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Fifty years ago, students at San Francisco State embarked on a campus strike that lasted five months – the longest student strike in U.S. history. Led by the Black Student Union and Third World Liberation Front, the strike was a high point of student struggle in the revolutionary year of 1968. It was met by ferocious repression, but the strikers persevered and won the first College of Ethnic Studies in the U.S. As part of Socialist Worker’s series on the history of 1968, current San Francisco State University Professor Jason Ferreira – the chair of the Race and Resistance Studies department in the College of Ethnic Studies and author of a forthcoming book on the student strike and the movements that produced it – talked to Julien Ball and Melanie West about the story of the struggle and the importance of its legacy for today.
Dedicated to ensuring the historic Fillmore neighborhood has an economic and cultural anchor to call its own, District Five Supervisor Vallie Brown and a group of nonprofit and African American community leaders have initiated a collaborative campaign to reactivate the Fillmore Heritage Center. Beginning Nov. 5, the collaborative is offering live music, community events, and housing and financial empowerment workshops at the former Yoshi’s site.
In California and across the country, progressives are coming together to demand change. We need affordable housing for our communities. On Nov. 6, voters in California will be able to vote on Proposition 10, an amendment that will let local governments determine if housing in their area should be rent controlled based on the needs of those in their communities. Prop 10 is a key example of how we can make California and the rest of the United States affordable for all families. Vote Yes on 10!
Two underlying dynamics are at work in the East Bay race to represent Assembly District 15 in Sacramento. One is a contest between a traditional big-money campaign and an insurgent, volunteer-driven, grassroots campaign. The other is a subterranean racial dynamic. The campaign between out Black lesbian, eight-year Richmond City Council member Jovanka Beckles, 55, and campaign professional Buffy Wicks, 41, is increasingly testy. The Assembly seat was previously occupied by Tony Thurmond. If Beckles is not elected, the East Bay African American community will have no representative in Sacramento.
The 50th Anniversary Conference of the Association of Black Psychologists (ABPsi) opened with a reverent and celebratory tribute to the ancestors and welcome to those present. Presented by Daktari Dance Medicine Collective, 50 dancers, drummers and cultural workers sprinkled medicine into the hearts and minds of those in the grand hall that night. From the welcome call, Fanga Alafia, to the “Invocation and Libation,” Diaspora dances Yanvalou, Parigol and Ogum and Spoken Medicine, the theme for the 50th Annual Conference “Building for Eternity,” June 27-July 1, 2018, was evoked, ratified and confirmed.
Possibly the only thing that could be worse for Oakland than a loss of a third of its Black population in less than 30 years is that so many of its stars develop their chops, their talents and skills in Oakland and then leave and don’t come back or give back! Our community treasure chest would be much richer if our Oakland All Stars came back home! Most of the great talent that Oakland develops leaves to enrich the coffers and treasure chests of other cities and countries.
The story of how the Richmond Progressive Alliance took power – as of November 2016 with 5 of 7 seats on a weak-mayor city council – is eloquently and lucidly described by veteran trade unionist and labor journalist Steve Early. Early moved to Richmond late in life, but has now produced a compelling work that describes the halting process of holding Chevron and the real estate lobby accountable for its frequent misdeeds by building a dynamic multiracial coalition that eschews traditional party politics.
On May 9, 2018, San Francisco District Attorney George Gascon’s White Collar Crime Division issued a letter to the San Francisco Ethics Commission referring allegations of “willful misconduct” violations of the Sunshine Ordinance under San Francisco Administrative Code section 67.34 by management of the San Francisco Arts Commission. Twenty-four hours after receipt and distribution of the District Attorney’s letter, the decade’s old signage marking the “Bayview Opera House Ruth Williams Memorial Theater” was vandalized and quickly removed.
“Sorry to Bother You,” written and directed by Oakland’s resident revolutionary MC, Boots, the front man of the political rap group The Coup, is a hilarious cult classic in the making, set to hit theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and the Bay Area in July. This political comedy is based in the streets of Oakland, but it is refreshingly not a cliché hood story. I loved “Sorry to Bother You” most because although it is a protest film, it’s a comedy.
May Day – International Workers Day – is celebrated around the world, including in the United States, honoring the fighting spirit and struggle of all working and oppressed people. It is a time when workers show their strength, demand their rights and forge global solidarity. Its roots are in the struggle for the eight-hour day in 1886 in Chicago. Only in the United States, whose working class gave birth to May Day, have the powers that be managed to conceal that history, erase the memory of May Day, and suppress the class struggle that it represents. ILWU Local 10 shut down all Bay Area ports on May Day for the fourth consecutive year.
On April 15, tax day, we think about money. If we follow the money, we find the root of the rot. That is the unifying theme of 66 incisive interviews with Dennis J. Bernstein on his Pacifica Radio Network KPFA Flashpoints program, in a just-released book, “Follow the Money: Radio Voices for Peace and Justice,” selected, transcribed and edited by Riva Enteen. The interviews, all during the Obama administration, are the writing on the wall that foreshadowed a Trump presidency.
For over three decades, thousands of organizations and hundreds of thousands of individuals around the globe have mobilized to save Mumia Abu-Jamal from execution, to overturn his conviction, to demand his freedom. Without these international mobilizations, crucially including the organized labor movement, we would not have saved Mumia from two warrants of execution and compelled the state to concede defeat in trying to execute him.
Without major financial help, this may be the last Bay View we can afford to print. Each month, the print edition costs $7,000 just for printing, distribution and mailing. Advertising income used to cover it, but no longer. Why do we do it? Why not publish only on the internet, as many influential news media do? The Bay View is the only publication in the U.S. that’s widely distributed in prison and the hood to those who are able to read the Bay View ONLY IN PRINT, enabling our folks to communicate and organize. How do we reach out to potential benefactors? Are you the one who knows a way?
In early November, Michigan’s court of last resort finally heard the oral arguments in the case of Rev. Edward Pinkney. The 69-year-old activist, free since June of this year after serving a 30-month sentence, is still pursuing the appeal on moral grounds. It’s been a long road, but he may have a receptive audience this time in the Michigan Supreme Court. There have been a large number of irregularities in Berrien County’s prosecution of Rev. Pinkney.
In the late 1960s and early ‘70s, two names emerged from the Native American and Indigenous community that stood for resistance to white repression and assaults on Native life: Russell Means and Dennis Banks. In a time of mass resistance and social upheaval shown by the anti-war (re Vietnam) and Black liberation movements, Banks was among thousands of young activists of Native, Indigenous communities who rose up to speak – and act – on behalf of the oppressed.
Las Vegas cops jumped NFL star Michael Bennett, held a gun to his head and threatened to blow it off. How else could they have chosen the perfect target to prove that the U.S. is a racist police state? How else could their police union have followed up with a letter imploring NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate Bennett for defaming them by telling his story and claiming that the LVPD had racially profiled him? You can’t make this stuff up.
Each year, it is important to revisit this historic classic speech by the powerful orator, Frederick Douglass, delivered in 1852, stating, “This Fourth of July is yours, not mine. … You may rejoice, I must mourn.” Listen to James Earl Jones reading the speech. In the San Francisco Bay Area, Michael Lange and James Brooks with Angela Wellman’s Oakland Public Conservatory would perform the work with jazz artists.
The San Francisco Black Film Festival has once again proven itself to be one of the most anticipated Black events in the Bay Area. From June 15 to 18, Black independent films were the talk of San Francisco. San Francisco acting legend Danny Glover did a Q&A for the film “93 Days.” “Abina and the Important Men” was one of the highest grossing films in the festival. We sat down with Kali O’Ray, the director of the San Francisco Black Film Festival, to discuss what happened at this phenomenal festival.
The opening night film of the San Francisco Black Film Festival this year is “93 Days,” costarring San Francisco legendary actor Danny Glover, about ebola coming to Nigeria. Danny Glover will be in attendance opening night for a Q&A at the old SF Yoshi’s, 1330 Fillmore St., on Thursday, June 15, 6-9 p.m. The film was inspired by the heroic actions of the doctors and nurses who were at the heart of the fight against ebola in Lagos, their bravery and sacrifice and their decision to stay and fight instead of taking flight in the face of danger.
It’s 2016, 40 years since Muhammad al-Kareem founded the New Bayview, now renamed the San Francisco Bay View, in 1976. Inspired by Malcolm X, he wanted to bring a newspaper like Muhammad Speaks to Bayview Hunters Point. He’ll tell the story of those early years, and I’ll pick it up now at the point when my wife Mary and I took over in 1992. Watching our first paper roll through the huge two-story tall lumbering old press at Tom Berkley’s Post Newspaper Building on Feb. 3, 1992, was a feel-like-flying thrill we’ll never forget.