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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.
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.
While California Governor Gavin Newsom has ordered residents to shelter in place because of the COVID-19 virus, local Bay Area law enforcement agencies are continuing to expand their powers and resources. On March 24, the Vallejo City Council voted unanimously to purchase a cell site simulator for the Vallejo Police Department. On Tuesday, March 31, the Alameda County Board of Supervisors are scheduled to vote on a surprise $85 million additional budget allocation for Sheriff Department staff at Santa Rita Jail.
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.
On March 20, Santa Cruz Police Chief Andy Mills and a dozen or more cops and park rangers evicted an encampment of unhoused people along Water Street near the post office. Mills gave people the choice of moving into fenced areas in the city or facing arrest and property confiscation. Robert Norse states, "This 'out of sight / out of town' policy, while claiming a public health rationale, rings false given the lack of protected indoor shelter being offered."
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.
Tue Mar 10 2020 (Updated 03/11/20)
Celebrating the Life of Mike Zint
Mike Zint, a well-known homeless rights activist, died on February 14 after a lengthy battle with emphysema. Zint was one of the founders of First They Came for the Homeless, a drug and alcohol free homeless camp. He was well-known for his words and campaigns that sought to increase awareness about the issues that homeless individuals face. Zint was instrumental in organizing the Poor Tour, a series of encampments throughout the city of Berkeley. Friends and supporters will gather at Omni Commons in Oakland on March 13 to celebrate Zint's life, share memories and food, and watch footage of this beloved member of our community.
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."
John Malkin speaks with Mark Hosler, founding member of Negativland, the art, music, film, activist, culture jamming collective established in the San Francisco Bay Area in the late 1970's. Mixing original materials and original music with things taken from corporately owned mass culture and the world around them, Negativland surreally re-arrange these found bits and pieces to make them say and suggest things that they never intended to. In 2004 Negativland worked with Creative Commons to write the Creative Commons Sampling License, an alternative to existing copyrights that is now widely used by many artists, writers, musicians, film makers, and websites.
Thu Feb 27 2020 (Updated 02/29/20)
Saranap Development Will Destroy Old-Growth Oak Trees
On February 25, the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors doomed an old-growth grove of oak trees, and an easement trail, by deciding in favor of real estate moguls Tambri Heyden and David Montalbo. Despite opposition, the developers have been given the green light to proceed in the unincorporated community of Saranap, located between Lafayette and Walnut Creek in Contra Costa County. In their way stands a grove of old-growth oak trees. Also, at issue is the possibility of Indigenous remains and cultural artifacts on the site. However, it is not too late to stop the construction if people act up and speak out.
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