“Radically Sharing Temescal” by Julian Mark (eastbayexpress.com)

mg_feat2_3715.jpg
A group of artists, hackers, and other creative people have launched Omni Commons, a new community resource center in North Oakland that they hope will be an antidote to gentrification.

A mural on the wall of Rise Above Graphics art gallery in Oakland’s Temescal district portrays a chilling scene. A crane and wrecking ball stalks a portrait of Rise Above itself as the gallery hovers, ghost-like, above its foundation. To the right are clustered, almost dystopian, high-rises, each labeled “condo,” with ever-gazing security cameras.

Sadly, the mural is a portrayal of its own fate: The wall — and Rise Above Graphics — is slated to be demolished and replaced by real condos.

The mural was a collaboration by J. Otto Seibold, an Oakland artist, and Gabriela Laz, owner of Rise Above. In July, Rise Above’s landlord served Laz with an eviction notice while Seibold was holding a show at the gallery. Laz and Seibold learned that a developer planned to demolish the Rise Above building and at least one other building nearby as part of a plan to build three high-density residential projects.

“I wanted to publicize everything that’s happening on this corner,” Seibold said of the mural. “It’s gonna be torn down and turned into condos.”

Laz said she was devastated by the thought of leaving Temescal, a neighborhood known for its creative energy. But moving to another storefront in the district was out of the question. Temescal has become one of the hottest real estate markets in the Bay Area, and rents have become unaffordable.

“The artists that move into the neighborhood and work to make it interesting actually end up ruining it in a way and making it something people can’t afford,” Laz said. “I think it’s sad, but what can you do? It doesn’t seem stoppable.”

Last May, The New York Times reported that Oakland had become a “welcoming oasis” for artists, citing Temescal as a prime example of the city’s potential for “top-flight creative capital.” However, the longterm viability of that creative capital in Temescal is already in jeopardy. A rash of small businesses in the area — including Good Bellies Cafe, Rise Above Graphics, and Smokey’s Tangle — either have been shuttered or fear being priced out by rising rents or the construction of new housing developments.

The three new projects are being built by the Nautilus Group, an Oakland-based firm that recently relocated from Southern California. The three sites — on 51st Street and Telegraph Avenue, 47th Street and Telegraph, and 48th Street and Shattuck Avenue — are to become mixed-used complexes of retail and housing. And while Oakland needs more housing, some local residents and business owners fear that the new condo complexes could ruin the neighborhood’s character.

However, not long after Laz received the eviction notice, she said a sort of miracle happened: She was approached by two organizers from Omni Commons, a self-styled “radical community resource center” that had just moved into the former rock venue on Shattuck at 48th. The two organizers explained that part of the mission of Omni Commons, which is made up of many artists, hackers, dancers, educators, and other creative people, was to keep the area’s artistic character alive and to provide an antidote to gentrification. They offered Laz space at Omni Commons at an incredibly low rate.

She accepted. “I’m so grateful; I feel like the Omni really rescued me,” she said. “Hopefully, the Omni will be a stronghold for people in the community and culture in the area.”

Omni Commons is one of the largest and most ambitious projects for arts, science, and activism in the Bay Area. It’s an effort by a group of multidisciplinary collectives to pool creative and political resources into a free public space in a building that has stood in Temescal since the 1930s. For some members, it’s a solution to the out-of-control rents currently threatening the creative life of the Bay Area. For others, it’s an overtly political continuation of the Occupy Movement that seeks to challenge cultural assumptions associated with capitalism. And for Temescal stalwarts and creative types, it could be a uniting force in response to the new, high-density developments.

The Omni Commons collectives include the hackerspace Sudo Room; the autodidactic university The Bay Area Public School; the bio-hackerspace Counter Culture Labs; the activist group Food Not Bombs; the celluloid film lab Blackhole Cinema; the small press Timeless Infinite Light; and La Commune Bookstore & Café, in addition to others specializing in dance, visual art, music, health, and grassroots activism. The commons represents the most recent iteration of Bay Area counter-culture as well as an odd, startup-like manifestation of the oft-cited Bay Area culture war — one that seeks to reclaim terms co-opted by Big Tech, to challenge the “dominant culture,” and to become a stronghold for arts and common folk in Oakland.

Just after the 1906 earthquake destroyed San Francisco, droves of Italian-American refugees settled in Temescal, transforming the neighborhood into Oakland’s “little Italy.” Many of the Italians found work as “scavengers,” collecting trash on horse-drawn wagons and eventually organizing into formal, often competing, groups.

One such group was called the Oakland Scavenger Association (which would decades later become Oakland Waste Management). At the time, the association’s business model was relatively unique: Every worker owned a share of the business, which made the Scavengers, in many ways, the East Bay’s first cooperative. But they wanted a place outside of work to meet, host dances, play bocce ball, and make wine. So, in 1934, they built the Ligure Social Club.

It was a Spanish Colonial building with stucco walls, mission-tiled gable roofs, and two main wings that lead into a two-story octagonal tower. Inside, it had checkered floors and high ceilings, a basement for wine, and courts for rolling bocce. The building also had an amphitheater, which hosted political speeches by major politicians of the time, including then-Alameda County District Attorney Earl Warren and then-US Congressmember Richard Nixon.

For nearly half a century, the Scavengers and their families passed through Ligure’s canted entryway — that is, until 1981, when Ligure’s membership dwindled and the association’s funds dipped, forcing the club to move elsewhere.

However, not long after, the building became the Omni nightclub, a music venue that hosted such legends as Primus, Metallica, Too $hort, Don Carlos, and Mr. Bungle. But after roughly a decade, neighbors got fed up by the noise and rowdiness. So, in 1992, the Omni nightclub closed, and for twenty years the building sat empty, used only as a live-work space by an eccentric couple. In recent years, it has been eyed for use by the New Parkway Theater, various music venues, and the Center for Creative Reuse, and as a live theater, a bowling alley, a beer garden, a bar, a restaurant, and a burning-man-oriented live-, work- and party-space.

I’m at bio-hackerspace Counter Culture Labs in Omni Commons with Marc Juul, a co-founder of Counter Culture Labs and Sudo Room. The hackerspaces share a wide-open room that used to be dedicated to the Ligure Club’s bocce ball courts. These days, it’s filled with lab benches, test tubes, an industrial robot arm, and racks of scavenged hardware.

Juul pulls out an open PCR (polymerase chain reaction) machine. He explains that PCR machines are essentially DNA copy machines used in bioengineering to target and replicate desired strains of DNA, and that they’re indispensable for genetic engineering projects. But for Juul, the fact that this PCR machine is “open” makes it something much more spectacular. It’s a device he can modify, and even improve into a cheaper alternative.

He explained that the blueprint for the open PCR can be found under creative commons, meaning that anyone can download the plan from the internet and build the machine using basic tools and a bit of know-how. For Juul, an open PCR machine is an example of the potential power an ordinary person can wield if he or she has access to proper tools and knowledge. Juul noted that most advanced equipment cannot be found in the creative commons. “Most scientific equipment and academic literature is locked down and extremely overpriced — inaccessible to the public,” he said.

“In order for us to work at the highest level of humanity right now,” he continued, “everyone needs access to equipment … knowledge … skills.”

Continue reading

Occupy Forum on Monday, January 26, from 6-9pm, at Unitarian Church, SF

The Unitarian Universalist Society
and OccupyForum present…
a special presentation on climate change
with author and environmentalist
Mark Hertsgaard
Surviving Climate Chaos:Reframing the Climate Question
Monday, January 26, 2015 from 6 to 9 pm
First Unitarian Universalist Center
Martin Luther King Room
1187 Franklin Street, corner Geary Blvd, SF CA
​“Over the next 50 years, climate change will transform our world in ways we have only begun to imagine. Humans have changed the weather on the planet, and the battle to prevent climate chaos has become the race to survive it. Climate change worsens already existing conflicts over water supplies, energy sources, weather-induced migration — and it undermines the very ecosystems that make life possible. Besides striving to lower the global thermostat, we must take steps to prepare our societies for the serious climate impacts
that are already in the pipeline.”
Mark Hertsgaard has spoken and written about global warming for more than 20 years. At the birth of his daughter, he was struck by how much more rapidly the earth’s warm-up has come upon us, and by the evidence of these changes. In his most recent book: HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth, Hertsgaard travels the globe to cover climate change effects and policy. He writes: “This book is both a father’s cry… and a blueprint on how all of us — as parents, communities, companies and countries —
can navigate this unavoidable new era.”

Herstgaard will address how these changing conditions especially affect peoples living around the equator and in low-lying countries as the oceans rise. What does this mean for them? What will it mean for us? How can we begin to prepare for these inevitable mass migrations?
Like the 400,000 people who traveled to the streets of NY to marshal action on the climate chaos upon us, we must not remain silent. We must become part of the movement and contribute, using our best capabilities. We need thousands of ordinary heroes to step forward
and create a new future.

Mark Hertsgaard is the author of six books and a long-time contributor to leading media outlets around the world, including The Nation, Harper’s, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Businessweek, NPR and the BBC. Food &Water Watch, 350 Bay Area, Roots Rhyzing, The Sunflower Alliance and Rising Tide will offer audience members brief descriptions of their climate work, and be available to welcome people who’d like to get involved.
Donation: $8. – no one turned away for lack of funds
Refreshments available, wheelchair accessible
Sponsored by the Unitarian Universalists for Peace & Justice,
the Green and UU-UNO committees of the UU Society,
​in collaboration with OccupyForum SF

Extra Occupy Forum on Tuesday, January 27, at Local 2, from 6-9pm

Harvey “No Nukes” Wasserman, Dennis Bernstein, Linda Seeley, Larry Fahn, Cynthia Papermaster

 Extra OccupyForum on Tuesday, January 27th 2015
at Local 2 from 6 – 9 pm
215 Golden Gate

​ up the block from the corner of Leavenworth, near Civic Center BART

JOIN US TO WIN A NUKE-FREE CALIFORNIA!!

Shut the Diablo Canyon Nukes
Long-time No Nukes activist Harvey Wasserman will speak and facilitate an on-going strategy session
aimed at winning the shut-down of the Diablo Canyon nuke as quickly as possible. The time to flip the “off-switch” is NOW!
 
Harvey “No Nukes” Wasserman: long-term anti-nuke activist, author of Solartopia
Dennis Bernstein, host of KPFA’s “Flashpoints”
Linda Seeley: San Luis Obispo Mothers for Peace. Vice President/Spokesperson;Santa Lucia Sierra Club Executive Committee;
Sierra Club Nuclear Free Campaign
Larry Fahn: Sierra Club President, 2003-2005, Sierra Club Board of Directors (current), environmental atty.
Cynthia Papermaster: Codepink Golden Gate; Coordinator of “PG&E Ratepayer Revolt to Shut Diablo Canyon”;
Berkeley No More Guantanamos, Director; Meiklejohn Civil Liberties Institute Board
JOIN US in the accelerating campaign to shut California’s last nukes the two reactors at Diablo Canyon, near San Luis Obispo. Citizen activism has closed the reactors at Humboldt, Rancho Seco and San Onofre, and stopped proposed projects at Bakersfield, Bodega and elsewhere. We believe we can force this deadly, dangerous and disastrous plant shut if you will join with us.
 
PG&E’s Diablo is two 1200+ megawatt monsters surrounded by earthquake faults, in a tsunami zone, out of compliance with clean water and fire safety regulations, lacking a credible evacuation plan and now completely priced out of the market by clean, cheap, safe and job-producing renewable energy.
Pacific Gas & Electric has recently killed 8 people in a San Bruno neighborhood it burned to the ground due to negligence and greed. A replay at Diablo would irradiate much of California, and create a lethal cloud that would blow across the entire United States. It would bankrupt California and much of the nation, with virtually no responsibility to be shouldered by PG&E.
Long-time No Nukes activist Harvey Wasserman will speak and facilitate an on-going strategy session aimed at winning this shut-down as quickly as possible. We will have a strategy in formation and a resolution in hand to push forward the process of finally making California free of all nuke reactors. The time to flip the “off-switch” is NOW! This will be a meeting to further that necessary cause.
The clock is ticking on the next earthquake or negligent disaster. You and your family are at risk. Come join the movement to end this madness!!!

http://prn.fm/solartopia-green-power-wellness-hour-01-06-15/

Read background: http://www.foe.org/news/archives/2014-10-developments-at-diablo-canyon-reactors

 

​Please scroll to the bottom of this email for more Shut Down Diablo Canyon events
starting Friday, January 23rd…
Note:  Location change to LOCAL 2 in SF 215 Golden Gate (not Global Exchange!)​

Action Council Events — January 23 to January 28

Occupy SF

~ ACTION COUNCIL ~

Next Meeting

Sunday, January 25, 2015

2:00pm – 4:00pm

UNITE / HERE (Local 2)

215 Golden Gate Ave

(Nr. Civic Center BART)

San Francisco

Websites:

OccupySF Action Council: http://occupyactionsf.org

OccupySF: http://occupysf.org

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Friday, January 23

J 23, Friday, 8:30am – 11:30am, Court Support for BARTFriday Arrestees

Hall of Justice
850 Bryant St
SF

Please come to court in San Francisco to support our 2 comrades who were arrested by the during #BARTFriday.

BART police and SF Sheriffs retaliated against these two brave individuals while they were in custody. Particularly severe pain and trauma was caused to one of our arrestees, whose cane was stolen by BART PD, and despite repeated requests for mobility assistance, she was denied any help and police mocked her as they forced her to move about the BART station and jail without assistance.

FB info hosted by: BARTFriday

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/684891331631587/?sid_reminder=1888274224133439488

J 23, Friday, 12 Noon – 2:00pm, Abortion on Demand is Liberating – NOT “Genocidal!” PROTEST the anti-woman, racist “StandingUp4Life” event in Oakland

Oakland City Hall
Oscar Grant Plaza
Oakland

On January 23, four Black Christian fascist preachers will hold their “StandingUp4Life” event in Oscar Grant Plaza in Oakland (re-named in the memory of one of the thousands of unarmed Black men who have been killed by the police), rolling out their anti-woman agenda under the guise of saving Black lives. These reactionary preachers spread the lie that abortion is genocide. Black women choosing abortion is not genocidal! In many cases, it is a choice they can make that allows them to regain their humanity in a world of rape, racism, and degradation.

Stand on the right side of history! Be part of bringing the truth straight into the middle of their shame-fest, and fighting for the full liberation of women!

Abortion On Demand and Without Apology!
Forced Motherhood Is Female Enslavement!
Fetuses are NOT babies. Abortion is NOT murder. Women are NOT incubators.
Stop blaming women! It’s this white supremacist system that’s genocidal!

Host: Stop Patriarchy

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/1597020117177646/?ref=44&unit_ref=related_events&source=1

J 23, Friday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm, Shut Diablo Canyon

San Luis Obispo City/County Library
958 Palm St
San Luis Obispo

Codepink hosts a gathering of veterans and newcomers to Shut Diablo Canyon. Special guests include Harvey “No Nukes” Wasserman, author of Solartopia; Chieko Shiina, anti-nuclear activist from Fukushima; organizers from Mothers for Peace, Nuclear Free California, EON (Ecological Options Network), Sierra Club, Codepink Women for Peace, Friends of the Earth, Ranchers for Peace and others. Music, video clips, food, and discussion. This Friday night gathering is happening in conjunction with the Jan. 24-25 conference hosted by Nuclear Free California in San Luis Obispo

Info: cynthia_papermaster@yahoo.com

Saturday, January 24

J 24, Saturday, 1:00pm, Protest and Confront the “Walk for Life” in San Francisco

Powell & Market Sts.
SF

Every year, the anti-abortion movement dominates the anniversary of Roe vs. Wade & mourns the legalization of abortion. This year WE’RE FIGHTING BACK!

In San Francisco on Saturday, January 24 we will take to the streets to challenge the “Walk for Life” organized by the anti-abortion, anti-women fanatics. 2014 saw another record year of TRAP laws and clinic closures. Now in 2015 Congress introduced a National Abortion ban on its very first day back in session.

We will NOT be silent in the face of hatred. We will NOT stay home as fascists parade through the streets. We will STAND UP for abortion rights, CONFRONT & DEFEAT this war on women!

Abortion on Demand & Without Apology
Women are NOT bitches, ho’s, punching bags, breeders or sex objects — Women are full human beings!

Sponsor: Stop Patriarchy

Info: https://www.facebook.com/events/555602327909815/?notif_t=plan_user_associated

J 24, Saturday – J 25, Sunday (all day)  State-wide Conference to Strategize the fight to SHUT DIABLE CANYON & NUKE FREE CALIF.

San Luis Obispo
2880 Broad St.
San Louis Obispo

See website for Info: http://www.nuclearfreecal.org/nfcnet/2015/01/nuclear-free-california-strategy-days/

With SLO Mothers for Peace, Nuclear Free California, Sierra Club, World Business Academy, Friends of the Earth, Ecological Options Network, Codepink Women for Peace. SLO Grange, 2880 Broad Street. Website to register, find housing, more details:

For carpools and train to SLO, questions: cynthia_papermaster@yahoo.com , 510-365-1500.

J 24, Saturday, 12Noon, Cages Kill, Protest on Deaths in Custody at Santa Cruz County Jail

Santa Cruz Clock Tower

At least 6 people have died in the county jail while in the hands of the Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Department and California Forensics Medical Group (CFMG) since August 2012.

In September 2014, the Grand Jury released its Final Report, which included recommendations to improve physical and mental health services in the jail. Nearly all of the research was met with utter denial from the Sheriff’s Department and CFMG, continuing a trend of disrespect for the community and confirming that they operate with little to no accountability.

Sin Barras is organizing a demonstration to demand immediate medical and safety measures be met to reduce harm faced by those presently incarcerated. We demand that the County Board of Supervisors cancel its contract with CFMG and refuse to participate in the current wave of county jail expansion. These deaths are an act of collective punishment against people who are most in need of aid, and who are consistently denied community-based resources and drug treatment.

The deaths in the jail are caused by the same pattern of unaccountability that recently allowed Officer Darren Wilson to walk free after killing Michael Brown.  It is clear that our criminal justice system targets the most vulnerable members of this society: women, trans and queer people, people of color, people with disabilities, the poor, and the homeless.

Info Details:  https://www.facebook.com/events/1574151249488303/ 

Continue reading