First They Came for the Homeless threatens lawsuit, alleges city violated constitutional rights (DailyCal.org)

letter_emiliabulfone_file

EMILIA BULFONE/FILE

A lawyer representing the advocacy group First They Came for the Homeless sent an open letter to the Berkeley City Council Ad-Hoc Committee on Homeless Solutions on Friday, alleging that the city has consistently violated unhoused residents’ legal protections and constitutional rights during homeless encampment disbandments.

EmilyRose Johns, the lawyer representing First They Came for the Homeless, said if the city does not change its policy surrounding homeless encampment disbandment, the group plans to file a class-action lawsuit. Since receiving the letter, First They Came for the Homeless has scheduled a Feb. 23 meeting with the mayor and City Council members where they will discuss the various allegations.

Between October and December 2016, a traveling homeless encampment organized by First They Came for the Homeless was disbanded 17 times, the letter states. Among several complaints, Johns alleges that Berkeley Police Department and city officials discard or confiscate homeless residents’ valuable belongings like wallets and cellphones during disbandments, violating citizens’ constitutional protection from the seizure of property without due process.

City spokesperson Matthai Chakko said in an email that before disbandments are initiated, homeless residents are generally given hours or days notice to collect their things and leave.

“At the time of an enforcement of illegal lodging on public property, City staff always ask people to move their belongings on their own,” Chakko said. “If there are any items that no one appears to be claiming, staff give those who have been illegally lodging the chance to claim those items (from storage).”

Homeless activists alleged that once the disbandments begin, however, they are given 15 minutes to collect all of their belongings and have to leave the rest of their items behind.

Items left behind are stored in the city’s Transfer Station where homeless residents can arrange to pick them up. Johns stressed that it’s difficult for homeless residents to coordinate the pick-up of their items or make it to the Transfer Station at all because they often lack access to phones and transportation.

Additionally, items at the city’s Transfer Station are stored outside in an open container so they are often damaged by rain, Johns said.

Homeless resident Mike Lee said his laptop, cellphone and tent, among other items, were all lost or damaged after being taken during disbandments.

“To the outside world this looks like a minor injustice, but these issues are huge to the people affected to them,” Johns said, noting that after Lee’s boots were taken during a disbandment he was forced to wear flip flops during inclement weather for several weeks.

Johns added that the residents of the homeless encampment are hoping that their meeting with the city will result in a weatherproof storage method for collected items, more time for homeless residents to collect their belongings and, ideally, a city-sanctioned homeless encampment.

Jessica Lynn is the city news editor. Contact her at jlynn@dailycal.org and follow her on Twitter at @jessicailynn.

Note from Mike Zint:

I owe Emily much vegan food. And if we win, the homeless of Berkeley and other cities have a chance for a much better existence.

The 12 Early Warning Signs of Fascism (washingtonmonthly.com)

Trump protestAnthony Albright/Flickr

Martin Longman

Martin Longman is the web editor for the Washington Monthly and the main blogger at Booman Tribune.

“150 Activists Hold 2nd Feinstein Town Hall” by Michael Petrelis


San Francisco constituents urge Senator Dianne Feinstein to vote no on all upcoming Trump nominees.

A robust speak-out against the Trump agenda and his nominees took place on Sunday, February 5 for ninety minutes and it was the second town hall held at Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s mansion in Pacific Heights.

It’s was inspiring seeing folks hoist the enormous rainbow flag over their heads and holding powerful political posters, and parade down the public step leading to her home where democracy in action took place.

Many thanks to everyone who showed up. You were a co-organizer of the event via your presence and participation, whether you spoke or not.
Special gratitude goes out to Mirka Morales for creating this visual news report on the town hall!

Stopping Fascism: Understanding What Happened and What to Do About It: Reading and Film List (by Ruthie Sakheim)

 

 

 

 

Hey Everyone!

If you are like me, you have shortened your attention span and do a lot of your reading online, clicking and skimming. To be a leader of the Black Panther Party, the reading requirement was 2 hours of reading per day. I’m committing to one hour per day! Here’s a list compiled from some of our Movement luminaries. Feel free to send me titles to add to the next one going out.

We need to understand what’s happening in a deep way while we fight it with all we got.

xoxo Ruthie

Stopping Fascism: Understanding What Happened and What to Do About It:

Reading / Film List

  • “From Dictatorship to Democracy” (Roadmap for how to fight tyrants, demagogues, and dictators) Gene Sharpe
  • Black Lives Matter program (Campaign Zero)

https://policy.m4bl.org/

  • Black Panther 10-point program

http://collectiveliberation.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/BPP_Ten_Point_Program.pdf

  • George Lakoff.com blogs

Film: “The Brainwashing of my Dad”  Jen Senko

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3771626/plotsummary?ref_=tt_ov_pl

  • “The Mass Psychology of Fascism” Wilhelm Reich
  • “The End of Protest” Micah White
  • “New World of Indigenous Resistance” at City Lights.com

https://www.amazon.com/World-Indigenous-Resistance-Lights-Media/dp/0872865339

“What then must we do?” 2013 2013 Gar Alperovitzhttp://democracycollaborative.org/content/what-then-must-we-do-straight-talk-about-next-american-revolution

“Viking Economics” George Lakey

“Doing Democracy” Bill Moyer

“The Best Democracy Money Can Buy” Greg Palast

“Vulture’s Picnic”

  • The Shock Doctrine” Naomi Klein

“A Force More Powerful” Ackerman and Duvall

  • Film: “HEIST” by Donald Goldmacher

Strangers in Their Own Land by  Hochschild

  • Film: Bringing Down a Dictator

https://vimeo.com/143379353

Bringing Down A Dictator is a 56-minute documentary film by Steve York about the nonviolent defeat of Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic.

“Protests won’t stop Trump. We need a movement that transforms into a party” by Micah White

‘The end of protest is not the absence of protest.’ Photograph: Yana Paskova/Getty Images

The marches will remain ineffective as long as we aren’t capable of moving from the streets to governing locally and nationally

(TheGuardian.com)

The astonishing triumph of Donald Trump can be traced to the bitter defeat of Occupy Wall Street, a pro-democracy movement that transcended left and right, sparking unrest in hundreds of cities and rural towns in 2011. Occupy’s consensus-based encampments demanded that President Obama get money out of politics. Instead, we got mercilessly smashed by his progressive administration. Now the dark irony of history is bashing back.

Trump – an uber-wealthy, partially self-financed candidate who promises to “drain the swamp” – was elected president just one week before the fifth anniversary of Mayor Bloomberg’s eviction of the Zuccotti Park encampment. President-elect Trump, a charismatic strongman with an autocratic temperament, is not what millions of Occupiers were dreaming of when we took to the streets against the monied corruption of our democracy.

Now, as the nation experiences a disturbing rise of hate crimes against the groups singled out by Trump during his campaign, protests descending into riots are rocking our cities. These visceral protests will undoubtedly continue into 2017. Celebrated progressive Kshama Sawant, a socialist councilwoman in Seattle, has already called on people to disrupt Trump’s inauguration in January.

At the same time, despite the excitement of seeing militants marching in the cities, leftist activist networks are buzzing with the painful realization that contemporary protest is broken. The dominant tactic of getting people into the streets, rallying behind a single demand and raising awareness about an injustice simply does not result in the desired social change.

Nominally democratic governments tolerate protest because elected representatives no longer feel compelled to heed protest. The end of protest is not the absence of protest. The end of protest is the proliferation of ineffective protests that are more like a ritualized performance of children than a mature, revolutionary challenge to the status quo.

Activists who rush into the streets tomorrow and repeat yesterday’s tired tactics will not bring an end to Trump nor will they transfer sovereign power to the people. There are only two ways to achieve sovereignty in this world. Activists can win elections or win wars. There is no third option.

Protest can play an important role in winning elections or winning wars but protest alone is insufficient. Just think of the three years many activists spent on Black Lives Matter versus the 18 months it took Trump to sweep into power. It is magical thinking, and a dangerously misguided strategy, for activists to continue to act as if the masses in the streets can attain a sovereignty over their governments through a collective manifestation of the people’s general will. This may have been true in the past, but is not true today.

What is to be done now? American activists must move from detached indignation to revolutionary engagement. They must use the techniques that create social movements to dominate elections.

The path forward is revealed in the rallying cry of the people in the streets: “Not My President!” This protest slogan is eerily similar to the one used by Spain’s 15-M Movement of indignados who set up anti-establishment general assemblies in May of 2011 and chanted “No Nos Representan!” (“You Don’t Represent Us!”) during their election. Their assemblies inspired the birth of Occupy. But when the refusal of the indignados to participate in the election resulted in a shocking victory for Spain’s right wing, the movement’s activists and supporters quickly internalized an important lesson that Americans must now embrace.

Realizing that new forms of social protest are better equipped to win elections than disrupt elections, many of the indignados transformed themselves into Podemos, a hybrid movement-party that is now winning elections and taking power. A similar story can be told of the Pirate party in Iceland, or the 5 Star Movement in Italy or the pan-European Diem25. Focus on the form, not the content, of these hybrid movement-parties: their organizing style is the future of global protest.

Concretely speaking, activists must reorient all efforts around capturing sovereignty. That means looking for places where sovereignty is lightly held and rarely contested, like rural communities. Or targeting sovereign positions of power that are not typically seen as powerful, such as soil and water district boards or port commissions. Protests will remain ineffective as long as there is no movement-party capable of governing locally and nationally.

This is a struggle for sovereignty. The endgame is a populist movement-party that wins elections in multiple countries in order to carry out a unified agenda worldwide. The spark for this electoral movement is bound to emerge from an unexpected place.

It could start from a women-led backlash against the pack of patriarchsgoverning the globe: Putin in Russia, Erdoğan in Turkey, Duterte in the Philippines, Xi in China and now Trump in America. Or maybe activists will start moving into neglected rural cities – low-population areas of America – and prepare to sweep city council elections. That is the strategy I’m pursuing in Nehalem, Oregon, where I recently ran for mayor. In any case, avoid falling for the exhausting delusion of endless urban protest or the nihilistic fantasy of winning an insurrectionary war.

The difficult path of merging innovative protest, social movements and electoral parties is the only viable way forward. And with only two years until the next election in America, there is no time to waste.

Tonight You Should Be at the Nearest Federal Courthouse Denouncing Trump’s Supreme Court Nominee

If you’re still trying to convince yourself that a 21st century coup is not underway, please, please snap out of it

January 31, 2017 (CommonDreams.org) by Michael Moore

His upcoming action tonight demands an immediate response from us. Most of the country lives near a city with a federal courthouse (US District Court) or federal office building. Find the federal courthouse near you here. (Image: Common Dreams / CC BY 3.0)

The following message was posted to Michael Moore’s Facebook page Tuesday morning:

Another Dark Day Is Upon Us.

There’s no way to put a good face on what will happen tonight at 8pm when Donald J. Trump begins his attempted takeover/coup of our United States Supreme Court. Tonight he will announce his first choice to fill the seat the Republicans have refused to let President Obama fill for the past year.

And there’s more bad news on the horizon. Justice Anthony Kennedy has indicated he will retire this year. And many are worried about Justice Ginsberg’s health. Thus Trump may have a chance to fill THREE seats on the court. This will damage the country for the rest of (many) of our lives.

His upcoming action tonight demands an immediate response from us. Most of the country lives near a city with a federal courthouse (US District Court) or federal office building.

Find the federal courthouse near you here.

We need to go in large numbers to our local federal site at 7pm ET tonight to protest his pick whom he’s promised will make abortion illegal. Call your local media to let them know you’re going to be there. Take pix and video and post them on social media. We must be loud and present on this most important issue on this most important night. I’ll keep you posted here throughout the day…

Michael Moore is an activist, author, and filmmaker.  See more of his work at his website MichaelMoore.com

ACLU: Airport protests against the Muslim Ban

A note from SF: We are asking that people who have been expecting or are expecting visitors to arrive at SFO from one of the seven countries in yesterday’s executive order – Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and Yemen – and have not heard from their visitors or have heard that their visitors have been detained or denied entry to please contact the ACLU of Northern California and leave a message at 415-621-2488. We will be checking this voicemail regularly throughout the weekend. Please leave a message slowly and clearly with contact information for the caller as well as the following information about the visitors if possible: id, country of citizenship, form of visa or entry authorization, date and time of arrival, flight number and airline. We stand ready to challenge detentions and denials of entry where possible to do so.

If detained at CA airport under Executive Order call local hotline:

SFO 415-621-2488
LAX 213-977-5245
SAN 619-398-4485