activism

What New Orleans’ Common Ground Collective can teach us about surviving crisis together

Fifteen years after Hurricane Katrina, the Common Ground Collective’s uncommon success offers lessons on how to build effective mutual aid projects today.
Many Reclaiming people took part in post-Katrina restoration – Common Ground was one of the main groups facilitating volunteers and relief efforts.

Photo by Peter Lerrman/Wikimedia Commons / thanks to Elaine for the news tip!

Common_Ground_HQ-PeterLerrman-WIkimediaCommons

Satires

Who’s the Pinko in the Mask?

trump-crowd-nomasks

A rare inside look at the crowd at Trump’s acceptance speech, August 2020.

Naturally it’s almost entirely old white people. You’d almost think that everything is normal – except for that one young anarchist in a mask. Clearly an Antifa plant!

Lest anyone worry that this close-knit crowd might spread covid to the rest of us, relax – I’m pretty sure all of these people are quarantining at the White House for the next 14 days.

LA Times report – click here

Photo – Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

activism, Culture, Photos

Tiny Houses Come to Berkeley

Direct Action co-conspirator Sally Hindman sends this account of a recent grassroots project – story from Oaklandside, Oakland’s community site

It’s been a long road for the Youth Spirit Artworks project, which could house 22 homeless youth starting in the fall.

By the time he was 17, Sean McCreary was tired of telling his life story to people with money and power. Over and over again, he’d speak publicly about his experience getting displaced with his family from their South Berkeley home, and the four years he spent couch-hopping afterward, hoping to convince city officials to do more about the housing crisis.

“It had been two years of going to City Council meetings and pouring my heart out,” said McCreary, who first became homeless in sixth grade. He said he felt it was important to tell real estate developers and politicians what he knew, acutely, about the need to build affordable housing and stem gentrification. But it began to feel like a relentless cycle of emotional advocacy and waiting.

“I was like, I need to start putting things to action,” said McCreary, who’s now 20 and housed in West Berkeley.

He and his friends and colleagues at Youth Spirit Artworks, a Berkeley-based arts and job-training program for homeless and low-income youth, thought: What if we build affordable housing ourselves instead of just asking cities and developers to do it?

Now, after three years of tireless work, funding pleas, celebrations, and setbacks, their “tiny house village” is nearing completion. Twenty-two young people who need a place to live will likely be able to move into the mural-covered homes on Hegenberger Road in East Oakland in the fall, said YSA Executive Director Sally Hindman. Along with the youth, something like 1,400 volunteers—many from religious congregations, as well as schools and businesses—helped construct the houses, with oversight from general ,contractor Rolf Bell.

Each tiny house is 8 by 10 feet, and has a lofted bed, a closet, desk and chair, and electricity and heating. The village is still short four of its planned 27 tiny homes because of COVID-19 construction delays, Hindman said. The others are ready, along with two yurts that will serve as a communal kitchen and a living-room-slash-maker-space, and shared bathrooms. This week, volunteer crews, including 150 kids from Temple Beth El’s Camp Kee Tov, are installing painted fences around the parking lot where the tiny homes stand, and beginning to lay the groundwork to run power and water to the structures.

The village will house youth ages 18-25, for two years each. Residents will go through YSA’s job training program and have access to case managers who will help them work toward personal goals and connect them to city resources. The initial residents will be selected from people already connected with Oakland and Berkeley’s homelessness services, and the hope is to help them find permanent housing before they leave. (Call 211 to get connected with local housing and shelter options.)

“We’re calling it the Empowerment Village because it’s an opportunity for young people to transform their lives, end the cycle of homelessness, and move on to being self-sufficient,” Hindman said.

Read more at Oaklandside – click here

Donate to the Empowerment Village – click here

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

activism, Black Lives Matter

BLM – Portland Wall of Vets Joins Protests

Adding their voices to the Wall of Moms (“Moms are here! Feds stay clear!”) and the Wall of Dads who have stood up to Trumpian repression in Portland comes the Wall of Vets.

Dozens of veterans joined the thousands of citizens protesting the federal agents’ presence in Portland. Support protests have broken out in other cities including Oakland, Seattle, and more.

Mike Baker/NYT Report & Video

The Hill – Wall of Vets Report

Amidst a rowdy and potentially violent situation, these groups are pioneering new tactics in nonviolent resistance.

Viva Portland!

Photo New York Times

Portland-Vets-NYT

activism, Black Lives Matter

BLM – Oakland Solidarity with Portland

Oakland-July20-6975

Over a thousand people rallied and marched in Oakland this eve (July 25 2020) in support of Portland Black Lives Matter protesters who have been targeted by Trumpian federal thugs. I took the shots below before dusk.

The march then headed for Oakland police headquarters – here is ABC’s report on that part of the protest.

ABC News Report

The stated goal of the march was to express solidarity with besieged Portland BLM activists.

For many people, the aim was to create another flashpoint in the latest round of street agitation. When the government (at least the Trumpian wing) tries to crack down, our best response is to create multiple flashpoints, any of which could flare up at any moment. Keep them guessing.

I’ll be watching for news from Seattle, Boston, Chicago, Atlanta – and of course Portland.

– Photos and report by Luke Hauser

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

activism, Black Lives Matter

Wall of Moms Defends Portland

WallMoms01-NoahBergerAP

July 21, 2020 – Hundreds of mothers stood last night as a human barricade between protesters and federal officers as the illegal federal attack on Portland continues.

Unless other sectors of federal, state, and local governments intervene immediately to stop this insanity, expect it to spread quickly to other cities.

People will die. Certain factions will try to harvest political hay.

Thanks to the Wall of Moms for showing us a way forward.

 

activism, Black Lives Matter, Photos

Stolen Lives – 2004 SF Vigil

Photos from a 2004 vigil outside the SF Metreon called Stolen Lives: Killed by Law Enforcement – a forerunner of Black Lives Matter.

Stolen Lives was organized by community activists from Hunters Point neighborhoods.

Reclaiming folks including Kevyn, Bill, Starhawk, and others brought potted plants to create a living altar. You can see the Pagan Cluster circled up on the widest shot below, and creating altars in others.

Photos by George Franklin/Reclaiming Quarterly

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Satires

Mount Trumpmore: All Trump All the Time

Trump-Rushmore

Trump’s minions chatter about adding DT to Rushmore as the fifth phizzog.

But if re-elected, no way he’ll share the stage with pikers like Washington and Lincoln. He’ll have them scoured off and devote the famed cliff to four versions of himself.

Early sketches show none of the versions wearing a mask. However, three of the four will be fondling a cellphone.

Photo: LA Times