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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.
According to a report by the Urban Displacement Project of UC Berkeley, between 2013 and 2015 the pace of gentrification and displacement in Northern California accelerated most quickly in Oakland’s low-income neighborhoods. Skyrocketing rents reveal the need for strong rent control and just cause eviction protections in Oakland and throughout the Bay Area. According to the New York Times, Oakland’s median rent during 2016 was among the highest in the nation, just short of the median rent in Manhattan. During August of 2017, the average market rate rent for a one bedroom unit was $2,400 per month in Oakland, but since then according to Zillow the current median rent in Oakland is up to $3,000 per month.
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.
On November 11, the Korea Peace Walk traveled 20 blocks along Telegraph Avenue in Oakland, pausing to rally at historic sites of the labor movement and Black Panther Party activism. The celebrated date activists chose originated as Armistice Day on November 11, 1919, the first anniversary of the end of World War I. About 70 people marched for over two hours from from 23rd to 44th Street. At the final rally at Koryo Place, the center of a district of small Korean family owned businesses, pungmul (풍물) drummers pounded furiously. Pungmul drumming and dancing is rooted in Korea’s collective farming culture and has long been actively used in political protest there.
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.
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.
On November 1, SubRosa turned nine years old. SubRosa is an anarchist community space run by a collective of committed volunteers from the Santa Cruz area, freely giving of their energy and time. Located on the south end of Pacific Avenue, it is one of few places in Santa Cruz that is not focused on commerce. SubRosa has books and zines you can't find anywhere else, as well as the Anarchist Lending Library. Meetings, film screenings, music shows, art exhibitions, privacy workshops, and the increasingly popular Really Really Free Market all take place at SubRosa.
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.
After being booted from downtown Santa Cruz and directed across the river to San Lorenzo Park, homeless people are being told to move again. The Hooverville-type camp on the benchlands in San Lorenzo Park now faces eviction. A posted notice announces that park will be closed for "maintenance" on Thursday, November 9. Homeless people began occupying the benchlands after the Santa Cruz police vowed to "clean-up the downtown area". Now City of Santa Cruz Parks and Recreation says it is time for folks to move along. The notice states, "All of San Lorenzo Park will be closed for maintenance on: Thursday 11/9/2017. Please vacate these grounds by the end of the day Wednesday 11/8/2017."
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.
Sun Nov 5 2017 (Updated 11/06/17)
Reed College Occupied Against Wells Fargo
For over fifteen days, tents, couches, tables of food, and dozens of students have decked the halls of Eliot Hall, Reed College’s administration building in Portland, Oregon. Students are occupying the building in protest of the college's financial ties to Wells Fargo. Demonstrators say the college holds around $300,000 in the bank on a daily basis. Wells Fargo is an American international banking and financial services holding company well known to be one of the primary investors in private prisons, immigration detention, the Dakota Access Pipeline, police foundations and the Israeli Apartheid, among other oppressive institutions.
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.
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.
JP Massar writes: For nine months a stable, peaceful, law-abiding community of homeless people has resided at the HERE/THERE space on the west side of the BART tracks just north of the Oakland/Berkeley border, across the street from Sweet Adeline. They have had the support of the neighborhood and have recently obtained, through community support, the ability to access a porta-potty and a handwashing station. On Saturday afternoon [October 21], BART police put up notices demanding that they remove themselves from HERE/THERE area within 72 hours and threatening to confiscate their possessions. An Eviction Resistance Party has been called for Tuesday, October 24 at 4:30pm.
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.”
Late in the evening on October 8, the Diablo Winds blew into Santa Rosa, resulting in five fires. The rapidly spreading fires caused dozens of deaths and burned thousands of homes and other structures to the ground. Beyond those directly effected, the Santa Rosa firestorm, and other fires in the North Bay have polluted the air across the entire region. The elderly and children are at greatest health risk from the smoke of the wildfires in Sonoma, Napa, Yuba and Mendocino Counties. On October 16 a new wildfire started in unincorporated Santa Cruz County, spurring evacuations. Concerns remain about the origin of the fires; one theory being that high winds caused power lines to collapse, raising questions about PG&E's culpability.
Fri Oct 6 2017 (Updated 10/20/17)
Memorial for Bay Area Activist Kaye "Nana" Griffin
Fri Oct 6 2017 (Updated 10/20/17)
Indybay Co-Founder Kaye "Nana" Griffin Passes On
Kaye "Nana" Griffin, an Indybay co-founder, passed on in early August. Nana was involved in the Bay Area activism scene for decades, including queer liberation, housing and many other local struggles. Nana also carried one of the first Indybay press passes. Her memorial service is on Saturday, October 21, 2:00 PM, at the Center for Sex and Culture, 1349 Mission St. in San Francisco. Keith McHenry recalls, "Kaye spent many hours volunteering with San Francisco Food Not Bombs and reported on the arrests and court cases posting on Indybay. She participated in nearly all the huge protests with her pet rat on her shoulder and I remember her insightful comments about a wide range of issues."
Declaring that blatant fascists and neo-nazis will never find a home in the Bay Area, hundreds of anti-racist activists rallied and marched through the streets of Berkeley on September 23. The Anti Police-Terror Project proactively called for people to gather on that day as a show of strength and unity against the white supremacists across the nation attempting to capitalize on the racist Trump presidency. Separately, Berkeley Patriots, the UC Berkeley student group behind "Free Speech Week," announced the day before it was supposedly set to begin that all events had been cancelled. Milo Yiannopoulos attempted to speak on September 24 but was on the UC Berkeley campus only 20 minutes before quickly leaving the scene.
Sat Sep 30 2017 (Updated 10/03/17)
Water Protectors Resist Oil Pipeline Construction
The State of Wisconsin has violated the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe by allowing the Enbridge corporation to destroy wetlands, animal habitat, and their sacred rice lakes for a pipeline that the Minnesota Department of Commerce has deemed unnecessary and hazardous. In Cloquet, Minnesota, a growing front line camp of water protectors has become a base for launching nonviolent direct actions intended to shutdown construction on Enbridge's Line 3 pipeline. Every hour protesters stop work costs Enbridge thousands of dollars. This tactic of non-violent direct action is a last resort because the courts and regulatory processes have failed the people and mother earth.
On September 21, the French Ministry of Interior ordered two Indymedia websites — Indymedia Nantes and Indymedia Grenoble — to take down a communiqué claiming responsibility for a fire at a Grenoble police depot the previous night. According to the government, the hosted text constitutes a "provocation to terrorism". Both Indymedia collectives decided to take down the communiqué to avoid being put on a secret blocking list sent by the government to major ISPs in France. Indymedia Grenoble says, "this request (...) directly echoes the attack which took place in Germany on the 25th of August against Indymedia Linksunten, an attack which resulted in the police raid of four households and a self-administered social service center, citing similar pretexts."
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.
Despite the fact that he froze services to low-income internet users soon after taking office, Federal Communications Commission Chair Ajit Pai came to San Francisco to talk to tech executives about bridging the digital divide for underserved communities. Pai was named by President Trump as Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission in January. When he visited San Francisco on September 12, protesters demonstrated at the site of the meeting in the city's financial district, saying net neutrality is a racial justice issue.
Sat Sep 9 2017 (Updated 09/10/17)
Thousands Hit the Streets to Defend DACA
Trump’s decision to quickly phase out Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), an executive order protecting young adults who were brought to the U.S. by undocumented immigrant parents as children, propelled thousands of protesters to the streets of San Francisco, San José, Santa Cruz and elsewhere in the Bay Area. The University of California sued the U.S. Department of Homeland Security in federal court to stop the Trump administration from rescinding the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals, and the California State College and Community College systems have vowed to continue supporting DACA recipients.
12/13/17 Palo Alto March on Verizon Starts at Site of Censored Political Art frontpage | globaljustice | arts | peninsula | government11/30/17 Oakland Has Fastest Pace of Gentrification and Displacement in Bay Area frontpage | healthhousing | eastbay | california11/29/17 Big Oil Spent More Lobbying in First 6 Months of 2017 Than in All of 2016 frontpage | environment | centralvalley | california | government11/22/17 Hella Organized Bay Area Koreans Say "No War on Korea" with Peace Walk on Armistice Day frontpage | race | antiwar | labor | eastbay11/20/17 "Censorship Committee" of Palo Alto Banishes Public Art Piece frontpage | antiwar | globaljustice | arts | peninsula11/19/17 Protesters Block Street to Protect Families at Police Action in East Palo Alto frontpage | police | healthhousing | labor | peninsula11/16/17 How Many Homeless Shelter Beds Are There in Fresno... and Why It Matters frontpage | police | healthhousing | centralvalley | government11/16/17 SubRosa is an Anarchist Community Space Run by a Collective of Volunteers frontpage | healthhousing | globaljustice | arts | santacruz11/06/17 Homeless Campers in Santa Cruz at San Lorenzo Park's Benchlands Face Eviction frontpage | healthhousing | santacruz11/06/17 Kicking Off with Rally in Union Square, SF Starts Campaign to End Trump/Pence Regime frontpage | antiwar | sf | us | government11/05/17 Portland's Reed College Threatens Students for Protesting Its Financial Ties frontpage | race | globaljustice | education | us
Save Twitter From Twitter: A Protest #resist Sunday Dec 10th 10:12 AM
No Fascism, No Censorship, March on Verizon in Palo Alto. Raging Grannies Action League Sunday Dec 10th 6:41 AM
March on Verizon for Net Neutrality Raging Grannies Action League Saturday Dec 9th 11:20 PM
When You See Something Do Something - Brochure on Community Defense in Public Spaces Bay Area Community Defense Network Friday Dec 8th 7:44 PM
Defend Aunti Frances! Emergency Eviction Defense Rally Self-Help Hunger Program Thursday Dec 7th 7:34 PM
J20 Resisters Court Support and Petition Delivery Friends of J20 Resisters (1 comment) Thursday Dec 7th 5:26 PM
All Out For Palestine: Hands Off Jerusalem! AROC: Arab Resource & Organizing Center (3 comments) Wednesday Dec 6th 8:33 PM
Song for Net Neutrality Raging Grannies Action League Wednesday Dec 6th 8:00 PM
Homelessness and Mental Illness within Sonoma County Paula A, Jenna C, Dom R, B Louie, A Semenza, K Cruz Wednesday Dec 6th 7:51 PM
Social Justice and Social Justice Week at Sonoma State University Liz A, Maria C, Lorena G, Lizbeth R, Selene R, Jimena S Wednesday Dec 6th 2:08 PM
Emergency Protest to #StopTheMove: We Need a Jerusalem for All IfNotNow Bay Area (1 comment) Wednesday Dec 6th 1:22 PM
3000 Oakland SEIU1021 & IFPTE 21 Workers Strike For A Contract Labor Video Project Wednesday Dec 6th 12:45 AM
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