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.
In its mission to challenge the prison systems that are putting prisoners and surrounding communities and ecosystems at risk of dangerous environmental conditions, the Campaign to Fight Toxic Prisons is taking its second annual convergence to Texas this year. In Denton and Ft. Worth on June 2-5, the gathering of activists from around the country will feature speakers, panels, workshops, protests and cultural activities, including an art show and hip-hop performances.
It’s common for all the members of a city council to vote unanimously to move forward with good will, no matter how long they have wrangled to reach a compromise that has majority support. That did not happen at the Richmond City Council this week, when the council approved Chevron’s complex oil refinery expansion permit. Mayor Gayle McLaughlin and Vice Mayor Jovanka Beckles abstained on the final midnight vote.
A Dutch court has rejected a bid by Nigerian farmers to hold Shell’s parent company responsible for oil damage to their villages, saying that only the Anglo-Dutch oil giant’s Nigerian subsidiary was partly responsible. On Jan. 29, the court dismissed four out of five allegations against the company but ordered it to pay compensation to one Nigerian farmer.
A city ordinance authored by Supervisor John Avalos and passed by a super-majority of the Board of Supervisors on Dec. 14 requiring work for local residents on San Francisco-funded public works and new opportunities for workers in disadvantaged communities went into effect Christmas morning.
Marcel Diallo is a legend in Oakland for having put in over a decade of cultural work with the Black Dot Artist Collective, and now he is the main architect of a Black cultural district, the Village Bottoms Cultural District in the Lower Bottoms of West Oakland, near the old Army base.