“Stability first, says homeless leader” by Mike Zint (PeoplesTribune.org)

March 2017

Poor Tour activists Tanis and Mike Zint in conversation. The tent protest community has been at its current location in Berkeley CA after many moves and over 15 raids. The city is now considering a proposal for a permanent tent community site and a tiny homes project.
PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

BERKELEY, CA — What does it take to get off the streets? Money? Affordable housing? Employment? Of course the answer is yes, but none of those things is the first step. The first step is stability. And stability is the one thing that is most commonly removed.

Every raid ‘First They Came for the Homeless’ has experienced during The Poor Tour has resulted in chaos. Not only by losing needed gear, but by losing what is known. Every raid results in the unknown. Where do we go? How do I replace what I need?

When will I get stable again?

And that is the question. And the need. During this protest, we have demonstrated the importance of stability. Even with 15 raids, theft of critical gear, medicine, and constantly being relocated, we have succeeded in helping six people become stable enough to get off the streets. We have helped two with work. We have sheltered and fed several dozen during the tour. And our budget is $0.

The government needs to take a serious look at how we have succeeded. They need to take stability seriously. They need to allow an environment where stability can exist. And that means cities need to change how they are doing things.

Step 1 is to allow the homeless tents in a sanctioned campground. A tent solves almost every issue immediately. Shelter, storage, safety, privacy, personal space, and stability. Cost is minimal.

Step 2 is to allow tiny homes, container homes, cabins, or other housing ideas that are outside the box. Perhaps giving away some of the billions of acres of publicly owned land with a cabin.

Step 3 is true affordable housing. Why is it so hard to understand that?

People say housing is a right. I strongly disagree with that. Housing is a necessity! Without housing, you die from exposure. Just like food and water is necessary to live, so is shelter. Denial of shelter is as serious as denial of food and water. That is as true as it gets!

And finally, Berkeley is a sanctuary city. But Berkeley neglects the economic refugees that sleep outside. They are everywhere, suffering. Stop their suffering by allowing them to shelter themselves.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2017 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

Note from Mike Zint:

The Poor Tour has been stable at its current location since January. Distribution of donations has begun. Food, clothing, and extra gear has been leaving almost daily to go to other groups for distribution to the homeless. Today, food not bombs will be picking up from us. Usually they just drop stuff off. Disposable free boxes will be going out to areas where homeless stay. These things are being done by the community and the homeless working together. And they are only possible because we are stable.

And our stability has accomplished something else. Jens will be leaving the tour to go back home to Germany. Stability has allowed him to get all his paperwork done and get his missing passport back. His departure time depends on his puppy’s paperwork now. A going away party is being discussed.

http://peoplestribune.org/…/stability-first-says-homeless-…/

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“How to Divest Your Money from DAPL” by Joe Kukura (sfweekly.com)

San Francisco and Oakland are pulling investments that support the Dakota Access Pipeline. Here’s how you can, too.

Traditional Aztec dancers perform a ceremony outside the Federal Building in S.F. protesting the Dakota Access Pipeline being constructed. (Photo by Jessica Christian)

The controversial Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) has infuriated Native Americans, environmental protesters, and clean water advocates since the project near North Dakota’s Standing Rock Indian Reservation broke ground last year. President Donald Trump issued an executive order in January expediting completion of the pipeline, and the protest site has since been cleared.

But the DAPL battle isn’t over; it’s just moving from Standing Rock to local governments across the country. At its March 14 meeting, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will vote on a resolution to begin screening out any DAPL investments the city holds, and Oakland City Council passed a resolution in February calling for CalPERS, the state retirement fund, to divest from DAPL.

Oakland City Councilmember Rebecca Kaplan authored the resolution.

“I went to Standing Rock in November,” she tells SF Weekly. “Seeing the level of police brutality, seeing the level of the threat to tribal lands and treaty rights and drinking water just reinforced to me that this project is something that goes against my values and goes against our values as Oaklanders. We should not have our money in it.”

That said, you might unknowingly have your money in it, through your banking habits, investments, and pension or retirement accounts.

The myriad companies financially involved in building DAPL are fairly complex. The pipeline itself is being built by Dakota Access LLC, whose parent company is a Texas-based oil conglomerate called Energy Transfer Partners. Well-known gas station chains Sunoco and Phillips 66 both have significant ownership stakes in it, and financing to build the pipeline comes from large national banks like Citibank, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America.

In other words, any bank that has a sports arena or stadium named after it is most likely financially involved with the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline.

In fairness, everyone is entitled to keep their investments that support the pipeline. An argument can be made that the Dakota Access Pipeline will be a relatively safe tool for transporting oil. While pipelines tend to have more oil spills than trains or trucks transporting oil, these spills don’t often kill people. They generally just cause a mess, whereas train and trucks spills are far more likely to result in explosions or fatalities.

But the “more spills, fewer fatalities” argument may not bring much comfort to the millions of people who get their drinking water from the lakes and rivers that this pipeline would run through.

“This is both standing up for the planet and also respecting the rights of indigenous people,” Kaplan says.

So if you do want to stand up for the planet or indigenous people, you probably shouldn’t bank with an institution that’s financing the Dakota Pipeline.

“We would ask everyone to reassess their personal stake in this pipeline and to consider switching to a credit union or an alternative that is more socially responsible,” San Francisco Defund DAPL Coalition organizer Jackie Fielder tells SF Weekly.

To that end, the coalition has created a list of San Francisco banks whose hands are clean of DAPL investments.

“We looked at a list of 1,000 or so U.S. chartered banks,” Fielder says. “From that list, we gathered about a dozen that have at least one branch in San Francisco that are not financers of the Dakota Access Pipeline and that are not shareholders of the Energy Transfer Partners family of companies.”

Of the banks recommended by the S.F. Defund DAPL Coalition, those with the most San Francisco branches — in other words, the most convenient for finding a branch or an ATM — are East West Bank, Silicon Valley Bank, and Sterling Bank & Trust.

But switching banks does pose some inconveniences. It is not recommended that you just pull all your funds from one bank and plop them in another that same day; you might still have some direct deposit payments coming, and you can’t really control the speed at which your direct deposit will transfer to a new and different bank account.

You also need to worry about every automated bill payment you have set up to that account. Go through your last 12 months of withdrawals and take note of every automated payment that was charged. Understand that some companies will take up to 30 days to switch the account for an automated payment, so you can’t be sure that your payments won’t be declined if you close the old account too quickly.

This means you’re still leaving money in the account of a bank with whom you want to break it off, and that sucks. But the penalties for bounced checks or declined payments suck even more.

Once you’ve got your new bank account, direct deposits transferred, and auto payments set up, the easiest way to move money from your old account is through an Automated Clearing House (ACH) transfer. It’s kind of like a PayPal transfer between two banks, though an ACH transfer generally costs around $5 and takes a few business days to complete.

If you really want to make a statement about closing your account, DefundDAPL.org has a form letter you can send to your previous bank to explain why you dumped them. They also have some social media tips on promoting and hashtagging your bank switch to ensure public pressure is applied to the bank.

Many retirement accounts and pension funds contain DAPL investments, and whether yours does is between you, your adviser, and that phone book-sized investment guide they send you every year. But your tax dollars do support a DAPL investment, and that’s why Oakland is urging America’s largest pension fund, CalPERS, to reconsider its portfolio.

“CalPERS has about $50 million invested in energy transfer partners,” Kaplan says. “We’re talking about a big enough chunk of money that can really have an impact.”

Even if you don’t have a CalPERS retirement account, you still have a say in whether it continues to fund the pipeline.

“This money does come from the taxpayers of California,” Kaplan says. “Whether or not you’re a CalPERS member, every Californian has a stake in it.”

Joe Kukura is an SF Weekly news writer.

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Upton Sinclair on the difference a salary makes

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it!

–Upton Sinclair Jr. (September 20, 1878 – November 25, 1968) was an American writer who wrote nearly 100 books and other works in several genres. Sinclair’s work was well-known and popular in the first half of the twentieth century, and he won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1943. Wikipedia
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“Readers’ choice for a Shadow Cabinet” by Spencer Whitney (sfchronicle.com)

 Photo: John Blanchard, The Chronicle

Photo: John Blanchard, The Chronicle

With controversy swelling over President Trump’s picks for the top executives in his administration, we asked readers to create their own shadow Cabinet. That is, to list their choices for the key administrative posts — attorney general, secretaries of defense, interior, commerce, education and others — to advise the president and set the tone for the federal government over the next four years.

Readers read Open Forum writer James W. Loewen’s commentary about shadow Cabinets, a feature of political life in many democracies, and took the invitation to heart: More than 100 readers sent in detailed lists of names of those they felt reflected their views and values and could help steer the country.

Their lists revealed some notable picks:

J. Scott Applewhite, AP.  The Senate GOP may have tried to silence Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the floor, but readers spoke up and chose Warren as their top pick for the Shadow Cabinet in several categories; from Vice President to Secretary of Treasury.

TNS.  As the former Secretary of Labor for President Bill Clinton, Robert Reich’s experience and commentary made him the most voted for Secretary of Labor.

Matt Rourke, AP.  During the primary election, Sen. Bernie Sanders gave Hillary Clinton a run for her money as a candidate. Sanders was top choice as Vice President.

Susan Walsh, AP.  Longtime civil servant and Barack Obama’s right-hand man, former Vice President Joe Biden was chosen for Secretary of Homeland Security.

Michael Short, Special to The Chronicle.  Bay Area native Sen. Kamala Harris, ade the list as Attorney General. Her stances on criminal justice reform has made her a crowd favorite among Democrats.

Denise Truscello.  Comedian Carrot Top, known for his red hair and self-deprecating humor was chosen as Secretary of Agriculture. No word yet if he will change America’s national dish to carrots.

Gene Page, AMC.  One reader suggested a zombie Cabinet: “Daryl Dixon,” “Rick Grimes” and “Michonne” were chosen for their survival skills in a postapocalyptic world. Who better to lead the country against the armies of corpses than the characters from “The Walking Dead”?

Nancy Bissell of Berkeley made sure her shadow Cabinet varied in race, gender and background. Shirlee Graff of Alamo, in particular, deemed it vital to choose a Cabinet with eight women in order to have an equitable gender mix in government.

Some submissions reflected choices based on experience. Others stressed innovation; e.g., Carol McDaniel of Mount Shasta (Shasta County) wanted former President Jimmy Carter for secretary of energy; Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, was singled out by Carol Catudio of Whitethorn (Humboldt County) for secretary of transportation; and UC President Janet Napolitano was offered up as secretary of education. San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee was a top choice for secretary of housing and urban development.

Louise Murphy of Daly City poked at the idea of a left-leaning shadow Cabinet: She mailed back a list with no alternatives to the president’s nominees. At the top, she scrawled: “You Lost! We Won! Keep everything as listed.”

Others couldn’t resist the temptation to joke: One reader offered up “Miss Informed” for secretary of education. Political comedian Bill Maher was even a choice for attorney general.

Spencer Whitney is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: swhitney@sfchronicle.com

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Homeless leader speaks on homeless realities (PeoplesTribune.org)

Occupiers at Liberty City, Berkeley City Hall in California. PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

Occupiers at Liberty City, Berkeley City Hall in California.
PHOTO/SARAH MENEFEE

Editor’s note: These are posts that Mike Zint, of ‘First they came for the homeless’, wrote on social media on the realities of life on the streets and the movement for homeless rights and the right to housing. He recently led a tent occupation of Berkeley City Hall, which was covered by the People’s Tribune and other media.

Mike Zint:

“During police sweeps you have a few minutes to save your belongings if you are lucky. Cities have no intention of preserving or keeping it for you. The intention is to purposely steal it as punishment for being homeless in public. To fight back is impossible. You need money to do that. Or lawyers. And good luck getting a lawyer. They want big bucks.

Things I used to own: baby pictures, multiple warm sleeping bags, cell phones, computer, extra clothing, back packs, inhalers, and a jewelry making set up that took years to develop. Zero charges, zero arrests, and this has happened multiple times.

Why do they do it? Because there is no room for poor people anywhere. Harass them, steal from them, abuse them, torture them, and maybe they will move along.

Class warfare waged by Chambers of Commerce, commercial districts, business associations are the reality. And it won’t stop until enough people get screwed by the corrupt, greedy system!

“Homeless people get almost no choice. Shelter system, sleep on the sidewalk, hide a tent. Shelters are one step above jail. Abuse by staff, violence, lice, bed bugs, exposure to illness, these exist in shelters. So, is it really a choice?

Sleeping on the sidewalk (exposed) is horrible too. Cardboard for meager insulation, no padding except for a sleeping bag, no privacy except what exists between your nose and the blanket you are hiding under. Yes, hiding is accurate. For mental stability, privacy and security are needed. When a blanket was what l had, that little space had to do. Fear never leaves either. Will I get rousted by cops? Robbed? Beaten? So, the longer you live this way, the worse your mental state becomes.

So, hide a tent is left. This works until you are found. When found, your gear is usually confiscated. You are ticketed. And you spend the next few nights in a shelter, or on a sidewalk exposed.”

“Spread the word. Two cities torturing the homeless now have homeless uprisings. Throughout history, it has been the poorest, most beaten down people who rose up in rebellion. This history will repeat.

“The population is the enemy when the police are militarized. The proof is in the violence, killings, illegal detentions, and lack of accountability. “I’m scared for my life” has become the mantra for murder. Dogs and cats are not even safe. Next year, it will be worse. And it will not change until we make them change. A few thousand protesters will not do it. A few million will get some attention. A national strike will win the day.

We encourage reproduction of this article so long as you credit the source.
Copyright © 2017 People’s Tribune. Visit us at http://peoplestribune.org

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Report-back from Sunflower Alliance on ICE raid preparedness and more immigration information (from Ruthie Sakheim)

BayResistance

The BayResistance email list now has 15,000 names. 1500 people came to the event on March 4, which was extremely well organized. It filled Mission High School in SF.

There was simultaneous translation into Spanish, Chinese and sign language; childcare; a scent-free section, etc.

The program opened with percussion from Boom Shake.

Then we heard wonderful speakers: Lara Kiswani from the Arab Resource and

Organizing Center, Guillermina Castellanos from La Colectiva de Mujeres, Emily Lee from San Francisco Rising, and Lita Blanc from United Educators of San Francisco and Alicia Garza.

There were many references to the massive turnout at the airports to prevent detaining of travelers, building on deep relationships of solidarity, centering people of color and led by women.

Alicia made many wonderful points, including:

• Elections matter.

• We need to do organizing as well as resistance, building what we want for the next generation. Referring to the “we are ungovernable” slogan she said we need to fight for governance. This means:

• Organize beyond those who already agree with us

• Don’t just throw rocks at the castle — take it over; get involved in local government for starters.

• Fight every ism like our lives depend on it, and protect yourself, too. Fight for the right of all of us to live in a healthy functioning democracy.

• Get to know your neighbors, bring them to trainings.

• Win hearts and minds — it’s all of us or none of us.

We met in small groups to answer two questions:

– What should we do to build power in the next three months? And

– How build for the general strike on May 1?

There was some report back and collection of notes from the small groups.

Then we went to workshops (which were large). Options were Organizing 101, Direct Action, and Rapid Response to Raids. There was also a Spanish speaking group of janitors and fast food workers, and (I found out later) a group discussing surveillance technology — maybe others I didn’t know about.

I went to the workshop on responding to ICE raids. It was conducted by the San Francisco Immigrant Legal and Education Network (SFILEN). ICE raids in San Francisco should be reported to them at (415) 200-1548. The Alameda County Immigration Legal and Education Partnership hotline is (510) 241-4011. It just went “live” on Friday.

Similar hotlines are being set up around the state. In the meanwhile, ICE raids in other counties (like Contra Costa) can be reported to 844-878- 7801, a statewide number.

I assume the Alameda County rapid response will be similar to what is set up in San Francisco. We should get this phone number (510-241- 4011) distributed widely. If ICE tries to detain a community member, they should call this number and will be advised about their legal rights on the spot (remain silent, don’t open the door, ask for an attorney, don’t open up for ICE warrants – needs to be signed by a judge before it’s legal, etc.).

Anyone who observes an ICE raid should call this number immediately. The hot line folks will send out an alert to volunteers located close to the site of the raid to get observers on the spot. The first step is verification — to make sure there is a raid, it’s not just a rumor. Then watch for violations of constitutional rights (99% of ICE detainments did not involve warrants, (they may have false ICE warrants), so they are unconstitutional!). If someone is detained, the hotline will activate attorneys to provide representation.

We received training on how to do legal observing and I am sure such trainings will be taking place in Alameda County soon. Once you are trained you will be on the hot line list to be contacted if there is a raid near you. I emailed Centro Legal de la Raza, one of the groups involved in the Alameda County hotline, to find out about when there will be Alameda County trainings. Anyone who hears about this should let folks know. There may be webinar trainings in the future too.

Here’s what Centro Legal sent out about the creation of ACILEP.

http://centrolegal.org/legal-service-organizations-community-groups-joined- forces-create-alameda- county-immigration- legal-education- partnership-acilep/

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History: White Rose

Monument to the “Weiße Rose” in front of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich

The White Rose (German: die Weiße Rose) was a non-violent, intellectual resistance group in Nazi Germany led by a group of students and a professor at the University of Munich. The group conducted an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign which called for active opposition against the Nazi regime. Their activities started in Munich on June 27th, 1942, and ended with the arrest of the core group by the Gestapo on February 18th, 1943. They, as well as other members and supporters of the group who carried on distributing the pamphlets, faced unjust trials by the Nazi People’s Court (Volksgerichtshof), and many were sentenced to death or imprisonment.

The group wrote, printed and initially distributed their pamphlets in the greater Munich region. Later on, secret carriers brought copies to other cities, mostly in the southern parts of Germany. In total, the White Rose authored six leaflets, which were multiplied and spread, in a total of about 15,000 copies. They branded the Nazi regime’s crimes and oppression, and called for resistance. In their second leaflet, they openly denounced the persecution and mass murder of the Jews. By the time of their arrest, members of the White Rose were just about to establish contacts with other German resistance groups like the Kreisau Circle or the Schulze-Boysen/Harnack group of the Red Orchestra. Today, the White Rose is well-known within Germany and worldwide.

More at:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/White_Rose

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