Archive for the ‘News’ Category

In Loving Memory of Chris Chitty

21 April 2015

Writer, theorist, and comrade Chris Chitty passed away today in his home in Santa Cruz. He was a valued friend and he will be missed. We here at occupyCA remember him for his tireless efforts during the university occupations of 2009, and the myriad projects, demonstrations, discussions, and struggles he brought his strength and beauty to during our time together. We love you Chris, and we will always be your friend.


from Evan Calder Williams:

In love and memory of you, Chris, who were a friend and a comrade, you who literally taught me the meaning of that word. How it came from the Spanish camarada, the French camarade. From roommate, yes, but also how this was literal, from the real sharing of a space together, bound to the bonds formed by men who didn’t have security or wealth or private homes and so bedded down in the same small and rented rooms, who were friends and strangers, who fucked or didn’t. And this was at the heart of your brilliant queer history, starting not with a clearly defined erotics or identity but with that messy terrain of friendship and intimacy and class, inseparable from the spaces of capital and the attempts to make them our own. We organized and danced and argued together, and this was all part of our friendship, its care and work of trying to survive in the world we want to see upended.

When I saw you last, I had moved across the country and was back in California too briefly, and you drove me to the airport. Before I flew, we talked for hours over Indian by a highway entrance in San Jose, and I was struck anew by your impossible warmth, how it energized me and still does, and when we seize the bank and turn it into a dancehall, we’ll give it your name, Chris, our utopian, who this world couldn’t allow.


The New Inquiry remembers Chris.



Writings by Chris:

No Justice for Trayvon Martin

15 July 2013
image

Banner Reads: Vengeance By Dawn for Trayvon

CALIFORNIA — In the wake of George Zimmerman’s not-guilty verdict demonstrations quickly followed throughout the US. Zimmerman, the man who killed 17-yr-old Trayvon Martin was charged with 2nd-degree Murder, but was set free Saturday evening by a jury of six women, five White and one Asian juror. Hundreds flowed out into the streets that evening in San Francisco,  Oakland, and Los Angeles among cities throughout the US—the largest in NYC. Although some windows were broken and flags set alight in Oakland, the media-hyped riots failed to materialize. Further demonstrations occurred Sunday evening throughout California and in other major cities in the US. In Los Angeles, hundreds blocked freeway 10 for some 30 minutes Sunday afternoon. Police fired non-lethal rounds into the crowd of demonstrators in LA.

In Oakland, perhaps at its zenith, as many as a thousand marched through downtown. The Oakland march culminated in blocking the intersection of 14th and Broadway for several hours.

More demonstrations are planned.

Update:

Monday, demonstrations continued throughout the state. In Oakland, hundreds if not closer to a thousand demonstrators briefly took over a freeway near downtown, rechristening it the Travyon Martin Freeway. Oakland demonstrators continued to march, returning to Oscar Grant Plaza, then headed toward the Fruitvale BART Station. Poignantly, the recent Sundance award winning film, “Fruitvale Station” premiered in Oakland over the weekend coinciding with the verdict of George Zimmerman. The film centers around the last 48 hours of Oscar Grant, a black youth killed while cuffed and laying on the ground by BART Police officer Johannes Mehserle. Subsequently, demonstrators swept around Lake Merritt, forced to find new routes due to a heavier police presence than the past two days of marches. Demonstrators circled around Lake Merritt, then moved towards the highway 580 on-ramp. Police blocked demonstrators from entering 580, so demonstrators turned around and continued towards the Fruitvale BART Station with locked arms. However, demonstrators later turned back, paused in front of the county courthouse for a few moments, then returned to Oscar Grant Plaza around 10:30pm. The march promptly resumed leaving a trail of smashed windows, including a Comerica bank and a Men’s Warehouse. Police (with mutual aid) confronted demonstrators following the property destruction, leading to a tense stand off. Police shot tear gas at demonstrators, receiving a response of firecrackers. Police then delivered a dispersal order. Demonstrators left the police line and marched North and reportedly continued smashing corporate businesses. One live streamer was confronted and assaulted by an individual, purportedly for filming the property destruction; the streamer’s footage doesn’t appear to have captured anything illicit. Several arrests occurred throughout the night, but the march continued past 11pm, although it was largely dispersed by 11:25pm.

Watch Monday’s live stream of Oakland here, and here.

TravyonMartin-Oakland-Jul15-2013-BPRLvsqCAAA1dQU.jpg_large

In Los Angeles, a rally began Monday evening at Leimert Park, then descended into Crenshaw Blvd. Reportedly, demonstrators marching through Crenshaw participated in property destruction, including vandalizing shops, cars, and police cruisers. Shortly before 10pm, police kettled and dispersed the crowd at the corner of Leimert and MLK. Some time after the 10pm dispersal, LAPD arrested a small crowd of demonstrators.

See More:
List of Demonstrations for July 15

Vigil in San Jose, CA on July 14

HyphyRepublic – Racist and Deracinated: Towards a More Inclusive White Supremacy

Prisoner Hunger Strike Begins

9 July 2013

from CAPrisonerHungerStrikeSolidarity:

Oakland—Family members, advocates, and lawyers will announce their support for the peaceful hunger strike and job actions beginning today throughout the California prisons starting on Monday July 8.   Prisoners have been clear since January that they are willing to starve themselves unless the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) agrees to negotiate honestly about their demands.

On June 20, prisoners being held in solitary confinement at the notorious Pelican Bay State Prison Security Housing Unit describe their actions:

The principal prisoner representatives from the PBSP SHU Short Corridor Collective Human Rights Movement do hereby present public notice that our nonviolent peaceful protest of our subjection to decades of indefinite state-sanctioned torture, via long term solitary confinement will resume today, consisting of a hunger strike/work stoppage of indefinite duration until CDCR signs a legally binding agreement meeting our demands, the heart of which mandates an end to long-term solitary confinement (as well as additional major reforms).

Our decision does not come lightly. For the past (2) years we’ve patiently kept an open dialogue with state officials, attempting to hold them to their promise to implement meaningful reforms, responsive to our demands. For the past seven months we have repeatedly pointed out CDCR’s failure to honor their word—and we have explained in detail the ways in which they’ve acted in bad faith and what they need to do to avoid the resumption of our protest action.

On June 19, 2013, we participated in a mediation session ordered by the Judge in our class action lawsuit, which unfortunately did not result in CDCR officials agreeing to settle the case on acceptable terms. While the mediation process will likely continue, it is clear to us that we must be prepared to renew our political non-violent protest on July 8th to stop torture in the SHUs and Ad-Segs of CDCR.

Thus we are presently out of alternative options for achieving the long overdue reform to this system and, specifically, an end to state-sanctioned torture, and now we have to put our lives on the line via indefinite hunger strike to force CDCR to do what’s right.

We are certain that we will prevail…. the only questions being: How many will die starvation-related deaths before state officials sign the agreement?

The world is watching!”

While the CDCR has claimed to have made reforms to its SHU system—how a prisoner ends up in the solitary units, for how long, and how they can go about getting released into the general population—prisoners’ rights advocates and family members point out that the CDCR has potentially broadened the use of solitary confinement, and that conditions in the SHUs continue to constitute grave human rights violations.  The California prison system currently holds over 10,000 prisoners in solitary confinement units, with dozens having spent more than 20 years each in isolation. Conditions in Pelican Bay State Prison’s SHU sparked massive waves of hunger strikes in 2011 that saw the participation of 12,000 prisoners in at least a third of California’s 33 prisons.

Related:

SF Commune Activists Attacked

17 May 2013

from indybay:

Students at SF State are holding a march and demonstration against SF State police brutality, today at 2pm at Malcolm X plaza in response to violent actions by campus police there, Thursday evening.

Seven San Francisco activists were brutally attacked by police and arrested Thursday evening after being invited into the SF State University dorms by students there. Several police officers were harassing a few of the individuals outside of the dorms when they chose to practice their constitutional rights by walking away. The officers followed them into the building and continued to harass them until an altercation occurred when an officer tried to grab and push one of the people involved. The police used unnecessary force in restraining the individuals and several of those involved were sent to the hospital after having sustained injuries. One individual was tazed and another was reportedly shoved into a paddy wagon where police continued to viciously beat him. There is video of the incident circulating on the internet, but much of the brutality wasn’t captured on tape.

The mainstream media is spreading misinformation about the incident. They are claiming that the individuals were “unauthorized” in the dorms, even though they were invited to [sic] there by students and SFSU housing guidelines clearly permit guests. The media also highlights the fact that an officer was injured. From the information we gathered after speaking to the police, the officer suffered from heart palpitations and didn’t receive any direct physical injuries from the individuals involved.

The activists were residents of the SF Commune, an abandoned building that protesters occupied and transformed into a social center and housing for the neighborhood since April of last year. The activists, who cleaned the dilapidated building, made it habitable for the first time in years and planted a blooming garden in the backyard, were welcomed by much of the community for their efforts. The building, on 200 Broad St in the Ocean View neighborhood, was raided by dozens of riot-clad SFPD Wednesday morning, about 36 hours before the incident at SF State; 28 residents were forcibly removed and briefly detained, while three were arrested.

Students and activists are holding the demonstration to call for an end to campus police brutality and harassment of students and visitors. Meet on SF State campus at Malcolm X plaza at 2pm today, Friday May 17.

Read more:

UPDATE: Demonstrators gathered for a rally on Friday afternoon, transitioning into a march to an administrative building. The demonstrators spoke with the Vice-President and the Dean of Students.

CCSF Conlin Hall Sit-in

21 February 2013

SAN FRANCISCO, California – On Thursday afternoon, some 30 students began a sit-in at the Conlin Hall building at the City College of San Francisco, Ocean Campus in response to the ongoing accreditation issues facing the college. Demonstrators have published a list of demands directed at Chancellor Thelma Scott-Skillman, including:

1. Call on the Board of Trustees to reverse all cuts to classes, services, staff, and faculty. Stop downsizing the mission of CCSF and promote equity.

2. Organize town hall forums at all campuses so that students can have their voices heard.

3. Make a public statement calling for Prop A funds to be used for education as voters intended. Call on City Hall to give CCSF a bridge loan until Prop A and Prop 30 funds become available.

4. Speak out against CCSF being put on “Show Cause” without prior sanction. Call on the Department of Education to take action to stop the ACCJC’s misuse of the accreditation process.

UPDATE: Demonstrators ended their sit-in the following day after agreeing to organize town hall forums. Read more.

UCI students visited by the FBI

8 January 2013

[Correction: The previous post on this incident contained inaccurate information regarding the subject of the investigation and was retracted.  The FBI has not mentioned the Muslim Students Union or Students for Justice in Palestine during their questioning.]

from OccupyUCI:

The FBI is seeking information from UCI activists, again

Today a UCI activist comrade was approached by the FBI.

Two FBI agents showed up at the parent’s house wanting to know information on another activist on campus.

This is how the conversation went:

FBI: Do you know X?
Comrade: I do not want to talk to you, I want to talk to my lawyer.
FBI: OK

Under NO circumstances talk to the FBI or any cops!  ANYTHING you say can implicate your friends and yourself.  Do not attempt to say something smart thinking that you are being clever in responding.  Even saying “I don’t know” can result in perjury charges.  Additionally, do NOT invite them into your home.  This is leaves open the opportunity for the FBI to search and gather clues lying around your home.  If they come to your doorway step outside, close the door behind you and say “I do not want to talk to you, I want to talk to my lawyer.”  Tell them a lawyer will get in touch with them.  If they do not leave ask “Am I being detained.” if they say No, WALK AWAY.

This is all intimidating, they want you to be intimidated! Do not let them coerce you into talking, you have the right to remain silent and not implicate your friends and yourself in anything.  They do not look as scary as they seem, they in fact look a little douchey, twenty-something, right out of the academy.  If you weren’t looking any closer, you could mistake them for Jevoha’s witnesses, or Mormons.

Regardless, treat the FBI like vampires, do not invite them in, do not talk to them, do not let their charms fool you!

Here is an excerpt  Not Yr Cister Press, in response to Leah and Grand Jury subpoenas in Portland:

“Whether or not Leah provided information substantial to indictments, her cooperation facilitated the grand jury investigation. Frequently stated in grand jury resistance trainings is that answering even “harmless” seeming questions can have highly damaging outcomes. What appears insignificant could be an essential link in the prosecutor’s case. Further, stating “I don’t know” or “I don’t remember” could potentially open you up to perjury charges. Finally, the State had, until October 17, encountered a mostly solid wall of resistance. Their strategy had failed to break solidarity among anarchists. In coercing testimony from Leah, the State damaged the credibility of those who publicly resist.

This point—that even limited cooperation is harmful—cannot be emphasized enough. Saying anything to a grand jury is a problem. Say nothing.”

Solidarity with all Grand Jury Resistors, Solidarity with all activists facing political persecution.  Solidarity with all prisoners.

Here are also some good readings:

Occupy Legal (Mainly serving the Bay Area) 

NLG: You have the right to remain silent (PDF)

Eshelman Hall Shutdown

27 November 2012

BERKELEY, California – On Tuesday afternoon, students at UC Berkeley chained their necks to the 2 doors of the 6th floor of Eshelman Hall. Police are unable to enter the floor without causing severe injury to demonstrators. Initially, some 40 students gathered outside to support the action. The demonstration is calling attention to the low enrollment of students of color and austerity measures impacting students of color being employed at the university. It appears this occupation is not strictly related to #occupycal demonstrators who pitched tents and faced police brutality a little over a year ago. The action coincides with the appointment of a new chancellor, Nicholas Dirks, to the campus.

UPDATE:

5:30pm – Police appear to be unable to enter the 6th floor.

5:40pm – The occupiers have released a list of 4 demands including: amnesty to demonstrators, the restoration of the Multicultural Student Development (MSD) to its former structure, increase the MSD budget, increase funding for recruitment and retention services.

5:50pm – It appears some administrators have entered the building to negotiate. The police has otherwise restricted access to the building.

6:05pm – Negotiations have reportedly fell through, however the occupation continues.

Demonstrators outside spell out of “SOS” with candles.

6:25pm – Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion Gibor Basri [and Dean Poullard] continues talks with some students. Watch livestream here.

6:40pm – Crowd outside has increased. Negotiations appear to continue. The student newspaper, the DailyCal, reports that students actually drilled their restraining locks to the doors. The demands can be found re-posted in full here.

7:00pm – Reportedly, NLG legal observers have been denied access to witness potential police action inside the building.

9:15pm – Negotiations have ended and the Eshelman occupiers have decided to exit the building. The student demonstrators have been promised a “transitional review team” and amnesty for their actions.

9:40pm – The occupation has ended.

Hoodies and Hijabs

7 October 2012

OAKLAND, California – Some 200 demonstrators gathered at Oscar Grant Plaza Sunday for the Hoodies and Hijabs action. The demonstration takes place on the 11th anniversary of the War in Afghanistan. Demonstrators rallied, then began to march around 7pm. Shortly thereafter, windows of multiple bank branches, a police recruiting office, the Oakland Tribune, Oakland City Hall and other businesses were smashed.  The march returned to Oscar Grant Plaza with no arrests. Reportedly, police arrived in “snatch squads” after the marchers began to disperse in the Plaza, but failed to apprehend anyone.

Related:

SF Anti-Colonial/Anti-Capitalist March

6 October 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, California – Demonstrators gathered in San Francisco on Saturday against Colonialism and Capitalism in anticipation of Columbus Day—a day in the US that typically celebrates the European colonization of the Americas. Further action is planned for the 11th anniversary of the war in Afghanistan (Sunday) in Oakland titled Hoodies and Hijabs.

The march set to begin at 3pm met early police confrontation with multiple arrests—effectively dissolving the march. The march began at Bradley Manning Plaza and within 15 minutes, some demonstrators threw paint filled balloons at the police. Police reportedly identified one of the individuals with paint and tackled the individual and surrounding marchers at Battery and California. Reportedly, [20] were arrested. Watch the recorded video stream of the arrests here (skip to 4:00).

More videos:

Read more:

Related:

  • Donate to the Occupy Oakland Bail Fund

SF Shooting Triggers Anti-Police March

22 September 2012

SAN FRANCISCO, California – On Thursday night, an undercover police officer shot a man in the Mission District—reportedly firing three shots in the man’s back. The shooting victim is not in a life-threatening condition. The police officer alleges that the man was about to fire a Tec-9 pistol and claims the shooting was in self-defense. However, skepticism around this police account immediately surfaced in parts of the community due to a history of fabrications police often contrive after shooting incidents, such as the recent case of Alan Blueford.

On Friday night, demonstrators marched through parts of the Mission District smashing bank windows, upturning tables at local “yuppie” restaurants, and throwing paint at a police station. No arrests were made.

Victor Martinez People’s Library Open

13 August 2012

OAKLAND, California – On Monday morning, the former 23rd Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library was occupied and renamed the Victor Martinez People’s Library. The building was shut down as a public library in 1976 and was briefly an alternative school and later a social services facility(1). The building has been vacant since 2010, located on 1449 Miller Avenue in East Oakland.

Here’s an initial statement from the people’s library:

The building unveiled today as the Victor Martinez Community Library was part of a Carnegie Foundation endowment of four libraries given to the city of Oakland between 1916 and 1918. Oakland’s librarian at the time, Charles S. Greene, believed that the city’s people would benefit most from libraries placed within their communities.

Despite this vision, the building was one of seven branch casualties of budget cuts in the late seventies, severing vital library life-lines in poor and working communities. Since then, the “Latin American Branch” library building located at the corner of Miller and 15th st. has mostly sat empty, despite the fact that the next nearest library is miles away, and increasingly difficult to access in a city like Oakland with an increasingly expensive transit system. With its eroding chain link fence and decaying, armored exterior, the building is much more than an eyesore; the unused, but inaccessible, space creates a life-draining dark vacuum of stability that serves at best as a convenient place for the unscrupulous to dump their old mattresses, couches and assorted garbage.

This morning, a group of activists opened this building again for use as a library. Inside is the modest seed for a library and community center—hundreds of books donated by people who envision the rebirth of local, community-owned libraries and social and political centers throughout Oakland. We’ve named the building after recently deceased author, Victor Martinez, who overcame a young life of hard agricultural work to become a successful writer in the Bay Area. His semi-autobiographical novel, Parrot in the Oven, has become a seminal work of the Latino experience. Martinez died last year at 56 of an illness caused by his work in the fields.

If you live in this community, we only ask that you think about how you can use this building. Name it anything you like. Purpose it to any goal that benefits the community—library, social or political neighborhood center. All we ask is that you consider keeping it out of the hands of a city which will only seal the fence and doors again, turning the space back into an aggregator of the city’s trash and a dark hole in the middle of an embattled community. The doors here are open. And there are many others simply waiting to be.

Update:

~7pm: The library needs the listed items.

Removing old graffiti and beautifying the people’s library.

11:40pm: Police raid the library, boarding it up and closing the fence off. Organizers call for a meeting outside the library for 10am (Tuesday).

Related:

  • Read more about the life of Victor Martinez.
  • In recognition of the one-year anniversary of the first BART protest over Charles Hill’s death, #opBART has been rebooted today, August 13th, for 5pm at the Fruitvale BART station.

Anaheim Continues to Speak Out

25 July 2012

Photo by @Killuminatii

ANAHEIM, California – On Tuesday, a demonstration against two fatal Anaheim police shootings attempted to bring their voices to a city council meeting. Many were unable to enter and the crowd outside rallied. Eventually police and demonstrators clashed. Police used pepper bullets, rubber bullets, and bean bag rounds on the crowd, reminiscent of police actions only days prior when community members discovered that police had killed Manuel Diaz and confronted officers–only to be shot and have a police dog attack the crowd. As police fired into the crowd on Tuesday, some demonstrators attempting to flee were hit, leaving bloodied injuries[1, 2].

Street skirmishes continued into the evening Tuesday night, as community members were incensed by the extra-judicial killings and the brutal police response to dissent. Reportedly, blunt objects and plastic bottles were thrown at police. Fires were set in trash cans and dumpsters, and several strip mall shops had windows smashed, including Vons, Starbucks, a restaurant, a check cashing store, and a vacant store front. Police fired non-lethal rounds at two journalists. Some 24 people were arrested during the course of the afternoon and evening.

Organizers against the police killings will hold another demonstration outside of an Anaheim Police station on Sunday at noon. In Oakland, a solidarity demonstration is being held on Friday at Oscar Grant Plaza at 5:30pm. In San Francisco, a solidarity action will be held Thursday, 6pm in front of the Ferry  Building. Organizers are holding a solidarity march in Harlem on Friday as well. In Atlanta, a solidarity march will take place starting at Piedmont Park, 8pm Friday. In Seattle, there will be a solidarity anti-police repression march at 8pm on Friday, starting at Edwin T Pratt Park.

Read more on the killing of Manuel Diaz.

Related:

Anaheim Community Attacked for Speaking Out Against Police Murder

22 July 2012

ANAHEIM, California – On Saturday afternoon, Anaheim police approached three men for undisclosed reasons including, Manuel Diaz, who then attempted to flee. The altercation ended with the police shooting Diaz [in the buttocks; as Diaz fell to his knees police fired another round into his head]. The police then cuffed the fatally wounded Diaz. Witnesses say that the police overreacted. As community members gathered, they confronted police and demanded answers. Police in turn reacted by unleashing a dog and firing rubber bullets into the crowd that included small children on La Palma Ave. Police reportedly went from house to house in the neighborhood to purchase footage of the shooting incident. As the evening progressed, a “near riot” situation developed, but failed to escalate. According to Orchestrated Pulse, the Anaheim Police are responsible for six shootings already this year.  (via reclaimUC)

A protest is planned for noon (Sunday) in front of the Anaheim police station. UPDATE: Some 50 or so demonstrators protested inside the lobby of the Anaheim police station. Demonstrators plan on returning every Sunday at noon.

Read more on Orchestrated Pulse.

Related:

  • Another Anaheim police shooting occurred early Monday morning (23 July). Police allege that the shooting victim, Joel Acevedo, fired at the police. The altercation occurred after a car theft.

July Update on Jasper Bernes’ Case

8 July 2012

from reclaimUC:

Though Jasper was on track to have a probable cause hearing for the May 1 arrest on June 29, one of the officers subpoenaed was on vacation. As a result, the hearing was rescheduled for July 20. He has an intervening court date on July 11, but does not need supporters to show up then. The hearing on the 11th is a routine appearance, designed to give his lawyer a chance to speak with the judge and the DA.

Essentially, Jasper is hoping to resolve the case through an agreement with the DA. Because the case has dragged on so long, and because he has taken a postdoc at Duke University and is scheduled to begin teaching there in August, he is willing to accept a reasonable plea deal. Though all of the charges are spurious, he wants to get this over with and go on with his life, and has indicated to the DA that he is willing to plead guilty to one charge from May 1, as long as the terms offered are not too onerous and will allow him to move to North Carolina with his family in August. So far, the DA has been unwilling to make a reasonable offer, and is insisting on certain terms – such as a stay-away order from UC property – that are unacceptable. Given the fact that Chancellor Birgeneau has already told the DA to withdraw charges for November 9 (thanks to phone calls and pressure from supporters) it is more than ridiculous for the DA to continue to pursue these kinds of punishments.

At this point, the best way to support Jasper is to continue to call the DA and to tell them to drop the charges for Nov. 9 and make a reasonable offer. It’s best to contact the Deputy District Attnorney handling the case directly, Chris Cavagnero, as well as his supervisor, Paul Hora. Call (510) 272-6222 and ask to be put through to them. It would be best if calls happened this Monday and Tuesday (July 9 and July 10), before his appearance on July 11.

Update:

Jasper has taken a “pretty miserable deal” and plead guilty to a number of counts. However, Jasper feels he is “lucky” as he will not have to serve prison time.

Related:

  • Information on the Sproul 13 can be found here.

Lakeview Elementary Raided

3 July 2012

OAKLAND, California – The Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) shut the doors to 5 elementary schools in June reportedly due to budget cuts. As community members including teachers and parents first heard about the proposed shuttering of the schools over a year ago, they began organizing against the school closures. The 5 schools closed were all in areas of the city home to low-income families of color.

On June 15, parents, teachers and some children established a camp outside the Lakeview Elementary campus in protest. In a matter of days, demonstrators reopened the school building and established a summer program open to all children, supported by teachers working voluntarily. Although concerns of police raids were raised, no immediate action was taken by police other than giving a dispersal order in paper form. Over the next two weeks, the occupied Lakeview summer school taught a number of different subjects to some 30 students.

Around 4 in the morning on July 3rd, Lakeview Elementary was raided by police, resulting in 2 arrests. In response, Lakeview organizers are requesting supporters to join them at 5pm today for a march.

Related: