Rented Paper (from Mike Zint)

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First they came for the homeless

19 hrs

On Father’s day, I think of my kids, and now, my granddaughter. I understand why they have a very difficult future. Our society has been led to believe they have freedom and ownership. It is all lies. We own what we are allowed to. Homes? Nope, they can take them. Cars? Nope, they can take them. Money? Nope, they can take it. Food, water? Nope, they can arrest you for a garden or having a pond.

Where is the outrage?

Drugged, poorly nourished, and distracted by what the media tells them to be like.

The struggle will continue. As parents, we have no choice.

A public bank in Oakland? (from Susan Harman, Occupy Oakland)


At the Oakland City Council Finance Committee Meeting on June 13th, the council members voted 3-1 (Abel Guillén, Dan Kalb, and Annie Campbell Washington affirming, Noel Gallo dissenting) on a resolution to allocate $100,000 for a public bank feasibility study! The resolution now goes to the full council for a final vote next week. Here’s what you can do to help ensure that we get the 5 votes we need to fund a public bank feasibility study:

1. Call your council member and urge them to support the funding of a public bank feasibility study. 

Call Script:

Hi, my name is ________ and I am a constituent of council member _______. I wanted to let my council member know that I strongly support allocating $100,000 for a public bank feasibility study. Please vote yes on the public bank resolution on June 20th.

Don’t know who your council member is? Type your address and find out here:

2. Attend the council meeting.

Date: Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
Time: 5:30PM
Location: 1 Frank Ogawa Plaza
Room: City Council Chamber, 3rd floor

The Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland will be out in full force at the council meeting next Tuesday. Please find us in our bright green shirts to receive signs. We will also have t-shirts available for sale. If this is your first time participating in something like this, please find us and we will help you get oriented.

3. Attend our outreach event before the council meeting.

Date: Tuesday, June 20th, 2017
Time: 4:30PM
Location: Frank Ogawa Plaza

The Friends of the Public Bank of Oakland is organizing a political action an hour before the full council meeting. We will be making money grow on the Coastal Live Oak in the Plaza by taping paper bills onto the leaves to symbolize the revenue the city of Oakland can earn for our community if it creates a public bank. Please join us and support the movement!

Jeremy Corbyn Is Leading the Left Out of the Wilderness and Toward Power (

THANK YOU, Jeremy Corbyn.

It is no exaggeration to say that the British Labour Party leader has changed progressive politics in the UK, and perhaps the wider West too, for a generation. The bearded, 68-year-old, self-declared socialist has proved that an unashamedly, unabashedly, unapologetically left-wing offer is not the politics of the impossible but, rather, a politics of the very much possible. Last Thursday’s election result in the UK is a ringing confirmation that stirring idealism need not be sacrificed at the altar of political pragmatism.

In these dark, depressing times of Trump and Brexit, of the fallout from the Great Recession and the rise of the far right, Corbyn has reminded us that a politics of hope can go toe to toe with a politics of fear. Millions of people will turn out to vote for a leader who preaches optimism over pessimism, who offers inspiration instead of enervation.

Corbyn has proved that the much-maligned young can be a force for change. Younger voters are not lazy, indifferent or apathetic, as the conventional wisdom goes, but will in fact come out in their droves for a leader who motivates and excites them; who gives them not just something to vote for — be it a scrapping of tuition fees or a higher minimum wage or a new house-building program — but something to believe in. A common struggle, a better future, a more equal society. Because something always beats nothing.

Corbyn has showed how it is possible for progressives to build a coalition between the young, people of color and cosmopolitan liberals on the one hand and, yes, those dreaded white working class communities on the other. It is a fiction to claim that leaders on the left must choose between them, or play one marginalized group off against another. White ex-UKIP voters in the north of the country returned to Labour last week in their hundreds of thousands.

So socialists and social democrats no longer need be on the defensive. Yes, mainstream center-left parties may have been crushed in recent European elections — think of France or the Netherlands. However, Corbyn — who spent 32 years toiling in obscurity on the backbenches before becoming leader of his party in a shock victory in 2015 — has now a paved a road out of the wilderness.

To be clear: the Labour Party did not win the the UK’s general election. Theresa May’s Conservatives secured more votes and more seats. Yet it is difficult to overstate — as even Corbyn’s biggest critics have now conceded — the sheer size of his electoral achievement. Labour’s 40% share of the national vote is its highest since 1970, with the exception of Tony Blair’s two landslide wins in 1997 and 2001. Last Thursday’s election also saw the the biggest increase in vote share for Labour — nearly 10% — since the party’s post-war blowout in 1945 under iconic leader Clement Attlee.

All of this despite Corbyn having begun the campaign more than 20 percentage points behind the Conservatives; having been written off by politicians and pundits from across the spectrum and relentlessly undermined by members of his own parliamentary party; and having endured an unprecedented campaign of demonization by the right-wing press. Corbyn, lest we forget, was smeared as a terrorist sympathizer; ridiculed for forgetting the details of various policies; dismissed as a crank and an eccentric.

“To take Labour’s prospects seriously under Corbyn was to abandon being taken seriously yourself,” wrote the Guardian’s Gary Younge on the eve of the election. “The political class imparted as much to the media class, and the media class duly printed and broadcast it… The wisdom was distributed to all who mattered. Those who did not receive it did not, by definition, matter.”

On Thursday, they proved once and for all that they mattered. And the quiet, unassuming Corbyn proved that he was indeed a serious and viable candidate for the highest office in the land — one analysis found that a mere 2,227 votes, in seven swing seats, blocked him from becoming prime minister at the head of a “progressive” coalition of Labour and the other smaller parties in parliament.

As former critics of his now help themselves to bigger and bigger slices of humble pie, the Labour leader may want to consider borrowing George W. Bush’s famous malaproprism: “They misunderestimated me.”

To be honest, I “misunderestimated” him as well. Full disclosure: I know Corbyn personally and share many of his political positions. I have never doubted his integrity or his honesty. Yet even I did not expect he would win 40% of the vote or prevent May from winning a majority in parliament. I did not imagine that Labour would win seats such as Canterbury, held by the Conservatives for the past 99 years, or Kensington and Chelsea, the UK’s richest constituency and home of the Daily Mail. I would not let myself believe, as many others on the left did, that a Corbyn premiership was a very real and live possibility, rather than a mad fantasy, a progressive delusion.

I was wrong. Completely, utterly, hopelessly wrong … but never have I been happier to be wrong.

Perhaps I should have paid more attention. The much-mocked Corbyn had a very clear plan from the very beginning. “The politics of hope are not an inevitable reaction when politics fails,” he declared in a speech at the London School of Economics in May 2016. “The politics of hope have to be rebuilt.” Rebuilding, the Labour leader explained, required three things. First, “a vision to inspire people that politics has the power to make a positive difference to their lives.” Second, “trust – that people believe both that we can and that we will change things for the better.” Third, “the involvement and engagement of people to make the first two possible.”

LAS VEGAS, NV - FEBRUARY 14: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) jokes around as he speaks during a campaign rally at Bonanza High School on February 14, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Sanders is challenging Hillary Clinton for the Democratic presidential nomination ahead of Nevada's February 20th Democratic caucus. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders speaks during a campaign rally on Feb. 14, 2016 in Las Vegas.

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

Corbyn, like Bernie Sanders before him, succeeded on all three fronts. He mobilized huge numbers of people to get organized, attend rallies, knock on doors. He upended the old political and economic orthodoxies, refusing to embrace austerity, or demonize immigrants, or push for foreign wars. And guess what? It turns out that you don’t have to triangulate to win 40% of the vote. Nor do you have to kowtow to the reactionary and illiberal agendas of the Mail or the Murdoch-owned press to win marginal seats in Middle England.

Neither Corbyn nor Sanders won their elections. But they came so close. Give them a bit more time. “One more heave” is no longer a political pejorative. With parliament hung, and Theresa May under fire from her own party, the next UK election could be held in a matter of months. The bookies have slashed Corbyn’s odds on becoming the next UK prime minister and a new post-election poll shows the Labour leader is now tied with his Conservative counterpart on the question of who would make the best prime minister. After last week’s shock results, what were once Conservative safe seats are now marginals and what were once Labour marginals are now safe seats.

Here in the United States, meanwhile, the Corbyn-esque Sanders has become the most popular politician in the country and would probably win the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination by a landslide if the contest were to be held tomorrow. Some polls also suggest he might have defeated Trump last November, too.

So: President Sanders? Prime Minister Corbyn? What were once progressive fantasies are now potential realities. The left may have finally awoken from its slumber — and, therefore, the attacks from the right will only escalate. But what was it Gandhi is said to have remarked? “First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”

“Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America”

Front Cover
Penguin, Jun 13, 2017Political Science368 pages

An explosive exposé of the right’s relentless campaign to eliminate unions, suppress voting, privatize public education, and change the Constitution.

“Perhaps the best explanation to date of the roots of the political divide that threatens to irrevocably alter American government.”
—Booklist (starred review)

Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.

Corporate donors and their right-wing foundations were only too eager to support Buchanan’s work in teaching others how to divide America into “makers” and “takers.” And when a multibillionaire on a messianic mission to rewrite the social contract of the modern world, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan’s strategy.

Without Buchanan’s ideas and Koch’s money, the libertarian right would not have succeeded in its stealth takeover of the Republican Party as a delivery mechanism. Now, with Mike Pence as Vice President, the cause has a longtime loyalist in the White House, not to mention a phalanx of Republicans in the House, the Senate, a majority of state governments, and the courts, all carrying out the plan. That plan includes harsher laws to undermine unions, privatizing everything from schools to health care and Social Security, and keeping as many of us as possible from voting. Based on ten years of unique research, Democracy in Chains tells a chilling story of right-wing academics and big money run amok. This revelatory work of scholarship is also a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.

(Google Books)

Grenfell Tower fire: Protests as anger grows over disaster (

Protesters stormed the local town hall in Kensington demanding action in the wake of the devastating Grenfell Tower fire.

As police tried to block them from accessing the upper floors of the building, people waved placards and shouted complaints about a perceived lack of response from the local authority.

“We want justice,” the crowd chanted – before breaking into cries of: “Murderers, murderers”.

Anger bubbled over as people gathered at Kensington town hall
Anger bubbled over as people gathered at Kensington town hall Credit: PA

Residents had sent a list of demands to the council, including the immediate rehoming of all people displaced by the fire within the borough; the release of funds to take care of the welfare of those affected; and a complete list of the residents known to live in the tower block.

A protester named Mustafa spoke to a crowd of hundreds via a megaphone and urged others to stay calm, beckoning them away from the front of the town hall building.

He read the council’s response to each of the demands, after which people began chanting: “Not good enough.”

The protesters managed to get inside the building
The protesters managed to get inside the building Credit: ITV News

In a written response, a council spokesman said:

We plan to house residents of Grenfell Tower as locally as we can. But we may well need help from our close neighbours.

We want to rehouse people in a good home as quickly as we can. The council is committed to looking after the immediate and longer-term housing needs of all those affected by the fire.

We are already releasing funds to take care of the immediate needs of those affected as well as other support.

We are absolutely committed to supporting anyone affected in the days, weeks and months ahead.

But if you know of individuals or families who you feel aren’t getting help, then please let us know so we can get help to them as quickly as possible.


Police officers tried to prevent the crowd from getting up the stairs
Police officers tried to prevent the crowd from getting up the stairs Credit: ITV News

Mustafa then asked them to keep the protest peaceful, adding: “You have been amazing – please stay the amazing people that you are.

“Otherwise they will point the finger at you and me.”

The protest ramps up around Trafalgar Square
The protest ramps up around Trafalgar Square

Some voiced anger that the official death toll has remained far lower than the figure to which many expect it to rise.

The protest carried on to Trafalgar Square and then to Regent Street.

Demonstrators block the road with a sit-in protest
Demonstrators block the road with a sit-in protest

They made their way to Oxford Street where they blocked the crossing with a sit-in protest.

Buses were temporarily stopped from moving as protesters sat in the middle of the road.



MOSCOW — Shouting “We demand answers,” and “Stop lying and stealing,” tens of thousands of protesters turned out Monday across Russia in a nationwide anti-corruption rally called by opposition leader Alexei Navalny as part of his long-shot bid to unseat President Vladi­mir Putin.

Navalny was arrested and sentenced to 15 days in jail for his role in organizing an illegal protest.

Protests in more than 180 cities gave a clear sign of growing support for the anti-graft message of Navalny’s campaign. But police detained Navalny at his home after he defied authorities by calling on his followers to gather on Moscow’s central thoroughfare instead of an approved protest space north of the center.

“Alexei told me to pass on to us that the plan hasn’t changed,” Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, tweeted after her husband’s detention. She told protesters to head to central Tverskaya Street despite a warning by Moscow authorities that a demonstration there was illegal.

Police blocked off the thoroughfare, but several thousand demonstrators, many of them in their teens and 20s, tried to hold a rally. By 4 p.m. in Moscow, riot police squads were wading into the crowd, dragging and carrying out protesters by their arms and legs and beating them with batons, as the demonstrators shouted “Shame!” Several protesters fought back, trading punches and kicks with officers before being dragged off.

News agencies reported that police detained 400 people in Moscow and scores of others at a rally in St. Petersburg that was held despite authorities’ refusal to grant approval.

Navalny called Monday’s rally after tens of thousands turned out across Russia on March 26 for an “anti-corruption” protest in the wake of his allegations that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed vineyards, luxury yachts and lavish mansions worth more than $1 billion.

The Kremlin was clearly caught off guard by the turnout in March, especially among young people. Authorities made a show of arresting people involved in the protest, and educators forced students to watch documentaries about the evils of protesting. Some Russian parliament members expressed support for a ban against minors attending street rallies.

This time, in Moscow, authorities were ready. As many as 2,000 helmeted police stood guard outside Tverskaya Street, which was closed to traffic for historical reenactments.

The result was a surreal scene in which 17th-century fencers feinted and darted to wild applause from children, while men with prominent bellies and small purses crowded around the reenactment of a 14th-century battle between ancient Russians and the Golden Horde. Tverskaya was crammed with military reenactors in model forts and bivouacs, ending at sandbag fortifications and tank traps by the Kremlin.

“Tverskaya is ready for Navalny,” the newspaper Vedemosti tweeted, noting the sandbags and tank traps in place for a reenactment of World War I.

The protest coincided with Russia Day, the commemoration of Russian leader Boris Yeltsin’s declaration of Russian sovereignty within the former Soviet Union in 1990.

Russian state television focused on the fairs and commemorative events, which attracted tens of thousands in Moscow alone, rather than on the street protests. It ran a live broadcast of Putin handing out state awards, and periodically showed a countdown to the Kremlin leader’s annual televised “direct line” Thursday, in which ordinary citizens can phone in requests.

Alexei Navalny, anti-Putin protests, Russia protests, pro-democracy demonstrations, anti-corruption protests, Vladimir Putin

The protest presented a challenge to Putin, who made a point of pledging that Russian police would avoid the use of force. He made the statement in an interview this month with NBC’s Megyn Kelly that was reprinted on the Kremlin website.

Russian authorities, through state media, have cast Navalny as a stooge of Western elites who has no plans for how he would lead the country and who produces slanderous videos to grab attention. When authorities do mention Navalny, it is to remind television viewers that he has been twice convicted of fraud. He has denounced the cases as political. The result has been to officially disqualify him from running for president in 2018.

Monday’s rally was a test for Navalny to see if people would turn out despite authorities repeated warnings.

“I’m angry, my family is angry, but they’re not going to come to this because they’re scared,” said Alexander Fomenko, 17-year-old student wearing jean shorts, closely cropped hair and a tattoo with a dragon on his left leg. “I don’t have such fear. I will be here on this street until they throw me in jail. And there’s a lot of people who think like me; my friends think like me.”

Coordinated rallies called by Navalny attracted large crowds in cities across Russia. Between 2,500 and 5,000 rallied in the major Siberian city Novosibirsk, according to the Ekho Moskvy radio station, citing police and unofficial sources. Other major cities saw large turnouts despite official efforts to minimize crowds. (In one city, protesters were ordered 50 miles from the city; in another, a crowd gathered at 7 a.m., the time authorities approved.)

At the venue in Moscow originally approved for Navalny’s protest, a smaller group gathered Monday to protest city’s plan to relocate as many as 1.6 million residents of Soviet-era low-rise apartment buildings to new high-rise apartment buildings. Some Muscovites believe the plan amounts to a violation of their rights to own property and to choose where to live, and a gift to political insiders who own construction firms.

“I don’t want to live in a 30-floor ant-house. Their whole project is total corruption, money laundry, initiated by the construction lobby,” said Zamira Medvedeva, a retiree who lives in a communal apartment building. “I don’t trust the authorities. They will never improve my house conditions. I live in a very nice and green neighborhood!”

Navalny ordered his supporters to march on Tverskaya Street after he said authorities refused to provide a stage and sound equipment. Medvedeva and others said they were considering joining the rally there.

Russia is undergoing a wave of upheaval not seen since 2012. Long-distance truckers have been protesting daily, and Navalny has built a small but growing national support base for his presidential bid.

This turbulence is not likely to prevent Putin, whose approval rating has not been below 80 percent in three years, from winning reelection next March, Denis Volkov, an analyst with Russia’s independent pollster, the Levada Center, said in an interview. But it does point to a fundamental weakness of the system Putin has created.

Beyond the sheer problem of being allowed to campaign and run for office, Navalny faces other challenges.

And it is not because Navalny has dabbled in unsightly nationalism in the past, including an endorsement of Russia’s war against Georgia in 2008 in which he used racist epithets (something for which he later apologized) or because of his nationalist campaign against illegal immigrants. These are actually mainstream positions in Moscow.

He was once popular enough to win 27 percent of the vote in a 2013 Moscow mayoral election reportedly slanted in favor of the Kremlin’s candidate. But it’s hard to find anyone in Moscow today who will actually say they like him, and recent polls suggest he would not win more than 10 percent of the vote.

Alexei Navalny, anti-Putin protests, Russia protests, pro-democracy demonstrations, anti-corruption protests, Vladimir Putin

Originally published by the Washington Post



It wasn’t the result the Tories hoped for or expected. Prime Minister Theresa May’s bolshie gamble to call a general election with three years still to serve backfired – spectacularly! Instead of stabilizing her leadership and strengthening her hand in Brexit negotiations by increasing her majority, the Prime Minister and her Conservative government last Thursday were left red-faced, shell-shocked and, to put it mildly, in a bit of a “mare’s nest.”

It was a dramatic night for British politics as the election results came rolling in during the early hours of Friday. The exit poll’s predictions of a hung parliament were spot on. Instead of achieving the gain May and her advisors thought was “in the bag”, the Tories lost a net total of 12 seats from the 2015 general election. May’s party won 318 seats in the House of Commons, seven short of a majority.

Instead, Labour landed 261 seats, a 29-seat increase since the last election, and the party’s leftist firebrand leader Jeremy Corbyn emerged on Friday morning with heroic status, defying the right-wing mainstream press that has derided him from day one. Corbyn was commended for empowering young people to vote, which they did overwhelmingly for the Labour Party, confounding Corbyn critics who had disparaged him for his supposed “un-electability”.

Rather than being humiliated in the ballot box, which many party members and Corbyn allies feared, the insurgent campaign coupled with popular manifesto policies designed to “work for the many, not just the few,” paid off. Even the ultra-affluent West London region of Kensington – the U.K.’s richest constituency, believed to be one of the Conservatives’ safest seats – saw Labour swipe the seat from the Tories, winning by a cat’s whisker of just 20 votes.

Brexit, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, hung parliament, Labour Party, Tories, U.K. austerity policies


Here in the High Peak, in the North West, Labour candidate Ruth George gained 2,300 more votes than the Conservative candidate Andrew Bingham, who had been the MP for the High Peak since the 2010 election. Not many believed that Corbyn could lead Labour to its highest vote share since 1997, but for those who did, Friday morning’s news of a hung parliament was met with euphoria and elation.

Now that the dust has settled on the news, and the Tories will not have an open ticket to enforce their austerity agenda on behalf of a privileged minority, the race is on to secure Britain’s political future. Despite losing her majority, seeing some of her closest advisors resign, and being shunned by the former Tory chancellor George Osborne – who called her a “dead woman walking”, and suggested the prime minister would be shortly forced to resign – May is intent on staying at number 10 Downing Street.

The prime minister has pledged to form a new government to lead the U.K. out of the E.U., and received a mandate from the Queen to form a new government. May has put forward the proposal of forming an alliance with Northern Ireland’s Democratic Unionist Party’s (DUP), whose 10 seats combined with the Tories’ 318 seats would give the two parties a slender majority of nine seats – a long way from May’s 17-seat majority prior to the snap election.

Brexit, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, hung parliament, Labour Party, Tories, U.K. austerity policies


The potential party alliance has been dubbed by critics as a “coalition of chaos.” It’s also a far cry from Corbyn’s socialist Labour Party and would make a mockery of many of the equality-inducing policies Corbyn promises to deliver. The fact that May is putting forward such a coalition demonstrates her inability to gauge the mood of the country, which leans toward progression, equality and change.

The DUP is pro-Brexit, though it seeks to maintain common trade ties and travel, so it is adopting a “softer” Brexit approach compared to May’s hard Brexit rhetoric. However, the DUP’s opposition to socially liberal policies is inflicting fear in many of Britain’s liberalists due to its strong anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage stances.

Already, angst about a Tory/DUP coalition is snowballing, shown by an online petition to stop the alliance, which gained more than 500,000 signatures in just one day.

Brexit, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, hung parliament, Labour Party, Tories, U.K. austerity policies


Meanwhile, Jeremy Corbyn has called for May to resign, saying the prime minister should “go and make way for a government that is truly representative of this country.” The Labour Party is expected to oust May from 10 Downing Street and form its own minority government.

Addressing the media, Corbyn said, “We have a huge mandate from a huge increase in our support to carry forward a program that challenges austerity, that challenges poverty and challenges inequality and gives opportunities for young people, for people in the middle, and gives protection for older people.”

The Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell said Labour are “ready to form a government…. we are willing to serve the country.” McDonnell insisted there would be “no deals” and that Labour would put forward a Queen’s speech, while urging minor parties and the SNP to support it.

Labour has also said it will not attempt to delay Brexit negotiations, which the E.U. hope to begin in a matter of weeks. If Britons thought Brexit and its negotiations were complex and confusing before, they’ve gotten even messier in the wake of a hung parliament. Britain’s current political landscape of disorder and chaos is gravely ironic and hugely embarrassing for May and her government, who specifically called for a snap election to garner greater support among U.K. electorates and strengthen her hand in Brexit talks.

What’s less ambiguous is Corbyn and Labour’s emphatic victory, which occurred against all odds. Corbyn’s ride to Number 10 Downing Street might not be plain sailing and definitive, but few any longer can deny Corbyn’s achievements in winning the confidence of voters, convincing young people to vote, and championing the public mood for change, equality and progression. Surely this is the takeaway from last week’s vote, and one that no future government can afford to ignore.

Brexit, Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, hung parliament, Labour Party, Tories, U.K. austerity policies


MON, 6/12/2017  

Bernie Sanders has criticized the Democratic party’s current direction as “an absolute failure” in a speech at the People’s Summit in Chicago.

Speaking to a crowd of 4,000 activists, Sanders hailed the “enormous progress in advancing the progressive agenda”, saying the increasing House and Senate support for a $15 minimum wage and the opposition to the Trans-Pacific Partnership showed the success of the movement.

But the Vermont senator said that establishment Democrats were standing in the way of further progress.

“The current model and the current strategy of the Democratic party is an absolute failure,” Sanders said.

“The Democratic party needs fundamental change. What it needs is to open up its doors to working people, and young people, and older people who are prepared to fight for social and economic justice.

“The Democratic party must understand what side it is on. And that cannot be the side of Wall Street, or the fossil fuel industry, or the drug companies.”

Sanders’s speech was rapturously received at the People’s Summit, a gathering of some of the most influential progressive activists and organizations in the country.

There had been an urgency to the event on Friday and Saturday around building on the momentum of Sanders’s presidential campaign, with a focus on encouraging people from different backgrounds to run for office around the country.

Against that backdrop, Sanders’s criticism of the Democratic party as out-of-touch and elitist appeared to ring true for activists at the summit, including those who are planning to run for office for the first time in the coming months.

Brandy Brooks, who is running in the Democratic primary for the Montgomery County council in Maryland, told the Guardian that until recently she “didn’t think politics was for someone like me”.

“I am a short, black, slightly overweight-ish woman,” Brooks said.

“I’m not a person who’s been in law, not a person who’s ever run for office, I’m not hooked up with party infrastructure.”

Brooks is running on a progressive agenda that includes providing better housing for those in need, improving public transport and increasing the wage. She said her run for office was inspired, in part, as a response to Trump’s victory, but that she also felt an obligation to show other people of color what was possible – and in doing so create the kind of diversity Sanders addressed in his speech.

“I’m running because communities around the county have been told to think of themselves as not enough. As not worth anything. I am running first and foremost to counter that,” Brooks said.

One purpose of the summit, which is in its second year, is to provide training to people, such as Brooks, who want to run for office. A session called “down-ballot revolutionaries” featured Khalid Kamau, a Black Lives Matter activist who was elected to city council in South Fulton, Georgia, in April.

Kamau, who Sanders name-checked in his speech, was backed by Our Revolution and People for Bernie – two of the co-hosts of the People’s Summit – and said that was crucial to his success.

“If you can get backing from groups, revolutionaries from around the world will donate money and make phone calls,” Kamau said.

Other organizations are providing political hopefuls with more hands-on support. People’s Action, an activist group with a presence in more than 35 states, offers training on how to run for office. Laurel Wales, deputy director of movement politics at People’s Action, said the number of people wanting to run had increased dramatically since Donald Trump became president.

“After the election of Trump I went to Pennsylvania to do a training,” she said. “We were originally going to set the training cap at 30, and we had over 85 people show up.”

While a desire to negate Trump’s policies has been a big motivator, Wales said the president had inspired people in other ways.

“With Trump, it’s like: ‘If he could run and win, then I can too.’”

Martha Lugo is among the beneficiaries of that People’s Action training. Lugo, who is running as a Democrat for city council in Aurora, Colorado, said it “took a while to wake up and look up” in terms of becoming involved in politics.

She said she was inspired to run, in part, by the white-dominated city council in Aurora – a city where 28.9% of the population are Hispanic and 15.7% African American.

“You look at folks and think why isn’t there anybody on this city council who looks like me? Who looks Latino, who looks African American?” she said.

Originally published by The Guardian

Oakland’s new Museum of Capitalism opens Saturday (

Subversive pop-up display imagines a post-supply and demand world

Money for homeless services should go to the homeless, not sheriff’s deputies (


On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to vote on the allocation of more than a billion dollars to fund much-needed services for homeless people over the next three fiscal years. The funds, generated by the Measure H sales tax increase, will go toward rapidly housing for homeless people, preventing others from falling into homelessness, expanding outreach to the homeless and other services. One thing the money should not fund is law enforcement.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department had wanted $1 million to create a sheriff’s homeless outreach services team of six deputies, one sergeant and one lieutenant to expand what is currently being done by two deputies and one lieutenant dealing with homeless people on the street. The Measure H planning group was divided on whether to recommend the request to the Board of Supervisors. Now, Supervisors Hilda Solis and Kathryn Barger have introduced a motion to fund the Sheriff’s Department request not out the Measure H money but out of the county’s own reserve funds for homelessness services. The board should say no to both sources of funds.

Both the Measure H funds and the county’s homelessness funds are specifically set aside to provide desperately needed services to a homeless population that grew a staggering 23% this past year to nearly 58,000 in the county. The purpose of this money is to reduce homelessness.

Sheriff Jim McDonnell notes that his deputies who interact with homeless people are often doing a lot more than traditional law enforcement. They connect homeless people with service providers; they coax them out of dangerous riverbeds to safer locations during rainy weather. He says the deputies often know the names of the homeless people in the territory they patrol. And they do more familiar law enforcement work as well, such as clamping down on the drug dealers who prey upon the homeless. All of these are important and commendable, and we encourage the Sheriff’s Department to do more community policing on the streets where the homeless live.

But it should be funded by the department’s own budget. The money set aside by the county for homeless services ought to be paying for professional outreach workers and counselors with years of experience as well as for the services themselves.

Note from Mike Zint:

Dealing with homeless is not dealing with homelessness.

“dealing with homeless people on the street”

Economic refugees exist because the system is for the few. Using the militarized police against them shows they are the enemy of the state. Those two things, when taken together, mean homeless are a threat. Why? Because we know how to exist outside their system. And we are not enslaved by the very bills that keep the elite in power.