Scenes From This Weekend’s ‘Free Palestine’ Demonstrations in San Francisco

16 MAY 2021/SF NEWS/MATT CHARNOCK (sfist.com)

As the destruction and overarching chaos — that’s included the leveling of a building home to the media offices of the Associated Press and Al Jazeera — between Israeli and Palestinian forces continues, people in several U.S. cities rallied over this weekend to denounce the violence; San Francisco was no different.

Today marked the single deadliest day in the recent Israeli-Palestine conflict, to date. Two Israeli airstrikes in Gaza killed at least 43 Palestinians — including eight children — and injured 50 others early Sunday, marking a new level of violence in the current Israel-Palestinian conflict. (As we mentioned before: Just a day prior, an airstrike demolished the high-rise building which housed several news outlets; the structure, however, was previously evacuated out of caution.)

The past seven days have seen hundreds of people, including young children, have died from actions taken by the Israeli military. And this explosion of inhumanity prompted thousands in San Francisco to take to the streets, up in arms over the recent violence and calling to “free Palestine.”

“I’m out here because I’m against the injustice that’s happening to indigenous people all around the world,” said pro-Palestine protester Norma Gallegos to KRON4. “The Palestinian people have been in that place for a long time and it’s up to us in the U.S. to stop the funding that we have been sending to the state of Israel.”

Another demonstrated said they want to show “the Biden administration that the Palestinian people are one unity and we need to ask [the Presdient]” to stop sending aid to the apartheid state of Israel.”

“Enough is enough, our people have been suffering for the last 70 years,” they concluded. Judging by the thousands of held signs lambasting the violence against Palensiten held across San Francisco yesterday, that “enough is enough” couldn’t ring more true.

To save your digist from scrolling through Twitter hashtags and retweets, here’s a look into Saturday’s “Free Palestine” demonstrations held throughout the seven-by-seven.

Image: Twitter/@AROCBayArea

Chris Hedges: Israel, the Big Lie

BY MODERATOR (scheerpost.com)

May 14, 2021 29 Comments on Chris Hedges: Israel, the Big Lie

Israel is not exercising “the right to defend itself” in the occupied Palestinian territories. It is carrying out mass murder, aided and abetted by the U.S.

Smoke rises following Israeli airstrikes on a building in Gaza City, Thursday, May 13, 2021. Weary Palestinians are somberly marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, as Hamas and Israel traded more rockets and airstrikes and Jewish-Arab violence raged across Israel. [AP Photo/Hatem Moussa]

By Chris Hedges / Original to ScheerPost

Nearly all the words and phrases used by the Democrats, Republicans and the talking heads on the media to describe the unrest inside Israel and the heaviest Israeli assault against the Palestinians since the 2014 attacks on Gaza, which lasted 51 days and killed more than 2,200 Palestinians, including 551 children, are a lie.  Israel, by employing its military machine against an occupied population that does not have mechanized units, an air force, navy, missiles, heavy artillery and command-and-control, not to mention a U.S. commitment to provide a $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over the next decade, is not exercising “the right to defend itself.” It is carrying out mass murder. It is a war crime. 

Israel has made it clear it is ready to destroy and kill as wantonly now as it was in 2014. Israel’s defense minister Benny Gantz, who was the chief of staff during the murderous assault on Gaza in 2014, has vowed that if Hamas “does not stop the violence, the strike of 2021 will be harder and more painful than that of 2014.” The current attacks have already targeted several residential high rises including buildings that housed over a dozen local and international press agencies, government buildings, roads, public facilities, agricultural lands, two schools and a mosque.

I spent seven years in the Middle East as a correspondent, four of them as The New York Times Middle East Bureau Chief. I am an Arabic speaker. I lived for weeks at a time in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison where over two million Palestinians exist on the edge of starvation, struggle to find clean water and endure constant Israeli terror. I have been in Gaza when it was pounded with Israeli artillery and air strikes. I have watched mothers and fathers, wailing in grief, cradling the bloodied bodies of their sons and daughters. I know the crimes of the occupation—the food shortages caused by the Israeli blockade, the stifling overcrowding, the contaminated water, the lack of health services, the near constant electrical outages due to the Israeli targeting of power plants, the crippling poverty, the endemic unemployment, the fear and the despair. I have witnessed the carnage. 

I also have listened from Gaza to the lies emanating from Jerusalem and Washington. Israel’s indiscriminate use of modern, industrial weapons to kill thousands of innocents, wound thousands more and make tens of thousands of families homeless is not a war: It is state-sponsored terror.  And, while I oppose the indiscriminate firing of rockets by Palestinians into Israel, as I oppose suicide bombings, seeing them also as war crimes, I am acutely aware of a huge disparity between the industrial violence carried out by Israel against innocent Palestinians and the minimal acts of violence capable of being waged by groups such as Hamas.

The false equivalency between Israeli and Palestinian violence was echoed during the war I covered in Bosnia.  Those of us in the besieged city of Sarajevo were pounded daily with hundreds of heavy shells and rockets from the surrounding Serbs. We were targeted by sniper fire. The city suffered a few dozen dead and wounded each day. The government forces inside the city fired back with light mortars and small arms fire. Supporters of the Serbs seized on any casualties caused by Bosnian government forces to play the same dirty game, although well over 90 percent of the killings in Bosnia were the fault of the Serbs, as is also true regarding Israel.  

The second and perhaps most important parallel is that the Serbs, like the Israelis, were the principal violators of international law. Israel is in breach of more than 30 U.N. Security Council resolutions. It is in breach of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that defines collective punishment of a civilian population as a war crime. It is in violation of Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention for settling over half a million Jewish Israelis on occupied Palestinian land and for the ethnic cleansing of at least 750,000 Palestinians when the Israeli state was founded and another 300,000 after Gaza, East Jerusalem and the West Bank were occupied following the 1967 war. Its annexation of East Jerusalem and the Syrian Golan Heights violates international law, as does its building of a security barrier in the West Bank that annexes Palestinian land into Israel. It is in violation of U.N. General Assembly Resolution 194 that states that Palestinian “refugees wishing to return to their homes and live at peace with their neighbors should be permitted to do so at the earliest practicable date.” 

This is the truth.  Any other starting point for the discussion of what is taking place between Israel and the Palestinians is a lie.

Israel’s once vibrant peace movement and political left, which condemned and protested against the Israeli occupation when I lived in Jerusalem, is moribund. The right-wing Netanyahu government, despite its rhetoric about fighting terrorism, has built an alliance with the repressive regime in Saudi Arabia, which also views Iran as an enemy.  Saudi Arabia, a country that  produced 15 of the 19 hijackers in the September 11 attacks, is reputed to be the most prolific sponsor of international Islamist terrorism, allegedly supporting Salafist jihadism, the basis of al-Qaeda, and groups such as the Afghanistan TalibanLashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and the Al-Nusra Front.  

Saudi Arabia and Israel worked closely together to back the 2013 military coup in Egypt, led by General Adbul Fattah el Sisi. Sisi overthrew a democratically elected government. He has imprisoned tens of thousands of government critics, including journalists and human rights defenders, on politically motivated charges.  The Sisi regime collaborates with Israel by keeping its common border with Gaza closed to Palestinians, trapping them in the Gaza strip, one of the most densely populated places on earth. Israel’s cynicism and hypocrisy, especially when it wraps itself in the mantle of protecting democracy and fighting terrorism, is of epic proportions. 

Those who are not Jewish in Israel are either second class citizens or live under brutal military occupation. Israel is not, and never has been, the exclusive homeland of the Jewish people.  From the 7th century until 1948, when Jewish colonial settlers used violence and ethnic cleansing to create the state of Israel, Palestine was overwhelmingly Muslim. It was never empty land.  The Jews in Palestine were traditionally a tiny minority. The United States is not an honest broker for peace but has funded, enabled and defended Israel’s crimes against the Palestinian people.  Israel is not defending the rule of law.  Israel is not a democracy.  It is an apartheid state. 

That the lie of Israel continues to be embraced by the ruling elites–there is no daylight between statements in defense of Israeli war crimes by Nancy Pelosi and Ted Cruz–and used as a foundation for any discussion of Israel is a testament to the corrupting power of money, in this case that of the Israel lobby, and the bankruptcy of a political system of legalized bribery that has surrendered its autonomy and its principles to its major donors. It is also a stunning example of how colonial settler projects, and this is true in the United States, always carry out cultural genocide so they can exist in a suspended state of myth and historical amnesia to legitimize themselves. 

The Israel lobby has shamelessly used its immense political clout to demand that Americans take de facto loyalty oaths to Israel. The passage by 35 state legislatures of Israel lobby-backed legislation requiring their workers and contractors, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is a mockery of our Constitutional right of free speech. Israel has lobbied the U.S. State Department to redefine anti-Semitism under a three-point test known as the Three Ds: the making of statements that “demonize” Israel; statements that apply “double standards” for Israel; statements that “delegitimize” the state of Israel. This definition of anti-Semitism is being pushed by the Israel lobby in state legislatures and on college campuses. The Israel lobby spies in the United States, often at the direction of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, on those who speak up for the rights of Palestinians. It wages public smear campaigns and blacklists defenders of Palestinian rights–including the Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein; U.N. Special Rapporteur for the Occupied Territories, Richard Falk, also Jewish; and university students, many of them Jewish, in organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine.  

The Israel lobby has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to manipulate U.S. elections, far beyond anything alleged to have been carried out by Russia, China or any other country.  The heavy-handed interference by Israel in the American political system, which includes operatives and donors bundling together hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions in every U.S. congressional district to bankroll compliant candidates, is documented in the Al-Jazeera four-part series “The Lobby.” Israel managed to block “The Lobby” from being broadcast. In the film, a pirated copy that is available on the website Electronic Intifada, the leaders of the Israel lobby are repeatedly captured on a reporter’s hidden camera explaining how they, backed by the intelligence services within Israel, attack and silence American critics and use massive cash donations to buy politicians. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu secured the unconstitutional invitation by then-House Speaker John Boehner to address Congress in 2015 to denounce President Barack Obama’s Iranian nuclear agreement.  Netanyahu’s open defiance of Obama and alliance with the Republican Party, however, did not stop Obama in 2014 from authorizing a 10-year $38 billion military aid package to Israel, a sad commentary on how captive American politics is to Israeli interests.  

The investment by Israel and its backers is worth it, especially when you consider that the U.S. has also spent over $ 6 trillion during the last 20 years fighting futile wars that Israel and its lobby pushed for in the Middle East.  These wars are the greatest strategic debacle in American history, accelerating the decline of the American empire, bankrupting the nation at a time of economic stagnation and mounting poverty, and turning huge parts of the globe against us. They serve Israel’s interests, not ours.   

The longer the mendacious Israeli narrative is embraced, the more empowered become the racists, bigots, conspiracy theorists and far-right hate groups inside and outside Israel.  This steady shift to the far right in Israel has fostered an alliance between Israel and the Christian right, many of whom are anti-Semites. The more Israel and the Israel lobby level the charge of anti-Semitism against those who speak up for Palestinian rights, as they did against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, the more they embolden the real anti-Semites. 

Racism, including anti-Semitism, is dangerous.  It is not only bad for the Jews.  It is bad for everyone.  It empowers the dark forces of ethnic and religious hatred on the extremes.  Netanyahu’s racist government has built alliances with far-right leaders in Hungary, India, and Brazil, and was closely allied with Donald Trump. Racists and ethnic chauvinists, as I saw in the wars in the former Yugoslavia, feed off of each other.  They divide societies into polarized, antagonistic camps that only speak in the language of violence.  The radical jihadists need Israel to justify their violence, just as Israel needs the radical jihadists to justify its violence.  These extremists are ideological twins.  

This polarization fosters a fearful, militarized society.  It permits the ruling elites in Israel, as in the United States, to dismantle civil liberties in the name of national security.  Israel runs training programs for militarized police, including from the United States.  It is a global player in the multibillion-dollar drone industry, competing against China and the United States.

It oversees hundreds of cybersurveillance startups whose espionage innovations, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz, have been utilized abroad “to locate and detain human rights activists, persecute members of the LGBT community, silence citizens critical of their governments, and even fabricate cases of blasphemy against Islam in Muslim countries that don’t maintain formal relations with Israel.” 

Israel, like the United States, has been poisoned by the psychosis of permanent war. One million Israelis, many of them among the most enlightened and educated, have left the country. Its most courageous human rights campaigners, intellectuals and journalists—Israeli and Palestinian—endure constant government surveillance, arbitrary arrests and vicious government-run smear campaigns. Mobs and vigilantes, including thugs from right-wing youth groups such as Im Tirtzu, physically assault dissidents, Palestinians, Israeli Arabs and African immigrants in the slums of Tel Aviv. These Jewish extremists have targeted Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood, demanding their expulsion. They are supported by an array of anti-Arab groups including the Otzma Yehudit Party, the ideological descendant of the outlawed Kach party, the Lehava movement, which calls for all Palestinians in Israel and the occupied territories to be expelled to surrounding Arab states, and La Familia, far-right soccer hooligans. Lehava in Hebrew means “flame” and is the acronym for “Prevention of Assimilation in the Holy Land.” Mobs of these Jewish fanatics parade through Palestinian neighborhoods, including in occupied East Jerusalem, protected by Israeli police, shouting to the Palestinians who live there “Death to the Arabs,” which is also a popular chant at Israeli soccer matches.

Israel has pushed through a series of discriminatory laws against non-Jews that echo the racist Nuremberg Laws that disenfranchised Jews in Nazi Germany. The Communities Acceptance Law, for example, permits “small, exclusively Jewish towns planted across Israel’s Galilee region to formally reject applicants for residency on the grounds of ‘suitability to the community’s fundamental outlook.” Israel’s educational system, starting in primary school, uses the Holocaust to portray Jews as eternal victims.  This victimhood is an indoctrination machine used to justify racism, Islamophobia, religious chauvinism and the deification of the Israeli military. 

There are many parallels between the deformities that grip Israel and the deformities that grip the United States.  The two countries are moving at warp speed towards a 21rst century fascism, cloaked in religious language, which will revoke what remains of our civil liberties and snuff out our anemic democracies.  The failure of the United States to stand up for the rule of law, to demand that the Palestinians, powerless and friendless, even in the Arab world, be granted basic human rights mirrors the abandonment of the vulnerable within our own society.  We are headed, I fear, down the road Israel is heading down.  It will be devastating for the Palestinians.  It will be devastating for us. And all resistance, as the Palestinians courageously show us, will only come from the street.    

[Chris Hedges writes a regular original column for ScheerPostClick here to sign up for email alerts.]

Chris Hedges

Chris HedgesChris Hedges is a Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist who was a foreign correspondent for fifteen years for The New York Times, where he served as the Middle East Bureau Chief and Balkan Bureau Chief for the paper. He previously worked overseas for The Dallas Morning NewsThe Christian Science Monitor, and NPR. He is the host of the Emmy Award-nominated RT America show On Contact. AUTHOR LINK

Copyright 2021 Chris Hedges

(Contributed by Gwyllm Llwydd)

Fight for $15, Undeterred by McDonald’s Raises for Some Workers, Says US Strike Still On for May 19

May 13, 2021 by Common Dreams

The pay hike only applies to company-owned restaurants, leaving out employees at 95% of all U.S. locations.byJessica Corbett, staff writer

 5 Comments

Demonstrators gathered outside of McDonald's corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago. The protest was part of a nationwide effort calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $15-per-hour. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Demonstrators gathered outside of McDonald’s corporate headquarters on January 15, 2021 in Chicago. The protest was part of a nationwide effort calling for the minimum wage to be raised to $15-per-hour. (Photo: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

Though McDonald’s on Thursday announced pay increases for employees of the 650 company-owned restaurants across the United States, organizers are still planning a strike next week in at least 15 U.S. cities targeting the fast food giant just before its virtual annual shareholder meeting.

“We won’t stop fighting until all of them get $15 an hour and a union. When working people stand together, they cannot be defeated.”
—Sen. Bernie Sanders

The wage increase—a bid to attract more workers—won’t automatically apply to employees at franchise locations, or 95% of McDonald’s nearly 14,000 U.S. restaurants.

Over 36,500 employees at company-owned sites will see hourly pay rise by an average of 10% in the coming months, and average wages are expected to hit $15 by 2024, McDonald’s said in a statement.

Based on location, the statement said, entry-level workers will make $11 to $17 per hour while shift managers will receive a starting pay of $15 to $20 per hour.

“Together with our franchisees, we face a challenging hiring environment, and staying ahead means we must constantly renew our commitment to offer one of the leading employment packages in the industry,” McDonald’s USA president Joe Erlinger said in a message to the nation’s system, according to CNBC.

The Associated Press reports Erlinger also told employees that “we encourage all our owner/operators to make this same commitment to their restaurant teams in ways that make the most sense for their community, their people, and their long-term growth.”

In response to the announcement, the AP noted, “the U.S. National Franchisee Leadership Alliance—which negotiates with the company on behalf of franchisees—expressed support for the wage hikes and encouraged restaurants to stay competitive in their local markets.”

Doneshia Babbitt, a McDonald’s employee in St. Louis and union leader, confirmed that the Fight for $15 and a Union protests will go on as planned on May 19.

“Clearly, McDonald’s understands that in order to hire and retain talented workers, something needs to change,” Babbitt said. “Now, they’re raising pay for some of us and using fancy math tricks to gloss over the fact that they’re selling most of us short.”

“We’ve showed up to work day after day in the middle of a global pandemic, risking our lives without proper PPE or paid time off to keep your stores open and corporate profits flowing,” she added. “You’ve called us essential for over a year, but your announcement today proves that you’ve seen us as disposable all along.”

Emphasizing that the movement is for all workers, not just McDonald’s employees, she promised that “we won’t stop fighting, striking, and marching in the streets until we win $15 and a union for all.”

As the New York Times pointed out Thursday:

In 2019, McDonald’s announced it would no longer use its powerful lobbying arm to fight attempts to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour at the federal, state and local level. In a call with Wall Street analysts in January, the McDonald’s chief executive, Chris Kempczinski, said the company was doing “just fine” in the more than two dozen states that had increased minimum wages in a phased-in way.

In fact, despite having many of its dining rooms closed or with limited capacity in parts of the country for much of the pandemic, the strength of McDonald’s drive-throughs helped push its profit to more than $4.7 billion in 2020. It paid its shareholders more than $3.7 billion in dividends and spent another $874 million repurchasing shares before suspending the program in early March of last year.

The McDonald’s pay announcement—as it attempts to hire 10,000 new employees over the next three months—comes as workers across various industries continue fighting for a $15 federal minimum wage opposed by not only many Republicans in Congress but also some Democrats, despite President Joe Biden’s support for it.

“McDonald’s is raising wages because thousands of courageous workers marched in the streets and demanded dignity on the job,” Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said Thursday. “But make no mistake, we won’t stop fighting until all of them get $15 an hour and a union. When working people stand together, they cannot be defeated.”

Sanders and Rep. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) introduced the Raise the Wage Act of 2021 in January. The next month, Sanders, the Senate Budget Committee chair, held a hearing to highlight the need for a $15 minimum wage and the dramatic pay disparity between executives and workers on the frontlines of the pandemic.

“You should never have to work multiple jobs in the United States and have nowhere to sleep,” said 41-year-old Terrence Wise, a McDonald’s worker and Fight for $15 and a Union leader in Kansas City who testified in February about his decades working in the fast food industry. While he was growing up in South Carolina, Wise’s family lived in government housing and received food stamps. His mother worked at Hardee’s, a fast food chain, and his father was a cook in the military.

“Even with two full-time incomes, my family had to skip meals,” Wise shared with senators. At age 16, to help keep the lights on and feed his family, Wise got his first job, at Taco Bell, making $4.25 an hour. He soon got a second job at Wendy’s. By 17, the A-student had to leave school and abandon his dreams of college to work full-time.

Although both Wise and his fiancee, a home healthcare provider, are both employed full-time, their family of five has experienced homelessness. He testified about his three daughters struggling to sleep in their purple mini-van in freezing temperatures, even before the pandemic. “Since Covid-19, it’s gotten harder,” he explained, detailing how his weekly hours were cut from 40 to 28 and his family—which relies on food stamps and Medicaid—was forced to move in with relatives after being evicted.

“During the lockdown, McDonald’s gave me a piece of paper to to show the police in case I got pulled over. It said I was an essential employee,” Wise said. “But I can tell you they treat us more like second-class citizens than essential workers.”

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Palestine: Demo – Tue. 5/18 – Israeli Cons. ~ Ariticle ~ Two videos from Sat. demo (from Adrienne Fong)

hank you to ALL who came out on Saturday and for signing petitions and calling the elected officials! Every act of RESISTANCE is important!

Contents:

 – Demo on Tuesday, May 18th at Israeli Consulate

 – Article  RE:  Biden on Monday approved an arms deal with Israel $735 million

 – Two videos from Saturday – one from Arthur Koch and one from Peter Menchini via David Solnit

THIS TUESDAY JOIN THE CALL FOR A GENERAL STRIKE: FROM OAKLAND TO PALESTINE!

5/18 @4-6pm

Israeli consulate
456 Montgomery
SF

Info: (1) Palestine Action Network | Facebook

May be an image of one or more people and text that says 'L AREA UNTIL DAY OF ACTION IN SOLIDARITY WITH THE PALESTINIAN UPRISING AND GENERAL STRIKE MAY 18TH 4:00-6:00 PM ISRAHELLI TUESDAY CONSULATE IN SF, 456 MONTGOMERY STREET HOSTED BY N ACTION'

ARTICLE:

Israel-US sign $735 million arms deal amid Gaza conflict – report  – May 17, 2021

Israel-US sign $735 million arms deal amid Gaza conflict – report – The Jerusalem post (jpost.com)

From David Solnit:

Saturday, May 15th, #NakbaDay, a 50-foot street mural was painted by over a hundred people–from Palestinian families and other community folks who gathered as the mural was chalked out and brush-painted in with non-toxic tempera paint on Valencia St (at Liberty St). The mural was planned in conjunction with a mass mobilization march in solidarity with Palestinian people–the Bay Area came out in the thousands, marching through San Francisco’s Mission District and to the mural site.

The design, featuring the Palestinian National flower–the Palestinian Poppy (Anemone Coronaria–anemone means “daughter of the wind” in Greek, in Arabic shuqa’iq annaa’mun) was created by Palestinian artists @c.gazaleh and @didiyalla-and I was honored to help together with Amanda Bloom, Julie Searle, Bob Thawley, and @cececarpio and many, many hands. The blood-red poppy is a memorial to martyrs and the flower and its stem contains all four colors of the Palestinian flag. Annually in Spring poppies bring beautiful color to the Palestinian lands after the cold winter; a symbol of connection with the land and the triumph of hope and perseverance.

Youtube & photo by Arthur Koch

  Click: Solidarity With Palestine – YouTube

May be an image of outdoors

Video by Peter Menchini from Saturday, May 15

  Click: Nakba 73 Street Mural – 4K on Vimeo

Turning the Castro into a surveillance state will not keep us safe

Many private businesses in the Castro have surveillance cameras, such as this one near Market and Castro streets. Now the Mid-Market Community Benefit District is proposing to install its own larger network. <ins>(Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</ins>“/></figure>



<p><em>Many private businesses in the Castro have surveillance cameras, such as this one near Market and Castro streets. Now the Mid-Market Community Benefit District is proposing to install its own larger network. (Jordi Molina/Special to S.F. Examiner)</em></p>



<ul><li><a href=COMMUNITY CONTRIBUTOR
  • May. 14, 2021 1:30 p.m. (SFExaminer.com)
  • NEWSLETTER
  • OPINION
  • By Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Club and Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club

    Last year, the Mid-Market Community Benefit District – one of San Francisco’s 17 property tax-funded business improvement districts — acknowledged that they had provided surveillance camera footage to the Trump Administration’s racist deportation regime without so much as a warrant. In June 2020, an identical surveillance network of 400 cameras owned by the Union Square business improvement district was accessed by the San Francisco Police Department to target peaceful Black Lives Matter protesters in the wake of the murder of George Floyd. Earlier this year, numerous local and national news outlets reported on a wide-ranging security breach of surveillance camera networks installed throughout Bay Area public school districts.

    Despite the repeated and very real risks associated with these complex, centralized surveillance camera networks, the Castro/Upper Market Community Benefit District (Castro CBD) is barrelling forward with skewed surveys and one-sided messaging to justify the acceptance of a $700,000 “gift” to blanket the Castro neighborhood with cameras, despite opposition from the Castro LGBTQ Cultural District, Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club, Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club, and a growing chorus of neighborhood residents and community leaders.

    The “gift” — if that’s what you want to call turning a beacon of free expression into a surveillance panopticon — comes from Chris Larsen, a San Francisco-based billionaire tech mogul and co-founder of blockchain payment system company Ripple, who since 2012 has funded a private network of more than 1,000 high-definition cameras put at the disposal of business districts looking to streamline collaboration with police. It is worth noting that the executive director of the Castro CBD admits to never having met their gracious benefactor.

    What little we know of Chris Larsen’s conspicuous benevolence includes recent press hits alongside elected officials handing out nominal grants to beleaguered small business groups. The larger donations — including the $700,000 pending donation to the Castro CBD — come with high-tech strings attached, calling into question Mr. Larsen’s intentions and potential personal emolument. Those intentions are unclear, but in light of public records revealing repeat contributions to Congressional Republicans across the country, they no doubt include undermining the Castro neighborhood’s reputation as a beacon of diversity and progressivism.

    Our skepticism is heightened by the simple fact that scant evidence exists to support the notion that surveillance cameras actually deter crime. In reality, people who are desperate enough to commit property crimes will not be deterred even if they know they are being recorded. The individually-owned security cameras already in the Castro speak to this truth. Instead, we hear stories from small business owners about the reluctance on behalf of police to pursue leads, even when the footage exists. Instead of helping small businesses, we hear repeat stories of surveillance technology being abused to target immigrants, protesters and people experiencing homelessness, while disproportionately misidentifying Black, Brown and non-white people.

    Complex surveillance technologies will not keep San Franciscans safe. Unlike individually-owned cameras, the centralized surveillance network provided by third-party contractor Audio Video Solutions provides a one-stop shop for anyone with intermittent access and an ax to grind to target vulnerable members of our communities, including to undermine San Francisco’s proud Sanctuary City status. The potential for abuse cannot be overstated, though we don’t need to read much history on the topic to be forewarned against repeating it.

    If the actual goal is community safety, we can think of better uses of $700,000. For that amount, the Castro CBD could hire a team of on-demand health professionals to provide assistance to neighbors experiencing mental health crises, expanding on The City’s promising Street Crisis Response Team. They could provide long-term funding to their Public Safety Ambassadors Program, which is only in its pilot stage but already facing a funding cliff. Instead, the Castro CBD would be committing itself to upwards of $70,000 per year in unfunded liabilities for the ongoing maintenance, operations and compliance costs of a surveillance network that promises marginal returns, at best, while creating serious risks.

    One thing is certain: a decision of this magnitude cannot be made by an unaccountable board of unelected property owners and real estate brokers – many of whom don’t even live in San Francisco – while alienating community groups with decades of experience organizing against government inaction on the AIDS pandemic, protesting the displacement of LGBTQ people in the face of tech gentrification, and fighting against the criminalization of poverty in the Castro and across San Francisco.

    The Castro CBD is apparently unaware that we’ve been marginalized in the past — and when our communities are under attack, we stand up and fight back.

    The Castro LGBTQ Cultural District aims to highlight the importance of LGBTQ people to Castro’s history and ensure they have a place in its future. The Harvey Milk LGBTQ Decmoratic Club and Alice B. Toklas LGBTQ Democratic Club are two of the largest and longest-standing Democratic Clubs in San Francisco.

    Pro-Palestinian rally in Paris banned amid rising Israel-Gaza tensions

    A protester holds a Palestiniain flag during clashes with riot police near the Barbes-Rochechouart aerial metro station in Paris on July 19, 2014 in the aftermath of a demonstration, banned by French police, to denounce Israel’s military campaign in Gaza and show their support for the Palestinian people. Israeli air strikes and shelling killed more than 25 people across Gaza on July 19, among them children, raising the toll in 12 days of violence to 337, medics said on July 19. AFP PHOTO / JACQUES DEMARTHON (Photo by JACQUES DEMARTHON / AFP)

    May 15, 2021 France24.com: The Paris police prefecture on Thursday issued an order banning a Palestinian solidarity demonstration planned for Saturday in the French capital as weekend pro-Palestinian rallies were being planned across the world following Israel’s latest deadly offensive on the Gaza Strip.

    Philly D.A. | Episode 1 | Independent Lens | PBS

    PBS Official Website: https://to.pbs.org/3gAGQzV | #PhillyDAonPBS What happens when you try to transform the criminal justice system from the inside out? Civil rights champion Larry Krasner defies precedent with a landslide win to become Philadelphia’s District Attorney. Pledging sweeping reform, the new top prosecutor in America’s most incarcerated city fires 31 resistant attorneys, alienating many he needs on his side to enact change. As the staff reels, his team uncovers a secret the police ranks are desperate to keep hidden from the public. Watch and share episode 1 of Philly D.A. from Independent Lens here on YouTube: https://youtu.be/Og0_LIX649k Tune in or stream new episodes Tuesdays at 9/8c on your PBS station and the PBS Video App. Can’t wait? Watch all episodes with PBS Passport. http://pbs.org/getpassport This program is made possible by viewers like you. Support your local PBS station: https://www.pbs.org/donate Subscribe to the PBS channel for more clips: https://www.youtube.com/PBS/​ Enjoy full episodes of your favorite PBS shows anytime, anywhere with the free PBS Video App: https://to.pbs.org/2QbtzhR FOLLOW INDEPENDENT LENS: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/independentlens Twitter: https://twitter.com/IndependentLens Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/independent… FOLLOW PBS: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pbs​ Twitter: https://twitter.com/pbs​ Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pbs/​ Shop: https://shop.pbs.org/

    Book: “Stride Toward Freedom”

    Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

    Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story

    by Martin Luther King Jr. 

    This book is an account of a few years that changed the life of a Southern community, told from the point of view of one of the participants. Although it attempts to interpret what happened it does not purport to be a detailed survey of the historical and sociological aspects of the Montgomery story. .

    This is not a drama with only one actor. More precisely it is the chronicle of 50,000 Blacks who took to heart the principles of nonviolence, who learned to fight for their rights with the weapon of love, and who, in the process, acquired a new estimate of their own human worth. It is the story of Negro leaders of many faiths and divided allegiances, who came together in the bond of a cause they knew was right. And of the Negro followers, many of them beyond middle age, who walked to work and home again as much as 12 miles a day for over a year rather than submit to the discourtesies and humiliation of segregated buses. .

    There is also another side to the picture: it is the white community of Montgomery, long led or intimidated by a few extremists, that finally turned in disgust on the perpetrators of crime in the name of segregation. The change should not be exaggerated…Yet by the end of the bus struggle it was clear that the vast majority of Montgomery whites preferred peace and law to the excesses performed in its name. And even though the many saw segregation as right because it was the tradition, there were always the courageous few who saw the injustice and fought against it side by side with Blacks.

    (Goodreads.com)

    Articles (in two groups) ~ Actions / Petitions ~ Events for Friday, May 14 – Monday, May 17 (from Adrienne Fong)

    Periodic posting

    NOTE: Articles are divided in two sections  – there’s a section of articles on Palestine / Israel

    *** ASL interpretation – Let me know if your event needs this service .***

    Please include Accessibility and ASL info in your events! And if your action is ‘child friendly’

    Please post your actions on Indybay: https://www.indybay.org/calendar/?page_id=12

     See Indybay  for many other listings of events.

    Site for other Bay Area Events

    ARTICLES:

    A. Papua New Guinea Cracks Downs on Logging Companies – May 13, 2021

    Papua New Guinea Cracks Downs on Logging Companies | The Oakland Institute

    B. Opinion: My father paid his dues but he will be deported next month – May 13, 2021

    Opinion: My father paid his dues but he will be deported next month – East Bay Times

    C. Sierra Leone government moves to abolish death penalty   May 12, 2021

    Sierra Leone government moves to abolish death penalty (msn.com)

    D. A pesticide linked to brain damage in children could finally be banned – May 12, 2021

    A pesticide linked to brain damage in children could finally be banned – NationofChange

    E. Okavango, Oil Drilling, and the Tragedy of Africa  – May 12, 2021

    Opinion | Okavango, Oil Drilling, and the Tragedy of Africa (commondreams.org)

    F. For Yemenis fleeing war, US peace efforts offer only faint hope – May 11, 2021

    For Yemenis fleeing war, US peace efforts offer only faint hope | Reuters

    ARTICLES on PALESTINE / ISRAEL

      See Action #  1

      See Events #’s 2, 7 & 11

    A. Israel threatens Gaza with ground attack amid air strikes – May 13, 2021

    Israel threatens Gaza with ground attack amid air strikes: Live | Conflict News | Al Jazeera

    “The latest fatalities bring to 113 the official death toll, including at least 31 children.”

       More than 600 people have been wounded

      “ At least six Israelis and one Indian national have also been killed…”

    B. Palestinian Solidarity Demonstrations Erupt Worldwide as Israeli Violence Intensifies – May 13, 2021

    Palestinian Solidarity Demonstrations Erupt Worldwide as Israeli Violence Intensifies | Common Dreams News

    C. Statement in Solidarity with the People of Palestine in their Struggle Against the Settler Colonial State of Israel – May 13, 2021

       Statement from National Lawyers Guild

    D. In Pictures: Ruins and devastation as Israeli attacks pummel Gaza – May 13, 2021  

    In Pictures: Ruins and devastation as Israeli attacks pummel Gaza | Gallery News | Al Jazeera

    E. Al-Aqsa attacks: How the media gives Israel a free pass  – May 12, 2021

    Al-Aqsa attacks: How the media gives Israel a free pass | Middle East Eye

    F. Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s statement RE: Israel / Palestine – May 11, 2021

    https://www.speaker.gov/newsroom/51121-0

    ACTIONS

    1. Tell Congress: End U.S. complicity in Israel’s abuses of Palestinians

      SIGN: Tell Congress: End U.S. complicity in Israel’s abuses of Palestinians (everyaction.com)

    It is long past time to call for sanctions on Israel. The least we can do is demand Congress take action now and revoke the $3.8 billion in annual military funding for Israel.

    This petition is to Congresssupport HR 2590. Other petitions have been to President Biden 

    2. Bring Sundiata Home

      SIGN: Bring Sundiata Home | OrganizeFor

    3. Senate: Pass the Violence Against Women Act immediately

      SIGN: https://actionnetwork.org/forms/sign-and-send-the-petition-to-the-us-senate-pass-the-violence-against-women-act-immediately?source=2021VAWA_DKPACs&redirect=https%3A%2F%2Fsecure.actblue.com%2Fdonate%2Fsexualviolence2021%3Frefcode%3D20210427SWVAWA&link_id=1&refcodeEmailReferrer=email_1174243&can_id=4d8abb95a7895a1648b41bfa1ad2bb3b&email_referrer=email_1174243&email_subject=sign-the-petition-to-the-us-senate-pass-the-violence-against-women-act-immediately

    4. Farm Workers Deserve Overtime

      SIGN: Tell your US Representative farm workers deserve overtime (seiu.org)

    EVENTS

    Friday, May 14 – Monday May 17

    Some events for Friday & Saturday have be updated

    Friday, May 14

    1. Friday, 8:30am (PT); 11:30 (ET), Live From the Ground: Gaza Under Attack (NEW)

    Online – anyone on/off facebook

    RSVP for Zoom link: Live From the Ground: Gaza Under Attack – CODEPINK – Women for Peace

    Join CODEPINK for an urgent webinar on the horrific ongoing assault of Gaza. We will be joined by Asmaa Tayeh and Aziz Abuzayed, reporting live from Gaza. Aziz is a contributor to and Asmaa is the operations manager of We Are Not Numbers, an organization that empowers Palestinians to tell their own stories in their own words. They will illuminate for us what life is like in Gaza today, in the midst of shocking violence and turbulence. History is being made in Palestine right now — don’t miss this timely and important webinar. Please RSVP for the Zoom information

    Info: Live From the Ground: Gaza Under Attack | Facebook

    2. Friday, 9:00am (PT); 12Noon (ET), We Will Not Be Erased: Ongoing Nakba (NEW)

    Register: We Will Not Be Erased: Ongoing Nakba Tickets, Fri, May 14, 2021 at 12:00 PM | Eventbrite

      $0 – $25

    Join Mohammad El-Kurd, Majd Kayyal, Sandra Tamari, and Sumaya Awad as they unpack and the history and ongoing reality of the Nakba.

    Israel’s founding in 1948 was a result of premeditated ethnic cleansing campaigns across historic Palestine with the goal of displacing and dispossessing the indigenous Palestinian population of their land. The violence of the 1948 Nakba didn’t stop. In fact, successive Israeli governments, with the financial and political backing of the US, have given Israel the green light to expand and entrench its colonial project.

    Colonialism is alive and well in the 21st century. The Nakba is not a thing of the past, but an ongoing reality.

    About the speakers:

    Sandra Tamari is a Palestinian organizer and the Executive Director of Adalah Justice Project (AJP). Prior to her work with AJP, Sandra worked for 10 years in higher education as a immigration specialist, and before that as a Senior Program Manager for AMIDEAST, the Assistant Director of Georgetown University’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and a grant writer and researcher for Al-Jana, Arab Resource Center for Popular Arts in Beirut. She is a co-founder of the St. Louis Palestine Solidarity Committee and was co-chair of the Steering Committee for the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights from 2015-2018. She was a lead organizer of the Palestinian contingent to Ferguson October in 2014.

    Mohammed El-Kurd is writer and poet from Jerusalem, occupied Palestine.

    Majd Kayyal is a Palestinian novelist and journalist born in Haifa to a family displaced from al-Barwa. He studied philosophy at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. He is the author of The Tragedy of Sayyed Matar (2016), which won the Qattan Foundation Award, and Death in Haifa (2019).

    Sumaya Awad is a Palestinian writer and socialist organizer based in New York City. Her writings focus on Palestine, anti-imperialism, Islamophobia, and immigration, and have been featured in the Feminist Wire, In These Times, Open City, and Jacobin, among others. She is currently Director of Strategy at the Adalah Justice Project. Sumaya is the co-editor of Palestine: A Socialist Introduction.

     co-sponsored by Haymarket BooksAdalah Justice ProjectCenter for Constitutional RightsUS Campaign for Palestinian RightsUprooted and Rising, and Jewish Voice for Peace

    3. Friday, 12Noon, The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882

    Online

     the video in the Discussion tab here and on the Videos tab of our page on Friday at 12pm. (Facebook page)

    Signed into law on May 6, 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act was one of many discriminatory laws enacted by the U.S. government, and banned immigration from China to the U.S. An emblem of the racist period known as the “Yellow Peril,” the law was supported by many prominent San Francisco business leaders. Levi Strauss later condemned the Act, but its passage had long-lasting impacts on the early Chinese community in the U.S. In this talk, take a deeper look at an often-overlooked story with educator Sharon Lee-Nakayama, who will chart the chronology of the Exclusion Acts, the history behind them, and their effects on the early Chinese community in the United States.

    This talk is presented in partnership with the San Francisco Chinese Historical Society.

    Host: Comtemporary Jewish Museum

    Info: (4) The Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 | Facebook

    4. Friday, 12Noon – 5:00pm, Giant Book Sale to Benefit the Revolution Tour (NEW)

    Revolution Books
    2444 Durant Ave
    Berkeley

    The Revolution Books 3-Day Used Book Sale for a very special effort: as part of the National Fundraising Week to Raise MAJOR Funds for the National Revolution Tour. Funds will go to the revcoms working night and day to spread and organize a real revolution.

    ► Bring your great used books anytime during our open hours, Friday-Sunday, 1-6pm and ask your friends and colleagues to do the same or arrange by calling 510-848-1196.

    ► Organize, promote and spread the word for folks to come on May 14-16!

    ► Volunteer to sort books and to set up and staff the book sale.

    Call or email us to volunteer: 510-848-1196 revolutionbooksberkeley

     [at] gmail.com

    Info Giant Book Sale to Benefit the Revolution Tour : Indybay

    UPDATE:

    5.  Friday, 1:00pm-2:00pm, Shut Down the Police Officers Association (NO POA this week)

    SF Police Officers Association
    800 Bryant St. (@ 6th St)
    SF

    Wear mask / social distancing

    RESIST with Mothers on the March, Black and Brown for Justice, Peace and Equality, Family’s who loved ones have been killed by SFPD, and Community

       – Demand the San Francisco Police Officers Association be Shut Down!

       – The SF Police Officers Association Be Declared a Non Grata Organization

       – Demand the Police Officers Bill of Rights be Abolished.

       – Jail Killer Cops – we want killer cops to be charged with murder.

       – Abolish the Police

    After the trial of Chauvin in MN it is clear that ABOLISHION of the police with community control is the solution!

    Saturday, May 15

    6. Saturday, 11:00am – 12:30pm, Stop The Attack On Our Community Colleges Panel

    Online register: Meeting Registration – Zoom

    California Community Colleges particularly in urban area face major threats of mass layoffs, destruction of classes and corporate take-overs in California using the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges ACCJC. This panel will discuss the issues facing faculty, students and what needs to be done.

    Our community college system is being decimated in San Francisco and Peralta Community College District and threatened throughout the state despite a state $15 billion surplus. In CCSF, classes and whole departments face liquidation including Ethnic Studies, Music, Vocational training, Nursing and LBGTQ.

    This panel will look at the attacks on what is going on, and how we can fight privatization and union busting including the Lumina supported funding formula legislation that punishes working class students and com- munity colleges. This was passed by a Democratic controlled legislature & Democratic governor.

    These attacks are also taking place throughout the country as well and are part and parcel of systemic racism hitting Blacks, Latinos, Asians, and all working class and poor students who deserve the right to go to college.

    Panelist:

    Madelein Mueller,  CCSF Music Dep Chair
    John Holmes, History Lecturer & PFT Adjunct Representative
    Rika Yonemura-Fabian, Ph.D. Skyline AFT 1493 Chapter Co-Chair
    Karyn Panitch, PFT Adjunct Rep ESL Instructor Laney
    Rick Baum, CCSF AFT 2121 HEAT
    Carol Lang, CUNY AFT PSC, Adjunct Lecturer

    Sponsored by HEAT Higher Education Action Team CCSF

    Info: Stop The Attack On Our Community Colleges Panel : Indybay 

    UPDATED:

    7. Saturday, 2:00pm – 5:00pm, San Francisco Protest for Palestine

    2:00pm

    Gather at Valencia & 16th Street – Rally & March

      (march will be about 4 blocks to mural site on Valencia & Liberty Sts.)

    12Noon –

    Community street art  Valencia & Liberty Sts. (Between 20th & 21st)

    Family friendly…

    Sanitizers and masks will be available, and we will be following CDC guidelines.

    As we approach the anniversary of the Nakba, the colonization of Palestine and forced expulsion of Palestinians continues. This is apparent everywhere in occupied territories, its most clear in the heart of Jerusalem, Palestine’s capital: in a town called Sheikh Jarrah, where Palestinian families are being expelled from their homes by the Israeli regime and its colonial settlers.

    This past week, Palestinians in Jerusalem have experienced some of the worst violence in recent history. On the last Friday of Ramadan, Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa mosque and fired tear gas and live ammunition at the worshipers. And in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in east Jerusalem, Palestinians continue to resist violent and illegal attempts to forcibly expel them from their homes. All of this is funded by US tax dollars.

    As we mark 73 years of Nakba, we also celebrate 73 years of resistance and struggle for liberation.

    Note: There are actions happening nationally

    Hosts: Palestine Action Network, AROC & 6 Other groups

    Info: San Francisco Protest for Palestine | Facebook   /   San Francisco Protest for Palestine : Indybay

    8. Saturday, 1:00pm – 6:00pm, First Responders Training

    Register: Meeting Registration – Zoom

    We will share materials including our confidentiality agreement, investigation form, flyer, and a training manual.

    Here’s an overview of what this training will cover:

    Host: APTP (Anti Police-Terror Project)

    9. Saturday, 5:00pm – 8:00pm, Solidarity Action: Justice for Mario Gonzales

    Meet at:

    Corer of Otis Drive & Park St. (Where Mario was killed)
    Alameda

    Mario Gonzalez was murdered by Alameda police in a public park on Monday, April 9th. Please join us in taking action and in solidarity with Mario and his family.

    Host: TeleJaguar and Oakland Brown Berets

    Info: Solidarity Action: Justice for Mario Gonzales : Indybay    or  Solidarity Action: Justice for Mario Gonzales | Facebook

    10. Saturday, 6:00pm – 8:00pm, Peace n’ Justice Walk

    Meet at:

    Drivers Plaza
    Adeline St. & Stanford Ave.
    Oakland

    Covid 19 Safety Procedures must be followed (Mask Required). Practice physical distancing mindfulness.

    Mask, Sanitizer, snacks and refreshments will be available

    This is a North Oakland Restorative Justice Council and Restorative Justice for Oakland Youth’s Community Invitation.

    Come and join us as we walk for Peace and Justice in Oakland and beyond. We will honor the lives of those who have passed on and transitioned during the pandemic.

    The opening ceremony will begin at Driver’s Plaza (6pm) on Adeline and Stanford Avenue in Oakland.

    Info: Peace n’ Justice Walk | Facebook

    Sunday, May 16

    11. Sunday, 11:00am, Palestine Rising – 73 years of Nakba, 73 years of Resistance

    Online

    Watch us live on Facebook:
    https://facebook.com/AlAwdaPRRC
    or on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCN6_Drm3qnH65kNpp2fDsMA

    Join Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, for a incisive webinar with analysis and information on the situation today in Palestine and the historical context of the rising throughout Palestine today, from the river to the sea.

    Speakers:
    Dr. Rabab Abdulhadi
    Ziad Abbas
    North America Nakba Tour

    Info: Palestine Rising – 73 years of Nakba, 73 years of Resistance | Facebook

    Monday, May 17

    12. Monday, 6:00pm – 7:00pm, U.S. Native History and Building Relationships for Effective Climate Work

    Online register: Buy: U.S. Native History and Building Relationships for Effective Climate Work – Monday, May 17th, 2021 at 6 P.M. PDT (force.com)

    In a special program co-presented with the Climate Reality Project Bay Area Chapter, join us for an up-close and personal talk with Jim Warne of the Oglala Lakota (Sioux) Nation about the history of Native Americans and the work of building relationships with native communities to produce effective climate progress. The multitalented Warne is a motivational speaker, president of Warrior Society Development, WSD Productions; the community engagement & diversity director for the USD Center for Disabilities Oyata’ Circle; and creator of the award-winning documentary “7th Generation” and the NFL Social Justice Series’ “Oyate’ un Ito’wapi–Pictures of My People,” which was featured on Fox.

    Host: Commonwealth Club

    Info: U.S. Native History and Building Relationships for Effective Climate Work | Facebook