Federal judge rules, homeless camp residents given 72 hours notice to vacate

Second round of mediation was unsuccessful

By JESSICA A YORK | Santa Cruz Sentinel – April 29, 2019

SAN JOSE — A federal court judge sent Santa Cruz city officials and litigants in a homeless civil rights lawsuit back to a second round of mediated talks Monday in the midst of witness testimony.

U.S. District Court Judge Edward Davila was, he said, determined to “finish this case today.”

As with Friday, the second round of negotiations proved unsuccessful.

Shortly after 6 p.m. Davila ruled he will dissolve the temporary restraining order due to his opinions that the main case is unlikely to succeed on its merits and that plaintiffs have not shown irreparable harm.

The City expects to post eviction notices at the homeless camp at Gateway Plaze, behind Ross Dress For Less, early Tuesday morning, meaning “move out day” would not be before 72 hours have passed, which would be Friday morning.

Attorney Anthony Prince, appearing for a group of homeless litigants representing themselves, said he is “inclined to appeal.”

As of press time Monday, Davila was hearing from the first and only witness city officials planned to call in the case. Earlier in the day, Prince called nine people to testify.

Friday, Prince criticized the city’s efforts in negotiations, telling Davila, “Frankly, we didn’t see much change at all in the position the city’s taken.” He also shared frustrations that Deputy City Attorney Reed Gallogly reportedly had disclosed details from the ostensibly private mediation in open court.

Democracy.Earth

The Democracy Earth Reading List

Direct Democracy, Liquid Democracy, and the promise of Open Ledger Technology

Feb. 2019 Democracy Earth – Token Economics.pdf

Feb. 2019 Proof of Identity, Liquid Democracy, and the Smart Social Contract: Santiago Siri’s Plan For Government on a Blockchain

Apr. 2019 Democracy Earth Foundation – Home | Facebook

Mar. 2018 Santiago Siri on the Decentralized Future: What is it and how do we not screw it up?

Apr. 2018 The Geopolitics of Blockchain: Santi Siri on The BlockCrunch Podcast hosted by Jason Choi

Aug. 2018 Are Blockchains the Answer for Secure Elections? Probably Not – Scientific American

Aug. 2018 Meet Santiago Siri, the Man With a Radical Plan for Blockchain Voting | WIRED

Dec. 2018 Yellow Jackets on the Sovereign platform

Dec. 2018 Humans on the Blockchain: Why Crypto Is the Best Defense Against AI Overlords – CoinDesk

Jul. 2017 The Social Smart Contract

2017 Santiago Siri (Argentina) | MIT Technology Review

Sep. 2017 Want to make your vote really count? Stick a blockchain on it | New Scientist

Jul. 2016 Democracy Earth : Liquid Democracy for the Internet Era

Aug. 2016 Democracy Is Getting A Reboot On The Blockchain

Dec. 2016 Quadratic Voting.pdf

Feb. 2015 Democracy at the touch of a button? – Newsnight – YouTube

Jul. 2014 Designing an Operating System for Democracy – The Atlantic

Meet Shahid Buttar, the man who would unseat Nancy Pelosi

By Joe Eskenazi | Apr 4, 2019 | (missionlocal.com)

Meet Shahid Buttar, the man who would unseat Nancy Pelosi

Shahid Buttar hopes to take his act to Congress. But beating Rep. Nancy Pelosi is a task ranging somewhere from herculean to sisyphean.

Shahid Buttar arrives for an interview at a corner cafe carrying a small stepladder. He will, hours later, be hanging art for the official launch of his campaign for Congress in 2020. But it’s a fitting allegory for a man with quite an obstacle to surmount.

Buttar, 44, isn’t just running for any old seat in Congress. He’s running a Democratic Party primary challenge for the seat held, for quite some time, by Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi. The Speaker of the House, the nation’s preeminent political tactician, a prodigious fund-raiser, and the lady who condescendingly golf-clapped at Donald Trump during the State of the Union address after humiliating him in a cringe-worthy televised exchange.

Fair enough. He thinks he can take her.

“We don’t have the indices yet to demonstrate the earthquake across our national body politic — a generational transition is happening,” says the Democratic Socialist. “Young people radicalized by the financial crisis of 2008 are not arrayed on any political map.” They are too far to the left to be registered, he holds. These are his people, and his potential voters.

“The political spectrum is sliding to the left. I am here to recapture the Democratic Party for labor and the left. Under the Clintons, with Pelosi, the party was co-opted by capital.”

Buttar is a tall, thin man with long salt-and-pepper hair pulled into a bun, a drooping Kevin Durant beard, and a propensity for scarves. He speaks quickly and uses lengthy, complex sentences perhaps more befitting the Stanford-educated Constitutional lawyer he is than the aspirational politician he also is.

And while Buttar’s life story is different from any politician you’ve ever heard of, it is, when you think about it, a compelling life story for a politician.

Shahid Buttar amassed some 18,000 votes in his 2018 run vs. Pelosi. But he was a late entry into the race. With four times as much time to campaign leading up to the 2020 race, he thinks he can do better.

Buttar’s parents emigrated from Pakistan to Great Britain before he was born to escape religious persecution (the family belongs to a sect of Islam called Ahmadiyya that Buttar says is the Muslim equivalent of Unitarianism). The family then left Britain to escape post-colonial racism in 1976, when Buttar was two, and moved to the rural American Midwest: Rosebud, Missouri, population 320, a no-stoplight town. And that was great.

“People there were, frankly, lovely to us,” he recalls. “There was a literal welcoming committee coming to our front door with baked goods.”

Buttar feels his childhood memories are of America at its best. His subsequent experiences were not as idyllic. His family’s home was foreclosed upon when he was a freshman at the University of Chicago, and he spent the better part of the next decade bouncing around jobs by day while amassing university courses at night. He did graphic presentation work for Merrill Lynch, Saloman Smith Barney, JP Morgan and other captains of industry. These were eye-opening experiences, and, not coincidentally, he would write an undergraduate thesis about “radical redistribution in the market economy.” This won a statewide prize, and Buttar caught the attention of Stanford law school.

And that put him on his current trajectory: A young attorney defending the mayor of New Paltz, New York, who opted to marry same-sex couples; staff counsel for a Muslim advocacy group combating FBI infiltration into activist groups, and, for the past four years, an advocacy director with the digital civil rights group the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

It’s partly this work against big-government surveillance that spurs Buttar in a political quest he laughingly likens to public immolation. For while Pelosi demonstrably — and theatrically — kneecapped the president in his quest for a Medieval border wall, Buttar claims she’s hardly countered him on something he considers more insidious: “the surveillance net across the country that corporate Democrats accept and even embrace.”

If, by some alchemy, Shahid Buttar dispatched a 17-term Congresswoman at the apogee of her political power and popularity, what would he push for?

Well, for one, he’d advocate for Washington State Rep. Pramila Jayapal’s Medicare-For-All legislation. He’d champion the Green New Deal. And he’d move to end mass surveillance.

Pelosi, in her 16 successful defenses of her seat, has faced some unusual competitors. There was anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, who chalked up the 2008 fiscal meltdown to Bill Clinton and George W. Bush “leveraging things.” And there was Libertarian John Dennis, who may or may not have wanted to privatize your sidewalk and released a Crazy Eddie-quality commercial of Dennis throwing a bucket of water on a Nancy Pelosi Wicked Witch of the West.

A decade ago, Shahid Buttar was counsel for the group Muslim Advocates. He describes then-FBI boss Robert Mueller III as “my principal nemesis. … I knew him as a right-wing affectuator of authoritarianism.“

Running for office against Nancy Pelosi is crazy. But Buttar is not crazy. His advocacy for Medicare for All and the Green New Deal probably hews closer to what most San Franciscans would want than Pelosi’s own positions. Buttar accuses the speaker of being not a climate denier but a “climate delayer.” To him, this is the worse crime. Rather than being a fool or anti-science, she is intelligent and understands science — and is still not moving for sweeping action. “That,” he says, “is the most damning indictment of a representative.”

Buttar, too, is no fool. He knows the monumental task at hand of unseating a 17-term Congresswoman who raises cash with the skill Jimi Hendrix displayed at strumming a guitar and may be the nation’s premier political general. But there’s winning and there’s winningAnd if some of his positions force the Speaker to modify hers, there is some solace in that.

But a lot can happen between now and 2020 and, hours before his ceremonial entry into the race, Buttar is in no mood to talk about moral victories. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez knocked off 20-year Congressman Joe Crowley, after all, and he was seen as unbeatable, too. If Ocasio-Cortez’s meteoric rise continues and if Bernie Sanders is atop the forthcoming  Democratic ticket — who knows? Maybe Buttar’s quest won’t be so quixotic after all.

A man can dream.

“Look, I’m no sycophant to the founders. But the Constitution and Bill of Rights — they mean something,” he says. “My family moved here to be free. I don’t want to see freedom slip through my fingers on my watch.”

YOUNG DEMOCRATS AT 40 COLLEGE CAMPUSES CALL FOR BOYCOTT OF THE DCCC

Akela Lacy
April 25 2019 (theintercept.com)

YOUNG DEMOCRATS AT 31 colleges across the country are boycotting the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee over its decision to cut off vendors working for primary challengers.

The Harvard College Democrats released a letter Wednesday calling for a national boycott of donations to the party’s House campaign arm, urging people instead to contribute to individual candidates until the DCCC reverses the rule. By Wednesday afternoon, 26 chapters of college Democrats from Spelman to Arizona State had signed the letter calling the policy “regressive” and “undemocratic.” By Thursday, 14 more joined, according to Hank Sparks, president of the Harvard College Democrats.

The DCCC released guidelines last month for vendors working the 2020 election cycle, requiring them to agree not to work with any candidates challenging Democratic incumbents. The committee has stood by the change even as progressive leaders met privately with Chair Cheri Bustos and slammed it. Former committee Chair Ben Ray Luján has distancedhimself from the policy. And House Democrats — including Reps. Ted Lieu, former DCCC vice chair and current vice chair of House Democrats’ LGBT Equality caucus; Ayanna Pressley; Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Raul Grijalva; Joe Kennedy; Jahana Hayes — have voiced their opposition.

“The rule would financially deter and greatly disadvantage vital new voices in our party, who are often younger and come from underrepresented and historically marginalized communities and identities,” the students’ letter reads. “Primary challengers are essential to ensure that the Democratic Party is continually held accountable to the needs of our constituents. This blacklist policy is undemocratic and antithetical to our values of inclusion and diversity.”

The students also call out the DCCC for releasing the vendor rule alongside diversity standards it will hold vendors to. They cite Pressley, who said that Democrats “cannot credibly lay claim to prioritizing diversity & inclusion when institutions like the DCCC implement policies that threaten to silence new voices and historically marginalized communities.”Join Our NewsletterOriginal reporting. Fearless journalism. Delivered to you.I’m in

This is young Harvard politicos’ second moment in the national spotlight in the span of a week, as students from the school drew attention through aggressive questioning of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and others at a recent televised presidential forum. One student, in a health care question directed to California Sen. Kamala Harris, bizarrely caped for insurance companies. (Harris told the student not to be “duped.”) Another student told Sanders that the money he earned from his best-selling book “undermines your authority as someone who has railed against millionaires and billionaires.” A third demanded that he explain the “failures of socialism in nearly every country that has tried it.”

Even for Harvard Democrats, though, the DCCC has gone too far in its pursuit of a monopoly over the direction of the party. Sparks told The Intercept that the students have been building a coalition over the last week, and that after the CNN town hall on Monday, they realized “we do have a platform to sort of bring attention to things.”

Sparks said his chapter was heavily involved in phone-banking for the DCCC in 2018, particularly for races in districts designated as “Red to Blue,” where the committee identified promising challengers in Republican-held districts and gave them a boost in fundraising and organizational support.

“We do feel like we’ve done a lot of work to sort of help build this new Democratic majority,” Sparks said. “And so we feel like we’re stakeholders in this process as young Democrats. That they should consult us on policies like these.”

College students aren’t exactly bundling big money for the DCCC. “Honestly, it probably won’t have a big financial impact,” Sparks said. “But it’s more about using this language of boycott to draw attention to the issue and to use our platform as students to hopefully get them to reconsider the policy.”

The DCCC says its record of supporting candidates of diverse backgrounds speaks for itself.

“The DCCC is proud of its historic work, flipping 43 formerly Republican seats and electing the most diverse caucus in American history,” DCCC spokesperson Cole Leiter said in a statement to The Intercept. “And as Democrats in the House combat Republicans’ attacks on Americans’ health care, take on special interests in Washington, and fight for an economy that works for everyday Americans, we are already well into our work to fortify this newly won House Majority and take the fight even deeper into ruby-red districts come 2020.”

Sparks and young students across the country poised to carry on the party’s work don’t see it that way. “Primary challengers like Ayanna Pressley and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez have brought to the fore issues like climate justice in a very, very new way,” Sparks said. “And I think to do anything that would silence voices like theirs would not be good for the party.”

If you’re a college student who is joining the boycott, contact this reporter at akela.lacy@theintercept.com.

Correction: April 25, 2019, 1:51 p.m. ET
A previous version of this article misstated Rep. Ted Lieu’s affiliation with House Democrats’ LGBT Equality caucus, of which he is a vice chair. The article has also been updated to clarify that the DCCC set standards for diversity among vendors, rather than affirming its commitment to diversity. The piece has also been updated to reflect the growing number of college groups that joined the boycott. 

Extinction Rebellion

April 27, 2019 (rebellion.earth)

We’ve created wonders. We’ve made history. We’re just getting started.

The London Rebellion, after ten unbelievable days, relinquished its final location on Thursday. We’re coming back to a different world.

At a monumental people’s assembly on Monday, rebels from across the UK came together to discuss how we’d move forward. Amazing ideas were shared, and were recorded to be visible herehere and here; we hope these ideas will also be seen in the shape of the plan going forwards.

An important part of this plan was when and how to leave our last location at Marble Arch. The discussion of this question began on Monday afternoon, and was made extra pertinent by a police raid later that evening, and then another the following day. During the latter – and from a police-cordoned stage – a further people’s assembly was convened to address specifically this question. A majority agreed to hold a closing ceremony at 5pm on Thursday.

We’ll be leaving London’s streets on our own terms – and what terms! It’s clear that we’ve entered a new level of membership and support, both in the UK and abroad. Our social media following has more than doubled on all platforms; our Instagram reached over 8 million people in one week. With 40,000 new members since last Monday we’ve just crossed the 100,000 mark, and we’re nearing on 400 XR branches globally.

In London we pledged not to leave the streets until we saw serious engagement from government. Since MPs returning on Tuesday we’ve had so much political traction it warrants a whole section, the short version of which is that we’re doing really well. Is it enough? Of course not. The change we demand for the sake of our world is enormous; the apocalyptic interests against it are powerful.

It’s in view of this, and by demand from several peoples’ assemblies, that we came back to Parliament on Tuesday and Wednesday (see below); that we caused disruption all over London’s financial districts on Thursday; and it’s why we won’t stop until our demands are met.

And it’s why, from the end of this week, we’ll be getting ready to spreadour message wherever we go, in our local communities and across the world. But before we start this next journey, we encourage all rebels to take the time to rest, regenerate and reflect. It’s good timing because the long-term wellbeing team just finished a fantastic guide on post-rebellion care, which we strongly recommend that all rebels read. There are also online debriefs.

As part of this reflection process, this team would like to take a moment of humble gratitude – to our incredible members, of course (we’d especially like to welcome the recent arrival of XR Pakistan), but also to so many others who’ve made this Rebellion possible. To the many movements before and around us from the Chartists to RTS, Occupy to PNR and so many more, who fought and fight for our right to political protest. To the NGOs who’ve lent us their support, and the churches who gave us their space. We look forward to working togetherwhere we can, for the sake of the planet.

Political Traction

MPs have been returning to Westminster since Tuesday. As they’ve come back, we’ve seen a remarkable new level of environmental engagement.

This has been at its most apparent in the Commons’ hour-and-a-half discussion of the “Extinction Rebellion Urgent Question”. Among other highlights this featured a call from Ed Miliband for a government declaration of climate emergency and the implementation of a ‘green new deal’. The government’s familiarly brazen response of celebrating ‘progress to date’ seemed to ring a little more hollow than usual, the more so with Greta Thunberg watching from the gallery.

The general picture for now is of greater support from Labour, underlined in person when Extinction Rebellion Youth presented a letter to Diane Abbott outside Parliament. However there’s hope for the Tories yet, as Environment Secretary Michael Gove has offered a meeting with Extinction Rebellion. Sceptics might note the twelve past occasions on which Gove has voted against measures to address climate change, along with his attempt as Education Secretary to remove climate change from the GCSE geography curriculum… but we’re not here to bring up the past – we’re here for the future.

Beyond these early and official exchanges, our political strategy team also reports lively engagement ‘through backchannels’ – we can only speculate what might emerge from these.

We’re just two days into this session but it’s already clear, as one paper puts it, “Extinction Rebellion protests have WORKED”.

And if you’re feeling political: now that we have such a strong case in the Commons it might not be a bad time to indulge in a bit of petition signing.

What’s next for London and the UK?

Several people’s assemblies held in the last few days, including these ones, have been the primary guidance for what happened this week and will happen next

First, regenerate! As goes the fifth of our key principles and values: We value reflecting and learning. Following a cycle of action, reflection, learning, and planning for more action. Learning from other movements and contexts as well as our own experiences. This process can and should take time, and is an important part of how we do things. One London-based opportunity to do this will be a musical event on Monday.

Second – decentralise! From Saturday we’re encouraging rebels to return to our communities, whether in London, around the UK or internationally, and to tell the truth as it is. One of the most literal ways to do this might be to call a local radio station (see notices for tips); but the greater project will involve finding or starting a local group, and knitting these groups into a network of local and international solidarity. There’s already a lot coming up on the international scale: mass die-insa mother’s day march, and a global climate strike.

And as the last of these suggests, we’re also very keen to engage with other movements where we can. There’s already an opportunity this weekend, when the brilliant Reclaim the Power will hold a National Gathering. If you’re making summer plans already, RTP are also holding a mass action camp from the 26th of July.

We’ll try to keep you posted with similar events going forwards. If there’s something you think we should know about, whether XR-organised or otherwise, please email xr-newsletter@protonmail.com.

Credit: George Butler

Parliament Square

Before we begin with the historic happenings of the Square over the last few days, an apology is due. It turns out there is not just one man living atop the tall trees overlooking the green, but half a dozen, a veritable brotherhood of bark scalers living among the foliage, unscathed by the policing operations below. Some have been up there now for 10 days. This reporter ant can only offer the admittedly meagre excuse that he is short-sighted and that those towering trees tops really are very far away. XR Tree House gang, we salute you all!

Tuesday saw the first fledgling flutters of a loving relationship between XR and Parliament. But it’s also clear that this relationship isn’t going to be easy. There will be sickness, and there will be health. In the morning, hundreds upon hundreds of rebels gathered in the shade of Marble Arch and headed for Westminster Palace, the plan being that they would hand over letters to their local MPs returning from recess. The letters would invite the politician to a people’s assembly on the climate and ecological crisis, and make clear XR’s three core demands – that the Government declare a climate emergency, that they act now to achieve net zero carbon by 2025, and that they are led by the decisions of a National Citizens Assembly.

The climate-conscious colonnade, peppered with banners and flags, and drummers and singers, marched along Hyde park to Buckingham Palace, then down the Mall towards Whitehall, a light police escort clearing the roads ahead and shielding the marchers from traffic.

But on arrival at Parliament Square, the welcome they received was not warm. A police cordon blocked off the Houses of Parliament, and white tape had been put up to funnel the marchers onto the green. While many rebels settled there to write more letters and prepare them for send off, some tried to deliver a first batch using the Cromwell entrance point. The police wouldn’t let them through.

What then followed was, with the benefit of hindsight, a massive exercise in stalling. A police liaison officer mooted a new drop off point at No.1 Parliament Street, asking rebels to collect into groups of ten and await chaperoned entry. It took until 4pm for the first rebels to gain access, but with the building closing at 6pm, the clock ticking on, and many hundreds of rebels patiently waiting with their letters, it was clear that this system was not fit for purpose. Doubly so when those first rebels to gain access returned with letters still in hand, telling tales of needing ‘green cards’ to ‘mass lobby’ MPs whose attendance must be prearranged.

The majority of rebels settled down on the green and listened to speeches from, amongst others, three real-life Labour MPs who championed their cause! Clive Lewis (Norwich South), Lloyd Russell-Moyle (Brighton Kemptown), and Tonia Antoniazzi (Gower) all spoke in passionate support of the rebels and what they had achieved, allaying some of the frustration felt by the crowd. With the Green Party MP Caroline Lucas (Brighton Pavilion) having already appeared on the Marble Arch stage on Monday, that makes a grand total of four MPs who have now publicly professed their unflinching support for Extinction Rebellion and its aims. Just 646 more to go, then we can all get a good night’s rest.

But about 200 tenacious rebels decided to not give up after the folly at 1 Parliament Street, and headed for Churchill’s gate to try and deliver their letters. Police swarmed in to form another cordon, and so the exasperated rebels sat down in the street holding their letters aloft, demanding their democratic right to communicate with their representatives. Threats of arrests and section 14’s started to circulate. It was at this point that a dame in shining armour arrived. Baroness Jenny Jones, the only Green Party member of the House of Lords, spoke to the rebels, negotiated with the police then Westminster security, and managed to get permission for a small group of protestors to visit the Palace. The jubilant protestors self-organised quickly, and soon 12 rebel representatives carrying great stacks of letters were ushered through the gate. Many security checks later, they found themselves in the inner square… only to be blocked by security again. Two options were eventually given to them by the head of Westminster security. Leave the many hundreds of letters in the post room, or return on Wednesday with an alphabetized list of MPs addressed in the letters, and start a process to ‘mass lobby’ them (essentially meet with them in groups). It was also clear by this point that there were no MPs left in the building – it was late and they had all gone home. The rebels elected to return the next day, with one representative describing the day as “hugely farcical and frustrating”. After the elation at gaining entry to the halls of power, the disappointment at not meeting one minister, and not handing over one letter, was immense. For many in attendance, never had their parliamentary democracy seemed so removed from its stated aims. Although the process of giving someone a letter had seemed a simple one, Parliament is an arcane institution that has been designed to make even basic contact with MPs difficult. But we are learning, we are adapting, and we are not going anywhere. If any MPs are reading, get ready. Loving democratic engagement is heading your way, like it or not. There is no planet B. But thanks to XR, there is a lot of people power.

UPDATE: 1:00pm – Labour MP Diane Abbott (Hackney North & Stoke Newington) has joined the XR MP supporters club. The Shadow Home Secretary met with a group of XR Youth rebels on the square and accepted their letter. So now it’s just 645 MPs to go!

UPDATE: 4:00pm – Police have started ushering down the rebels living atop the Parliament Square trees using cherry picker hydraulic lifts. XR Tree House gang, we only just formally knew thee. You have inspired us to look directly upright far more often, both when attending protests and in day to day life.

UPDATE: 10:00pm – After a titanic effort involving rebels being literally sent round the houses (of parliament) I am happy to report that the letters were finally delivered to MPs on Wednesday afternoon. They overcame delusional advice from parliamentary aides (you can just give your letter to your MP!), false promises by police liaison officers, wrong numbers from Westminster security, bureaucratic headaches (alphabetize 1000 letters according to MP surname!), bad weather (it rained while they were alphabetizing 1000 letters on the grass of the square), and many, many hours of waiting (two days nearly), but a group of around 20 rebels did finally gain access to 1 Parliament Street, some of their local MPs were able to talk with them in Conference Room C, and all the letters were handed over in two great folders, with the promise that they would be united with their intended MP recipient. It was a clash of cultures, it was an episode of ‘The Thick Of It’ written by Franz Kafka, but ultimately, people power prevailed. Whose representative democracy? Our representative democracy!

Police v trees

Marble Arch

After a stunning week of peaceful disruption across central London, Monday at the Arch marked the start of a new phase in the Rebellion. The pupa stage of speeches, singing, and street arrests across multiple sites was now developing into the imago of public assembly at a consolidated HQ, and a thriving movement was now openly deciding how best to flex its bulging, crowd-built muscles. 

Despite the pressure of knowing the world’s media and Greater London’s police force were recording every temperature check, and the daunting responsibility of distilling the thoughts of a thousand, excited, sun-baked minds, the People’s Assembly on XR’s future was a beautiful success – the kind of universal, non-hierarchical, political gathering one would have thought could only exist in an episode of Star Trek (for more details on the Public Assembly and the decisions that emerged, see the intro).

The group feast that followed was another vision to behold, with hundreds of rebels taking turns to kneel at a great white tablecloth zigzagging along the ground, and chow down on vegetable curry, salad, and sponge cake, all on one plate (curry with cake works folks – try it – just another way that XR has blown my mind). The music that followed was an eclectic mix, even for XR, with a booming reggae set, a man with a ukulele, and then internationally acclaimed folk rock superstar Beth Orton. A few yards away, shoppers, tourists and rebels sat together on the tarmac of Oxford street doodling and writing messages on a great roll of paper that was being gradually unfurled like a carpet.

So far, so new. But then came something sadly familiar. Just before 10pm, the herd of white vans arrived, and 200 police officers marched into camp, surrounding the truck that housed the Marble Arch stage. In a reversal of the normal roles, the crowd sang in unison (“Climate justice now, people gonna rise like water…”) while on stage, police dismantled the sound system in silence. Fears that the fuzz might go on to dismantle the entire camp proved unfounded (for now) and the rozzers retreated into the night with only their amplified music equipment to keep them company.

They were not gone long.

As journalist George Monbiot addressed the crowds the next day, the familiar phalanx of officers reappeared. Again they made a beeline for the now ‘emergency’ stage (using a secondary sound system recovered from the Waterloo bridge site), and again they surrounded it. But this time they came armed with a section 14 order – meaning they did not just have their beady eyes on the sound system, but the truck and potentially the entire site. Everyone decided to disregard the police presence and just carry on as planned. George finished his speech extolling the rebellion (“What we have seen in London over the past few days, people will look back to as the tipping point.”) and the rebel crowds then held a scheduled people’s assembly, breaking out into discussion groups to debate how long to hold the Marble Arch site. In the background, the police started their long struggle to remove the arrestees locked-on to the stage truck. Three were chained to the base and another three were on the roof. Many more rebels knelt beside them in solidarity.

As night fell, the Arch campsite was alive with samba drums and hula hooping, but the police presence remained, and the mood was anxious. To struggle on in defiant disruption, or make a gracious and tidy retreat? That was the question. The answer to gradually emerge from the camp was the latter, with Thursday being the settled leaving day. Hours later, the police again retreated with only another sound system to add to their war chest (bravo you sterling lock-ons!) but not before issuing a decree that no amplified music be played on site – only educational speeches. They also issued a section 14 to reclaim the roads around the Arch, indicating the camp itself would be safe until Friday. As the large kitchen tent was relocated from the road on Wednesday morning, the last bastion of the Great London Rebellion appears to have just hours left to stand. But it will fall on our terms, at our time, and be done with characteristic grace as the police look on. There will be a leaving ceremony on Thursday night, where there will be poems and songs, and a final litter clean up on the Friday morning. It will be sad, it will be joyous. It will be another technical defeat that feels like a historic victory.

UPDATE: 4:00pm – Extinction Rebellion has formally announced a voluntary end to Marble Arch and Parliament Square blockades on Thursday, with a closing ceremony for the London Rebellion at Speaker’s Corner, Hyde Park at 6pm.

The police move in on Marble Arch, and the varied animals therein

Young Actions

Over 300 rebels, more than half of them children, marched through Waltham Forest to the town hall to call on their council to declare a climate emergency. They also planted an XR symbol in a flowerbed in the centre of their community that would grow bigger and stronger like the movement.

Photo: Catrin Nye 

The children of XR Islington brought plants and flowers to Jeremy Corbyn’s constituency office to extend an invitation to the people’s assembly on climate action at Parliament Square.

XR Youth Islington @XRIslington

Natural History Museum

Photos: Terry Matthews

On Monday afternoon around 100 rebels of all sizes lay down under the blue whale skeleton in the Natural history museum for a mass die-in. The protest lasted about an hour, with the ever-ravishing Red Brigade closing the event with a preternatural performance on the museum’s stone stairway.

Photos: Terry Matthews

Hilton die-in

Credit: The Lightscraper

A good time was had by all.

Notices:

XR Podcast

Our new podcast is all about Citizens’ Assemblies. Featuring Matthew Taylor, Sarah Allan and Rupert Read. The new episode will be LIVE on all major platforms from Friday morning! You can listen to it on Apple Podcast or Spotify or Podomatic.

Engaging local Radio

East London Radio hosted an XR love-in on Friday with a rebellious take on ‘Desert Island Discs’ where rebels got to explain the movement and play some of their favourite tracks. The template of the show could be a great one for other local radio stations to adopt, or for affinity groups looking to socialise and educate new members in a new way. You are all free to copy it and can listen to the show here.

For a list of BBC local radio stations, see here.

Rebels Channel

Our video-tableau of humanity just launched – see here!

International Highlights

Disclaimer: those involved in writing these updates are excited but exhausted by the day’s events; we’re deeply, deeply appreciate of our fellow rebels around the world, and will do our best to cover their incredible, moving and inspiring exploits – but we can’t promise to catch everything! If you have a story that we’ve missed, please email us at xr-newsletter@protonmail.com with ‘Story’ in the subject line.

Pakistan

XR Pakistan got its first ever mention in a national newspaper. “Extinction Rebellion Pakistan is part of an international protest movement that has gathered steam in recent months and it calls for people from all over the world to ‘come together to save ourselves’. Pakistan is in a climate crisis but its minister incharge is a bigger cause for concern” Rina Saeed Khan, April 21 2019, The Express Tribune.

XR Pakistan

Chile

To mark Earth Day, rebels in Chile orchestrated an urban die-in, symbolising how life on Earth is shutting down.

Photo: Belen Morales Ferrer

Czech Republic

The Czech Republic gets involved. Rebels from Prague and Brno repaint the Lennon wall in Prague with the words klimatické nouze; climate emergency in Czech.

XR Czech Republic

Photos XR Czech Republic @XRczech

France

Despite the brutal response of the police in Paris over the weekend, where protesters were pepper sprayed, rebels in Marseille decorated their streets with our key messages and shared values.

Photos: Extinction Rebellion France

The Netherlands

Rebels held a street party in The Hague to celebrate our beautiful planet and invite new members to our movement.

Photo: Extinction Rebellion Leiden

United States

Actions in the US continue as local groups sprout up across the country. Corporations as well as state and federal government buildings have all been targets. In LA, rebels took over the globe at Universal Studios, calling on NBC/Universal to take action on climate change.

Photo: Extinction Rebellion US

In Portland 11 rebels were arrested for a two day blockade of Zenith Energy, a corporation that profits from transporting dirty oil from tar sands overseas. 

‘We Are the Ones Making a Difference’: Greta Thunberg Addresses Extinction Rebellion in London

April 21, 2019 by Common Dreams

“We will never stop fighting for this planet and for the futures of our children and grandchilden.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

"We are now facing an existential crisis, the climate crisis and ecological crisis which have never been treated as crises before, they have been ignored for decades,"activist Greta Thunberg told thousands in London on Sunday, April 21, 2019. (Photo: @cahulaan/Twitter)" title=""We are now facing an existential crisis, the climate crisis and ecological crisis which have never been treated as crises before, they have been ignored for decades," activist Greta Thunberg told protesters in London on Sun

A day before countries around the world celebrate Earth Day, activist and leader of the School Strike for Climate Greta Thunberg addressed thousands of protesters in London who have been occupying a number of major landmarks for almost a week, rallying the demonstrators to continue their fight against the “existential crisis” brought about by climate change.

“Humanity is now standing at a crossroads,” Thunberg told the protesters gathered at the Marble Arch. “We must now decide which path we want to take. How do we want the future living conditions for all species to be? We have gathered here today and in many other places around London and across the world too, because we have chosen which path we want to take and now we are waiting for the others to follow our example.”

“I come from Sweden, and back there it’s almost the same problem as here — as everywhere — that nothing is being done to stop an ecological crisis, despite all the beautiful words and promises,” Greta told the crowd of thousands.  “We are now facing an existential crisis, the climate crisis, and ecological crisis, which have never been treated as crises before,” she continued. “They have been ignored for decades, and for way too long, the politicians and the people in power have gotten away with not doing anything at all to fight the climate crisis and the ecological crisis. We will make sure that politicians will not get away with it for any longer.” 

Watch:

The demonstrators had joined Extinction Rebellion’s public action, in which members of the movement have also occupied Oxford Circus and Parliament Square and superglued themselves to train cars to disrupt daily life and call attention to the climate crisis.

Police have made at least 963 arrests, according to the Guardian, while London mayor Sadiq Khan has called for the demonstrators to disperse. But leaders of the movement say their message is getting out to the public and that disruption is necessary to convey the dire situation in which world governments have placed communities by ignoring the climate crisis for decades.

“People are willing to be arrested,” spokesperson Ronan McNern said in a statement. “What this disruption is doing, we are the news now. It is making people talk in pubs and buses about Extinction Rebellion. It makes them think about their existence which is under threat.”

“We—people in Extinction Rebellion and the children in the School Strike for Climate—we are the ones making a difference,” said Thunberg, who is 16 and started a global movement last fall when she staged a one-person protest outside Swedish Parliament, refusing to attend school unless lawmakers took action to stop the burning of fossil fuels.

“It shouldn’t be like that but since no one else is doing anything we will have to do so,” she continued. “And we will never stop fighting, we will never stop fighting for this planet and for the futures of our children and grandchilden.”

Extinction Rebellion plans to continue its occupation of some London landmarks, with some leaders calling for a new phase of the protests, in which they will vacate some areas in exchange for the government beginning to carry out their demands.

The movement wants lawmakers to declare a climate and ecological emergency; act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2025; and create a Citizens’ Assembly to lead decision-making regarding ecological and climate justice.

“Today marks a transition from week one, which focused on actions that were vision-holding but also caused mass ‘disruption’ across many dimensions (economic, cultural, emotional, social),” wrote environmental lawyer Farhana Yamin. “Week two marks a new phase of rebellion focused on ‘negotiations’ where the focus will shift to our actual political demands. We want to show that XR [Extinction Rebellion] is a cohesive long-term, global force, not some flash in the pan.”

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

A public bank is good for the planet

More needs to be done to address the many global environmental crises the world is facing. (Courtesy photo)

The days around Earth Day are always full of environmental announcements.

ROBYN PURCHIA (SFExaminer.com)

Apr. 24, 2019

http://sfexaminer.com/category/the-city/sf-news-columns/green-space/

The days around Earth Day are always full of environmental announcements. It’s an exciting time. But it’s hard to feel that it’s enough.

Our planet is in crisis. We need to do more to address the many global environmental crises we’re facing, such as climate change, plastic pollution, toxic proliferation and mass species extinction. As San Francisco acknowledged earlier this month, we’re in a state of climate emergency.

“We are declaring emergency because simply put there is no time to waste,” Supervisor Rafael Mandelman said at a press event introducing the resolution. “The emergency is upon us.”

To address crises fully, we must radically change our culture of over consumption and predatory capitalism. San Francisco should use every tool it can toward this endeavor, including a public bank. While it’s not a promise to go green, a public bank could serve people and the environment better than traditional, profit-motivated financial institutions.

It could enable developers to build more affordable housing near jobs, which can also reduce traffic, air pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and suburban sprawl. It could fund more solar panels and green infrastructure projects, which would create more jobs. The City could also use a public bank to incentivize small businesses that help San Francisco meet ambitious environmental goals, such as stores that contract with sustainable suppliers and avoid single-use plastic items.

A large public bank with capacity to manage San Francisco’s banking needs could offer even greater environmental benefits. The City would be able to divest from large, Wall Street financial institutions that have profited by preying on vulnerable communities and financing destruction.

“A public bank can better direct capital to align with our values,” Kurtis Wu, an advocate with the SF Public Bank Coalition, told me. “It can promote clean energy, zero waste and public transit. It can even support agriculture.”

For years, advocates like Wu have pushed San Francisco closer to establishing the first municipal bank in the country. While the idea was first floated by city officials in the 1970s, it gained traction in the wake of the Occupy protests and movements to divest from fossil fuel corporations. Last month, after over a year of analysis, the Treasurer’s Office released a report analyzing different types of public banks The City could establish.

At first glance, the numbers in the report seem daunting. Startup and operating costs are significant under models that consider a large bank capable of managing San Francisco’s funds.

If The City limits the scope to focus only on direct loans to affordable housing and small businesses, establishing a bank is cheaper. But profitability under this more limited model may never happen.

It may be possible to mitigate these challenges using a phased-approach. Under this scenario, the bank would hold some city funds that are not required for daily operations. The money would allow the bank to provide low-cost lending for affordable housing and small businesses, as well as serve as a foundation for the bank to gradually manage City money.

“It’s very doable,” Molly Cohen, a senior policy analyst with the Treasurer’s Office, said about the approach. “It could make it cheaper in the short term and make profitability happen faster.”

The Treasurer’s Office is expected to present the report to the Board of Supervisors in early May. It’s an opportunity for San Francisco’s legislators to ask questions and offer their thoughts. It’s also a chance for public bank and environmental advocates to push The City toward a solution that will address city needs and concerns. For Wu and other advocates, that means supporting a phased-in approach for a public bank with clear guidelines.

“We have to keep clear benchmarks and timelines to make sure we get to where we need to be,” he told me. “We still have the sense of urgency we’ve always had.”

Quick and powerful action is necessary given the environmental emergency at hand. As activists across the county work to raise environmental awareness and demand action on climate change, a public bank must remain part of the conversation. We need a tool that will help us dismantle a culture that is harming people and the planet.

You’ve got sorting questions. I’ve got answers. Email me at bluegreenorblack@gmail.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 and her point of view is not necessarily that of The Examiner. Check her out at robynpurchia.com