Dolores Lameira Galvan, 91, remembers hearing from her mother, aunts and uncles about their time working as housekeepers and laborers at Phoebe Apperson Hearst’s opulent mansion in what is now Pleasanton. She still prefers not to speak of the time her Ohlone family spent as servants on what had been the Indigenous people’s own land, says her nephew, Vincent Medina. For the Ohlone, it represents just one painful chapter in hundreds of years’ worth of trauma and loss in the East Bay and beyond. But decades later, Medina is working to reclaim his tribe’s history by opening the world’s first Ohlone restaurant in a space that carries the Hearst name. Cafe Ohlone, which he started as a pop-up with partner Louis Trevino in 2018, will debut in June at the Phoebe A. Hearst Museum of Anthropology at UC Berkeley.
Fences and protesters on Monday again returned to People’s Park, a famous site of resistance on the UC Berkeley campus, as the campus again mulls possible student housing on the site. It was just after 5 a.m. when the fences started going up and dozens of protesters mobilized in response. The University of California, which owns the land, wants to build student housing, while protesters are opposed to the plan. A small section of the park was fenced off to allow soil samples before construction. That means several homeless campers had to be moved. “So, they took down a few tents. Students had heard about it and came out and, about 30 or 40 people, and they were ready to mobilize,” said Aidan Hill, a protester and former Berkeley mayoral candidate.
Berkeley, California became the fourth U.S. city to pass a ban on all government use of facial recognition technology on Tuesday night following a unanimous yes vote by the City Council. Two other cities in the state, Oakland and San Francisco, have already passed their own bans on government use of facial recognition tech, while Governor Gavin Newsom recently signed a bill banning its use on police body cams for several years. Somerville, Massachusetts, also passed a similar law this summer.
Unusual release of arrested demonstrators’ identities could fuel harassment and abuse, experts and activists say. Berkeley police have arrested more than a dozen anti-fascist activists and posted their names and photos on Twitter, raising concerns that the department was encouraging harassment and abuse. Law enforcement’s unusual decision to immediately publicize the personal information and faces of arrested leftwing demonstrators on social media has sparked intense backlash. Critics have accused police of aiding the far right and endangering counter-protesters with “public shaming” and targeted arrests for alleged minor offenses. The California police agency said it had arrested 20 people on Sunday at an “alt-right” rally, citing many of them for “possession of a banned weapon” or “working with others to commit a crime”.
By Paul Elias and Jocelyn Gecker for Associated Press - Black-clad anarchists on Sunday stormed into what had been a largely peaceful Berkeley protest against hate and attacked at least five people, including the leader of a politically conservative group who canceled an event a day earlier in San Francisco amid fears of violence. The group of more than 100 hooded protesters, with shields emblazoned with the words "no hate" and waving a flag identifying themselves as anarchists, busted through police lines, avoiding security checks by officers to take away possible weapons. Then the anarchists blended with a crowd of 2,000 largely peaceful protesters who turned up to demonstrate in a "Rally Against Hate" opposed to a much smaller gathering of right-wing protesters. Berkeley police chief Andrew Greenwood defended how police handled the protest, saying they made a strategic decision to let the anarchists enter to avoid more violence. Greenwood said "the potential use of force became very problematic" given the thousands of peaceful protesters in the park. Once anarchists arrived, it was clear there would not be dueling protests between left and right so he ordered his officers out of the park and allowed the anarchists to march in.
By David Welsh for Counter Punch - Former mayor Gus Newport scolded the city council for going along with the various schemes for further empowering the police. “I cut my teeth in the civil rights movement by getting brutalized by police at the age of 11,” he said. “I would hope that you all have the principles, the heart and the concern for the people of Berkeley to make sure these [police programs] do not go any further.” Many spoke of the racist impacts of these federal police programs. Sharif Zakout, with the Arab Resource & Organizing Center, said: “I want to be absolutely clear that Urban Shield was developed in response to 9/11 and the Patriot Act and is an Islamophobic and racist program.” AROC is part of a broad Stop Urban Shield Coalition, whose mobilization succeeded in driving the racist program out of Oakland in 2015. That was the year when “Black Rifles Matter” was the most popular tee-shirt sold at the Urban Shield police expo. Berkeley resident James McFadden said the Intelligence Fusion Center and UASI “are part of a continuous effort to consolidate federal control over local police…that escalated after 9/11 with the passage of the Patriot Act and creation of Homeland Security.”
By Derek Wright for Socialist Worker - Milo wasn't able to spew his hate speech and incite far-right students and community members to commit atrocities and hate crimes, but not because the state decided to silence him. No one asked the police or the National Guard to shut him down. That would have been a violation of his constitutional rights. Instead, it was students, faculty, staff and the wider community who raised our voices in a public space to say "we resist your agenda." We all start with a right to say what we wish. But we have to take responsibility for what we say. If someone is trying to incite people to commit hate crimes, they don't deserve an open and uncontested platform.
By John K. Wilson for Academe Blog - Suspending a course in the middle of a semester is one of the most serious actions a university can take. On Sept. 13, Dean Carla Hesse of the University of California at Berkeley did exactly that to a student-taught DeCal class about Palestine. DeCal stands for Democratic Education at Cal, an old-fashioned tradition where undergraduate students teach 1 or 2 unit courses, pass/fail, to their peers. The instructors, called facilitators, plan their own courses, which must be approved by a faculty committee and the chair of a department.
By Walter Einenkel for Daily Kos - California, like many places in the United States, has pollution problems. The Bay Area’s waterways have some of the worst plastic pollution around. Monsanto used to produce chemicals, once used far and wide to lubricate machinery, in inks, paints, caulking, and more—called PCBs. PCBs are most likely straight-up cancer-causing poison. Over the decades, many places around our country have found outrageous levels of PCB contamination in their waters. Places like New York are embroiled in controversies surrounding PCB contaminators who prefer to have tax breaks than actually pay to clean up the polluted mess they made.
By LaborSolidarityCommittee for Occupy Oakland - The latest fight against Urban Shield and the militarization of police took place in Berkeley over the past few months. Members of the Stop Urban Shield Coalition joined Berkeley Copwatch and theOakland Privacy Working Group in attempting to get Berkeley to stop sending police to Urban Shield training exercises for at least next year (2016). They failed, but in doing so publicized the role Urban Shield plays in the militarization of local police, and the racist and gun-worshiping auras that hang over the entire Urban Shield operation.
By Ashoka Jegroo for Waging Nonviolence - More than a thousand high school students in Berkeley, California walked out of class on November 5 in a protest against racist threats left on a school library’s computer in support of the Ku Klux Klan and threatening a “public lynching” next month. “This is an act of domestic terrorism,” one student attending the protest told Fusion. “This is terrorism and it should be treated as such.” The controversy began at around 12:30 p.m. on Wednesday when people at Berkeley High School — a public school located a few blocks away from University of California — discovered that one of the school library’s computers was displaying a page full of racist slurs and threats, including messages like “KKK Forever” and “Public Lynching December 9th 2015.”
In early April, the US Postal Service won. They got a Federal Judge to dismiss, without prejudice, Berkeley's lawsuit against the sale of the downtown Berkeley Post Office. Funny thing though, nobody in Berkeley thinks the Post Service won, and for Postal Service management it was at best a pyrrhic victory. In order for them to extract that ruling, they had to attest that the 2000 Allston Way building was no longer for sale, and aver that they had rescinded their decision to move services out of the building. In an amusing twist Judge Alsup had asked the Postal Service lawyers during oral arguments whether they would rescind their "Final Determination Regarding Relocation of Relocation Services in Berkeley."
Local developer Hudson McDonald failed to reach an agreement regarding the sale of the Downtown Berkeley post office last week after months of negotiations and prolonged community protest. Despite termination of the sale and recent police intervention, some protesters remain outside the building on Milvia Street and Allston Way after more than a month of occupation. The protesters represent a coalition between Berkeley Post Office Defenders and First They Came for the Homeless and have opposed the sale and privatization of the post office for more than a year. “The postal service is selling itself out of business, one post office at a time,” said Mike Wilson, organizer for the Berkeley Post Office Defenders.
In Berkeley, California, a second consecutive night of demonstrations against police brutality turned ugly late on Sunday when a handful of the 500 protesters who began marching hours before broke police car windows and began vandalizing corporate chain businesses on several commercial streets. By Monday morning, that vandalism was beginning to eclipse the main points that protest organizers have been trying to make about ending the institutional racism in the legal system, as newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle led with businesses “assessing damages” and the local FOX News affiliatedescribed the clean up after “destructive protests.”