Every day, Israel’s genocidal assault on Gaza continues to erase whole families, communities, and neighborhoods off the face of the earth. We are recording this on Thursday, February 22nd, and just three days ago, Gaza’s Health Ministry reported that Israel has killed more than 29,000 Palestinians since October 7th, around two thirds of them, women and children. More than 69,000 Palestinians have been wounded in that time. As a full scale ethnic cleansing unfolds before our eyes, as the slaughter continues, as Israel’s government vows to continue the slaughter until quote, “total victory is achieved,” and as the US continues to be the number one supporter of this humanitarian calamity, people of conscience around the world continue to take direct action, with increased urgency.
University campuses have become a major battlefield for the Palestine solidarity movement in the U.S. Students and faculty who support Palestinian liberation have been subjected to doxxing, university discipline, arrest, firings and more. School administrators, even if they are not anti-Zionist, have been removed simply for not being strong enough in backing Israel. But solidarity groups such as Students for Justice in Palestine have persevered and have scored some victories. “From McDonald’s to Sabra to Chevron, none of our student fees that fund ASUCD (Associated Students, University of California, Davis) operations will be used to financially support 30+ companies that are complicit in Zionist violence,” the University of California Davis SJP chapter said on Instagram.
Several California municipalities are merging their climate deception litigation with the state’s climate case, to jointly pursue a super-sized lawsuit against the fossil fuel industry, according to recent court filings. This development comes as Chicago joins the growing list of U.S. municipalities suing the fossil fuel industry. On February 5, Contra Costa County Superior Court Judge Charles S. Treat approved California Attorney General Rob Bonta’s petition to link the state’s climate accountability case with lawsuits brought by the counties of Marin, San Mateo, and Santa Cruz, and the cities of Imperial Beach, Richmond, and Santa Cruz.
By day, Mingwei Samuel works as a software developer. Also by day — together with urbanist and writer Darrell Owens — he builds and installs benches at bus stops around Berkeley and Oakland that have no seating. It’s a tale as old as social media: In November, Owens tweeted a photo of his 64-year-old neighbor sitting on the curb at a bus stop to draw attention to the lack of seating for bus riders. “Which stop?” replied Samuel. “I can put a bench there.” A month later, he had placed a wooden bench, built based on a template from the Public Bench Project, at the bus stop in downtown Berkeley.
California’s solar power plants now rival the scale of any in the world. What stands out most is how they were built: under union contracts. Across the U.S., nearly 90 percent of solar workers had no union last year. In California, the situation was different—at least on paper. The vast majority of its solar power plants have been wrenched in place by unionized construction workers. But at first these were union jobs practically in name only, as thousands of unionized solar construction workers toiled on the underside of a two-tier system. Their wages, training, and job security lagged far behind their union siblings. Many questioned if they were members at all.
For over a decade, the administration at California State University (CSU) has been disinvesting in the United States’ largest public university system. The result has been the destruction of the institution’s academic integrity and the undermining of its basic goal: to serve the public good. Thankfully, a formidable opposition is growing among the faculty. This came to a head when, after a recent breakdown in negotiations with CSU management, the California Faculty Association (CFA) pledged to strike at all twenty-three campuses beginning this Monday, January 22. The twenty-nine thousand striking teachers are officially walking out over a bargaining impasse, but the conflict has roots far deeper than the recent breakdown in negotiations.
What’s scarier than a shark attack? An increase in the minimum wage. At least that’s what many corporate media outlets seem to want you to believe, given the apocalyptic tone of much of the coverage of California’s recent decision to raise the minimum wage for fast-food workers to $20 an hour, starting this April, a bump from the current level of $16. While outlets like the New York Times (10/23/23), the Associated Press (9/28/23), CalMatters (12/21/23, 9/28/23) and the Sacramento Bee (9/29/23, 9/15/23, 9/11/23) have responsibly covered the policy change, highlighting the large positive effects that it will likely have on workers, others are obsessively accentuating the negatives.
A large crowd of protesters who denounced Israel's military actions in Gaza were trying to shut down the Port of Oakland on Saturday morning. Hundreds of people blocked the entrance to the port, which they say is used to ship military equipment to Israel. The crowd gathered before dawn, trying to prevent port workers from getting to their jobs. "We need to stop U.S. aid to Israel," said Lara Kiswani, executive director of the Arab Resource and Organizing Center. "We absolutely will not allow our own port to be complicit in this genocide by allowing the transport of arms and military equipment to Israel." Protesters expect a ship carrying military technology to arrive at the port after delivering resources to Israel.
Sacramento - On the day California lawmakers returned to Sacramento for the new year, hundreds of protesters convened at the state Capitol on Wednesday and shut down the Assembly with calls for Israel to stop its war against Hamas. Legislators filed out of the Assembly chamber as at least 250 demonstrators chanted, “Cease fire now.” Filling the Capitol rotunda, protesters unfurled a banner stating “No U.S. Funding for Israel’s Genocide in Palestine” and made paper flowers representing more than 22,000 Palestinians killed in the war that began after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, killing about 1,200 people and taking 240 others hostage.
In Southern California’s inland empire, far-right activists associated with The Proud Boys have spent the past year hanging banners from overpasses to broadcast queerphobic messages across the region. “Parents of Trans Kids Promote Mental Illness,” they read. Or: “The Rainbow Belongs to God, Not to LGBTQ.” The banner battle is just one front in an ongoing conflict surrounding the region’s Redlands schools. A network of LGBTQ parents and allies, including several from the group Safe Redlands Schools (SRS), have a text line to receive alerts from community members warning when a new banner drops — to make sure it’s taken down.
78 Palestine solidarity activists are facing charges following a mass civil disobedience action staged on November 16, in which protesters shut down San Francisco’s Bay Bridge in solidarity with Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. Over 150 demonstrators blocked the Bay Bridge on November 16, while US President Joe Biden was in San Francisco for the APEC Summit. Several activists blocked the bridge with cars, and, highlighting their commitment, proceeded to throw their keys into the San Francisco Bay. Protesters are facing charges ranging from unlawful public assembly, false imprisonment, refusing to comply with a peace officer, and refusing to disperse a riot and obstruction of a public street.
Pro-Palestinian Google employees protested outside Google offices in San Francisco on Thursday to demand the tech giant cancel a $1.2 billion contract — called “Project Nimbus” — with the Israeli government and military. An estimated 500 protesters chanted “Google, Google you can’t hide, we charge you with genocide,” reflecting growing outrage over the contract during Israel’s ongoing bombardment of Gaza. The Israeli Finance Ministry described the Project Nimbus contract as “intended to provide the government, the defense establishment and others with an all-encompassing cloud solution.”
State and local jurisdictions are desperately looking for new ways to speed up affordable housing development as the supply of homes falls short of demand nearly everywhere in the U.S. This fall, the Biden-Harris administration announced new resources to support commercial conversions to create affordable housing. While much of the focus is on office conversions, an idea that swept the nation as millions of Americans transitioned to remote work, relatively few office buildings are physically suitable for conversion. The costs can be incredibly high and the surrounding neighborhoods, often in business districts, are not necessarily conducive to new housing and the needs of residents.
San Jose, CA – On Tuesday, December 5, hundreds of Palestine supporters attended the San Jose City Council meeting in person and online to demand that the council pass a resolution in support of Palestine. Community members waved Palestinian flags, wore keffiyehs, and brought signs with messages such as “End the genocide.” City staff intentionally blocked off half of the available public seats in the council chambers and diverted community members to overflow rooms. Many attendees were taken aback by this blatant restriction on their right to civic engagement.
California State University faculty at four campuses went on strike on Monday to demand higher pay and expanded parental leave for thousands of workers at the largest public university system in the US. The California Faculty Association, which represents 29,000 workers, is staging one-day work stoppages at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona; San Francisco State University; California State University, Los Angeles and California State University, Sacramento. The union is seeking a 12% salary raise and an increase in parental leave from six weeks to a full semester for professors, librarians and other workers. They also want more manageable workloads for faculty, better access to breastfeeding stations and more gender-inclusive restrooms.