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Sun Mar 29 2020 (Updated 04/04/20)
Bay Area Rent Strike
Anti-Eviction Mapping Project, Tenant and Neighborhood Councils, and other Bay Area folks are producing and sharing information on how to organize a rent strike. They write: We can work together to prevent eviction and foreclosure. We can keep each other housed and fed. We must demand an immediate suspension of rent and mortgage payments for everyone. And if this demand is not met, we must refuse to pay our rents and our mortgages, together.
As the coronavirus outbreak continues to spread across the nation, activists are demonstrating urgently against the continuing detention of immigrants by ICE. The agency's detention centers are hotbeds for the spread of deadly disease to prisoners and personnel, potentially killing thousands. On March 31, protestors in California did their best to follow shelter-in-place rules by protesting in caravans, and covering their cars with banners and messages for Governor Gavin Newsom.
anonymous writes: As coronavirus spreads and the death toll begins to climb, our most immediate concern is (and should remain) staying healthy and supporting our communities through the immediate crisis. As radicals, however, we must also begin to strategize how we will respond to the economic collapse that will continue to affect our lives long after a vaccine or herd immunity render the virus itself a past issue. Looking back to our local history, we can learn a great deal from Great Depression era worker self-organizing and mutual aid.
Demanding action for homeless families at higher risk from coronavirus, homeless and housing insecure families successfully moved into six vacant, state-owned properties in the El Sereno neighborhood of Los Angeles on March 14, with scores of community supporters coming out in support. In the next few days, similar families reclaimed more houses, with thirteen providing shelter now. CalTrans owns the houses, and activists estimate that nearly 200 sit vacant.
Sat Mar 21 2020 (Updated 03/26/20)
California on Coronavirus Lockdown
California residents have been ordered to "stay at home" to suppress the spread of COVID-19. Stringent mitigation measures mean millions are without an income. Students face the possibility of going hungry. Curbside communities and incarcerated persons are especially at risk for contracting the virus. The stress and isolation of the pandemic take a toll on mental health. Not waiting for government action, people are stepping up with mutual aid efforts to assist those most in need.
Thu Mar 12 2020 (Updated 03/22/20)
COVID-19 Pandemic Threatens Most Vulnerable Populations
The World Health Organization officially named COVID-19 a pandemic on March 11. As of that date, over 128,000 cases have been confirmed worldwide and 4,717 people have died (updated statistics). Among the most vulnerable are the elderly, the immunocompromised, the prison population, people who are experiencing homelessness, and hospital workers who have a high likelihood of exposure to the contagious virus as they care for the public health.
Fri Mar 6 2020 (Updated 03/07/20)
Massive Turnout at UC Berkeley Day of Action
On March 5, UC Berkeley graduate student workers, undergraduate students and faculty joined together for a full day of work stoppage. The strike was organized by CAL COLA, an autonomous group of graduate workers and undergraduate students that began to organize in December 2019 in solidarity with the striking graduate workers at UC Santa Cruz. The Day of Action was part of the UC-wide Blackout Day in solidarity with Santa Cruz strikers who were fired last week, and organized independently of UAW Local 2865. CAL COLA states, "If teaching is truly at the core of the UC's mission, it is high time that they start paying graduate students - who do the vast majority of teaching within the UC system - a living wage."
Thu Mar 5 2020 (Updated 03/06/20)
UC Santa Cruz Shutdown in UC-Wide Blackout
On March 5, graduate student workers at UC Santa Cruz and their undergraduate allies participated in a UC system wide day of action in solidarity with their fellow workers whom university administration fired. Large demonstrations took place simultaneously at other UC campuses, including UC Berkeley, UC Santa Barbara, UC Irvine and UC Riverside. At UCSC, classes were cancelled as students shut down both entrances to campus starting at 5:30am. At UC San Diego, graduate students decided to initiate a grading strike on March 9. Striking graduate students explain, "The strike began because there was a crisis that demanded to be acknowledged, that had been swept under the rug for too long."
On February 28, the Westlands Water District signed a permanent water repayment contract with the Bureau of Reclamation to provide Central Valley Water Project water in perpetuity to the growers in the powerful, politically-connected water district on the west side of the San Joaquin Valley. Barbara Barrigan-Parrilla, executive director of Restore the Delta, stated, “At a time of unprecedented climate changes and droughts we should not be circumventing the law and promising by federal contract far more water than actually exists to one large irrigation group at the expense of others.”
At least eighty-two graduate student teaching assistants at UC Santa Cruz withheld Fall grades in protest of low pay. As of February 28, they are out of a job next quarter. Fifty-four who had already received Spring appointments were dismissed by the university in retaliation for the strike, and the rest simply won't get hired. But the movement has declared that the fight isn't over, and "Together, we win!" More teaching assistants will withhold Winter grades, and over 542 graduate students have pledged to refuse teaching assistant positions vacated by dismissed graduates. Graduate students are calling for the cancellation of classes on Monday, March 2, and for everyone to join them on the picket line for a press conference.
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