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Immediately following the Paris attacks of November 13, France announced the prohibition of mass marches in cities across the country. Large rallies scheduled for November 29 and December 12 in Paris during the UN climate conference have been forbidden due to this new ban. French rally mobilizers are asking why demonstrations are prohibited while sporting events and Christmas markets are being permitted. In Northern California, climate activists marched in Oakland and Santa Cruz during the weekend of November 21-22 in a lead-up to the Paris climate summit.
In an example of collaboration with privacy advocates, on November 17, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors passed a comprehensive privacy policy regulating the county's use of cell phone interceptor equipment (often referred to in the press by “Stingray” or “Hailstorm”) before approving the purchase of an equipment upgrade. The policy requires a warrant before any deployment of the device and periodic audits of use.
In a show of solidarity, labor unions and Black Lives Matter activists staged a protest on November 10 which targeted Alameda County District Attorney Nancy O'Malley. Some two hundred protesters gathered outside D.A. O'Malley's offices demanding that she “Drop the charges against the Black Friday 14!” They declared that the struggles for economic justice and racial justice were two sides of the same struggle. Inside the courthouse, a delegation of labor leaders occupied O'Malley's office. No arrests were made.
On November 13, the San Francisco Public Defender’s office released video of two Alameda County Sheriff's Office (ACSO) Deputies beating a man who is curled up on the ground. The first deputy tackles and punches the man and then both proceed to hit him with their batons for nearly a minute, repeatedly striking the man in the head and all over his body. They only stop beating him after other ACSO deputies and SF police arrive on the scene. Instead of rendering medical aid, the arriving police walk around the seriously wounded man, shining flashlights on him as he moans in pain, crying out for help.
In the city of Alameda, rent increases and evictions remain unregulated. Landlords are pushing rents up sky high and/or evicting people out of homes they've been able to afford for decades. On November 4, an estimated 200 Alamedan renters went to their city council to demand an end to unfair rent hikes and displacement. City Official Bob Haun shoved a 68-year-old Alameda Rental Coalition leader and police tackled another protester to the ground where he lay bleeding while police restrained him. After a hearing that lasted past 1am, the council voted for a temporary 65-day limit of 8% on rent increases and ban on no cause evictions.
On October 11, a group of indigenous people held a sacred ceremony and observance on the historic Gill Tract Farm to honor the land and the ancestors who lived on the land for over 10,000 years. The gathering was convened by the Indigenous Land Access Committee (ILAC) — a group of Ohlone and other native people who envision reclaiming land stolen from them, and restoring spiritual and cultural lifeways in solidarity with indigenous people on every continent harmed by colonization.
A "Stingray" is a device that simulates a cellphone tower and intercepts all phone traffic in its range. A new California law set to go into effect this January requires most state and local agencies to conduct a public hearing and to create a privacy policy before acquiring a Stingray or equivalent device. But on Tuesday, October 13, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider whether to approve a request by the Alameda County District Attorney to accept money from the state to acquire an upgraded Stingray known as a "Hailstorm." If approved, and if the purchase is consummated before the new year, the new Stingray law would not apply.
UPDATE: The decision on approving the grant money for a Stingray upgrade was postponed to an indefinite date, probably December.
On September 12, about 60 people showed up outside Uncle Sam's Liquors in Richmond to remember Pedie Perez who was shot dead at that location on September 14, 2014 by Richmond police officer Wallace Jensen. Although Jensen claims that Pedie had tried to take his gun, witnesses dispute this and the store's surveillance video shows that after a struggle on the ground Jensen got up and backed away with his gun still holstered. He then shot Pedie from about six feet away.
Dan Rush, a former union organizer for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 5, was recently named in a federal arrest warrant that alleges he engaged in bad-faith negotiations with cannabis dispensary owners while acting in his capacity as a union official. Rush is also accused of holding a private financial interest in a medical cannabis company seeking a dispensary permit in Oakland in 2010.
August 27 marked the sixth officer-involved shooting by Oakland police in 2015, and the fourth resulting in death. This does not count Richard Linyard, who police claim suffocated to death after he squeezed himself between two buildings during a police chase. All of OPD's victims this year have been of African descent. The victim was Yonas Alehegne and it's been reported that he was homeless and an immigrant, possibly from West Africa.
The Richmond Progressive Alliance sent out the following notice on August 27: We are reaching out to notify you of a misleading petition to repeal the new rent control ordinance in Richmond, CA. [W]e have received dozens of reports from residents and have cause to believe that up to half of their signatures are from supporters who have been otherwise fooled. This petition if validated will SUSPEND the ordinance for up to Nov. 2016, during which landlords will be free to unfairly raise rents and evict tenants without just cause.
Defend Knowland Park issued a call-out for direct action in the Oakland hills: "As we have stated before, we need to resist the destructive and gentrifying Zoo development to protect the animals, land, and neighborhood. We invite everyone who feels compassionate about environmental justice, animal rights, and tenant rights to join us, organize, and take direct action." On Friday, August 21, a Knowland Park Defence Convergence Festival and Campout is scheduled with bands, workshops, films, and more.
In 2015, Oakland Police have already been involved in three fatal shootings, as well as a mysterious death where a man died while trapped between two houses following a chase. On the afternoon of August 12, Nathaniel Wilks, 27, born August 26 in New York City and father to a tiny baby girl named Kai’lei, was fatally shot as he slowed down after a car and foot chase by police, saying, “Ok, Ok, Ok,” shortly before he was shot.
The Humanist Hall is being attacked by newcomers who live in condos built right next door only about ten years ago. The Humanist Hall has opened its doors for countless radical and under-served organizations over the past 75 years, yet now it is being labelled a public nuisance by the City of Oakland due to complaints from the new neighbors. An online petition calls on Mayor Schaaf to “encourage condo owners and renters to respect the social norms of the neighborhood – our neighborhood – that they have moved into.."
The year 2013 was a busy one for animal liberation actions across the U.S., primarily at businesses that breed and/or sell fur. Tyler Lang and Kevin Johnson of Los Angeles recently pled guilty and currently await sentencing for a related charge of violating the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act (AETA). On July 24, the FBI arrested two more animal rights activists. Joseph Buddenburg and Nicole Kissane of Oakland were charged under AETA for 2013 actions. At a court hearing on July 28, Judge Ryu released Nicole from electronic monitoring but ordered that Joseph remain on home lockdown with continued monitoring.
For two months, the Muwekma Farm thrived at its location on the corner of 31st Avenue and International Blvd in Oakland. On July 9, however, the City of Oakland and OPD destroyed every single plant, raised bed, and bench. Muwekma Farm writes: We have no specific date for retaking the land, but when we do there will be another announcement. To those who desire a world free of environmental destruction and economic slavery, we would like to remind you that there is an inordinate amount of vacant land in the City of Oakland.
Founding member of the First Friday Oakland Art Murmur, Rock Paper Scissors Collective writes: With a little volunteer elbow-grease and fundraising effort, the Rock Paper Scissors Collective (RPSC) was born — a destination where the community could come together, organize, share skills, knowledge and create. Now, we are being forced out of our space. The Collective’s long time landlord plans to charge market value for the space, well beyond what we can afford as an all-volunteer run nonprofit. As of August 31st, RPS will be without a home.
On June 27, friends, family, and supporters of Richard "Pedie" Perez, killed by Richmond police, took the streets downtown. The diverse group chanted, held signs, and distributed flyers. The march, which followed a rally outside of the Richmond BART station, came after a recent decision by the District Attorney which ruled the police killing of Perez was justifiable. Richard “Pedie” Perez was shot and killed by officer Wallace Jensen outside of a liquor store in Richmond on September 14, 2014.
Demouria Hogg, a 30-year-old father of three, was killed by Oakland police on June 6 at the intersection of Lakeshore and Lake Park avenues in Oakland. Mr. Hogg was asleep, or unconscious, in his car at the intersections when paramedics were called, but when they arrived and saw a gun on the passenger seat, they called the police instead of helping. OPD tried to wake Mr. Hogg up for about 1.5 hours, and ultimately shot and killed him within 1 minute of "making contact" with him.
On May 5, Black.Seed, Asians4BlackLives, and allies shut down the Oakland City Council and held a People's City Council against a proposed development on East 12th Street. The development, up for a vote at that evening's city council meeting, includes no affordable housing and links to the larger wave of displacement being felt throughout Oakland and the Bay Area. The activists stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement, linking gentrification to increased policing, and criminalization of Black and Brown people.
All around the world May Day has been a day for labor solidarity, immigrant rights, direct action, reclaiming the streets, and speaking out against injustice. May Day 2015 in the Northern California was a busy day for actions from San Francisco and Oakland to San Jose and Mountain View to Santa Cruz and Fresno. Call-outs went out for rallies, marches, flying pickets, the shutdown of the Port of Oakland, a tech commute blockade, and an anti-capitalist/Baltimore solidarity march.
On April 12, the Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP), in conjunction with Yuvette Henderson’s family, held a vigil and caravan in the name of Yuvette, killed with an AR-15 by Emeryville police. Numerous other demonstrations have been held to demand justice for Yuvette as well. On April 21st, the Oakland police department conceded to community pressure and allowed the brother and sister of Yuvette to view the videos leading up to her murder, which is rare after a police killing, but her family was told that the two most critical events of the day were not available for review.
Activists in Oakland came out in the hundreds to rally and march for a $15 minimum wage on April 15, tax day. They started their protests by shutting down all thirteen McDonald's restaurants in Oakland with chanting, flash mobs and and banners. Later in the day, over one thousand participants from Fight for $15 actions all over the San Francisco Bay area converged at Sproul Plaza in UC Berkeley. Protesters then marched through Berkeley main streets, snarling traffic, and stopping at the downtown McDonald's.
On April 15, urban farmers from the UC Gill Tract Community Farm, Occupy the Farm, other food and climate justice communities, and fast food workers joined together at an Oakland McDonalds for Fight for Fifteen protest. By noon, fast food workers and Gill Tract farmers joined for a Boycott Sprouts action at the grand opening of a Sprouts “Farmers Market” in San Rafael to protest the supermarket’s plans to pave the historic Gill Tract Farm in Albany. The action at the San Rafael Sprouts is the third in the last month.
As soon as April 16, the East Bay Zoological Society can begin sectioning off the combined seventy-seven acre “California Trail” and mitigation sites from public access behind an 8-foot chain-link barbed wire fence. On March 27, fifty people assembled to inaugurate a direct action campaign against the “California Trail” project that would expand the Oakland Zoo into the undeveloped 400-acre region known as Huchiun to Ohlone people, commonly referred to as Knowland Park.
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11AM Saturday Dec 5 Holiday Arts Festival
12PM Saturday Dec 5 Greece - Two Communist Views
3PM Saturday Dec 5 Facing The Climate Crisis
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EMERGENCY PROTEST Against 30 Minute Checks/Sleep Deprivation Verbena (1 comment)
Friday Nov 27th 12:00 AM
Richard Perkins: 1,000th Person Killed by Cops in the US This Year; OPD Mum on Video Anti Police-Terror Project
Thursday Nov 26th 11:11 PM
Letter to Berkeley: You Are Being Scammed by Your City Council. JP Massar (1 comment)
Wednesday Nov 25th 10:44 AM
Help us lay our loved-one Richard Perkins to rest! Richard Perkins memorial fund
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Monday Nov 23rd 1:36 AM
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Sunday Nov 22nd 9:43 PM
The Malonga Center windows: A tale about Oakland city priorities Lydia (1 comment)
Friday Nov 20th 2:56 PM
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Court: EPA Failed to Protect U.S. Waters From Aquatic Invasive Species Center for Biological Diversity
Monday Oct 5th 4:52 PM
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Sunday Jun 28th 9:14 AM
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Friday Feb 13th 11:39 PM
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