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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.
The New York Times, Rolling Stone, Mother Jones and other publications have touted Governor Jerry Brown and other state officials as the “resistance” to Donald Trump’s pro-oil industry policies in recent articles, but the reality on the ground is much different. In fact, the oil industry is the single largest corporate lobby in Sacramento — and dominates spending on lobbying every legislative session. Every bill opposed by the oil industry with the exception of one has failed to pass out of the Legislature over the past three years, due to the gusher of Big Oil lobbying money. The oil industry spent more on lobbying in California, $16,360,618, in the first six months of 2017 than was spent by the industry in all of 2016, $16.0 million.
Proponents of the recently passed No Camping ordinance in Fresno claim that homeless people who are sleeping on public and private property are doing so by choice. They say that if they wanted to get off the streets, there are plenty of places for them to go. They suggest homeless people should go to the Fresno Rescue Mission or the Poverello House. Homeless advocates say there are too few shelter beds and that the ordinance essentially criminalizes poverty. This matters because a lack of shelter space would make it impossible for all of the homeless people in Fresno to comply with the law and avoid arrest, even if they wanted to do so.
On November 4, a rally in San Francisco's Union Square kicked off Bay Area participation in a national campaign to drive out the Trump/Pence administration. A long and spirited march snaked through the city following the rally. Protests were held on the same day in twenty-two cities including New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Boston, Atlanta, Philadelphia, Seattle and Portland. To promote the day of action, Refuse Fascism, a project of the Revolutionary Communist Party, took out a full page ad in the New York Times.
Fri Nov 3 2017 (Updated 11/04/17)
Day of the Dead Action Demands Ban on Chlorpyrifos
Spicing up their press conference with a Day of the Dead theme, health advocates from Fresno, Tulare, and Kern Counties rallied outside the central regional office of the Department of Pesticide Regulation (DPR) on November 1 in Clovis. Their action was part of a continuing campaign to get DPR to urge the state to suspend agricultural use of brain-harming chlorpyrifos. Last May, the deadly pesticide was implicated in a drift incident that sickened dozens of farmworkers near Bakersfield; health advocates say that more than twenty years of research links the pesticide to neurological disorders in children.
About 200 people went to Fresno City Hall on September 29 to demand an end to the criminalization of the homeless, following the passing of a No Camping ordinance. The demand for house keys, not handcuffs, was met by a large contingent of police who surrounded the protesters and threatened them with arrest. A statement about the event stated that Fresno needs “a safe and legal place where homeless people can go 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Homeless people need a place to go and the same basic public services that everyone else in this city has — drinking water, a place to go to the bathroom and trash bins. In short, the homeless need to be treated with dignity and respect, because they are our brothers and sisters and in some cases our mothers, fathers or children.”
Sat Sep 23 2017 (Updated 09/26/17)
Ban Lifted on Berkeley Police Use of Pepper Spray
The NLG-SF writes: Rather than using these critical times as an opportunity to have a larger conversation with Berkeley’s people of color, LGBTQIA, Jews, Muslims and other communities who are being targeted by white nationalists/neo-Nazis/white supremacists — the City has instead utilized this as an opportunity to target peaceful protests and repress resistance. The APTP further explains who will face the brunt of this new police weapon: According to the resolution, police are not allowed to use it on crowds but they can target individuals in crowds whom they deem “violent." If both recent and past history teaches us anything — it is that those of us who pose the most risk to the State and its agenda that get categorized as violent.