It’s no accident that wages are down while corporate profits are at record highs. U.S. wages are at a 50-year low relative to company sales. CEOs make more in a few hours than workers who care for children, the ill and the elderly make in a year.
People from community organizing and immigrant right communities, from union, homeless, health, and housing groups, are getting together and laying the groundwork so this movement can grow. We will all be marching, dancing, and dropping in to say hello to our “friends” in the financial district.
The strike’s magnitude was historic, with 6,600 prisoners fasting in 13 prisons. Many prisoners around the world, and many people on the outside, fasted in solidarity. The movement to end the tortuous conditions of long-term solitary confinement was revitalized.
Join social justice groups for a protest tour of the S.F. Financial District. March in the Great American TARP Tour, August 5 at 4 p.m., Union Square, San Francisco. Big Finance has swindled hundreds of billions of dollars by begging for an unconscionable bail-out via the Troubled Asset Relief Program, TARP.
On a high-flying journey from the streets to the rooftops, activists in San Francisco carried out their latest direct action campaign by taking over the vacant Sierra Hotel, demanding it be used to house homeless people.
Even as 1.3 million elderly and disabled Californians had their SSI benefits slashed below the federal poverty level, the American Association of Retired Persons made national headlines after it double-crossed the elderly poor by joining right-wing members of Congress in supporting budget cuts to Social Security benefits.
Berkeley’s business improvement districts continue to obsessively pursue anti-homeless measures in an attempt to cleanse the downtown sidewalks of homeless people. Yet the last thing Berkeley’s small businesses need is another highly politicized and self-destructive campaign about how terrible it is to shop in Berkeley.
Oakland protesters rallied against severe cutbacks imposed by the State of California that will imperil low-income families, seniors, the disabled and poor children. Laurie Jones, director of Alameda County Social Services said, “These cuts hurt our families, they hurt our communities, they hurt our children, they hurt our most needy.”
Homeless youth led a colorful protest at Berkeley City Hall, displaying scores of prayer flags in an appeal for compassion for homeless people targeted by a sitting-ban proposal. The Stand Up For The Right To Sit Down coalition scored at least a temporary victory by sending this proposal “to limbo.”
Same-day protests were held in San Francisco, Berkeley and Portland to challenge laws banning sitting or lying by homeless people. These “copy-cat laws” travel from city to city, as municipal officials copy each other’s efforts to erode human rights by making it illegal for poor people to exist in public.
A unique, quirky and imaginative protest was held at the Berkeley BART on May 22 to protest the City Council’s proposed sitting ban ordinance. Called a “Chair-a-Pillar,” the colorful act of defiance summoned forth a powerful historic echo of past sit-ins for civil rights.
Human rights include not only civil rights, but economic rights as well. George Lippman, chair of the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, said, “Nothing defines the right to human dignity more clearly than such elemental human needs as the right to sit, the right to rest, the right to eat.”