Hollywood Boulevard is a busy street here in Los Angeles. The courtyard in front of Grauman's Chinese Theatre is perpetually crowded with tourists, film aficionados, and a panoply of folks dressed up like characters from various hit flicks screened at this esteemed venue. The joyful, frivolous vibe suits the visitors filtering through, nonstop. On January 15th, the mood changed. In fierce opposition to Republican lawmakers' attempt to repeal the Affordable Care Act (or ACA), California nurses and other concerned citizens took to the streets in protest.
Coverage: STORY and PHOTOSET 1 PHOTOSET 2 by Robert Stuart Lowden
The actress-activist celebrated her birthday by joining #BankExit. Fonda's plan was to divest publicly, but Wells Fargo locked its doors. She pointed out the role divestment made against Apartheid South Africa. Also present was Lily Tomlin, who'd already divested; Frances Fisher; Catherine Keener; Mike Farrell; Dolores Huerta; and a crowd estimated to be in the hundreds.
At one point a round dance took place in the busy intersection of Sunset & Vine, paralyzing traffic for several minutes.
Story and photos: Jane Fonda Divests From Wells Fargo by Ross Plesset
Also: Jane Fonda, Dolores Huerta, Tokota Iron Eyes, et al interviewed on American Indian Airwaves (SoundCloud)
The winter 2016 Anti-Mall was in solidarity with Stop the Dakota Pipeline and Buy Back the Farm! (and there were multiple ways for guests to support them). Clemency for Leonard Peltier was also promoted. And as always, the Anti-Mall was a chance for shoppers to put their money into the activist-artist community and practice sustainable living (e.g., repairing more and throwing away less).
Story and photos: Anti-Mall '16: Buy Back the Farm! / Stop DAPL / Free Peltier by Ross Plesset
November 15, 2016: As part of a world-wide day of solidarity with Indigenous tribes in Standing Rock, North Dakota, a well-attended rally, demonstration, and march occurred at the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers in downtown L.A. Other actions took place in 300 cities around the world (200 of them reportedly in the U.S.). Here in the States, participating cities included San Francisco (where, according to the Pacifica Evening News, Market Street was shut down. Keep an eye on IndyBay
for coverage); Portland, Oregon where Portland IndyMedia
reported more than 500 participants; Columbus, Ohio; Montpelier, Vermont; and the University of Denver (Colorado), where hundreds also turned out.
The issue at Standing Rock concerns the North Dakota Access Pipeline, which is being built on Sioux land over sacred sites (many graves have already been destroyed), and inevitable oil leakage, which will contaminate water.
Full story and pictures: Large Turnout for Dakota Pipeline Protest by R of the Northeast LA Radical Neighbors | Photos of Pershing Square: NODAPL by Volunteer
Also: Interview with four Indigenous people on Standing Rock, N.D. and the Standing Rocks all over: IndyMedia on Air | And: Winona LaDuke on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour (first half of show). She says we may not need to remain on red alert but should certainly be on orange alert. Also, she wonders if these pipelines are meant to expedite U.S. avoidance of purchasing Venezuelan oil.
Another local action: Standing Rock Solidarity Action by X. Community groups picket Safariland--a manufacturer of police weapons in Ontario, California.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016
PASADENA--Hundreds of people gathered outside the Pasadena branch of the LA Superior Court yesterday--by some estimates as many as a thousand--to show their support for the victim of this legal lynching. The spirited crowd chanted, sang, danced, and held signs and banners, but also paused to listen to speakers during the two press conferences, one held prior to the hearing and the other held after the sentence was conferred. While one of the crowd's chants called for authorities to "Free Jasmine Right Now!," the concrete demand made by the leadership was for the judge to not sentence Jasmine to any jail time. The activist community considers her a political prisoner who had been profiled, surveilled, harassed, and ultimately entrapped by police and maliciously prosecuted by the district attorney's office. Given that perspective, the sentence, which consisted of a 90-day jail term, three years' probation, and a year of anger management, was considered unjust.
Full story: Black Lives Matter Activist Jasmine Abdullah Sentenced to Three Months in Jail on Attempted Lynching Charge
Articulate and passionate, Daniel was selected for this distinguished Award for his ongoing efforts to encourage students and adults to recycle and reuse containers, plant organic gardens, create pollination habitats for bees and butterflies, and protect our, air, water and soil from being contaminated by toxic chemicals.
Daniel, an environmental advocate since pre-school, also volunteers at a local animal rescue and describes the day he helped a bird that was trapped in plastic netting get free and fly away as the "best day of my life.”
Full story: California Safe Schools Honors 11 Year Old Daniel Randall by California Safe Schools
IRVINE - In an unassuming classroom somewhere on the UCI campus, about 80 people, most of them students, gathered to hear the words of the recently-released Black Liberation Army prisoner Sekou Odinga, imprisoned for 33 years for his role in the 1979 emancipation of BLA soldier Assata Shakur.
Odinga is on tour speaking to students and community members, not only to tell his story, but also to encourage others to work to free US-held political prisoners and prisoners of war.
Story and audio: Liberated Political Prisoner Sekou Odinga Speaks Out by Rockero
Saturday, February 6, 2016
INGLEWOOD - In a day-long event, members of the Southern California chapter of the American Indian Movement, along with other members of the Native community and social justice activists, called for clemency for AIM activist Leonard Peltier, imprisoned since 1977 on trumped-up charges.
The day featured speeches from well-known figures from the movement in defense of indigenous rights, including Danny Blackgoat, George Funmaker, and Shannon Rivers, as well as musical performances from Kill the Bullfighter and Aztlan Underground and poetic performances from Julio Rodriguez and Matt Sedillo. And no event led by the spiritual activists of AIM would be complete without drums and prayer.
Full story, with pictures and links to videos: International Day of Solidarity with Leonard Peltier
More: The Lawyer's Guild (June 24, 2016) Attorney and Peltier supporter Cynthia Dunne discusses the case and action we can take. Her portion starts at about five minutes into the show. This program is only available for 90 days.
FONTANA -- (January 23) A group of about 20 Fontana residents and local activists gathered yesterday evening outside of Randall Pepper Elementary School to commemorate the 1945 firebombing of the house owned by O'Day Short, an African-American targeted for racist violence for challenging white supremacy in the segregated city by daring to purchase a house on the south side of Baseline Avenue. Short, his wife Helen, and their two children Barry and Carol-Ann were all killed as a result of the December 16, 1945 firebombing.
As we talked, several themes emerged. One topic that stuck out was how little known the crime was, even among lifelong residents and people deeply involved in the community.
Many people made mention of the history of Fontana and the area, including one man whose family had suffered from the persecution of Mexicans. Some went even further back: "There was a village here in Fontana, it was called Wasingna if I'm not mistaken, and I went to the Fontana historical society. . ." However, when this person asked for help locating the village, society members replied, "Oh, those people, they moved around a lot." The speaker added: "Thousands and thousands of years of habitation. And these white people around here, excuse me, but these people that colonized this place, they still wanna say, 'Oh, they're nomadic,' or 'they didn't have title to the land,' all this stupid shit."
Full story and pix: Vigil for O'Day, Helen, Barry, and Carol-Ann Short, killed by racist terrorists in Fontana by Rockero
Noel Aguilar, age 23, was killed on May 26, 2014 by Los Angeles Sheriff's Department Deputies Albert Murad and Jose Ruiz LASD falsely reported that Noel was armed, had shot an injured deputy, and tried to take away the officers' guns. A witness cell phone video released in December 2015 revealed that Deputy Ruiz actually shot Deputy Murad accidentally and then shifted the blame to Noel, who was shot four times at point-blank range while being pinned down. Noel's final words #ImDying became a rallying cry for a protest held January 16, 2016.
Over 300 people marched a three-mile route to the Compton station of the LASD, where Noel's killers Albert Murad and Jose Ruiz report to duty. A large cardboard sign suggested, "Strong Communities Make Police Obsolete," accompanied by the slogan, "End Police Terror in Your Community Now," and the advice, "Form Police Accountability Groups In Your Area—Protect Your Neighbors from the Bullies with Badges and Guns. Learn Your Rights! Take Your Power Back." Other signs put it more simply: "Police are the Dangerous Gang Around Here" and "The Police are Armed and Dangerous."
Story and photos: Hundreds March Long Beach to Compton to Protest Los Angeles Sheriff Murder of Noel Aguilar by Jessica Lux
Keiro is a non-profit nursing home that's been taking donations from the community since its founding in 1961 to serve the Japanese-speaking elderly in Los Angeles. In 2015 they announced that the board would be selling the facilities to Pacifica (not the radio station) a for-profit developer. Normally, sales of assets from a non-profit to a for-profit require a hearing and approval by the Attorney General.
The AG's office waived this requirement, and pushed the approval through. Community member Mo Nishida wrote a letter and started a movement that snowballed into the Ad Hoc Committee to Save Keiro, which has gathered over 17,000 signatures opposing the sale, and is now researching a lawsuit to fight for the ability of its residents, many who are on Medicaid, to stay until death.
The Ad Hoc Committee is having a "Speak Out" public hearing on the 23rd, to substitute for the public hearing that the state waived, to set in writing the concerns, anger, and objections to the sale, from the community.
See also: Save Keiro Elder Care by johnk, East Wind: Save Keiro by Miya Iwataki
When an oil spill happens, you see it. At a coal fired power plant, you can often see the pollution blowing in the wind. But when a natural gas storage facility pollutes, what do you see? Until now, you saw nothing. That’s because much oil and gas air pollution is normally invisible.
Earthworks uses a FLIR (Forward Looking InfraRed) Gasfinder 320 camera that is specially calibrated to expose otherwise invisible air pollution from oil and gas operations.
This pollution must be stopped: •Methane is 86 times worse for climate change than carbon dioxide over a 20 year period. This one leaking facility in Porter Ranch accounts for an estimated 25% of California’s daily methane emissions. •Natural gas and natural gas drilling operations (mostly hydraulic fracturing a.k.a fracking) often bring up ‘hitchhikers’ like benzene with the natural gas that drillers seek. These pollutants can be harmful to human health and have led to documented health impacts for people living near compressor stations, pipelines, fracking facilities, etc.
Full article and video: Porter Ranch Methane Leak Doesn't Bode Well for Climate by Hilary Lewis
More: Erin Brockovich on Democracy Now! (December 30, 2015)
The corporate culture produces “just war” narratives to satisfy an insatiable appetite for violence, exactly what Star Wars delivers, except this time, I would argue, it’s been turned upside down in the service of a real empire: The US Empire.
I am not saying that The Force Awakens was intentionally made as an imperial piece of propaganda for US wars, but it’s hard not to make the connections between Disney’s history of racism and xenophobia, the total absence of the Dark Side’s politics (other than ISIS like nihilism), and the way in which the “good guys” are always innocent and being attacked by an evil force that literally hates their freedom. The Dark Side in The Force Awakens is reconstituted as The First Order that explicitly engages in an act of mass terrorism to destroy the Republic, i.e democracy.
Review/commentary: Why Star Wars: The Force Awakens is a Parable that Supports US Empire by Chris Burnett Spoilers!
In 2012, wind generators were built in Ocotillo Valley in southern California, an area long known to the Quechan as the Valley of the Dead because of ancestors traveling through en route to the next world. The installation of wind turbines, over the objection of the Quechan and other tribes (as well as non-Native residents), has desecrated sacred sites; disrupted, and even killed, wildlife and vegetation; and oil from the machines has been dripping into the ground.
And the generators seem to be doing little, if anything, to provide alternative energy. There is only enough wind in Ocotillo to keep them active four to five months a year. And when the energy is transported long distances (in this case to San Diego), as much as half gets spent in transmission. Furthermore, turbines require conventional grid energy for their initial start-up and to operate computers inside, which must also be cooled with fans in hot weather.
Much grid energy is also used in maintaining them--and they've required maintenance. One lost a Siemens propeller just over a year after activation (pictured above). Eight months later, another caught on fire.
Story: Greed Energy Update by Ross Plesset, pictures by Jim Pelley
Grants along with a successful crowdfunding campaign have provided Los Angeles based artists Karen Fiorito and Alex Arinsburg the means to secure two 14 foot x 48 foot billboards in the Downtown and Silverlake areas. Ten additional 5 foot x 11 foot billboards are being displayed in Hollywood, Culver City, Santa Monica, Marina Del Rey and other locations. These billboards will be on view from November 30 – December 27, 2015.
According to a recent study, 47% of California’s total water is used up by Animal Agriculture. 1300 gallons of water is required to make one hamburger versus 42 gallons for one veggie burger. Consequently, California residents are required to reduce water consumption by 25%; even though residential water use accounts for only 4% of California’s total water footprint.
Story and photos: “Got Drought?”Public Art Project About the California Drought Unveiled on Billboards by Karen Fiorito
An event was held on November 20th at the West Hollywood Library to commemorate those transsexual persons who have been murdered in the last year throughout the globe. The Transgender Day of Remembrance which was started in 1998 has become a call to action in defense of trans people who have suffered immeasurably over the years from negative societal judgment and the violence that will often accompany such views.
Full story and pix: West Hollywood Commemorates The Trans Day of Remembrance 2015 Part 1 of 2 Photosets and Part 2 of 2 Photosets by Robert Stuart Lowden
In schools and temples across the U.S and Israel, animal rights activists protested kapparot (kaparot). The Jewish ritual of atonement has made the news in recent years and has just finished its bloody few days where activists battled it out with practitioners.
At one kapparot in Los Angeles, children participated and some, laughing, with blood on their clothes and hands, were allowed to taunt activists holding signs outside the school the killing was taking place
Full story and photos: Kapparot Chicken Slaughter Causes Outrage: Activists Demand Change by Julia Mackenzie
On August 17, 2015, there were opening day protests in the Los Angeles Unified School District LAUSD, at the Hobart Elementary School, over the removal and retaliation against star teacher Raif Esquith; the co-location of a charter in the Stoner Elementary school that steals rooms from the public school; and a protest against the Eli Broadway foundation offices for pushing privatization and charters.
Links and other information: WW Broad & The War On Public Education In LA by Pacifica WorkWeek
Long Beach Police murdered a young man who was in shock, injured from a second-story fall, and hallucinating on psychedelics on the evening of May 27, 2015. Twenty-year-old Moorpark College student Feras Morad has been described by family and friends as someone who was well-loved and who had a positive influence on those around him (as reported by Pacifica Radio).
Morad was twice shocked with a Taser before he was killed by four shots fired in quick succession at close range. LBPD has repeatedly labeled Feras a "suspect," but have not revealed any crime he is suspected of.
Full story and pictures: Latest Long Beach Police Execution: Murder of Youth In Mental Distress by Jessica Lux
Further discussion: The Michael Slate Show (about 24 minutes into the show. Online for 90 days)
"Sold out! Sold out! Took money from Wall Street!" came shouts from the crowd when Senate candidate Kamala Harris took the stage at the California Democratic Party convention. As California Attorney General, Kamala Harris protected the banks from criminal prosecution for their crimes by orchestrating a sweetheart deal of a settlement.
Harris, who is running for the Senate seat that will be vacated upon Barbara Boxer's retirement at the end of 2016, was scheduled to deliver a stump speech to the LA County Young Democrats in the Grand Plaza on Saturday afternoon.
A cardboard sign at the convention summarized the situation: "$650 Billion Stolen; Only 18 Billion 'Repaid.' Who Says Crime Doesn't Pay? Bankers Have It Made!"
Full story and photos: Foreclosure Victims Occupy Senate Stump Speech of Kamala Harris by Occupy Fights Foreclosures
Long Beach patrol officer Jeffrey A. Meyer killed teenager Hector Morejon on April 23, 2015. Officer Meyer was responding to a trespassing call. Hector was unarmed. No verbal warning was given. From next door, Hector’s mom heard gunfire, and she ran outside. Hector called to his mother, but the police would not let Lucia Morejon ride in the ambulance with her dying son.
Dozens of grieving community members took to the streets Wednesday afternoon to demand #JusticeForHECTOR
Full story and pictures: Long Beach Police Execute Unarmed Teen Hector Morejon on Suspicion Of Trespassing by Jessica Lux
At Thursday's LAPD community meeting in Venice following the fatal shooting of unarmed 29-year-old Brendon Glenn, also known to friends and the Rainbow Family as Dizzle, community members took the microphone for public comment. Bonin was criticized for his inaction in helping houseless people--breaking promises to provide basic services and failure to meet.
Bonin's answer: "I meet and talk to people who are unhoused every week. . . . What I'm not going to do is take a meeting organized by activists--outside agitators who are trying to..."
At this point, the room crowd erupted in outrage at the slur just uttered by elected representative Mike Bonin.
Before handing the microphone to the next person in line, Busch declared, "Maybe we should stop talking to politicians. How many times have I asked you for a toilet?"
Full story: Councilmember Bonin Calls People of Venice Outraged by Police Murder "Outside Agitators" by Los Angeles Peoples Media | Related story and photos:
Brendon Glenn Dies and Venice S/Weeps by Peggy Lee Kennedy
Interviews on video (YouTube) by WeAreChange
May 1 was a day of international solidarity for Australian Aborigines, many whom are in danger of being driven off their ancestral lands and out of communities. Recent months have seen heightened activism in Australia concerning this issue. Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who's dismissed ancient Indigenous ways as "a lifestyle choice," has expressed concern over the expense of providing electricity and water to Aboriginal communities.
Over 85 demonstrations were held across Australia on Friday. Also participating were people in London; Hong Kong; Paris (via Idle No More, France); New Zealand; Finland; New York; and Los Angeles. In Los Angeles, a rally was held at Echo Park Lake. More than 25 people attended in the middle of the day. Some passersby and people already sitting on the grass took interest in the speakers.
Full story and photos: L.A. Stands in Solidarity with Australian Aborigines by Ross Plesset
Update: Sonali Kolkatkar interviews Samantha Cook of SOSBlakAustralia (November 30, 2015)
Families feeling the abusive foreclosure practices of Wells Fargo occupied bank branches in both City of Commerce (on Whitter Blvd.) and Studio City on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Members of Occupy Fights Foreclosures (OFF) and the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) asked local branch managers to forward letters describing violations of the California Homeowner Bill of Rights to Wells Fargo headquarters.
The locations of Saturday's actions were not publicly disclosed in advance. Only a morning meet-up location in downtown L.A. was provided to participants and media. Regardless, security in Commerce appeared to be on high alert Saturday morning. Half a dozen security guards on bicycles circled the shopping center parking lot outside the Wells Fargo branch in advance of the protest. However, twenty minutes elapsed between the start of the lobby protest and the arrival of representatives of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department (LASD).
One asked a man carrying a "Wells Fargo: King of Foreclosures" sign a question, and received such a passionate response that the deputy nodded and stepped back in deference to the man's right to express his grievances against Wells Fargo.
Sheriff Deputy Fonseca demonstrated a hostile attitude, intimidating videographer Patti Beers into stepping back from one portion of the sidewalk. He then retreated to corner of the sidewalk with the other law enforcement officers and private security. Multiple private security guards recorded Saturday's action on phone cameras, once they had the protection of the LASD.
Simultaneous to the action in East Los Angeles, members of the Alliance of Californians for Community Empowerment (ACCE) occupied a Wells Fargo branch in Studio City, CA to bring attention to the plight of an 80-year-old woman who has lived in her home for five decades. Wells Fargo would rather evict her than work out a loan modification.
Full story and pix: Families Protest Abusive Foreclosure Practices of Wells Fargo Bank by Jessica Lux
April 7, 2015: Marchers carried 617 life-sized cardboard coffins, one for each of the 617 confirmed people killed by Los Angeles County law enforcement since the year 2000.
Four Winds of victims' families and supporters--north, south, east, and west--met at separate locations and demonstrated at various places before converging at the LA County Board of Supervisors. The West Wind met at MacArthur Park and, in its travels, visited 6th and Union (site of the police killing of Manuel Jamines); the Rampart police station; and the LA Unified School District Headquarters building; before their ultimate destination, the LA County Board of Supervisors.
The East Wind gathered outside the East LA Sheriff Department before rallying at Mariachi Plaza, LAPD headquarters at 1st and Main St., and finally the LA County Board of Supervisors.
The North Wind began at the Men's Central Jail at Bauchet and Vignes and marched past Union Station, through Skid Row, past the memorial site for slain Brother Africa, before joining the other Four Winds at the Board of Supervisors.
The South Wind traveled to the LAPD Newton Division Station, and the Hill Street Court en route to County Board of Supervisors.
Occupy Los Angeles OWS reports, "As the crowd first took the streets for a die-in adjacent to the array of hundreds of coffins, songs played over the portable address system included 'Every Breath You Take / I'll Be Missing You,' and 'What's Going On.' Danza Azteca led the hundreds assembled in a musical dance ceremony honoring Mother Earth."
"Even those who prepared the hand-painted coffins in the weeks leading up to the march expressed a somber, awestruck silence upon seeing hundreds of paper memorials occupying the entire roadway outside the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration," Occupy Los Angeles OWS continues.
Full story and photos: United Families For Justice Carry 617 Coffins to Downtown L.A. #DeathByCop Rally by Occupy Los Angeles OWS
After the jury returned a hung verdict, the Fullerton district attorney announced their intent to retry independent journalist livestreamers AJ Redkey and PM Beers for their presence at the January 18, 2014 protests of the police murder of Kelly Thomas
Following the January 2014 acquittal of Fullerton police officers Manuel Ramos and Jay Cicinelli for beating Kelly Thomas to death, outraged people took to the streets for a day of protest against police murder and violence against the unarmed citizenry.
Starting in the early morning of January 18, 2014 , signs with messages such as "If You're Not Outraged, You're Not Paying Attention" and "We Want Justice" began to appear outside the police station and Fullerton City Hall.
Livestreamer PM Beers interviewed a witness whose friend had just been snatched off the street by police. After following police who got out of a patrol car, she witnessed the arrest of another one of the people with whom she had been marching all day. When she tried to leave the scene herself, she ended up streaming her own arrest live across the Internet.
Livestreamer AJ Redkey also filmed the police at locations around downtown Fullerton throughout the day, but he was never arrested. The Fullerton Police Department waited until May 7, 2014, the day before a planned protest of unlawful arrests at Fullerton's North Justice Center, to stalk and arrest him at another rally in Pasadena. A "snatch squad" of six Fullerton police officers--four undercover and two in uniform--traveled many miles out of their jurisdiction to arrest the independent journalist, an event which was filmed by another livestreamer from inLeague Press.
Yes, you read that right. Independent journalist AJ Redkey was arrested for "failure to disperse" nearly four months after he left (or dispersed from) the area of downtown Fullerton.
Full story: City of Fullerton Conspires to Silence Free Press Following Hung Jury #LivestreamOnTrial by USvMJ
Long Beach: What the frack?! On Tuesday, March 24th, the state of California held an "Aquifer Exemption Workshop" to show oil industry representatives how to exploit loopholes for drilling and disposal projects to obtain aquifer exemption approval. Concerned water drinkers interrupted the state-sponsored workshop on how to get away with poisoning our drinking water.
As the presenter at the podium droned on about “EPA Aquifer Exemption Criteria,” one woman stood up from her banquet table to declare: “I just have to say one thing. This is backwards. It was just announced in the news that industry injected 2,500 wells illegally... Shouldn't you be having a workshop on how to stop that instead of how to get around, to get exempt from these regulations?"
Another woman entered the room waving two bottles of brown liquid. “I actually brought some poisoned water to show everyone what we’re going to be exposed to and forced to drink if this poisoning of our water by our regulators continues.”
Approaching the podium and handing out the poisoned water, she asked, "Would you feel like drinking this water?"
Full story and video: Californians Shame Regulators For Teaching Big Oil How To Skirt Law and Pollute Our Water by Los Angeles Peoples Media
Thousands of Angelinos took to the streets to demand an end to violence against women in Los Angeles. on March 8th.
Demonstrators pointed out that women's rights are human rights. Some of the groups' spokespersons expressed anger over the recent fall of women's rights and said that they would not stop marching and demonstrating until equality was achieved.
Domestic violence was a major theme of the day and women demanded that the police join them in fighting domestic violence instead of being part of the problem.
There were events in Riverside, San Bernardino, San Diego and Ventura Counties on March 8th as well.
Full story: Los Angeles Stands Up for Women's Rights by Women Against Slavery, International