Saturday, September 22, 2012

This is what the Police State looks like

This is what the Police State looks like. In a small town they fire a man that is trying to demilitarize the police and replace him with a good old boy. 4 members of our community are murdered under his leadership so by all means let us sign him to a new contract. He is over the mandatory retirement age, he is over the mandatory retirement for length of service. Why is the city council violating the law to hire this thug?
Almost as bad is why is local media covering it up? Even Access Humboldt tried to keep these words from being heard by the public. What follows is a speech given in front of the City Council by Verbena Lea of the Redwood Curtain Copwatch. As she stepped to the podium the video of the council meeting mysteriously goes to vertical sound bars. as soon as she is finished speaking the video returns for the next speaker. Access Humboldt has since been forced to put up the whole video.

"With your plan, illegal plan at that, to make Murl Harpham the Police Chief, there is almost nothing more blatant that this Council and City Manager could do to tell the people of Eureka that you don't care if we are killed, or get abused, or spend all of our money on corruption. You, David Tyson, City Council, have proven yourselves to be the enemy of the people here, and should be treated as such.

Your plan to make Murl Harpham police chief proves that you are run by the thugs in this town, the SWAT thugs who want to be able to run around with weapons and aggressive, vile attitudes, terrorizing the people here, and have Murl Harpham lie, get the bribes and pat them on the ass for their criminal behavior. Last time Murl Harpham was interim chief, at least 4 people were murderd by the EPD, including two teenagers- murdered in cold blood by Terry Liles, part of Murl's psychotic fan club. Murl Harpham, this time around as interim chief, stood and watched in approval and attempting to block the view of onlookers while Terry Liles swung a metal baton about Andrew Hamer's head, while he lay prone on the ground.

Murl Harpham is not only too old according to 34.59 of the city charter, but he's too crazy and criminal.

Murl Harpham spoke of the 5 million dollar lawsuit, LOST by the city of Eureka due to the brutal beating and murder of Martin Cotton in 2007 as something that his officers should not have to worry about. That he didn't want them being found liable to be a deterrent to future excessive force and that they, who beat a man to death, were honorable men. Well, this city is not only culpable of the murder of Martin Cotton (and many others), but had its taxpayers pay over 5 million dollars just to continue trying to litigate about pain and suffering damages for the brutal beating of Martin Cotton.

Enemy of the people- Murl Harpham- and all of you who allow him and other thugs to terrorize the people."

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Remembering In the Redwoods

It is impossible to capture all of the emotions that returning to the courthouse brings forth in me today. We are here to remember. To remember A fallen defender of the earth, David, “Gypsy” Chain, and to remember a year spent engaged in the struggle to defend human dignity here on this space. Because he was brutally murdered by corporate society I never had the chance to meet Gypsy but the world is a poorer place for his absence.

One year ago today some of us were watching as the world erupted with a new movement. People by the score were arriving at Zuccotti park in the heart of the financial district in New York city. Gathering to share their disgust with the state of life in the land where they lived. We had seen this happen throughout the middle east and northern Africa. They had called it the Arab spring and now we were bearing witness to what had been dubbed the American fall.

The capitalists oligarchs had restored the system for the wealthy. The 1% had looted the treasury to pay their bonuses while the poor were under the boot of an oppressive regime of teabaggers swept into congress by the failure of the hope and change corporatists, For them austerity was a religion.

Occupy was a continuation of the teachers in Wisconsin taking to the streets, of a Tunisian fruit vendor, Mohamed Bouazizi self immolating in the square. A reaction to millions being thrown from their jobs and their homes.

We called ourselves the 99% and came from all walks of life. Students buried by debt training for jobs that no longer existed. Jobless people, houseless people, the disenfranchised, the despised, the derelicts. The artists and engineers, musicians, teachers and nurses and well I think you get the picture.

We came with more then our complaints we came with a process. We were foolish enough to believe that everyone in their midst had value. That everyone in a group has the right to be heard and to put their ideas out there. That instead of a few rich men going behind closed doors to decide the fate of the rest of us that we would gather in open general assemblies that everyone took their turn to speak at. That we were All leaders and Nobody Was.

I am proud to have been part of that last year here at the courthouse. We were one of thousands of groups that sprang up around the world in solidarity with the Occupy Wall street movement. We came down on the 7th of October and hung up some banners and held the first of many General assemblies of our own.

We have come a long way since that day and that is what we are here to commemorate and I hope move forward. Because that is the true legacy of occupy. We have shown the world that we are not going to take it. We have changed the conversation in America and become part of the long history along the road to a more perfect union.

The process was for me transformative. I had always been an activist, or so I thought but for the first time in my life I was involved in the struggle every waking hour. I was able to see that for many of those around me were transforming as well. You cannot experience a true community with the type of aspirational goals that we had growing and not be changed.

We pitched a tent or 2 that grew to a camp that grew into a community and that was not what the capitalists wanted. When they do it in Tahir square they sent the secretary of state out to praise it. When it happened at UC Davis they sent the militarized police out to pepper spray it.

We affected a response throughout the nation from those in power. Violent repression. We scared the fuck out of those people inside the courthouse. The failure of capitalism could not be displayed to a docile public they were paid so highly to keep appeased. They tried to label us terrorists and a security threat. They smiled and nodded and made nice in public then all the sudden they struck with an Iron Fist in the form of riot troops. We were no different here then the rest of the country with our comrades going to jail cells and to hospitals.

Our comrade Hans sent this message. “They can break my ribs but the can't break my spirit.”

When I am speaking I like to try and stick to the principle that less is more so I will not try your patience rehashing the litany of police misconduct and abuses of power that we were subjected to. That is for another time perhaps but I am going to ask you to indulge me for a for a short walk down memory lane.

Many of you are familiar with the assassinated leader from India Mr. Gandhi, and something he said rings true of what we have done. First they ignore you, The root of the problem began here. For decades society has ignored the plight of those at the bottom. That group that must be sacrificed to their Capitalist God “Market Forces”

Then they ridicule you; Who pooped and peed on the bank became a meme with Defegate becoming national news. When a member of the media came it was to find the weirdest person in the crowd to get a 5 second sound bite of the crazy hippies and their hobo camp. Those inside the building tried to play us off and hoped we would go home.

Then they fight you; 7 November rolled around and the Chief of EPD had a plan and the DA gave the order to, “Go Get Em” That night they arrested dozens, injured a few and stole the property of those that have the least. What followed was a calculated series of attacks on the members of Occupy Eureka. Unjust imprisonment, Theft of property, destruction of signs, bogus arrests. The complete disregard for constitutional rights and of human rights.

Then you win; We went to court and kicked their ass, Hung Jury, case dismissed in the interest of justice, decline to prosecute, Not Guilty On All Counts. When they ginned up some AstroTurf group to “take back the courthouse” We turned out the power of the people and the power of the people don't stop. We sent them packing back to their sad little lives of hate for anything different.

We held our vigils out here in front of the courthouse and the Sheriffs were forced to drop their heads as they walked sheepishly by having been taught that we the people were the sovereigns

Janell filed a lawsuit to overturn the ordinance 2477 and I am confident she will prevail. We outlasted the fence around the grass and have gotten some of the more odious sections of the ordinance on the chopping block. We forced them to return our property and our signs and we forced them to stop arresting us. To some extent the problems I was just speaking about were side issues. Once the police state sent out their military arm, EPD we were engaged in the fight for the right to protest. We fought to hold the space because that was a large part of the message. If as many wanted we had given up that fight nothing else would have mattered. They fought like hell to prevent us from getting out this message.

You have saddled us with a system that is wrong and we will not sit quietly by while you continue to destroy our communities. No you will not cut down old growth to widen a road so you can pull your tanks into our front yards. We will not become slaves to the company store and we will not allow you to give million dollar bribes from the head waters slush fund.

Human rights are most in need of defense for the powerless in society. Sleep is as much a necessity as food and water. We endured in the cold winter rains in the hope that soon no one would have to.

We are raising the wages of working people in Eureka. Many of you have little faith in government and less faith in the ballot box but as Malcolm X once said by any means necessary.

We are gathering signatures for the Eureka Fair Wage Act to force Walmart to pay a $12 per hour minimum wage. Please sign it if you live in the City of Eureka and can vote.

We continue to fight for justice against laws that criminalize poverty and dissent.

This last year has been exhausting for many. The godfather of our little occupy was worn down and I am glad to see Jack here today and in improved health.

I say to you We only lose when we quit. I am truly fortunate to be a part of this action. I have met some special people that I am proud to call my comrades. Men and women that are willing to stand together and say no more.

You had your chance to run the world and you fucked it up.
Now it is time for you to go away and to let us try and fix it.
You are Capitalism
You are Fascism
You are totalitarianism
You are globalization
You are finalization
You are Hatred and You are Greed.
You will not poison our air and our water and food supply and our minds. We will not tolerate your wars against other countries and against the environment. We are human beings and you will treat each of us with the dignity that that accords us.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The time has come for a Fair Wage

After a 30 year assault on the working class it is time to look in a new direction. Working people are seeing their wages fall while those at the top see record pay and bonuses. Schools are closing and the roads aren't repaired while taxes on the highest earners are slashed. We tax labor at twice the rate we tax the idle rich. The wealthy bankers and financial sectors were propped up with 27 trillion dollars in no interest loans from the discount window at the Federal Reserve while the government is cutting nutritional programs for pregnant women and children. Poverty is on the increase in America while the wealth of the nation is concentrated into fewer and fewer hands.

As a community we have the opportunity to challenge that trend. To say enough of your disproven trickle down nonsense. We are a community that respects the value of labor. We respect the dignity of working people and reject the idea that a person working full time can still live in poverty. The national election will be upon us soon giving us the choice between failed trickle down economics on the right and grand bargain austerity on the left. We working for the Eureka Fair Wage Act are saying that is a false choice.

Corporate profits are at record highs. We are going to require that some of those profits be put back into the community as wages for the working people. Our region has a sad economic history built on the extraction of resources, Fish, Timber and even our water leaving a legacy of boom and bust. Now the Walmarts of the world are here to extract the last remaining resource,cash from our region leaving a legacy of shuttered shops along our main street.

If you would like to join this community movement we meet Tuesdays at the Labor Temple on 8th street at 6:15. or more information is available here.