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 Sept. 9, a series of coordinated work stoppages and hunger strikes will take place at prisons across the country. Organized by a coalition of prisoner rights, labor and racial justice groups, the strikes will include prisoners from at least 20 states – making this the largest effort to organize incarcerated people in U.S. history. The actions will represent a powerful, long-awaited blow against the status quo in what has become the most incarcerated nation on earth.
Mike Casey, who has led San Francisco’s UNITE HERE Local 2 for over 20 years, is stepping down. Casey was first elected president of Local 2 in 1994, after a tumultuous period in the 1970s and 1980s that resulted in large membership losses. He has presided over a period of stabilization, consolidation and growth.
There was a sense of shock and disbelief when news was released about the death of Thomas Eric Duncan on Oct. 8 at the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. The Liberian-born 42-year-old was the first reported case of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) which emerged in the U.S. and resulted in death. Reports during the week of Oct. 6 mentioned that Duncan’s medical condition was worsening and that he was “fighting for his life.”
The battle over the future of Tamms became the most visible and contentious example of a phenomenon seen around the country: Otherwise progressive unions are taking reactionary positions when it comes to prisons, supporting addiction to mass incarceration. And when it comes to issues of prisoners’ rights in general, and solitary confinement in particular, they are seen as a major obstacle to reform.
“All politics is local,” said Tip O’Neil, the great former speaker of the House. Gov. Jerry Brown brought it home as he addressed the state convention of the NAACP at the San Mateo Marriott Hotel in the presence of delegates and the mayor of San Mateo, Brandt Grotte.
If we can do a mass hunger strike, can we not gain support to pursue a mass boycott of the canteen for three-six months. What can prisoncrats do about a collective will to not buy canteen or have family and friends send money when the state takes over half of off the top anyway? What rule have we broken or what prison order has been disrupted?
A march called Real Deal or No Deal, expected to be the biggest of the season, will take off at 3 p.m. Wednesday from Hallidie Plaza to City Hall. San Franciscans hit hard by the recession will join with city workers and the working poor to march against Mayor Gavin Newsom’s proposed city budget.