Columbus Day has been suffering setbacks of late. Minneapolis; Berkeley, California; and most recently Seattle now observe Indigenous People's Day instead. San Francisco has Italian Heritage Day; Hawaii, Discoverers Day (i.e., the discovery of the islands by Polynesians); and South Dakota, Native American Day. Venezuela dropped Columbus Day in 2002 in favor of Day of Indigenous Resistance. Mexico, El Salvador, Argentina, and other countries celebrate Dia de la Raza. While Columbus Day's still recognized here in Southern California, a new annual protest occurs in downtown L.A.
While en route to the ornate Cathedral of Los Angeles, we got a clear view of it with a homeless camp in the foreground. Well over 30 protesters lined the sidewalk across the street from the church with signs. Several horrific and barbaric deeds of Columbus and other pious Europeans were mentioned via megaphone as patrons, including a large group of teenagers, exited the church and stood in front.
Full story and photos: Columbus Day Protest, Downtown L.A. by RP
Dozens of voters occupied the median of Sunset Blvd outside the Stewart and Lynda Resnick mansion in Beverly Hills Thursday afternoon to declare “No More Sweetheart Deals for Billionaire Farmers!” Hand-painted signs pleaded for “real water solutions, not Prop 1” and decried the water bond as “water for the 1%,” not for the people of California. #NoOnProp1
At the “No on Prop 1” press conference, actors portraying the Resnicks toasted the growth of their own wealth thanks to powerful friends in Sacramento, while a tuxedo-clad waiter held a tray of POM Wonderful juice, Fiji Water, and Wonderful Pistachios (brands owned by the Resnicks’ umbrella company Roll Global). The skit touted record profits in a drought year, revealing the business model of growing water-intensive crops on toxic Central Valley soil for export to foreign markets in China.
Full story and photos: Voters Rally Against Proposition 1 Outside the Beverly Hills Mansion of Water Barons by Jessica Lux.
INGLEWOOD, CA -- Dressed as bees, several people collapsed on the floor of pesticide aisle at Home Depot on S La Cienega Blvd this Saturday morning.
Aside from the theatrics, the activists cheerfully announced to shoppers and staff alike, "today is International Honey Bee Day! Join the fight to Save the Bees!" and handed out pamphlets titled "The Plight of the Honeybee" linking the collapse of 40% of honey bee colonies in the last decade in the United States to the use of insecticidal seed treatment in genetically engineered (GE or GMO) crops.
Other actions in Southern California included ones in San Diego and Long Beach.
Full story and photos: Southern California Swarms to Save the Bees in Solidarity with Honey Bee Day Around the Globe by Occupy Los Angeles OWS
As part of a vast national response in 37 cities to The Ferguson, Missouri shooting of 18 year old Michael Brown, Los Angeles saw two protests over two days. Citing LA's own tragic losses and police abuse of Ezell Ford, Omar Abrego, Damon Jackson and Barry Montgomery the streets hosted two wildcat marches. The first was on Sunday August 17th outside of LAPD Headquarters and the second was the following day in front of both the Ford family home and the Abrego family home in South Central Los Angeles.
The story of police abuse is being seen by most as a a black male issue but these crowds gave pause to that notion. The protesters were a very mixed crowd both racially and culturally.
There were families of the slain and abused men holding large photos of their brothers, fathers and sons.
Three of the deceased men were challenged mentally. Two of them Ezell Ford and Damon Jackson were killed by Los Angeles police while a young schizophrenic named Barry Montgomery was beaten and hidden inside the Los Angeles jail system for days while his family searched for him frantically.
The police response was very light. There were bike cops and motorcycle police along with a fair amount of regular LAPD at the first action. Some streets were roped off while others streets were quickly blocked to traffic as the crowd sporadically wound it's way wildcat style through downtown. The response was essentially the opposite of the Ferguson display of force.
Story and photos: LA Fields Two Marches Against Police Executions Photoset 1of 2 | Photoset 2 of 2 by Robert Stuart Lowden
More: Los Angeles Declares "Hands Up!" in Peaceful Protest of LAPD Murder of Ezell Ford by Los Angeles People's Media
It’s a sweet, but sad victory. This recently overturned unconstitutional Los Angeles City law, LAMC 85.02, has been used over the years to harm many more people than the four plaintiffs in the Desertrain vs. City of Los Angeles appeal.
Harassment, arrests, tickets, vehicle tows, pets taken to the pound, stay-away orders, intimidating city attorney meetings, unnecessary court appointments, warrants for those who could not show up, inappropriate fear mongering by the city and homeless hate groups - these are some of the injustices connecting the victims of this unconstitutional law. We have a systemically broken city government in Los Angeles that criminalizes poverty.
Carol Sobel, the civil rights attorney who won this important case, remains positive and believes “Not only is this a victory for unhoused individuals, but it is also a very important step in the judicial recognition of the need to address any legitimate issues the City seeks to remedy by some more humane means than criminalizing poverty.” And she is so right. There are plenty more humane means to addressing homelessness than ticketing, arresting, towing, and police harassment.
Full story: LA Living in Vehicle Law Found UnConstitutional by Peggy Lee Kennedy
"The Che, which is a worker-owned collective residing on the University of California campus in San Diego, is being threatened with eviction," Chris Burnett, a former collective member, said on Indymedia on Air
. "The Che Cafe has been run by students since its foundation in 1980. Many will likely have heard of the Che Cafe as a music venue, which has hosted artists from all over the world; some may have eaten there their famous all-you-can-eat vegetarian dinners; while others may have gone to a political solidarity event.
"During the 1980s, the Che hosted countless events in solidarity with the people all over Central America and worked to bring down Apartheid. In the '90s the Che served as an organizing hub for those in solidarity with the Zapatistas and hosted countless events to oppose the first Gulf War. Today it continues in that tradition, still hosting artists [and] events and is still run collectively. For many of the hundreds of people who have joined the collective, it introduced them to the concepts of collectivity and consensus decision-making.
"The Che to this day serves as a model for a new society, teaching the building blocks of organizing and working together outside of traditional capitalist relations, specifically, the soul-sucking existence of a top-down boss-worker relationship. . . ."
Discussion with collective members (past and present): Indymedia On Air - Che Cafe show by Chris Burnett
More: Save the Che: Letter from Zack de la Rocha by Chris Burnett
Calls for action: Save the Che (Facebook) | Petition
Resources: Che Cafe website | Blogspot
PASADENA--More than fifty people filled the office lobby of Fannie Mae on Wednesday, June 11, 2014 in a call for the federal housing agency to change policies which are evicting long-term homeowners.
The crowd gathered to call attention to the plight of Jaime and Juana Coronel, an Azusa couple who have "worked their whole life to afford the house they've lived in for almost 25 years. The Cornels lost their home of 25 years to improper foreclosure. Now, the Cornels, after renting three years from Fannie Mae, they qualify to buy back their home. We have a letter here today that proves that the Coronels are qualified to buy back their home at fair market value, but Fannie Mae won't sell it back to them at market price. Fannie Mae is intent on evicting the Coronels to sell this house at the same price, that the Coronels can afford, but to someone else."
Full story and photos: Furious Homeowners Occupy Lobby of Fannie Mae in Pasadena by Los Angeles People's Media
United We Stand organizers noted, “The Woodstock location withdrew a few days before the event and had to be relocated to a farm (outside of Woodstock). Keep up your spirits, Free & Equal intends for this event to have similar historic implications towards the goal of world peace.” With the success of the last minute change, “this event sets up an even greater path for future festivals.”
Lee Camp told the audience, “We’re putting our differences aside long enough to realize the two party duopoly is nothing but a sham. We agree on 90% of the structural issues in this country. Ask them what the differences are…in Wall St. or the military-industrial complex or the prison-industrial complex.”
Immortal Technique opened his short set rapping his chilling song "Bin Laden," accusing the U.S government of masterminding terrorism. "Bush funded al-Qaeda, and now they blame the Muslim religion, even though bin Laden was a CIA tactician, they gave him billions of dollars, and they funded his purpose, Fahrenheit 9/11, that's just scratchin' the surface." He morphed into “The Point of No Return,” indicting the perpetrators of genocide and imperialism throughout history...
Full story and photos: United We Stand Festival Ignites a Wave of Action for Indy Journalists and Active Citizens by Occupy Los Angeles OWS
As Los Angeles went to the polls for the statewide district primary elections, members of Occupy Los Angeles gathered in "Solidarity Park" (otherwise known as the lawn of Los Angeles City Hall on Spring St.) for a picnic and educational outreach action about jury nullification.
When asked what "jury nullification" means, one woman responded, "Juries can not be punished for their verdicts. When you sit on a jury, you have the right to vote according to your conscience and to judge the law being applied to the case."
As the march traveled, a woman read a public service announcement about this history of jury nullification: "Did you know that before the Civil War, juries often refused to convict people for helping slaves escape, even though they had clearly broken the Fugitive Slave Laws? And did you know that even before that, most northern states had outlawed slavery as a result of jury verdicts? Most important, did you know that jurors today have the same power to reject bad law as they had back then?"
Full story and photos: Election Day with Occupy Los Angeles: Know Your Rights Juror Education Rally by Los Angeles People's Media
HOLLYWOOD -- On Saturday May 24th, people from the Los Angeles area responded to the global call to action for a "March Against Monsanto" by collaborating to produce an urban gardening festival with the theme "It's time to take back our food!"
The day started at 10 AM at vegan café Elderberries (7564 Sunset Blvd), where 3,000 edible, organic seedlings were on hand for distribution during the "Plant Against Monsanto" portion of the day. Kale and tomatoes were just a few of the open-pollinated non-genetically engineered (GE) varieties given away.
Volunteer Morgan Peters was one of the people to address the crowd, "There is a lot you can do on a daily basis. There's a lot going on right now in California. There's a bill in the senate that will be voted on next week (looks like it will be Wednesday), and it's for labeling GMOs. It's called SB 1381 and it's just like Prop 37 except it's a little cleaner, streamlined, a little fresher."
Full story and pictures: Los Angeles community members unite in Hollywood to #FarmLA and Plant Against Monsanto by Jessica Lux
Check it out. They're hitting up stores along Crenshaw. Their message is hitting wage theft. Wage theft encompasses a lot, but probably the biggie for fast food is when workers aren't given breaks or work off the clock, and management are lax about it. You're entitled to a break every four hours, and a lunch within any 8 hour period. Also, working off the clock is illegal, especially at the low wages they get paid.
Will the SEIU be able to pull off organizing victories for fast food workers?
Full story: Fight for $15 in LA by johnk
On Thursday, May 15th, three dozen people rallied in 102 degree heat outside the FCC field office in Cerritos, CA to #OccupyTheFCC in favor of net neutrality. Protesters waved signs bearing messages such as "FCC -- Don't Nix Net Neutrality," Don't Neuter the Net," and "Neutralize the Threat, Not the Net."
This Southern California FCC field office is located in unmarked suite 660 of a large industrial park also housing a for-profit college. Despite chants of "Hey, FCC? Come out! We've got some stuff to talk about!" no employees appeared to address the assembled citizens.
If the FCC approves paid Internet "fast lanes," websites that pay hefty fees will be easier for the average consumer to access. On the flip side, small businesses, start-ups, and anyone who can not afford the large fees will have their Internet traffic sent to the "slow lane." #SaveTheInternet refers to the campaign to keep the Internet free from discrimination and defend the principle of net neutrality.
Or, in the words of Thursday's rally, "Google fast, my blog slow? To that I say: no, no, NO!"
Full story and photos: Los Angeles Joins Nationwide #WaveOfAction Occupation of FCC Offices to #SaveTheInternet by Los Angeles People's Media
On the first Saturday of May, people gather in over 400 cities worldwide to celebrate cannabis hemp. The 16th annual Los Angeles Global Cannabis March (also known as the Million Marijuana March) marched at high noon along Crenshaw Boulevard to Leimert Park on Saturday, May 3, 2013.
Volunteers from The HumanSolution, NORML Women's Alliance, and Orange County NORML formed a contingent to honor cannabis prisoners of war (POWs) serving time behind bars for a plant. As the march traveled along Crenshaw Boulevard, 3-foot tall signs bearing the pictures of marijuana POWs caught the attention of passerby and traffic.
. . . Hemptivist Dr. Mesmer carried a "Phytoremediate Fukushima" sign in the march. Phytoremediation is the process of using plants to clean a toxic environment. Large scale hemp planting has the potential to reduce air pollution and scrub toxic substances from the soil.
. . . Medical marijuana pioneer Richard Eastman greeted the march at Leimert Park. Speeches in the park celebrated California's status as the first state in the nation to allow medical marijuana...
Full report and photos: Global Cannabis March Los Angeles Represents Drug War Prisoners Serving Life Sentences by Lex Libreman
LOS ANGELES, CA – In solidarity with workers of the world, Los Angelenos took to the streets on Thursday, May 1, 2014, to demand human rights for the global 99%. In addition to permitted marches scheduled by 501(c) charities and labor unions, autonomous grassroots protests sprouted up throughout downtown L.A. . . . Outside Wells Fargo and Bank of America, outraged citizens protested bank crimes, fraud-closures, and ongoing corruption of the big banks.
. . . As the sun peaked in the afternoon, the dancing continued down the block to join the Southern California Immigrants Rights Coalition (SCIC) march at Olympic & Broadway. En route, the human wave of action paused at the Los Angeles office of the Federal Reserve Bank for a stimulating teach-in. Chants of "Stop the deportation NOW!" and "Fund Jobs, Not War!" filled the air as the May First March traveled up Broadway. A large red banner reading "Alta a las Redadas / Stop the Raids!" spanned the street.
Another march for labor and immigrant rights was held in the early morning from Chinatown to the Federal Detention Center. Billed as "Mayday 4 All," the morning march included thousands of supporters from organized labor. Handmade signs at #Mayday4All read "End Wage Slavery" and "We the People Demand Real Democracy."
Articles and pictures: May Day 2014: Los Angeles Takes the Streets for a Global Spring by Jessica Lux | MayDay4All Coalition May Day March 2014 by johnk | Occupy Fights Foreclosures and Dance Against Banks protest Wells Fargo and Bank of America by Los Angeles People's Media
On March 13, 2014 a coalition consisting of the Los Angeles Community Action Network (LACAN), Occupy Venice and the Venice Justice Committee appeared before the California Coastal Commission meeting in Long Beach regarding the City of Los Angeles' Illegal curfew law enforced on Venice Beach and Boardwalk (Ocean Front Walk). Why is it an illegal curfew law? Because according to the California Constitution and the California Coastal Act, no beach can be closed without first obtaining a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) from the Coastal Commission. This is State law, which a City has to comply with. And LA has not.
Opposing this LA City beach curfew law is not a new effort. The first complaint was filed in November 2007, when the Venice Justice Committee discovered that the City had closed the beach without a CDP. They are State law breakers. Even more egregious to denying us all our right to access of the beach, the City was arresting people with this illegal law. That is why the effort to oppose this law became part of a local Homeless Bill of Rights campaign.
Full story and photographs: What's Up With the Beach Curfew? by by Peggy Lee Kennedy
For the 15th year marking International Women’s Day in Southern California, on March 8th a warm and sunny Saturday, a mixed race and enthusiastic crowd of approximately 450 women, men, quite a lot of young people, and lots of children gathered for a free concert and speakout at the MacArthur Park Band Shell in Los Angeles.
This year: IWD events internationally marked Haiti’s revolutionary legacy, and the continuing courage and resilience of its people, starting with women. From Berkeley, Boston, Claremont, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Oakland, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Springfield (USA), Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto and Windsor (Canada), Guyana and elsewhere, to Dublin and London, people have gathered in solidarity with the Haitian people. Actions in Haiti and across the world marked the 10th anniversary of the coup (29 February 2004) which overthrew the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide – former liberation theology priest and Haiti’s first democratically elected and much loved and trusted President. Also on this the first anniversary of the death of Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez, we were remembering this extraordinary leader of the Bolivarian Revolution which changed Latin America and the world.
Full Story: Rock, Rap & Speakout vs Poverty, Prisons & War By Ruth Todasco of Global Women’s Strike/LA
The Worldwide #WaveOfAction began Friday, April 4th at former Occupy sites around the world. Citing studies that “have proven that it only takes 3.5% of the population taking nonviolent action to create meaningful and positive change,” the originators of the idea have called for a three-month cycle of action beginning, symbolically, on the date of the assassination of Martin Luther King and ending, symbolically, on July 4, 2014.
In Southern California, rallies were held in Los Angeles, Westminster, Anaheim, and San Diego. A morning march from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce to Congressman Xavier Becerra’s preceded a vigil for the “Robin Hood tax” (H.R. 1579). People rallied at City Hall at noon in solidarity with the #WorldWideWave.
People of Westminster, CA united for an all-day rally in Freedom Park honoring the civil rights legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Free food, screen printing, pageantry, and community spirit were present long into the evening.
The Anaheim, CA Wave of Action was called to bring awareness to killer police in Orange County as well as the rising numbers of homeless on the streets of America.
In San Diego, Civic Center Plaza was re-occupied for the day with a message of “Evolve, Survive, Thrive” and “UNITE in LOVE.”
Full story and pictures: Southern California Joins Worldwide Wave Of Action by Jessica Lux
Hahamongna is a Native American village site at what's now the base of JPL (Jet Propulsion Laboratory) and currently threatened by an overly-elaborate plan to renovate Devil's Gate Dam. This scenario involves defoliating the area. Alternative plans would spare the ecosystem; however, the more grandiose one seems to be favored because more money is involved.
Those interested in a more sustainable approach to cleaning Devil's Gate Dam are encouraged to contact their city council members (if residents of Pasadena) or Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich (if residents of Los Angeles County).
The Arroyo Seco Foundation conducts regular tours, not only of Hahamongna Watershed Park (known for many years as Elk Grove Park) but the surrounding areas, identifying the many uses of local native plants. Participants of the 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout (and Bikeabout) learned about local Indigenous culture and got to eat pancakes made from local acorns and sample chia seeds and elderberries.
Story and photos: Report Back: 4th Annual Hahamongna Walkabout by R. Plesset
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.
Update: From the Bolsa Chica Land Trust: SAVE THE DATE: Very possible Coastal Commission hearing June 11th -- 13th at HB City Hall concerning Ridge LCPA. We need your help and support in this very pressing issue! If you can attend in person, write in, or even just share this with your friends to get the word out, that would be great! We will continue to post more information as it becomes available.
Another update: From the Bolsa Chica Land Trust The city (at the applicant's request) withdrew the application meaning that whatever happens on The Ridge or Goodell sites in the future will have to be reapproved by the city - this now gives us a chance to work with the landowners to purchase these sites and save them - still a long ways to go but today we can declare VICTORY!
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