Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The New Economy

Presaging the new economy of progressive fascists like 350's Naomi Klein, CERES' Mindy Lubber and Avaaz' Ricken Patel, was the Progressive Democrats of America (PDA), that emerged in 2004, and the affiliated Campaign for America's Future (CAF). It was a horrifying development, leading to the appointment of Reaganite U.S. Senator Barack Obama, as keynote speaker at the 2006 Democratic National Convention.
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Blogging as a platform had just peaked, and the Democrats were funding fascist bloggers at CAF. Merging progressive institutional interests with fascist ideology led to efforts by CAF to marginalize the views of democratic socialists and indigenous cultures. This capitulation by progressives, due largely to their failure to mount successful electoral or judicial challenges to the conservative fascist regime of G.W. Bush, signaled their endorsement of a totalitarian national security state.
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As America’s nervous breakdown intensified, the progressive fascists produced such horrors as the 2006 bill, introduced by U.S. Senator Diane Feinstein (D) San Francisco, to make activism against corporations illegal. With the 2010 U.S. Department of Homeland Security arrests of anti-war and environmental activists, for the crime of showing documentary films criticizing the arms and energy industries, Feinstein was in seventh heaven.
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In 2012, as federal prosecutors and law enforcement escalated harassment of #Occupy activists attempting to influence U.S. policy, the defense of civil and human rights moved from the courts to the streets. Neoliberals like Hillary Clinton, Diane Feinstein, and Barack Obama — committed to state-sponsored violence for the benefit of Wall Street —  exercised progressive fascism through aggression, surveillance, and repression of dissent.
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While emotional weakness and psychological dysfunction initially led progressives to this point of complete compliance, mounting insecurity since the 2008 economic meltdown has sealed the deal.

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Free Speech

UC Berkeley celebrates 50 years of free speech.



Saturday, November 15, 2014

SRO

Truthout's article on San Francisco single-room occupancy (SRO) hotels portrays the battle for low-income housing as a challenge that tenants and organizers are struggling with in a city where "wealth inequality is on par with Rwanda's." As San Francisco Tenants Union advocate Ted Gullicksen remarked before his passing in October, "They are the most affordable housing in San Francisco," and "Any pressure on that housing stock needs to be vigilantly fought back."

In the summer of 2000, as rent control repeal loomed in the form of a slumlord-backed ballot initiative, I met Gullicksen at a ParkMerced tenants meeting held at San Francisco State University. Working with these tenants of one of the largest residential apartment complexes in the Western US (3,482 units), Public Good Project's research director Paul de Armond and I advised the tenant organizers Gullicksen was recruiting for the electoral battle that fall.

As a Bay Area tenant, myself displaced in 2011 by skyrocketing rents, it seemed that at best we might have delayed homelessness for San Francisco's 30,000 SRO tenants for a decade. While an important achievement at the time, today's challenge is to convert and upgrade these "last resort" housing units (where kitchens and bathrooms are shared) to co-ops, where safety codes are enforced and slumlords no longer control tenants' lives.

Saturday, October 25, 2014

City Sights

San Francisco photographer Fred Lyon has a new book: San Francisco, Portrait of a City 1940-1960.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Displacing Humanity in the City of Love

The displacement of low-income tenants and the attack on City College of San Francisco are connected. As the city with the most expensive rents in the US, San Francisco real estate is a valuable commodity; conversion of public benefit properties like rent-controlled apartments and college campuses to speculation sites is a logical market-oriented solution. This logic, unfortunately, means that San Francisco's cultural creativity and diversity will soon be gone.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Fillmore

David Johnson, Fillmore District photographer, captured on film.

Saturday, August 02, 2014

Cannabis Fair

Legalizing cannabis in Washington and Colorado was a great idea, as far as it goes. It's quite an improvement over medical dispensaries, that require a physicians approval.

Still, licensed retail cannabis stores have a long way to go in providing affordable and accessible marijuana to those who need or want it. Consumers that live in small towns or rural areas might have to travel a couple hundred miles round trip to keep themselves supplied.

Colorado converted medical dispensaries to full-service retail outlets, thereby bypassing the onerous regulatory red tape imposed in Washington, where prices in non-metro areas are double the prices in Seattle, and four times that of the black market. While supporting public services with cannabis taxes is fine, it won't work if the legal price is so out of whack.

Someday, when cannabis fairs and festivals are the norm, and cannabis lounges dot the urban landscape like cocktail lounges do today, we'll wonder why it took so long. The answer, of course, is to be found in Puritanism and government corruption.

But who wants to talk about that, when there's so much fun to be had?