Public banking gets a toehold in New Jersey

At the 2016 Princeton Community Democratic Organization annual picnic, a pair of activists approached Phil Murphy with an unconventional idea: A public bank for New Jersey.

Murphy, a longtime banker with Goldman Sachs, heard the activists out. Then, when he announced his platform for his gubernatorial run later that year, it included a plank for a public bank, a commercial bank owned by the state that would take deposits from the state and from municipalities, and lend in-state.

For years, public banking activists have mobilized dissatisfaction with Wall Street to push for public banking at all levels, including for cities, states, and even at the federal level. Longtime consumer advocate and Green Party candidate Ralph Nader has endorsed the idea of federal public banking, and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., has suggested that the Post Office could offer basic banking services to supplant payday lenders.

With Murphy now installed as New Jersey’s governor, the grassroots push for public banking now enjoys an official pull, said Walt McRee, director of Banking on New Jersey, a group that has advocated a public bank in the state since 2012. McRee and director Joan Bartl were the ones to bring the idea to Murphy.

“The simplicity of the public banking message, mantra, is: Let’s keep the money at home,” McRee said.

The basic concept is that the state would set up the bank, which would take deposits from public entities that take taxpayer funds and need banking services. The public bank would supplant the private banks, including foreign-owned banks, that currently provide the services.

Then, the bank would lend within New Jersey. The public bank would facilitate cheaper financing for local businesses and public projects. That is the crux of the pitch for the bank. Murphy has noted that banks don’t necessarily invest in their states — and, in the case of foreign banks, may invest outside the country.

The public bank would take the power granted to private banks, the power to create money, and direct it to the public’s benefit, including by maintaining access to credit throughout the business cycle, McRee argued.

The idea isn’t pie-in-the-sky. North Dakota has had a public bank, the Bank of North Dakota, for nearly 100 years. The bank takes deposits from state entities and makes business and consumer loans. The profits it earns are returned to the state.

The Bank of North Dakota is proof-of-concept for public banking supporters. Supporters are working on extending the concept in jurisdictions around the country, with legislation introduced in roughly a dozen state houses, according to advocates, as well as several cities. Democratic state senators Nia Gill and Richard Codey have introduced legislation to follow up on Murphy’s promise and create the bank in New Jersey.

Although the idea of a public bank is billed as a partner with, not a rival to, private banks, the legislation is sure to run into opposition from the banking industry.

Michael Affuso, the director of government relations for the New Jersey Bankers Association, acknowledged Murphy’s complaint that public funds are being invested by private banks out of the state or overseas, but he said the solution of a public bank “is a little larger than the problem.”

Instead, he said, the state could simply contract with New Jersey banks, which generally lend in-state.

A public bank would hurt private banks by taking business from them, Affuso said. For a quarter of the banks his group represents, municipal deposits make up about a fifth of their deposits. Losing that funding would be a blow.

But the biggest concern, both critics and proponents of public banking agree, would be the possibility for the bank to become politicized, lending to favored groups or businesses and cutting off ones without political connections.

Research on public-owned banks across the world suggests that’s the case. A 2002 paper from a Northwestern University economist found that areas with stronger political parties get lower interest rates from public banks. Political interference is likely the reason that public banks have been found to underperform compared to private banks in underdeveloped countries, according to a 2012 paper written by Taiwanese researchers.

The public bank in North Dakota is a different proposition from one in New Jersey, with its reputation for corruption. McRee suggested that the key would be in writing the legislation, ensuring that the bank is operated “at least two arms’ lengths” away from politicians, by having it run by bankers hired by a board of directors appointed by a government commission.

Another obstacle to the public bank will be fiscal conservatives. Regina Egea, president of the Garden State Initiative, a free-market think tank, noted that the bank would not have its deposits insured by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Instead, like the Bank of North Dakota, they would be backed by the state.

“New Jersey residents are already among the highest-taxed people in the country,” Egea said. “A public bank uninsured by the FDIC would put our taxpayers at risk of having to bail out the state bank if it failed.”

Even if Murphy’s project gets held up by opposition in the Garden State, public banking advocates believe that they have reason for optimism in places around the country, and eventually at the federal level.

In California, for instance, state officials are exploring the idea of a public bank to provide services for the marijuana industry, which faces restrictions at banks with federal charters. Several cities in California and the Pacific Northwest have examined the possibility of public banks as a way to divest from banks with interests in fossil fuel industries.

“There is a national movement afoot,” McRee said.

Justice Department sues California over sanctuary laws March 6, 2018

After struggling in court for the last year to strip federal funds from California and sanctuary cities like San Francisco for refusing to aid federal immigration agents, the Trump administration filed suit Tuesday accusing the state of unconstitutionally interfering with immigration enforcement.

Three state laws enacted in 2017 “reflect a deliberate effort by California to obstruct the United States’ enforcement of federal immigration laws,” the Justice Department said in a lawsuit in federal court in Sacramento. The suit seeks to overturn all three laws.

In remarks prepared for delivery Wednesday to a law enforcement gathering in Sacramento, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Trump administration would “fight these unjust, unfair and unconstitutional policies that have been imposed on you.”

President Trump is putting California on notice with a threat to pull ICE officers out of the state. Veuer’s Nick Cardona has that story.

So far, though, his arguments have made little headway in federal court, where judges in San Francisco and elsewhere have rejected efforts to strip federal funds from sanctuary jurisdictions that refuse to comply with Justice Department edicts.

The suits by California, San Francisco and other sanctuary jurisdictions challenge conditions the department has sought to attach to federal funding, while the Justice Department’s suit directly challenges the California laws. But the central issue in all of them appears to be whether sanctuary laws are a proper exercise of state and local government’s authority over law enforcement or an unconstitutional intrusion by those governments into federal immigration law.

Sessions’ suit, though filed in a different court, could be consolidated with the California suit and transferred to San Francisco if the judge in that case decides the issues are the same.

Gov. Jerry Brown, a defendant in the new lawsuit, said in a statement, “At a time of unprecedented political turmoil, Jeff Sessions has come to California to further divide and polarize America. Jeff, these political stunts may be the norm in Washington, but they won’t work here.”

State Attorney General Xavier Becerra, also a defendant in the suit, responded with his own overture to law enforcement. “We’ll continue to stand up for our police and sheriffs whose funding has been threatened by the Trump administration” in the federal grants, he told reporters.

Besides targeting sanctuary laws, Sessions and others in the administration have denounced local officials like Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, who publicly warned the immigrant community Feb. 24 of an impending Bay Area raid by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Acting ICE director Thomas Homan, who previously threatened pro-sanctuary politicians with criminal prosecution, compared Schaaf to “a gang lookout.” President Trump’s press secretary said the Justice Department was looking into Schaaf’s actions.

Schaaf said Tuesday that the Trump administration “has tried to portray all immigrants as villains. We know that is a racist lie.”

Sanctuary laws predate the Trump administration — they spread nationwide during the presidency of Barack Obama, who deported record numbers of immigrants — and have won support from some law enforcement groups because they encourage noncitizens to report crimes without fear of deportation.

Sessions, on the other hand, has contended the policies protect criminals — describing sanctuary cities as “a trafficker, smuggler, or predator’s best friend” — and has sought to withhold federal funds from their law enforcement programs.

He has particularly targeted one new California law, SB54, which took effect this year. Except for undocumented immigrants who are being held on serious criminal charges, it prohibits police from notifying federal agents that an immigrant is about to be released from custody. The law also prohibits jails from holding migrants for federal agents, bars police from asking detainees about their immigration status and denies immigration officers access to local jails.

“These provisions impermissibly prohibit even the most basic cooperation with federal officials” and create “an obstacle to the United States’ enforcement of the immigration laws,” the Justice Department argued in Tuesday’s lawsuit.

“BRING IT ON!” the author of SB54, state Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, D-Los Angeles, responded in a Twitter posting. He said Sessions was suing the state because “we refuse to help the Trump administration tear apart honest, hardworking immigrant families.”

The suit also challenged a recent state law that prohibits private employers, in most cases, from allowing workplace immigration raids unless the agent has a judicial warrant, and another law barring cities and counties from signing contracts with the federal government to house immigration detainees in local jails.

Details aside, the Trump administration has used such cases to stir up “anti-immigrant sentiment supporting the administration,” said Christopher Lasch, a University of Denver immigration law professor.

“The administration hopes that by destabilizing the law it will cause jurisdictions that may be politically more on the fence to capitulate,” he said.

So far, the courts have repeatedly ruled against Sessions’ attempts to withhold federal funds, saying the Trump administration could not penalize sanctuary cities by imposing conditions on federal grants that Congress has never written into law.

In April, U.S. District Judge William Orrick III of San Francisco barred the administration from carrying out Trump’s threat to withdraw billions of dollars in federal funds from sanctuary cities.

In September, a federal judge in Chicago issued a nationwide injunction against Sessions’ attempt to deny federal grants to local governments that refused to notify immigration agents before releasing undocumented immigrants from custody, or give agents access to their jails. A federal judge in Philadelphia upheld that city’s sanctuary policies in November.

On Monday, Orrick gave Sessions a partial victory by allowing him to try to prove that the new California law illegally interferes with federal immigration enforcement. The judge told both sides to develop their arguments as the case proceeds, but he indicated little support so far for the Justice Department’s claim that sanctuary policies endanger the public.

“The federal government offers no evidence that there is any link between increases in crime and violence and imposing the certification conditions” on federal grants, Orrick said.

Those conditions include the provisions blocked by the judge in Chicago — requiring local governments that receive the grants to notify ICE before releasing immigrants and to allow immigration officers access to jails — and sections of the California law prohibiting local agencies from releasing personal information on undocumented immigrants in custody, including their planned release dates.

Sessions is speaking Wednesday at a Law Enforcement Legislative Day hosted by the California Peace Officers Association. Its executive director, Carol Leveroni, said Tuesday she was looking for some degree of federal-state reconciliation.

“We would hope for a pathway toward settling the conflicts between state and federal law,” Leveroni said. She described situations in which local police would work alongside immigration agents — like intercepting a drug-smuggling boat whose crew included undocumented immigrants — and said “law enforcement is looking for clarity,” not conflicts.

San Francisco Chronicle

staff writer Steve Rubenstein contributed to this report.

Bob Egelko and Hamed Aleaziz are San Francisco Chronicle staff writers. Email: Twitter: @BobEgelko @haleaziz

(Submitted by Ruthie Sakheim.)

~ANNOUNCEMENTS from: Wed. March 7 – Sun. March 11 (from Adrienne Fong)


Take action to oppose anti-BDS legislation 

Congress is again seeking to restrict Americans’ right to support nonviolent boycott actions.

   On Saturday, March 3, an amended version of the “Israel Anti-Boycott Act” (S.720) was released.  Although it no longer threatens individuals with criminal prosecution, it would still make it illegal for “domestic concerns” to support international organizations’ calls to boycott Israel—or face a $1 million fine.

Click below – if my name appears just put your name in.:

Contact your senators today to tell them to oppose the Israel Anti-Boycott Act.

The revised bill has been issued as AIPAC supporters convene in Washington D.C., and we expect they will push this bill during their congressional visits – which is why your voice is needed to counter their efforts today.

The Israel Anti-Boycott Act would violate our First Amendment rights by threatening to prosecute or penalize nonprofit organizations, corporations, and other entities for their political viewpoints about Israel and its policies.

Info from: American Friends Service Committee 


A. Justice Department sues California over sanctuary laws (March 6, 2018)

  See item #1 

B. ICE Raids Doomsday: Here’s How One Immigrant Prepares (YouTube)

C. (4th LD) Koreas agree to hold third summit in April, reaffirm resolve to denuclearize (March 6, 2018)

D. Revolution Books’ Statement on Fascist Threats (March 3, 2018) 


Wednesday, March 7 – Sunday, March 11

Wednesday, March 7 

1. Wednesday, 7:30am – 10:00am, Jeff Sessions Out of CA

Kimpton Sawyer Hotel
500 J Street

Jeff Sessions will speak at the 26th annual Law Enforcement Legislative Day, hosted by the California Peace Officers’ Association

Jeff Sessions, Trump’s hate-mongering Attorney General, is coming to Sacramento to spread his message of xenophobia, and make a “statement” on sanctuary jurisdictions

Hosts: NorCal Resist, Sacramento Immigration Coalition, Labor Council for Latin America-Sacramento (AFL-CIO), Brown Berets de SacrAzitian, ANSWER, Democratic Socialist –Sacramento


2. Wednesday, 10:00am – 11:00am. 1Y + 11M, Life of Luis Gόngora Pat Celebration 

Altar site at:

Shotwell & 19th Streets

It has been one year and eleven months since Luis was killed by the SFPD. We gather each month on the 7th where Luis was killed, to  support the family and hear recent updates and plans.

Join us to talk about next plans! It’s almost Luis’s 2nd year anniversary


3. Wednesday, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, PEACE VIGIL 

One Post Street in San Francisco.
(on the steps facing Market Street, below Feinstein’s office,
directly above the Montgomery BART/Muni station).

If it rains we will meet below the stairs to BART/MUNI 

Theme this week: International Women’s Day

Signage & fliers provided

All are welcomed. 

 4. Wednesday, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, Fight the SF Gang Injunctions Community Meeting 

Alex Pitcher Community Center
1800 Oakdale

ADA Accessible

Join the Coalition to End San Francisco Gang Injunctions for a community meeting to learn more about the active gang injunctions, who is impacted, and what you can do.

Food, Spanish interpretation, and childcare will be provided.
*Please RSVP by March 2nd for interpretation or childcare services to


Thursday, March 8

International Women’s Day 

5. Thursday, 8:30am PACK THE COURTS! Preliminary Injunction Hearing!

Phillip Burton Federal Building
Judge: Jacqueline Scott Corley , US Magistrate Judge
450 Golden Gate Ave., 15th Floor, Courtroom F

Must have ID to go inside.

The hearing pertains to our motion for a preliminary injunction asking the US District Court to order the immigration judge to provide Borey with a new bond hearing where proper and fair procedures will be followed. The hearing will probably be fairly short, 20-30 minutes, and will only involve argument by the lawyers. Borey will not be present and will not appear via televideo.

Our legal arguments have been complicated by the Supreme Court decision that was released last week regarding bond hearings and there is a possibility that the hearing could be delayed, but we are determined to#BringPJHome 


 Borey Ai, known by friends as PJ, is currently detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) pending an appeal. He is one of over 100 Cambodian Americans currently incarcerated in immigration jails. A few months ago his fight for asylum to remain in the United States with his family –and the only place he knows as home–was denied. Like so many other child refugees who came to the United States at a young age, PJ grew up in an impoverished neighborhood, became entangled with our punitive system, and is being subjected to double punishment by the criminal justice and immigration enforcement systems.

PJ was born in a refugee camp in Thailand where his family fled to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide in Cambodia. In 1985, while PJ was an infant, his family sought asylum in the United States and resettled in the impoverished neighborhood of Stockton, California. There he experienced crippling poverty and violence. Growing up with the traumas of war and traumas of poverty led him to make difficult choices. Through a series of poor choices, PJ became involved with crime and got caught up by the law. At the age of 14, PJ became one of the youngest children in California to be tried as an adult and sentenced to life in prison.

While incarcerated, PJ transformed his life. During PJ’s path of transformation, he developed many positive skill sets and completed many of his goals. PJ obtained his GED, completed and facilitated numerous self-help programs, became a state certified rape and crisis counselor, became certified as a domestic violence counselor, and this past winter earned his Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts. PJ’s leadership in groups like Kid CAT resulted in important juvenile justice reforms such as SB 9 California Fair Sentencing for Youth, SB 260 and SB 261 Justice for Juveniles with Adult Sentencing.

Borey “PJ” Ai transformed his life and has accomplished so much while serving 20 years for a crime committed as a 14-year-old. On July 2016, the Board of Parole hearing panel saw his transformation and granted his parole. This cause for celebration was short lived. Last November, instead of being released and reunited with his family, he was transferred over to ICE and is currently facing deportation. Borey “PJ” Ai, is now facing another punishment, separation from his family and deportation to a country he has never set foot in.Info:

6. Thursday, 8:30am – 12 Noon, Pack the BART Board Meeting: Justice 4 Sahleem 

344 20th St. (nr. 19th Street BART)

Sahleem Tindle was murdered by BART Police Officer Joseph Mateu on January 3, 2018. Shot in the back three times. The family has since learned that Mateu is back on the job. Let’s pack the BART Board meeting on Thursday 3/8 at 8:30 AM.

The Family Demands: Fire, Arrest and Convict Joseph Mateu

Show up and support this family!

Host: APTP


7. Thursday, 3:00pm (cooking); 6:00pm (sharing) Food Not Bombs – SF 

Cookhouse:  Near 24th/Mission BART.  Call Micah at 415-738-9249 for information.

Food Pickups: Help Needed!

Cooking:  Near 24th/Mission BART.  Call Micah at 415-738-9249 for information– 3:00 pm–Help Needed!

Sharing: 16th and Mission BART Plaza — 6:00 pm–Help Needed!

Cleaning Up:  Near 24th/Mission BART.  Call Micah at 415-738-9249 for information–after Cooking–6:00 pm – 8:00 pm–Help Needed!


8. Thursday, 4:30pm –  6:30pm, San Francisco International Women’s Day of Action and Rally 

Civic Center

As part of the International Women’s Strike movement, in the San Francisco Bay Area we call for:
* 24 hours of action on March 8th
*12pm/ lunch-time : Local Speak-Out/ Strike Action @ our local workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods.

We call on local unions, both elected officials and rank and file workers, as well as labor councils to actively engage with this re-emerging independent, non-corporate, and grassroots women’s movement, for we believe our unions and working class women have been and should continue to be at the center of this struggle.

Lets us make our presence visible, wear red, and be vocal about women, LGBTQI, immigrant and people of color rights, as well as those with disabilities.

We will have community speakers and then an Open Mic- Speak Out for any community member to have their voice’s heard.

Scheduled speaker include leaders from Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense, NARAL, Senior and Disability Action, Mujer Unidos, AFT 2121 and more….

Organized by: IWS National Committee and March 8th, Bay Area for Reproductive Justice, Democratic Socialists of America: San Francisco, International Socialist Organization – Northern California, Refuse Fascism Bay Area, Women’s March San Francisco, and Workers’ Voice/La Voz de los Trabajadores



 9. Thursday, 4:30pm – 6:30pm, EAST BAY International Women’s Day of Action 

Meet at:

Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park
2151 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

As part of the International Women’s Strike movement, in the San Francisco Bay Area we call for:

* 24 hours of action on March 8th
*12pm/ lunch-time : Local Speak-Out/ Strike Action @ our local workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods to make our presence visible, wearing red, and being vocal about women and LGBTQI, immigrant and people of color rights, as well as those with
* 4.30pm to 6pm: REGIONAL RALLIES
@ Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco & Civic Center Plaza in Berkeley.

We call on community organizations, local unions, both elected officials and rank and file workers, as well as labor councils to actively engage with this re-emerging independent, non-corporate, and grassroots women’s movement, for we believe our unions and working class women have been and should continue to be at the center of this struggle.

Hosts: IWS National Committee and March 8th/Bay Area for Reproductive Justice Organizing Committee


10. Thursday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, International Women’s Day 

Revolution Books – Berkeley
2444 Durant Ave.

Break the Chains! Unleash the Fury of Women As a Mighty Force for Revolution!
Screening and discussion of excerpts on the oppression and liberation of women from the film of Bob Avakian’s talk, BA Speaks: REVOLUTION—NOTHING LESS!

If you hate the way women are brutalized, assaulted, and degraded all over the world… if you are outraged by the threat the Trump/Pence fascist regime poses to women and all of humanity… if you are disgusted by all these oppressive gender roles… if you’ve raised your voice in #MeToo but have questions about where our anger should be directed and how to end this madness for real… the most important thing you can know now is this: There is an answer to WHY this horrendous, ages-old oppression is still going on and intensifying. And there is an answer to HOW this oppression can be eliminated from the face of the planet. 


Friday, March 9 

11. Friday, 2:00pm – 3:00pm, SEIU presence outside of ICE in SF

630 Sansome St

Members & Friends of local SEIU have been outside of ICE for the last 3 weeks. All are welcomed to stand with them to say NO to deportations and the ICE sweeps.

There is no listing on social media. 

12. Friday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Martin Luther King to Ferguson – The Struggle for Racial Justice! 

Unitarian Universalist Church
1187 Franklin (@ Geary)

Wheelchair accessible

Film/Speakers: Ferguson the Struggle for Racial Justice

Film: Whose Streets: The Killing of 18 Year Old Michael Brown Inspired a Community to Fight Back – A People’s Documentary

A powerful battle cry from a generation fighting not only for their Civil Rights but for the right to live. The film aims t show how people stood together, resisted together, and fought together in the name of love and justice for black people not only in their city but around the world.


Kimberly Jade Norwood

Henry H. Oberschelp

  Professor of law; Professor of African American Studies’

  Author of Ferguson’s Fault Lines: The Quake that Rocked the Natlion and Color Matters: Skin Tone Bias and Myth of Post Racial America

13. Friday, 6:30pm, Film: The Shadow World – Inside the Global Arms Trade 

Pacifica Sharp Park Library
104 Hilton Way

Doors open at 6:00pm

Light refreshments

Free screening & discussion

With the movie,  we hope to educate Pacificans about war profiteers and offer them a simple first action.  The action will be to write addressed, stamped postcards urging Candidate S. Feinstein and Rep J Speier to reject campaign contribtions from weapons industries.

Presented by Pacifica Peace People – Acting Locally for Peace Globally. 

Saturday, March 10 

14. Saturday 8:00am – 7:00pm, Tibetan National Uprising Day – Events are in Berkeley & SF

8:00am-9:00am l Tibetan Flag Raising Ceremony @ Berkeley City Hall

****************Gather @ San Francisco City Hall****************

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place, SF

12:00pm-1:00pm l March to Chinese Consulate

1:00pm-2:45pm l Protest @ Chinese Consulate

2:45pm l March to Union Square

5:00pm-7:00pm l Evening Program @ San Francisco Union Square

On March 10th, SF Team Tibet***, and other groups around the world, will take to the streets to commemorate the 59th anniversary of the 1959 Tibetan National Uprising.

We mark March 10th each year to show solidarity with Tibetans inside Tibet and to honor and support the brave resistance to Chinese rule that continues to this day. Tibetans in Tibet are risking everything to ensure their message is heard and acted upon by the outside world. With more than 150 self-immolations that have taken place in Tibet, India, and Nepal, now is the time to #StandUpForTibet. Bhoe gyalo!

Host: Students for a Free Tibet – West


15. Saturday, 10:00am – 1:00pmBay Area Kickoff for Real Rent Control to Repeal Costa Hawkins!

Avenida de la Fuente
Between International Blvd. & E. 12th St,

The Housing Crisis is getting out of hand! Families are being pushed out of our community and onto the streets. We can’t just keep waiting, we must act now!

Join us as we kick off the campaign in the Bay Area for the Affordable Housing Act — a proposed ballot initiative that that will give our cities and counties the power to adopt rent control necessary to address the state’s housing affordability crisis by repealing the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act.

This Kick Off Event will be the first of many! Come learn more about repealing Costa-Hawkins and then we’ll hit the streets to gather signatures for the Affordable Housing Act!

Host: ACCE Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment


16. Saturday, 11:00am – 4:00pm, The Big Medicare for All Canvass 

Cedar Rose Park
1300 Rose St.

Park & bathrooms are wheelchair accessible

Permitting doesn’t allow us to serve food, so please bring snacks and water bottles!

In January 2018, the East Bay Democratic Socialists of America kicked off our Medicare for All campaign by bringing together over a hundred canvassers and volunteers to build the movement for health justice.

In September, Bernie Sanders introduced a landmark Medicare for All bill that would uplift all residents of the U.S. by guaranteeing healthcare as a human right, and the bill has been met with a groundswell of support. His Medicare for All legislation has attracted overwhelming support across America,

East Bay DSA has endorsed this federal legislation and the state-level candidates who support the Healthy California Act because we know that people want and need a system that follows these five principles:

– A single public program
– Comprehensive coverage
– Universal coverage regardless of citizenship status
– Free at the point of service
– Job training for health insurance employees

No experience necessary, and all are welcome! Please feel free to contact externalorganizing@eastbaydsa.orgwith questions.

Host: East Bay DSA


17. Saturday, 2:00pm – 3:30pm, International Women’s Day at the Comfort Women’s Memorial 

St. Mary’s Square Park in Chinatown
651 California St.

In honor of International Women’s Day we invite you to participate in a ceremony at the Comfort Women Memorial in San Francisco. This event will make connections between the story of WWII Comfort Women and current forms of systemic violence impacting women today.

Come to share in a ritual honoring:

WWII Comfort Women
Women impacted by US military bases in Asia and the Pacific
Women victims of war
Missing and murdered indigenous women
Migrant women at the US-Mexico Border
and others

Bay Area organizations will make altars for this event to honor and lift up courageous women who are refusing to remain invisible, speaking truth, and resisting injustice.
Insist, Persist, Resist!

This event is sponsored by Women for Genuine Security, and co-sponsored by CodePink, Comfort Women Justice Coalition, Indian People Organizing for Change, Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Nikkei Resisters, One Heart for Justice.
For more info, contact ; 415 312-5583


18. Saturday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Banner Making: nojustice/nodeal and no ban/no raids/no wall 

Bethany United Methodist Church
1270 Sanchez St

Join us for snacks and art as we make banners to be hung from freeway overpasses. Come even if you can only make banners – or if you can’t make banners, but want to learn how to put them up. This is an easy and fun and effective way to demonstrate our support for the movements for police accountability and immigrant rights. Please let us know if you are coming so we can make sure we have enough material.

Host: SURJ – SF


19. Saturday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Loaded a, Book Talk with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz 

The Eric Quezada Center for Culture & Politics
518 Valencia St.

Wheelchair accessible

A discussion with Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz about her new book, LOADED: A DISARMING HISTORY OF THE SECOND AMENDMENT.

The time is ripe for a frank discussion about the history of gun culture in the US and the racist roots of the second amendment.

From the enslavement of Blacks and the conquest of Native America, to the arsenal of institutions that constitute the “gun lobby,” LOADED presents a people’s history of the Second Amendment, as seen through the lens of those who have been most targeted by guns: people of color. Meticulously researched and thought-provoking throughout, this is essential reading for anyone interested in understanding the historical connections between racism and gun violence in the United States.

Hosts: Center for Political Education and Eric Quezada Center


Sunday, March 11 

20. Sunday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, International Women’s Working Day – MARCH & Celebration 2018

Meet at: 

Fruitvale Village

Note* This will be a family friendly march and celebration that will be accessible for children, elders, and people with disabilities. We will also be organizing our own community safety/security team. 

Members of GABRIELA Oakland and our allies invite you to join us for a March & Celebration on Sunday March 11th to commemorate the 110th International Working Women’s Day anniversary in honor of the first women strikers in 1908. Join us as we RISE, RESIST, and UNITE to build our collective Resistance here and abroad!

Let us take the streets as we RISE up and say NO to violence against women and Trans people and RESIST militarization and state violence!

Let us RISE to protect women, Trans and Gender non-conforming people, and our children!
Let us RESIST economic exploitation of our women!
Let us UNITE for the self-determination of all oppressed people to fight for their basic rights and livelihood!

Please email or send us a FB message if you or your organization would like to sponsor or endorse the march.

Hosts: GABRIELA Oakland, + 10 Other groups


21. Sunday, 3:00pm – 4:30pm, 7th Anniversary of Fukushima Meltdown – Rally / March 

Meet in front: 

Japanese Consulate
275 Battery St. (closest BART – Embarcadero)

about 3:40 pm we start to march to the Justin Herman Plaza

REQUEST: Letters to PM Abe are being collected for this rally. The letter should be with 1 – 20 sentences , at longest by half a page, please write your name and your city and send it to by 3/9.

3/11 this year will be the 7th anniversary of the Fukushima meltdown.

Many people have already forgotten about Fukushima or they think Fukushima disaster is under control and even think Fukushima is safe to live now.

We all know those thoughts are false.

Many victims have been suffering physically and mentally, because the Japanese government and TEPCO are not honest and not kind to these victims, and are trying to get away from their responsibilities.

After Fukushima Meltdown, the majority of Japanese have wanted to decommission all nuclear power plants, but already several plants have been restarted.

Host: No Nukes Action


#Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin visits Here and There

Image may contain: 2 people, people standing, tree, sky, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: one or more people, tree and outdoor
Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: sky, tree, outdoor and nature

First they came for the homeless added 5 new photos.

March 6, 2018

Today, the mayor came to visit. These photos are from Here/There. He spent about a half hour talking to the homeless, and listening to their ideas. We took the opportunity to introduce the mayor to Ani, the 82 year old Buddhist nun. She is homeless. She has serious health issues. We are hoping that he will step up and make sure that she is cared for. He took her info and seemed genuinely concerned. Our fingers are crossed.

–Mike Zint

Published on Mar 6, 2018
2017036 – Captured Live on Ustream at…

* * * * *

After Here/There, the mayor went to aquatic park. This camp has tiny homes, solar, and a drug rehab program by Dare 2 Change. The mayor spent a lot of time talking to Momma Crystal. I’m very happy that he did that. She has the hardest job of all of us. Getting the addicted clean and sober so they can join our community.

Will anything come of todays visits? My fingers are crossed. I saw his reaction to what the homeless were saying. They scored points, for sure.

–Mike Zint

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Alice Miller on the real work ahead

From The Drama of the Gifted Child:  The Search for the True Self 
By Alice Miller

Nationalism, racism, and fascism are in fact nothing other than ideological guises of the flight from the painful, unconscious memories of endured contempt into the dangerous, destructive disrespect for human life, glorified as a political program.  The formerly hidden cruelty that was exercised upon the powerless child now becomes only too apparent in the violence of such “political” groups.  Its origins in childhood, in the total disregard of the former child, however, remain concealed or absolutely denied, not only by the members of these groups but but by society as a whole.

* * * * * *

The basic similarity of the various nationalistic movements flourishing today reveals that their motives have nothing to do with the real interests of the people who are fighting and hating, but instead have very much to do with these people’s childhood histories.

* * * * * *

When Galileo Galilei in 1613 presented mathematical proof for the Copernican theory that the earth revolved around the sun and not the opposite, it was labeled “false and absurd” by the Church. Galileo was forced to recant and subsequently became blind. Not until three hundred years later did the Church finally decide to give up its illusion and remove his writings from the Index.

Now we find ourselves in a situation similar to that of the Church in Galileo’s time, but for us today much more hangs in the balance. Whether we decide for truth or for illusion will have far more serious consequences for the survival of humanity than was the case in the seventeenth century. For some years now, there has been proof that the devastating effects of the traumatization of children take their inevitable toll on society – a fact that we are still forbidden to recognize. This knowledge concerns every single one of us, and – if disseminated widely enough – should lead to fundamental changes in society; above all, to a halt in the blind escalation of violence. The following points are intended to amplify my meaning:

  1. All children are born to grow, to develop, to live, to love, and to articulate their needs and feelings for their self-protection.
  2. For their development, children need the respect and protection of adults who take them seriously, love them, and honestly help them to become oriented in the world.
  3. When these vital needs are frustrated and children are, instead, abused for the sake of adults’ needs by being exploited, beaten, punished, taken advantage of, manipulated, neglected, or deceived without the intervention of any witness, then their integrity will be lastingly impaired.
  4. The normal reactions to such injury should be anger and pain. Since children in this hurtful kind of environment are forbidden to express their anger, however, and since it would be unbearable to experience their pain all alone, they are compelled to suppress their feelings, repress all memory of the trauma, and idealize those guilty of the abuse. Later they will have no memory of what was done to them.
  5. Disassociated from the original cause, their feelings of anger, helplessness, despair, longing, anxiety, and pain will find expression in destructive acts against others (criminal behavior, mass murder) or against themselves (drug addiction, alcoholism, prostitution, psychic disorders, suicide).
  6. If these people become parents, they will then often direct acts of revenge for their mistreatment in childhood against their own children, whom they use as scapegoats. Child abuse is still sanctioned – indeed, held in high regard – in our society as long as it is defined as child-rearing. It is a tragic fact that parents beat their children in order to escape the emotions stemming from how they were treated by their own parents.
  7. If mistreated children are not to become criminals or mentally ill, it is essential that at least once in their life they come in contact with a person who knows without any doubt that the environment, not the helpless, battered child, is at fault. In this regard, knowledge or ignorance on the part of society can be instrumental in either saving or destroying a life. Here lies the great opportunity for relatives, social workers, therapists, teachers, doctors, psychiatrists, officials, and nurses to support the child and to believe her or him.
  8. Till now, society has protected the adult and blamed the victim. It has been abetted in its blindness by theories, still in keeping with the pedagogical principles of our great-grandparents, according to which children are viewed as crafty creatures, dominated by wicked drives, who invent stories and attack their innocent parents or desire them sexually. In reality, children tend to blame themselves for their parents’ cruelty and to absolve the parents, whom they invariably love, of all responsibility.
  9. For some years now, it has been possible to prove, through new therapeutic methods, that repressed traumatic experiences of childhood are stored up in the body and, though unconscious, exert an influence even in adulthood. In addition, electronic testing of the fetus has revealed a fact previously unknown to most adults – that a child responds to and learns both tenderness and cruelty from the very beginning.
  10. In the light of this new knowledge, even the most absurd behavior reveals its formerly hidden logic once the traumatic experiences of childhood need no longer remain shrouded in darkness.
  11. Our sensitization to the cruelty with which children are treated, until now commonly denied, and to the consequences of such treatment will as a matter of course bring to an end the perpetuation of violence from generation to generation.
  12. People whose integrity has not been damaged in childhood, who were protected, respected, and treated with honesty by their parents, will be – both in their youth and in adulthood – intelligent, responsive, empathic, and highly sensitive. They will take pleasure in life and will not feel any need to kill or even hurt others or themselves. They will use their power to defend themselves, not to attack others. They will not be able to do otherwise than respect and protect those weaker than themselves, including their children, because this is what they have learned from their own experience, and because it is this knowledge (and not the experience of cruelty) that has been stored up inside them from the beginning. It will be inconceivable to such people that earlier generations had to build up a gigantic war industry in order to feel comfortable and safe in this world. Since it will not be their unconscious drive in life to ward off intimidation experienced at a very early age, they will be able to deal with attempts at intimidation in their adult life more rationally and more creatively.

ANNOUNCEMENTS for Sunday, March 4 – Thursday, March 8 (from Adrienne Fong)

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on Events! This is a JUSTICE issue

Check Indybay for other events:


Tell Congress: STOP Fueling War in Yeman

   Support the War Powers Resolution S.J.Res 54 to end U.S. support for the Saudi-led war on Yeman

Email your lawmakers now and tell them to support the War Powers 54 to end US support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Email your lawmakers, click here:    Email your lawmakers now and tell them to support the to the Saudi-led war in Yemen.

Yemen is facing a massive humanitarian catastrophe

Under Trump, U.S. support for the Saudi-led bombing campaign has escalated, while transparency has diminished.3

The U.S. military has been aiding the bombing campaign by refilling the tanks of Saudi warplanes— fueling the strikes that have killed thousands and left millions more in a dire state of sickness and starvation 

  – 7 million people in Yemen are dependent on food aid for any reliable sustenance—and that number is expected to reach 10 million this year.

  – Another 20 million civilians in Yemen need urgent humanitarian aid, including nearly one million who have cholera. 5

Fact sheet from Indivisible: 


A. Philando Castile charity wipes out kids’ lunch debt in district where he worked (March 3, 2018)

Philando Castile was killed by the Minnesota police in July 2016. Philando was a supervisor in a school cafeteria. Out of his own pocket he would pay for lunches for kids that didn’t have lunch money. His legacy lives on!! 

B. Good News: Jesus is free!!!

The strength of our community was stronger than ever this week when we uplifted our voices to demand Justice for Jesus and his family! Thanks to the support of our community who, not only filled the courtroom during Jesus’ bond hearing at ICE this past wednesday, but also took to the streets to denounce the mass arrests and abuse from ICE this week.

On wednesday an immigration judge granted Jesus’ bond and he is finally reunited with his family and children.

This victory would not have been made possible without the leadership and commitment of the community, that of Jesus’ courageous family and the many people who continue to advocate for our people’s freedom. Together, we will win! THANK YOU!!! #Justice4Jesus

Info: Immigrant Liberation Movement.

C. Family calls on Gascon to charge officers who shot homeless man (February 28, 2018)

See item # 6

D. DA’s office declines to file charges in police shooting of Oakland man (March 2, 2018)

R.I.P. ♥ O’Shaine Evans and ♥ Matthew Hoffman

E. Photos & Videos of February 28 Demo at SF ICE


Sunday, March 4 – Thursday, March 8

Sunday, March 4 

1. Sunday, 9:30am – 11:00am, UU Forum: The Fight for Net Neutrality: What we can do to protect equal access

Unitarian Universalist Center
1187 Geary Blvd, MLK Room

Trump’s FCC has taken steps to do away with net neutrality, which would undermine equal access to the internet in our country.

We will get an update from two Bay Area leaders and activists about the attack on net neutrality; why net neutrality is so crucial for our democracy and must be defended; and what we can do in San Francisco to protect it at all levels of government.


Tracy Rosenberg is the executive director of Media Alliance. She organizes and advocates for a free, accountable and accessible media system; monitors the mainstream media for accuracy and fair representation; and has facilitated the training of many groups in effective communications. She is published in newspapers and blogs around the country. She serves on the board of the Alliance for Community Media (Western Region), on the steering committee of the Media Action Grassroots Network and co-coordinates Oakland Privacy.

Katherine Trendacosta
 is a Policy Analyst at the Electronic Frontier foundation, focusing on intellectual property, net neutrality, fair use, free speech online, and intermediary liability. With a background as a writer and editor of science fiction and science, she got her JD at USC Gould School of Law, doing work with the USC Intellectual Property and Technology Law Clinic. She has major responsibility for Net Neutrality activism at EFF.


2. Sunday, 1:00pm – 5:00pm, A Community Forum on Women’s Resistance & Liberation 

Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California
1433 Madison Ave.

Join Third World Resistance for a community forum on Women’s Resistance & Liberation. We will be uplifting the history of International Working Women’s Day and will focus on the current political climate on how the escalation of Fascism has been impacting women here in the U.S. and abroad. Join us with a powerful panel of women of color speakers and cultural workers in resistance as we RISE against Fascism and violence against women.

There will also be sign and banner-making to prepare for the International Working Women’s Day March & Celebration on Sunday, March 11th at 2PM. 

Hosts: Anakbayan East Bay, Gabriela-Oakland, Critical Resistance, VietUnity – East Bay, the Center for Political Education, Haiti Action Network, AROC, Design Collective


Monday, March 5

3. Monday, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, The Justice Study National Launch – Informational Session

Impact Hub – San Francisco
1885 Mission St.

After accompanying the Frisco5 in a Hunger Strike protesting police killings in San Francisco, physicians and researchers of the Do No Harm Coalition were asked by community members of the Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition to create a research project to investigate the health outcomes in communities where there is police violence and no justice. The research team from UCSF and Santa Clara University developed The Justice Study with community direction.

The scope of the study will investigate all law enforcement violence–from police to ICE to FBI–and research tools will be available in English and Spanish. Please join us for an informational gathering about this research, what its impact can be and how you can get involved.

Hosts: Do No Harm Coalition, APTP  & Justice Study


Tuesday, March 6 

4. Tuesday, 4:00pm – 5:30pm, KEEP Families Together: Rally to Protect Immigrant Communities

Decoto Road & Alvarado Niles Blvd.
Union City

BART directions:

***If coming from San Francisco, or Oakland on BART take the Warm Springs train and get off at Union City Bart Station.

Directions from Union City Bart Station to the rally:

1. When exiting the Union City Bart Station facing the parking lot, make a right and walk down to DECOTO ROAD.
2. When getting to DECOTO ROAD, from the Bart Station, make a left hand turn and walk up DECOTO ROAD to Alvarado Niles Blvd.
3. We will be in front of the Mongolian Hot Pot (34396 Alvarado Niles Rd, Union City, CA 94587)

Congregations Organizing for Renewal and Filipino Advocates for Justice (UC) are hosting a rally to organize, inform, support, and stand up for immigrant rights. With the threat of deportations, ICE raids, family separation, and the repeal of DACA, we are coming together to show that we as immigrants are NO different from others and that this is OUR home! Over 150 people have been arrested by ICE in the past week. We are hosting this event to show that we are committed to protecting our immigrant families, who are an essential part of our community.

§ Stand Up for Immigrant Rights!
§ Protect Our Immigrant Communities!
§ We’re Here To Stay!
§ Keep Families Together
§ We’re NO Different From Others!
§ This is OUR Home!

Hosts: A Day Without Immigrants – SF + 2 Other groups


5. Tuesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Insurgent Voices: Striving to End Racism in America 

Marines Memorial Theatre
609 Sutter St., (@ Mason St.),  2nd Floor


   $60 – $250

Join The Women’s Building for an evening of theatrical excerpts and conversation with three innovative trailblazers that have changed America’s social justice landscape:

Alicia Garza, Co-founder of Black Lives Matter

Anna Deavere Smith, Playwright, actor and educator

Lateefah SimonAkonadi Foundation President

This event is a fundraiser for The Women’s Building’s newest advocacy work: To end violence against women.

Cash bar will be available.


Wednesday, March 7 

6. Wednesday, 10:00am – 11:00am. 1Y + 11M, Life of Luis Gόngora Pat

Shotwell & 19th Streets

It has been one year and eleven months since Luis was killed by the SFPD. We gather each month on the 7th where Luis was killed, to  support the family and hear recent updates and plans.

Check Justice 4 Luis….site for updates


Wednesday, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, PEACE VIGIL (See item #11) 

One Post Street in San Francisco.
(on the steps facing Market Street, below Feinstein’s office,
directly above the Montgomery BART/Muni station).

If it rains we will meet below the stairs to BART/MUNI 

Themes vary weekly on  local, national and global PEACE & JUSTICE issues.

Signage & fliers provided

All are welcomed. 

7. Wednesday, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, Fight the SF Gang Injunctions Community Meeting 

Alex Pitcher Community Center
1800 Oakdale

ADA Accessible

Join the Coalition to End San Francisco Gang Injunctions for a community meeting to learn more about the active gang injunctions, who is impacted, and what you can do.

Food, Spanish interpretation, and childcare will be provided.
*Please RSVP by March 2nd for interpretation or childcare services to


8. Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:30pm, Addressing Anti-Blackness in API Communities 

UC Berkeley Multicultural Center
220 MLK Jr. Student Union

The racial landscape of the United States has changed dramatically in the last two centuries, allowing for dynamic challenges, conflicts, and alliances, but over the course of history, the oppression of Black people in this country has remained fundamental to American social structure.

We as API communities (read: South Asian, Southwest Asian, Southeast Asian, Central Asian, East Asian, Pacific Islander), from our own place of racial privilege and racial oppression, have much to unpack in order to stand in solidarity with the movement for Black Lives. We want to hold that “API” as a grouping has often excluded West Asians, Southwest Asians, South Asians, Southeast Asians, and Pacific Islanders. This space will actively seek to include those on the margins of the “API” identity. 

An anti-Blackness workshop specific to API communities. We’ll challenge our personal practices, talk about how to have the conversation with friends/family, and commit to decentering ourselves in order to center Black livelihood. The workshop will be facilitated by Kim Tran, with support from Appuni Chemmachel and el lee.

Dinner will be provided!


Thursday, March 8

International Women’s Day 

9. Thursday, 4:30pm – 6:30pm, EAST BAY International Women’s Day of Action

Meet at:

Martin Luther King Jr. Civic Center Park
2151 Martin Luther King Jr. Way

As part of the International Women’s Strike movement, in the San Francisco Bay Area we call for:

* 24 hours of action on March 8th
*12pm/ lunch-time : Local Speak-Out/ Strike Action @ our local workplaces, schools, and neighborhoods to make our presence visible, wearing red, and being vocal about women and LGBTQI, immigrant and people of color rights, as well as those with
* 4.30pm to 6pm: REGIONAL RALLIES
@ Civic Center Plaza in San Francisco & Civic Center Plaza in Berkeley.
We call on community organizations, local unions, both elected officials and rank and file workers, as well as labor councils to actively engage with this re-emerging independent, non-corporate, and grassroots women’s movement, for we believe our unions and working class women have been and should continue to be at the center of this struggle.

Hosts: IWS National Committee and March 8th/Bay Area for Reproductive Justice Organizing Committee


The Redemption of Chris Hughes

Chris Hughes was raised by Lutheran parents in Hickory, N.C., and they taught him, by example, to tithe. Every year, they gave 10 percent of their income to the church and other local charities, and Mr. Hughes carried that tradition into adulthood. But in 2008, when he sold $1 million of his Facebook shares on private markets, and the amount of money he needed to give away increased exponentially, he started thinking more seriously about where his contributions might make the most impact.

“I grew up looking at the price almost down to the penny on everything from a bottle of juice to a can of soda,” he told me in early February, explaining why he wanted to get “the most value” out of philanthropy. We were sitting in the East Village office of the Economic Security Project, an organization Mr. Hughes co-founded with two other activists, Dorian Warren and Natalie Foster, to fund the work of technologists, academics, policymakers and others exploring the idea of a guaranteed basic income for low- and middle-income Americans.

Mr. Hughes is one of the co-founders of Facebook, for which he did “three years’ worth of work for nearly half a billion dollars,” as he puts it, emphasizing the extreme nature of his success. He and Mark Zuckerberg were roommates at Harvard, and early on, Mr. Hughes ran the company’s communications and marketing department. The social network’s colossal success fast-tracked Mr. Hughes’s career. In 2008, he joined Barack Obama’s first presidential campaign to launch and manage, a robust system that organized Obama supporters and was viewed as instrumental to his victory. In 2012, when Facebook went public and The New Republic came up for sale, he bought it, hoping to herald the publication into a digital future and expand its reach. His tumultuous ownership ended in 2016, when he sold the magazine. Later that year, he joined with Mr. Warren and Ms. Foster to form the Economic Security Project.

In his new book, “Fair Shot: Rethinking Inequality and How We Earn,” out this week, Mr. Hughes, 34, traces his ascent to show how the forces that influenced his and Facebook’s success — technological advancements, globalization and the rise of private equity firms — have created a “winner takes all” economy in which only a small group of people succeed.

“I think that when people enjoy success of many sorts it is oftentimes easy to forget all of the factors that contribute to making that possible,” he said, citing his own upbringing. He grew up in a stable, middle-class family, the only child of a paper salesman and a schoolteacher. As a child, he took advantage of government-run after-school programs and was placed in “gifted” classes. At 14, he searched online for the “best high school in America,” turning up Phillips Academy, a prestigious private school in Andover, Mass.; Mr. Hughes applied and talked his way into a scholarship. All these factors, he argues, factored into his success even before he landed in a dorm room with Mr. Zuckerberg.


CreditSonny Figueroa/The New York Times

In “Fair Shot,” he offers a solution to balance the scale: a guaranteed income of $500 a month for adults earning less than $50,000, including nontraditional workers like parents and students. His proposal is that such a program be paid for through a tax on the country’s highest earners, those whose annual income is $250,000 or more. His plan would reach 60 million adults and lift 20 million out of poverty overnight, he writes, while providing those in the middle class with more financial stability.

“The guaranteed income as an idea is so simple that oftentimes people just sort of skip over the power of cash itself,” Mr. Hughes said. “We think, Oh my God, income inequality — it’s so incredible, all the stats are so insane, but what can we do about it? It’s got to be education or it’s got to be more job training. It’s got to be a higher minimum wage. I say, ‘Yes, yes and yes.’” But we need to do more, he insists.

The Economic Security Project’s office is part university library, part tech start-up, with dark leather and wood furniture alongside a white meeting pod near the entrance. It seems to reflect Mr. Hughes’s sensibilities — his admiration for old, established institutions and his embrace of digital technology. When I arrive for our interview, Mr. Hughes greets me warmly, and we sit in what appears to be the office’s only conference room, enclosed by a glass wall. His Southern accent is barely detectable, and in conversation, he is measured and cautious, laying out his argument with his hands, becoming riled only when I bring up the tax bill (“the most perplexing and infuriating move”) and the fact that some might view their success as completely self-generated (“that’s just flat wrong”).

Before he started the Economic Security Project, Mr. Hughes had been working on the issue of the guaranteed income internationally through GiveDirectly, a nonprofit that, as the name suggests, operates a cash transfer program that puts money into the hands of those who need it. Mr. Hughes was inspired by the organization’s ideals, and he started to wonder whether a similar model could work domestically.

“There was no real organization in the United States focused on exploring how a guaranteed income might work,” he said.

But rather than go in “guns blazing,” he explained, “we said: ‘This is a promising idea. Let’s bring together a network of people to think about this collaboratively and see where it goes.’” The Economic Security Project was originally conceived as a temporary, two-year initiative, but has since been extended to 2020.


Chris Hughes at the Economic Security Project office in Manhattan. CreditVincent Tullo for The New York Times

Mr. Hughes’s cautiousness is a direct result of his experience at The New Republic. Despite his intention to “make it a publication that millions of people would adore and really value,” the result was not so idyllic. He invested $25 million, moved the magazine to a slick new office and hired top talent from other publications. By late 2014, his investment was not paying off, and he brought in Guy Vidra, a former Yahoo executive, to be the C.E.O., hoping he might be able to make The New Republic a digital media company. Mr. Vidra and Mr. Hughes decided to replace Franklin Foer, the editor at the time, but the news reached Mr. Foer first, and he resigned, prompting mass resignations across the publication. What followed was a media maelstrom, and a little over a year later, unable to turn the publication’s profits around, Mr. Hughes sold the magazine.

“Chris was pretty anxious about where things were headed,” Mr. Foer said on a recent call, adding: “There were lots of larger forces remaking journalism, and because of Chris’s biography and because of some of the ham-fisted ways in which he handled things, he kind of fell into a morality play. It was pretty easy to cast the story as a parable about journalism, and I think that helps explain the heat of the coverage that fell on him.”

In retrospect, Mr. Hughes said he regretted his approach at The New Republic. “I went in with very big-picture kinds of goals and went too far too fast,” he said, before I could ask. “Now, I work on this big-picture, similarly idealistic kind of idea of a world where everyone has some basic financial security through cash, but I don’t think we necessarily need to start off by giving $1,000 to everybody.”

The plausibility of his idea is a matter of debate. Branko Milanovic, a leading scholar on income inequality, and Dean Baker, a senior economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research, both believe the plan is unrealistic given the partisan divisions of the current political climate. Mr. Baker also noted that policy changes to restructure the economy, such as weaker patent and copyright laws and public funding for generic medication, were a more urgent need. The Stanford professor and economist Nicholas Bloom brought up the potential for fraud, adding that government enforcement would be difficult.

Mr. Hughes is aware that his proposal is far-reaching. “This is a big idea and it’s an expensive idea, but I do think that it is in line with the scale of the problem, which is also immense,” he said.

Mr. Hughes said his own windfall gave him the mental space to think about and pursue his goals, and now, he feels a responsibility to pay it forward. When I ask him where this impulse comes from, his face softens. “From my parents.” His father wanted him to be successful, he explained, but “there was also a sense that you don’t do better at the expense of others.”

Giving people cash, in Mr. Hughes’s view, is not only the most effective way to tackle inequality today, it is also the most humane: “It’s truly a belief that people can be trusted and deserve the opportunity to design their lives, to chase their own dreams.”

The Middle Class Myth: How Social Class Actually Works, Explained Simply

What is the Middle Class? How Social Class Works

Alongside the classic jingles and fuzzwords like “freedom” and “hardworking Americans,” US politicians love the term “middle class,” which is smart politics in a nation where about 60% believes they are middle class. The middle of a group, however, is defined (in statistics, at least) as a section with equal numbers on both sides and — since another 38% identify as working or lower class — logically, most folks must be wrong about their middle-position. And besides — class isn’t determined by any particular position, such as lower, middle, and upper, nor by relative income. In fact, what this poll really shows is that the US could benefit by investing more in its math and sociology classes.

What is the Middle Class & Does It Exist?

​The middle class is an attractive idea — its clean, simple, and seemingly self-explanatory. Too bad it’s a big, fat pile of nonsense. Politicians like to go on and on about it — middle class this and middle class that — but they never breathe a word about a lower class or a higher class and for good reason. “Lower class” is usually taken as insulting and using the term is far too likely to make everyone wonder why people living in the richest nation in history are still deprived of adequate food, housing, and healthcare. And “upper class,” of course, is a difficult term for politicians to use because no one likes people who talk about themselves in the third-person (it sounds snooty).

What is the Middle Class?Language is useful if it means something and — with no sense of what the middle class is in the middle of — this phrase is political gibberish. As it is used, ‘middle class’ refers to a vague mass containing an unknown number of people with no defining characteristic that is neither located in the middle of any particular thing nor described by traditional definitions of “class.”

How Social Class Works

Economic measurements like net-worth or income level can be visualized in terms of lower, middle, and upper by lining up everybody from lowest-paid to highest-paid or from least-wealthy to most. These categories are a lot less helpful for understanding class because class is about the different kinds of relationships shared by groups of people and the economic parts of their society.

Class is a measurement of quality, not quantity.

Defining Class

Social class (also called socio-economic class) describes how different groups relate to the means of production, which is just whatever society uses to make stuff — land, resources, tools, factories, labs, and so on. If a group of people shares the same relationship to the means of production, they are considered a class. In capitalist society, there are two major social classes — the working class and capitalist class (often called the proletariat and bourgeoisie). Members of the capitalist class own the means of production and members of the working class do not own them — these are legally-defined relations that are shared by everyone.

What is Social Class? How Class Works, Graphic; working class, capitalist class, sociology

How Class Affects Economic & Social Roles

Each type of shared relationships — that is, each class — has its own unique qualities that influence its members’ lives, including everything from income and education to profession, social status, and more. Members of the working class, for example, often must participate in wage-labor because they lack any means to work on their own and so they must rent themselves to people who own the means. The capitalist class, on the other hand, is mostly free from the obligation to work because they are able to pay workers to produce valuable stuff using their private means, allowing capitalists to pay themselves and employees with the profit.

Because of these class-characteristics, capitalists tend to fulfill administrative and managerial roles (CEO, investor, entrepreneur, etc.) and workers tend to be found in difficult and time-consuming roles (laborer, sales clerk, iron worker, etc.). Income and job opportunities are deeply interwoven with questions of class, of course — but neither jobs nor income cause a person to be in a class. It is the other way around.

Why the Myth of the Middle Class Is Harmful

“You think you’re so clever and classless and free but you’re still fucking peasants as far as I can see”
— John Lennon

Just like racism and nativism, the incorrect idea that there is a middle class is a deceptive myth that is used by the 1% as a tool to divide the 99%, each against the other — color versus color, native versus foreign-born, and poor workers versus less-poor workers. The difference is clearest at the extremes and there are certain groups that sometimes seem to possess characteristics of both classes. The so-called small-business owner, for instance, may technically own the means to produce some shred of private wealth but — in many cases, at least — their material circumstances are just like the workers’ and they too find themselves working day-after-day just to stay in place.

Class Solidarity, Working Class

And therein lies the harm that the middle class myth inflicts — it conjures illusions of division where there are none in reality. The belief — the fantasy — that a person is a part of a middle class leads less-poor workers to think their interests differ from the class-interests of the working class at large and ultimately to act against her own interests. Believing they are “middle class” leads the less-poor to imagine there is some fundamental difference between themselves and folks who cannot feed their families without government benefits. There isn’t. There are two classes — one of them is big and the other is small. One needs to toil daily for food, housing, and other necessities and the other does not. One must work and the other is why.

In the end, it is the divisions gouged by the material fact of class society itself — and the material facts of racism and sexism — that limit the fullest development of our humanity. One too many classes exist already and it’d be best not to complicate matters with imaginary ones…

In solidarity,
John Laurits

Student After Teacher Fires Gun: ‘I Dare You to Tell Me Arming Teachers Will Make Us Safe’

“I’m a Dalton High School student. Please don’t tell me a damn thing about arming teachers. Please don’t tell me that I don’t know what the hell I’m talking about.”

Students were evacuated from Dalton High School in Dalton, Georgia on Wednesday after a teacher barricaded himself in a classroom and fired a gun. (Photo: @ajc/Twitter)


As Florida lawmakers advanced legislation this week to allow the state’s teachers to carry concealed weapons following the shooting that killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School earlier this month, a teacher in neighboring Georgia reportedly fired a gun at a high school, forcing authorities to evacuate the school.

Social studies teacher Jesse Randall Davidson allegedly barricaded himself in a classroom at Dalton High School with the handgun, refusing to let students in. The principal placed the school in lockdown and evacuated students and staff after Davidson fired one shot out of a window. After a 30-to-45 minute standoff with the police, Davidson was taken into custody.

“While it remains to be seen exactly what the teacher now in custody by the Dalton Police was doing with their gun, the incident will hopefully force some of those advocating for more guns in the classroom to reconsider.”—Rafi Schwartz, Splinter

No one was injured when he fired the handgun, and police say there was no evidence that Davidson was attempting to shoot anyone. But critics of the recent Republican push to train and arm teachers say the case should be seen as clear evidence that mandating the presence of firearms in schools is no way to keep students safe and that legislators should focus on restricting access to firearms instead of proposing to bring more weapons into schools.

In the wake of the incident, Rafi Schwartz wrote at Splinter that “arming teachers is not only morally repugnant, but also that the proliferation of weapons in schools will only invite a wave of deadly accidents, misunderstandings, and overreactions.”

“While it remains to be seen exactly what the teacher now in custody by the Dalton Police was doing with their gun, the incident will hopefully force some of those advocating for more guns in the classroom to reconsider,” added Schwartz.

On social media, students at Dalton High School also spoke out, echoing the teenagers from Parkland, Florida who immediately demanded strict gun control legislation in the wake of the shooting at their high school on Valentine’s Day.

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A public bank is not a promise to keep San Francisco’s money green

Native Americans and their allies demonstrate outside Wells Fargo on Saturday in San Francisco over the commercial bank’s backing of the Keystone XL pipeline. (Courtesy Anesti Vega/Indigenous Rising Media)

By  on February 28, 2018 (

Montgomery Street echoed with the Lakota cry, “Mni Wiconi!” — “Water is life” — on Saturday as Native Americans and their allies painted a giant thunderbird outside Wells Fargo. The symbol of power and protection was a demand to the San Francisco-based bank to stop financing projects that threaten the environment and indigenous people’s rights. Protesters said the bank agreed to extend $1.5 billion to the developer of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Many there had fought numerous pipeline projects, including the Dakota Access pipeline (DAPL) in North Dakota. Sioux grandmothers were tearful as they recounted the brutal treatment inflicted by law enforcement officials at Standing Rock. Some resisters were held in dog kennels. Others said they were shot at with rubber bullets and live ammunition. They withstood attack dogs, pepper spray and water cannons in freezing weather as they peacefully fought for their ancestral homeland and clean drinking water.

“It was a struggle because not only did we have to fight DAPL, but we had to survive there,” said Cokaptiwin of the South Dakota Cheyenne River Sioux tribe.

The desire to cut ties with pipeline developers, as well as provide banking services to cannabis businesses and undocumented immigrants, inspired the Board of Supervisors to reconsider a public bank last year. Unlike the big commercial banks The City currently uses, a city-owned bank could better embody San Francisco’s values. It could stop funds to pipelines, while helping public works projects, affordable housing and small businesses.

Goldinfeather Avelino, a “Res Dog” and resister at Standing Rock, stands alongside volunteers protesting Wells Fargo’s financing of pipelines on Saturday in San Francisco. (Robyn Purchia/Special to S.F. Examiner)

But a public bank is not a promise San Francisco’s money will stay green. The Bank of North Dakota (BND), the only existing public bank in the United States, has progressive roots, but the state used it to suppress the resisters at Standing Rock. Ensuring San Francisco’s public bank remains grounded in equity and environmental justice is not easy.

BND was established in 1919 to hand power back to the people. The Non-Partisan League, a party organized to protect farmers and laborers from big capitalists, had gained control of the governor’s office and legislature. North Dakotans were sick of big banks charging double-digit interest rates and grain companies cheating them.

Over the last century, BND has remained profitable while providing money to North Dakotans. As Americans suffered through the Great Depression, the bank ensured teachers received their full pay and farmers kept their land. During the 2008 financial crisis, North Dakota enjoyed a budget surplus. BND helped Grand Forks recover from floods in 1997, and Minot and Bismarck in 2011.

The bank also funded the state’s efforts to demoralize and subdue peaceful protesters at Standing Rock.

“As the state’s bank, BND provides financing to other state agencies in times of crisis,” Janel Schmitz, a Bank spokesperson, told me. “BND in this case provided funds to Emergency Services to deal with activity during the DAPL protest movement.”

BND is a reminder that a public bank is not economic reform; it is a government tool. It could do great things for The City and help us break free from profit-driven, Wall Street banks. But it could also exacerbate already contentious debates around gentrification, homelessness and housing development. It could help environmentally harmful businesses flourish. It could punish the powerless.

Last week, members of San Francisco’s Municipal Task Force, the group convened by Treasurer Jose Cisneros to research the viability and opportunities of a public bank, met for the first time. They seemed to recognize the challenge ahead. Numerous members stressed the importance of incorporating equity and environmental sustainability into the bank’s overall mission. They wanted to ensure the bank would allow everyone to participate and prosper.

“I am confident that the Municipal Bank Task Force — comprised of a top-notch group of advocates and banking experts — will provide me and other city leaders with well-researched and reasoned proposals that align with San Francisco values,” Cisneros told me.

Right now, what happened at Standing Rock doesn’t reflect San Francisco’s values. We also believe water is life and want to distance ourselves from Wall Street and corporate greed. But San Francisco changes with its skyline. Our public bank should adapt to these changes while maintaining its heart.


“How about Chapstick or something similar? If you scrape out the last of the product, can you recycle the tube?” 
— Judy Kelly

Yes! But it’s important to get all of the product out.

China, historically the largest buyer of recycled products, has tightened the limits on impurities it will accept in recycled paper and plastic. According to Recology, San Francisco’s recycling company, the Chapstick product could contaminate both paper and plastic. The company recommends using the entire greasy stick and cleaning the container before putting it in the blue bin.

To reduce plastic consumption, you can also buy lip balm in a metal container. Recology will recycle metal or you can reuse it to make your own balm. It’s easy: just melt beeswax, shea butter and coconut oil, add any essential oils you wish and let cool.

Please send me more sorting questions to I’m learning a lot!

Robyn Purchia is an environmental attorney, environmental blogger and environmental activist who hikes, gardens and tree hugs in her spare time. Check her out at

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