This shutdown of our government, Our Commons, is the result of a virulent phenomenon known as the failure of political representatives to follow through on their promises to the People when they are running for office. And I might add, for the People to hold them to account for failing in those promises.
Trump promised to build a wall and get the Mexican government to pay for it. He couldn’t keep that promise so he lays the blame on the Democrats and shifts the costs to the American Taxpayer. The quintessential CON. He is now holding hostage 800,000 American Workers, and their families, by denying them the means to feed and care for the families and their essential household expenses. He couldn’t bully the Democrats in the Congress to foot the bill for his “failure to deliver.” And Republicans who see the writing on the wall and are hearing it loudly from their constituents, with the awareness of future elections hanging out there and how this egregious abuse of power by the leader of their party will affect their future employment, are threatening behind close doors to break ranks and serve their electors. One petulant, spoiled rich, man-boy is reaping the consequences of his own failure to follow through on his centerpiece promise as a presidential candidate. And it may be the beginning of the American People finally taking back the Their Own Power in our Democracy. Far too long many of us activists have listened to the rationalizations of the majority who say that there is nothing they can do to change anything, So, in fact, THEY DO NOTHING. And nothing changes. When is the Anger and the Feeling of Impotence going to swell towards a critical mass and manifest itself in a “going to the streets” as recently been done in France with the Yellow Vests Movement? With our political system broken and functioning only for the highest bidder, Democracy is best served and re-generated by grass roots, on the ground, in the streets ACTION, characterized by positive, non-violent demands for Service to the People. Wake up, America. Entering your poll station and casting your ballot and returning to our perceived states of helplessness, as candidates turned representatives greasily skate around keeping their electoral promises, is no more.
Now is the moment to try something new. We have been scammed far too long by the illusion that through voting, ON THEIR TERMS, we will be democratically served. We’ve been scammed.
The only thing our Corporate Handlers will understand will be the People’s rallying in the streets and “Doing Democracy”, not letting it endlessly trickle down the pants legs of the One Percent, and their chosen president at this point in our history, The Tangerine Haired Buffoon in the White House.
Now is the time for the NFL to reclaim its manhood.
All it has to do is give Colin Kaepernick a job. Specifically, a quarterback job. Starter, backup, practice squad, whatever.
Based on zero inside information, I predict that will happen this offseason. Too many teams are desperate for quarterbacks. The bottom of the barrel has been scraped until it squeaks, and Kaepernick, unlike most of the quarterbacks being hired off the street, actually can play.
That has been the case for a while, so why would Kaepernick get a job now?
Because he has served his unofficial sentence for his non-crime. And because the league needs him, so it can show it is not afraid. And because the players believe he deserves a job.
In a poll of 81 NFL offensive linemen by the Athletic, one question was, “Should Colin Kaepernick be on an NFL roster?” Ninety-five percent responded yes.
Hello, that’s 95 percent! These are people who suit up and play the game, as opposed to armchair quarterbacks and political debaters like you and me.
That’s a powerful statement. It shows widespread belief that Kaepernick is still a real quarterback, and it suggests a widespread belief that he is the victim of a league-wide agenda.
FILE – In this Jan. 1, 2017 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) warms up before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks in Santa Clara, Calif. Washington Redskins coach Jay Gruden says the team “talked about and discussed” bringing in Kaepernick for a tryout “but we will probably go in a different direction.” Gruden told reporters during a conference call Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018 that would there have been “a greater possibility” of considering Kaepernick if the Redskins were in need of a QB in Week 1 rather than at this stage of the season now. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar, File)Photo: Tony Avelar / Associated Press
If it’s not an organized blackball keeping out Kaepernick, what is it? Fear, maybe.
The NFL lost its manhood two seasons ago when President Trump, in his “son of a bitch” speech and in tweets, demanded that the league crack down on protesters, and the league complied.
The NFL, either through a conspiracy or an epidemic of cowardice, got busy and created a climate of intimidation for would-be protesters. You want to take a knee or raise a fist? Look what happened to your buddy Kaepernick.
The league, fearing alienating many players, scrambled to bargain with them, promising donations to various causes in exchange for agreements to end protesting. That caused a rift among the players, some of whom believed the league was trying to buy their silence.
The NFL was worried that Trump was whipping up anti-NFL sentiment. It worried about fan backlash from those who disliked the protests.
So the league began operating out of fear. As one very powerful politician said, “Real power is — I don’t even want to use the word — fear.” As in, Your fear is my power. That politician: Donald Trump.
In giving in to the fear, the NFL surrendered its manhood, which was already under assault. What could be more unmanly than being perceived as squishy-soft on domestic violence?
FILE – In this Dec. 11, 2016, file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stands in the bench area during the second half of the team’s NFL football game against the New York Jets in Santa Clara, Calif. An arbitrator is sending Kaepernick’s grievance with the NFL to trial, denying the league’s request to throw out the quarterback’s claims that owners conspired to keep him out of the league because of his protests of social injustice. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)Photo: Marcio Jose Sanchez / Associated Press
In fact, the league will take a hit if Kaepernick gets a job. Many fans will be angry. The league will worry about sponsors, and about its popularity in general. Fear of a financial hit.
So there is a choice to be made: Represent the United States, including American values and freedoms such as the right to protest, or be intimidated and live in fear.
The league seemed to be heading in the right direction when safety Eric Reid was signed this past season by the Panthers, after being unemployed for months. Reid was young and capable, but his crime was that he had knelt beside Kaepernick when both played for the 49ers.
However, Reid was signed by a team owned by David Tepper, one of the few owners who openly support the right of players to protest. Reid was subjected to a mysteriously high number of “random” league drug tests, six in 11 games. According to Yahoo Sports, the chances of that happening randomly are 0.17 percent.
Meanwhile, Kaepernick has kept a low profile. Almost no profile. He makes zero public statements, other than what he says on his Nike commercial. His tweets are mostly retweets and expressions of support for Reid and others who challenge the system and the status quo.
Last I heard, Kaepernick had not given up on returning to the NFL. He is 31 and healthy and works out regularly, so a comeback would not require a major overhaul. He would be rusty, but that goes for anyone who sits for a long period, like, say, Andrew Luck or Jimmy Garoppolo.
The list is long of quarterbacks with NFL jobs who — statistically — can’t carry Kaepernick’s jock. Including: the 49ers’ C.J. Beathard is 1-9 as a starter with a 75.6 career QB rating, and the Raiders’ Connor Cook posted a 30 QB rating in his only start (a playoff loss in January 2017). Kaepernick is 28-30 in the regular season with an 88.9 rating.
Maybe the NFL, or one team, will be swayed by that poll showing huge support for Kaepernick among players.
Or maybe the league simply will decide it’s time to man up and take back the power it gave away. If power is fear, reclaiming power is overcoming fear.
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi speaks during the 116th Congress on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 3, 2019 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
On a sunny, but wet morning, activists gathered recently in San Francisco’s Civic Center Plaza to demand Representative Nancy Pelosi and her colleagues endorse the Green New Deal.
“The Green New Deal supports my future,” Samantha, an 11-year-old speaker, told the crowd. “I am here for my little brother who’s at school and my future baby brother. We speak for the voices who can’t.”
While the details of the Green New Deal are still being debated, its general objective is clear: a comprehensive national approach, based on economic and racial justice, to transition the economy away from fossil fuels.
Like the Depression-era reforms from which it derives its name, the Green New Deal would provide greater national investments in clean energy jobs and infrastructure. If done right, these investments could significantly benefit the economy. In California, for example, the solar industry produced $47.9 billion in total economic activity in 2016.
Bay Area activists, organized by the youth-led “Sunrise” movement, are calling on House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to create a select committee in the House of Representatives, which is mandated to create a plan for a just transition of the economy in the next 10 to 12 years.
“Obviously, Congresswoman Pelosi has a lot on her plate,” Isaac Silk, a 26-year-old organizer with the Bay Area Chapter of Sunrise, told me. “But anyone who has grandchildren or children should understand that young people are demanding real action on this issue at a speed and scale based in scientific reality.”
Unfortunately, Speaker Pelosi and many Democrats in Congress have yet to endorse the Green New Deal. They are addressing climate change more directly with special committees and bills. While these actions are both necessary and laudable, they are also likely short-lived.
The climate change committee resurrected by Speaker Pelosi is one example. Dubbed the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, it could create reports and bring more public attention to the dangerous environmental conditions facing us today and tomorrow. But if Republicans regain power of the House, they can choose not to renew it. Republican representatives killed the first iteration created by Pelosi in 2007.
A similar fate probably awaits other ambitious bills to address climate change. Last week, Reps.Jimmy Gomez and Ted Lieu from Southern California introduced the “Climate Solutions Act of 2019.” The bill boldly aims to drive the United States toward 100 percent renewable energy by 2035. It also would create an efficiency standard to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 80 percent below 1990 levels by 2050.
“Failing to protect the planet will endanger the lives of millions, hurt the economy and jeopardize our children’s future,” Rep. Lieu said in a statement. “Now that Democrats are in the majority, we can and will be more aggressive on curbing the impact of climate change and creating a sustainable future for generations to come.”
Even if — by some miracle — the Democrat-controlled House and the Republican-controlled Senate both pass the Climate Solutions Act of 2019, it won’t survive the White House. President Donald Trump wouldn’t face any pushback from his constituents if he vetoes a bill targeting climate change. He could, however, be forced to answer some questions if he strikes down the “Job Creation and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2019.”
That’s why the possibility of the Green New Deal holds such promise.
As the need to respond to climate change becomes more urgent every wildfire and hurricane season, the need for national environmental policies that can survive the pendulum swings of party politics also becomes more acute. Bipartisan legislation to address air pollution has survived for decades because it addresses Americans’ immediate concerns about health and safety. Similarly, the Green New Deal could survive because it focuses on jobs, infrastructure and the economy.
Young people, like 11-year-old Samantha and 26-year-old Isaac, drive home the need to change the rhetoric. Speaker Pelosi won’t protect their future long-term by continuing to limit the conversation to climate change. It’s time for San Francisco’s representative to make a broader, new deal with the American people.
Got recycling sorting questions? I’ve got answers. Email me at email@example.com
Robyn Purchia is an environmental attorney, environmental blogger and environmental activist who hikes, gardens and tree hugs in her spare time. She is a guest columnist. Check her out at robynpurchia.com
Fake editions of The Washington Post claiming that President Trump was leaving office were handed out Wednesday morning at multiple locations in Washington.
The print papers — dated May 1, 2019, and looking strikingly similar to actual copies of The Post — were filled with anti-Trump stories, which also appeared on a website that mimicked the official Post site.
The Post’s PR department released a statement on Twitter: “There are fake print editions of The Washington Post being distributed around downtown DC, and we are aware of a website attempting to mimic The Post’s. They are not Post products, and we are looking into this.”
Late Wednesday morning, a group that describes itself as a “trickster activist collective” called the Yes Men said it produced the bogus newspapers and website — which went offline Wednesday afternoon.
Under the headline “Unpresidented,” the fake newspaper’s lead story said Trump had left a resignation message on a napkin in the Oval Office and left Washington for Yalta, the Crimean resort that was the site of a meeting of Allied leaders during World War II.
The real print edition of today’s Washington Post is on the left; on the right is a fake edition of The Washington Post. (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
The false story also reported that his abrupt departure was prompted by “massive women-led protests” around the country, suggesting that the stunt was a promotion for a planned women’s march on Saturday.
Jacques Servin, who uses the pseudonym Andy Bichlbaum, said he is one of the founders of the Yes Men and that the paper was intended to offer the “grass-roots movement” ideas for how to support the impeachment of Trump. “The idea was a newspaper from the future and how we got there — like a road map for activists,” he said.
The print and digital newspapers cost about $40,000, Servin said, adding that $36,000 was raised from the organization’s mailing list. The group printed 25,000 copies, and he estimated 10,000 of the papers were distributed.
He said the group — which is a collaboration between Servin and others, including author-activists Onnesha Roychoudhuri and L.A. Kauffman — practices “clowny activism.” Several documentarieschronicle the collective’s pranks.
It put together a similarly fake copy of the New York Times in 2008. That fake edition, which came out after the election of President Barack Obama, had stories depicting liberal activists putting pressure on the new administration. For more than 20 years they have pretended to represent official groups, such as the World Trade Organization and U.S. Chamber of Commerce, at phony news conferences.
The fake edition’s slogan reads “Democracy Awakens in Action,” instead of “Democracy Dies in Darkness.” (Marvin Joseph/The Washington Post)
The stunt involving the fake Washington Post newspapers also included two emails sent out Wednesday morning designed to look like they came from a Post account. The first announced the fake news of Trump’s departure and the second was labeled as an “errata,” correcting the first.
Copies of the bogus papers were handed out at locations around Washington, including outside the White House and Union Station.
The liberal activist group Code Pink posted a video on Facebook of the organization’s founder, Medea Benjamin, passing out copies at what appears to be a Capitol Hill office building.
In the video, Benjamin tells people, “The crisis is over — Trump has left the White House.” Later, she adds, “You got to believe in The Washington Post.”
Benjamin said in an e-mail that Code Pink, which has become well known in Washington for staging protests that disrupt congressional hearings and other official proceedings, helped to distribute the fake newspapers.
The liberal group MoveOn, which some on social media suspected of being behind the fake paper, tweeted that it was not responsible. “While we love the headline, we didn’t produce today’s satirical Washington Post,” it said.6
Emily HeilEmily Heil is the co-author of the Reliable Source and previously helped pen the In the Loop column with Al Kamen. Follow
Paul FarhiPaul Farhi is The Washington Post’s media reporter. He started at The Post in 1988 and has been a financial reporter, a political reporter and a Style reporter. Follow
As the city of Oakland began clearing homeless communities off the streets last year and placing them into sheds under a freeway, the 51-year-old reluctantly moved in and quickly had problems. One day, another occupant pulled a gun on him during an argument.
He thought it couldn’t get much worse than fearing for his life in a new home that reminded him of jail. But then the program kicked him out – without justification, he said – and he no longer had a street encampment to join or even a blanket to sleep outside. He had nothing.
“My life was turned upside down,” said Clark, who subsequently slept alone by a park under a piece of tarp. The lifelong Oaklander now lives out of a banged up green truck with his two dogs and has little hopes of finding permanent housing: “I’m worse off. I feel like I never should’ve moved into that place. It ain’t right.”
The controversial “tuff shed” experiment, which involves housing homeless people in makeshift structures that resemble basic toolsheds, has become a visible symbol of the obscene housing crisis in a region home to staggering tech wealth, rapid gentrification and widespread displacement of black residents. City officials have presented the sheds as an innovative, emergency tool to combat homelessness – giving people a safer form of shelter and security, while working to get them services and housing.
But critics say the sheds can be cruel and dysfunctional and have given the city cover to mass evict homeless people living in sidewalk encampments that were community-run and preferred by some. The destruction of tent communities can tear apart groups of the homeless, and people like Clark who don’t last in the sheds sometimes find themselves out of options. Some end up in remote locations where they may be less vulnerable to police harassment but more vulnerable to violence.
Placed in sheds, then evicted
Oakland’s fourth site of tuff sheds, which officials now call “cabin communities”, is scheduled to open this month on a city lot that housed a burned-down library. Standing outside one of the 120 sq ft sheds on a recent morning, Sara Bedford, the city’s director of human services, said she was initially skeptical about the idea of housing people in these structures.
But given the “humanitarian crisis”, the city had to try it. “It is better than nothing,” she said. “It provides hygiene and safety. It creates a space in which you can engage people.”Advertisement
Living in the sheds is voluntary, and the city tries to have minimal rules – allowing pets and permitting residents to come in and out 24/7, with security signing them in.
But some have said they felt forced into the program when authorities told them they would soon be removed from their camp sites.
They’ve been stripped of their community in the streetsGwen Wu, Homeless Action Center
“We gave up our place,” said Michael London, 51, who started living in a shed last year, before the city dismantled his encampment. With two individuals placed in a single shed, there were quickly problems, he said: “A lot of us were put into rooms with people we were having issues with on the streets.”
London, born and raised in Oakland, emotionally recounted the program’s decision to later kick him out, after an altercation: “My life is in somebody else’s hands.”
He said the institutionalized nature of the sheds was difficult for him: “If you’ve been incarcerated like I have … you don’t want to be in a situation like that again when you’re a free person.”
People who can’t make it in the sheds have now been forced to sleep in hidden corners of the city, because their encampment communities are gone, said London, who eventually got into a housing program.
Eric Clark first became homeless in 2012 after losing a trucking job. He said he didn’t have many problems living on the streets, but agreed to move into a shed because he was promised housing. But on his shed site petty arguments quickly escalated and he felt threatened by other residents, eventually filing a police report against one who he said pointed a gun at him. (Police showed up, but did not make an arrest).Advertisement
He said he was ultimately kicked out due to a small fire that was near his shed, but that he did not start, forcing him to try and rebuild a life on the streets without support or basic supplies: “I feel like they just left me hanging.”
People can end up distraught and hopeless if their camps are raided and the sheds then reject them, said Gwen Wu, an attorney with the Oakland-based Homeless Action Center.
“It promises to house people and provide a safe space, but that doesn’t necessarily seem to be the case,” said Wu, who has assisted Clark and London in the aftermath of their removal from the sheds. “They’ve been stripped of their community in the streets they were living on.”
Blair Hippolyte, another tuff shed resident, said authorities had destroyed a structure she was living in during street crackdowns and that it was one of the worst moments of being homeless: “I sat there and cried. They tore my house down.”
She said she appreciated some aspects of the sheds, but felt unsafe with her roommate. She was also skeptical that she would ever be able to find stable, affordable housing.
“They can do everything but give us a goddamn place to stay.”
When homeless camps are torn apart
The sight of massive encampments adjacent to new bars and high-end coffee shops has become commonplace in Oakland. The camps have grown in neighborhoods that suffered through decades of racist housing policies, where a high pace of evictions has devastated communities in recent years.Advertisement
The birthplace of the Black Panther party, Oakland has an international profile as a haven for arts and activism, but it is also home to an estimated 2,000 unsheltered homeless people, a 26% increase in two years.
The encampments are often dismissed as a nuisance and eyesore, and they can be prone to life-threatening hazards, health problems and conflicts.
I sat there and cried. They tore my house downBlair Hippolyte, tuff shed resident
“It’s the complete wild west when it’s unregulated,” said Joe DeVries, an official in the city administrator’s office, describing an encampment fire that he said was started by a “meth lab”.
City officials have argued that closing unauthorized encampments is a matter of urgent public safety and have claimed in court that they offer alternatives.
But some occupants said the camps function better for them than sheds or overcrowded shelters, which can have a range of restrictions and complications.
“We have a system that actual works,” said Benjamin Royer, a 33-year-old local homeless man who has been part of a group that camps outside and has been repeatedly raided by authorities. “They don’t want to help us. They just want to enforce laws that make no sense.”
Royer, who uses a wheelchair and has bipolar disorder, said shared living arrangements in shelters or programs don’t work for him and that his tent group in the city of Berkeley, on the border of Oakland, has basic rules that are effective.
“You have a support group that’s able to help you in your worst moments,” said Royer, who filed a complaint against the city after authorities took his property, including a therapy tool, during a raid. “It’s just the homeless shuffle game.”
His camp would function well if police just left them alone, Royer said.
Many don’t have the capacity to deal with the fallout when they lose a tent or sleeping bag during a sweep, said EmilyRose Johns, a civil rights attorney who has challenged Oakland’s treatment of homeless people: “It’s really atrocious.”
Needa Bee, a 47-year-old mother, said she became homeless after her previous landlord demanded an exorbitant rent hike she couldn’t afford. When she and other unsheltered women set up an encampment they called the Housing and Dignity Village, she felt safe, she said.
“It’s a sanctuary we created for ourselves,” said Bee, whose daughters are ages 16 and 21. “I’m trying to protect my kids as best I can … There is literally nowhere for us to go.”
The city, however, evicted her group last month, resulting in them moving into cars and tents. The court battle and eviction process wore them out, she added. “We’re all sick as fuck.”
Bee and her 16-year-old have been staying in a camper vehicle, regularly moving spots to try to find safe locations that aren’t too far from a bathroom or her daughter’s school.
The city’s shutdown of her campsite made her lose trust in any government efforts, she said, adding she would never consider living in a shed. “They do not want the working class in Oakland anymore.”
The city also said the sheds have served 200 people, and that out of 133 people who have left the sheds, 93 of them (70%) have gone into some form of housing. The city declined to comment on individual cases, but said that people are removed if they violate rules prohibiting violence, weapons, drug sales, and other activities.
DeVries said the program gives people “multiple chances” if there are problems, and that officials doesn’t toss people’s belongings and will give them tents and other supports after they are kicked out. He said some voluntarily move out: “We do lose people who aren’t ready. I’ve been heartbroken about a couple people.”
Alone on the street
Clark’s son, a 32-year-old teacher in Oakland who asked not to be identified, said his removal from the sheds made his father deflated and angry in a way he hadn’t seen before. It was hard to even think about him forced back on the street: “Honestly, I just kinda numb myself. It’s not easy to see him like that. There is so much potential lost.”
It was especially painful since the sheds initially seemed to be a positive force in his father’s life, the son said: “In retrospect, it may have been better if he never went.”
These days, Clark spends many hours in his car with his energetic pitbulls, Pree and Shay, hanging out in the front seats. He often passes the time by playing Total War, a strategy game on his computer that takes his mind off everything else.
Clark would love to get back into trucking, but if the city doesn’t help him get a roof over his head, he doesn’t know how he’ll turn things around.
“If I had a place,” he said, “it’d be a lot easier to start.”
(Submitted by Mike Zint of First They Came for the Homeless)
– There are over 207,000 signatures that have been collected – the petition is still open until the White House responds
29 – ANNOUNCEMENTS
Monday, January 14th – Monday, January 21st
Monday, January 14
1. Monday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Border Legal Volunteer Report Back + Training
1714 Franklin St.
ACCESSIBILITY: Venue is on ground floor; bathroom wheelchair accessible.
6:00pm Welcome and panel report back 6:45pm Breakouts + training for legal volunteers* *Experienced immigration KYR/CFI trainers and experienced legal observers who are Spanish-speaking only 7:45pm Planning logistics + close
A report back from legal volunteers with NLGSF’s Immigration Committee who visited Tijuana, Mexico in November and December. Volunteers will share what they learned while volunteering at legal clinics/charlas and as legal observers. Legal volunteer trainings will also be offered during this session for those planning to volunteer at the border and with prior immigration legal experience.
2. Tuesday, 12:30pm – Thursday, Jan. 17th, 3:30pm, Save Berkeley People’s Park – UC Regents Meeting
UCSF – Mission Bay Campus
1675 Owens St.
Upcoming UC REGENTS MEETING! Get your comment into the public record!
Tuesday, January 15, 2019 Time: 12:30 p.m. Location: Fisher Banquet Room West UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Wednesday, January 16, 2019 Time: 8:30 a.m. Location: Robertson Auditorium UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
Thursday, January 17, 2019 Time: Upon adjournment of the closed session meeting (They say be there at 8:30 a.m) Location: Robertson Auditorium UCSF–Mission Bay Conference Center 1675 Owens Street, San Francisco
The UC regents call the shots and the buck stops with them. This is a rare opportunity to tell the regents in person what your feelings are about the park. They can stop Chancellor Carol Christ’s war on the park. The regents can change the student housing development plan so that park is no longer threatened. If you can’t make it, The best thing you can do is submit written comments ahead of time. Guidelines for this can be found herehttps://regents.universityofcalifornia.edu/meetings/public-comment.html To make public comment, show up at the UCSF Mission Bay Conference Center at the beginning of the above meetings.
4. Tuesday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Trump/Pence Must Go! Organizing Meeting
Sports Basement – San Francisco
1590 Bryant St.
Join the movement to STOP the Trump/Pence Fascist Regime & drive it from power, through SUSTAINED, Non violent, MASS protests in the streets.
In the face of this fascist regime continuing to consolidate their power, while they continue to criminalize immigrants & viciously attack the Central American caravan of refugees who are fighting for their lives, while they just put into place a FASCIST Supreme Court, by bringing in Brett Kavanaugh, while they viciously go after women, LGBTQ, the environment, the people of the world & the planet it self, we MUST NOT sit silently to the side and allow them to consolidate their program, it CAN BECOME TOO LATE!
6. Wednesday, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, RepealtheBan: SF Community Gathering and Press Conference
SF Federal Building
90 7th St.
We are calling on the San Francisco/Bay Area community to join us at Nancy Pelosi’s office to urge lawmakers to defund the Muslim Ban and support efforts to #RepealtheBan. Last June, we saw the Supreme Court uphold the racist and Islamophobic ban on our refugee, Muslim, and immigrant communities. We know the Supreme Court has been wrong in the past – from cases like Dred Scott to Korematsu.
With the Executive branch as the architect of the Muslim Ban, the Legislative branch has an opportunity to reverse the damage caused by the Trump administration and SCOTUS. Congress can directly impact the lives of members of our communities, so join us January 16th to call on our representatives to do the right thing—repeal and defund the Muslim Ban.
Join us for a community speak-out and press conference to #RepealtheBan
Sponsors: MPower Change, AROC, NIAC, SWANA Alliance, Yemeni Alliance Committee, CAIR – SF Bay Area
8. Wednesday, 6:30pm, , Community BOYCOTT of Manny’s! –Stop the Woke-Washing of the Mission!Weekly protest
3092 16th St. (nr. Valencia & near 16th St. BART)
We call for a community boycott of “Manny’s” at 3092 16th St in the Mission District of San Francisco. “Manny’s” as a gentrifying wine-bar, cafe and fake “social justice” space in the Mission District, will only accelerate the raising of rents and the displacement of Black, Latinx, disabled and trans/queer people in the Mission. Additionally, the proprietor of Manny’s, Emmanuel Yekutiel, has unequivocally espoused racist, Zionist, pro-Israel ideals that we will not tolerate or accept in our community.
· Claims to be a “community” space, yet no one in the Mission, long a poor and working-class, Latinx and black community, asked him to open this gentrifier wine bar. In fact, Emmanuel Yekutiel previously attempted to open Manny’s in the Bayview and the Tenderloin but was told to leave by community members and organizations.
· Even with no community support and no connection to the Mission, Manny’s was given a “reduced rate rent” by Sam Moss, executive director of Mission Housing, the landlord of the space.
· Claims to be a “cultural space” specifically for the local community of San Francisco and the Mission District. However, so far, the space has almost exclusively hosted Washington DC politicos TED-talks catering to the ruling-class Tech-elite. As longstanding Mission District cultural spaces like Galería de la Raza are forced out of their spaces due to the eviction crisis, the owner of Manny’s, a well-connected, Washington DC corporate and political consultant for companies like Facebook and the Hilary Clinton campaign are helping turn the Mission into a rich-only zone fueled by tech-gentrification.
We will not tolerate gentrifiers and Zionists attempts at invading and destroying our community through “woke-washing”!! The Lucy Parsons Project from this moment forth is calling for a boycott of Manny’s, at 3092 16th St., until the space is shut down!!
This site will NOT be posting programs that groups/ people are holding inside Manny’s to honor the Boycott and to support the Palestinian People, and against the continued Gentrification of the Mission!
Please DO NOT attend programs that are scheduled there and tell Manny why!! Let groups / people that U know who have scheduled events there to also CANCEL.
This is a Justice issue!
9. Wednesday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Stand with Striking Los Angeles Teachers! Solidarity with UTLA!
The Women’s Building
3543 18th St.
The teacher’s rebellion that started last year in West Virginia. Some 34,000 teachers in Los Angeles are preparing for a strike in the second largest public school district in the United States. Their strike follows the wake of the nation’s first Charter School strike in Chicago and a wildcat strike of high school teachers in Oakland, CA.
Union members everywhere have a stake in supporting Los Angeles teachers in their fight against privatization and disinvestment in public schools. A victory for the United Teachers of Los Angeles will be a victory for the entire labor movement, and will continue to raise people’s confidence around the country that if our side fights back, we can win.
Sponsor: International Socialist Organization – Northern CA
11. Wednesday, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, APTP General Meeting: Organize for #ThePeoplesMarch on MLK Day
East Side Arts Alliance
2277 International Blvd.
We’ve established several committees who are working hard to plan this major event. There’s still lots more work to do and plenty of room for you to join in, if you’ve not yet been able to get involved. We’d like to invite back those of you who are already plugged into a committee and all those who were unable to make it, but would like to help us make this a powerful action.
Working committees are policy & program, outreach, logistics & security, media, and fundraising. If you have some time before the 16th, please dm us if you’d like to jump in to one of these committees right away.
This year in addition to marching for our list of demands, we will be holding it down at Oscar Grant Plaza (14th & Broadway) for 10 hours in honor of Oscar Grant with breakfast, live performances, people’s assemblies, and sunrise and sunset ceremonies.
13. Thursday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Resisting Imperialism: Voices from the Migrant Caravan
The Eric Quezada Center for Culture and Politics
518 Valencia St.
Join us Thursday, January 17th for political education that will connect the struggles of the migrant caravan at the US-Mexico border to other anti-imperialist border struggles in El Salvador, Haiti, Honduras, Mexico, Yemen and Palestine.
We will also be fundraising to help support the needs of the migrant caravan at our border. See below for where to send your donations today.
Interpretation will be available. SPEAKERS:
Veronica “Beby” Aguilar – Pueblo Sin Fronteras
Chris Lopez- School of America Watch, East Bay Coordinator
Enclave Caracol, an autonomous project in Tijuana, organizes material support for the caravan and coordinates with Al Otro Lado, an NGO that provides free legal support to asylum-seekers and coordinates volunteer efforts on the ground.
*No food or drink allowed in the Auditorium. Thank you!
Join us for a discussion and strategy session—building on recent victories in Florida and Louisiana—on felony disenfranchisement, jury service, running for political office, and other rights we need restored in California.
Desmond Meade, Florida Rights Restoration Coalition (FRRC)—spearheaded the campaign to pass Amendment 4 that will restore the rights of 1.4 million Floridians with felony convictions on January 8, 2019.
Norris Henderson, Voice of the Experienced—New Orleans (VOTE-NOLA)—campaigned to successfully pass Amendment 2, requiring Louisiana juries to have unanimous verdicts. Currently, Oregon is the only state in the U.S. with Jim Crow non-unanimous jury verdicts.
Taina Vargas-Edmond, Initiate Justice—campaigning to restore voting rights for all Californians, regardless of conviction or incarceration status.
Dauras Cyprian, All of Us or None—leading AOUON’s “Let Me Vote” campaign, currently on parole and thus ineligible to vote.
The discussion will be moderated by Aminah Elster—after spending over 15 years incarcerated in California prisons, Aminah is currently on parole and thus ineligible to vote.
For more information, contact AOUON Senior Organizer Dauras Cyprian:firstname.lastname@example.org / 916.513.8364
Sponsors: .UC. Berkeley Law School Clinical Program • All of Us or None • American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California • American Friends Service Committee • Asian Prisoners Support Committee (APSC) • Bay Area Black Worker Center • California Coalition For Women Prisoners • Causa Justa::Just Cause • Centro Legal de la Raza • Choices for Freedom • Community United for Restorative Youth Justice (CURYJ) • Critical Resistance • East Bay Community Law Center • Ella Baker Center for Human Rights • Initiate Justice • Justice Now • Lawyers Committee For Civil Rights • Legal Services For Prisoners With Children • National Justice for Criminal Justice Reform (NICJR) • Oakland Community Organizations (OCO) • Oakland Rising • Place4Grace • PolicyLink • PUEBLO (People United for a Better Life in Oakland) • Root & Rebound • S.F. State University Project Rebound • Showing Up For Racial Justice • Street Level Health Project • Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice • Time For Change • UnCommon Law • Underground Scholars Initiative • Urban Strategies Council • Young Women’s Freedom Center
16. Friday, 10:00am – 12Noon, Solidarity Action w Brazil and the Amazon against Destruction
300 Montgomery St.
Indigenous people and allies across the Americas are strongly opposing Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro movements to eliminate the rights of indigenous people and commit genocide, while opening up the Amazon to corporate interests.
1- Bolsonaro has plans to close the Environment Ministry, which is mandated to protect the environment, and instead fold it into the Agriculture Ministry, which tends to favor the interests of those who would convert forests into farmland. Converting forests into farmland (deforestation) raises multiple issues 1. It’s cutting down precious trees in the Amazon. 2. This territory is more often than not indigenous territory. 3. Cutting down trees emits a LOT of carbon. At the rate that Brazil already emits carbon as the 6th largest country of carbon emissions, it will be impossible for the world to stay in the limits of the Paris Agreement.
2. Within hours of swearing in Bolsonaro broke up FUNAI. FUNAI was designated for overseeing initiatives for indigenous people. Eliminating protections to indigenous people, including uncontacted tribes, is genocide. This means over 900,000 people, over 274 individual languages, and over 305 tribes.
3- Bolsonaro has stated plans to identify rights activists as terrorists. This includes allies as well as indigenous peoples standing up for their sovereign rights in territory that has been theirs for as long as the Amazon has had guardians.
4- Bolsonaro is openly racist against black people, and indigenous people. Saying both ‘”It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated their Indians” and that “They don’t do anything. I don’t think they’re even good for procreation any more” referring to the descendants of the African slaves.
5- Bolsonaro supports militarizing the government towards a fascist dictatorship.
17. Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, Mothers on the March Against Police Murders – Week 119
Hall of Injustice
850 Bryant St.
All are invited to join us to demand that District Attorney George Gascon charge police officers with murder. Stand with ALL families who have lost loved ones to police murders. Since Gascon has been the DA in San Francisco, he has not charged any police officers
18. Friday, 4:00pm; Sat. 1/19, 10:00am; Sun. 1/20, 10:00am, Oakland Art Build for Public Education
The Oakland Education Association is holding a community Art Build for public education January 18th-20th The Art Build is modeled after the Milwaukee, Minneapolis and L.A. Art Builds for Public Education held over the last year. No Art Experience Needed. We are calling on teachers, students, allies in public education and beyond to produce images to be used in the struggle to defend and promote public schools. All the images people create will be displayed and some used on banners, drop banners, parachute banners, screen printed posters, t-shirts, and screen-printed picket signs.
19. Friday, 6:30pm – 8:30pm, Sensible Cinema Presents: Film Premiere Eyes of Mississippi
Unitarian Universalist Center
1187 Franklin St.
Sensible Cinema presents the West Coast Premiere of the award winning documentary Eyes Of Mississippi by filmmaker Ellen Ann Fentress the story of the impact of one relatively unknown reporter Bill Minor.
The film will show how the impact of one reporter determined to call out racism and government during the Civil Rights Movement of – the South carries uncanny resonance in the nation today .
There will be a panel discussion after the screening with the filmmaker Ellen Ann Fentress moderated by Professor James Taylor of the University of San Francisco.
20. Friday, 7:00pm – 8:30pm, Socialist Analysis & Discussion: “The Fight for Women’s Equality”
2969 Mission St. (nr. 24th St. BART)
$3- $10 donation – no one turned away
Women’s access to abortion and reproductive health services is continuing to be eroded throughout the country. This past mid-term election saw restriction to abortion access pass in Alabama, West Virginia and Oregon, along with right-wing gubernatorial victories in Florida, Iowa and Ohio. The women’s movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s won great victories, but we are now seeing those gains taken away. How can we build a new diverse working-class women’s movement to take back and further our rights? How is women’s equality addressed under a socialist system vs. capitalist?
Join us for historical analysis of women in struggle with a look at the life of feminist labor organizer Lucy Parsons and discuss the present-day struggle
Roma is a film of breathtaking beauty. Cleo, an indigenous woman from Oaxaca, is the heart of the film as the nanny and domestic worker for a middle class family in Mexico City. Set in the early 70’s, a time of student rebellion and government repression. Oscar winner Alfonso Cuaron wrote, directed and filmed this masterpiece, winner of the 2019 Golden Globes for Best Foreign Film and Best Director.
22. Saturday, 11:00am – 3:00pm, BASMC 2 Hr First Aid Training
4799 Shattuck Ave.
Event is SOLD OUT – Keep in mind for future trainings!
The Bay Area Street Medic Collective (BASMC) is a collective of folks active in various Community Defense organizations and projects in the Bay Area.
Our fundamental goals are to offer basic medical skills training and provide access to information, supplies, resources, communication, and networking to all members of our communities to take care of ourselves and each other and help to decolonize health care.
This is a free, family-friendly event filled with ecologically regenerative hands-on projects, workshops & skill-shares, music, and a community meal. This is the sister event to this past April’s Lead to Life series in Atlanta, Georgia, where 50 guns were melted down into 50 shovels to plant 50 trees in honor of the 50 years since MLK’s assassination.
People Get Ready 2, a one day conference organized by Center for Political Education, will offer discussions directly assessing the current political terrain while engaging local, national, and international struggles around militarism, worker-organizing, and displacement that shape our world and struggles to come.
Hosts: Center for Political Education + 10 Other groups
26. Sunday, 2:00pm, Eyewitness report from Tijuana
New Valencia Hall
747 Polk St. (nr. Ellis)
As the new year started, San Francisco queer Chicanx paraeducator Norma Gallegos teamed up with other grassroots activists at the U.S.-Mexico border to provide legal support to Latin American asylum seekers. At a monthly Freedom Socialist Party meeting, she will discuss her experiences, political analysis and solutions. Come share your thoughts on how to best defend immigrants and guarantee the rights of refugees.
27. Monday, 9:00am – 11:00am, Reclaim MLK – Teach-In & March for Young Activists
Frank H. Ogawa Plaza
1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza (nr. 12th St. BART)
Teach-In will be led by Youth and Youth workers for young activist 2-12+ yeas old and their adult allies. This will be a wonderful opportunity for families to honor the histories of Black and Indigenous resistance.
28. Monday, 11:00am –(See details below), The Peoples March – 5th Annual Reclaim King’s Radical Legacy
Oscar Grant Plaza
14th & Broadway St. (12th St. BART)
Plenty of seating at Amphitheater
Plan is to have vehicles to follow march
We try to pace the march for children, elders, etc. to be able to keep up. The march will be generally in the greater downtown area, so no difficult terrain.
ASL interpretation for about 4 hrs of program
We will hold Oscar Grant Plaza from sunrise to sunset. For the march,
Detail (still subject to change) 7:20 am – 7:45 am – Sunrise Ceremony 8:00 am – 9:00 am Morning meditation and sound healing – Free Breakfast Program until the March 9:00 am – 10:30 am – youth teach-in and march around the plaza 11:00 am – 1:30 pm – Program & March! 1:30 pm – 2:30 pm – March ends in celebration, music and dance 2:30 pm – 4:30 pm – People’s Assemblies & Lunch: :30pm-5pm – Last torch is lit, chanting Oscar Grant’s name as well as the names of all of the other victims of police brutality over the last ten years, gong is hit, we move into sunset ceremony 5:00 pm – 8:00 pm – Sunset ceremony by Lead to Life ASL interpretation will be available for some parts of the day’s programming.
For the 5th consecutive year, the Anti Police-Terror Project calls the Bay Area into the streets for the People’s March to Reclaim MLK’s Radical Legacy.
MLK’s legacy has been whitewashed for many decades. The state would have us believe he was a passive figure. The truth is he was a radical leader, unshakable in his demands for rational change: an end to capitalism, to war, to empire, to poverty, and to white supremacy. We take this opportunity every year to celebrate the true spirit of this revolutionary
On Jan. 21, we march for justice for all victims of police terror and their families. We march for housing as a human right. We march for a just economy that meets everyone’s human needs. We march for real community safety, which means defunding the police to invest in our communities. We march for quality education for all our kids. We march for real sanctuary in the Bay. We march for a sustainable climate and healthy environment for all families.
Demands: – Justice for ALL victims of police terror and their families – Housing as a human right: truly affordable housing for all in need, immediate shelter for our unhoused neighbors, and public land for public good. – A just economy that works for everyone, puts people over profits, provides living wage jobs with dignity for all, requires corporations to pay their fair share to do business in our cities, and ensures that any development benefits the community. – Community-based public safety: Invest in prevention, not criminalization; make all police use of force transparent and accountable. – Quality education for all: Fair pay for teachers. No cuts, no closures, no more charters. – Real sanctuary for all: Abolish ICE, end criminalization of our most marginalized, and guarantee the safety of all queer, Black, Brown and Indigenous communities. – Environmental justice: clean, air, water, and safe food supplies for all. Indigenous sovereignty and respect for sacred sites.
29. Monday, 5:00pm – 6:00pm, Stand with Refugio and Elvira Nieto – Monthly gathering at Alex Nieto’s altar
Public transportation # 67 MUNI. Catch it on 24th St. at Mission across from McDonalds
On March 21, 2014, Alejandro “Alex” Nieto, 28 years old, was killed when he was struck by 14 to 15 bullets (of a total of 59 shots) fired by four San Francisco Police Department officers, on Bernal Hill Park, without justification. The officers who killed Alex Nieto are: Sgt. Jason Sawyer (then lieutenant. He is also the killer of John Smart in 1998!), Officer Roger Morse, Officer Richard Schiff, and Officer Nathan Chew.
On the monthly anniversary of Alex’s murder, the Nieto’s gather at the altar site on Bernal Hill.
Once an idea batted around mostly in Occupy Wall Street circles, public banking is attracting a surge of interest among policymakers in several states, including California.
“We must break Wall Street’s chokehold on state finance and develop our own state bank,” Gov.-elect Gavin Newsom said on the campaign trail.
If California had a bank controlled by the government rather than profit-hungry shareholders, public banking advocates argue, the state could fund social goods that often get the cold shoulder from commercial institutions: infrastructure projects, low-interest student loans and affordable housing. California’s treasurer and attorney general just published two studies that look at whether a state bank could help the newly legal weed industry by providing a safe repository for cash that major banks won’t accept.
Both reports gave the idea a hard “no”.
“No state-backed financial institution designed to support the cannabis industry is feasible. All alternatives fail on both risk and financial grounds,” said the report commissioned and then released by the Treasurer’s office this afternoon.
Banking industry representatives, not surprisingly, also voice skepticism. “Banking is complex,” said Beth Mills, a spokesperson for the California Bankers Association. “It’s not something you can just set up overnight.”
But what precedent is there for a state bank in California? How would it work? Here are five things to know:
1) North Dakota has been doing it since 1919.
Riding a populist wave a century ago, farmers who organized into the Nonpartisan League decided they’d had enough with big-city banks raising interest on agricultural loans. They took control of state government and started the Bank of North Dakota.
“We were formed at a very special time in history, when 95 percent of the state was farmers, and the other five percent made their living off of farmers,” said bank spokesperson Janel Schmitz.
Today, the Bank of North Dakota offers student loans at interest rates lower than those available on the private market—but higher than the federal government—and subsidizes lending to farmers and small businesses. All state tax revenue flows into the bank, which earned a 17 percent return on its investments last year. When the state suffered a drought in 2017, the bank developed a disaster relief loan program to help ranchers rebuild their herds and buy feed.
Schmitz said the bank gets hundreds of calls a month from reporters and activists wondering if its model can be replicated elsewhere. Key to its success, she said, is that most of its loans are offered in collaboration with private community banks, with Bank of North Dakota funds serving as collateral, allowing the smaller bank to offer a better interest rate.
“We work with banks, we don’t work against banks,” she said. “That has been, in this day and age, critical.”
Like the Bank of North Dakota, Newsom has argued, a California state bank could invest in areas the private market eschews, such as low-interest student loans and affordable housing. But some question the scale of the benefits.
Bank of North Dakota student loans, for example, are marketed to those who have already exhausted their federal loan eligibility, said Debbie Cochrane of the Institute for College Access and Success. “If students are typically needing to borrow more than $31,000, the state shouldn’t be solving that problem with more student loan debt,” she said. “It should be solving the problem by funding the colleges and need-based financial aid to reduce students’ need to borrow.”
2) Other states are pondering public banking, too.
Lawmakers in New Jersey, Washington and Michigan are all considering creation of a state bank.
And American Samoa established its own bank in 2016 after commercial banks shut down lending to the island, a U.S. territory that subsists mostly on income from the fishing industry. Residents looking for small loans were going to a local car dealership, payday lenders or traveling to neighboring islands.
“The idea was to have a private bank start,” said the Territorial Bank of Samoa’s president, Drew Roberts, a Utah transplant and former banking industry consultant. But that effort failed when it couldn’t get backing from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which insures banks. “So the governor of the territory said, ‘We’re going to have to figure out what to do.’ ”
It took the bank 18 months to get a Federal Reserve account, which it needed to clear checks and electronic payments, Roberts said.
“It’s an onerous process,” he said. “There’s no question California is going to have an uphill battle, but that’s what they told us, and we did it.”
No U.S. state or territory, however, has tried public banking at the scale California likely would. The entire population of American Samoa—about 60,000—would fit into a small California city; North Dakota’s GDP, while bolstered by the state’s oil industry, is about 1/100th of the Golden State’s.
3) Banking the cannabis industry? Easier said than done
Most federally regulated banks don’t want to touch cannabis-sourced cash as long as the drug is still classified as a Schedule I controlled substance. That means the entire marijuana supply chain—from growers to dispensaries to tax collectors—is swimming in loose dollar bills. Managing all of that is a sizeable business cost, and a public safety liability.
One proposed solution: If the private bank won’t take all the weed money, why not a public bank?
As one of his final acts as California’s Treasurer, John Chiang released a report this week that sought to answer that question.
A state-run bank serving the cannabis industry would face far too many financial and legal risks and do relatively little good, said the study, which was written by a consultant. As a facilitator of a drug trade that California regards as legal but the federal government still considers criminal, the report argues that a bank’s employees could be prosecuted and its assets could be seized. And because the bank’s financial fortunes would be tied to the booms and busts of a single, nascent industry, such a bank would likely have a hard time getting its deposits insured and getting access to the federal money transfer system.
Sheet of marijuana on background of money close-up. Green leaf of cannabis, hemp
“It would have no ability to accept and clear customer checks drawn on other banks; no ability to issue checks or otherwise make payments other than in cash; and no ability to transfer funds to other banks,” the report said. “In short, it would be in the same predicament currently faced by the cannabis businesses that it is supposed to help.”
And in the years it would take a state bank to get up and running, cannabis could be legalized nationwide, making a state weed bank unnecessary.
Meanwhile Sen. Bob Hertzberg, a Los Angeles Democrat, introduced legislation earlier this month to allow the state to approve private “limited charter banks,” which would be disconnected from the rest of the financial system. Growers and other cannabis businesses could deposit cash into these quasi-banks, which would be permitted to issue checks. These checks couldn’t be deposited at non-cannabis banks, but businesses could use them to pay state taxes, buy state bonds and pay business expenses (though not wages and salaries, which are subject to federal taxes).
But there’s a hitch: If someone who receives one of those checks actually wanted to use it for anything else, they would have to go to the cannabis bank and physically haul the cash to their own branch.
“It’s not a perfect solution, it’s a partial solution,” said Hertzberg.
4) California already has a public bank…sort of
The state’s Infrastructure and Economic Development Bank loans money to local governments, nonprofits and businesses to build roads, hospitals, parks, cultural centers and other projects. The I-Bank can issue its own bonds, and in 2015 started funding renewable energy projects to help reduce the state’s carbon footprint. But with just over $1 billion in financing last fiscal year, its impact has been limited.
Allowing local governments to deposit their tax revenue in the I-Bank, some public banking advocates say, would create a bigger piggy bank to fund the state’s priorities. The bank could use the extra reserves to make more loans, at lower interest rates, they argue—and would likely choose wisely because it would be dealing with clients it already knows.
“You’re not making risky loans,” said Ellen Brown, board chair of the Public Banking Institute, a nonprofit that backs campaigns for public banks. “You’re already making those loans. But you’re refinancing at a lower interest rate and the reason you can do that is (the deposits).”
It’s an idea that shows up in the California Democratic Party’s 2018 platform, and Newsom has said he wants to direct some of the state’s $15 billion surplus towards rebuilding the I-Bank. That plan could address one of the main critiques of public banks—that new ones are costly and complicated to create.
Still, allowing the I-Bank to accept deposits “would be a pretty dramatic change,” said Nancee Trombley, the bank’s chief deputy executive director. It would likely raise a host of questions: Who would insure the deposits, the federal government or the state of California? How would taxpayers’ investments be protected?
“We don’t have the authority, the staff, or the equipment,” said Trombley. “We don’t have a trustee structure in place, we don’t have things that regular commercial banks have like safes and cash tills.”
5) Some cities are considering pint-sized public banks
If a publicly owned bank spanning the world’s fifth largest economy seems a tad ambitious, many advocates are pushing for a more modest alternative: municipal and regional banking.
Local banking would allow cities to save on the fees they currently send to Wall Street while also ensuring that taxpayer dollars are spent in a way that reflects local values, said Sylvia Chi, a representative with the California Public Banking Alliance. “People in the East Bay have different priorities than people in Orange County and Fresno.”
Advocates like Chi point to Germany, where a network of city-owned savings banks has offered small loans and other banking services across the country since the 18th century.
But even in the most progressive enclaves of California, the idea has been a hard sell. When Los Angeles voters were asked to amend their city’s charter to make way for a public bank last month, they turned down the offer 56 to 44 percent.
Other cities across the country, including Santa Fe and Seattle, have explored the possibility. The pattern: a wave of enthusiasm spurs lawmakers to call for a study, which later pours cold water on the idea.
Northern California may prove to be the exception. San Francisco is currently studying the issue and a feasibility report on a possible regional bank in the East Bay was more optimistic (though that analysis was later picked apart by Oakland’s treasurer’s office).
Why all the concern?
First, there are legal issues. California law requires banks to be insured and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation does not provide insurance to the nation’s two existing public banks. State regulations also require banks to be extra careful with public money; for every infusion of taxpayer dollars an asset of at least equal value has to be set aside. That would make it difficult for an institution serving as a city’s banker to actually do very much with its deposits.
The California Public Banking Alliance plans to sponsor legislation this year that would exempt public banks from these collateral requirements. But even if the state gives local banks the go-ahead, there’s the price tag. A preliminary estimate put the upfront capital cost of getting a San Francisco public bank operational at $75 to $170 million—about a quarter of the city’s rainy day fund. That’s on top of any ongoing losses that may arise if the bank’s social mission gets in the way of its ability to stay out of the red.
Assemblywoman Monique Limón hopes to answer some of these questions at a joint committee hearing she will be organizing in the coming months.
“This is the fifth largest economy in the world,” she said. “We can’t afford to get this wrong.”
The Sunrise Movement is a movement of young people organizing to demand immediate action from the United States Congress to address the climate change crisis. The movement made national headlines a week after the 2018 midterm elections when 150 young people, including 51 who were arrested, sat in on House Speaker of the 116th CongressNancy Pelosi‘s office to demand wider ranging action on climate change and the implementation of a “Green New Deal,” a conceptual stimulus plan that would be designed to overhaul the power grid of the U.S. from a largely fossil-fuel reliant infrastructure to a renewable energy infrastructure, along with creating millions of jobs in the renewable energy sector for low income communities. During the sit-in, representative-elect Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a leading figure in the Sunrise Movement, called for the creation of a special committee within the House of Representatives to develop a plan for a Green New Deal bill .
The Sunrise Movement is a multi-faceted political vehicle designed as a means for young people to get involved in fighting climate change in the political sphere.Their primary strategy is to build a base of young volunteers to work in a number of ways to influence congress. During the 2018 midterms, they worked to oust candidates funded by the fossil fuel industry and elect proponents of renewable energy. They also pressure Congress to act on climate change through demonstrations and congressional representative office visits. They are demanding that representatives support Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez‘s call for a Green New Deal select committee and reject money from the fossil fuel industry.
While we might roughly mark the gestation of a growing new left youth activism in the United States from Occupy Wall Street to Bernie Sander’s revelatory campaign in 2016, over the last year, new activist movements led by young people have quickly emerged in the U.S., admittedly with most of them engaged in traditional single issue advocacy not much different from that which came before.
Arguably the most interesting of these groups, the Sunrise Movement, composed of activists from high school age to their mid-20s, seemed to come out of nowhere to challenge power in the form of targeted Congresspeople and to more broadly tackle the climate crisis in a loud but uniquely jubilant voice.
Sunrise seems to have a wider strategy than most environmental groups, including many that are much older, making connections between the ecological crisis and issues of social justice that haven’t been highlighted enough by the activists who came before them. Most of us got our first real view of the group on November 13th, when they occupied Nancy Pelosi’s office in Washington, D.C. alongside the youngest female Congressperson in U.S. history, Alexndria Ocasio Cortez, to demand the creation of a Committee on a Green New Deal.
51 of the activists were arrested for taking part in the action.
Sunrise activists have already become known for singing in a unified voice at protests, reviving classic protest songs like “Which side are you on?” and carrying signs that directly confront politicians with phrases like “No more excuses” and “Do your job”. Their main focus is to push politicians to craft and pass the Green New Deal championed by Ocasio Cortez and other progressives, many of them also newly elected members the U.S. Congress.
Some of the initial proposals for a GND are ambitious and somewhat optimistic, with two key goals being to make the U.S. transition to 100% renewable energy by 2035 and an end to all fossil fuel emissions in the country by 2050.
As a spokesperson and founder of Sunrise, Varshini Prakash, told a recent gathering of activists, “My nightmares are full of starving children and land that is too sick to bear food, of water that poisons that which it should heal, and of seas that are ever more creeping on our shores… But my dreams are also full of a rising tide of people who see the world for what it is, people who see the greed and selfishness of wealthy men, of fossil-fuel billionaires who plunder our earth for profit.”
The group is wise to emphasize the out-sized role played by ‘fossil fuel billionaires’ who have ruthlessly driven this crisis, a descriptor which Prakash in the article cited above says she first heard used by Bernie Sanders in his campaign for the presidency.
While they may emphasize a positive approach to activism, the Sunrise Movement is under no illusions about the ability of the so-called ‘free market’ to solve a problem of its own creation. One thing that is often proposed to alleviate climate change, a tax on carbon, is problematic because, as Evan Weber, another spokesperson for the group recently explained, “Our concerns with a carbon tax would be ensuring that the people least responsible for climate change are not shouldering most of the burden for it.”
One of the key things that differentiates this movement from most of their environmentalist allies is the realization on the part of these activists that while climate change is the central issue, it’s connected to many others from the national fight for a $15 an hour minimum wage to the Movement for Black Lives. It now seems obvious that a good way to tackle the problem of climate change is a transformative program that creates good jobs for all in a new, sustainable economy.
As Demond Decker of the New Consensus think tank explained to the UK Guardian, “You can’t address the climate crisis without these other issues being addressed as well. The entire economy is built around fossil fuels. The same economy that creates rampant poverty and wage stagnation is the economy that’s built around fossil fuels.”
While the 2015 Paris Agreement, which already seems like something from the distant past, was seen as a victory for climate change activists, it’s important to note that it doesn’t have any enforcement mechanisms to make governments live up to their commitments. Movements like Sunrise and the UK’s Extinction Rebellion might inspire activists in the countries that are still signatories to the deal to not only abide by it but go much further than the already dangerous 1.5° Celsius (34.7° Fahrenheit) warming it allows for in its best case scenario.
One of the greatest fears American environmental activists have is that the Select Committee on the Climate Crisis (already renamed by the Democratic leadership from the proposed Committee on the Green New Deal) announced by the future Democratic Speaker of the House will be toothless. Offering the same old rhetoric without action they’ve seen in the past.
As reported by The Hill, unlike the earlier Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that was disbanded by Republicans when they last took control of the House, the new body will not be able to issue subpoenas, greatly limiting its powers. Instead, as explained by Rep Steny Hoyer, the Democratic Whip in the 116th Congress, “It will be a re commendatory committee to the Energy and Commerce Committee and the environmental committees.”
On top of this Speaker Pelosi has also made it clear that her colleagues will be hamstrung by Paygo rules that will make it necessary for any proposed legislation to be paid for with cuts to other spending or new taxes, making something as ambitious as a Green New Deal (or Medicare for All) all but impossible. Although there was never any plan to proceed with the GND before 2020, with the proposed Committee being tasked with creating it, the Democratic Party leadership is already trying to undercut its prospects.
While it will take some time, the failure of Pelosi and other Democratic bigwigs to take the either the climate crisis or these activists seriously may create a lane for primaries in 2020 to bring even more progressives into the country’s federal government, shifting the balance of power in the party. For their part, the Sunrise Movement seems ready to continue to pressure officials and keep the idea of a Green New Deal in the public eye, even at the risk of arrest.
Another issue that should be connected to the larger movement to address the climate crises is the issue of militarism. The United States military is not only the largest user of fossil fuels and polluter in the world, it and other armies are usually exempt from international agreements concerning climate change, an oversight that will have to be rectified going forward if the issue is to be addressed.
With dire news coming last year from the UN sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and even the American government, it’s become clear that the window for action on the climate crisis is rapidly closing. It has in a sense been a story of the failure of successive generations to grapple with the necessary changes that will have to be made to whole societies and to the global economic system that values profit over the life of the planet we all share.
A Green New Deal in the world’s most powerful country is a good place to start.
Indivisible Marin & Common Cause For the People Phone Bank for HR1/S1: Saturday, May 8 and May 15, 10 AM–12 noon. Phone bank with Indivisible Marin every Saturday to support the For the People Act and oppose the filibuster! Sign up for a shift here.
Indivisible Marin & Common Cause For the People Phone Bank for HR1/S1: Saturday, May 15, 10 AM–12 PM. Phone bank with Indivisible Marin every Saturday to support the For the People Act and oppose the filibuster! Sign up for a shift here.
Making Asian America: Brief Excerpts on Labor, Belonging, and Empire Join us for DSA SF’s newest reading group to commemorate AAPI Heritage Month, “Making Asian America.” There will be three sessions (Labor, Belonging, and Empire), each of which will examine a different aspect of Asian American political organizing within its historical context. The first session was Sunday, May 2, and the next two sessions will take place this Saturday, May 15, and Saturday, May 29, all at 2:30 p.m. Sign up here.
The Institute for the Critical Study of Society at the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library Sunday Morning at the Marxist Library OUR CURRENT SCHEDULE (NOTE: These are all tentative and may be changed. Please check back the week before, or sign up for our weekly reminders/updates at email@example.com) Sun, Dec 27, 2020: 10:30 am to 12:30 pm CONFIRMED: The Three Concepts of Freedom Synopsis: In this session we will compare and contrast the Liberal, Democratic, and the communist concepts of freedom. We will discuss that the Liberal freedom consists of the legal guarantees against outside intrusions. Democratic freedom emphasizes the right to participate in the… Continue reading →
Senate Democrats will soon face a choice: protect our democracy and pass the For the People Act, or protect the filibuster – an outdated and abused “Jim Crow relic.” The crisis facing our democracy couldn’t be more real, and – thanks to existential threats like the climate crisis – couldn’t be more urgent. That’s why we need climate hawks like you to get involved in the fight to restore our democracy. We’ve asked you to sign petitions. Now it’s time for the next step: a virtual town hall with Senator Jeff Merkley and Senator Elizabeth Warren next Monday, May 17… Continue reading →
#30RightNow Month Of Action The campaign to get rent relief for supportive housing tenants in this year’s budget cycle is well underway, and we have a whole week of actions for the cause. Read our policy statement here! The biggest announcement is that the #30RightNow campaign will be holding an in-person rally on Tuesday, May 18 at 1:00 p.m. in front of City Hall to demand the mayor fund the 30% rent standard in all supportive housing in this year’s budget cycle. We ask that all attendees follow COVID-19 protocols and have at least one shot of the vaccine. Press release can be found… Continue reading →
Public Bank of the East Bay Posted by LaborSolidarityCommittee WHEN: May 18, 2021 @ 7:00 pm – 8:30 pm Repeats WHERE: ONLINE, VIA ‘ZOOM’ MEETING We meet over Zoom. If you’d like to join us, and aren’t on our organizers’ list, drop us an email and we’ll send you an invitation. If you would like to join the meeting early and get an introduction to the concepts of public banking, or more locally to who we are and what we do, please email us and we’ll see you online at 6:30. Donate to keep us moving forward It is the mission of Public Bank East… Continue reading →
2nd Annual People’s Assembly on BlackRock CODEPINK will join this year’s BlackRock People’s Assembly on Wednesday, May 19, at 4pm ET/1pm PT. It will be an inspiring 90-minute global event kicking off a week of actions leading up to BlackRock’s annual meeting. Space is limited — reserve your spot now! BlackRock—the world’s largest asset manager, with massive investments that drive both environmental destruction and human rights violations—has made multiple high-profile commitments, while still pouring billions into fossil fuels, deforestation….and nuclear weapons. We are excited to announce that Representative Rashida Tlaib will be joining the People’s Assembly as a featured speaker —… Continue reading →