March 14, 2014: On Friday afternoons, the corner of Sunset and Echo Park is usually the site of the weekly Echo Park peace vigil (now in its 12th year). This week, however, special emphasis was placed on U.S. meddling in Venezuela and Ukraine. This author counted 25 people (though I left early). Flyers were handed out to the fairly heavy foot traffic. As has been the pattern lately at community demonstrations, a police car was present. (A demonstration against U.S.-backed instability in Venezuela has also been held in San Francisco
"Nobody should be fooled here, especially left forces," said John Parker of the International Action Center. "History shows you what the U.S. is about--they're not about democracy, they're about profits by any means."
Story and photos: Protest Against Latest U.S. Meddling by RP
The world was right for a brief moment in Venice as we marched for the civil rights of homeless people in conjunction with the Martin Luther King, Jr holiday. The cops followed and took pictures but the parade, led by Superbroke, danced down the Venice Boardwalk and on to the street to the Venice Windward Circle. An awesome feeling of solidarity as we stopped traffic on the street together for justice.
Story and pix: Venice Hosts A Day of Action For Rights of Homeless by Peggy Lee Kennedy
Saturday's demonstration drew about 200 people to demand justice for Kelly Thomas, a schizophrenic homeless man who was beaten to death by two police officers. Out of 200 protesters, there were 10 arrested. Two for vandalism, including a blond woman who allegedly attacked a CBS camerawoman. The 7 remaining people were arrested for refusing to disperse the scene. Officials claimed they did everything possible to accommodate the protesters, but eventually, the manifestation turned violent heading into Saturday evening.
A CBS reporter, along with a camerawoman, arrived at the scene. Protesters who were affected by the death of Thomas, were offended because the CBS reporter had taken pictures of the Anarchy symbol spray painted along the walls of the Fullerton Police office. People felt that mainstream news was not contributing into reporting the facts. There had been a few protesters who yelled: "The media is lie! Tell the fucking truth!"
(Pictured above: protesters at the lamppost where Thomas was killed. Photo: Pablo A. Unzueta.)
Full story and photos: The Kelly Thomas Protest In Fullerton by Pablo A. Unzueta
Also: CBS reporter attacked protester from Anti-Media
Through street theater (video here
) and protest a message was sent to Congressman Xavier Becerra (District 34) lambasting his support of fast tracking the Trans-Pacific Partnership (a secretive trade agreement described by Lauren Steiner as "NAFTA on steroids").
Some of Becerra's constituents had hoped to speak with a representative in his office. However, they were told by police that permission must first be obtained by the building's owner, the Chamber of Commerce. Steiner emphasized the irony that police--our public servants, ostensibly--where taking orders from private commerce. Permission was never granted . A field deputy for Becerra was reached via cell phone but claimed to be too busy to talk/listen.
We then proceeded to the LA Times, which has failed to scrutinize the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and were met with hostility and smugness. At least a few employees entering and leaving the building expressed interest in the issue and even asked for flyers.
Story and pictures: Protesting Xavier Becerra's Support of TPP by RP
Huntington Beach: The sacred site of Bolsa Chica (aka: Puvungna East)--or rather, what's left of it--is again in serious jeopardy. The 9,000+ year-old burial site will be the subject of a hearing on January 8, 2014
. A developer is seeking to have it rezoned from Open Space to low-density Residential.
Bolsa Chica is known for, among other things, its ancient cogged stones (found nowhere else in the world except Chile). The area has already been developed extensively, with 174+ ancestors and thousands of ceremonial objects and other items removed.
The Coastal Commission hearing will be in San Diego at 9am; however, free bus rides from Huntington Beach will be provided to those who RSVP. Supporters are also encouraged to write to the Coastal Commission.
Further details: Rezoning of the Ridge in Huntington Beach by Johnk
This video describes the site and its history (though a bit dated in some ways): The Bolsa Chica Project
See the Bolsa Chica Land Trust for more historic and environmental information.
Discussion on American Indian Airwaves (KPFK) with Rebecca Robles of the Acjachemem (online for 90 days)
For the last eight or so years, the Rose Parade has been the focus of activism on issues such as U.S. military aggression, calls for George W. Bush's impeachment, crimes by banksters, the endangered U.S. Constitution, China's oppression of Tibet, and this year a Sea World float (featuring "happy" orcas) was the target of animal rights activists. (According to the KPFK evening news (1-02-14)
Wall Street was also depicted in an "unofficial" float entry near the beginning of the parade route. Discussion of it begins near the 30-minute mark.)
Nineteen animal rights activists were arrested for trying to block the Sea World float. Protesters at several locations along the route held up signs as the float passed. The float was accompanied by police, some in riot gear, in areas where activists were known to be. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of leaflets were distributed to parade spectators.
Story and pictures: Protesting Sea World at the Rose Parade by R. Plesset
(Photo above courtesy of Nicolas Tomas.)
In response to the global call-out for New Years Eve noise demos at prisons, jails, and detention centers around the world, we are calling all rebels and opponents of the Prison-Industrial Complex to converge on the Metropolitan Detention Center in Downtown Los Angeles December 31st.
Rally at City Hall's North lawn 10PM
March to Metropolitan Detention Center
Bring noisemakers and banners!
Full announcement: Los Angeles NYE Noise Demo by LA Rebels
It's cold, and Los Angeles is still the homeless capital of the United States. The costly and inhumane practice of using "quality of life" law enforcement to deal with homelessness in Los Angeles is no solution. It is part of the problem. Homeless numbers are on the rise and so are homeless deaths. The city is not developing the affordable housing required to address homelessness and is providing a shattering low number of emergency shelter beds. We the people need to help create safe zones and emergency services in order to save lives.
Full story and pictures: Emergency Services: Enabling Life for Homeless People by Peggy Lee Kennedy
Free Our Political Prisoners: Salgado and Stewart
Tuesday December 10, 4-6PM, at the Mexican Consulate, 2401 W. 6th St., protest the jailing of Nestora Salgado, a naturalized U.S. citizen and leader of her indigenous community in Olinala, in the state of Guerrero, Mexico. Over the last four years, Salgado, a grandmother, made numerous trips from her residence in Renton, Washington to deliver clothing and supplies to the desperately poor residents of her hometown.
Good news! Lynne Steward has been granted compassionate release, and is headed to New York to be with her son! Democracy Now
See You @ the @ist Bookfair
Saturday, December 7, come by and visit us at the bookfair. IMC will be sharing a presentation slot with The Black Flag Newsletter by the Free Association of Anarchists, at 11:45 in the CeCe McDonald Room
At the tables, we'll have some info about the latest drama and gossip going on with IMC. Bring your own gossip to share. Learn how to post to the site, and learn what kinds of help we need, and share your project ideas. We don't have anything to vend.
At least one of us will also be hanging out on the 8th at Macarthur Park, but that day is really about R.A.C.
Friday, 6:00 PM - 10:00 PM at Cielo Galleries - Cafe, Film Night, Music - Chicano Son, Money Mark
Saturday 10:00 AM - 6:00 PM at Cielo Galleries - Bookfair, Workshops, Speakers
Sunday Noon - 5:00 PM at MacArthur Park - Skill Sharing, Community Outreach with RAC
Imagine NAFTA on steroids and affecting multiple continents (North and Central America, Australia as well as parts of South America and Asia) and Pacific island nations (e.g., Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, and New Zealand). Although this partnership has been negotiated in secret, "leaked text reveals that the TPP [Trans-Pacific Partnership] would empower corporations to directly sue governments in private and non-transparent trade tribunals over laws and policies that corporations allege reduce their profits." (350 Campaigns
TPP would affect nearly every aspect of Americans' lives. If passed, it will undermine state, local and federal laws, including those governing food safety, environmental protection, internet freedom, worker rights, democratic sovereignty, healthcare and drug prices, and banking and finance regulation.
On November 25th, Barack Obama came to Beverly Hills for a high dollar fundraiser. 250 protesters were there to greet Obama and tell him to flush the Trans-Pacific Partnership. Here's how the day and night went in pictures.
Story and pictures: TPP Protesters Greet President Obama in Beverly Hills — in Pictures by Lauren Steiner, et al
Birds rescued from meat production, cock fighting rings, and the ritual of Kaporot have, in many cases, gone on to live decent/happy lives (some of them have even reproduced). Profiled here are turkeys Biggie and Autumn Tootsie of Riverside; Pooka, a goose in northeast L.A.; and several chickens. People who rescue them give advice about mistakes to avoid.
"There's nothing more impressive than looking at these turkeys every day and just counting the blessings that they've been given--and they know it," says Jen DeCarlo. "They're very grateful animals, just like we're very grateful humans to have them here. That's two less on someone's Thanksgiving platter, which is better than both of them being gone.
" . . . Our species domesticated them, so now we have to take care of the damage we've done. They can't go out and do it themselves anymore."
Full story and photos: Birds Who Survived the Holidays and Other Tragedies by R. Plesset
Just 10 years after the Ballona Wetlands were acquired and preserved (an endeavor that took decades), they are again under attack. The Annenberg Foundation, which has done impressive work elsewhere, plans to purchase the wetlands, develop part of it, and restore Area C. The latter proposal has been described as "a phony restoration" to "give crony engineering companies some business" and "way too aggressive" for the highly- sensitive habitat. Annenberg claims their plans have been misrepresented, but there was no elaboration.
On Thursday, October 17, a demonstration was held outside the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills during that facility's very extravagant grand opening. Protest signs supported Annenberg's various plans, that include a pet rescue center, but lambasted any construction on or restoration of Ballona, which is among the remaining five percent of L.A.'s wetlands that has not been destroyed.
(Photo courtesy of the Wetlands Defense Fund.)
Story and photos: Ballona Wetlands Again in Jeopardy by R. Plesset
On Los Angeles on September 10, 2013, in front of the Convention Center, where the AFL-CIO national convention was being held, a press conference was called by a coalition of community organizations critical of SB 744, also called Comprehensive Immigration Reform (CIR), and the parts that would further militarize the border, would charge immigrants high fees, bring back a "Bracero"-style labor system, and of Obama's massive deportation operation. CIR is supported by a coalition of labor and community organizations, who see this as the last opportunity to pass any kind of immigration reform bill. A faction of activists from LCLLA, an AFL-CIO Latino group, entered the hall and confronted labor leader Maria Elena Durazo.
Inside, the AFL-CIO's theme was to forge a new direction, and allow alt-labor and community organizations a place within the AFL-CIO. The new executive vice president of the AFL-CIO Tefere Gebre was interviewed and also discussed his views on the efforts by President Obama to attack and bomb Syria. Also the director of the national Taxi Workers Alliance Bhairavi Desai talked about the conditions facing cab drivers and other issues as well.
Coverage, photos, and links: AFL-CIO 2013 Immigration Press Conf & The "Comprehensive Immigration Bill" Challenged by Labor Video Project
On Monday evening, MoveOn called for vigils around the country against the threatened U.S. bombing of Syria. In Silver "Lake," the turnout was large--67 people were counted an hour into it (and by that time several had left). (Other local vigils listed here
.) People of all ages participated. Unlike the demonstrations against invading Iraq in '02-'03, public response was overwhelmingly positive. The honking was almost non-stop at the busy intersection of Glendale and Silver Lake Boulevards and could be heard from blocks away. Also, there was media coverage by NBC and NPR. All four corners of the intersection were occupied.
The crowd was passionate. One participant made a trip to the west side to fetch a banner for this event. Due to the large turnout, the one-hour vigil (originally scheduled from 6-7) was extended by an additional half hour.
Additional actions were planned for the following day, September 10, in and in front of the office of Congressman Adam Schiff in Hollywood.
Photos and report: Silver "Lake" Protests Invasion of Syria by R. Plesset
Thousands of people traveled from all over the state of California on August 14, 2013 to press Congressman Kevin McCarthy, Majority Whip from Bakersfield, to support a vote in the House of Representatives on a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented immigrants.
Rallying in Yokuts Park, supporters of humane immigration heard from trade unionists, community organizers, religious leaders, poets, musicians, and Dreamers – undocumented students who qualified for Federal deferred action and the California Dream Acts. Then they marched a short distance to Congressman McCarthy’s district office on Empire Drive, where they were met by a handful of opponents of immigration reform. Proponents of comprehensive immigration reform carried signs saying “Reforma migratoria justa” and “The time is now.” Many waved United States and United Farm Workers’ flags. The UFW flags said, “¡Si se puede!” Some activists carried butterfly posters, suggesting that migration is a natural right. Others carried a dinosaur effigy of Congressman Kevin McCarthy, suggesting that opposition to comprehensive immigration reform legislation will lead to political extinction. Opponents of immigration reform carried signs saying “No amnesty” and “Stop illegal immigration.” One member of the group carried a sign reading “Close the border” and “Visa violators out.”
Full story and pictures: Caravans Converge on Bakersfield to Press for a Path to Citizenship by Sharat G. Lin
A week after the George Zimmerman murder trial verdict which ended in a complete acquittal of all charges in the death of seventeen year old Trayvon Martin, a nationwide rally was staged. Over one hundred cities participated with Martin's parents appearing at the New York City rally and the Miami events. The NYC day was attended by celebrities and glitterati. The LA action was much more basic. No stages and no celebs. Just concerned Moms and Dads, Grandpas and Grandmas, little boys and girls and those not yet born.
The event started in front of the Federal Courthouse on Spring Street and eventually marched to the upper south side via Wilshire Boulevard. The police presence was minimal with no visible riot cops. Although two trucks full of battle police did appear blocks away after the march had worn down.
There were black, white, Asian and Hispanic families carrying messages that in no uncertain terms cried out for the safety of black men and boys through a cessation of the "Stand Your Ground " laws that are in the statutes of 34 states at this time. There were calls to end profiling and to protect our youth from vigilantism.
Report and photos: LA Families March For Trayvon Martin by Robert Stuart Lowden |
Photo Set 2
Tuesday July 16--Protests in L.A. are continuing to grow, as is police presence--and thus tax payer-funded LAPD overtime. Public officials, including Mayor Eric Garcetti, and media are vilifying a small group of violent protesters, blaming them for police presence/aggression. (However, it was noted on Pacifica's Letters and Politics Tuesday, July 16, 2013
that neither government nor media cares when much greater damage is done after sporting events (e.g., Giants winning the World Series in San Francisco).) Meanwhile, demonstrators blame the police and media for escalating tensions. A speaker on Letters and Politics stressed the importance of peaceful protest, saying that small business and property owners should not be alienated. Others have said glass is replaceable, lives are not. According to Pacifica Evening News, 14 arrests have been made--most for failure to disperse--and over 350 officers activated.
KPFK's Ernesto Arce reports that demonstrators in Leimert Park Village are sick of disrespectful and racist portrayals of African Americans by outside media. "I couldn't agree more," Arce says. "Of all the communities I cover, the black community is the most honest, the most real, the most righteously indignant, and the most beautiful of all."
Photos and videos: Saturday and Sunday Trayvon Martin Protests by jk | More Trayvon Martin Photos by imc volunteer | A Justice 4 Trayvon Martin Scrapbook
July 10, 2013: Some one hundred people protested the Ringling Bros. Circus on opening night at Staples Center. Much emphasis was placed on cruel treatment of animals and separating them from their natural environments and families. (Objection to incarceration and training of animals is nothing new--although a recent DVD documentary called No Fun for Elephants has shed additional light on animal abuse with its undercover footage of elephants being brutalized right here in California. Excerpts of it have been played on KPFK (90.7 FM). Some footage can be seen on YouTube here
Activity books were offered to small children, many of whom took interest in them. Children also showed interest in large photos of animals being treated inhumanely. At least one family, consisting of a mother and three children, changed its mind about attending Ringling and decided to do something else.
Protests of Ringling Bros. circuses are happening all over. "PETA volunteers will go to every city that Ringling Bros. goes to," said co-organizer and Campaigns Manager for PETA Katie Arth, "whether you're in cities like Los Angeles and New York or Biloxi, Mississippi."
Report and pictures: "The Circus is in Town!" by R. Plesset |
"The Circus is in Town!" (more photos)
Related: Victory! Colombia Passes Wild Animal Circus Ban by Animal Defenders International
In nearly every city President Obama has appeared over the past few weeks, he has been met by immigration activists who have used civil disobedience to make their message heard. It happened last week in Chicago
. (Also, a similar action targeted Wisconsin's racist senator Ron Johnson the next day in Milwaukee
.) So Los Angeles, a key battleground in the struggle for the rights of the undocumented, a presidential cameo at a Democratic Party fundraiser at a private mansion could not be ignored.
On Friday June 7, hundreds gathered and 11 were arrested--many of them risking deportation--in an act of civil disobedience calling on Obama to usher in the planned legalization of millions of undocumented immigrants by halting all deportations. Protesters gathered to decry other issues as well, including the imposition of the Keystone XL oil pipeline. The day's events were marred, however, by a shooting spree that occurred just blocks from the protests that took the lives of five and injured several more.
Report and photos: Civil disobedience outside of Obama fundraiser calls for "Not One More" deportation by Rockero | | More photos: Photos from Protest Against Obama IP THIEF