, occupiers broke ground, establishing a new urban farm, and replanted the field twice. Each time the UC police ploughed over the seedlings. Currently, Occupy the Farm is launching a pressure campaign against Sprouts Farmers Market, a supermarket chain looking to build on the land.