Berkeley City Hall occupation — day 13

Mike Zint

“Day 13 at the Berkeley City Hall Occupation. Today I sent an email to a mailing list I am on. It got forwarded to the police chief and at least one council member. Here it is. Last week while the police where here, we explained that the people close to the police station are not part of the protest. We allowed the bad side to develop. Know, the bike chop shop is operating there. The drugs and dealers are coming through. If BPD wants crime off the streets of Berkeley, they should walk out their front door. If BPD sends two officers out every hour, starting at midnight, they will catch some of the people they are after. Their presence will also benefit our safety. The police only need to come as far as the steps of City Hall to have an impact. If more than two cops come out, we will consider them a threat to the protest and point our cameras at them. I have respect for police. I want respect in return. I can’t call the police directly because I can’t snitch. Its part of the street rules we are forced to live by. Can you forward this to BPD on our behalf. Thank you. The goal of the email is to protect and preserve the protest. Tomorrow we have our first General Assembly. The self ruling tenants will be explained. These tenants are the foundation and cannot be changed. This system is participation based, and rapidly self correcting. Today’s photo album shows a lot of the creativity of the protesters. Thank you to my co-founder Sarah Menefee. She is doing most of the photographic documentation of this occupation.”

–Mike Zint

Request for help from California Free Act of 2016

Help!!!! We are getting a prop on the ballot called CA Free Act and we are doing it with our small act of democracy campaign. We need Occupy SF! We are doing videos, gathering canvasers, and and asking people to print, sign, get 3 signatures, and mail them to American’s Take Action. We are an offshoot of Wolf-Pac. We are overturning the ban on Publicly Funded Elections PFE in California as an example to the nation. We need partners in California and we need Occupy SF. Please go to our website and do an act of democracy. Baby steps toward the American dream!!! Can I come talk at one of the meetings? We need 500,000 signatures by March and Snoop Dogg isn’t answering my tweets! Help us Occupy!


Thousands of volunteers across California are gathering together to sign our petition to get a proposition on the 2016 ballot that will work to end the corrupting influence of corporate greed in our political system. Simply click “Small Act for Democracy” above in order to sign our petition and mail it back to us. To volunteer with us, click “Take Action.” Hurry! We only have 14 weeks left to reach our goal of 500,000 signatures. With your help we will combat corruption in a real, systemic way. This is a real petition that will create real change. We are going to overturn a ban on publicly funded elections in California and ensure that those who violate our campaign laws can no longer profit from their crimes. You won’t want to miss being part of this historic campaign that is truly of, by, and for the people.

Government proposal for occupation (from Mike Zint)

Mike Zint

Our first proposed government here at the Berkeley City Hall Occupation is done. We may need some minor adjustments as we develop and grow.

Self rule with consensus. A desired 100% consensus, with a graduated scale. 70% minimum to approve, but must be revisited monthly to revise and improve consensus percentage. At 80% approval, item gets revisited every two months to revise and improve consensus percentage. At 90% approval, item gets revisited every 6 months to revise and improve consensus. Once 100% approval is reached, the only way to revisit is with 51% approval to revisit. If an item goes from above 70% to below 70%, it is dropped as an item unless resubmitted.

To submit, a proposal needs to be made with 10% community backing.

To revisit early requires 51%.

Items must be revised before being resubmitted.

–Mike Zint, “First They Came for the Homeless”

“Homeless Not Helpless: Diary of an Occupation” by JP Massar (

On November 16th, on the eve of the Berkeley City Council’s consideration of three anti-homeless ordinances, homeless in Berkeley opposing the proposed laws and housed allies began a sleepover protest.

 photo homeless-diary-header_zps0ijsqrqb.jpg

In the week and a half since the Council passed the first reading of these ordinances, which allocated no money, created no plan nor defined a timetable for additional services the Council said they wanted to provide for the homeless, the protest, organized by First They Came for the Homeless, has grown to some fifty people and more than a few pets in perhaps half as many tents. With signs, food prep, clothing provisions and security patrols, the Occupation is well organized and, despite some of the coldest nights Berkeley has seen in a long time, determined to hold on (where else would they go?).

Not content to oppose anti-homeless legislation just in Berkeley, First They Came For the Homeless has also organized a number of protests in San Francisco, where, years ago, they had been based.  In fact, today at 2:00 PM in Union Square, shopping HQ for downtown SF, they put together an “I Protest Sit and Lie” demonstration, sitting on the sidewalk — illegal in San Francisco for the homeless – in opposition to such treatment.

The Berkeley City Council will take their 2nd vote on the ordinances (item #4) on Tuesday, December 1st. There will be a protest/rally beginning at 4:00 PM at Old City Hall, and a march at 6:00 PM to Longfellow School where the Council Meeting is to be held.

Here is the story of the Occupation’s inception and development, using excerpts of posts by Mike Zint, a First They Came for the Homeless organizer, and pictures by Sarah Menefee, put up on the FTCftH Facebook page over the last eleven days.

Follow continuing developments here.

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OccupyForum Night Out . . . “Reassessing and Recommitting To Your Activism in Dire Times” (on Monday, November 30)


Monday, November 30th from 6 – 9 pm at PUERTO ALEGRE

546 Valencia SF 94110 near 16th Street BART

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

OccupyForum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

Occupyforum Night Out…

Reassessing and Recommitting

To Your Activism in Dire Times

We are coming to the end of another year of our activism, which invites us to reassess and hopefully recommit. This year has seen a surge of resistance: Black Lives Matter, anti-incarceration, climate justice and environmental justice locally and globally, immigration activism, anti-gentrification and protection of those victimized by it, Indigenous leadership, peace activism — way too much to list. At OccupyForum, we’ve been hearing from activists in all these battles and are an active part of this Movement.

But in our own circles, we take time out to express our frustration, anger and fear that what we see in the world is just too much. We have been to workshops and read books about taking care of ourselves when we are dealing with the world’s trauma, and getting help staying sane. The topic tonight, instead, is how to stay inspired (not just functioning!). How do we keep our work strong and focused when we are feeling afraid, defeated, and hopeless about our progress as a Movement?

 “Much of life is sad, and there’s nothing to be done about it. (All my activist friends are more than a little disappointed in the complacency of a populous who still refuse to join us in the streets, even as our corporate masters destroy the planet.) Sometimes we ignore happiness and healing when it’s dangled in front of us… There is one, and only one solution, but people are too scared to embrace it. Suffering, when you’re used to it, can feel safe. That solution is: come together, right now, over us.”   Peter

 “I personally need to make sure I name the whole spectrum of my feelings in order to redouble efforts in the face of the madness. I’m so angry about what’s going on with black lives in this country I don’t know what to do. We protest and it flies back up in our face. We are living in an insane asylum in Amerikkka….but it doesn’t mean we can afford to give up. Gandhi says you have to keep tipping the scales drop by drop.” – Ruthie

This Forum is for YOU. Please come to share your own feelings in the face of insanity, and tell us what advice you have for the rest of us to help focus the rage and despair into productive activism.

We have a little extra $ to help pay for food if you’re broke!

Don’t let cost keep you away!

Black Friday protest at Union Square

November 27, 2015

SFPD policy enforcement, not law enforcement:

Today we went to San Francisco to protest sit lie. The SFPD don’t follow the law, they follow policy. I don’t have patience for discretionary policing from the police state.

This 3 minute video shows how I deal with cops trying to violate mine or my protesters rights. Please share.

–Mike Zinta with Kelly Johnson and 38 others.

“Homeless not Helpless. A Protest Grows in Berkeley” by JP Massar (

Like me, on this Thanksgiving Day, and every day, you are probably surrounded  by four walls, a floor and a ceiling, with readily available heat at your command.

Like me, you know that there are hundreds of thousands who do not have that luxury.


Artwork from the Berkeley Homeless Protest.

Like me, you probably have no idea what it is to live outside, your possessions in a bag or a shopping cart, ignored by those who walk by, threatened by police who neither protect nor serve and by thieves more than happy to serve themselves. Neither is it likely you have much idea what it feels like to wake up at 4:00 AM in the bitter cold having to perform certain human functions without indoor plumbing.  Here’s just a glimpse:

“I am living in a refrigerator out here. We have people without coats and blankets still. One guy is in a tee shirt, shivering in a corner. We are working on a way to keep him warm. This weather is only going to get worse.

And you almost certainly have no idea what it might be like to wander the streets with a mental illness, then, not even knowing you are pregnant, give birth at a bus stop in San Francisco.

Unlike me, you probably don’t know that six of the nine members of the Berkeley City Council feel that it is their right and duty to make this life even more difficult than it already is for those who call Berkeley’s streets home. And that they are conning Berkeley’s housed population into thinking it is all for the best. I thought you might want to know.


This photo is the heart breaking truth of too many people in this country. This is someone’s home. Every night this person builds this structure, and every morning they take it down. This has been going on for over a year here… The person inside this structure is a 69 year old retired nurse. She dedicated her life to helping others. Now, in a week, Berkeley wants to pass new laws that will have a negative impact on people who are barely surviving. The truth is, this is the face of homelessness that the press doesn’t report. The politicians don’t consider her plight, but a housed voter gets to say no, no homeless in my park, or on my sidewalk, or in my shopping district. City officials don’t have to care if the community is not willing to. Few city officials have understanding or compassion. If they did, Julie would not be living in a self made, cardboard box shack on the sidewalk.Please share this. Berkeley City Council must be made to understand there is a human cost to criminalizing people because they have to survive.

Like me, you’re probably aware that criminalizing the homeless makes no sense. Fining and jailing people furthers the downward spiral they have already entered, whereas we know that providing a home is the critical first step in fostering an upward spiral.

Unlike me, you probably don’t know that a group of homeless people in Berkeley, California have risen up in protest. Triggered by ordinances being considered by the Berkeley City Council to criminalize homeless behavior, and led by First They Came for the Homeless, a growing protest, begun November 16th, complete with tents, food and signs, has developed on the grounds of Old City Hall at Allston and Martin Luther King Jr. Way in downtown Berkeley. I thought you might want to know.


Tents on the grounds, Old City Hall in the background. “This is an Occupation, not an Encampment.”

You could guess that the powers that be would not allow the homeless to organize themselves; to go from being individually helpless to voiced collectively. And so it was that on Tuesday, Nov 24th, the police came around handing out trespass notices, demanding that those without a place to call their own remove themselves to go… somewhere else.

But no one has moved. Buoyed by community support, a sense of righteous anger and the 1st Amendment, they are staying.  As some there have put it…

“It’s not an encampment, it’s a protest.”

The ultimate goal of the protest? As a local paper reported, Mike Zint, an organizer for First They Came for the Homeless, made the demand:

“Zint wants Berkeley to designate a spot where the homeless can set up tents and live through the winter. “


Mike Zint, foreground, at the Berkeley Homeless Protest

A modicum of shelter for the winter.  It’s something so obviously unreasonable only crazed protesters with no respect for private public property could think of it. And something onlysane politicians could deny.


Panoramic View of the Protest and Old City Hall.
Front center: “We demand Equal Rights. We Demand  Equal Protection.”
Middle left: “Homeless not Helpless.”
Photos courtesy of First They Came for the Homeless photo albums.

Black Friday “sit-lie” protest

Mike Zint's photo.

November 27, 2015

The banner is done. It will dry overnight. In a few hours, not only can we start reversing the use of this law, but we can impact Macy’s business. And maybe shut down Geary. Tell people to come with you. 13 hours and counting.

–Mike Zint

First they came for the homeless's photo.

November 25, 2015

The buttons are ready for Friday’s sit lie protest. Macy’s in San Francisco, at Union Square, on the Geary side. A lot of people are expected. Show up at 2 pm and have a seat.

Don’t stand for sit lie.

–Mike Zint

Berkeley Occupation update — November 25

First they came for the homeless's photo.

My final post of the day is this. Yesterday, one of the homeless protesters purchased this huge tent for me. My tent was so full I couldn’t fit. This is how we are. We share, even if we have to go without. I am without words for this. Thank you Anna.

Thanksgiving is here, and I am truly thankful for all the protesters are doing. And they are thankful to be out of the elements.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.

–Mike Zint

 First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.
First they came for the homeless's photo.

Day 10 of the Berkeley City Hall Occupation. Today was not very eventful. We had some reporters again. Chris Worthington stopped by for the second day in a row. Thankfully, one city council person has shown an interest in our plight. More tents are up. I believe we have 22 up. Around 60 protesters are here.

Yesterday and today are cold. I am living in a refrigerator out here. We have people without coats and blankets still. One guy is in a tee shirt, shivering in a corner. We are working on a way to keep him warm.

We still need more tents. We are getting one or two donated a day, but it’s not enough. We will try to find solutions tomorrow. This weather is only going to get worse.

Not a lot of photos today. Things have been hectic setting this village up. If the police leave us alone, we will stabilize in about a week. At that point, all the rules will be understood and respected. The people here are very determined to do this right, and show Berkeley we are not what the press portrays us as.

–Mike Zint

November 25, 2015

So, Next Door, an elitist group, found out they had a homeless member last night. I have been a member for months, watching what they have been saying. Two nights ago, I responded. Yesterday, they suspended my account. I have established a legal mailing address at the Post Office Occupation by receiving mail there. The address is 2000 1/2 Allston Way, Berkeley, California. I have received dozens of pieces of mail there.

This group needs to be exposed. There is no place in Berkeley for these hateful, uninformed 1%er wanna be’s.

–Mike Zint [we presume]

Hi, all –

I thought you all might be interested in the request I have made concerning the December 1st City Council meeting reading of Ceremonial Matters. Do I have a second?

~ Elisa

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