Friday, November 25, 2011

Spiders Seek Higher Ground...

This astonishing photo came from a Facebook friend, Iara Lee: Activist & Filmmaker who writes:

EXTRAORDINARY PHENOMENON: The Silver Lining, The SPIDER WEBS! millions of spiders climbed up into the trees to escape the rising floods. Because of the scale of the flooding and the fact that the water has taken so long to recede, many trees have become cocooned in spiders webs. People in this part of Sindh have never seen this phenomenon before. They report that there are now far fewer mosquitoes since they are getting caught in the spiders' web, reducing the risk of malaria, which is one blessing for the people of Sindh, who face so many other hardships after the floods...!

unThanksgiving, Alcatraz Island

Hopped out of bed at 3:33am Thursday and prepared to meet a friend, Smadar, at 4:30am for the drive to Pier 33. It was dark, damp, and drizzling when we reached the Embarcadero. Judging by the limited parking, many more people than we expected were heading to Alcatraz and the Sunrise Ceremony. 
It was still dark and the rain still fell when, about 45 minutes later - car stowed safely at Art Academy parking lot - we joined the by-now much longer line of people waiting to purchase tickets, then waiting for a ferry to Alcatraz.
An hour later we were still the rain...waiting for a ferry; by now the sky was much lighter and both Smadar and I were wet through. Clearly we'd missed the sun rising - it was light when we finally landed on Alcatraz but we caught the last dance...and found some tobacco to throw into the sacred fire with thousands of others.
The Indigenous Peoples Sunrise Ceremony, aka unThanksgiving Day has been held annually on Alcatraz Island in San Francisco Bay since 1975. It honors and promotes the rights of indigenous peoples of the Americas and also honors the 1969 protest when Alcatraz-Red Power Movement (ARPM) occupied the island.

Dancing in the sacred circle.

Detail of head-dress...

Looking toward San Francisco

Skeletons of the past against the morning sky.

(All photos, above, Susan Galleymore, Nov 24, 2011.)

Listen to audio: Clyde Bellecourt on Alcatraz 2011

Other photographs, same day, different photographer(s).

Monday, November 21, 2011

The Council of Elders stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street

 Occupy Oakland may be down but it ain't out... We had our own Council of Elders meet last night. Here's an overview vid of some of them..
The Council of Elders stand in solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.

(And, sorry for the embedded Google Ads...but, what else can a girl do to scratch together enough $$s to live in this day and age?)

A Month in the Life of Occupy

General Strike, Port of Oakland, November 2
Estimates of the crowd size run from 20,000 to 30,000 (SF Chronicle)

Below: Oakland City Council meets to discuss Councilmember Nadel's resolution to Support Occupy Oakland. More than 140 members of the public spoke, the vast majority FOR support. The City Council delayed the decision...then Mayor Quan ordered the encampment removed.

Raising Sand Radio Audio clip from speakers at Oakland City Council meeting after the first, violent attack by police on Occupy Oakland encampment,
Day after police removed Occupy Oakland for the second time, Occupy supporters convene at Oakland Public Library to strategize.

November 16, actions by students from UC campuses in Berkeley, Davis, and Santa Cruz  discourage UC Regents from meeting.
Above: Snow Park, Occupy Oakland.

November 19, Preparing to march before occupying private park on 19th and Telegraph, Oakland.
Anticipating re-occupation of Ogawa/Grant Plaza, city workers run sprinklers full time to keep the ground too soggy for tents.

Undeterred, Occupiers create a vegetable garden to one side of plaza.

• On Sunday afternoon, Police, private security & DPW workers destroyed the garden planted in Oscar Grant Plaza during the Saturday Day of Action

More info regarding the attack on Occupy Oakland’s new community garden from the gardening working group:
We wanted to thank every person for their support and presence yesterday at the garden party. It felt so amazing to see all of your faces and to see the motivation! We wanted to write an email to you this evening telling you the garden was still up. A member went to the plaza around 2pm this afternoon and the garden was still looking beautiful! We were very excited to send out the email tonight with that in mind, however, we returned to the garden at 4pm this afternoon to find city workers and police throwing all the veggie starts, dirt and planter boxes into a dump truck.
There were members of the community already present who moved all the potted plants away from the scene, so those were saved. A few members sat next to the remaining box, so we saved those starts too. Some people tried to talk to the police during and after the truck left, and NO officer was willing to speak on behalf of the disrespectful decisions the city made.

Occupy San Francisco at Justin Herman Plaza the night before police clean out the encampment.
Occupy San Francisco, Justin Herman Plaza
(all photos Susan Galleymore's cell.)

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Exposing Cultural Myths at Occupy Oakland

Published in CounterPunch, Nov 15, as "Re-Occupy, ASAP": Exposing Cultural Myths at Occupy Oakland
And in Truthout, Nov 16.

What a welcome relief the Occupy movement’s trend of “leaderless” groups! True, this seemingly contradictory concept is difficult to absorb in a culture the promotes a leadership style that models the strongest, loudest, most persistent, and most vocal monopolizing the microphone – both physical and its cultural equivalent.
But, as Americans know well, repeat something often enough and it becomes part of the cultural vernacular. So, despite the difficulty politicians, media, and many Americans have in grasping this new paradigm, Occupy movements across the country continue as leaderless groups.

After the Oakland camp’s most recent tossing by police word-of-mouth convened about 1,000 people at the main library to strategize. Then they marched the four blocks back to City Hall for the 6 p.m. General Assembly.
There are refreshing and humorous moments at GAs when a random person from the crowd hops the line of speakers, commandeers the mic, and rambles on about the CIA commanding “us all through the fillings in our teeth”, that we’re at the “end times”, or that aliens are watching from outer space and waiting to invade. Then, the mic is retrieved, gently, and GA business continues.
Last night, the group reiterated its commitment to non-violence; anyone unable or unwilling to practice non-violence will be escorted, gently, from the group. It also consensually agreed that Saturday, November 19 is the next major gathering in Oakland for those aching for a different system of governance, society, and relationship to one another.
These peaceful and informal GAs belie the myths perpetuated by local government and the media about epidemics of violence at Occupy sites.
Then again, the movement is exposing other cultural myths and morality tales for what they are, too: formulae for shaming generations of wage-earners into silent compliance.
Presidential hopeful Herman Cain recently reiterated a classic:  “If you're not rich, don't blame Wall St, blame yourself.”
Variations on the theme include:
The rich have what they have because they “pull themselves up by their own bootstraps”.
“God” shows His approval of the righteously hard-working by endowing them with material wealth.
The unemployed have given up or are too lazy to seek jobs.
“The American Dream” is there for the taking by anyone willing to work for it  
Education ensures success.
The planet is a treasure trove of natural resources for bold risk-takers to tap.  
Indeed, even the myth that police maintain social order for business is evaporating in the face of reality.
Jesse Smith lives in downtown Oakland and, at first, he was skeptical of the Occupy movement’s manifestation in his neighborhood. After he reconnoitered, talked with Occupiers, and understood that they echoed his grievances about our country’s direction, he joined the camp's business liaison group.
Yesterday, he stood in the sunshine at the police barricades erected after the police raid early that morning and explained that the business liaison group had surveyed some 100 businesses in a 2 block radius around City Hall.
“We collected data that no one else seems to have: around one third of the business owners report neutral impact on their business by the occupation; another third, owners of convenience stores and pizza joints, report a positive impact – business has gone up; the rest, places negatively impacted, are the attractive retail outlets that tend to be chain stores.”
Most business owners note that the police actions are “the only detriment that they experience to their bottom line.” They say their vendors call and ask them, ‘Is it safe to come to downtown Oakland?’ There's an impression outside of Oakland that there's been a need for a constant police line and that raids and violent police actions are imminent. This, if anything, is what is killing commerce here.”
Dorothy King is the owner of the sixty-year-old Oakland-based family business Everett and Jones barbeque.
“People say small business owners in Oakland suffer because people don’t spend money here. No, if the small business owners who live and work in Oakland suffer it is because the big banks take our money out of our community and do not invest in our city.”

In the sunshine, a protester near Jesse Smith patrolled the police barricades behind which municipal workers picked up debris from the for-now demolished encampment. One side of the sign he carried urged, “Mayor Quan, City Council, how about a little imagination?” The other side read, “Re-Occupy asap.”

Judging by how the majority of people conduct themselves in Oakland these days, peacefully and with determination, it is only a matter of time before the latter comes true. 

(Photos: Susan Galleymore, Nov 14, 2011)