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Jonathan Nack writes:
Sensational reporting on opposition protests in Venezuela has been featured by the corporate mainstream media over the past three weeks. There are accounts of repression of protesters who are calling for the “exit” of President Nicholas Maduro because of rising inflation, rampant crime, shortages of consumer goods, and mismanagement of the economy to the point of collapse. Eighteen people have been reported to have been killed in connection with the protests. The government, and government aligned “colectivo” thugs are blamed. The mainstream media's narrative is that the Venezuelan government has caused this crisis, because it is a dictatorship that has ruined Venezuela's economy in a failed attempt to impose Cuban style socialism. Slowly, alternative narratives which challenge the mainstream media's accounts of current events and their context, are emerging from the internet, some journalists, and grassroots solidarity activists.
A small group of such activists gathered for an emergency street rally in the heart of San Francisco's Latino community, the 24th Street and Mission Street BART Plaza, on February, 17, 2014. The rally was called to protest the one-sided media coverage of events unfolding in Venezuela; to denounce plots to destabilize the Venezuelan government and economy in an attempt to precipitate a U.S. backed coup; and to express solidarity with the Venezuelan based international Bolivarian revolutionary movement.
The Center for Political Education organized a report back by Carolina Morales about her recent visit. The March 6 event also commemorated the one year anniversary of the death of President Hugo Chavez.
Read More |
S.F. Rally in Solidarity with Venezuela and the Bolivarian Process |
March 6 Event Announcement
On March 1, people from around the world in over 27 cities took to the streets in solidarity to participate in a global day of action, billed as the March Against Corruption. In San Francisco, over a hundred people came out to protest the corrupting influence of big money in politics. Protesters rallied at Chelsea Manning plaza, where they heard from a number of local musicians and activists speaking out about a range of issues, from the global environmental crisis to the war in Iraq, "connecting the dots" between their own struggles and the underlying issue of government corruption by big money. The event ended at Union Square where march participants were greeted with a politically charged hip-hop performance and additional speakers tying their fights to the democracy-destroying reality of money in politics.
99Rise Bay Area, who initiated organizing for the march, pulled together a coalition of organizers and speakers from a number groups including MoveOn, Global Exchange, $$$ Out! People In!, Occupy SF, Code Pink, Project Censored, and other local grassroots organizations in the struggle to reclaim democracy for the 99%.
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March Against Corruption San Francisco 2014
A new state bill that would impose a moratorium on fracking has been introduced as California reels from a record drought. The intention of the bill is to protect California’s air and water from pollution caused by this form of oil and gas extraction. SB 1132 calls for a moratorium on all forms of "extreme well stimulation," including hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” and acidization until a comprehensive, independent and multi-agency review exploring the economic, environmental and public health impacts is complete.
Across the US and the world, the FBI, DHS, NSA, CIA, and local police are monitoring and recording private emails, social media, and phone calls. Since 9/11, thousands have been harassed, deported, and arrested, while fusion centers coordinate between local cops and federal agents while logging data on millions. Those that speak out like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden face years in prison and worse.
Fearing open rebellion in the wake of the Oscar Grant, Occupy, and Trayvon revolts, OPD and those in power in Oakland have pushed for the Domain Awareness Center (DAC) to become a central hub for the surveillance of activists
, social movements, and the general poor and working-class population.
Claiming that they have to "do something" about crime and that "if we turn down the money we can't use it otherwise," City Council members have voted at least three times thus far to authorize spending on the DAC. The system is not yet fully functional, however, and local privacy advocates continue to fight to stop the DAC's implementation through political
channels, while others openly suggest "camover
" guerrilla attacks against the growing number of surveillance cameras.
The Oakland City Council discussed the DAC on February 18, with several council members appearing to swing against it with proposals to limit implementation to the Port of Oakland, rather than citywide, but put off a vote on this new scaled-back version until their next council meeting, March 4.
Over 70 members of the public spoke unanimously against the DAC at the City Council meeting. The original issue to be examined by the Council was the conflict between Oakland's anti-nuke ordinance and potential DAC contractors with nuclear weapons ties, Schneider Electric being the latest contender. City staffers asserted that Schneider has not done nuclear work in at least 36 months.
Video: Oakland City Council and 76 Members of Public Debate the DAC
Event Announcement: Stop The DAC and Schneider Electric at Oakland's City Council Meeting
Privacy activists protested across the U.S. and the globe while supportive websites highlighted the issues surrounding mass surveillance by the N.S.A. and other governmental intelligence agencies.
Stop Spying On The People - SF Protest Over Government Corporate Spying
Oaklanders rallied at City Hall and marched with speakers, music, and art against the DAC.
Dan Siegel Speaks Out Against the Domain Awareness Center
Oakland DAC is martial law
Activists gathered in Latham Square to oppose Oakland's Domain Awareness Center.
Protesters Theatrically Oppose Repressive Domain Awareness Center
From COINTELPRO to the Domain Awareness Center POSTER |
EFF Submits Letter Opposing Oakland's Domain Awareness Center |
OPD Documents Expose Grave Potential for Abuse of DAC - Selective Ideology-Based Enforcement |
OPD <3's DAC - Valentines Day Romance |
Berkeley KID Roasts Oakland Domain Awareness Center |
The Nuclear Shit Hits The Fan: OPG Demands Oakland "Cease and Desist" Building the DAC! |
Don’t Sell Out The People Of Oakland To The Department Of Homeland Security |
The Real Purpose of Oakland's Surveillance Center
Previous Related Indybay Features:
Oakland’s Vendor Pool to Complete the DAC Is Filled with Nuclear Weapons Contractors |
Oakland Surveillance Center Approved in City Vote Amid Debate on Privacy & Data Collection |
Dan Siegel Announces “Radical” Agenda If Elected Mayor of Oakland
On January 31, as part of an "International Day of Action" against the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), protesters rallied in front of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's office in San Francisco's Federal Building and marched on Market Street. Nancy Pelosi has said publicly that she has concerns about the TPP but she continues to avoid taking a bold stance against Fast Track and TPP that might make a difference in the legislation's chances.
On February 13, a protest of more than one hundred people, including dozens of family members of Californians murdered by police, was held outside A.G. Kamala Harris’ office at the State Building in Oakland in order to deliver a letter to Harris. Family members from the following police murder victims were present: Alan Blueford, Oscar Grant, Gary King, Jr., James Rivera, Jr., Ernest Duenez, Jr., Kenneth Harding, Kayla Moore, Lamarr Alexander, Andy Lopez, Jessie Hamilton, and Mario Romero. Ten people were arrested for refusing to vacate the building.
On February 4, the ACLU of Northern California and the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights of the San Francisco Bay Area (LCCR) filed a lawsuit charging the state with unconstitutionally stripping tens of thousands of people of their right to vote. According to the lawsuit, filed in Alameda County Superior Court, the state’s actions clearly violated state law when the secretary of state issued a directive to local elections officials in December 2011 asserting that people are ineligible to vote if they are on post-release community supervision or mandatory supervision. These are two new and innovative forms of community-based supervision created under California’s Criminal Justice Realignment Act for people recently incarcerated for low-level, non-violent, non-serious crimes.
“The Secretary of State should be working to increase voter participation, not to undermine it,” said Michael Risher, staff attorney with the ACLU of Northern California. “California has dismal rates of voter registration and participation. The Secretary of State is making this even worse by disenfranchising tens of thousands of California citizens who are trying to re-engage with their communities.” The lawsuit was filed on behalf of three people who have or will soon lose their right to vote, along with the League of Women Voters of California and All of Us Or None, a nonprofit organization that advocates for the rights of formerly and currently incarcerated people and their families.
Civil rights attorney Dan Siegel announced his candidacy for mayor of Oakland on January 9 before a crowd of well over 100 supporters in Oscar Grant plaza at the corner of 14th & Broadway. Siegel spelled out an ambitious agenda focused on social and economic justice should he be elected mayor of Oakland. He wants a $15 minimum wage, public schools to develop into community centers, neighborhood gardens to flourish throughout the city, Oakland police to stop abusing citizens, and the Domain Awareness Center to be shut down.
The ballot for the November 2014 election for Mayor of Oakland continues to grow. As of now, it includes Oakland’s current mayor Jean Quan, District Four councilmember Libby Schaaf, Port of Oakland Commissioner Bryan Parker, SF State University professor Joe Tuman, tax accountant Nancy Sidebotham, and neighborhood crime hero/vigilante Patrick McCullough.
Dan Siegel Announces “Radical” Agenda If Elected Mayor of Oakland |
Dan Siegel Announces for Mayor of Oakland – Will Challenge Mayor Quan from the Left |
Dan Siegel -- Kickoff Rally for Mayor of Oakland
The City of Richmond, California voted to continue its groundbreaking effort to save resident homeowners from foreclosure on December 17, 2013. The Richmond City Council voted 4 to 2 in favor of moving forward with its plan to use its right of eminent domain to protect homeowners and to "prioritize those neighborhoods that have been particularly hard hit by the housing crisis." More than half of homeowner mortgages in Richmond are said to be underwater.
Opponents of the plan seek to block its implementation by relying on the city's charter, which requires a super-majority to invoke eminent domain. The Council is currently divided, with four members supporting Mayor Gayle McLaughlin's plan and three opposing, which is short of a super-majority. Banks and realtors oppose the concept, saying it is unconstitutional and would drive up lending costs in the city.
Before the December 17 Council meeting began, approximately seventy-five supporters of Richmond's initiative rallied in front of Richmond City Hall. Later, at the City Council meeting, a majority of approximately forty speakers spoke in favor of moving forward.
Over 400 people organized by Californians for a Fair Water Policy, a statewide coalition opposing Gov. Brown’s massive water export tunnels, attended a rally on December 13 at the State Capitol protesting the Bay Delta Conservation Plan as the 120 day comment period for the BDCP and environmental documents began. Tunnel opponents pointed out “fatal flaws” of the tunnels they said would be too costly, create no new water and do nothing to increase regional water self-reliance.
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. Economic and political forces set the stage for large numbers of new residents to migrate to areas where long-time residents have fallen victim to evictions, foreclosures, and the rising cost of living.
The East Bay Solidarity Network is a community group made up of volunteers living mostly in West Oakland who believe gentrification is a deliberate, engineered process that benefits only a few and hurts many. They’ve spent months base-building in West Oakland by hosting monthly tenants’ rights meetings, door knocking to neighbors, and flyering around liquor stores, laundromats and dollar stores, in addition to organizing neighborhood BBQ’s. "East Bay Sol" has produced a 79-page pamphlet entitled Evict This! The Landscape, History and the Battle Against Evictions in West Oakland
which breaks down the history of displacement in Oakland and the resources available to fight the ongoing gentrification. Evict This!
chapters include: You Are Not Alone, How Did We Get Here, Legal Resources, and Fighting Back.
Read More |
Evict This! The Landscape, History and the Battle Against Evictions in West Oakland
(5mb PDF) |
East Bay Solidarity Network
Thousands gathered in the pre-dawn hours for the Indigenous Peoples Annual Sunrise Gathering at Alcatraz Island sponsored by the International Indian Treaty Council (IITC) on November 28. This was the 44th year that the event was held to commemorate the American Indian occupation of Alcatraz from 1969 to 1971, according to Morning Star Gali, one of the event organizers and the Tribal Historic Preservation Officer for the Pit River Tribe.
In addition to the Yaqui Deer Dancers, the event featured the Round Valley Reservation Pomo Dancers and Aztec Dancers. Speakers included LaNada War Jack, one of the original Alcatraz occupiers, Ann Marie Sayers from the Ohlone Indian Tribe, Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council, Madonna Thunder Hawk, Two Kettle Lakota and one of the original members of the American Indian Movement, and Radley Davis and Mickey Gimmel of the Pit River Tribe.
“As we gather today to celebrate, we do not celebrate the re-write of history that has become Thanksgiving," said Andrea Carmen, Executive Director of the International Indian Treaty Council. "We celebrate our survival as indigenous people. In reality, on this day so long ago, 700 men, women and children of the Pequot Nation were slaughtered during their sacred Green Corn ceremonies by Pilgrims they had saved during the winter months with their own food."
Read More with Photos