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Sun Apr 8 2018 (Updated 04/17/18)
Facebook CEO Faces Government/Public Scrutiny
When Facebook security tried to shut them down, protesters at the social media giant used their best delaying tactics and continued shouting and singing in front of the "Like" sign at the entrance of the corporate campus on April 5. Under pressure from lawmakers, the media, and the public, Facebook founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg will testify before Congress about Cambridge Analytica’s breach of Facebook data. Meawnwhile, buried in a company announcement, Facebook admitted that most of its 2 billion users have had their personal data scraped by "malicious actors."
On March 14, thousands of San Francisco Bay Area students participated in a national walkout against gun violence, with 1,500 marching in the suburb of Menlo Park alone. However, not all went smoothly for some Bay Area students seeking to express themselves. One district superintendent in the South Bay accused students of not thinking things through, and stated that “Organizations have their own agendas and they’re using kids as pawns."
On March 8, protesters gathered in front of Visa headquarters in Foster City. They called on the credit card company to block sales of assault weapons. Shortly after they delivered 150,000 signatures on a petition to company representatives, VISA issued a statement to the press saying “We do not believe Visa should be in the position of setting restrictions on the sale of lawful goods and services." Protestors returned to renew their demands one week later.
Wed Dec 13 2017 (Updated 01/02/18)
National Day of Action in Defense of Net Neutrality
UPDATE: In sweeping act of deregulation, the FCC has voted to repeal Net Neutrality
Protests to save net neutrality burst upon the San Francisco Bay Area scene on December 7. The proposal at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to roll back Obama era rules would fundamentally change the internet by favoring carriers over internet content providers. In Palo Alto, a "March on Verizon" started in Lytton Plaza, where "Digital DNA", a sculpture inviting the viewer to question how technology can enslave us, is slated for removal because of its political message. Demonstrations on the national day of action targeted Verizon because FCC Chairman Ajit Pai is a former Verizon lawyer.
On November 16, the Public Art Commission of Palo Alto voted unanimously to remove the artwork of Adriana Varella from the city’s public art collection. "Digital DNA", a seven foot tall egg shaped sculpture made of recycled circuit boards, imparts a political message—that technology generated by Silicon Valley has a far-reaching impact. It conveys that modern technology can enslave us, and reminds the viewer that technology is also used for warfare. In protest of the commission's decision, the artist has created a more than 5 foot wide collage titled "Censorship Committee of Palo Alto" that is currently on display at an art show about censorship in New York City.
Sun Nov 19 2017 (Updated 11/28/17)
Police Action in East Palo Alto Displaces RV Dwellers
Seventy-five protesters blocked a street in East Palo Alto to protect families at a police action at 8 a.m. on November 15. A tow truck pulled up to haul away a dozen RV's occupied mostly by working people, some with children. The RV residents received less than 24 hours notice of an emergency eviction ordinance put in place by the city. That same evening many of the protesters and about 200 residents showed up to a Public Works and Transportation Commission meeting to face off with city staff and commissioners. On the agenda: a potential long term or permanent ordinance on RV parking on Weeks Street and a ban on all oversized vehicles on city streets.
Oakland will spend $75,000 on a study to examine the feasibility of establishing a public bank in the city. The impact on the cannabis industry would be huge, because most corporate banks do not conduct business with the cannabis trade even where their operations are legal. Without bank credit card services, business transactions must be conducted in cash. Even filing taxes with the IRS is problematic. Nearly all large corporate banks are involved in unethical practices of one kind or another. A public bank would also allow people of conscience to bank without supporting unconscionable investments.
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