Monday, December 28, 2009
We also discussed male privilege- the ways in which men are systematically granted privileges and benefits that are simultaneously denied to women, either overtly or covertly, such as the right to walk alone at night without fearing for your safety. Men are also paid more, listened to more, and are represented in the media as dominant, in charge, professional, etc.
Lastly, we talked about what it meant to be an ally to women. We discussed the importance of talking about these issues not only with activist men, but with all other men in our lives. We also mentioned that accountability is key in being a good ally. It is important to have discussions as men challenging sexism, but we must also seek to always be accountable with our actions.
In conclusion, sexism hurts verybody. While women no doubt feel the brunt of male supremacy, men are not protected from its corrupting and degrading effects. Challenging male supremacy is one way in which we, as men, reclaim our own humanity and re-connect with our brothers and sisters who have been harmed by these systems of oppression. No man or woman will ever be free while patriarchy surrounds us. It is our duty, and it is in our interests, to fight sexism wherever it appears- in ourselves, at school, in our family, our social movements, our community, and our jobs.
IMPACT! will organize men's allies' caucuses monthly. They are open to all. These will co-incide with bi-weekly women's caucuses (sometimes held at different times, always at different locations).
Caregivers at Santa Rosa Memorial Hospital voted to join the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) today in an election victory that caps their six-year struggle to win a voice at work.
"We are all so excited to finally have a voice to make our hospital a better place to work and better for our community," said Nancy Timberlake, a telemetry technician at the hospital. "We stuck together for six years and we finally did it. I'm so relieved and so happy that we won."
The vote was 283 for NUHW, 263 for No Union, and only 13 for SEIU, a rival organization that tried to interfere in the election. Despite SEIU's devastating loss, as of 7:00 p.m. Friday night they were still trying to stop the labor board from certifying the results. Seventeen ballots were cast by workers not on the board's list of eligible voters, and SEIU wants those ballots counted in the hopes there will be enough "No Union" votes to trigger a runoff.
The workers' effort drew national attention last year after political leaders and religious leaders rallied with caregivers at the motherhouse of the Sisters of St. Joseph of Orange, the founding order of St. Joseph Health System, which owns Memorial. Under pressure from the community, hospital administration agreed to negotiate with workers' representatives to establish ground rules for a free and fair union election.
This April, a majority of Memorial caregivers petitioned the National Labor Relations Board for an election to join NUHW. But the election was delayed for more than five months because of frivolous "blocking charges" filed by SEIU, the rival organization. When the labor board rejected those charges, SEIU demanded a spot on the ballot and blocked negotiations over ground rules—giving hospital management a free hand to mount an aggressive anti-union campaign.
SEIU ignored appeals from religious leaders, the North Bay Labor Council, and even former Labor Secretary Robert Reich to negotiate ground rules. Despite having virtually no support at Memorial Hospital caregivers, SEIU bombarded workers with dozens of mailers and visited them constantly at home and at work, urging them not to vote for NUHW.
NUHW filed charges with the labor board on Wednesday, after workers alleged that hospital administrators broke the law by engaging in illegal surveillance of union supporters, threatening and disciplining union activists, and giving SEIU staff unfair access to caregivers at work so they could campaign against the union.
"It was really transparent what SEIU was doing," said Melissa Bosanco, a Care Partner at the hospital. "It was like they were management's anti-union team. They wanted us to fail. But we saw through it and stuck together in NUHW."
Next month, more than 2,300 Kaiser Permanente professionals in Southern California will vote to quit SEIU and join NUHW. In all, a majority of 100,000 workers at 360 facilities across California have petitioned to join NUHW and are waiting for similar elections.
Saturday, December 26, 2009
The first stop we found was on Washington street across from A Math Oasis tutoring center. There were five male individuals being detained with an eventual arrest of one of the detainees. After nearly five minutes the police released the other individuals as a taxi cab arrived.
The remaining four individuals seemed to find the presence of copwatch a joke and shouted at us "Why are you around still?"
After being released, Nissar approached the four individuals only to have jokes thrown at him and jeers . The people did not understand our purpose or reason of watching them.
A few stops later Ben and Lupita went out on foot watching the police stop various individuals on the streets with similar results toward copwatch as the first stop.
At around midnight, a fight broke loose inside of the Keller Street Parking structure. The police tasered one individual and arrested him, a young Latino male.
The Keller Street Garage was closed by nearly 20 police officers from Sonoma County ranging from Sheriff cars to regular patrol cars.
10-15 individuals were detained all of whom where young between the ages of 17-25.
Know your rights cards were distributed to those watching the event as none were able to retrieve their cars from the garage.
According to one individual, the person tasered and arrested was his friend. The arrested was the one who was being attacked not the instigator of the fight. The instigator of the fight fled the scene as police questioned all individuals about hit and runs, gang activity, and fights in the area.
Nissar was questioned thoroughly when trying to have the arrested released in exchange for his safe return home. The police did not comply and would only allow a family member to receive him.
Copwatch drove the friend of the arrested home who was originally to be driven home by the arrested individual.
We as Petaluma Copwatch did not agree to the way the situation was being handled by the Police force on the scene. We wish to have change in the tactics used by the police.
Police "sobriety checkpoints" tonight in Petaluma Saturday December 26th. Be on watch and contact members of Copwatch or IMPACT if you wish to report a checkpoint or impounding of a car.
Monday, December 21, 2009
Jasmine was placed a restraining order with rules that say she cannot be within 500 feet of Cyrus Restaurant, the owner, the owner's wife or his property which include his house and car.
Jasmine was legally demonstrating in front of Cyrus Restaurant (Healdsburg, CA) passing out literature which were in two neat stacks in front of signs not on restaurant property. She was informing the public about foie gras production through a megaphone and chanting. A group of eight chefs came out and swept the leaflets into the sidewalk, then began sweeping them into a large garbage bag. She was yelling at them asking them to stop. As she was picking them up they began hitting her with the brush side of the broom. She was yelling at them saying, "This is assault stop it!" One of the chefs then responded, "You want to trash my restaurant this means war!"
Trying to bring attention to what they were doing she spoke through the megaphone "You are a horrible person!" She grabbed the garbage bag full of leaflets from the chefs. The chefs claimed that Jasmine was the one who threw the leaflets on the sidewalk. She received blows to the shoulder and face.
She was arrested by the police for assault, stalking, slander, and vandalism. She was held in a holding cell for an hour and then released to her parents.
Her next court date is at 9:00 on Monday December 28th, 2009 at the Sonoma Civil Courthouse in Santa Rosa. The address is:
#18 3055 Cleveland Avenue
Santa Rosa, CA 95403.
Anyone interested being present in solidarity of our comrade, Jasmine de la Torre please let us know as well as anyone interested in organizing carpools if needed. Thank you!
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Let us congratulate Carl Patrick for his participation of such a project on white anti-racist leadership and training for a vision of collective liberation.
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Thanks to the wonderful and dedicated student organizers of Napa Valley College for hosting us, and for keeping up the struggle for education. We look forward to working closely with these fierce and passionate young organizers in the near future, as we begin to lay the groundwork for a strong north bay movement for revolutionary social change.
Wednesday, December 9, 2009
Many on the Planning Commission had serious doubts about the EIR as well as the proposed project, which would include no housing, little to no pedestrian walkways, very little office space, 1,500 parking spots, and tons of the same generic chains stores that you are seeing line this country's highways more and more every day. After 4 hours of discussion and a myriad of lies and deceits from Regency's representatives, the Commission reluctantly approved the EIR (most likely a political move to make it look like there's some progress), but held off on making a decision regarding the project itself as is now proposed.
This is an important fight for our community. It boils down to one key question: who has control? Regency has been able to buy off a few representatives (Councilman David Rabbit being one of them) and gain a few dupes who know how to make a lot of noise along their way (check out the Argus Courier website forums to see what I mean).But in the end, the community wants something better. Building another strip mall would destroy our downtown, lead to a dramatic increase and traffic and air pollution in a pre-dominantly working class area (Payran neighborhood, East D. St. area, and the neighborhood on the other side of the free way, where several IMPACT! members live). , create more low-wage service jobs without benefits (further exploiting the labor of our town), and take away more space that could be used for public gatherings, food growing, and other such activities which would build and sustain our community. Let us not be fooled into thinking this community wants a strip mall. In the last city election in 2008, two candidates were voted in who promised sustainable and smart growth, David Glass and Tiffany Renee, replacing the two council members who received the most donations from developers. Now, while IMPACT! does not support electoral politics or politicians in general, we have to be clear about what this means. If we wanted a strip mall, would we not have voted for those candidates would have easily delivered us one?
This fight will continue, as the EIR moves to the City Council for approval in early January, and as Regency continues to attempt its theft of our community and our resources. We must be vigilant and GET ORGANIZED. This is about democracy, who gets to say how we use the resources that we have, and what is in the best interest of our town. Regency has nothing except lust for money and a handful of dupes. We have the numbers, and the ideas on our side. Let's stay informed about this project, and start talking about what we can do. There may be no chance of stopping it at this point, but if we get organized now, if we start bringing together environmental organizations, working people and unions, local businesses, students, and local musicians, and more, we will be able to make sure our community doesn't become some hell-hole, abandoned strip mall town with shit jobs, shit air, and shit culture.
Stay tuned to the blog for more updates on this important issue
Monday, December 7, 2009
"A caucus is a space to address the oppression of minority and marginalized groups within society and often even within social movements." (UASA)
That said, IMPACT! womyn got together over tea and trail mix to discuss what we wanted from a Womyn's Caucus, why it's important, boundaries, definition of "safety," womyn's issues (personally and politically), different locations to meet so that it's more inclusive to the community, to keep the age range of people attending to high school and college age womyn and to meet twice a month. However, if practical in the future, there was some interest in doing outreach to younger, middle school students.
Ultimately, everyone attending agreed it is critical for womyn to have a safe space to discuss issues of oppression with other womyn. However, we also agreed that it's not enough to just have a space, but rather, it's more effective, healing, and important to have a radical venue that can acknowledge and incorporate other oppressions, is peer based, nonhierarchical and has a focus to build community and leadership.
Our next Womyn's Caucus will be held next Thursday, December 17, Location TBA, and will most likely be a little more silly and fun, so all you interested lady readers, please comment for more info!
Friday, December 4, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Several months ago, Raymond was approached by another minor who was selling marijuana. Raymond refused, but the kid still pursued him in the hopes that he would change his mind. He then pulled out a fragment of marijuana in which Raymond observed and adamantly refused. The dealer then went to the police, accused Raymond of robbing him $20 dollars at gunpoint. Authorities then arrested Raymond and took him into custody for 5 hours without notifying his parents or reading him his rights. They asked him if he had any ties to gangs, he said no. Authorities then said that if he admitted to having gang ties he can be released, he still refused. Santa Rosa Police then raided his home at gun point. Authorities confiscated his computer, cell phone, and blue jersey (Raymond played on the football team), which is the center piece of his evidence of gang activity. Because he had the word “Crips” written on his jersey they associated Raymond to the LA gang, The Crips, who have no ties with the Santa Rosa or Northern California area. Police planted a gun in his house which police maintained as the weapon used during the armed robbery. Charles remains under house arrest unable to go to school, or wear any “gang colors”(red or blue) which would violate his parole and put him in the Juvenile Detention Center then further jail time as an adult. His next court date is December 14.
Although the judge in this case had previously told Raymond’s mother, Tracy, that friends and family were allowed in the court room, all four of us who came to support were promptly denied access to the hearing. The bailiff said “our shirts probably had something to do with it” (two of us were wearing shirts that said “Stop Police Abuse” on them). After a couple hours of waiting, and negotiating between the public defender and Raymond’s family, Raymond signed a statement admitting to being affiliated with a gang (which he is not), in order to get a lighter sentence (most likely probation). The public defender was certain that the police had enough “evidence” (i.e. had planted enough evidence) to convict him in a trial, which would result in his incarceration. After much pressure from the public defender, Raymond signed the statement.
Last Monday, we learned first hand just how little justice is obtained through this system. A young man is pressured into lying about a crime in order to avoid more severe punishment, and yet if he had lied about not committing a crime, he would be put in jail? How can that be? What kind of justice system threatens and coerces people into admitting to crimes they never committed? And what kind of system allows dirty cops to enter peoples’ homes, plant evidence, detain minors and intimidate them when there’s no parents or lawyers around, and then get away with it because our public defender’s know that they will never be able to mount a case against them?
We will continue to work with the Burt family to expose this case and the crooked cops that framed an innocent young man, so that, as Raymond’s mother Tracy put it, “not one more family has to go through what I went through.”
Friday, November 27, 2009
We briefly delved into a history of white supremacy and how it connects with the development of capitalism. We did an exercise to highlight the privileges and benefits granted to white people, and systematically denied to people of color. We had small group discussions to think about how white supremacy affects our social movements and what we can do to confront those issues. We also talked about the work of Catalyst Project, a center for movement building and political education that works primarily in white sectors of the left, based in San Francisco. Together we raised over $350 to go towards sustaining the important work of Catalyst Project.
Was is successful, you ask? Well that certainly depends. I personally think the people in attendance benefited from the brief history of white supremacy in the U.S., and certainly from hearing from people sitting next to them talk about their own thoughts and experiences in relation to the problem in question.
I think that to measure its success we will have to hope that the folks who went take whatever they absorbed from the workshop back into their normal lives and keep the wheel turning.
There are plans to hold monthly meetings to continue strengthening ourselves as white allies to people of color-led movements and communities. IMPACT! will also begin holding monthly caucuses for young white activists within our organization.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
STATEMENT OF PRINCIPLES
Brothers and Sisters,
We are IMPACT!, a collection of individuals united by a vision of justice in this world and driven by a common spirit of resistance. We are students, workers and immigrants. We are artists, farmers, travelers, poets, friends, lovers and neighbors. We are rebellious and dignified. We speak up and we act out. We are fanatic lovers of liberty and justice. Bad government and greedy people have controlled this world for far too long. We are one voice among many that will say "no" to them, and "yes" to a beautiful world that lays just over the horizon.
Our ideas, experiences, and methods are as varied as the streets we grew up on, and there are a thousand ways in which each one of us will choose to struggle towards a just and peaceful world. We are not politicians, nor do we wish to hold power over anybody. We are not a vanguard and we do not have "the answers." We will not be arrogant, or claim that our way is the only way. We search for a world where respect and cooperation, instead of violence and coercion, maintain us. We use our differences as tools that can strengthen our communities. We do not ignore them or let them tear us apart. We are not weak and we will not be co-opted by clever and disingenuous politicians or officials. We will always keep our word and never act dishonestly. We are a tension, a resistance to injustice everywhere, an example, a dream of a new world where all worlds fit. We do not follow any one ideology.
As an organization, we have five main points. These are not the only points we have to make, but they will begin to give you a small picture of what exactly we are fighting for. They are:
We want freedom. We recognize that we are fully capable of making our own decisions and that each community must be free to guide its own destiny without being restricted or oppressed. Thus we propose, not a new regime or political platform, but rather the opening of spaces for ALL to participate directly. These would be in small assemblies in every neighborhood, where the people would be able to decide what they need and how to meet those needs collectively and democratically. We want good government and strong communities- where those who lead, lead by obeying, where decision always come from below, from the people.
Workers' Power/Local Economy
The fruits of our collective labor must be enjoyed by all. The shops, factories, and fields all belong to those who work them. Furthermore, we believe that our work must be something that uplifts our spirit and satisfies the material and emotional needs of both the worker and the community. Thus, we suggest that all workers organize themselves into strong and democratic unions in order to take back what is rightfully theirs. We seek to support local merchants, farmers, artists, etc. and defend them from greedy people and corporate chains. Massive companies, in exchange for our money, resources, labor, sweat, health, family and land offer us nothing but boredom, exploitation, and things we do not need. In short, they have no place in our community.
This struggle is a puzzle with endless pieces, and it takes all types to put it together so that we may see an image of the new world we carry in our hearts. We come from different places, with different ideas, and we take different paths. We must respect these differences and focus on how we can each contribute to this expanding global movement for peace and justice with dignity. We pledge to always support others who are struggling for social justice, in a way that mutually complements our efforts. In addition, we seek a world where we all have each others' backs; where we never put selfish interests ahead of the interests of our community, where what happens to our neighbors and co-workers is a matter of concern to us; where we live the slogan “An injury to one is an injury to all.” One organization, individual, idea, approach, strategy, or tactic, alone, cannot create the momentum necessary to build a truly democratic world. Our movements must operate like an open hand, each digit capable of moving separately and independently, but at any moment ready to bring itself together to form a clenched fist.
We will actively and consistently confront all forms of oppression that exist in our community, and especially in our organization. We want to create safe spaces for those who have suffered oppression or discrimination due to their skin color, ethnicity, gender, sexuality, class, age, immigration status, mental health, etc. We will work towards fostering leadership among traditionally marginalized groups, including, but not limited to: youth, people of color, womyn, queer/trans folk, immigrants, and the working class. It is the responsibility of ALL members of IMPACT! to be accountable to themselves and the group as a whole to make sure that oppressive attitudes are immediately confronted when they surface. Bigotry and intolerance will not be accepted. We will work at building our leadership skills as allies to all oppressed people, which means learning to listen, to follow, and to directly confront the hatred that we have been taught.
Culture must be something that is open and free to everyone. It should be provocative and surprising. It should be what makes life exciting and full of meaning. We vow to defend our artistic spaces and fight to construct many more. We suggest many diverse and collective acts of beauty that together can breathe life and joy into our communities, creating spaces for socializing, free expression, and recreation.
A community must have music, dancing, art, color, poetry, ideas, theater, and literature to give it meaning. We want more venues for people to play music and express themselves. We want murals in every alleyway and decorating the skyline. We want school music and art programs to be fully and always funded. We want gardens in every yard and abandoned parking lot. We want public spaces so we can gather, discuss, debate, laugh, play, protest, eat and create. We want to make our own cultural meaning, not have it handed to us by billboards and MTV. Without a revolutionary culture, our movement will be a song without a tune, a night without a day. Therefore, it will be central to everything we do.