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May 2012, Week 1

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Tidbits and Announcements - May 3, 2012

* May Day in Berlin, May 3 2012 (Victor Grossman)
* FBI returns server to May First
* Re: Romney's Plan to Eliminate Affordable Housing Ignites 
  Silence (Zip Singer)
* Rebuild the Dream - Bay Area event - May 3, 2012
* The Beginning is Near - An Evening with Michael Moore &
  Cornel West - May 18 - New York benefit for Brecht Forum
* Venceremos Brigade - 43rd Contingent: July 8-22, 2012
* San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar deserves our support
  (Steve Willett)

==========

* May Day in Berlin, May 3 2012

On May Day in Berlin the union demonstration was rather cut
and dried as usual - and tied to the Social Dems. But this
year there was a "Revolutionary Parade" again - which
usually ends in violence, probably caused by provocateurs
within the "black bloc". But last year it was fairly
peaceful, and seemed to be going peacefully this year, with
a new and different route, however, right into downtown -
past the Brandenburg Gate to Unter den Linden. Friendly
sources claimed there were 25,000 participants (compared
with 15,000 at the traditional Union demo ) - plus 7000 cops
from all over Germany. This reflects rowing dissatisfaction
(sadly without the Left party achieving any visibility).

The march passed the Springer skyscraper (our Hearst-Murdock
equivalent) with none of the expected missiles thrown. Then,
just as it reached the modern Jewish Museum (with its
fantastic architecture), the cops stopped the march and
insisted on breaking it up, using tear gas, tearing away
signs and banners and arresting people. The cops claimed the
paraders started the trouble and then their own leader
called it off. Both are lies. To prove the "violence", the
media showed burning dumpsters. But a check showed it was
one and the same one, photographed from different directions
and with people standing or sitting rather peacefully around
it. It would seem the authorities simply did not want 25,000
people with slogans like those of OCCUPY (often against rent
increases and gentrification) to reach the center of town -
or in general they wanted trouble. It was hardly
coincidental that they halted the parade in front of the
Jewish Museum, almost certainly hoping that some idiotic
black blockers would throw things at it - providing juicy
headlines about "leftist anti-Semitism". But no-one threw
anything at the museum.

Otherwise the coalition of Social Democrats and Christian
Democrats seems very comfortable.

Victor Grossman 
Berlin

==========

* FBI returns server

Progressive Internet organization May First/People Link has
released footage of what appears to be an FBI operation to
return the Riseup.net server that they had seized two weeks
ago from a colocation space shared by riseup.net and MF/PL.
The footage, taken by a small surveillance camera MF/PL
technologists installed after the FBI seizure of the server,
is a rare glimpse of what appears to be an FBI operation.

Neither May First/People Link or Riseup was not notified
that the server was being replaced. It was never notified
that the server was taken in the first place.

Video is available here:
https://mayfirst.org/fbi-returns-server

May First/People Link has removed the server from the
facility and is in the process of analyzing it. The server
will not be put back into production.

Background

On April 18, 2012, a Riseup server located in MF/PL's
colocation cabinet and managed by ECN, a progressive
provider in Italy, was seized by the FBI. MF/PL found out
about the seizure when Riseup reported that there was no
response from the server. Technologists visited the server
location and found that the machine had been removed.

The FBI is investigating bomb threats being made to
facilities and people at the University of Pittsburgh and
believed that one of the servers used to email these threats
was an anonymous email server operated by ECN. "These
servers have no logs or traces of who used them," MF/PL
Director Jamie McClelland said. "Nothing useful could be
gotten from this seizure but there is a concrete outcome:
the seizure disrupted May First's work and disrupted the
communications of hundreds of people who lawfully use that
server for email and website services everyday."

Anonymous email servers keep no records of their users and
are frequently used by activists, organizers and information
sources world-wide.

"For many people in the world, public expression can be
life-threatening. Anonymous email is life-protecting,"
McClelland said.

For more information, please see MF/PL's previous statement:
https://mayfirst.org/fbi-attacks-anonymous-speech

Jamie McClelland

May First/People Link
Growing networks to build a just world
http://www.mayfirst.org
https://support.mayfirst.org
Members Local 1180, Communications Workers of America, AFL-
CIO

OpenPGP Key:
http://current.workingdirectory.net/pages/identity/

==========

* Re: Romney's Plan to Eliminate Affordable Housing Ignites
Silence.

Randy Shaw is of course correct that the mainstream media
collaborate with mainstream politicians to hide our decades-
long homelessness crisis.  This strategy complements actions
to hide people experiencing homelessness by criminalizing
the living of private lives in public spaces.

It is important to note that the HOPE VI program was not
designed to improve public housing, but rather to destroy
it.  The Nixon Administration initiated an effective assault
on public housing with the development of the Sec. 8
program, privatizing Federal housing subsidies.  The Clinton
Administration, however, began literally to destroy public
housing through HOPE VI.  Just as "welfare as we know it"
was ended (and with it our nation's 60 year old promise -
flawed as it was - to support impoverished families), so too
did the Clinton era's amendments to the National Housing Act
of 1937 eliminate the goal of safe and affordable housing
for all (a goal, of course, which had never been realized).

Concomitant with the abolition of the requirement for one-
to-one replacement of public housing units, the HOPE VI
program authorized the use of our tax dollars literally to
blow up public housing.  In cities like Baltimore, Maryland,
75% of the destroyed units were not replaced.

Creating and maintaining homelessness is a thoroughly
bipartisan project.  The current administration is no
exception, having just announced that HUD should require
even individuals and families with no income to pay rent for
public housing - yet another homelessness production
program.  Mitt Romney has no monopoly on execrable housing
policies.

Zip Singer

==========

* Rebuild the Dream - Bay Area event - May 3, 2012

Van Jones will be in Berkeley on Thursday, and I wanted to
make sure you knew about it. He'll be speaking about his new
book, Rebuild the Dream, at King Middle School, and would be
thrilled to see you! Advance tickets are available for $12,
and for $15 at the door.

Here are details of the event:

May 3, 2012 at 7:30pm
King Middle School 1781 Rose
Street Berkeley, CA 94703

Click here for more information and tickets.

http://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/236719

Advance tickets are also available at these locations:

 *Berkeley: Marcus Books, Pegasus Books, Mrs. Dalloway's, Moe's Books, Walden Pond, DIESEL, A Bookstore

 * San Francisco: Marcus Books, Modern Times Bookstore

Hope you can come! Natalie and the Rebuild the Dream team

==========

* The Beginning is Near - An Evening with Michael Moore &
Cornel West (Moderated by dream hampton)

May 18th, 2012 7:00 PM
A Special Benefit for the Brecht Forum
Assembly Hall @Hunter College

http://brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/info?id=12194&reset=1

With almost four decades of experience to draw on, the
Brecht Forum is entering 2012 with high hopes and a renewed
spirit. As one prescient sign at Occupied Wall Street read,
"The Beginning is Near."

Following years of capitalist triumphalism and imperial
overreach, cynical horizons were challenged by 2011's
popular uprisings. Starting with labor's powerful fight-back
in Wisconsin and the earth-shaking Arab Spring, the spirit
quickly spread to Greece and Spain, where a new generation
of "indignados" seized city centers for participatory
responses to capitalist austerity. Then New York City
entered the international discussion with the rise of the
Occupy Wall St and a newly combative 99%.

To put the generational shift in perspective, Pew Research
released a poll at the end of the year in which a majority
of people under 30 have a "positive view of socialism"--
unprecedented figures that trend up among people of color
and the poor. Considering how negatively the term has been
defined in American politics, these numbers show the scope
of how real the current openings are.

These are the times the Brecht Forum was made for. The need
for political education, non-sectarian meeting space, media
production facilities and a movement crossroads have never
been more important.

Please join friends, teachers, students, rabble-rousers and
trouble makers for an historic evening with Oscar-winning
filmmaker Michael Moore and distinguished professor and
social critic Dr. Cornel West. as they discuss the new
political situation in the US and internationally and we
raise some much needed funds for your favorite New York City
movement center, the Brecht Forum. The conversation will be
moderated by noted author and activist, dream hampton.

Michael Moore is an acclaimed filmmaker, best selling author
and social activist. He is known for his expository
documentaries such as Fahrenheit 9/11, Bowling for
Columbine, Sicko and his most recent Capitalism: A Love
Story. Moore is an active participant in the Occupy Movement
across the country by bringing publicity to an otherwise
non-covered story. Moore has been a longstanding figure on
the Left and is continuing to uphold his "trouble maker"
status.

Cornel West is a prominent and provocative democratic
intellectual.  He has taught at Union Theological Seminary,
Yale, Harvard and the University of Paris. West is currently
professor at Princeton University.  He has written 19 books
and edited 13 books.  He is best known for his commentary on
race titled Race Matters.  He also has appeared in over 25
documentaries and films including Examined Life, Call &
Response, Sidewalk and Stand.

dream hampton has been writing about music, culture and
politics since she was a teenager in 1990. She is a staff
writer for the recently relaunched Ebony.com  and was a
contributing writer to Vibe and The Village Voice for 15
years. Her essays have appeared in two dozen anthologies,
most recently Rebecca Walker's "Black Cool." She
collaborated with Jay-Z on his New York Times bestseller
"Decoded." Her feature length documentary about U.S.
political prisoners "Black August" will be available on dvd
soon. dream hampton is from Detroit, where she lives.

Sliding scale: $20/$50/$100/$250

ยป Register Now!
https://brechtforum.org/civicrm/event/register?id=12194&reset=1

==========

* Venceremos Brigade - 43rd Contingent: July 8-22, 2012

The 43rd contingent of the VB will travel to Cuba in the
summer of 2012. The tentative cost is about $1500. If you
are interested in participating, please contact us.

Who is the Venceremos Brigade?

In 1969, a coalition of young people formed the Venceremos
("We Shall Overcome") Brigade, as a means of showing
solidarity with the Cuban Revolution by working side by side
with Cuban workers and challenging U.S. policies towards
Cuba, including the economic blockade and our government's
ban on travel to the island.

The first Brigades participated in sugar harvests and
subsequent Brigades have done agricultural and construction
work in many parts of the island.

Over the last 43 years, the VB has given over 8,000 people
from the U.S. the opportunity for a life-changing
experience. While the trip has evolved over time, the
Venceremos Brigade has always kept its format of work,
educational activities, and travel. In addition, we remain
committed to organizing the most diverse contingents
possible; Brigadistas are young and older, of many races,
nationalities, socio-economic classes, and sexual
orientations.

The oldest Cuba solidarity organization in the world, the VB
has never requested permission from the U.S. government to
go to Cuba - and we never will! We believe it is our right
as U.S. citizens to travel free of U.S. government
obstacles. We also believe that we have much to learn from
Cuba and the best way to do that is to travel there and see
for ourselves!

For more information contact: [log in to unmask]

==========

* San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar deserves our support

Progressive San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar was honored at
the Sixth CCDS/Kendra Alexander Foundation Banquet in
Berkeley last weekend.  We wanted to recognize Eric for his
long history of progressive activism in the bay area.

Eric is the past director of the Northern California
Coalition for Immigrant Rights and a longtime social justice
activist with the Chinese Progressive Association and other
grassroots organizations. For over two decades, Eric was
active in the San Francisco State University student
movement, both as a member of the student body and later as
a faculty member in the Ethnic Studies Department. Eric has
been a strong ally of labor and is a former shop steward in
local 790 of SEIU. For eight years he served on the San
Francisco Board of Education and since 2008 he has
represented San Francisco's Richmond District on the Board
of Supervisors.

Progressive activists need folks like Eric representing us
in the halls of government.  Eric is running for re-
election.  If you live in the Bay Area, consider getting
active in his campaign.  And whether or not you live in the
Bay Area, consider making a donation to Eric's campaign.

Eric needs support from progressive activists around the
country to ensure his re-election in November 2012.  Please
contribute to Eric online at www.reelectmar.com/contribute
or send a check directly to Re-Elect Mar for Supervisor,
2012, P.O. Box 77353, San Francisco, CA 94107.  For more
information on how to get involved in Eric's campaign, check
out his website at www.reelectmar.com

Steve Willett

==========

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