Civil liberties lawyer files to take on Pelosi

(Courtesy photo)

A San Francisco-based civil liberties lawyer, progressive advocate, DJ and poet is making a second attempt to unseat Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the Democratic primary for California’s 12th District.

Shahid Buttar, an immigrant of Pakistani descent who hails from Great Britain and grew up in the Midwest, filed the paperwork to qualify for the race at San Francisco’s City Hall on Friday.

Buttar said that it was a “great deal of outrage” that inspired his decision to challenge Pelosi’s 30-year leadership as San Francisco’s Democratic representative in Congress. He plans to confront her for taking conservative positions on issues including climate change, health care, immigration and surveillance.

“I don’t have [political] aspiration, I have frustration,” said Buttar. “[Pelosi] is failing to defend democracy or the public.”

As an ardent supporter of efforts to end mass surveillance, Buttar’s objects to Pelosi’s support for preserving a bill that allows the National Security Agency to search the communications of Americans with people it is “targeting” overseas, in 2018.

“People think of surveillance as invading privacy — but my concern is dissent and democracy, which surveillance kills,” said Buttar. “The reason I ran for congress is because Pelosi is an architect of the mass surveillance bill.”

A request for comment made to Pelosi’s campaign was not immediately returned.

In recent years, Buttar has served as the director of grassroots advocacy for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil rights group in the digital space.

Along with defending the right to privacy and encryption, Buttar has thrown his weight behind police accountability and LGBT and immigrant rights movements.

After graduating from Stanford Law school in 2003, Buttar defended Jason West, the mayor of New Paltz, New York, who was the “only official who was criminally prosecuted for supporting marriage equality.”

He founded a program at Muslim Advocates in San Francisco to challenge racial and religious profiling by federal agencies such as the FBI and for six years served as executive director of Defending Rights and Dissent, an organization formed in response to the passage of the Patriot Act formerly known as the Bill of Rights Defense Committee.

Buttar said that he was arrested in the Senate in 2015 for “an act of journalism” after accusing Director of National Intelligence James Clapper of perjury regarding the extent of NSA surveillance.

“I was asking Clapper how he justified never facing a charge for perjury despite lying to the Senate under oath about mass surveillance,” said Buttar.

Referring to the death of Eric Garner, an unarmed black man who was killed by New York police who suspected him of selling single cigarettes without tax stamps, Buttar said: “You have powerful people getting away with documented crime — while powerless people are lethally persecuted for doing nothing wrong.”

Buttar said that he aggressively plans to address the climate crisis and supports the Green New Deal and was critical of Pelosi’s record in that area.

“She did allow creation for [a] committee on the climate crisis. That’s a first and I’m grateful. But she also hamstrung the committee,” said Buttar, adding that Pelosi “denied it investigative subpoena power,” among other things.

He described Pelosi as a “climate delayer” rather than a “climate denier,” which he said is worse.

“She recognizes the science and yet still refuses to do anything about it,” said Buttar. “It places the future at risk …for the sake of the present.”

Outside of his advocacy, Buttar has worked to organize artists around political performance. He co-founded a number of collectives, including an “outdoor pottery convergence” that has gathered at the 16th and Mission Bart Station on Thursday nights for the past 15 years.

Buttar ran against Pelosi in 2018, garnering some 18,000 votes, but was a late entry into the race. This time around, he is confident that his campaign “will surprise a lot of people in Washington.”

Buttar’s campaign broke $300,000 from over 7,600 contributions. His endorsements include the Democratic Socialists of San Francisco and Silicon Valley chapters, the Berniecrats, San Francisco Public Defender’s Office Chief Attorney Matt Gonzalez and civil rights activist Shaun King.

“At the current pace we will be the strongest campaign that Pelosi ever encountered,” he said.


FRI, 11/29/2019 – BY STEVE RUSHTON  (

This is the fourth installment in a series about extending the Green New Deal to confront multiple global crises. Read Part IPart II and Part III.

Britain’s fast approaching General Election on Dec. 12 represents a life or death decision for the country’s two major parties – and, of significant more consequence, for the planet. Voters can back Labour’s Green New Deal and act on the climate emergency, or they can elect the Conservative Party pushing an ever more destructive form of capitalism.

Discussing extending the Green New Deal to deal with the world’s multiple crises is academic unless political parties pushing this solution can win elections. Only then can social movements and society demand that politicians make their words into actions. Only then can we continue building the counter power necessary to challenge the 1% that are doing everything to resist the required political pathway to extend our planet’s inhabability.

Green New Deal, UK snap election, climate denial, climate solutions, Labour party manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson


Last week, on Nov. 21, Labour launched its manifesto, “It’s time for real change.” Ecologically, it offers:

  • 9,000 more wind turbines, 150 million added square metres of solar panels and a major Welsh tidal power project.
  • £250 billion for green energy, transport and environment restoration, including reforestation.
  • 1 million green jobs and 320,00 green apprenticeships.
  • Nationalisation of rail, water and energy.
  • 100,000 low-carbon social houses and the promise to make 27 million homes energy efficient.
  • A one-off tax on big oil.

On public services the manifesto includes rescuing the National Health Service and creating a National Education Service to enable universal access to free education. The party offers a £10 ($12.80) minimum wage, ends zero-hour contracts and restores trade union rights with a Nordic-style collective bargaining system.

Labour call its economics a Green Industrial Revolution, sharing much with US Green New Deal. In essence, both are about making the economy work for people and planet. One notable difference is the American GND wants to end private health insurance, whereas UK Labour merely plans to stop these same firms from taking over.

Another Labour highlight is what it calls “A New Internationalism”. Headline proposals are recognising and seeking remedy for UK’s historic injustices committed against the Global South, from slavery to modern tax evasion. The party promises to repay UK climate debts owed to southern countries and support small-scale farmers against agro-business.

Labour rejects what it calls the “‘bomb first, talk later’ approach to security.” As a whole document, the manifesto interprets the social-ecological justice of the GND and makes steps to internationalise it.

Even before the manifesto launched, Conservatives were arguing that Britain cannot pay for all of this. But Labour has a response: in a nutshell, the answer is to shift the burden of taxes onto the billionaires. The underpinning economic theory is that through investment the economy grows, and by sharing wealth, society succeeds. Making billionaires pay for the disasters they profited from is another pillar of the party document.

If the world economic system does not change, the world will likely warm between three and four degrees by 2100. The official advisors to the Committee on Climate Change reported to the UK Parliament in July that the impacts of this climate shift on Britain would be “catastrophic.” in July 2019

With the one degree change we have seen already, swathes of the earth have been flooded or caught fire, with vast numbers suffering famine and other devastations. Britain’s Dec. 12 election is all the more important as the incumbent government is likely to make ecological and social justice crises far worse.


Since the Conservative-Liberal Democrat government took power in 2010, followed by Conservatives in 2015, climate action has declined. Wind turbine projects have been blocked. Solar subsidies ended. Plans for zero-carbon housing were scrapped. Meanwhile, the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats pushed for climate-catastrophic fracking and supported big oil with a £12 billion annual subsidy.

Even supposed international aid money has tended to sponsor planetary destruction, like the funds that have gone to increase fracking in Argentina.

If you want a clear lens on to a politician, look at who funds him. Billionaires are the Conservatives’ main backers. Money is rarely rejected, regardless of where it comes from. Boris Johnson personally received money from leading UK climate deniers in 2019.

Over the decade, Conservative bankrollers include LIBOR-rigging bankersoil companiesmulitnational mining bosses and arms manufactures like JCB among other clients, all of whom profit from planetary destruction.

Liberal Democrats could again back a Conservative-led government, and their backers are nearly as bad. Party leader Jo Swinson has accepted money from fracking companies and a director of a fund that invests in Russian gas.

By contrast, Labour has relied on many small donations and large trade unions contributions.

The trend of billionaires buying Conservatives and Lib-Dems, of course, is nothing new. But Brexit adds another dimension. The big money behind Brexit is a web of banking and Big Oil interests. This financing is hubbed around one Westminster address, where Vote Leave worked under the same roof as Britain’s top climate deniers and biggest free trade advocates.

Boris Johnson co-led Vote Leave. Since he assumed leadership of Britain, a swathe of climate denialists have risen in government. This is dangerous. Brexit offers a means to escape EU climate legislation as well as to tear up other regulations and sell off the NHS.

The stark choice this election offers might also set the political tone for the 2020s to come. After its era of empire, Britain still retains great international power. The sun still does not set on the British tax haven empire, which funds vast oil, mining, arms and the other carbon criminals.

Geopolitically, as the US-junior partner, the UK holds great sway. So if it accelerates green economics or goes even more dirty matters far beyond its shores.

Specifically, in 2016, Brexit helped open the door for Donald Trump’s presidential win. A Conservative win next month could repeat these results in the US next autumn. On the other hand, if Labour wins it pushes the door toward a US Green New Deal. No wonder Trump, in an unprecedented and un-presidential manner, said about the Labour leader: “[Jeremy] Corbyn would be so bad for your country, he’d be so bad, he’d take you in such a bad way.”


Just as Conservatives’ political policies align with Trump, their political style mimics him as well. PM Johnson is widely criticised for his rascist and sexist outbursts. He is the peak of a growing wave that has made the country a hostile environment, particularly for migrants, but also other minority communities. Johnson, like Trump, appeals to a base and finds support with populist slogans like “Get Brexit Done” – which might as well say, “Make Britain Great Again.”

Labour and other parties that might form a green coalition – the Scottish SNP, Greens, Plaid Cymru and Northern Irish independents – must confront this populism head on. Polling data shows that tackling climate change and other aspects of Labour’s manifesto are popular. Yet polls also show the Conservatives leading.

With several weeks until the vote, Labour is engaging in a massive mobilisation to win. In the 2017 election, Labour nearly did it. The same tactics are now refined. Mass voter registration drives mean even more young and often non-voters can vote. One focus has been to push more face-to-face conversations with constituents to keep the momentum rising.

This election, perhaps more than any that came before it, shows you cannot simply push forward common sense politics in order to win. You also need to overcome the populist lies and deception the 1% will throw your way. This election, to be successful for people and the planet, needs to be not only for the many but by the many.

Green New Deal, UK snap election, climate denial, climate solutions, Labour party manifesto, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson

Boris Johnson Worried Anti-Semitism Accusations Against Labour Party Will Hurt Tories’ Hold On Bigot Vote

December 5, 2019 (

WATFORD, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 04: UK Prime Minister, Boris Johnson arrives for the NATO summit at the Grove Hotel on December 4, 2019 in Watford, England. France and the UK signed the Treaty of Dunkirk in 1947 in the aftermath of WW2 cementing a mutual alliance in the event of an attack by Germany or the Soviet Union. The Benelux countries joined the Treaty and in April 1949 expanded further to include North America and Canada followed by Portugal, Italy, Norway, Denmark and Iceland. This new military alliance became the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). The organisation grew with Greece and Turkey becoming members and a re-armed West Germany was permitted in 1955. This encouraged the creation of the Soviet-led Warsaw Pact delineating the two sides of the Cold War. This year marks the 70th anniversary of NATO. (Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images)

LONDON—Monitoring polls and news coverage of the upcoming elections, U.K. prime minister Boris Johnson reportedly expressed concern Thursday that continued accusations of anti-Semitism against the Labour Party will hurt the Tories’ hold on the bigot vote. “Those with prejudiced and discriminatory beliefs have long been a bedrock of the Conservative Party constituency, but I’m nervous that so many people attacking Labour as the party of anti-Semites will eat into our ability to win,” said Johnson, adding that he was concerned the volume of allegations that Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn wasn’t doing enough to combat anti-Semitism in his own party could result in bigoted voters believing that Labour actually represented their values. “When allegations first started coming out, I figured it would be a flash in the pan and the Tories could continue counting on the bigot vote, as we have for generations. It’s really going to hurt us if people think Labour is the party for anti-Semitism based on a few things in the media and ignore the political reality, which is that the Conservatives have for decades reliably issued policy driven by prejudice and racial animus. But it’s going to be a close election, and I’m worried if this doesn’t stop, the Tories could be at risk of losing the Islamaphobe or even the white supremacist vote, and that would be devastating at the polls.” An increasingly desperate Johnson added that he was pondering saying or doing something extremely anti-Semitic in order to remind bigoted voters on the fence about which party best advocated their interests.

Calling Him Only 2020 Candidate Whose Plan ‘Can Save Our Planet,’ US Youth Climate Strike Leaders Endorse Bernie Sanders for President

December 06, 2019 by Common Dreams

As sit-ins targeted establishment Democrats nationwide to demand the Green New Deal, Sanders stood with climate campaigners in Iowa on Friday and applauded striking youth worldwide who are saying: “Hey, we want a planet that we can grow up in and have kids in that is healthy and inhabitable.”

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Demonstrators from several environmental groups including Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement demand broad action at a youth-led climate strike near City Hall on December 6, 2019 in New York City. Hundreds attended the strike, the latest in a series of school walk-outs dubbed "Fridays For Future." (Photo by Scott Heins/Getty Images)

Demonstrators from several environmental groups including Extinction Rebellion and Sunrise Movement demand broad action at a youth-led climate strike near City Hall on December 6, 2019 in New York City. Hundreds attended the strike, the latest in a series of school walk-outs dubbed “Fridays For Future.” (Photo: Scott Heins/Getty Images)

As Sen. Bernie Sanders stood with activists striking for climate in Iowa on Friday morning, the act of solidarity was repaid in kind later in the day as key leaders of the youth-led movement in the U.S. officially endorsed the Vermont senator’s 2020 presidential bid.

“Historically, movements have had young people at the forefront and the climate movement is no exception,” Hirsi said. “Bernie has been there since day one fighting alongside all the young people across the country.” —Isra Hirsi, US Youth Climate StrikeAs youth members of the Sunrise Movement targeted Democrats who have refused to endorse the Green New Deal with sit-ins nationwide on Friday, Sanders joined climate strikers near the Capitol Building in Des Moines to bolster their demand for bold action on the crisis that is impacting people around the world, including rural regions in the United States.

“You’re seeing planting seasons decline, and harvests decline, because farmers cannot grow crops when their fields are underwater or when they have drought,” Sanders told the crowd of young people and allies.

“We’re looking not only in Iowa, not only in the Midwest, not only in America—we’re looking all over the world about a serious crisis in food production,” Sanders said. “That’s the bad news. But here is the good news. If we have the courage to take on the fossil fuel industry and other special interests, if we have the courage to pass a Green New Deal, we can create up to 20 million good-paying jobs transforming our energy system.”

Along with local youth climate leaders, Sanders addressed the need for a broad and bold vision to address the emergency and applauded those around the globe rising to demand action.

“Young people all over the world, not just here in Iowa or in the United States, but all over the world are telling their leaders, ‘Hey, we want a planet that we can grow up in and have kids in that is healthy and inhabitable,'” Sanders said at the Des Moines event. “When that global movement spreads, maybe, just maybe, we can tell world leaders all over the planet that instead of spending $1.8 trillion a year on weapons of destruction designed to kill each other, maybe we can pool our resources and combat our common enemy which is climate change.”


Later on Friday, several leaders of the U.S. Youth Climate Strike group—namely co-founder and partnerships director Isra Hirsi, executive director Felíquan Charlemagne, political director Daylon Prochaska, and creative director Pujan Patel—all stepped forward to officially endorse Sanders for president.

“Historically, movements have had young people at the forefront and the climate movement is no exception,” Hirsi said. “Bernie has been there since day one fighting alongside all the young people across the country.”

Sanders’ plan for a Green New Deal, added Charlemagne, “is the only plan that addresses the climate crisis to the scale it needs to be addressed. It is the only plan that sets our goals to 2030. It is the only plan that has such a consideration of climate migrants, the only plan that has such a consideration of climate justice. It’s the only plan that can save our planet.”

Sanders’ Green New Deal has been heralded by climate experts as the gold standard among those currently running for president. With a goal of reaching 100 percent renewable energy for electricity and transportation by no later than 2030, his campaign says the proposal aims to ensure “justice for frontline communities” and vows to build on the organizing and demands set forth by climate justice movement that gives priority to young people, workers, indigenous people, and communities of color.

“When Bernie talks about this being a global crisis where we need to come together as one planet, this is what he means,” Pujan said. “A grassroots movement where the working class stands up and tells the government that we have a say and that we deserve to survive.”

Meanwhile, Sunrise activists who have championed Sanders and other lawmakers leading the charge in Congress, but said those standing in the way—whether President Donald Trump, other Republicans, or Democrats still downplaying the need for urgent action—can no longer be tolerated.

“We need a Green New Deal. All these other watered down ideas are a waste of time,” said Wally Mazon, 25, a Sunrise organizer in Iowa. “When my people from the LGBTQ community are under attack, when people can’t get healthcare, when people can’t vote, I can no longer live in a world of apathy on the part of our government. The Green New Deal is about fighting for the world we should be living in, but was stolen from us by a handful of greedy people.”

According to Sunrise statement early Friday afternoon, sit-ins were underway at the offices of Rep. Axne in Iowa, Gov. Charlie Baker in MassachusettsRep. Chris Pappas in New Hampshire, and the Asheville City Council in North Carolina,  with more to come throughout the day. Young people also die-ins and banner drops in major cities including Chicago, San Francisco, and Houston.

With the United Nations climate talks at the COP 25 conference taking place in Madrid, Spain this week and next, there were massive Fridays for Future protests across Europe and elsewhere. In Madrid itself, an estimated half million people rallied in the streets.

In a tweet on Friday, Sunrise’s executive director Varshini Prakash, said, “Big Oil wants us to believe we’re too young, that we can’t win, that we’re powerless.  Because for every person disillusioned, despairing and in denial that’s another dollar in their pockets.  We won’t give that to them.  We are rising. The young people will win a  Green New Deal.”

Our work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 License. Feel free to republish and share widely.

San Jose mayor announces growing support for customer takeover of PG&E

More than 100 elected officials have pledged support

A street lamp is dark as a utility pole is seen in the background during a power outage in Sunol, Calif., on Oct. 10, 2019. Hundreds of thousands of Pacific Gas and Electric Company customers continued to be cutoff from electricity on a second day of the utility’s planned power shutdowns. (Anda Chu/Bay Area News Group)

By MAGGIE ANGST | and JOHN WOOLFOLK | | Bay Area News Group PUBLISHED: December 5, 2019 at 5:01 am | UPDATED: December 6, 2019 at 4:28 am

The legion of elected officials supporting a plan to turn beleaguered PG&E into a customer-owned cooperative has grown five-fold with representatives from 58 cities and 10 counties now pledging support, San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo announced Thursday.

Those officials include Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf and supervisors from nine counties including Santa Clara, San Mateo, Alameda, Marin, Santa Cruz and Sonoma.

“I’m proud to stand with our growing coalition of 113 elected leaders — who together represent more than half of Californians served by PG&E — urging the company’s transformation to put the company’s days of underinvestment, mismanagement, and negligence far behind us,” Liccardo, who has been leading the effort, said in a written statement.

Liccardo announced the cooperative proposal a month ago with support from 21 other mayors and the elected leaders of five counties.  TOP ARTICLES2/5READ MOREKylie Rae Harris was speeding, drunk at time of fatalcrash

The announcement came a few weeks after Pacific Gas and Electric blacked out hundreds of thousands of customers across the Bay Area and Northern California as part of an approved plan to avoid power equipment starting wildfires in dry windy weather. Those outages sparked outrage from local officials and Gov. Gavin Newsom, who complained they were poorly executed and needlessly widespread.

PG&E filed for bankruptcy reorganization in January as it faced mounting, multibillion-dollar liability claims for wildfires in recent years started by its electrical equipment, including many of the devastating Wine Country wildfires in 2017 and last year’s Camp Fire that destroyed the town of Paradise and killed 86 people.

A federal bankruptcy judge early next year is expected to consider competing reorganization plans for the state’s largest and most troubled utility, one from its shareholders and one from bondholders.

It is unclear whether the court would consider the mayors’ cooperative proposal. But Liccardo and the other officials appealed to the California Public Utilities Commission, which must sign off on PG&E’s bankruptcy exit plan, to push the cooperative as an alternative.

Some bankruptcy and industry experts have expressed skepticism the proposal to reinvent the state’s largest utility in such an unprecedented fashion would be considered a more viable solution to its financial and operational problems.

Backers have yet to file any paperwork to establish the proposed cooperative, name its directors or raise the capital necessary to put in a bid to be considered by the bankruptcy court. But Dan Richard, a former senior PG&E executive advising the San Jose mayor’s cooperative effort, said last month he’s confident the plan is feasible.

Backers say restructuring PG&E as a cooperative would give it access to lower-cost financing and allow it to avoid dividend and tax payments, making needed investments in grid upgrades cheaper for ratepayers.

But the cooperative structure, promoted during the Great Depression to electrify the nation’s rural areas, has not been done at the scale of PG&E, which serves 5.4 million electric customers across 70,000 square miles.

Not all cities and counties in PG&E’s vast service territory stretching from Bakersfield to the Oregon border are on board with the cooperative idea. Most conspicuous among them is San Francisco, which has sought to acquire PG&E’s transmission network and run it as a municipal utility. The San Francisco mayor’s office, however, said it does not consider the cooperative proposal “mutually exclusive” to its own plans.

With the exception of Humboldt County, the officials backing the cooperative proposal were not expressing formal support of the governments of the cities and counties they represent.

PG&E has rejected San Francisco’s grid purchase offer as insufficient, as well as the cooperative idea, stating that its “facilities are not for sale, and changing the structure of the company would not create a safer operation.”

Others, including those who support turning all or parts of PG&E into a government-run power utility like those serving Sacramento and Los Angeles, have questioned whether the cooperative structure, operating as a private nonprofit, would serve the public better.

To that end, Liccardo also announced a set of governing principles for the proposed cooperative, many of which would mirror open-meeting and public records access rules for public agencies.

Under the coalition’s guidelines, the cooperative would keep PG&E’s service area intact and maintain all of the utility’s labor contracts and independent power producers.

Governing board members would be nominated by a selection committee who will vet the candidates based on their relevant skill sets, including expertise with utilities, safety, cybersecurity or infrastructure, according to the plan.

Despite the cooperative’s nonprofit status, the customer-owned utility would operate as a public agency, adhering to public records and open meeting rules and prohibitions on organized political contributions, the principles state.

In addition, the principles state that all public safety power shutoffs would be based on best practices, with a “transparent decision-making structure, emphasis on coordination with local first responder and emergency service agencies, and high-quality customer communication.”

“With these principles,” Liccardo said, “we’ve presented a framework for a viable customer-owned PG&E that will be transparent, accountable, and equitable.”

Articles ~ Actions ~ Events for Thursday, 12/5 – Sunday, 12/8 (from Adrienne Fong)

Am not back posting on a regular basis

– Please post your events on Indybay:

    Thank you to all who are – See Indybay for other events.

ACCESSIBILITY: Please include Accessibility Information on events! 


A. Homeless swept from Polk St. alley despite lack of shelter beds – December 4, 2019

B.  Activists Take Over San Francisco Mayor’s Office Seeking Affordable Senior Housing – December 4, 2019

C. William Barr says ‘communities’ that protest cops could lose ‘the police protection they need’

   See Event # 5

D. ‘Disgraceful Sham’: George Zimmerman Sues Parents of Trayvon Martin, Others for $100 Million – December 4, 2019

E. South Africa Reiterates its Support for Palestine at UN

F. Extinction Rebellion and Women in Black in Black Friday Protest – November 30, 2019

    See Event # 4

G. She Didn’t Know Her Autistic Son Could Be Tasered At School  – November 26, 2019


1. Demand the San Juan Unified School district stop silencing Black Lives Matter


2. Don’t give Trump a blank check for war!


3. Save the Post Office



Thursday, December 5 – Sunday, December 8

Thursday, December 5

1.Thursday, December 5th,6:00pm – 9:00pm, Future Relations Self Defense Night

934 Brannan St.


(Exhibit will be open til December 21st , if U miss the opening night)

Future Relations: A Resource for Radical Teaching presents F.T.P. is the first exhibition of SOMArts 2019-20 Curatorial Residency season. With a combined 30 years of teaching experience, curators Fred Alvarado, Thomas Jones, and David Petrelli reimagine SOMArts’ Main Gallery into a site for collective liberation and hope for educators, community organizers, and youth alike.

Critically engaged teachers work collaboratively with young people in confronting and subverting systemic oppression. Through an Ethnic Studies, social justice oriented lens, Future Relations offers alternatives to traditional models of education by presenting works that underscore the importance of experiential knowledge and community cultural wealth.

Future Relations will be hosting free, all ages Self Defense speaker series at SOMArts Cultural Center on Thursday, December 5th, 6–9pm. These discussions are dedicated to self and collective perseverance through art, humor, and body movement.


Denika Chapman, Equipto, Gail Meadows, Sara Larsen,

Tureeda Mikell, Thea Matthews, Flavia Mora
and more!

Fred Alvarado
Thomas Jones
David Petrelli


2. Thursday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Art-Build with Artist David Solnit, CA Poor People’s Campaign

Bridge Storage and ArtSpace
23 Maine St.

Californians will organize the San Francisco tour stop as part of this nine-month, 22-state ‘We Must Do MORE Tour: Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, Educating’; building towards a Mass Poor People’s Assembly and Moral March on Washington on June 20th, 2020.

Join the Poor People’s Campaign for Art-Build featuring local Bay Area artist David Solnit Thursday, December 5. At the Art- Build community members will create colorful banners and signs for our upcoming We Must Do MORE Tour: Mobilizing, Organizing, Registering, Educating visit in Oakland and San Francisco on Wednesday, December 11, 2019.

At the March and Mass Meeting, we will hear from people directly impacted by systemic racism, poverty, ecological devastation, militarism and the war economy, and the corrupt moral narrative. We will also hear from Rev. Barber and Rev. Theoharis, Co-Chairs of the Poor People’s Campaign: A National Call for Moral Revival.

This nine-month, 22-state tour is the lead-up to the Mass Poor People’s Assembly & Moral March on Washington, where thousands of poor people and moral agents will gather at the nation’s capital on June 20, 2020 to demand the implementation of our Moral Agenda and call all people of conscience to engage in deeply moral civic engagement and voting that uplifts the needs of the most impacted–poor and low-wealth people, the sick, immigrants, workers, people with disabilities, and the LGBTQIA+ community.

Hosts: California Poor People’s Campaign: National Call for Moral Revival + 2 Other groups


3. Thursday, 7:00pm – 10:00pm, Revolution & Rueda

1721 Broadway (close to 19th St. BART)

$5-$20 sliding scale to benefit brigadistas going to Cuba on the next contingent (cash only, please), no one turned away

Wheelchair accessible

No childcare provided; but children are welcome

The Venceremos Brigade presents
“Revolution & Rueda:
Discuss Cuba’s Importance & Dance Salsa”

Join us for an engaging evening, including:
• a look at Cuba’s importance in the face of Trump’s severe attacks on the island
• a report back on the 50th anniversary contingent of the VB in August
• ways you can get involved, including participating on the 51st contingent in 2020
• learning how to dance La Rueda, Cuban salsa, taught by Ryan with Rueda con Ritmo

Host: Venceremos Brigade Bay Area


Friday, December 6 

For Climate Strike actions in Oakland, San Ramon, Livermore, Santa Cruz, UC Berkeley, Marin and elsewhere

See Indybay:

4. Friday, 10:00am – 1:30pm, Youth-Led Climate Strike at BlackRock

400 Howard St.

10-12:30 Occupation of BlackRock
12:30-1:30 March to congressional officials office

To RSVP here to receive more details about the March led by Sunrise as well as other ways to get more involved:

Youth and allies are calling for an occupation at BlackRock, an invest firm that is the world’s largest monetary backer of fossil fuel companies, Amazon deforestation and one of the largest investors in private prison corporations.

We demand that BlackRock immediately divest from fossil fuels, rainforest destruction and private prisons that hold migrant kids, families and adults.

We demand that our business leaders and elected officials support this divestment from destruction and invest in a Green New Deal in order to create jobs in renewable energy and ecological restoration.

Youth will be leading a speak out and demonstrating resilience in the face this destruction.

Hosts: Sunrise Movement Bay Area + Other groups


5. Friday, 12Noon – 2:00pm, Protest the San Francisco Police Officers Association (Every Friday)

San Francisco Police Officers Association
800 Bryant  @ 6th Street (outside)

Mothers on the March Against Police Murders and Black and Brown for Justice, Peace and Equality:

 ‘Declare the Police Officers Association a Non Grata Organization’

The Police Officers Association claims to be a union, in reality it is an organization that is based on racism, white supremacy and Nazi ideology. It protects police officers that come into our communities to terrorize and murder our black and brown brothers and sisters.

We demand that the San Francisco Police Officers Association be shut down!

All are welcomed to join us!

6. Friday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Crimethinc Tour in Oakland: Benefit for Oakland IWOC

Omni Commons
4799 Shattuck Ave.

Hear from one of the longest running anarchist media collectives in existence.

The event will benefit the Oakland chapter of the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), who will be serving dinner at 6 PM – a delicious fusion of Puerto Rican and Filipino food.

Currently, CrimethInc. agents are traversing the West Coast of the US, distributing anarchist literature at three book fairs and offering three different presentations in at least ten different cities. This is a crucial moment, with clashes intensifying in various parts of the world; it’s a good time to strengthen our connections, sharpen our analyses, and strategize together for the next round. We’ll be revisiting our book about the last cycle of struggles, From Democracy to Freedom, as it relates to the questions confronting social movements today, and drawing on dialogue with participants in the movements unfolding right now.


7. Friday, 7:00pm – 9:00pm, Film +Reports “Rebellion and Repression from Chile to Boliva

2969 Mission St. (nr. 25th St.)

$3 -$10 donation. No one turned away

Wheelchair accessible

See Patricio Guzman’s historic documentary film “The Battle of Chile: Coup d’Etat” about the 1973 US-backed overthrow of the democratically-elected socialist government of Salvador Allende. The film reflects the uprising of today in Chile against neo-liberal policies and the recent US-backed coup in Bolivia ousting socialist indigenous president Evo Morales. Mass protests continue in both countries despite brutal state repression and killing of protesters.

Info:   or

Saturday, December 7

8. Saturday, 9:30am – 5:30pm, & Sunday, 9:30am – 5:30pm, Fierce Vulnerability/YTBN Network Onboarding

In Oakland

Application (Required) & More Info:

We invite you to the first onboarding training of Yet-To-Be-Named network in Oakland

The Yet-To-Be-Named Network is a decentralized constellation of direct action teams positioned at the intersection of racial healing and climate justice. These teams are comprised of people who deeply resonate with the content of the network’s zine, and who feel called and are prepared to uphold the principles and practices (aka “the DNA”) outlined in the network’s soon-to-be-completed handbook!

Host: East Point Peace Acadamy


9. Saturday, 10:00am – 5:00pm, & Sunday, 11:00am – 5:00pm, Palestinian Holiday Crafts Bazaar 2019!

Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA)
1101 8th St.

Wheelchair accessible

A unique display of items from Palestine: award-winning Olive Oil, Pottery, Olive Wood Products, Embroidery, Shawls & Scarves, Olive Oil Soap & Palestinian Dead Sea Products, Keffiyehs, Children’s Toys & Clothing, Jewelry, Kitchenware & Cookbooks, Rugs and Books – plus delicious Arabic food.

Saturday, December 7:
1pm: Storytime with Wafa Shami, Author of Children Storybooks “Olive Harvest in Palestine” & “Easter in Ramallah”
11am-1pm: Henna by Henna Garden Events & Entertainment
1pm-3pm: Book Signing by Jeff Haas of “The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther”

Sunday, December 8:
11am – 3pm: Calligraphy Demonstration with Mo Sati
12pm – 2 pm Book Signing by Blanche Araj Shaheen of “Feast in the Middle East: A Personal Journey of Family and Cuisine”

Hosts: Joining Hands and Middle East Children’s Alliance

Info:   or

10. Saturday, 11:00am – 5:00pm, East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest 2019

Omni Commons
4799 Shattuck Ave.

The East Bay Alternative Book and Zine Fest is back at the Omni Commons in Oakland for it’s tenth anniversary!


11. Saturday, 11:00am – 5:00pm & Sunday, 11:00am – 5:00pm, Huichol Art Holiday Event!

Gathering Tribes
1412 Solano Ave.

An opportunity to meet our Huichol brother, Luciano Valdez, support his traditional indigenous community and buy fabulous hand-made gifts full of meaning at nearly wholesale prices!

Huichol art is colorful, meaningful and beautiful. It is made by putting a thin layer of tree resin and beeswax over wood or gourds and then pressing seed beads or yarn in to the mixture. The 2-dimensional “paintings” depict glimpses into the world of this traditional indigenous tribe. One might see symbols of animals, curanderos (healers), rain and more esoteric symbols of energy and glimpses into the spiritual dimensions. The images symbolize healing, protection and/or gratitude.


12. Saturday, 1:00pm – 2:30pm, Mountain Movers: Women of the Third World Liberation Front Student Strikes

Chinese Historical Society Museum
965 Clay St.

Tickets by Eventbrite

Mountain Movers: Women of the Third World Front Student Strikes shares the history of student movements at SF State, UC Berkeley, and UCLA during the 1960s and features oral histories of prior and current student activists. Join us in celebrating the publication of this important piece of collective knowledge with a panel focusing on the contributions of female activists of the Asian American movement. Organized with SFSU’s Asian American Studies Chair Russell Jeung, the panel will include Laureen Chew, Penny Nakatsu, Betty Kano, and Vicci Wong!


13. Saturday, 1:00pm – 4:00pm, Moving Protest on Mass Transit

Meet promptly at 1:00pm              :

Castro & Market Sts.

”Train-ing” to Remove the Trump/Pence Regime

Mobilize mass protests on mass transit. Turn the trains and buses into moving agitation vehicles — scores or hundreds of people board at a major transit stop and then move through the trains spreading the word. Rally along the route at different stations.

In San Francisco, board street cars at Castro & Market at 1:00 pm for a circuitous route thru the Mission District and SF neighborhoods.

We will be creative. This is an action to get the word out broadly and to organize for the following Saturday December 14, a national day of #OutNow! marches and rallies. We will build momentum and turn the eyes of society towards the kind of unrelenting sustained protest that we have seen around the world demanding regime change.

Info:  and

14. Saturday, 4:00pm – 6:00pm, Green Strategy: The Path to Fundamental Transformation

Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library
6501 Telegraph

Green Strategy: The Path to Fundamental Transformation.

With Marc Brodine

GREEN STRATEGY focuses on how to build on how to build a massive, worldwide movement to create fundamental change, the only way to solve the ominous environmental crisis humanity faces. Addressing the fundamental problems of our time by linking environmental struggles to other struggles Brodine’s important work argues that deeply allied social and political movements can transform our politics, our economy, and fundamentally protect our species.

Copies of GREEN STRATEGY will be for sale and light refreshments will be served.

Hosts: Peoples World, International Publishers, the Northern California District of the Communist Party USA, and the Niebyl-Proctor Marxist Library.

15. Saturday, 7:00pm – 7:30pm, XR at the Opera

SF Opera House (outside)

Join Extinction Rebellion SF Bay Area as we stage XR’s version of the Evening Prayer from the opera, Hansel and Gretel, outside of the Opera House. This event will take place between 7:00 PM and 7:30 PM, when the entire opera will be presented inside by the SF Opera.

Wells Fargo is the season sponsor of the SF Opera. Wells Fargo is the largest financier of the fracking industry, and the second-largest financier of the fossil fuel industry in the world. This year the Royal Shakespeare Company in the UK is cutting its ties to their sponsor, BP, after school children threatened a boycott. A similar outcome in San Francisco would be one small step in combating climate chaos.

This is an open action. Anyone moved to participate is welcome to join us as we listen to the singers tell us about getting pushed into the oven of climate chaos.


Sunday, December 8

16. Sunday, 10:00am – 6:00pm, 6th Annual Howard Zinn Book Fair: Discovering Our Power!

City College of San Francisco – Mission Campus
1125 Valencia St. @ 22nd St.

For program of speakers and exhibitors and for more info visit our website at:

The fair draws upon the legacy of legendary historian and activist Howard Zinn by gathering together over 60 publishers, booksellers, zinesters and community groups and dozens of author readings, panel discussions and workshops, all to explore the ways people can take collective action to build a better future.

The HZBF has become an invaluable annual event for left political culture in the San Francisco Bay Area and this year will feature over 50 author readings and panel discussions (each 90 minutes long!) on a wide range of issues relating to economic and social justice. Speakers will include Silvia Federici, Jane McAlevey, Alice Bag, Bhaskar Sunkara, Nicholas Baham III, Eric Drooker, Shawna Potter, Charlie Anders, Emory Douglas and voices from The Umbrella Movement in Hong Kong, The Yellow Vest Movement in France, The Oakland Teachers Strike and more.

The theme of this year’s book fair is “Strike! Discovering Our Power.” We selected this theme to celebrate the ways in which everyday people discover their ability to work together. Inspired by the wave of strikes across the United States in the past year, the massive General Strikes in India, and the recent uprisings in Algeria, Sudan, Lebanon and Chile, we expand the idea of the strike to include all of the ways people can take collective action to preserve their homes, protect life on earth, respect indigeneity, shut down the machinery that produces racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, and inequality, and build movements that are strong enough to last. The Strike! is not only about withdrawing our labor, but about redirecting it to create a better world.


12. Sunday, 1:00pm – 3:00pm, Nanjing Ji 2019

Hilton San Francisco
750 Kearney St.

This year marks the 82nd anniversary of the Nanjing Massacre. You are cordially invited to attend our annual Nanjing Ji 2019.

Please join us in support and prayers for the victims of December 1937 Nanjing Massacre.


18. Sunday, 4:00pm – 5:30pm, Emory Douglas and Jeff Haas: Honoring Fred Hampton

1125 Valencia St.

Join Jeff Haas & Emory Douglas and the Freedom Archives for this Howard Zinn Book Fair event!

50 years ago Chicago police with FBI support raided Black Panther Fred Hampton’s Chicago apartment assassinating him and Mark Clark and injuring 4 others. Attorney Jeff Haas exposes the conspiracy behind the execution in this updated book. Emory Douglas, then Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party, will also join us.


‘Impeach Trump for This’: Video Shows Final Hours of Teen’s Horrible Death in US Immigration Detention Center

December 05, 2019 by Common Dreams

Contrary to claims by Border Patrol, “they didn’t take him to the hospital. They didn’t release him. They didn’t even seem to check on him as he was dying on the floor of his cell.”

by Jon Queally, staff writer

Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant, was seriously ill when immigration agents put him in a small South Texas holding cell with another sick boy on the afternoon of May 19. By the next morning, he was dead. (Photo: via Facebook)

Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, a 16-year-old Guatemalan migrant, was seriously ill when immigration agents put him in a small South Texas holding cell with another sick boy on the afternoon of May 19. By the next morning, he was dead. (Photo: via Facebook)

Footage from an immigrant detention center in Texas obtained by Pro Publica and published online Thursday shows the final hours of 16-year-old Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez—who died from complications of the flu while in custody—but also strongly indicates the border patrol agents responsible for his care lied about what happened that night.

“As immigration authorities sat by, a child lay dying from the flu on a slab of concrete in a pool of his own vomit next to a toilet.”
—Jess Morales Rocketto, Families Belong Together

Carlos, according to the news outlet,

was seriously ill when immigration agents put him in a small South Texas holding cell with another sick boy on the afternoon of May 19.

A few hours earlier, a nurse practitioner at the Border Patrol’s dangerously overcrowded processing center in McAllen had diagnosed him with the flu and measured his fever at 103 degrees. She said that he should be checked again in two hours and taken to the emergency room if his condition worsened.

While a log kept by officers at the McAllen detention center in Texas says that Carlos, born in Guatemala, was given wellness checks three times over the course of four hours during the overnight, the video footage reveals that his seemingly lifeless body remained where it was—on the floor by the cell’s toilet—from approximately 1:30am until Carlos’ cellmate discovers him there after waking up past 6:00am. Notably, while the local police say the obtained the video footage from CBP, it contains a four-hour gap that the CBP has still not explained even as they refuse to hand over or acknowledge the existence of a complete recording of the night.

Pro Publica explained it decided to publish the available portion of the video “because it sheds light on the Border Patrol’s treatment of a sick child and shows the government’s account was not true.”

The annotated video—the original of which was obtained from local law enforcement in Texas who investigated the death—details the final hours of Carlos life [warning the footage is graphic]:

Response to the video and accompanying reporting was a mix of a sadness, shock, and outrage.

“As immigration authorities sat by, a child lay dying from the flu on a slab of concrete in a pool of his own vomit next to a toilet,” said Jess Morales Rocketto, chair of the immigration rights group Families Belong Together.

“Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez’s death was preventable,” Rocketto added. “As flu season is upon us, the Trump administration has ignored the CDC’s demands to vaccinate children in their immigration jails.     Three children have died of flu-related illnesses on the Trump administration’s watch in the past year.  We need action immediately to get children the life-saving care they deserve and ensure that no more kids die in cages.”

“Impeach Trump for this,” said another user on Twitter.

As the Pro Publica notes towards the end of its long and detailed reporting on Carlos’ death while in U.S. custody “reverberated beyond the small village of San Jose del Rodeo” from where he came.

“Friends posted video of his funeral and a village wake on social media, with emotional tributes to him,” the outlet reports. “Guatemalan immigrants outside New York City held a fundraiser to help support his family, one of the goals Carlos had in coming to the U.S.”

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Progressives Fire Back at Buttigieg’s ‘Bad Faith’ Claim That Tuition-Free College Proposals Are Elitist

December 04, 2019 by Common Dreams

“The type of attitude that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is exhibiting here is in fact elitist in itself.”

by Julia Conley, staff writer

South Bend, Indiana mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, talks to the press after a Sunday morning service at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina on December 1, 2019. (Photo: Logan Cyrus/AFP via Getty Images)

Progressives and supporters of tuition-free public college plans on Wednesday denounced South Bend, Indiana Mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s recent claim that offering a free public college education furthered an “elitist” worldview.

At a campaign stop in South Carolina on Monday, Buttigieg told the press that plans to offer public college to all Americans tuition-free push a “narrative” that one must attend college to succeed in the United States.

“Where I come from, three out of four people don’t have a college degree,” the South Bend, Indiana mayor told NBC reporter Priscilla Thompson. “And if the message we’re sending to them is that you need a college degree in order to get by in life, in order to prosper, in order to succeed, we’re leaving most Americans out.”

Buttigieg’s communications adviser, Lis Smith, added on Twitter that the plans of Buttigieg’s primary rivals, Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), to make public college accessible to all Americans, represented “the height of elitism.”

Several officials on Sanders’s presidential campaign took issue with that characterization, noting that the senator’s public college proposal explicitly included tuition-free trade school enrollment, which, like two- and four-year college, would be funded by a Wall Street speculation tax.

“Bernie’s plan also explicitly eliminates existing trade school debt—and Buttigieg’s plan does not,” wrote Sanders speechwriter David Sirota in his newsletter, “Bern Notice,” on Wednesday.

Sanders has long held the position that not all Americans may want to attend a two- or four-year college, campaign spokesman Mike Casca told the Huffington Post.

“In fact, technical colleges and trade schools can be essential to the lives of working class Americans,” Casca said. “Unlike Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Bernie believes essentials should be guaranteed to all people—not just those who can afford it.”

Warren would also include technical schools in her tuition-free college plan and would invest $20 billion in apprenticeship programs for people who do not attend college.

Both plans contrast with Buttigieg’s proposal, which would offer free college tuition only to families making $100,000 or less annually. Subsidies would be offered to households making up to $150,000, but would not cover trade school enrollment.

As Common Dreams reported on Friday, Buttigieg has strived to portray Warren and Sanders as wanting middle-class families to fund the educations of wealthy Americans, an argument Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) rejected on Tuesday in an email to supporters.

Buttigieg “is focusing on the children of millionaires and billionaires who could pay for college anyway—even though that’s an incredibly slim percentage of people who attend public college in the first place,” Ocasio-Cortez wrote, adding that the mayor is engaging in “bad faith tactics.”

“A combined household income of $100,000 isn’t even ‘children of millionaires’ territory,” the congresswoman, a supporter of Sanders, tweeted last week. “That’s two parents making $50,000 each. Does that sound rich to you?”

Critics also condemned Buttigieg for suggesting that the three-quarters of South Bend residents who don’t attend college make that choice based on their values or desires rather than barriers to secondary education, particularly financial ones.

“He seems unable to comprehend that many folks can’t AFFORD college,” Sirota tweeted.

A survey of low-income high school seniors and their college counselors in Illinois found that 79 percent of students who were not attending college after high school made that choice due to “financial constraints”—the number one reason cited. More than 40 percent of the students also said they couldn’t attend college because they were obligated to financially support their families.

Another poll in 2015 by Edward Jones showed that 83 percent of Americans say they “cannot afford the expense of a college education.”

Buttigieg’s suggestion that his progressive opponents are wrong to suggest that students need a college education is also not rooted in the reality of many job-seekers’ experiences, according to polling.

A 2017 study of 26 million job postings, conducted by Harvard Business School, found that following the 2006-2008 recession—during which many job-seekers were forced to take jobs they were vastly overqualified for—employers have practiced “degree inflation,” demanding college degrees for jobs that previously wouldn’t have required them.

“In a typical middle skills job title such as production worker supervisor, we found that 67 percent of the job postings required a bachelor’s degree or higher; yet just 16 percent of workers already in that position held such a degree,” wrote researcher Joseph Fuller at Forbes.

Sanders’s senior adviser, Jeff Weaver, accused Buttigieg himself of exhibiting “elitism” in his latest argument against free public college.

“The type of attitude that Mayor Pete Buttigieg is exhibiting here is in fact elitist in itself,” Weaver said. “The reason why people aren’t going to college is because not everybody can afford to go to college.”

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Trump Was Right: NATO Should Be Obsolete

DECEMBER 3, 2019 (


The three smartest words that Donald Trump uttered during his presidential campaign are “NATO is obsolete.” His adversary, Hillary Clinton, retorted that NATO was “the strongest military alliance in the history of the world.” Now that Trump has been in power, the White House parrots the same worn line that NATO is “the most successful Alliance in history, guaranteeing the security, prosperity, and freedom of its members.” But Trump was right the first time around: Rather than being a strong alliance with a clear purpose, this 70-year-old organization that is meeting in London on December 4 is a stale military holdover from the Cold War days that should have gracefully retired many years ago.

NATO was originally founded by the United States and 11 other Western nations as an attempt to curb the rise of communism in 1949. Six years later, Communist nations founded the Warsaw Pact and through these two multilateral institutions, the entire globe became a Cold War battleground. When the USSR collapsed in 1991, the Warsaw Pact disbanded but NATO expanded, growing from its original 12 members to 29 member countries. North Macedonia, set to join next year, will bring the number to 30. NATO has also expanded well beyond the North Atlantic, adding a partnership with Colombia in 2017. Donald Trump recently suggested that Brazil could one day become a full member.

NATO’s post-Cold War expansion toward Russia’s borders, despite earlier promises not to move eastward, has led to rising tensions between Western powers and Russia, including multiple close calls between military forces. It has also contributed to a new arms race, including upgrades in nuclear arsenals, and the largest NATO “war games” since the Cold War.

While claiming to “preserve peace,” NATO has a history of bombing civilians and committing war crimes. In 1999, NATO engaged in military operations without UN approval in Yugoslavia. Its illegal airstrikes during the Kosovo War left hundreds of civilians dead. And far from the “North Atlantic,” NATO joined the United States in invading Afghanistan in 2001, where it is still bogged down two decades later. In 2011, NATO forces illegally invaded Libya, creating a failed state that caused masses of people to flee. Rather than take responsibility for these refugees, NATO countries have turned back desperate migrants on the Mediterranean Sea, letting thousands die.

In London, NATO wants to show it is ready to fight new wars. It will showcase its readiness initiative – the ability to deploy 30 battalions by land, 30 air squadrons and 30 naval vessels in just 30 days, and to confront future threats from China and Russia, including with hypersonic missiles and cyberwarfare. But far from being a lean, mean war machine, NATO is actually riddled with divisions and contradictions. Here are some of them:

* French President Emmanuel Macron questions the U.S. commitment to fight for Europe, has called NATO “brain dead” and has proposed a European Army under the nuclear umbrella of France.

* Turkey has enraged NATO members with its incursion into Syria to attack the Kurds, who have been Western allies in the fight against ISIS. And Turkey has threatened to veto a Baltic defense plan until allies support its controversial incursion into Syria. Turkey has also infuriated NATO members, especially Trump, by purchasing Russia’s S-400 missile system.

* Trump wants NATO to push back against China’s growing influence, including the use of Chinese companies for the construction of 5G mobile networks–something many NATO countries are unwilling to do.

* Is Russia really NATO’s adversary? France’s Macron has reached out to Russia, inviting Putin to discuss ways in which the European Union can put the Crimean invasion behind it. Donald Trump has publicly attacked Germany over its Nord Stream 2 project to pipe in Russian gas, but a recent German poll saw 66 percent wanting closer ties with Russia.

* The UK has bigger problems. Britain has been convulsed over the Brexit conflict and is holding contentious national election on December 12. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, knowing that Trump is wildly unpopular, is reluctant to be seen as close to him. Also, Johnson’s major contender, Jeremy Corbyn, is a reluctant supporter of NATO. While his Labour Party is committed to NATO, over his career as an anti-war champion, Corbyn has called NATO “a danger to world peace and a danger to world security.” The last time Britain hosted NATO leaders in 2014, Corbyn told an anti-NATO rally that the end of the Cold War “should have been the time for NATO to shut up shop, give up, go home and go away.”

* A further complication is Scotland, which is home to a very unpopular Trident nuclear submarine base as part of NATO’s nuclear deterrent. A new Labour government would need the support of the Scottish National Party. But its leader, Nicola Sturgeon, insists that a precondition for her party’s support is a commitment to close the base.

* Europeans can’t stand Trump (a recent poll found he is trusted by only 4 percent of Europeans!) and their leaders can’t rely on him. Allied leaders learn of presidential decisions that affect their interests via Twitter. The lack of coordination was clear in October, when Trump ignored NATO allies when he ordered U.S. special forces out of northern Syria, where they had been operating alongside French and British commandos against Islamic State militants.

* The US unreliability has led the European Commission to draw up plans for a European “defense union” that will coordinate military spending and procurement. The next step may be to coordinate military actions separate from NATO. The Pentagon has complained about EU countries purchasing military equipment from each other instead of from the United States, and has called this defense union “a dramatic reversal of the last three decades of increased integration of the transatlantic defence sector.”

* Do Americans really want to go to war for Estonia? Article 5 of the Treaty states that an attack against one member “shall be considered an attack against them all,” meaning that the treaty obligates the US to go to war on behalf of 28 nations–something most likely opposed by war-weary Americans who want a less aggressive foreign policy that focuses on peace, diplomacy, and economic engagement instead of military force.

An additional major bone of contention is who will pay for NATO. The last time NATO leaders met, President Trump derailed the agenda by berating NATO countries for not paying their fair share and at the London meeting, Trump is expected to announce symbolic US cuts to NATO’s operations budget.

Trump’s main concern is that member states step up to the NATO target of spending 2 percent of their gross domestic products on defense by 2024, a goal that is unpopular among Europeans, who prefer that their taxdollars to go for nonmilitary items. Nevertheless, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg will brag that Europe and Canada have added $100 billion to their military budgets since 2016–something Donald Trump will take credit for–and that more NATO officials are meeting the 2 percent goal, even though a 2019 NATO report shows only seven members have done so: the U.S., Greece, Estonia, the UK, Romania, Poland and Latvia.

In an age where people around the world want to avoid war and to focus instead on the climate chaos that threatens future life on earth, NATO is an anachronism. It now accounts for about three-quarters of military spending and weapons dealing around the globe. Instead of preventing war, it promotes militarism, exacerbates global tensions and makes war more likely. This Cold War relic shouldn’t be reconfigured to maintain U.S. domination in Europe, or to mobilize against Russia or China, or to launch new wars in space. It should not be expanded, but disbanded. Seventy years of militarism is more than enough.Join the debate on FacebookMore articles by:MEDEA BENJAMIN

Medea Benjamin is the co-founder of the peace group CODEPINK and the human right organization Global Exchange. Follow her on twitter at @MedeaBenjamin.

‘He’s Just…Erased’: PBS 2020 Segment Finds Time for Klobuchar, Sestak, and Bullock—But Completely Ignores Bernie Sanders

December 03, 2019 by Common Dreams

It was like watching “manufacturing consent in action,’ said Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson.

by Jake Johnson, staff writer

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders during the PBS NewsHour Democratic presidential candidate at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on February 11, 2016 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

A Monday night PBS NewsHour segment on the state of the 2020 Democratic presidential primary highlighted Sen. Amy Klobuchar’s new ad campaign in Iowa, the departure of marginal candidates Steve Bullock and Joe Sestak, a tender campaign moment with Sen. Elizabeth Warren, and Joe Biden’s “No Malarkey” bus tour—but did not once even mention Sen. Bernie Sanders despite recent key endorsements and a surge in the polls.

Sanders’ presidential campaign has repeatedly accused the corporate media of ignoring the senator from Vermont, a phenomenon Sanders supporters have dubbed the “Bernie blackout.”

The PBS segment, led by NewsHour correspondent Yamiche Alcindor, offered “a real taste of what Bernie is talking about,” Current Affairs editor Nathan Robinson wrote Tuesday.

“Remember that Sanders has been #1 in two out of three recent New Hampshire polls, and is currently second in Iowa, ahead of ‘frontrunner’ Joe Biden,” Robinson noted. “Alcindor found time to talk about Joe Sestak and Steve Bullock, plus plenty of candidates struggling to get out of single-digit poll numbers. And yet: not even a photo of Bernie Sanders. Incredible. He’s just… erased. He’s gone. Bernie who?”


Robinson described the NewsHour segment as an example of “manufacturing consent in action”:

Political commentator David Pakman recently asked, looking at Pete Buttigieg’s rising poll numbers, ‘What do you think is behind Pete’s rise?’ My own answer to that is simple: the manufacture of consent by a media apparatus invested in selling a candidate that will not disrupt the economic status quo.

So much of our understanding of the world and what matters is filtered through the media, because that’s how we get access to things that are not in our direct experience. If nobody talks about Bernie Sanders’ campaign, how are you supposed to learn about it unless Bernie people come and knock on your door?

The NewsHour segment came just weeks after a detailed analysis of MSNBC‘s coverage of Sanders by In These Times found that the Vermont senator received both the least frequent and most negative coverage of the top 2020 Democratic presidential contenders.

“The corporate media’s war against Bernie Sanders is very real,” Jacobin‘s Luke Savage wrote last month.

MSNBC, of course, is hardly the only culprit,” Savage noted. “As Katie Halper documented a few months ago, the New York Times reporter assigned to cover his campaign ‘consistently paints a negative picture of Sanders’ temperament, history, policies, and political prospects.’ The Washington Post once famously ran sixteen negative stories about Sanders in the same number of hours.”

Sanders’ lack of corporate media coverage compared to his 2020 rivals does not appear to have dampened his campaign’s momentum. Last week, Sanders regained the number two spot behind Biden in RealClearPolitics‘ national polling average and came out on top in an Emerson New Hampshire poll.

As Common Dreams reported, Sanders on Monday netted the endorsement of the Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement (CCI) Action Fund, the largest progressive organization in the key early voting state.

“Some 2020 presidential candidates have been embracing or acknowledging movement politics. But only one of them has been doing it for decades,” the group said in a statement. “That’s why Iowa CCI Action is endorsing Bernie Sanders. We’re standing with Bernie because Bernie stands with us.”

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