Prison Strike Solidarity in Oakland

Grabbing banners, flags, and signs, people took to the streets and marched through the downtown to several corporations that profit from prison labor.

[ Hundreds of demonstrators march through Downtown Oakland on September 10, 2016 in solidarity with the nationwide prison strike. The prisoner work stoppage was organized to begin on September 9, the 45th anniversary of the Attica Uprising. ]

Over 300 People Take the Streets to Target Corporations Profiting from Prison Slavery

Text from It’s Going Down*
Photos by Bradley Allen
* Written from the perspective of organizers and participants.

On September 10, 2016 in Oakland, CA, over 300 people took part in a march, rally, and demonstration in solidarity with the ongoing Prison Strike happening across US prisons, jails, and detention facilities. People gathered at 1 PM at Latham Square in Downtown Oakland and held banners, signs, and red and black flags. Several speakers addressed the crowd, the first, a formerly incarcerated member of the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW) and the Incarcerated Workers Organizing Committee (IWOC), gave a speech discussing the cause of the strike, the need for class solidarity, and the revolutionary potential of these events moving beyond making just demands. From the speech:

Continue reading “Prison Strike Solidarity in Oakland”

Unpermitted Blue Boxes Appear Overnight on Pacific Avenue

An unpermitted blue box at the corner of Pacific and Soquel Avenues is marked with spray paint.

On August 24, 2015, things were just a little bit different as the day began on Pacific Avenue in downtown Santa Cruz. Most people, including locals, didn’t notice that the number of “blue boxes” painted onto the sidewalk had grown dramatically overnight. The “blue boxes”, which are actually rectangles, are supposed to represent designated areas of the sidewalk where artisans and people living on the streets will not be harassed and ticketed for displaying their artwork, artistic performance, or panhandling.

The action of painting blue boxes comes on the heels of two well-known artists, Joff Jones and Alex Skeleton, being arrested by Santa Cruz Police on August 20 for displaying art in front of Forever 21 which, as of recently, is not allowed since the boxes there were removed. A few days later on Sunday, the artists defiantly returned to the sidewalk in front of Forever 21 dressed in Colonial attire with displays of their artwork and a painting of the First Amendment. They were not arrested a second time.

Continue reading “Unpermitted Blue Boxes Appear Overnight on Pacific Avenue”

Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Officers Raid San Lorenzo Valley Cannabis Gardens

Santa Cruz County Sheriff Jim Hart and the Marijuana Compliance Team are operating in violation of County cannabis cultivation law.

On the morning of Friday, August 14, dozens of residents of Boulder Creek gathered in a downtown coffeeshop in response to police raids of medical cannabis gardens. People took turns explaining what they experienced the prior day when members of the Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Office’s newly formed Marijuana Compliance Team visited their homes and gardens.

Two of the medical cannabis patients whose garden was raided questioned why their 40 plants shared among three housemates was cutdown to only seven plants. Many people were very angry and stated that they had been growing in compliance with the county’s current medical cannabis cultivation laws: “Ordinance No. 5176. Ordinance Adding New Chapter 7.126 Relating To The Cultivation Of Medical Cannabis.”

On August 13, sheriff’s officers targeted properties on Moonrise Road in Boulder Creek. There were also unconfirmed reports of raids on Amber Ridge Loop. Using a bullhorn, officers entered some of the properties, breaking through gates, with their guns drawn and announced, “We’re here to cut you down.”

Continue reading “Santa Cruz County Sheriff’s Officers Raid San Lorenzo Valley Cannabis Gardens”

Santa Cruz Supports Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement

Over 14,000 people in California prisons, and 80,000 in the United States, are kept alone in steel and concrete cells the size of a parking space.

Over 14,000 people in California prisons, and 80,000 in the United States on any given day, are kept alone in steel and concrete cells the size of a parking space, with no fresh air or sunlight, for years and decades, some over 40 years. Many more are in solitary confinement in jails, juvenile facilities, and detention centers. Activists gathered on June 23 outside the Santa Cruz Post Office to expose and end the torture of solitary confinement in all lock-ups, in Santa Cruz County, statewide, nationwide, and worldwide.

On the 23rd of each month, since March 23, 2015, Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement (SCATESC) are held in cities throughout California. The demonstrations were launched by the Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition, a network of grassroots organizations, family members, formerly incarcerated people, lawyers, and individuals who are “amplifying the voices of those in California’s solitary confinement in their call for an end to torture.”

Continue reading “Santa Cruz Supports Statewide Coordinated Actions To End Solitary Confinement”

Hundreds March for Freedom at Cages Kill Rally in Santa Cruz

At least 6 people have died in the Santa Cruz County Jail since August 2012 while in the hands of the Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG).

At least 6 people have died in the Santa Cruz County Jail since August 2012 while in the hands of the Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG). In light of the most recent death in November 2014, community-based organization Sin Barras, which fights to abolish prisons and the prison industrial-complex, held a demonstration on January 24, 2015 in downtown Santa Cruz.

Hundreds of people came together to protest and raise awareness around the deaths, to highlight the broader context of overcrowding and lack of healthcare inside California jails and prisons, and create a space for community empowerment.

Speakers, including Fox Sloan, mother of Amanda Fox Sloan, who died in the jail July of 2013, shared personal stories which shed light on the violence of the prison system and strategies for building alternative forms of justice.

Continue reading “Hundreds March for Freedom at Cages Kill Rally in Santa Cruz”

Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King’s Legacy

The highly energetic march wound through the streets and neighborhoods of East Oakland and ended at the Coliseum City development site.

A weekend of direct actions, teach-ins, politically charged cultural events and marches throughout the Bay Area culminated with a Jobs and Economy March for the People on January 19. The event began with a multicultural rally outside the Fruitvale BART station — an infamous site of police terror where Oscar Grant III was murdered by BART police. The highly energetic march wound through the streets and neighborhoods of East Oakland, and ended at the Coliseum City development site with a rally and concert featuring Jennifer Johns and Kev Choice.

Since sunrise on Friday, Jan. 16, hundreds of people from more than two dozen groupings responded to the Anti Police-Terror Project’s call to come together for 96 hours of direct action over the Martin Luther King Day weekend, January 16 – 19, 2015. The Bay Area joined thousands across the country responding to a call from Ferguson Action to reclaim Dr. King’s legacy of militant direct action in opposition to economic violence as well as police violence and discrimination.

Continue reading “Thousands Unite and March in East Oakland to Reclaim King’s Legacy”

Watsonville Police Sponsor Annual Peace and Unity March

For the first time since the initial Peace and Unity march in 1994, the Watsonville Police were given a large role in determining the route of the march.

The annual Watsonville Peace and Unity March took place on Saturday, November 1, 2014. This year, for the first time since the initial event in 1994, the Watsonville Police Department was given a large role in determining the route of the march.

The march was founded in 1994 by the Watsonville Brown Berets, and the group remained primary organizers of the event from the beginning through 2011.

In 2012, the Watsonville Brown Berets were still key organizers of the event, however they also established The Watsonville Peace and Unity Coalition.

Continue reading “Watsonville Police Sponsor Annual Peace and Unity March”