OccupyForum presents . . . “VJ Burma” film presentation and short talk by Ethan Davidson

OccupyForum presents…

Monday, March 6th, 2017 from 6 – 9 pm

at The Black and Brown Social Club

474 Valencia between 15th and 16th Streets, near 16th/Mission BART

Information, discussion & community! Monday Night Forum!!

Occupy Forum is an opportunity for open and respectful dialogue

on all sides of these critically important issues!

 “VJ Burma”

Film Presentation and Short Talk

by Ethan Davidson

As our country seems to lurch closer and closer to extreme authoritarianism, it is useful to learn about how other people have successfully resisted extreme authoritarian government. The Saffron Revolution in Burma, and its video journalists, is one such example. In 2007, five years before Occupy, the people of Burma spontaneously organized a large mass resistance in a nation ruled by a brutal military government. It was not the first such rebellion. Students, dissidents, rural ethnic minorities, and Buddhist monastics had resisted before. But they had always been put down by brute force, leaving most things unchanged. Aung Sang Suu Kyi, the democratically-elected leader, had been denied power and held under extended house arrest on and off for two decades.

In 2007, when a large mass resistance broke out, a dilemma had to be confronted. The media was totally state-controlled, and foreign journalists were not permitted in, so whatever happened was known only to those who had seen it. In response, a group of independent video journalists taped

the uprising and the response as it happened, at the risk of their lives, and others smuggled the footage into Thailand, and from there to the global media.

The uprising really caught fire when the Buddhist monks started participating. Burma is a Buddhist nation, and its monks are highly respected. But in the past, those monastics who had resisted the government had been killed, while those who did not were given good food and beautiful, comfortable buildings. The generals who ruled Burma loved to be photographed giving food to monks, and these pictures were posted all over the state media.

Traditionally, Buddhist monks eat by going silently from house to house with begging bowls and eating anything that was put in them. While this custom had been modified, the symbolism of the begging bowl was still a potent one. All the monks had to do was to march in public with their begging bowls turned upside down, symbolizing their refusal to take food from a corrupt or harmful source. No words or banners were needed. The meaning was understood by all.

At its peak, demonstrations were estimated at up to fifty thousand people. Inevitably, another government crackdown followed, and the film ends on a grim note. Yet change followed rapidly. The generals lost much of their power, and Aung Sand Suu Ki was released. She ran for the nation’s highest office again, and won by a landslide.

The movie is comprised completely of videos taking by the Video Journalists, and includes

footage of highly dangerous situations that one rarely has a chance to see.

Come and see how resistance can be successful, even in the most desperate situations.

Time will be allotted for announcements.

Donations to Occupy Forum to cover costs are encouraged; no one turned away!

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Announcements for Thursday 3/2 thru Wednesday 3/8 (from Adrienne Fong)

Update on actions

  1. SF Board of Supervisors passed a policy that requires the city not to cooperate or comply with any attempt by the Trump administration to have people register or collect information on anyone based on religion or country of origin.
  2. DAPL – The Treasurer and the Board seem open to breaking up with Bank of America and divesting from other financial institutions financing Energy Transfer Partners family of companies. SF Defund DAPL Coalition will be doing follow-up.

Send items for posting by Wednesday at 12 Noon to: afong@jps.net .


~ San Francisco ~

Occupy San Francisco Bulletin Board



(Thursday, 3/2 – Wednesday 3/8)

Thursday, March 2

Thursday, 10:00am – 1:00pm, SF BOS: Fund Immigrant Legal Defense for People in Detention

SF City Hall, Room 250
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl.

Join the fight for funding for Immigrant Legal Defense for People in Detention, through the Public Defender’s office!

Over two-thirds of the 1,500 people currently in detention at San Francisco’s Immigration Court have no legal representation.  there are unprecedented attacks that seek to criminalize immigrant communities.

Call on members of the Budget and Finance Sub-Committee to vote for this critical legislation (Items 6-7 on the agenda)

Agenda: http://sfbos.org/sites/default/files/bfs030217_agenda.pdf

Supervisor Cohen: (415) 554-7670, Malia.Cohen@sfgov.org
Supervisor Yee: (415) 554-6516, Norman.Yee@sfgov.org
Supervisor Tang: (415) 554-7460, Katy.Tang@sfgov.org .

Sponsor: San Francisco Rising Alliance

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1954620088105784/

Thursday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Bay Area Refuse Fascism Meeting

Unitarian Universalist Center, Chapel Room
1187 Franklin St.

“NO! In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept A FASCIST America!”

Now in month #2 of this fascist regime – all of us are witness to AND objects of this unprecedented fascist juggernaut: this re-setting of the social and legal norms, this re-making of “the rule of law” as legality goes out the window.

Please try to attend this meeting  People from many walks of life are coming together and everyone is needed.  You may have focused projects of resistance already in mind — or you may want to sign up for outreach projects to get the message of REFUSE FASCISM out everywhere  — or you may just want to connect with and find out more about why (among all the wonderful and worthwhile resistance events springing up daily) there is no more important mobilization than REFUSE FASCISM

Agenda is still being formed but to include:

(1)   We will read and discuss the updated Call to Action from Refuse Fascism which begins:

In the Name of Humanity, We REFUSE to Accept a Fascist America!
Drive Out the Trump/Pence Regime!

(2) Make plans for how to work on this in the SF Bay Area.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/27/18796874.php

Thursday, 6:30pm – 9:00pm, Cowspiracy : The Sustainability Secret (documentary)

Berkeley Fellowship of Unitarian Universalist Hall
1924 Cedar (@Bonita)

Suggested Donation $5-$20. no one turned away

Social Gathering: 6:30pm (bring vegan snacks)

Program begins at 7:00pm

Speaker: attorney Jeff Pierce with the Animal Legal Defense Fund

How do our eating habits affect climate change? Transition Berkeley invites you to view COWSPIRACY: THE SUSTAINABILITY SECRET a ground breaking documentary that takes a sobering look at a destructive industry that is threatening the health of our planet. The film documents this industry’s impact on species extinction, ocean dead zones, water pollution and more. Learn how we can be part of the solution.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/21/18796701.php

Thursday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Graywater 101

2530 San Pablo Ave.

Reuse water with graywarter.

The rain is a welcome respite this winter, but California remains a drought-prone state. Graywater is a low cost, simple way to make your home resilient. Water that flows from your sinks, shower and washing machine can be diverted to irrigate your yard. Come learn about common and popular graywater systems.

Sponsor: Ecology Center

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/16/18796571.php

Friday, March 3

Friday, 9:00am – 11:00am, Court Support for the Moore Family! Justice 4 Kayla Moore!

Phillip Burton Federal Building, Judge Breyer, courtroom 6
450 Golden Gate Ave.

9:00am – 9:30am  Gather at the SF Federal Building for coffee, and to prep to enter courtroom
9:30am – enter court
10:00am – Court

Judge Breyer will be hearing arguments and/or announcing his decision whether the trial will be a bench trial (judge decides outcome himself) or a trial with a jury.

Join us in support of the family and in honor of Kayla’s life!

About Kayla:

Kayla Moore was a Black trans women born and raised in Berkeley. She was a published poet, and loved to cook, dance, and help people – her neighbors, friends and even strangers on the bus.

On Feb. 12, 2013, Kayla was in her home when a friend of hers called BPD to request a mental health wellness check for Kayla. Kayla had a schizophrenia diagnosis and her family and friends had called for help from the city of Berkeley before. But this night, instead of offering assistance, they immediately tried to take her into custody. Although they had no legal basis for arresting her, they wrestled her onto the ground. Kayla died face down on a futon with six police officers on top of her.

Almost four years later, the officers involved have faced no consequences. Last year, the Moore family filed a civil suit against the city of Berkeley and the BPD based on officers’ use of excessive force, wrongful arrest and violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

City of Berkeley has been trying to have the Moore family’s case thrown out.

With widespread police violence against people with disabilities, this case could set a prececent against ableist police terror. Black trans disabled people’s lives matter.

Sponsor: Justice 4 Kayla Moore

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/174904369669133/

Friday, 12 Noon, Mothers On The March Against Police Murders

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St.

Weekly protest. All invited.

Demand DA Gascon charge the officers with murder!

Sponsor: Justice 4 Mario Woods Coalition

Info: https://www.facebook.com/justice4mariowoodscoalition/

Friday, 12Noon – 3:00pm, Rise Up! Live From the Frontline (Opening reception)

Back to the Picture/SoMa
83 – 10th Street

Photographer Kelly Johnson joins us in March in our SOMA store showing the protest, rallies, and unrest here in the Bay Area captured by her lense last year.

Angst, despair, defiance, concern, pride and patriotism in all its gritty and uplifting forms, live from the frontlines.

Will be on display from March 3 – March 31.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1862889750662472/ 

Friday, 5:30pm – 7:30pm, People’s Education Movement Bay Area March General Meeting

iSEED Oakland
1625 Clay St.

Continuation of on-going series of discussions around the politics of gender and sexuality in movement building, especially as it relates to our work in People’s, Bay Area. We will then continue to meet in committees to discuss each group’s purpose, goals, and objectives.

This is the link to the reading that the political education discussion will be centered on. http://imaginenoborders.org/pdf/zines/UnderstandingPatriarchy.pdf
Please read before the meeting. In preparation for the upcoming political education portion on please read using the Four A’s protocol.

“The Four A’s of Analysis”
1. What Assumptions does the author/s hold?
2. What do you want to Agree with in the text?
3. What do you want to Argue with (and/or ask questions about)?
4. What do you want to Aspire to (and/or act upon) after reading the text?

Also please reply if you will be requiring childcare for the meeting. pem.bay.area@gmail.com

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1803765799948810/

Saturday, March 4

Saturday, 10:00am – 4:00pm, Joint Immigration Clinic

UC Hastings
200 McAllister St.

The AABA invites you to a free legal clinic addressing executive orders and naturalization.

Join for free legal immigration advice, naturalization assistance and a “know your rights” presentation.

Pre-register now at http://tiny.cc/AABAClinic

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/613496102176211/

Saturday, 1:30pm – 5:30pm, Bay Resistance Mass Meeting

Mission High School
3750 – 18th Street

Join for Bay Resistance’s first mass meeting and training. Learn about the network and the powerful actions you can take to resist, defend and support. The afternoon will include trainings and workshops to build our collective power to fight for the world we deserve!

As Trump and the far right attempt to consolidate power and intimidate and harm our communities, Bay Resistance is a powerful new network that will defend our movements, our earth and most importantly, each other. The Bay Resistance network is committed to loving, defending and being in solidarity with those under immediate threat by Trump’s agenda.

Childcare, translation, and light snacks will be provided.

If you’re attending, fill out this registration form:

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/457725081252418/

Saturday, 1:30pm – 5:30pm, Teacher Anti-ICE Training at Bay Area Resistance Mass Meeting

Mission High School
3750 – 18th Street

Space is being organized within the Bay Resistance Mass Meeting to get trained and discuss responses to ICE specifically from our positions as teachers and patents. Update will be posted ASAP.

Register and get more info at this link for the Bay Resistance Mass Meetinghttps://actionnetwork.org/events/bay-resistance-march-4th-mass-meeting-trainings?link_id=1&can_id=9cc9fe30bd85ddf8a9e98fb974134e15&source=email-dont-miss-bay-resistances-first-meeting-and-trainings&email_referrer=dont-miss-bay-resistances-first-meeting-and-trainings___172521&email_subject=dont-miss-bay-resistances-first-meeting-and-trainings

Host: Classroom Struggle

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1854163618157435/

Saturday, 2:00pm – 4:30pm, Women’s Rights Are Workers’ Rights from the Russian Revolution of 2017 to the Streets 2017

Starry Plough
3101 Shattuck @ Prince (2 blocks fr. Ashby BART)

Speakers: Marsha Feinland, P&F activist, asks “breaking the glass ceiling or smashing the state?”; Mary McIlroy, P&F activist, from liberation to feminism and back again; Luci Riley, National Nurses United, on women rising against Trump; and Eugene Ruyle, independent Marxist, on women and the Russian Revolution.

Sponsor: Peace & Freedom Party

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/12/18796459.php

Saturday, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Celebrate the 70th birthday of  ANSWER organizer Richard Becker (fundraiser)

2969 Mission St.

All are invited in celebrating 50 years of social activism and Richard Becker’s 70th birthday.

As ANSWER Coalition’s West Coast coordinator, Richard Becker has been central to virtually every mobilization against U.S. war, occupation and sanctions in the Bay Area for more than 25 years.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/09/18796320.php  or https://www.facebook.com/events/1230183433696152/

Saturday, 8:00pm – 12:00am, East Bay Food Not Bombs Benefit (Concert)

The Starry Plough
3101 Shattuck Ave.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1558407727521660/  or https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/21/18796697.php

Sunday, March 5

Sunday, 10:30am – 12:30am, In the Spirit of Alexandra Kollontal: Socialism, IWD, and the Russian Revolution

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Alcatraz Ave.

Speakers: Eugene Ruyle, independent Marxist and author of Rethinking Marxist Anthropology, will discuss the historical and contemporary significance of March 8, 1917 and 2017. Gwen “GG” Winter will also discuss her experiences in Soviet Russia in 1983-89.

As Alexandra Kollontai noted, International Women’s Day is not a special day for women alone, it is a historic and memorable day for the workers and peasants of the whole world. On this day in 1917, the Russian women raised the torch of proletarian revolution and set the world on fire. With the Russian revolution and the Soviet Union and women gained full legal equality and benefits still unknown in the imperialist West.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/28/18796886.php

Sunday, 12Noon – 4:00pm, Print Organize Protest (POP)

Kala Art Institute
2990 San Pablo Ave.

Print Organize Protest (P.O.P.) is a national network of independent artists and printers working together for radical social change.

Two events are scheduled:

P.O.P:  POSTCARDS from 12pm-4pm
Artists Jenna Carando and Claire Kessler-Bradnerare have designed and printed a series of hand-lettered, screen printed postcards and shirts with mottos of resistance. Use post cards to write to your representatives on site or to mail from home, and bring your own blank shirt to print your own garment from their designs.

P.O.P. from 1pm-4pm
This free action-oriented printing workshop, hosted by Brooke Toczylowski, encourages participants to print shirts, signs, posters, and make buttons with mottos of resistance. In coordination with other P.O.P.’s across the country, and in calling attention to International Women’s Day on March 8th, this upcoming P.O.P. will focus primarily on reproductive rights. Show up with your clothing, fabric, paper or cardboard and we’ll help you print empowering designs of resistance!


Sunday, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, What’s ahead for Trump’s foreign policy: Syria, Palestine etc.

USF, University of San Francisco
McClaren Complex, Golden Gate Ave.
(btw. Masonic & Parker – nr. Student Union and the Gym)

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO TRUMP, U.S. Foreign Policy and the Global Paradigm Shift.

What’s ahead for Trump’s foreign-policy: Syria, Palestine, etc.


Stephen Zunes: University of SF Professor of Politics and International Studies and Global Peace and Conflict Studies, coordinator of the program on Middle Eastern Studies, senior policy analyst for Foreign Policy in Focus, author of Tinderbox

Reese Erlich: Freelance foreign correspondent and author of five books on foreign policy, including Inside Syria: the Backstory of Their Civil War and What the World Can Expect (forward by Noam Chomsky), journalist for CBS and National Public Radio, author of The Six Most Common Middle East Conspiracy Theories.

Andrej Grubacic: Professor and Chair of the Dept of Anthropology and Social Change, CIIS – SF, author of Living at the Edges of Capitalism : Adventures in Exile and Mutual Aid (UC Press)

John Trasving: Dean of USF Law School, specializing in civil rights, voting rights, immigration policy, worker rights and education, MALDEF Director, and HUD Deputy Director under Clinton and Obama. He successively obtained legal refugee status for 80 Central American youth during last year’s crisis, who are now in SF public schools, and will talk about immigration policy under Trump.

George Wright: Professor Emeritus from the Department of Political Science at California State University, Chico. He received his Ph.D from the Department of Politics at the University of Leeds in 1987.

Sponsor: SF Gray Panthers

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/03/02/18796920.php  or mlyon01@comcast.net

Sunday, 2:00pm – 4:00pm, Race, Class and American Populism

Oakland Public Library – Main Branch
124 – 14th Street, Bradley C. Walters Community Room (downstairs)
8 minute walk from Lake Merritt BART

For Black Liberation Through Socialist Revolution!

Democrats, Republicans: Class Enemies of Workers and the Oppressed

Sponsor: Spartacist League

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/18/18796618.php

Sunday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, Together We Can: Post Inauguration: “Do Fair”

Women’s Building
3543 – 18th St.

Tickets – sliding scale https://www.eventbrite.com/e/together-we-can-post-inauguration-do-fair-tickets-31346921486?aff=efbevent

No one turned away for lack of funds.

Space is limited, so please RSVP with a ticket.

San Francisco “Do Fair” – a post-Inauguration half day event organized to connect Bay Area residents who want to take action, to organizations serving our community and seeking support or additional engagement (e.g. direct volunteers, monetary resources, coalition and organizing power).

Our aim: find something that lights us up, join others, get involved, learn, and serve our local community.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1851196818477227/

Sunday, 2:30pm – 5:00pm, US Labor Against the War Program and Fundraiser

4089 – 25th Street (between Noe & Sanchez)

Featured Special Guests:
Michael Eisenscher, National Coordinator Emeritus, USLAW
Julienne Fisher, UFCW 5 Delegate to SF Labor Council and Renounce War Projects

Max Elbaum, Longtime antiwar activist, Marathoner for Peace

Music by Francisco Herrera

USLAW is committed to the struggle to demilitarize U.S. foreign policy and break the country’s dependency on militarism and fossil fuels so that it can develop an environmentally, economically and socially sustainable and just economy that serves the working class majority, not just the privileged few.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/18/18796613.php

Sunday, 3:00pm – 5:00pm, Open Circle – Monthly Meeting

5600 – 3rd St.

Potluck – feel free to bring something to share.

Families directly impacted by police murder and people of the community who attend Oen Circle have decided to take the necessary steps to repeal the California Police Officers’ Bill of Rights.

We must unitedly intensify our efforts to put an end to this corrupt system, bring justice for the lives already lost to police murders, and protect the individuals whose lives are at risk at this very moment.

Join us in a thoughtful collaboration with families who’ve lost loved ones to police murder to offer community support for them and help them repeal the California Police Officers’ Bill of Rights.

Sponsor: Open Circle – Families United for Justice

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1199062946877420/

Sunday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Fighting State Violence and Forced Displacement

Eastside Arts Alliance
2277 International Blvd

Escuela Comunitaria presents:

Responding to Trump and What to Do
Fighting State Violence and Forced Displacement

This dialogue in the Latino community will be an evening of telling our stories, and the first showing of the new film ‘Where the Guns Go’, a documentary on U.S. weapons and testimonies of victims of organized crime and the drug war in Mexico.

Sponsors: Oakland Sin Fronteras, American Friends Service Committee, Frente Indígena de Organizaciones Binacionales, 67 Sueños, Encinal.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/797710317052152/

Tuesday, March 7

Tuesday, 9:00am – 10:00am, Court Support 4 Sean Moore

Hall of Justice, Department 20
850 Bryant St.

Please come support Sean and his family.

Brief description:

Sean Moore, a 43 year old disabled African-American male, was shot by the SFPD on January 6th, 2017 in the Lakeview district of San Francisco. A neighbor called the police on him for making noise in his own home. The police shot him twice unarmed as he was standing on the steps to his house. The bodycam video of the shooting contradicts the police Press Release.

His bail was originally set for 2 Million; but has since been reduced.

Free Sean Moore Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1823571737884585/

Info for March 7 – court hearing: https://www.facebook.com/events/1245868618854724/

Tuesday, 3:00pm – 6:00pm, Keep SFPD Accountable! BOS Follow-up Meeting to Review Findings

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl

Justice & Honor 4 Luis Góngora Pat Coalition invites you to honor Luis on his 11 month anniversary of being unjustifiably murdered by SFPD, by attending the BOS meeting in which they will carry out a follow up review of the findings and recommendations for reform of SFPD.

There will be public comment that day. We ask that in honor of Luís and all those killed by SFPD, you attend and help the BOS ask the right questions about police reform. THANKS!

The BOS will be requesting the Police Department, the Department of Human Resources, the Department of Police Accountability, and the Police Commission to report; scheduled pursuant to Motion No. M16-164, adopted November 15,2016 https://sfgov.legistar.com/LegislationDetail.aspx?ID=2946994&GUID=E2C52F3E-CC7A-4219-8847-7049D8458E22

Detail Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1265766553505302/

Tuesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, An Evening with Dr. Margarita Lopez Maya

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph

Lessons from Venezuela for the Trump Moment: Dr. Margarita López Maya on Populism, Right and Left

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/913701508766900/

Wednesday, March 8

International Women’s Strike Events

Wednesday, 11:00am – 2:00pm, Women’s Strike – Berkeley

UC Berkeley – Lower Sproul

Wear red.

Let us join together to strike, walk out, march and demonstrate

marathon reading of feminist fiction and non-fiction – bring something to read in any language

Bring signs with political demands

Info: https://www.womenstrikeus.org/event/berkeley-womens-strike/   or https://www.facebook.com/events/1883992658490482/

Wednesday, 12 Noon – 5:00pm, San Francisco – Gender Strike! Bay Area


Justin Herman Plaza
1 Market St.

On March 8th we propose a feminist strike which will not be content to pinkwash the bombs on Baghdad, or to knit crowns honoring biology as our destiny. Instead, we propose a different strike, a strike against all forms of gender exclusion, exploitation and domination.

12:00 Noon, Rally, speakers, free childcare at the plaza, and materials for making signs

2:00pm, March to I.C.E. headquarters in the spirit of direct action and participation we encourage folks to form affinity groups: come with your family or friends, form your own bloc, or join one of the several blocs that will be coordinating. For example, there will be a feminist bloc wearing all pink & black, with pink balaclavas or other face coverings, distributing condoms & feminist propaganda. We call on self-organized groups of neighbors, coworkers, or other kinds of community members to march together, pick a color or a theme, get creative, and bloc up!

Once we reach the I.C.E. headquarters building, we will “build a wall around I.C.E.” Bring banners, signs, drawings, poems, posters and other materials to contribute to this wall and to SHUT DOWN I.C.E.!

ICE is a direct manifestation of the worst forms of oppression faced by the most vulnerable women, queer and trans folks. Last week, ICE arrested and deported a trans woman on the steps of an El Paso courthouse just after she had filed a protective order against her abusive boyfriend. Aggressive ICE raids have been reported around the country, and in the Bay Area they have shown up at social services agencies such as the WOMEN’S BUILDING, st grocery stores, and at other public places, terrifying the local community and causing people to avoid going to work or to school.

Sponsor: Strike Against Gender Bay Area

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/853302148146251/   or https://www.womenstrikeus.org/event/san-francisco-gender-strike-bay-area/

Wednesday, 5:00pm – 11:00pm, Oakland Women’s Demonstration

Oscar Grant Plaza
14th Street & Broadway

It is not enough to oppose Trump and his aggressively misogynistic, homophobic, transphobic and racist policies. We must also target the ongoing neoliberal attack on social provision and labor rights. The assault on our dignity, livelihood, friends, lovers, and neighbors is only just beginning. We can expect the repeal of our healthcare, the widening of any wage equity, the elimination of overtime protections, the destruction of already weak student loan provisions. And all of this while waging a militarized police war against immigrants, black and brown communities of color.

Sponsor: Oakland Women’s Strike Organizing Collective

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1289337677802574/  or https://www.womenstrikeus.org/event/oakland-womens-demonstration/

Wednesday, 5:00pm – 6:30pm, Int’l women’s Day Speakout – Women Resist!

24th & Mission St.

Women Resist: Fighting for liberation in the era of Trump!

From defunding Planned Parenthood and attacking transrights to bulking up the bloated military budget and privatizing public education to dividing immigrants families and scapegoating Muslims , the Trump agenda represents an all out assault on the people of the United States and world. Women across the world are marking International Women’s Day with protests against attacks on women’s rights and celebrations of our victories in the struggle so far.

Sponsor: PSL

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1079488865518373/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1488349521141413

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

One Post St.
(On the steps facing Market St. – below Feinstein’s office)
Above Montgomery BART

All are welcomed to join Codepink, World Can’t Wait, OccupySF and Others.

Look for the bright pink RESIST banner

Theme this week: International Women’s Strike

Wear your pink pussy hat (not required to participate)

Appreciation to Lori for the info on Bay Area Women’s Strike events, and for the following information:

Here is the link to usa cities currently 36: https://www.womenstrikeus.org/events/2017-03-08/

International web page: http://parodemujeres.com/

usa web page: https://womenstrikeus.org

Press links:


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Dwight D. Eisenhower – “Cross of Iron” Speech 1956

The worst to be feared and the best to be expected can be simply stated.
The worst is atomic war.
The best would be this: a life of perpetual fear and tension; a burden of arms draining the wealth
and the labor of all peoples; a wasting of strength that defies the American system or the Soviet
system or any system to achieve true abundance and happiness for the peoples of this earth.
Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a
theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed. This world
in arms is not spending money alone.
It is spending the sweat of its laborers, the genius of its scientists, the hopes of its children.
The cost of one modern heavy bomber is this: a modern brick school in more than 30 cities.
It is two electric power plants, each serving a town of 60,000 population.
It is two fine, fully equipped hospitals. It is some 50 miles of concrete highway.
We pay for a single fighter plane with a half million bushels of wheat.
We pay for a single destroyer with new homes that could have housed more than 8,000 people.
This, I repeat, is the best way of life to be found on the road the world has been taking.
This is not a way of life at all, in any true sense. Under the cloud of threatening war, it is
humanity hanging from a cross of iron.

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Announcements – Updated & New for Tues 2/28 & Wed 3/1 (from Adrienne Fong)

Update on Ms. Canada, As of this weekend she was still hospitalized. It is still unknown where the landlords lawyers have her belongings stored.

Send items for posting by Wednesday at 12 Noon to: afong@jps.net


New and Updated for Tuesday & Wednesday

Tuesday, February 28

Tuesday, 3:00pm – 5:00pm. SF Board of Supervisors Meeting: Divest from DAPL!  #Mni Wiconi  (Time change)

SF City Hall, Room 250
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Pl.

As of December 31 2016, San Francisco’s Pooled Fund had about $823 million invested with financiers of DAPL, and more than $10 billion in City funds managed by Bank of America.

In mid-February, the indigenous-led San Francisco Defund DAPL Coalition asked a couple of the more progressive San Francisco Board of Supervisor members to work with the Coalition on a divestment ordinance. While supportive, they have expressed to the Coalition that they are at capacity and cannot sponsor the ordinance.

The Army Corps of Engineer set February 22nd as the deadline for Water Protectors to evacuate Oceti Sakowin camp, a camp completely within the boundaries of the Great Sioux Nation as defined by the 1851 Fort Laramie Treaty. As we speak, Water Protectors are deep in prayer, preparing their minds and bodies for a violent law enforcement raid as the Army Corps, North Dakota Law Enforcement, the National Guard, the BIA Indian Police, and DAPL mercenaries surround the prayerful camp.

Join us in asking the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to work with the SF Defund DAPL Coalition to pass an ordinance divesting city funds from the DAPL.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1833602800190162/

Tuesday, 5:00pm – 7:00pm, SF Resists Muslim Registry! (Time Change)

SF City Hall
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place

Agenda for SF BoS Meeting: http://sfbos.org/sites/default/files/bag022817_agenda.pdf

Item is #45 on the agenda

On Tuesday the San Francisco Board of Supervisors will finally vote on an ordinance against any potential Muslim registry based on religion or country of origin.

For weeks, Arab and Muslim community and allies have packed SF BOS committee meetings and spoke out demanding more than a symbolic ordinance, but for one that is actually enforceable, and relevant.

With the leadership of Supervisors Cohen, Ronen and Fewer, the Public Safety committee has passed all the community backed amendments to include language that ensures that the city of SF will enforce this ordinance, and to remove language glorifying the colonial history of the US against the indigenous people of the Americas.

Let’s join together on Tuesday to stand together in resistance in San Francisco and beyond.

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/158564654652195/

Wednesday, March 1

Wednesday, 8:00am – 11:00am, Court Support for Michael Brewster (Time change)

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St, First Floor, Courtroom 11

Michael Brewster, was brutally attacked by police on February 8th.

His mother, Trina Peters, flagged down the police, explained Michael was having a mental health problem and asked them to call an ambulance for him. They said they would. Instead, the officers rushed him threw him on the ground and began to detain him. They called for back up and police swarmed the area. 

Michael was unarmed and posed no threat to the officers, yet, they had him face down on the ground. Despite telling him he couldn’t breathe, several officers were on top of him. They beat him up and attempted to assault him with a billy club. Police told the people recording the incident to get back because it was a crime scene.

They beat him so badly that he was at SF General Hospital for 4 days before transferring him to the jail at 850 Bryant St, SF. The police denied his mother visitation and refused to release information regarding his wellbeing

Host: Open Circle

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1277223689030774/

Wednesday, 9:15am – 10:00am, Speakout At BA Air Quality Control District – Rehire Whistleblowers & Prosecute BAAQMD Bosses!

375 Beale St.

9:15am – Press Conference

SF Press Conference & Speakout at Bay Area Quality Control District-Rehire Whistleblowers Bachmann and Steele and

California Attorney General Becerra Investigate and Prosecute BAAQMD Bosses

The BAAQMD which is run by politicians from throughout Northern California is in charge of protecting our air quality. This is a life and death health issue for people in the Bay Area, yet managers of this agency have blatantly and criminally retaliated against two staff members who were opposed to the destruction of thousands of documents of violations by some the biggest polluters in the region – including refineries like Shell, Chevron and Tosco along with companies like Pacific Steel Casting.

Sponsor: United Public Workers for Action

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2017/02/25/18796813.php

Wednesday, 11:45am – 1:00pm, Interfaith Procession: Solidarity with Immigrants & Refugees

11:45 am Gather at 16th St. BART Station
12:00 noon Ceremony of Repentance
12:15 pm Procession of Witness & Solidarity
12:45 pm Blessing and Rededication of Sanctuary Congregations at St John Evangelist Church, 1661 15th St. at Julian, SF

March 1st, is Ash Wednesday, a symbolic day in the Christian tradition for the repentance of our personal and corporate sin and a conscious turning towards love and reconciliation. This year, we publicly renounce the hateful and demonizing executive orders and policies that seek to harm and separate us from our neighbors. Join us on this procession that uplifts our common humanity culminating in a closing ceremony outside the sanctuary doors of St. John the Evangelist Episcopal Church, one of San Francisco’s Sanctuary Congregations.

Sponsor: Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1512843372079712/

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

One Post St.
(On the steps facing Market St. – below Feinstein’s office)
Above Montgomery BART

All are welcomed to join Codepink, World Can’t Wait, OccupySF and Others.

Look for the bright pink PEACE banner


Wednesday, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, Vigil for Amilcar Perez Lopez

Mission Police Station
Valencia & 17th St.

Nearly 50 vigils for Amilcar have been held.

February 26, was the second anniversary of Amilcar’s murder by SFPD, we can’t let them forget. DA Gascon has not charged any police officer with the murder of Amilcar who was shot 6 times in the back!

DA Gascon, let us have our day in court!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~ ~




Tell SF Supervisors to stand against Urban Shield.

Urban Shield will be VOTED on at the SF Board of Supervisors meeting today, Tuesday, February 28th.

With Trump taking actions to strengthen policing and militarization, it is now more important than ever that we dismantle programs like Urban Shield that we know will be bolstered and used against our communities.

Email the SupervisorsBoard.of.Supervisors@sfgov.org

Info to contact each of them directly:: http://sfbos.org/roster-members

Sample script:

“Dear Supervisors,

I am writing to urge you to take leadership in standing against Urban Shield, which advances the militarization of police and the militarization of disaster preparedness. We call on you to stand with the communities you represent against such a harmful program, particularly as Trump is committed to further expansion of policing power. Opposing Urban Shield and withdrawing San Francisco’s participation from it is a clear way to show your support.



Info: https://www.facebook.com/StopUrbanShield/posts/845943995582832?comment_id=846027935574438&reply_comment_id=846109478899617¬if_t=share_reply¬if_id=1488261299907514

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Berkeley’s New Ideology: A critique of the “Strategic Plan” by Steve Martinot

Abstract: The city staff has proposed a Strategic Plan for Berkeley. The Plan occurs in the midst of severe crises besetting Berkeley, distracting from their resolution. It promotes the interests of the staff as a seemingly autonomous “organization” within city government, rather than an instrument of local democracy. Reducing the people to political consumers, and limiting them to non-participant “input,” it enlarges the structural chasm between the people and the government that is one of the sources of the present crises.


On January 31, 2017, the city manager presented a report to City Council on a Strategic Plan for Berkeley that staff is developing. The motivation for this Plan (as the city manager puts it) is a need to “have an idea of what we’re doing, why we’re doing it, and how we’re going to accomplish it.” In other words, it is a plan to make city government more effective and more efficient. Its purpose is to “articulate the long-term goals” of the city and “short-term projects designed to advance those goals.”

The odd thing about it is its appearance right in the middle of a number of crises besetting the city. These crises (concerning homelessness and affordable housing) have been the context for a change in City Council itself, and would seem to call for very focused administrative attention, rather than a diversion to a number of other “long-term” goals. It is as if (by analogy), while the Oroville Dam was coming apart under torrential rains, California engineers spent their time proposing different engineering princples for building dams. In the midst of crisis, that might be beside the point.

This is not a capricious analogy. Rent levels are so high in Berkeley that low income families, if they lose their lease or succomb to exorbitant rent increases, will be “washed out” of town. Homelessness is increasing precisely because fewer and fewer people can afford the rent. Whole neighborhoods are being displaced and dislocated. The African American population of Berkeley has dropped from 25% to 8%. Five homeless people have died of exposure during the autumn and winter of 2016. Four people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in the area because of faulty (unmaintained) heaters. And there has been a forceful (police) repression of a homeless political movement, an intentional community demanding humane resolution of the entire homeless situation.

These crises and their attendant tragedies are not the result of government inefficiency. They result from governmental refusal to confront the impact of economic forces that, if left unchecked, will eventually destroy the economic infrastructure of low income neighborhoods. The implication of the “Strategic Plan,” that “we don’t have an idea of what we’re doing,” is belied by the many neighborhood gatherings that have proposed real resolutions to the crises. So what is the real “strategy” here?

The thrust of the plan

The Plan’s development has a structure as well as a pragmatic dimension. To initiate the Plan, staff first polled and surveyed itself (during 2016), generating discussions that produced the Plan’s categories and goals. After that was done, the City Council was brought into the process. And after that, residents and constituents are given a chance for “input” (via a webpage). That is, Council and constituents are presented with the option to add, subtract, or provide feedback on what has been created by the staff. This creates a procedural hierarchy in which staff holds hegemony. The people come last, and councilmembers are upstaged concerning their own job.

The pragmatic dimension of the plan is what one would expect. It enumerates governmental responsibilities such as city maintenance, preservation of infrastructure, community amenities, safety and health, and economic stability. These are listed as “goals,” a category that includes efficiency, inclusivity and constituent participation.

And here, a red flag goes up. Why would the responsibilities that constitute the very purpose of government in the first place be listed as “goals”? What might that mean?

For instance, to list “inclusivity” as a goal admits there is an extant degree of exclusion. Does that refer to a prior deafness to neighborhood needs? Or is the Plan initiating a different kind of inclusivity? It offers no critique of any old exclusionism, nor the many forms it took. One encounters an “old form” of exclusion in Council meetings. People would line up to speak for a minute without effect, and developers would call neighborhood meetings that were strictly pro forma. This new plan only gives people a webpage on which to have “input.” Without dialogic engagement in policy-making, there is no real participation. “Participation” becomes an empty rhetorical term, as does “efficiency.” A councilmember once said (last year), “If fewer people would come to speak at these hearings, maybe we could get some work done.”

The Plan’s “effectivity” is focused on who benefits from the achieved goals. In “effectively” accomplishing goals, the city seeks to become the provider of a product. “Benefit” signifies the successful operation of a service organization. But that in turn reduces those who benefit to the level of “consumers,” rather than participants – that is, the Plan implicitly equates “participation” with “consumption.” Has government just become another corporate structure?

Real participation would involve people in policy-making, fostering togetherness in dialogues by which people discuss with each other what needs to be done, and from which policy would emerge. One does not create participation by exchanging an amorphous “inclusion” for a previous “exclusion.” One includes by transforming a structure based on monologue into one based on dialogue.

The plan does not speak of dialogue, but rather of inclusion and input.

In her report to Council, the manager announced that webpage responses had already pointed to the issues of homelessness and affordable housing. But that only means they have been reduced to input. That which is destroying people’s lives gets reduced to “issues.”

Born of hierarchy, the Plan neglects to include the democratizing of city processes (hearings, development, planning, police comportment, etc.) which should form a basis for resolving the city’s crises. Instead, one detects a form of fetishist narcissism insofar as the Plan includes itself as one of its own goals.


Some special attention must be given to one of the Plan’s goals. It is called “equity.” The goal is “to promote and demonstrate racial and social equity.” What does equity mean?

The term is originally economic. It refers to corporate stocks, to securities representing ownership interests, and to funds that give owners a claim on profits or earnings. A shareholder’s claim to capital proceeds would seem to be fairly far afield from racial equality. But the term can also refer to a body of legal and procedural rules – i.e. doctrines by which people are treated in an equitable manner. Thus, it can signify a certain freedom from bias, favoritism, or hierarchy. It implies that a person has a claim on a situation, and a claim on being respected, as well as on an ability or right to participate. In that sense, “equity” marks an antipole to exclusion, standing in opposition to inequality, by which it becomes a synonym for “equality.”

But we have to be careful here. Equity does not refer to anyone’s claim on another individual. One can claim treatment equal to other individuals with respect to institutional operations (such as government or the court system). But that is not a claim on an individual. It is a claim on an institution with respect to others. In short, equity refers to a relation between individuals and institutions.

“Equality,” however, is bigger than that. Equality is assumed in treating people equitably. It is one’s social equality that is recognized when an institution does so. And it is equality that is suppressed when it doesn’t. For instance, when the police racially profile people on the street, it marks a refusal to treat people equitably, and thus withholds recognition of equality. Equality becomes an issue when it is a question of an institution approaching an individual.

In short, equity and equality are not the same. Individuals can claim equity (that is, equitable treatment) when they approach institutions. When institutions approach individuals, they can either recognize their equality by treating them equitably or not. Where equity refers to what people can claim, equality refers to what people must defend in the way institutions approach them. Equity is relational and pragmatic, and equality is inherent and fundamental. They move in different ethical directions.

Against slavery, for instance (whether chattel or wage slavery or debt slavery or sex slavery), the desire for freedom expressed in running away or in organizing rebellion is an affirmation of equality against its withholding by the enslaving institution. The bond-laborer seeking freedom is not opting for equity in the institution but expressing equality with it in moving against it. Equity will reappear, perhaps, with the issue of reparations.

In council hearings, constituents come forth and offer input or commentary. They have equity insofar as they are granted equal time in which to speak, as a recognition of their equality with each other. But insofar as the institution (council hearings) only allows them to have a minute or two to speak, and deprives them of the ability to dialogue with councilmembers, they are denied equity with respect to it. They have no claim to have the council listen to them, or to take their concerns to heart. Insofar as this locks them out of the policy making process, it renders the councilmembers an elite.

(To democratize the council’s hearings would require shifting its meeting structure whenever a significantly large group of people showed up on an issue, opening the meeting to a form that would enable dialogue between the people and the council, rather than only monologic “input.”)

When an institution withholds equity from persons, it is in effect imposing inequality on them. In other words, inequality is something that is done to people through social institutions (and those social institutions can include cultural structures, such as patriarchy or white supremacy).

Equality gives power to humans, to be assumed in the face of institutions, and equity gives power to institutions, against which humans can only make claims and applications. For a democracy, equality of personhood must be an assumption, not an issue. It does not need to be promoted or demonstrated, since it is already the foundation on which people make political decisions about their collective needs. To reduce democracy to a service organization is to reduce equality to equity.

When the Strategic Plan states that one of its goals is to “promote and demonstrate racial and social equity,” it is adopting an institutional perspective, that of granting equity. This “granting” then expresses another form of hierarchy, the assumption of the power to withhold equality that already characterizes city government. To foster racial equity, what is needed is the cessation of withholding of equity by institutions, an end to the creation of inequality.


In prioritizing institutionality (fostering equity rather than equality), the Strategic Plan reveals an ideology of organization, and a consciousness of that ideology. The staff refers to itself as “the organization.” This is a strange mode of self-reference for city employees. Those in a political party, for instance, may refer to it as “the party,” and those in corporate management often refer to it as “the company.” In such references, they are recognizing a certain identity and autonomy in which to locate themselves – a sense of social belonging (“our thing,” which translates in Italian as “la cosa nostra.”) What autonomy is the city manager and staff recognizing when they refer to “our organization” or “the organization,” as they do some seven or eight times in their report? We are speaking about a city government here.

Such reference does not appear in the Plan itself, but in the thinking of the staff, as a sense of identity. And this conforms with the staff’s proviously mentioned self-prioritization. The staff’s goals and priorities initiate the Plan’s central values, to which the rest of the city is subordinated as “input.” Overall, it betrays a recognition of boundaries, a status constituted by those borders, and a sense of identification with them. The identity of “the organization” constitutes a presence that lurks behind walls, a flaunted independence toward the practical work of political implementation, and thus a political distance between government and people.

This is not farfetched. After last November, with a new council elected, the city manager was entreated to stop the police raids on the homeless community – as a temporary measure while the new council articulated a better policy. The manager refused, and the police continued their assaults, as a direct repression of this community’s political statement.

It was gratuitous repression. The manager and the police chief knew about executive discretion. They could have chosen to leave enforcement in abeyance for a while. In choosing not to, they expressed their organizational autonomy as a priority over both the council and the people.


To the extent this Strategic Plan is based on hierarchy, a boundary between an autonomous “organization” and the constituencies of Berkeley (now represented by the locked doors requiring access procedures in City Hall), it constitutes a disservice in three ways. It disrupts the urgent social responsibility of city government to resolve the crises the city faces now. It reduces people to consuming objects, rather than presenting itself as an instrument for facilitating greater popular self-governance and self-determination. And it widens the chasm between the people (relegated to monologic “input”) and dialogic participation in policy and decision making that is the hallmark of democracy.

The city staff may think of the plan in a problem solving manner, for which a service organization may be most efficient. But the political purpose of defending the people against dislocation and displacement, and against the miseries attendant upon gentrifying development, is not “problem-solving.” And the staff might euphemize the organizational distance between governance and the people as leadership. But it reduces leadership to an elitist rule-governed exclusion from democratic governance. To arrest the current corrosion of communities requires political will, and involvement of the communities themselves that are affected by that corrosion in making decisions in their own interest.

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We all sense that power is shifting in the world. We see increasing political protest, a crisis in representation and governance, and upstart businesses upending traditional industries. But the nature of this shift tends to be either wildly romanticized or dangerously underestimated.

There are those who cherish giddy visions of a new techno-utopia in which increased connectivity yields instant democratization and prosperity. The corporate and bureaucratic giants will be felled and the crowds coronated, each of us wearing our own 3D-printed crown. There are also those who have seen this all before. Things aren’t really changing that much, they say. Twitter supposedly toppled a dictator in Egypt, but another simply popped up in his place. We gush over the latest sharing-economy start-up, but the most powerful companies and people seem only to get more powerful.

Both views are wrong. They confine us to a narrow debate about technology in which either everything is changing or nothing is. In reality, a much more interesting and complex transformation is just beginning, one driven by a growing tension between two distinct forces: old power and new power.

Old power works like a currency. It is held by few. Once gained, it is jealously guarded, and the powerful have a substantial store of it to spend. It is closed, inaccessible, and leader-driven. It downloads, and it captures.

New power operates differently, like a current. It is made by many. It is open, participatory, and peer-driven. It uploads, and it distributes. Like water or electricity, it’s most forceful when it surges. The goal with new power is not to hoard it but to channel it.

The battle and the balancing between old and new power will be a defining feature of society and business in the coming years. In this article, we lay out a simple framework for understanding the underlying dynamics at work and how power is really shifting: who has it, how it is distributed, and where it is heading.

New Power Models

Power, as British philosopher Bertrand Russell defined it, is simply “the ability to produce intended effects.” Old power and new power produce these effects differently. New power models are enabled by peer coordination and the agency of the crowd—without participation, they are just empty vessels. Old power is enabled by what people or organizations own, know, or control that nobody else does—once old power models lose that, they lose their advantage.

Old power models tend to require little more than consumption. A magazine asks readers to renew their subscriptions, a manufacturer asks customers to buy its shoes. But new power taps into people’s growing capacity—and desire—to participate in ways that go beyond consumption. These behaviors, laid out in the exhibit “The Participation Scale,” include sharing (taking other people’s content and sharing it with audiences), shaping (remixing or adapting existing content or assets with a new message or flavor), funding (endorsing with money), producing (creating content or delivering products and services within a peer community such as YouTube, Etsy, or Airbnb), and co-owning (as seen in models like Wikipedia and open source software).

Sharing and shaping.

Facebook is the classic example of a new power model based on sharing and shaping. Some 500 million people now share and shape 30 billion pieces of content each month on the platform, a truly astonishing level of participation upon which Facebook’s survival depends. Many organizations, even old power players, are relying on these behaviors to grow the strength of their brands. For example, NikeID, an initiative in which consumers become the designers of their own shoes, now makes up a significant part of Nike’s online revenues.


Funding behaviors typically represent a higher level of commitment than sharing and shaping. Millions of people now use new power models to put their money where their mouth is. The crowdfunding poster child Kiva, for example, reports that some 1.3 million borrowers living in 76 countries have collectively received more than half a billion dollars in loans.

Peer-to-peer giving, lending, and investing models effectively reduce dependence on traditional institutions. Instead of donating via a big institution like United Way that parcels out money on donors’ behalf, people can support a specific family in a specific place affected by a specific problem. Platforms like Wefunder allow start-ups to access funding from thousands of small investors rather than rely on a handful of very big ones. One inventor just set a new record on Kickstarter, raising more than $13 million from 62,000 investors. To be sure, new power funding models are not without their downside: The campaigns, projects, or start-ups that are most rewarded by the crowd may not be the smartest investments or those that benefit the most people. Indeed, crowdfunding puts on steroids the human tendency to favor the immediate, visceral, and emotional rather than the strategic, impactful, or long-term.


In the next level of behaviors, participants go beyond supporting or sharing other people’s efforts and contribute their own. YouTube creators, Etsy artisans, and TaskRabbit errand-runners are all examples of people who participate by producing. When enough people produce, these platforms wield serious power. Take Airbnb, the online service that matches travelers who need a place to stay with local residents who have a room to spare. As of 2014, some 350,000 hosts had welcomed 15 million people to stay in their homes. That’s enough to put real pressure on the incumbent hotel industry.


Wikipedia and Linux, the open source software operating system, are both driven by co-ownership behaviors and have had a huge impact on their sectors. Many of the decentralized peer-directed systems Harvard Law professor Yochai Benkler calls “peer mutualism” belong in this category. Consider also an initiative that grew not out of Silicon Valley but out of a church in London. The Alpha Course is a template for introducing people to Christian beliefs. Anyone wishing to host a course can freely use its materials and basic format—10 meetings devoted to the central questions of life—with no need to gather in a church. Catalyzed by a model that empowers local leaders, the course has reached 24 million people in living rooms and cafés in almost every country in the world.

What’s distinctive about these participatory behaviors is that they effectively “upload” power from a source that is diffuse but enormous—the passions and energies of the many. Technology underpins these models, but what drives them is a heightened sense of human agency.

New Power Values

As new power models become integrated into the daily lives of people and the operating systems of communities and societies, a new set of values and beliefs is being forged. Power is not just flowing differently; people are feeling and thinking differently about it. A teenager with her own YouTube channel engages as a content creator rather than as a passive recipient of someone else’s ideas. A borrower on the peer-to-peer finance platform Lending Club can disintermediate that oldest of old power institutions, the bank. A Lyft user experiences consumption as a kind of sharing and subtly shifts his view of asset ownership.

These feedback loops—or maybe we should call them “feed-in” loops, given that they’re based on participation—make visible the payoffs of peer-based collective action and endow people with a sense of power. In doing so, they strengthen norms around collaboration and make the case that we can do just fine without the old power middlemen that dominated the 20th century. Public polls reflect the shifting attitudes toward established institutions. For example, the 2014 Edelman Trust Barometer shows the largest deficit in trust in business and government since the survey began in 2001.

Among those heavily engaged with new power—particularly people under 30 (more than half the world’s population)—a common assumption is emerging: We all have an inalienable right to participate. For earlier generations, participation might have meant only the right to vote in elections every few years or maybe to join a union or religious community. Today, people increasingly expect to actively shape or create many aspects of their lives. These expectations are giving rise to a new set of values in a number of realms:


New power favors informal, networked approaches to governance and decision making. The new power crowd would not have invented the United Nations, for instance; rather, it gravitates toward the view that big social problems can be solved without state action or bureaucracy. Often encountered in Silicon Valley, this ethos has at its core a deep and sometimes naive faith in the power of innovation and networks to provide public goods traditionally supplied by government or big institutions. Formal representation is deprioritized; new power is more flash mob and less General Assembly.


New power norms place a special emphasis on collaboration, and not just as a way to get things done or as part of a mandated “consultation process.” New power models, at their best, reinforce the human instinct to cooperate (rather than compete) by rewarding those who share their own ideas, spread those of others, or build on existing ideas to make them better. Sharing-economy models, for example, are driven by the accumulated verdict of the community. They rely on reputation systems that ensure that, say, rude or messy guests on Airbnb have trouble finding their next places to stay.


New power is also engendering a “do it ourselves” ethic, as Scott Heiferman, the CEO of Meetup, puts it, and a belief in amateur culture in arenas that used to be characterized by specialization and professionalization. The heroes in new power are “makers” who produce their own content, grow their own food, or build their own gadgets.


New power proponents believe that the more light we shine, the better. Traditional notions of privacy are being replaced by a kind of permanent transparency as young people live their lives on social media. Clearly, the walls between public and private discourse are crumbling, with mixed consequences. And although Facebook profiles, Instagram feeds, and the like are often nothing more than a carefully managed form of self-display, the shift toward increasing transparency is demanding a response in kind from our institutions and leaders, who are challenged to rethink the way they engage with their constituencies. Pope Francis—the leader of an organization known for its secrecy—is surprisingly attuned to the need to engage in new power conversations. His promise to make the Vatican Bank more financially transparent and reform the Vatican’s media practices is an unexpected move in that direction.


New power loves to affiliate, but affiliation in this new world is much less enduring. People are less likely to be card-carrying members of organizations (just ask groups like the ACLU that are seeing this form of membership threatened) or to forge decades-long relationships with institutions. So while people with a new power mindset are quick to join or share (and thanks to new power models, “joining” is easier than ever), they are reluctant to swear allegiance. This makes new power models vulnerable. New power is fast—but it is also fickle.

New power is also fundamentally changing the way everyday people see themselves in relation to institutions, authority, and one another. These new norms aren’t necessarily better. For instance, new power offers real opportunities to enfranchise and empower, but there’s a fine line between democratizing participation and a mob mentality. This is especially the case for self-organized networks that lack formal protections. New power can easily veer in the direction of a Tea Party or an Occupy Wall Street. (We assume that most people think at least one of these is a bad thing.)

A Framework for Understanding the Players

Putting the two dimensions of models and values together yields a framework that helps organizations think about where they are now and also helps them chart their progress toward a more strategic position.


In the bottom-left quadrant are organizations that use old power models and have old power values. By our estimation, this category includes the world’s most valuable company—Apple—as well as some obvious dinosaurs. Apple’s success in the past 15 years can be chalked up to a terrifically executed strategy of cultivated exclusivity and pushing products from the top down. Unlike Google, Apple largely eschews open source approaches, and despite its antiestablishment fan base and the carefully managed “maker culture” of its App Store, it is renowned for secrecy and aggressive protection of IP.


In the top-left quadrant are organizations with a new power model—for example, a network connecting many users or makers—but old power sensibilities. This category includes technology natives like Facebook, whose model depends on participation but whose decisions sometimes seem to ignore the wishes of its community, as well as organizations like the Tea Party, which has a strong, decentralized grassroots network but wields its influence in highly traditional corridors of power. Players in this quadrant tend toward “smoke-filled room” values while relying on a “made by many” model (and many run an increasing risk by doing so).


In the bottom-right quadrant are organizations that use old power models but embrace new power values. Patagonia, for example, has a traditional old power business model, yet it stands out for its embrace of new power values like transparency. Some of these “cheerleader” organizations, such as The Guardiannewspaper, are working to evolve their positions so that they not only espouse new power values but incorporate new power models effectively.


In the top-right quadrant are the “purest” new power actors. Their core operating models are peer-driven, and their values celebrate the power of the crowd. This is where we find established peer-driven players, like Wikipedia, Etsy, and Bitcoin, and newer sharing-economy start-ups, like Lyft and Sidecar. This quadrant also includes distributed activist groups and radically open education models.

Some organizations have moved from one quadrant to another over time. Think of TED, the organization dedicated to “ideas worth spreading.” Ten years ago, the organization talked the talk on collaboration and networks, but in reality it lacked any kind of new power model—it was simply an expensive, exclusive, and carefully curated annual conference. Since then, TED has broadened its model by enabling self-organization and participation via the TEDx franchise and by making its previously closed content open to everyone. Both decisions have had a major impact on the scale and reach of the TED brand, even as the organization has grappled with risks associated with loosening control. TED is now effectively leveraging a complementary old power and new power business model.

Cultivating New Power

Most organizations recognize that the nature of power is changing. But relatively few understand the keys to influence and impact in this new era. Companies see newly powerful entities using social media, so they layer on a bit of technology without changing their underlying models or values. They hire chief innovation officers who serve as “digital beards” for old power leaders. They “reach out” via Twitter. They host the occasional, awkwardly curated, lonely Google hangout with the CEO.

But having a Facebook page is not the same thing as having a new power strategy. If you’re in an industry that is being radically altered by new power, it isn’t enough to add some window dressing. A newspaper business, for example, can’t simply insert a comments section at the bottom of every article online and call that new power—it has to intentionally build reader engagement and a vibrant community, which almost certainly will require shifts in both its model and its values. The New York Times is struggling with exactly this dilemma, as its leaked innovation report last year demonstrated.

Traditional organizations that want to develop new power capacity must engage in three essential tasks: (1) assess their place in a shifting power environment, (2) channel their harshest critic, and (3) develop a mobilization capacity.

Audit your power.

A telling exercise is to plot your organization on the new power compass—both where you are today and where you want to be in five years. Plot your competitors on the same grid. Ask yourself framing questions: How are we/they employing new power models? And how are we/they embracing new power values? To understand how your organization is deploying new power, consider which participation behaviors you are enabling. This process starts a conversation about new realities and how your organization needs to respond. It doesn’t always lead to a resolute determination to deploy new power—in fact, it can help organizations identify the aspects of their core models and values that they don’t want to change.

Occupy yourself.

What if there were an Occupy-style movement directed at you? Imagine a large group of aggrieved people, camped in the heart of your organization, able to observe everything that you do. What would they think of the distribution of power in your organization and its legitimacy? What would they resent and try to subvert? Figure it out, and then Occupy yourself. This level of introspection has to precede any investment in new power mechanisms. (Companies should be especially careful about building engagement platforms without developing engagement cultures, a recipe for failure.)

There’s a good chance that your organization is already being occupied, whether you know it or not. Websites are popping up that provide forums for anonymous employee accounts of what is really going on inside businesses and how leaders are perceived. In our new power world, the private behavior—and core challenges—of every organization is only a leak or a tweet away. This poses a threat to happily opaque old power organizations, which face new levels of scrutiny about performance. Are you really delivering advertising reach for my product? Are you really improving my kid’s reading skills? Today, the wisest organizations will be those engaging in the most painfully honest conversations, inside and outside, about their impact.

Develop a movement mindset.

Old power organizations need to do more than just look inward; they also need to think differently about how they reach out. Organizations that have built their business models on consumption or other minimal participation behaviors will find this challenging but increasingly important.

The capacity to mobilize a much wider community of people can be a critical business advantage, as we saw in the defeat of “online piracy” legislation in the United States, in 2012. In that conflict between technology companies and copyright holders, both sides enlisted armies of lobbyists, but only one side was able to mobilize an army of citizens. Google, Wikipedia, and other organizations inspired meaningful action—10 million petition signatories, more than 100,000 calls to Congress, and a “blackout” of the internet—creating a cultural surge when it mattered. The recent standoff between Amazon and Hachette also shows two sides attempting to flex their mobilization muscle, with Amazon rallying “Readers United” against Hachette’s band of “Authors United.”

To succeed, a movement needs much more than ad campaigns or “astroturfing.” Leaders must be able to actually mobilize true believers, not just talk at them. A key new power question for all organizations is “Who will really show up for you?”

The Challenge for New Power

Organizations that rely on new power can be easily intoxicated by the energy of their crowds and fail to recognize that to effect real change, they too might need to adapt. They should bear three essential principles in mind.

Respect your communities (don’t become the Man).

If old power organizations should fear being occupied, new power organizations should fear being deserted. Those who deploy new power models but default to old power values are especially at risk of alienating the communities that sustain them. This isn’t simply a problem of mindset, where organizations lose touch with the crowds that made them prosper. It is also a practical challenge: The expectations of critical stakeholders—investors, regulators, advertisers, and so on—often run counter to the demands of new power communities, and balancing those agendas is not easy.

Facebook, like many organizations with a new power model, is dealing with this tension between two cultures. Facebook’s old power corporate ambition (more data ownership, higher stock values) clashes with the demands of its own crowd. Initial surges of interest in alternative social networks promising to honor new power values may be a sign of things to come. As new power concepts of digital rights evolve, these conflicts will most likely increase.

Go bilingual.

For all new power’s progress, it is not yet making much of a dent in society’s old power superstructure. Khan Academy is the darling of the digerati, but our education systems remain largely unchanged, with school timetables still built around family lifestyles of the 1800s. Lawrence Lessig, a leading new power thinker, wants to overhaul campaign finance laws in the United States, but he has realized that the best way to “end all super PACS” is with a super PAC.

In this context, the right strategy for the moment is often to go “bilingual,” developing both old and new power capacities. Arianna Huffington, for example, has built a platform that comprises a network of 50,000 self-publishing bloggers, but she also skillfully wields an old power Rolodex. Bilingual players like Huffington deploy old power connections to get what they need—capital, legitimacy, access to partnerships, publicity—without being co-opted or slowed down. They use institutional power without being institutionalized.

Get structural.

New power models will always have limited influence and impact unless they are operating within a superstructure designed to play to their strengths. Take the global grassroots movement Avaaz. Even though it has 40 million members, it will only get so far in its efforts to effect change if the decision-making mechanism that it seeks to influence is an entrenched old power structure like the UN climate negotiation process.

The battle ahead, whether you favor old or new power values, will be about who can control and shape society’s essential systems and structures. Will new power forces prove capable of fundamentally reforming existing structures? Will they have the ingenuity to bypass them altogether and create new ones? Or will they ultimately succeed in doing neither, allowing traditional models of governance, law, and capital markets to basically hold firm?

As we revel in moments of promise and see ever more people shaping their destinies and lives, the big question is whether new power can genuinely serve the common good and confront society’s most intractable problems. Strategy and tactics are important, but the ultimate questions are ethical. “For all of its democratizing power, the Internet, in its current form, has simply replaced the old boss with a new boss,” warns Fred Wilson, a partner at Union Square Ventures. “And these new bosses have market power that, in time, will be vastly larger than that of the old boss.”

Too often, new power bosses dream only of a good “exit” from a hot business, but we need new power leaders to make a grand entrance into civil society. Those capable of channeling the power of the crowd must turn their energies to something more fundamental: redesigning society’s systems and structures to meaningfully include and empower more people. The greatest test for the conductors of new power will be their willingness to engage with the challenges of the least powerful.

A version of this article appeared in the December 2014 issue of Harvard Business Review.

Jeremy Heimans is a cofounder and the CEO of Purpose, a social business that builds movements. He is also a cofounder of the online political communities GetUp and Avaaz.

Henry Timms is the executive director of 92nd Street Y, a cultural and community center in New York. He also founded #GivingTuesday, a global philanthropic movement.

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