“GREEN CANDIDATE’S NARROW PRESIDENTIAL VICTORY REMAKES AUSTRIAN POLITICS” by Charlotte Dingle (Occupy.com)

Alexander Van der Bellen, an independent candidate backed by the Austrian Green Party, on Sunday narrowly defeated far-right Freedom Party candidate Norbert Hofer to become Austria’s new president, quelling fears that an extremist government might seize power in the heart of Europe.

Hofer won the first round of voting last month and, until postal votes were counted in the second round, he still maintained the lead at the ballot box. He was beaten by just 31,000 votes out of more than 4.7 million cast nationwide. If elected, he would have become the first far-right head of state in the European Union – and the first elected in Europe since the Second World War. Van der Bellen replaces moderate president Heinz Fischer, who served two terms.

“Nobody was expecting the results to be so close,” Ulrike Guérot, professor of European Policy and Study of Democracy at Danube University in Krems, Austria, told Occupy.com.

“Many people, myself included, were expecting Hofer would win. Austria is clearly very split, much as I believe the UK will be over the Brexit vote. There were more than a million postal votes, a very high number. These postal voters were, in my opinion, the more liberal, progressive, educated people, fearful that Hofer would win and intent on making sure their vote was counted.”

Explanations are mixed as to why Austrian voters strayed from electing a middle-ground candidate – as they did for the past two terms – and instead favored a showdown between two radical alternatives. “Just like in the Netherlands, Germany, and many other countries, we’ve always had the same main parties,” Guérot said, but this time, “there was real unrest with the status quo. Unless the centre-left and centre-right parties can deliver, eventually voters often radicalize at the fringes.”

Why the leap so far to the right? The refugee crisis gripping Europe is the single clearest answer. “But don’t forget that there has always been something of a latent right-wing ideology in Austria,” Guérot added, citing the successful rise of rightest politicians like President Waldheim and Jörg Haider in recent years. “It’s less of a violent ideology than in Germany – Austrians don’t tend to burn refugee homes down – but it’s not a huge surprise that it’s come to this when we add the refugee crisis to the general culture.”

Alexandra Siegl, an Austrian political analyst who took part in conducting voter surveys before election day, saw the candidates polling neck and neck. “We expected a close run,” she told Occupy.com, and agreed that the refugee crisis was the big issue of the election.

“A lot of refugees came to Austria last year and there was a big change in public opinion towards them. In the beginning people were quite friendly and everybody wanted to help them. But over time, attitudes shifted. I think a big turning point was what happened in Cologne on New Year’s Eve,” she said, referring to the night last Dec. 31 when hundreds of incidents of sexual assault were reported against mostly refugees and asylum seekers. “It was discussed very widely in the media. The issue of refugees really polarized Austrian society after that.”

But there were other catalysts to the political shift as well.

“There has been a lot of disaffection with the Austrian government. We have a particularly high unemployment rate at the moment. Politics in Austria has been governed by two main parties for a long time, and lately they have been fighting and blocking one another and unable to make decisions,” Siegl added.

Lewis Baston, a UK political analyst who closely followed the Austrian contest, insisted the results were an optimistic sign – not only for Austria, but for Europe more broadly. “Austria’s presidential election showed that right wing populism is a rising force, but that it can still be beaten,” he said. “The refugee crisis, wider cultural anxieties and economic factors have created a ready audience for the right. Hungary and Poland have both elected rightist governments that have shown little respect for constitutional law, and anti-immigrant parties in France and the Netherlands are also doing well.”

In the end, he agreed, it was the public’s reluctance to back either of the country’s tired, ineffective political parties that pushed the elections to the extreme. “Austria has usually been run by a very cosy centre coalition of the two big parties – both of them moderate, essentially dividing up the state between them,” he explained.

But, “their power has steadily weakened since the 1980s and they were humiliated by the outcome of the first round of the presidential election when their candidates were eliminated, and the surviving anti-rightist candidate was an independent Green. Austria has a particularly severe case of the dislike of establishment politics found in many countries – including the UK and the U.S.”

Had things worked out differently and Hofer had won, said Guérot of Danube University, “I think the symbolism of it would have been huge. It would have added to the example of Poland and Hungary, who already have right-wing governments, and might have inspired more European countries to elect right-wing leaders. Van der Bellen is green, open and cosmopolitan: he is a last chance for Austria.”

As the dust cleared on Monday, Van der Bellen and his supporters finally had a chance to celebrate the win. But with such a close margin of victory, Austria’s new leader can expect rocky times ahead between now and parliamentary elections in 2018.

– See more at: http://www.occupy.com/article/green-candidates-narrow-presidential-victory-remakes-austrian-politics?utm_source=Website+%27Join+Us%27&utm_campaign=55b9183d80-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_77fe4a462d-55b9183d80-73720709#sthash.kWX8vOIy.dpuf

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Action Council: Taser Film & New Announcements (from Adrienne Fong)

TASERS for SFPD?

 KILLING THEM SAFELY

 (San Francisco ~ Theatrical Premiere)

    Tuesday, May 31, 2016

6:30pm

Roxie Theater

3117 – 16th St.

San Francisco

Killing Them Safely, an explosive 2015 documentary film on the controversy over police use of TASERS.

Hundreds of deaths. Zero oversight. In the early 2000s Tasers were marketed to law enforcement agencies as a safe alternative to handguns. They were supposed to curb the use of deadly force – so why have over 500 people died from Taser-related injuries since?

Following the screening discussion with:

NICK BERARDINI, Filmmaker

JEFF ADACHI, San Francisco Public Defender

About the film and its implications for the upcoming decision of the San Francisco Police Commission to possibly start outfitting San Francisco Police Department officers with Tasers.

Tickets:

http://www.roxie.com/ai1ec_event/killing-them-safely/?instance_id

Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/events/1616445155343535/

OccupySF Action Council is one of the co-sponsors

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

NEW ANNOUNCEMENTS

Friday, May 27

M 27, Friday, 6:30pm, Honoring the Life of Jessica Williams – Rally & March

Meet at:

3rd and Palou
SF

March will go to Bayview police station.

Jessica was murdered on National Say Her Name Day, a day created to uplift the names of Black Women, Girls and Femmes who are murdered by State Sanctioned Violence.

We are calling the community out to help us honor our sister JESSICA WILLIAMS’ life. We are asking the community to come together collectively and lift up her name. We will say her name!

Host: The Last Percent

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1227963873881801/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1464241331529727

Saturday, May 28

M 28, Saturday, 6:00pm – 9:30pm, MORAL INJURY from the personal to the political

The Veterans Building
401 Van Ness Ave.
SF

This is part of the G.I. Rights Conference taking place in SF this year.

Joseph Bobro, on Healing From Moral Injury, author of Waking Up From War, founder of Coming Home Project

Lisa Ling and Cian Westmorland

  Veterans and Whistleblowers: US Air Force Drone Program

DRONE Warfare and Moral Injury

6:00pm – Vietnamese dinner buffet

Donations sincerely requested

RSVP: sirism@mac.com   / 415-863-3771

Sponsor: Veterans For Peace Chapter 69

M 28, Saturday, 7:00pm, An Evening in Support of Political Prisoners

International Capoeira Angola Foundation
2443 Magnolia St.
Oakland CA

Sliding Scale $5-15 No one turned away for lack of funds

Speakers include member of All of Us or None, Malcolm X Grassroots Movement and the Political Prisoner Committee of the National Lawyers Guild. Speakers will present on political prisoners from the Black Power, Puerto Rican Independence and American Indian Movements

An evening of food, speakers and music to support long term Political Prisoner, Romaine “Chip” Fitzgerald, and to build solidarity around US Political Prisoners.

Host:  Bay Area Anti Repression n Committee

Info:  www.antirepressionbayarea.com

Sunday, May 29

M 29, Sunday, 4:00pm – 5:00pm, Planning Meeting for #Beyond Occupy – 5 years of activism in the Bay Area

Oscar Grant Plaza
Oakland

#OO has invited us to join their GA at 4:00 to Start discussing and brainstorming about the 5 year anniversary celebration. we still need venue ideas and working groups.  Be part of making this an amazing tribute to Bay Area Activists!
Come out At 3:00 for food or just come at 4:00 for the Meeting

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1721852194720346/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1464317666676025

Tuesday, May 31

M 31, Tuesday, 4:30pm, Press Conference –  RECALL ED LEE has now been launched 

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

See:  http://brokeassstuart.com/blog/2016/05/26/the-effort-to-recall-ed-lee-just-started-right-now/

Wednesday, June 1

J 1, Wednesday, 5:30pm, SF Police Commission Meeting, STOP TASERS

SF City Hall, Room 400 – 4th Floor
1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place
SF

The Police Commission will be considering taser implementation at their next meeting. Come tell them SFPD doesn’t need more deadly weapons!

Remember: The Police Commission has the final say on Tasers

The San Francisco Police Commission will consider a proposal by ex- Chief Suhr to arm SFPD with Tasers as part of updating the Use of Force General Order. After the death of Mario Woods, the Chief proposed handing Tasers out to a number of experienced officers. Taser usage will almost certainly expand rapidly from there. This is the fourth time they have been introduced, the first three being rejected after evidence demonstrated increased danger to the public.

Tasers DO NOT reduce police shootings:

Taser use by police actually increases the rate of fatal shootings. A 2009 UCSF study found that fatal shootings by police more than double in the first year after police departments adopt Tasers.

Tasers CAN KILL:

This is especially true for vulnerable people such as those with mental illnesses.

Check SF Police Commission agenda late Friday: http://sanfranciscopolice.org/meetings/19

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/351562681634295/

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“Greg Suhr’s meeting with Ed Lee” by Matier & Ross (from Annemarie Donjacour)

According to Matier & Ross (I question many things they write about) Suhr offered to resign after a BOS meeting was stormed about 2 weeks ago. Suhr also had a hand in picking his successor – THAT SHOULD GIVE A BIG WARNING! Suzy Loftus was bought in for her opinion – Keep reading….

What really happened in Greg Suhr’s meeting with Ed Lee

By Matier & Ross

May 22, 2016

http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/What-really-happened-in-Greg-Suhr-s-meeting-7918487.php?t=85971e7c1c7d4f3860&cmpid=twitter-premium

Mayor Ed Lee announces the resignation of Police Chief Greg Suhr alongside Police Commission President Suzy Loftus and acting Chief Toney Chaplin.

For all the drama surrounding San Francisco Police Chief Greg Suhr’s resignation, behind the scenes his departure was one of the most amicable City Hall has seen in some time — he even had a hand in picking his successor.

Suhr’s exit Thursday was actually the second time the chief had volunteered to resign. He first offered to go a couple of weeks back after protesters stormed City Hall and took over the Board of Supervisors chambers.

According to people who were in on the discussions, Mayor Ed Leerejected the idea, telling Suhr, “If you go, then I go.”

Lee said he was not going to turn the city over to what he called “the mob mentality,” said our sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The mayor was also loath to give in to progressive critics on the Board of Supervisors who had called for Suhr to be replaced. As late as Monday, when asked about a KPIX-TV poll that found city residents surveyed wanted Suhr to stay on by 50 to 31 percent, Lee said, “This tells us that the chief does have support as long as he is doing his job.”

TROUBLED TENURE

Mayor had to replace Suhr, analysts say

BROWN: Suhr’s biggest enemies were his City Hall ‘friends’

NEVIUS: Members of rank and file undercut Suhr

That stance changed Thursday when a police sergeant fatally shot an unarmed black woman in a suspected stolen car on the edge of the Bayview. With that, Suhr — who for the past year had been telling his cops not to shoot at cars — knew it was over.

And the mayor pretty much confirmed it when he told reporters shortly after the shooting, “Obviously, I have to hold the chief accountable.”

A few hours later, Suhr headed over to City Hall — along with Deputy Chief Michael Redmond and the man who was soon to replace Suhr on an acting basis, Deputy Chief Toney Chaplin.

Sources who were there tell us that in the private meeting that followed, Suhr and the mayor agreed there was no longer a path forward, and that it was time for him to step aside.

“But Suhr insisted that the mayor ask him for his resignation,” said one City Hall source. “That’s the way it rolled.”

Suhr didn’t want to make it look like he was quitting, and at the same time was going to make it clear that the mayor was the one in command.

“Greg was a team player to the last,” the source said.

The mayor then turned the conversation, asking Suhr if he had any recommendations on who should take over as acting chief.

Suhr suggested either of the two deputy chiefs who had come with him and were sitting in the next room  Redmond, who is in charge of the operations bureau, and Chaplin, who as head of the professional standards and principled policing bureau was involved in trying to implement policy reforms in the SFPD.

Lee and Suhr agreed that Chaplin should be the one.

Police Commission President Suzy Loftus was brought in for her opinion, and she signed off on the plan.

The mayor then asked Suhr to talk with Chaplin about taking the job. Suhr did so, and Chaplin then met with Loftus, who laid out the goals for the department.

Everyone then reconvened in Lee’s office, where, after a round of hugs and handshakes, the mayor, Loftus and Chaplin walked out to face the cameras, and Suhr slipped out through a side door and into his new life as a civilian.

How all this will affect Lee’s standing with voters remains to be seen. After years of skyrocketing rents, traffic gridlock and growing homeless encampments, recent polls show the mayor’s approval ratings slipping below the 40 percent mark. One recent poll has it at 28 percent — about on par with most members of the Board of Supervisors.

And while police shootings have commanded the headlines, Lee is well aware that for many of his supporters, the biggest issue when it comes to policing is the rising number of property crimes in the neighborhoods.

Morale within the Police Department has also become a problem in recent months, as officers feel that no one will have their back if something goes wrong in an arrest.

As one Police Officers Association official said, “The fear is, they aren’t going to do anything but taking reports.”

With Suhr gone, that’s a problem that’s now on the mayor’s plate.

Missing in action: Notably absent during this past week’s Police Department shakeup — prompted by the shooting of a black woman in the Bayview — were the Board of Supervisors’ two African American members.

Supervisor Malia Cohen was off getting married in Montego Bay , Jamaica , to workers’ comp attorney Warren Pulley, and board President London Breedwent along to witness the ceremony.

Others joining the wedding party included Public Utilities Commission General Manager Harlan Kelly and his wife, City Administrator Naomi Kelly.

Her impending vows aside, Cohen did find time late Friday to fire off a news release supporting the mayor’s decision to request Suhr’s resignation, calling it a chance for San Francisco “to come together, heal and recover to feel safe in our community.”

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Action Council Events — May 25 to June 1 (from Patricia Gray)

Please read down this list of events and pick out at least one
that you can attend.  We all need to get to know our fellow
activists who want to change the corrupt government.  We can
be more successful together.
__________________________________________________
Wednesday   May 25
9:00 – 2:30 pm    San Francisco Main Library
                           Koret Auditorium,  100 Larkin St.
                           (enter at 30 Grove St.)
                           JUSTICE SUMMIT ON USE OF FORCE
                           Speakers:
                           Melissa Horis-Perry, political commentator
                           Jeff Adachi, Public Defender
                           Ken Williams, detective and reform expert
                           Steve Tulttle, Taser International
                           free event
                           R.S.V.P for lunch sfjusticesummit.com
5:30- 6:30 pm    Montgomery and Market
                          PEACE VIGIL
                          Join Code Pink, World Can’t Wait and Occupy
                          Action Council at the huge peace banner.
                          Theme of the week —  Guantanamo – Restore
                          Habeas Corpus
6:00 – 7:00 pm   Mission Police Station,  630 Valencia St.
                          VIGIL FOR AMILCAR
                          The D.A. must charge the officers that killed him.
                          Our vigil continues, we are watching and waiting.
7:00 pm              Chevron corporate Headquarters
                           6001 Bollinger Ave, San Ramon
                           PROTEST AT SHAREHOLDER’S MEETING
                           Indigenous allies affected by Chevron in Ecuador,
                           and Richmond CA have things in common–
                           they have been harmed by Chevrons reckless
                           pursuit of profits.  Join in a colorful and fun rally
                           at Chevron in support of human rights,
                           economic and climate justice.
                           sponsored by:
                           Amazon Watch, Asian Pacific Environmental
                           Network, Green Peace, Idle No More, Sunflower
                           Alliance, Pacamama Alliance, Rainforest
                           Network, Richmond Progressive Alliance, Women’s
                           Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)
______________________________________________________
Thursday, May 26
1:00 pm             8032 Mac Arthur Blvd, Oakland
                          OAKLAND FIGHT BACK!
                          People of Oakland have suffered seven evictions
                          a month of elders, small businesses, and long
                          time East Oakland residents by speculators and
                          Real Estate Snakes.
                          Come and share ideas on how to FIGHT BACK!
                          Sponsor,  Poor Magazine
6:00 pm             SEIU local 1021 350 Rhode Island enter on the
                          back of the building on the next street over.
                          LESSONS LEARNED FROM COUNTELPRO
                          Speaker:  Elaine Brown former leader in the
                          Black Panthers
                          donations needed to continue the work of
                          Justice4MarioWoods Coalition
6:30-8:30pm     Wild Equity Office Bldg, 474 Valencia St. S.F.
                         Second floor
                         REBELS WITH A CAUSE
                         Prize winning film– a documentary tells the story
                         of California environmentalists who fought in the
                         70s and 80s to preserve northern California’s
                         amazing landscape.  Their work resulted in the
                         creation of Point Reyes National Seashore and
                         the Golden Gate Recreational Area.
7:00 pm            UU Center Fireside Room
                         1187 Franklin St. (at Geary) S.F.
                         PDA meeting and film
                         WHERE TO INVADE NEXT?
                         a film by Michael Moore
                         snacks and beverages provided,  Join us for a fun
                         evening.
_____________________________________________________
Friday, May 27
6:00-8:00 pm    2940 16th St.  Near 16th St. BART
                         DANGEROUS JOURNEY
                         Speaker: Moses Gomez, professor and researcher
                         at the Central American University
                         talking about the Dangerous Journey and how U.S.
                         sponsored border militarization is fueling a human
                         rights crisis.  Learn about the  root cause of the
                         problem and how we can defend the rights of
                         migrants.
                         sponsor: Bay Area CISPES
______________________________________________________
Saturday, May 28
11:00 – 1 pm     San Francisco Main Library,  100 Larkin St. S.F.
                         WAR IS A LIE!
                         David Swanson interviewed by Daniel Ellsberg on
                         his book War is a Lie   Daniel says “A terrific tool
                         for recognizing and resisting war lies before it is
                         too late.”
                         sponsor:  World Beyond War.org
6:00 pm            One Fam Community Event Center
                         1606 7th St. Oakland
                         THROUGH THE WIRE
                         A benefit for long tem political prisoner Romaine
                         “Chip” Fitzgerald – a former Black Panther
                         incarcerated since 1969.
                         Speakers from the Black Power Puerto Rican
                         Independence, and American Indian movements
                         discussing why it is important to support political
                         prisoners.
                         Ras Ceylon emcee brings revolutionary music,
                         Hip Hop meets Reggae
                         $5.00 to $15.00 donation — no one turned away
                         for lack of funds.
_____________________________________________________
Sunday May 29
7:30 pm          Berkeley Fellowship of UUs,  1924 Cedar St.
                       WAR  IS A LIE!
                       David Swanson with Cindy Sheehan will discuss
                       his new book.
                       The speakers counter the theory that war is an
                       inevitable part of human nature.
                       $5.00 – $10.00 donation requested — no one turned
                       away for lack of funds.
                      sponsors, Berkeley Fellowship of UUs and Code
                      Pink Golden Gate
_____________________________________________________
Monday May 30
10:00 – 12:00 pm   Golden Gate Cemetery at the main gate
                              Sneath Lane and highway 280, San Bruno
                              PEACE IS PATRIOTIC 
                              A protest event  honoring Daniel Berrigan who
                              died this month.  We will honor his work to end
                              wars.  We will read his poetry and articles .  We
                              sing Peace songs (Musicians needed) Bring
                              banners to hang over the overpass on 280.
                              bring sings, flowers and small instruments.
                              We ain’t gonna study war no more!
                              Materials will be there to make your own sign.
                              We will be on the wide sidewalk outside the
                              main gate to the cemetery.
______________________________________________________
Wednesday June 1
7-9 pm             Marines Memorial Theater
                        609 Sutter St. (at Mason)
                        6 BIG NEW CLEANTECH IDEAS
                        Berkeley Lab’s popular Science at the theater
                        travels across the bay to present the labs first
                        CLEANTECK PITCHFEST
                        Which of the six big new ideas presented by six
                        Berkeley Lab Scientists will be best to help us
                        transform our carbon drenched over  heating
                        world has the most promise and sound value?
                        Free admission   RSVP at friends.lbl.gov
7:00 pm          African American Cultural Complex
                       762 Fulton St. S.F.
                       MANIFESTING ACCESS
                       A collection of short movies that expose truths at the
                       intersection of disability and police terror.  Disabled
                       people are among the highest targeted by police
                       violence.
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