Category Archives: Winter 1998 (11/19/98)

Speak-Out: Stop Oakland Police Abuse

A speak-out about police brutality and misconduct in Oakland was held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ on November 5. The speak-out was organized by the local activist group PUEBLO (People United for a Better Oakland.) Several dozen Oakland residents from many ethnic backgrounds took the microphone one after another for an hour, giving personal accounts of how they had been mistreated by the police who are out of control and apparently consider themselves above the law. In the end a bleak picture was painted of Oakland’s finest as! speaker after speaker described a force that seems to do what they want, when they want, and to whomever they want. Accountability to the community and respect for human rights are obviously not serious contenders when it comes to priorities for the department.

Mayor-elect Jerry Brown fulfilled an election promise and attended, although his address to the crowd left something to be’ desired. Ron Hampton, Director oi the National Black Officers’ Association also spoke at the end. There were approximately 200 people present.

For more information about PUEBLO, call 510) 452-2010.

Speak-Out: Stop Oakland Police Abuse

A speak-out about police brutality and misconduct in Oakland was held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ on November 5. The speak-out was organized by the local activist group PUEBLO (People United for a Better Oakland.) Several dozen Oakland residents from many ethnic backgrounds took the microphone one after another for an hour, giving personal accounts of how they had been mistreated by the police who are out of control and apparently consider themselves above the law. In the end a bleak picture was painted of Oakland’s finest as! speaker after speaker described a force that seems to do what they want, when they want, and to whomever they want. Accountability to the community and respect for human rights are obviously not serious contenders when it comes to priorities for the department.

Mayor-elect Jerry Brown fulfilled an election promise and attended, although his address to the crowd left something to be’ desired. Ron Hampton, Director oi the National Black Officers’ Association also spoke at the end. There were approximately 200 people present.

For more information about PUEBLO, call 510) 452-2010.

Speak-Out: Stop Oakland Police Abuse

A speak-out about police brutality and misconduct in Oakland was held at the First Congregational United Church of Christ on November 5. The speak-out was organized by the local activist group PUEBLO (People United for a Better Oakland.) Several dozen Oakland residents from many ethnic backgrounds took the microphone one after another for an hour, giving personal accounts of how they had been mistreated by the police who are out of control and apparently consider themselves above the law. In the end a bleak picture was painted of Oakland’s finest as! speaker after speaker described a force that seems to do what they want, when they want, and to whomever they want. Accountability to the community and respect for human rights are obviously not serious contenders when it comes to priorities for the department.

Mayor-elect Jerry Brown fulfilled an election promise and attended, although his address to the crowd left something to be’ desired. Ron Hampton, Director oi the National Black Officers’ Association also spoke at the end. There were approximately 200 people present.

For more information about PUEBLO, call 510) 452-2010.

French pupils’ strike spreads

Schoolkids On the Block

Frustrated and angered by repeatedly absent teachers and inadequate or non-existent resources, students and schoolchildren in France have taken to the streets in demonstrations that began in Paris and have now have spread across the country. On Thursday 500,000 people marched in different locations, proclaiming themselves ‘on strike’

Demonstrators in Paris clashed with the police with bottles, window-smashing and car-trashing. 122 people were arrested. Many students appeared to be as frustrated by the way the demonstrations had gone as what they were about “It’s inevitable,” said Marcel, 16, “they treat us like idiots, we’ll behave like idiots. Everyone has the right to demonstrate and if the police block our route, this is what happens.”

Education minister, Claude Allegre, conceded that the school system needs reform and promised to present plans next month. However, pupils are aware that this will not bring about immediate change or remedy the injustices done to them personally. “It’ll take years,” said Rachid, 17. “My exams are this summer and I don’t have a teacher in three subjects.”

Nous Sommes Tous Des Casseurs A history and analysis of youth revolt in France in 1994. A month of demos, protests and riots forced the French government to back down from a proposed 20% wage cut. #2 (inc p+p) from AK Distribution, PO Box 12766, Edinburgh, EH8 9YE.

Thousands of school pupils walked out of classes in 30 towns across France this week, complaining about overcrowded classes, long hours, crumbling schools and a shortage of teachers.

The leaders of the protests, which began in Nimes, have called for a nationwide strike next week if their demands are not met. The Education Minister, Claude Allegre, met a representative of the main union of lycee pupils yesterday to try to defuse the crisis.

In a sense, he brought the problem on himself. Last year he circulated all 1.5 million lycee pupils, asking for comments and ideas on the future of the state school system.

He was inundated with replies, many supporting his own arguments that the curriculum was too heavy and fact-based, that the hours were too long and the schools ill-equipped and badly organised to meet the demands of modern education.

In summer he admitted nothing could be done to improve the pupils’ lot in time for the new school year, which started last month; it would be another year before effective reforms would be in place.

The Nimes protesters said they had to study demanding science and language courses with up to 39 pupils in a class; that constant repair work on their schools made studying impossible; and that a shortage of teachers had forced the cancellation of sports and some subject combinations. Pupils in the southern town are also upset about the presence of neo-fascist National Front members on school governing bodies.

At some schools, especially in the Paris area, protesters complained that their lives were being made impossible by violence and protection rackets.

13th October

[...] Chanting “solidarity,” the students set off at midday from squares in the east and south of Paris, and headed for the Education Ministry, where two separate marches across the city centre were to meet a rally in the late afternoon. Police did not cut off traffic, leaving the children to maneuver dangerously in and out of passing cars.

“Through strikes you can dream”, said stickers the children slapped on lampposts and telephone boxes along the way.

Students have been protesting in a number of French cities over the last 10 days, just weeks after starting the new school year. Monday’s demonstration was the first in the capital.

The protests began after children returned from summer vacation and found little change from the year before. Classrooms remained too full, and instruction materials, including lab equipment, was often in short supply.

Protests were held in more than a dozen cities on Monday, with as many as 10,000 demonstrators in Paris, 8,000 in Bordeaux and 7,000 in Toulouse.

Police intervened to disperse hundreds of students who were running through a shopping center in Montparnasse, in southern Paris. Dozens of others, their faces masked, stole empty CD boxes from music shops and took food from bakeries, police said.

The trouble began as demonstrators gathered in the Place de la Nation to march on the education ministry in western Paris.

In Paris, where 30,000 turned out, 150 children overturned cars after a 15-year-old girl was seriously injured (*) when hit by a truck, smashed telephone booths, set a newspaper stand ablaze and looted stores and cafes on the Place de la Nation. Four people were injured and 82 arrests were made. Police blamed the trouble on roving “commando style” bands of masked children from troubled suburban areas, who they alleged used mobile phones to co-ordinate a two-hour looting spree.

After the trouble flared, police demanded the students call off their march before it reached the ministry. Instead, the marchers turned around and broke up into groups that dispersed throughout the city. (*) the girl later died.

13th October

[...] Several children were detained in Thionville, a town in eastern France, after dozens of students smashed shop windows and turned cars over.

Eighty children were detained for questioning in Paris and 10 in Rouen, police said.

In Bordeaux, an estimated 20,000-25,000 students packed the streets, while in nearby Toulouse more than 12,000 turned out.

In Lyon, some 15,000 protesting students joined with a second demonstration by angry farmers accompanied by 2,500 sheep.

There were about 9,000 marchers in Rouen, 3,000 in Mulhouse and an estimated 7,000 in Montpellier.

There were also protests in Avignon, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Marseille and Nice in southern France, Le Havre in the north, and Besancon, Metz, Nancy and Strasbourg in the east.

[...] up to 10,000 students walked through the streets of Bordeaux in the south-west, while 2,500 were on the march in the southern city of Toulouse, 1,500 in Lyons, 2,000 in the western town of Vannes and a similar number in Grenoble.

“They are not doing this for the fun of it,” Mr Daniel Bach, a headmaster in Seine-et-Marne outside Paris, said. “With high unemployment, they know they need the best education they can get – good teaching, an atmosphere that’s conducive to work, modern equipment. They’re not getting any of that.”

The marches, sit-ins and protests seem to have begun at a public lycee, or high school, in the southern city of Nimes and spread rapidly, in a self-organised ‘wildcat’ manner.

In France, where education is a responsibility of the central government, officials were caught napping at the onset, but now are paying attention. In 1968, discontent among students was the catalyst for near revolution that brought tanks onto the streets.

17th October

122 held in Paris pupil protests

French police were holding 122 students and schoolchildren in detention yesterday, including 75 minors, after Thursday’s protests and riots in the centre of Paris.

As many as 500,000 children are estimated to have taken part in Thursday’s demonstrations, which thugs in Paris used as a pretext to smash and burn cars and loot shops.

In the wake of the massive nationwide demonstrations by secondary pupils, Claude Allegre, the Socialist Education Minister, renewed promises yesterday to provide more teachers and meet other demands. Paris, meanwhile, braced itself for more trouble as pupils’ leaders said they planned another day of protests on Tuesday. Some teaching unions are also balloting members on joining the protest.

Across France yesterday, several thousand children kept the protests going. In the Basque city of Bayonne, about 500 paralysed train services by occupying the railway station for much of the morning. Others took over toll booths on the Pont de Tancarville bridge spanning the Seine estuary in Normandy, allowing motorists to drive across for free.

After meeting M Allegre, a delegation of the National Lycee Union said the minister had repeated promises to meet pupils’ demands.

21st October

Paris police staged a highly aggressive show of force on the second nationwide day of children’s demonstrations yesterday.

In the French capital, where an early police estimate put the number of children in the city at 25,000, armoured police coaches carrying the notorious CRS riot police and paramilitary gendarmes brought 5,500 extra officers. From around 8am, with sirens blaring, they pushed through the rush-hour traffic towards the city centre.

Police vehicles swung across side streets to form barricades and towed away those cars the owners of which had not taken heed of police demands to keep away from the demonstration.

Two hours before the march began yesterday, police said they had arrested 53 children. Plainclothes police arrested suspected offenders along the route. Teachers’ unions, which had joined the protest, and university students’ unions provided marshals to defend children from police provocation.

By mid-afternoon, police said protests had brought out a total of 275,000 children all over France. 4,500 police checked identity papers of students who streamed out of the subway to join the protest, and conducted thousands of body searches.

“We’re here because we’ve got 40 people in one classroom that’s falling apart,” said Ablo Tham, from the working-class suburb of Trappes. “If the government doesn’t listen, we’ll make sure it does.”

Six weeks after the school year began, some students are still without teachers. Many schools, especially in disadvantaged neighborhoods, badly need modernizing.

Many students wore yellow-and-black stickers calling on Education Minister Claude Allegre to resign. Others waved banners with colorful slogans reflecting their anger.

Allegre is scheduled to meet today with students for the second time, and new reform measures are expected to be announced.

Some students were skeptical their demands would be satisfied.

“I would be very surprised if the government can do anything,” said Spresa Mamud, 15. “It costs a lot of money. We won’t see anything, but we’re fighting for those people who come after us.”

The Interior Ministry said that more than 80 young people had been detained by mid-afternoon, including those arrested before the protest began.

Police spray tear-gas at students, Paris.

October 21st

Sixteen-year-old Lucas sat on the pavement in the Boulevard Raspail. The designer boutiques of the sixiÅme arrondissement looked inviting with several shattered plate glass windows. At Kenzo, across the street, a sales assistant hurriedly undressed the mannequins. “Too many cops,” Lucas sighed with a nod towards the Boulevard St Germain, where hundreds of riot police charged on the students. The son of West Indian workers, Lucas told of why he had come to yesterday’s demonstration. “We live badly,” he complained. “There’s no money.”

Water gushed from hoses into the gutter in front of us. Among dozens of shattered facades were the Pronuptia bridal boutique, expensive Le Raspail brasserie, two spectacle shops and a Renault car dealership — last week a 15-year-old girl died when hit by a truck while marching, because the police had not stopped the traffic for the first march.

The marchers have a variety of complaints. Emilie, 17, said: “We have a teacher of Spanish who speaks no Spanish, so it’s difficult to make much progress – especially when he’s away every other week. In English, we’re 38 in class. It’s chaos and the teacher refuses to take the course.” For El Hadj, 16, the problem was still more basic: “My school has 2000 pupils. Some days you are lucky if you even find a chair to sit on.”

The Paris prefecture deployed 5,500 police for an expected 25,000 demonstrators. Police said 85 people were slightly injured in Paris. About 110 young people were arrested nationwide. In all of France, 275,000 students and teachers marched, compared to 500,000 last week.

Polls show 88 per cent of French people support the school students.

22nd October

Students will wait and see if French reforms work. French school students could call more protests if they aren’t satisfied with steps announced Wednesday to solve funding problems and improve the country’s overcrowded high schools, a student leader said.

The students’ frustration has clearly not dissipated despite government promises to hire more teachers, buy new equipment, and reduce the heavy course load.

“It’s not yet a victory,” Loubna Meliane told France-Info radio. “We’ll have to see.” A weeklong vacation begins at the end of the week. Meliane said the vacation will give students time to examine the measures.

The strikes continue…

Half a million high-school pupils demonstrate in France

ARIS (AFP) — Thursday 15 October 1998 — 7:35 p.m. Paris time – On Thursday, some 500,000 pupils across France, according to the police, took part in demonstrations, with sporadic violent incidents in Paris, demanding more study resources.

“We’re not hooligans. We just want some teachers.” chanted the demonstrators in Paris, in a procession of 28,000 people, according to the police. In spite of police warnings, a few hundred very young rioters, often with their faces covered with scarves, smashed up and looted several dozen shops and some cafÄs. They also turned over and damaged about a hundred cars, including about ten vehicles between Place de la Nation and the Ministry of Education (Rue de Grenelle, 7th Borough), which were set alight, according to the Police Department.

Five people were hurt, including a police sergeant with head injuries and a young man who was stabbed, during these incidents. They are in a stable condition. The police have revealed 110 people were arrested.

Boycott Cody’s

We are picketing Cody’s today to draw attention to the fact that Cody’s owner, Andy Ross, has been one of the main proponents of the crackdown on street people that we have witnessed on Telegraph all year. Andy Ross and some of the other merchants united through the Telegraph Area Association are the ones who call in the Berkeley Police as though they are their private security firm. Anyone who is not spending money and remains in the area is subject to harassment because the merchants think they own the sidewalks and streets.

In reality the streets and sidewalks are public space and everyone should be able to use them however they want as long as they are not interfering with other people. This type of live and let live situation, though, is not good enough for Telegraph’s merchants. They want to maximize their profits and this means gearing their stores to middle and upper class people who’ll spend money. The merchants want to get rid of poor and unsightly people because the class of people they want to attract would prefer not to associate with the lower classes. The sight of poor people makes them uncomfortable and reminds them of the fact that their wealth is at the expense of other people’s poverty.

Andy Ross and others want the poor to disappear, or at least be out of view. Middle class people are appalled that poor people can hang out on Telegraph and have a good time without spending any money. Why, they’re wasting air and space that could otherwise be made available to shoppers and people with money. Andy and others therefore call in the cops to arrest these people, or harass them until they leave the area.

Why do the streets have to just be for shopping? Why does the entire focus of our society and our public spaces have to be for people to try and make money off eachother? Really everyone would be happier if as a people we sought satisfaction not believing that happiness comes through more consumption and consumer items. Telegraph’s merchants are setting up a situation for all of us where the only option is to come to spend money.

To defend the street people does more than just come to the aid of those people. It also defends the right of everyone else to come to the area for other reasons. It makes us all a little free-er from the constraints of the market economy and treadmill of consumerism in which we have to spend money–have to have money–to feel good about ourselves.

Let’s encourage Andy Ross to spend more time reading some of his own books and less time calling 911 by boycotting his store this holiday season.

Food Not Bombs – Albuquerque, NM

The Albuquerque Police shut down the Food Not Bombs serving today the 31st of October, 1998. We were told to pack up and leave. The Police officer cited that some businesses in the area had made some complaints. He didn’t specify who, or what they were complaining about. The officer told us that we needed to get a “Special Events” permit. And if we are to get one then he wouldn’t shut us down.

This is all happening as Albuquerque’s mayor is trying to again implement “an out of site out of mind policy”! by consolidating the Homeless into one area. He also requested that the police begin again to enforce an existing law and arrest “aggressive” panhandlers.

Also adding fuel to the cities war on the homeless is the announcement from the mayor that control of the “4th street mall” [will be turned] over to the Downtown Action Team. The 4th street mall is three blocks of 4th street between central avenue and the civic plaza that were converted into a park. The Downtown Action Team is the downtown business association. The mayor hopes that by turning over the mall to the D.A.T. the group can take the necessary steps to begin the further revitalization of the downtown area. Part of that revitalization is cleaning the downtown area of the homeless population that “loiters” in the area. 4th street mall is one area where a fair number of people can be seen hanging out. Of which many are homeless people.

We of Food Not Bombs Burque believe that the big reason behind todays shut down of our serving is due to the recent focus on the revamping of the downtown district. Especially because we serve weekly in the 4th street mall.

Todays shut down will not prevent us from serving. Our location may change a little, or our tactic, this all depends on the consensus of the group. More will be added to this as things develop.

We will be working to build a homeless advocacy coalition within the next week to begin to deal with the policy changes that are happening. This coalition will involve many of the service groups including Food Not Bombs Burque and most importantly many of the people that live on the streets.

Picket Cody’s and Sit-In on Telegraph

Sunday, December 13 1-2 pm

The latest post-election crackdown on Telegraph Avenue has resulted in up to 150 arrests, endless police harassment, and a new round of anti-poor laws to drive people out of the area. Telegraph merchants seem to thing they own the sidewalks and the streets and that public space is only for those who come to shop.

“We want street punks to stop feeling that it’s cool to hang out on Telegraph Avenue,” Cody’s owner, Andy Ross, told the Daily Cal in February. Andy Ross has consistently been one of the leading proponents of a kind of middle-class sanitation of the area.

The latest November round-up basically saw the Berkeley police come up with anything they could to arrest people and clear the sidewalk between Haste and Dwight. Over half the arrests were for marijuana sales, despite the fact that the 1979 Berkeley marijuana ordinance clearly states that the police department make “no arrests and issue no citations for violations of marijuana laws.”

Please support human rights in Berkeley and opposed the dictatorship of exchange by joining these events: PICKET Cody’s with us. Bring a sign.

SIT-IN on the sidewalk between Haste and Dwight from 1-2 pm.

Ecotopia Cell

To the governments, corporations, armies, chefs, bakers, and civil societies of the earth: In response to the heroic actions of our colleagues in London, the GC/BBB–EC met in emergency session today, and decided to announce two new global campaigns in opposition to neoliberalism, corporate crime, and industrial technocracy.

The first offensive is called the “Pie Snowball,” which is a call to arms for revolutionary bakers and pie-slingers across the Western World. Modeled after anti-nuke and anti-genetics campaigns in Europe, the plan calls for an autonomous, diffuse, and widespread pastry uprising (so to speak). As the Zapatistas have made clear, in a global economy, we all live in Chiapas. The BBB would like to make the analogy that under neoliberalism, we all can throw a pie in the face of fascism. No bosses, offices, foundation grants, never-ending consensus meetings, or CFLA’s (Confusing Four Letter Acronyms) are needed: Just Do It! We are, after all, pie-throwing anarchists. There’s an oven on every street, and cooking materials in every watershed. The idea is for at least one flan-er (or “l’entarteur,” as Belgian pieman Noel Godin of the Patisserie Brigade Internationale is known) in a bioregion to make that first fateful throw, and then inspire others to do the same. May the proverbial snowball roll down the hill of struggle until an avalanche of ‘cream psychosis’ (Godin, op. cit.) buries the global corporate elite.

The second offensive, developed by a joint task force of disaffected computer geeks and GC/BBB–EC military advisors, has been code-named “Pie2K.” Operations will target computer industry executive and consultants, who are responsible for the Year 2000 computer bug (Y2K) mess. The people have judged them guilty of gross (disgusting, really) negligence over the course of several decades. In perhaps one of the most striking examples of the inherent flaws in capitalism, the industry has known about the problem since day one, but it has never behooved workers to fix it because it would be unprofitable for their bosses to spend the extra time and labor needed to put the problem right. In addition, Y2K reveals the inherent vulnerability of technology itself, as well as the hubris and short-sightedness of the technocrats who have computerized everything they possibly could in the short time computers have been in existence. The proper response, truly, is a shower of pies across the nightime sky upon Silicon Valley. Let’s kick it off mates, freaky-styley!

There’s a pie in the sky when you die–that’s a lie! Decoded and Relayed by Agent Apple

Recent pie actions have been carried out against: Renato Ruggiero, Director General of the World Trade Organization (“‘This is a present from the dispossessed!”); Bill Gates, CEO of Microsoft, Robert Shapiro, CEO of agricultural chemical giant Monsanto, neoliberal economist Milton Friedman, Charles Hurwitz, CEO of MAXXAM (which is wiping out the last privately held ancient redwoods in the world), San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown and Gavin Newsom, pro-reckless development San Francisco Supervisor. Mayor Brown was pied with three pies (tossed tofu cream, mixed berry and pumpkin) simultaneously for his crimes against working people in San Francisco. Three BBB operatives are being charged with felonies for the Brown action, including one who had her collar bone broken when she was tackled by security agents. Send money to help with their legal case: ????