WHAT DEMOCATIC SOCIALISM IS… AND WHAT IT IS NOT

WED, 3/27/2019 – BY LAWRENCE WITTNER THIS ARTICLE ORIGINALLY APPEARED ON COMMON DREAMS (Occupy.com)

The ideal of socialism goes back deep into human history and, at its core, is based on the notion that wealth should be shared more equitably between the rich and the poor. (Photo: Molly Adams/Flickr/cc)

In recent weeks, Donald Trump and other Republicans have begun to tar their Democratic opponents with [the “socialist” brush] https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-03-07/trump-revives-old-bat…), contending that the adoption of socialist policies will transform the United States into a land of dictatorship and poverty. In fact, though, like many of Trump’s other claims, there’s no reason to believe it.

The ideal of socialism goes back deep into human history and, at its core, is based on the notion that wealth should be shared more equitably between the rich and the poor. Numerous major religions have emphasized this point, criticizing greed and preaching the necessity for “all God’s children” to share in the world’s abundance. The goal of increased economic equality has also mobilized numerous social movements and rebellions.

But how was this sharing of wealth to be achieved? Religious leaders often emphasized charity. Social movements developed communitarian living experiments. Revolutions seized the property of the rich and redistributed it. And governments began to set aside portions of the economy to enhance the welfare of the public, rather than the profits of the wealthy few.

In the United States, governments created a public sector alongside private enterprise. The American Constitution, drafted by the Founding Fathers, provided for the establishment of a U.S. postal service, which quickly took root in American life. Other public enterprises followed, including publicly-owned and operated lands, roads, bridges, canals, ports, schools, police forces, water departments, fire departments, mass transit systems, sewers, sanitation services, dams, libraries, parks, hospitals, food and nutrition services, and colleges and universities.

Although many of these operated on a local level, others were nationwide in scope and became very substantial enterprises, including Social Security, Medicare, National Public Radio, the National Institutes of Health, and the U.S. armed forces. In short, over the centuries the United States has developed what is often termed “a mixed economy,” as have many other countries.

Nations also found additional ways to socialize (or share) the wealth. These included facilitating the organization of unions and cooperatives, as well as establishing a minimum wage, unemployment insurance, and a progressive tax policy―one with the highest levies on the wealthy and their corporations.

Over the course of U.S. history, these policies, sometimes termed “social democracy,” have enriched the lives of most Americans and have certainly not led to dictatorship and economic collapse. They are also the kind championed by Bernie Sanders and other democratic socialists.

Why, then, does a significant portion of the American population view socialism as a dirty word?

One reason is that many (though not all) of the wealthy fiercely object to sharing their wealth and possess the vast financial resources that enable them to manipulate public opinion and pull American politics rightward. After all, they own the corporate television and radio networks, control most of the major newspapers, dominate the governing boards of major institutions, and can easily afford to launch vast public relations campaigns to support their economic interests. In addition, as the largest source of campaign funding in the United States, the wealthy have disproportionate power in politics. So it’s only natural that their values are over-represented in public opinion and in election results.

But there’s another major reason that socialism has acquired a bad name: the policies of Communist governments. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, socialist parties were making major gains in economically advanced nations. This included the United States, where the Socialist Party of America, between 1904 and 1920, elected socialists to office in 353 towns and cities, and governed major urban centers such as Milwaukee and Minneapolis.

But, in Czarist Russia, an economically backward country suffering under a harsh dictatorship, one wing of the small, underground socialist movement, the Bolsheviks, used the chaos and demoralization caused by Russia’s disastrous participation in World War I to seize power. Given their utter lack of democratic experience, the Bolsheviks (who soon called themselves Communists) repressed their rivals (including democratic socialists) and established a one-party dictatorship. They also created a worldwide body, the Communist International, to compete with the established socialist movement, which they denounced fiercely for its insistence on democratic norms and civil liberties.

In the following decades, the Communists, championing their model of authoritarian socialism, made a terrible mess of it in the new Soviet Union, as well as in most other lands where they seized power or, in Eastern Europe, took command thanks to post-World War II occupation by the Red Army. Establishing brutal dictatorships with stagnating economies, these Communist regimes alienated their populations and drew worldwide opprobrium. In China, to be sure, the economy has boomed in recent decades, but at the cost of supplementing political dictatorship with [the heightened economic inequality](https://scholar.harvard.edu/files/martinwhyte/files/whyte-current_histor… accompanying corporate-style capitalism.

By contrast, the democratic socialists―those denounced and spurned by the Communists―did a remarkably good job of governing their countries. In the advanced industrial democracies, where they were elected to office on numerous occasions and defeated on others, they fostered greater economic and social equality, substantial economic growth, and political freedom.

Their impact was particularly impressive in the Scandinavian nations. For example, about a quarter of Sweden’s vibrant economy is publicly-owned. In addition, Sweden has free undergraduate college/university tuition, monthly stipends to undergraduate students, free postgraduate education (e.g. medical and law school), free medical care until age 20 and nearly free medical care thereafter, paid sick leave, 480 days of paid leave when a child is born or adopted, and nearly free day-care and preschool programs. Furthermore, Sweden has 70 percent union membership, high wages, four to seven weeks of vacation a year, and an 82-year life expectancy. It can also boast the ninth most competitive economy in the world. Democratic socialism has produced similar results in Norway and Denmark.

Of course, democratic socialism might not be what you want. But let’s not pretend that it’s something that it’s not.

Originally published on Common Dreams

Progressive Caucus Rips DCCC Attack on Primary Challengers as ‘Slap in the Face of Democratic Voters’

March 28, 2019 by Common Dreams

“If this policy remains in place, it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge,” said Rep. Ro Khanna

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Rep. Ro Khanna speaks at a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, January 30, 2019. (Photo: Andrew Harnik/AP)

Leaders of the Congressional Progressive Caucus Wednesday condemned the DCCC’s new policy of cutting off funds to primary challengers, saying the rule will shut down “competition of ideas” and alienate the party’s grassroots base.

“Primaries are often the only way that under-represented and working class people are able to have a shot at pursuing elected office.” 
—Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
“This unprecedented grab of power is a slap in the face of Democratic voters across the nation,” Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), the first-vice chair of the CPC, said in a statement to The Intercept after a closed-door meeting with DCCC chair Cheri Bustos (D-Ill.).

According to Politico, the meeting—also attended by CPC co-chairs Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) and Mark Pocan (D-Wis.)—became “heated” as the progressive leaders said the DCCC’s rules would “blackball” important progressive vendors and strategists.

“It’s something even [former DCCC chair] Rahm Emanuel would not have done and is totally tone-deaf to the grassroots activists across our nation,” Khanna said. “Let’s be clear. If this policy remains in place, it will mean that we will not allow new Ayanna Pressleys or AOCs to emerge. It’s simply wrong.”

Progressive organizations responded with outrage when the DCCC unveiled the new rules last week.

The policy states that the DCCC “will not conduct business with, nor recommend to any of its targeted campaigns, any consultant that works with an opponent of a sitting member of the House Democratic Caucus.”

Despite pushback from lawmakers and the grassroots, Bustos reportedly has no plans to reverse the new standard—which could deprive progressive primary challengers of millions of dollars in funds.

“I still think it’s an open conversation,” Pocan told Politico following the meeting with Bustos. “I don’t think it’s done. I left it thinking there’s more to come.”

Progressive advocacy groups said they will not cave to the party establishment, vowing to continue challenging conservative Democrats even it means being blackballed by the DCCC.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)—who unseated Wall Street-friendly Rep. Joe Crowley in a primary last year—urged the DCCC to scrap the policy in comments to reporters on Wednesday.

“Primaries are often the only way that under-represented and working class people are able to have a shot at pursuing elected office,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “I think that it can reduce the odds of us getting really strong representation. We need to have kind of a farm system for the next generation.”

Khanna told The Intercept that “many progressives in Congress will fight until this rule is changed.”

“The DCCC is acting as a monopoly by saying that anyone who does business with them can’t do business with any competition,” Khanna said. “We stand for reform in Congress and reform of the Democratic Party machinery to make sure they prioritize our voters and the grassroots.”

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Happy to Engage Workers and Community on Green New Deal, Ocasio-Cortez Accepts GOP Invite to Kentucky Coal Mine

March 28, 2019 by Common Dreams

The New York Democrat has been met with warm welcomes from working people in red states, where poor communities would benefit from progressive policies

by Julia Conley, staff writer

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez talks with a voter at the conclusion of a town hall event, September 19, 2018 in The Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Wednesday accepted an invitation to tour a coal mine and meet with voters in Kentucky—taking advantage of an opportunity to engage with some of the Americans who could benefit most from a Green New Deal.

The invitation came from Rep. Andy Barr (R-Ky.), a member of the Congressional Coal Caucus who asked the New York Democrat to visit his district after she gave animpassioned speech in the House, blasting Republicans and centrists for dismissing the Green New Deal legislation that she is sponsoring as a proposal that would benefit only large coastal cities.

“Failure to plan is planning to fail and I feel like we’ve been failing Appalachian communities for a very long time, and it’s time to turn that ship around.” —Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.)Barr, who wants the U.S. to continue to mine for coal even though it has become more expensive than solar and wind power, asked Ocasio-Cortez to “go underground” with him and talk to people in mining communities.

Ocasio-Cortez told McClatchy Wednesday that her staff is now arranging the visit, adding that the struggles of people in towns which have in the past relied on coal mines as major economic drivers are “very close to [her] heart.”

“Folks may not think of that because I’m from the Bronx, but my family in Puerto Rico was a rural family too. I understand some of the challenges,” said the congresswoman.

Ocasio-Cortez indicated she would use the opportunity to speak with Kentucky residents about how their lives and futures could be positively affected by the Green New Deal. The plan would include a federal jobs guarantee as Americans, including former fossil fuel sector workers, build a new sustainable energy infrastructure aimed at shifting to 100 percent renewable energy within ten years.

The new green energy economy would end a long era in which coal, oil, and gas companies have polluted drinking water and air, sent carbon emissions into the atmosphere and contributed to the climate crisis, and threatened public health all over the world, including in Appalachia, where many coal companies are based and where coal extraction has been linked to high rates of cancer and black lung disease

“It’s a complete injustice the cancer levels that a lot of these communities are confronting,” Ocasio-Cortez told McClatchy. “We have to plan a future for all of our communities, no matter what. Failure to plan is planning to fail and I feel like we’ve been failing Appalachian communities for a very long time and it’s time to turn that ship around.”

Some Kentucky residents extended a welcome to Ocasio-Cortez on social media ahead of the planned visit.

Ocasio-Cortez has fought criticism from centrists in her own party and Republicans since her surprise victory in the Democratic primary for New York’s 14th congressional district last June, with critics claiming her outspoken embrace of a democratic socialist agenda, including the Green New Deal, appeals only to so-called “elites” in major cities.

In response, Ocasio-Cortez traveled to Kansas and Michigan to campaign for other progressive candidates.  

“Where there are working-class people,” Ocasio-Cortez told a crowd of 4,000 Kansans at the time, “there is hope for the progressive movement.”

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License

Wells Fargo CEO Tim Sloan steps down

Wells Fargo veteran Tim Sloan stepped down immediately as CEO, president and a board member of the San Francisco-based bank.

By Mark Calvey  – Senior Reporter, San Francisco Business Times Mar 28, 2019

Wells Fargo said Thursday that Tim Sloan will retire at the end of June, but is stepping down immediately as CEO, president and board member. 

The board named General Counsel Allen Parker as interim CEO and president, while the bank begins a search for a permanent CEO. In a dramatic move for a bank that has long promoted from within, Wells Fargo (NYSE: WFC) said its next CEO will come from outside the bank.

Sloan’s departure after more than 30 years with the bank marks the end of an era for the San Francisco-based bank that’s been rocked by a series of scandals that first came to light in 2016.

Tim Sloan has served this company with pride and dedication for more than 31 years, including in his role as CEO since October 2016. He has worked tirelessly over this period for all of our stakeholders in the best long-term interest of Wells Fargo. His decision, and today’s announcement, reflect that commitment and his belief that a new CEO at this time will best position the company for success,” Wells Fargo Board Chair Betsy Duke said in a statement.

Sloan said that he thought the time was right to hand over the reins.

“I am very proud of what we have accomplished together. In my time as CEO, I have focused on leading a process to address past issues and to rebuild trust,” Sloan said in a statement. “We have made progress in many areas and, while there remains more work to be done, I am confident in our leadership team and optimistic about the future of Wells Fargo.”

Sloan added that it’s become clear to him that the bank will “benefit from a new CEO and fresh perspectives.”

Parker, 64, joined Wells Fargo as general counsel in March 2017. He was previously presiding partner at the law firm of Cravath, Swaine & Moore from January 2013 until December 2016.

“In my two years at Wells Fargo, I have been deeply impressed with the commitment of our 259,000 team members to move this great company forward and to build an even stronger foundation for the future,” Parker said in a statement. “I am fully committed to this role as we continue the important work at hand in support of all our stakeholders, particularly our customers, and prepare for a smooth and effective transition to a permanent CEO.”

Long-time observers of the bank have seen the toll that Wells Fargo’s woes have taken on Sloan. He got into a public fight with the state of California’s then Treasurer John Chiang, who was running for governor at the time. At times, there was tension between Sloan and members of the media.

This month, Sloan looked tired and stressed in addressing a congressional hearing on the bank’s progress in recovering from scandals that included opening millions of accounts not authorized by customers as employees sought to meet ambitious sales goals.

But this week, Sloan appeared at the Bank Policy Institute’s Fintech Ideas Festival in San Francisco, where he discussed the outlook for a world without computer passwords and actually joked with PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) CEO Dan Schulman and others in the audience on a variety of topics.

There was no mention of Wells Fargo’s problems during the program except for a brief introduction that called Sloan the busiest man in banking.

Earlier Thursday, Warren Buffett voiced his support for Tim Sloan. Buffett is CEO of Wells Fargo’s largest shareholder, Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE: BRK-A) (NYSE: BRK-B).

“I’m very empathetic to anybody who walks into a big problem at a very, very, very large and politically sensitive institution,” Buffett told CNBC, recalling his days of stepping in and leading investment bank Salomon Brothers as it sought to recover from a major scandal.

But today’s change in leadership at Wells was increasingly anticipated.

“We are not surprised by today’s announcement as numerous potential candidates for the CEO position have been floated in the press,” RBC Capital Markets analyst Gerard Cassidy told clients. Most recently, former Goldman Sachs President Harvey Schwartz reportedly was approached by Wells Fargo board members about the job

“Ongoing congressional opprobrium and heightened regulatory scrutiny has made Sloan’s position at the company increasingly tenuous, in our view,” Cassidy said. “We had expected that an eventual change in leadership was a likely outcome as the company seeks to distance itself from its sales-practice issues.”

Delaware and Colorado governors sign National Popular Vote

March 28, 2019 (nationalpopularvote.com)

Delaware Governor John Carney signed the National Popular Vote bill into law today, following the signing of the bill recently by Colorado Governor Jared Polis.  The bill is currently on the desk of New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

Under the current system of electing the President, an individual voter in Delaware has a direct vote in selecting only 3 presidential electors (out of 270 needed to elect a President).  

In contrast, under the National Popular Vote bill, an individual voter in Delaware (and every other state) would acquire a direct and unfiltered vote toward the election of 270 presidential electors. Every voter, in every state, would have their vote counted directly toward their choice for president.  The presidential candidate getting the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia would become President, because that candidate would have the support of at least 270 presidential electors in the Electoral College. 

Please use our convenient system to send an email to your state legislators asking them to support the National Popular Vote bill in your state (or reinforcing their support for the bill in your state).  Watch CNN interview with New Mexico Senator Mimi StewartWatch C-SPAN interview with Chair of National Popular VoteWrite a letter to the editorFollow us on FacebookFollow us on TwitterLearn more at National Popular Vote web site which has 14 explanatory videos and answers to 131 myths about the billIf the bill is signed in New Mexico, the National Popular Vote bill will have been enacted into law by a total of 15 states possessing 189 electoral votes — 81 electoral votes short of the number (270) that the bill needs to take effect. 

Meanwhile, the National Popular Vote bill is also making progress in other states. The Nevada House and Maine Senate are about to vote on the bill.  A committee hearing is expected in Oregon in the next week or so.  There will be a hearing in New Hampshire in the fall.  The bill has been introduced in 20 states so far during 2019.    

The non-profit National Popular Vote organization employs traveling and local representatives on a year-round basis to conduct one-on-one meetings with state legislators and grassroots groups that influence state legislators.  You can support our ongoing efforts in numerous states by donating to National Popular Vote.   

BACKGROUND The National Popular Vote bill would guarantee the Presidency to the candidate who receives the most popular votes in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  It would make every vote for President equal throughout the United States.  It would guarantee that every voter in every state matters in every presidential election. 

The shortcomings of the current system of electing the President stem from “winner-take-all” laws that have been enacted at the state level. These laws award 100% of a state’s electoral votes to the candidate receiving the most popular votes in each state. 

Because of these state winner-take-all laws, five of our 45 Presidents (including two of the last three) have come into office without having won the most popular votes nationwide.  

Another problem occurs in every presidential election, namely that presidential candidates have no reason to campaign in, or pay attention to, voters in states where they are safely ahead or hopelessly behind.  

In 2012, 100% of the general-election campaign events (and virtually all campaign expenditures) were concentrated in the 12 closely divided “battleground” states where Romney’s support was 45%-51%.   The map shows the distribution of general-election campaign events. Thirty-eight states were totally ignored, including almost all small states, medium-sized states, rural states, western states, southern states, and northeastern states. Two-thirds of the events (176 of 253) were concentrated in just 4 states (OH, FL, VA, IA). Similarly, in 2016, almost all (94%) general-election campaign events were in the 12 “battleground” states where Trump’s support was in the narrow range of 43%-51%.  Two-thirds of the campaign events (273 of 399) were in just 6 states (OH, FL, VA, NC, PA, MI).  

It does not take an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to change existing state winner-take-all laws.  State winner-take-all laws were enacted by state legislatures under their authority under Article II of the U.S. Constitution: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors….”

These state laws may be changed in the same way as they were originally enacted — namely by action of the state legislature.

The winner-take-all method of awarding electoral votes was not the Founding Fathers’ choice.  It was used by only three states in the nation’s first presidential election in 1789 (and repealed by all three by 1800).  Winner-take-all was never debated at the Constitutional Convention or mentioned in the Federalist Papers

Under the National Popular Vote bill, the national popular vote winner will receive all the electoral votes from the enacting states. The bill will take effect when enacted by states possessing a majority of the electoral votes — enough to elect a President (270 of 538).  When the Electoral College meets in mid-December, the national popular vote winner will become President because the enacting states will provide him or her with at least 270 electoral votes.  

A national popular vote for President is an achievable political goal.  In addition to the 15 states mentioned above, it has passed one house in 8 additional states with 72 electoral votes (AR, AZ, ME, MI, NC, NV, OK, OR), including a 40-16 vote in the Republican-controlled Arizona House and a 28-18 in Republican-controlled Oklahoma Senate, and been approved unanimously by committee votes in two additional Republican-controlled states with 26 electoral votes (GA, MO).  A total of 3,265 state legislators among all 50 states have endorsed it.

For additional information, see our book Every Vote Equal: A State-Based Plan for Electing the President by National Popular Vote (downloadable for free at www.NationalPopularVote.com).  Chapter 9 provides short and long answers to 131 myths about the National Popular Vote bill.  The book may be purchased from Amazon for $4.95.  

The non-profit National Popular Vote organization employs traveling and local representatives on a year-round basis to conduct one-on-one meetings with state legislators and grassroots groups that influence state legislators.  You can support our ongoing efforts in numerous states by donating to National Popular Vote

Articles ~ Actions ~ Announcements, Sat. 3/30 & Sun. 3/31 + Save the Date (from Adrienne Fong)

This announcement is for Saturday & Sunday only. Will send another announcement in a few days with assorted dates of some events and a listing of weekly and monthly events. That will be the last except for emergent actions for a while.

Please encourage groups you are involved in to post events on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

Thank you to all who are posting there!

     Check Indybay for other events that might interest you.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events! 

CHILDCARE Please indicate if available for events. 

ARTICLES:

A.  ‘Every War Is a War Against Children’ – March 28, 2019

   We, in the United States, have yet to realize both the futility and immense consequences of war even as we develop, store, sell, and use hideous weapons. The number of children killed

    is rising.

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2019/03/28/every-war-war-against-children

B. Severe Flooding Hits South Dakota American Indian Reservation – March 27, 2019

http://time.com/5559347/south-dakota-american-indian-reservation-flooding/

C. Mario Woods’ Family Settles Lawsuit Over Fatal 2015 San Francisco Police Shooting – March 26, 2019

D. With elections weeks away, Israel pounds Gaza – March 25, 2019

   See item # 3

ACTIONS:

1. Hands Off SNAP. Don’t Let Trump Take Away Food From Struggling Workers and Families

SIGN: https://handsoffsnap.org/?link_id=4&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-only-one-week-left-comment-to-fight-time-limits-on-food-assistance&email_referrer=email_518025&email_subject=only-one-week-left-comment-to-fight-time-limits-on-food-assistance

2. Sign the petition: #RepealTheBan and support the NO BAN Act

SIGN: https://www.dailykos.com/campaigns/petitions/sign-the-petition-repealtheban-and-support-the-no-ban-act?detail=emailactionLL&link_id=1&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&source=email-add-your-name-get-rid-of-the-racist-muslim-ban-for-good&email_referrer=email_519715&email_subject=add-your-name-get-rid-of-the-racist-muslim-ban-for-good

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Saturday, March 30

1. Saturday, 10:30am – 1:00pm, What does Zapatista autonomy mean for us in the US?

Omni Commons

4799 Shattuck Ave.

Oakland

You’re Invited to a Breakfast of Waffles & Zapatismo!

* 10:30am Waffles, coffee, getting to know each other
* 11:00 a.m. Pablo Gonzalez presentation with discussion.

Zapatista Autonomy:
Challenging Solidarity & Organizing in the U.S.

Pablo Gonzalez teaches at UC Berkeley. A first generation Chicano scholar-activist/anthropologist, Pablo is immersed in studying the political and cultural resonance of social movements. In particular, the resonance of Indigenous social movements on Chicanas/os and people of color in the U.S.

The Chiapas Support Committee invites you to join us for a community breakfast and a discussion to deepen our understanding of and relationships with the struggles of Zapatista and Indigenous communities in Mexico and what solidarity looks like in the current political and economic climate. Expressing and organizing solidarity has many race, gender, class facets. How do we speak about Indigenous struggles, how are they linked to our struggles in the U.S., what is the task and responsibility (if any) of U.S.-based social justice movements, anti-racist, environmental justice, racial justice and Indigenous struggles and movements?

Sponsor: Chiapas Support Committee Oakland

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/369464970567004/

2. Saturday, 11:00am – 4:00pm, Black Girls March

Meet at:

1 Frank H. Ogawa Plaza

Oakland

We are organizing a youth-centered rally and march to bring awareness to the issues so many Black girls face but are often ignored. We are showing up to demonstrate that we love and support each other and that we will not be disappeared. Most importantly, we want to celebrate all the unique characteristics that make us beautiful – will you be there?

Sponsor: KANJU GIRLS

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/247318382859460/

3. Saturday, 12Noon – 3:00pm, All Out for Palestine

Meet at:

24th St. Mission BART

SF

We will be meeting at 24th and Mission Bart station, then marching through the Mission

Saturday, March 30, 2019 will mark the first anniversary of the Great March of Return in Gaza and the 43rd anniversary of Land Day in Palestine. Since March 30, 2018, more than 240 Palestinians have been killed, thousands wounded by live fire and thousands more by tear gas and other weapons. 

Despite being trapped inside the largest open-air prison in the world and confronting one of world’s most powerful militaries, the Palestinians in Gaza have continued their heroic resistance.
The Trump administration and the Democrat party leaders in Congress have not only supported Israel’s murderous assault, but also continued to provide the weapons to carry it out. They are seeking to criminalize the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Campaign.

We are calling for a march and rally in solidarity with Gaza and the Palestinian struggle as a whole, March 30, 2019 . 
End the Blockade – Let Gaza Live!
Stop all U.S. aid to Israel!
Defend the BDS-Boycott, Divestment & Sanctions Campaign
Support Palestinian self-determination including the right of return

Sponsors: Palestine Action Network, AROC and 6 Other Groups

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2159822867445588/  &https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/03/10/18821820.php

4. Saturday, 4:30pm – 6:30pm, Warriors for Justice Community Report Back

Homies Empowerment Program/Adelante

7631 MacArthur Blvd.

Oakland

We will also discuss youth activism and our recent work on the Youth Climate Strike in SF on 3/15 to support the Green New Deal

Harvard Alumni of Color Conference
Blackyard Arts in Camden 
Wah Lum Kung Fu, USA in Malden
Harvard Arts in Education Class

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1968178136643373/

5. Saturday, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, GenderKrip Planet: Krip-Hop mixtape release w/rapper AJ420

La Peña Cultural Center

3105 Shattuck Ave.

Berkeley

Sliding scale: $ 5 – $10 – no one turned away

Mobility and Physical Spaces:
La Pena’s rooms, doors, and corridors are all at least 32 inches wide and ADA compliant. All doors in the building open manually.

Translations:
There will be an ASL interpreter translating the performances. All printed material will be available in English and Spanish. All performances will be in English.

Live performance event (music, poetry, skits, dancing, speaking to our ancestors and more) of Disabled Women, Femmes and Warriors 
with headliner AJ420 hear AJ’s music https://soundcloud.com/ashanaj420

with MC Joy Elán, performances and appearances by AJ420, the Welfare Queens from POOR Magazine, Lisa Ganser, dancer India Harville, Rowan Katz, Juju, Collander and more!!!!

we are celebrating the release of Hell Y’all Ain’t Talmbout: A Krip-Hop Anthology of Women, Femmes, and Warriors

Sponsors: Lisa Ganser & Leroy Moore

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2319794601584795/

Sunday, March 31

6. Sunday, 9:30am – 11:00am, Sunday Forum: The Mueller Report and what it means?

Unitarian Universalist Society of SF

1187 Franklin St.

SF

The Mueller report has been issued.  Trump claims he has been exonerated and is using the report to lash out at critics and consolidate a more authoritarian regime.  By raising false hopes that it would derail a fascist express and diverting the outrage and keeping people passively waiting, the Mueller investigation has actually weakened the movement against the Trump Pence regime.  This is the view of Refuse Fascism.  

Local spokesperson, Barry Thornton of Refuse Fascism will be speaking. Come discuss this serious turn of events.

Info: https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2019/03/28/18822312.php

7. Sunday, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, No to War & Racism; U.S. Hands Off Venezuela

Ronald V. Dellums Federal Building

1301 Clay St.

Oakland

In conjunction with those mobilizing in Washington D.C. we will gather to say NO TO WAR & RACISM; U.S. HANDS OFF VENEZUELA; and 
declare our opposition to the military leaders of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) celebration of NATO’s 70th anniversary with its annual summit meeting in Washington, D.C.

April 4, 2019, will mark the 51st anniversary of the assassination of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., the internationally revered leader in struggles against racism, poverty and war.

Dr. King’s words linking the three evils of American society: Militarism, Racism and Poverty, and his deeply profound remark that every bomb that falls on other countries is a bomb dropped on our inner cities, reveal the deep-rooted relationship between militarism and the social, racial, economic and environmental injustices that now impoverish whole cities and rural communities and have plagued our society and the world for a long time. It was exactly one year before he was murdered that Rev. King gave his famous speech opposing the U.S. war in Vietnam, calling the U.S. government “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world” and declaring that he could not be silent.

Sponsors: End the Wars at Home and Abroad- Spring 2018 and 3 Other groups

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/2405182146159867/

6. Sunday, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Non-Violent Direct Action Training

Women’s Building

3543 18th St.

SF

RSVP: diablorisingtide@riseup.net

This training will take participants through the strategies and tools used in non-violent direct action. It will include a know your rights training.This training will be an important place to get plugged into for upcoming actions around the Extinction Rebellion Week of Action beginning on April 15th. 

This is a prep for the Extinction Rebellion action on April 15: https://www.facebook.com/events/411044969659259/?notif_t=plan_user_invited¬if_id=1553212692684142

Sponsors: Diablo Rising Tide & Extinction Rebellion SF Bay Area

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/565688083936160/  

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~ SAVE the DATE ~

Alex Nieto Memorial Final Vote

By

Parks and Recreation Operations Committee

Thursday, April 4, 2019

2:00pm – 5:00pm

San Francisco City Hall, Room 416

1 Dr. Carleton B. Goodlett Place

San Francisco

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/438605573548435/?active_tab=about

Now is the time to prove love, love for community, love for history, love for posterity. 

Join us, the entire community, for the Parks and Recreation Operations Committee vote for the final step to make the Alex Nieto Memorial a reality.

We are receiving opposition about the beautiful poetry that will be on the Amor for Alex Nieto plaque on Bernal Heights. This is our last obstacle before planting the monument that will serve to inspire and educate thousands, hopefully beginning in August of this year. 

We must stand up, speak out, fight back for our First Amendment freedom of speech right to speak the truth! We will not compromise La Pura Neta. Too many of our youth have been mis-educated and killed by lies. The plaque language is the beautiful truth without in any way being offensive. The message has been approved by Refugio and Elvira Nieto.

This is it in its entirety: 

“Against the violence and injustice of 59 bullets, family and grassroots community arose as a movement to promote the positive spirit and to defend the honor of a beloved young man, Alex Nieto, who was killed by the police.

Amor for Alex Nieto”

We thank you always for your support and courage.

Extreme weather has again damaged a major military base

The military knows its bases face more flood risks as the climate changes. It isn’t ready.

By Umair Irfan  Mar 25, 2019 (vox.com)

Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska faced severe flooding after recent storms. Planners knew the base was vulnerable but hadn’t completed upgrades in time.

Extreme weather has once again caught the US military off guard.

At Offutt Air Force Base in Nebraska, headquarters of US Strategic Command and home to more than 10,000 personnel, floodwaters reached up to 7 feet deep on Friday and forced one-third of the base to relocate offices. The flooding also forced the base to cancel an airshowscheduled for June.

“The speed at which it came in was shocking,” Col. David Norton, who manages facilities at Offutt Air Force Base, told the Associated Press.

Nebraska is just one of several states in the Midwest experiencing severe flooding this month following a wet winter, a rapid spring thaw, and a “bomb cyclone” storm that dumped huge amounts of rain and snow into already full waterways like the Mississippi and Missouri rivers.

The flooding has claimed several lives and caused billions of dollars in damages. And forecasters expect that the situation will only get worse later this spring as an “unprecedented” flood season takes hold.

Global warming is a major factor in the above-average precipitation in recent extreme rainfall events, since warmer air can hold on to more moisture than cooler air. And scientists project that climate change will increase the volatility in weather, with rapid switches between drought and deluge and heat and cold in some parts of the country. The recent winter snowfall and rapid thaw certainly fit that pattern.

The US military has long recognized that climate change poses a strategic risk as it drives migration and acts as an ingredient in conflicts around the world. It also poses a more immediate risk to critical facilities like naval bases. But the recent storms also show that there is a wide gulf between acknowledging a risk and being positioned to cope with it.

As NBC News and InsideClimate News reported last week, officials were well aware the base was at risk. Another flood came alarmingly close to the base’s runway in 2011, and in response, base officials and local planners investigated flood risks as part of a land use study published in 2015.

The study noted that existing infrastructure wasn’t enough to cope with growing flood concerns due to climate change:

Due to changes in the base flood elevation of the Missouri River, Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has identified the need to raise the levee between two inches to several feet for it to be capable of protecting the installation. The Papio‐Missouri River Natural Resources District (P‐MR NRD) has been notified by FEMA, that if the levee is not fixed by 2017, the levee will be de‐certified.

However, the process of raising levees to protect against flooding dragged on and was still not completed by the time the recent storms struck the region, leaving the base vulnerable to rising water.

Other military installations were also impacted by the recent floods. The South Dakota Air National Guard had to relocate some of its F-16 fighter jets, and several installations are now staging supplies and workers for disaster relief.

And last year, Hurricane Michael damaged Tyndall Air Force Base. Several F-22 aircraft, the Air Force’s most advanced and most expensive fighter jet, were stuck in harm’s way as the storm rapidly intensified.

These are examples of the climate risks faced by a massive global operation like the US military, which manages hundreds of thousands of personnel, billions of dollars in materiel, and thousands of acres of land. And with such a large footprint, there are lots of potential vulnerabilities.

Though President Trump, the commander-in-chief, has repeatedly dismissed the threat posed by climate change, the US military and the intelligence officials have been surprisingly clear-eyed about the problem. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats described climate change as a national security threat for the second year in a row in his Worldwide Threat Assessment report.

Pentagon officials have been raising the alarm about climate risks to military installations and have frequently framed climate change as a threat multiplier.

However, a vast institution like the US military takes a long time to adapt. Even when they see what’s coming, they can’t be ready in time. Many military bases are decades old and span vast areas, making them hard to protect. Relocating thousands of service members is costly and time-consuming. And even the most agile aircraft have huge logistical demands that make it difficult to quickly evacuate should a storm come over the horizon.

It’s a tough lesson for everyone else trying to get ahead of the rising sea levels, increasing wildfire risk, more extreme storms, and hotter temperatures already unfolding because of climate change. We can sit back or start adapting to a “new normal” of constant change. The choice is ours.

Op-Ed: Has Cover-Up General Barr struck again?

Americans seem to have a distaste for being reminded of cover-ups. They would prefer to live out their comfort seeking lives in fond delusional states. Let the mainstream media tell them what they need to know and just follow the pied piper wherever he leads them.
The recent inevitable ending of the Mueller Report needs at least some perspective for those unwilling to be completely hoodwinked by their authoritarian handlers.

I said from the beginning that there was no Russian meddling in our elections. But nobody had to listen to me. They could have just listened to the head of the NSA, Clapper or Feinstein of the Select Committee on Intelligence. When asked at the beginning of this witch hunt, “Is there any evidence linking the Russians to any election meddling in the US,” both answered NO.

Why was General Cover-Up Barr then called in to “handle” this report? Or, as the article below shows, what is his history of covering things up for the rich and powerful at the expense of the People? Is there something else that is being covered up that needs the “special skills” of this henchman? Well, the answer to that is that we may never know since the full report will not be revealed to us, unless we demand it en masse.

AG Barr was first called in to “cover-up” for Reagan, HW Bush, Weinberger, Abrams, etc. concerning the Iran-Contra scandal. Does anyone remember then Special Counsel, Lawrence Walsh’s futile attempts to hold the perpetrators accountable? And HW’s pardoning of above perps? And note the recent return of Elliot Abrams to operational stature surrounding the US attempt at Venezuelan “meddling”.

Our American history is riddled with cover-ups that so many of us would just like to see go away: JFK, MLK, Bobby Kennedy, the Iran Contra scandal, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Sandy Hook, the Boston Marathon Bombing, San Bernardino, Orlando, Parkland HS, to name just a few. And our revered Fourth Estate has failed us at every incidence by not pursuing the evidence, but instead serving their profit seeking masters instead.

Thom Hartman’s article might give those strong enough to confront the truth some perspective on how individuals like Barr are sent in to COVER-UP. It might also project some of us to ask the question what NEEDED TO BE COVERED UP? When Mueller said,  “while this report does not conclude that the president committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him”, what is being left out?

And let’s not forget when Mueller made his first appearance into serving the deep state right after 9/11 to COVER-UP that LIE.

It would appear that the Knights are perfectly aligned to protect the King and all his entourage.

Forget check mate. The pawns, The People, have been placed out of the game as inconsequential.

–Bob of Occupy

Extinction Rebellion: International Highlights

India

15 MAR

Extinction Rebellion is gradually gaining traction in India with rebels using the international student strike as an opportunity to organise their first events. In two major cities, Delhi and Gurugram, XR helped students manage their protests. These events were a huge success, attracting attention from hundreds of enthusiastic students and local and international media. Indian rebels tell us that social and cultural factors, which vary regionally, make rebellion challengingut they are committed to the cause and will keep working. They hope to have their next action in April. We will keep you updated on their progress. 

Spain

21 MAR 

Rebels gathered in Barcelona, at the headquarters of Radio Catalonia, to hand-deliver an open letter to mainstream media. The letter requests coverage of the climate crisis be given the prominence and consistency it deserves. It  points out that this crisis is no longer an inconvenient truth but an unavoidable reality and that to respond appropriately, citizens need accurate information. The letter was signed by over 200 notable people including scientists, economists and representatives of social movements. You can read the full letter (in Spanish) here, and watch a video of the event here.

Australia

22 MAR

Australia’s Declaration of Emergency day saw rebels in four cities deliver their message to government officials in four buildings. In Melbourne, rebels with angel costumes, representing climate guardians, led the march to the Prime Minister’s office where they were  shut out and ignored by government officials. Their thoughtful words raised up en masse would undoubtedly have been heard though, and a security guard accepted their written declaration. All of this and some of the preceding action is in this extended video. Rebels in Adelaide sang songs of peace as they delivered their declaration to the State Administration Centre. Similar actions took place in Sydney and Brisbane. And the pressure it working; Adelaide council will vote this week on declaring a climate emergency! 

Germany

22 + 23 MAR

In Berlin, rebels held a protest to disrupt a meeting of the of coalition leading party CDU’s Council of Economic Affairs. The following day they staged a die-in at Berlin’s Tegel airport to highlight the extreme climate damage caused by aeroplanes.

France

24 MAR

France declared their rebellion, marking the beginning of non-violent civil disobedience there. The  Paris event opened with a concert and included speeches from scientists, authors and activists, and offered creative workshops for all ages. There was extensive media coverage including (in French) herehere, and here. Simultaneously, rebels performed a die-in at the Natural History Museum, Paris. French rebels are now busy planning their next actions.

Belgium

24 – 26 MAR

Extinction Rebellion Belgium and Greenpeace Belgium jointly organised Occupy For Climate in Brussels. Joined by hundreds of people, many of them members of various other environmental groups, they occupied the area in front of the Parliament building in Brussels. After camping there on Sunday night, and after discussions with police, they moved to nearby Troonplein where they spent Monday night. They were pressuring legislators to make constitutional amendments that would allow a law to be passed binding the government to commitments already made under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Their persistence paid off The Constitutional Review Committee voted on Tuesday to make the necessary amendment. Now it must be put to a plenary vote on Thursday. Most rebels have left, but a small hardcore team is camping out until then. You can follow their progress on their facebook page.