Activism

Thumbnail image for As NYPD Union Vows ‘Wartime Policing,’ Questions Of ‘Have We Learned Nothing?’

As NYPD Union Vows ‘Wartime Policing,’ Questions Of ‘Have We Learned Nothing?’

by Source 12.22.2014 Activism

“An eye for an eye is not our vision of justice,” declared #BlackLivesMatter in a statement released Sunday

By Sarah Lazare / CommonDreams

A declaration by the New York Police Department Union that it will engage in “wartime policing” in response to Saturday’s killing of two city law enforcement officers has raised alarm among protesters and civil rights advocates, who ask: “Have we learned nothing?”

A statement released Saturday by the New York Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association—the union for the NYPD—reads, “The mayor’s hands are literally dripping with our blood because of his words actions and policies and we have, for the first time in a number of years, become a ‘wartime’ police department. We will act accordingly.”

Steven Thrasher, writing for the Guardian, responds, “Wartime? These are the marching orders to the 35,000 armed members of the biggest police department in the United States. This is the message now sent to protesters around the nation who have been finding novel and peaceful forms of expression to resist oppression—who have been protesting in reaction to police violence, not causing it.”

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Thumbnail image for Video Interview with Balboa Park Protestors about Justice and Race Relations

Video Interview with Balboa Park Protestors about Justice and Race Relations

by Horacio Jones 12.19.2014 Activism

By Horacio Jones

Since the grand jury decisions in the Michael Brown and Eric Garner cases, Americans have had to face the issues of race and police brutality once again. Many have taken to protesting as a way to have their voices heard. On December 13, 2014 there were numerous nationwide protests and I caught up with some of the protestors in Balboa Park to get their opinions on race relations with the police and what can be done to improve them.

No matter which side you are on, freedom of speech is paramount to the successful resolution of this obvious problem regarding police killing unarmed citizens.

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Thumbnail image for Penis Control Before Gun Control

Penis Control Before Gun Control

by Will Falk 12.19.2014 Activism

By Will Falk

My position on gun control is simple. As long as the police, soldiers, and rapists have guns, we should have guns, too.

As long as one in four women in this country are raped in their lifetimes, women should have access to guns. As long as people of color are gunned down in the streets, they should be capable of defending themselves. As long as theft of native land continues alongside genocide of native peoples, they should be able to arm themselves against their invaders.

People – mainly white, male people – tell me that I take too extreme of a view. They tell me they just do not see the violence.

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Thumbnail image for Restaurateur and Cartoonist Join Forces to Help Children of Deported Veterans, DREAMers, and Refugees

Restaurateur and Cartoonist Join Forces to Help Children of Deported Veterans, DREAMers, and Refugees

by Brent E. Beltrán 12.18.2014 Cartoons

Mark Lane of Poppa’s Fresh Fish and Lalo Alcaraz of La Cucaracha organize holiday toy drive this Friday in Logan Heights

By Brent E. Beltrán

Once again restaurant owner Mark Lane, the accidental activist, has stepped forward to help not only refugee children but the children of deported American veterans and children of deported DREAMer moms as well. He will be hosting a toy drive and presentation on Friday night at Poppa’s Fresh Fish featuring former Lemon Grove native and syndicated cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz.

Lalo, the creator of La Cucaracha and Pocho.com and writer and consulting producer for the soon-to-be aired Fox cartoon Bordertown will be giving a thirty minute presentation about his cartoons and art and will follow with a book, poster and 2015 Cartoon Calendar signing.

“We chose to work with Lalo Alcaraz, as he has been a tireless fighter for immigrant rights, using his forum as a syndicated cartoonist to fight. He is a hometown hero in my opinion,” wrote fellow Lemon Grove native and resident Mark Lane.

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Thumbnail image for Why Do Democrats Keep Trying to Ban Guns That Look Scary, Not the Guns That Kill the Most People?

Why Do Democrats Keep Trying to Ban Guns That Look Scary, Not the Guns That Kill the Most People?

by Source 12.18.2014 Activism

On the twentieth anniversary of the assault weapons ban, a look at why politicians and the public support a policy that showed no evidence of saving lives.

by Lois Beckett / ProPublica

This story was co-published with the New York Times.

Over the past two decades, the majority of Americans in a country deeply divided over gun control have coalesced behind a single proposition: The sale of assault weapons should be banned.

That idea was one of the pillars of the Obama administration’s plan to curb gun violence, and it remains popular with the public. In a poll last December, 59 percent of likely voters said they favor a ban.

But in the 10 years since the previous ban lapsed, even gun control advocates acknowledge a larger truth: The law that barred the sale of assault weapons from 1994 to 2004 made little difference.

It turns out that big, scary military rifles don’t kill the vast majority of the 11,000 Americans murdered with guns each year. Little handguns do.

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Thumbnail image for Let’s say “No More” Violence Against Women

Let’s say “No More” Violence Against Women

by Ernie McCray 12.17.2014 Activism

By Ernie McCray

It’s sad that there’s such a notion as “violence against women,” but it’s heartening that, seemingly, we, as a society, are now looking into such an unsavory practice as though we want to do something about it.

A catalyst for a big part of our interest in the subject has been the National Football League (who would have ever dreamed that?) with their “No” to violence against women television PSA’s, featuring present day and ex-pro football players, motivated by that horrible tape we saw of star running back, Ray Rice, punching his wife out in an elevator, one of the nastiest sights anyone could ever see.

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Thumbnail image for In Demanding Apologies, Police Unions Show White Supremacy is a Core Value

In Demanding Apologies, Police Unions Show White Supremacy is a Core Value

by Source 12.17.2014 Activism

By Shaun King / Daily Kos

Racism has a hard time hiding.

People love to deny its very existence, but it just has a way of telling on itself. Those who harbor prejudice on the inside eventually can’t help but let it out in a way, so ugly and toxic, that you soon wonder how they kept it disguised for as long as they had.

The leaked emails from Sony come to mind.

While the overwhelming majority of African Americans see some level of racial discrimination and devaluing of black life in the police murders of unarmed men like Akai Gurley, Kendrec McDade, and Eric Garner, it’s become far too easy for police (and society) to deny race played even a small role in any of these homicides.

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Thumbnail image for SDFP Editors Debate To Publish or Not to Publish a Submission

SDFP Editors Debate To Publish or Not to Publish a Submission

by Staff 12.16.2014 Activism

An open letter from Dr. Fredi Avalos generates discussion on SDFP’s role in critiquing the Left and movement building

By San Diego Free Press Editorial Board

How do we reconcile our differences on the Left to more effectively fight a common enemy?

The San Diego Free Press does not publish every work that is submitted. The four daily editors determine whether a submission meets our criteria for quality of writing and compatibility with our mission of providing grassroots news and progressive views.

There have been a few times when we have declined to publish articles that were articulate and authored by respected members of the SDFP community of contributors and readers. When this occurs, it is a result of discussion and a final vote of the full editorial board, in which the majority position is reflected and the contributor is advised of our decision.

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Thumbnail image for Newtown Families Sue AR-15 Gun Maker

Newtown Families Sue AR-15 Gun Maker

by Doug Porter 12.15.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

It’s been two years and a day since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut left 26 people, mostly first graders, dead. The school has been torn down. The house where the shooter lived will soon meet the same fate.

The troubled 20-year-old gunman shot his way into the school. He shot and killed his mother before driving to the school, and he committed suicide as police arrived. The shootings at the school, lasting just over four minutes, were possible thanks to the military-style weapon used.

This morning a law firm representing the families of nine of the 26 people killed and a teacher filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer, distributor and seller of the rifle used in the shooting.


Welcome to Guns, Policy and Progressives week at the San Diego Free Press. We’ll be talking about guns and their role in society. Provided you can be civil about it, we invite you to join the conversation.

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Thumbnail image for Washington State Voters Overwhelmingly Approved Citizens’ Initiative to Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales

Washington State Voters Overwhelmingly Approved Citizens’ Initiative to Expand Background Checks to All Gun Sales

by Source 12.15.2014 Activism

By Jennifer Fuson / The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence

Washington, D.C. – In the only place where guns were directly on the ballot this election day, Washington state voters overwhelmingly passed Initiative 594 to expand background checks to all gun sales, including online and at gun shows. A competing initiative (Initiative 591) designed to block the implementation of background checks and sponsored by the gun lobby failed 55 to 45%.

Washington became the seventh state to require background checks on all gun sales, the fifth state since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 (Washington, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, and New York).

“The bottom line is this law will save lives. Washingtonians should sleep better tonight knowing that their state will be a safer place thanks to expanded Brady background checks,” said Brady Campaign President Dan Gross.

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Thumbnail image for From Boston to San Diego, 12/13/14 Was A Day of Resistance

From Boston to San Diego, 12/13/14 Was A Day of Resistance

by Doug Porter 12.13.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Thousands of people took to the streets on Saturday in cities all over the US. The mass media is telling people these protests are in response to recent grand jury decisions regarding the deaths of black men at the hands of police officers. It’s bigger than that.

They really ought to be saying lots of people are sick and tired of being sick and tired of racism in the US of A. They’re sick and tired of hearing excuses. They’re sick and tired of being treated like second class citizens. And most of all they’re sick and tired of injustice at the hands of a legal system that claims to be color blind.

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Thumbnail image for Readers Write:  Conflict and Order, Society’s Pressure Cooker

Readers Write: Conflict and Order, Society’s Pressure Cooker

by At Large 12.12.2014 Activism

By Daniel J. Smiechowski

The recent social unrest in a place called America is as old as time itself. Racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri on the heels of the Michael Brown shooting by a white police officer spilled onto the streets of San Diego, the results of a tea pot left unattended.

Many Clairemont folks missed the point in railing against the protesters. A small group of UCSD Students who chose to block the north bound lanes of Interstate 5 were signaled out as being highly disruptive. Geeze, is that not the point? Are we not blinded in not seeing the forest for the trees?

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Thumbnail image for State Department Selected Chevron as Finalist for “Corporate Excellence” Award

State Department Selected Chevron as Finalist for “Corporate Excellence” Award

by Source 12.11.2014 Activism

By Dan Bacher

It’s hard to believe, but the Obama administration recently selected Chevron, the San Ramon-based corporate giant known for environmental destruction and the violation of human rights throughout the world, as a finalist for its “corporate excellence” award!

According to a State Department press release, “The U.S. Department of State Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs has announced the selection of nine finalists for the Secretary of State’s prestigious 2014 Award for Corporate Excellence (ACE).”

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Thumbnail image for SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

SDSU Students Fight Fraternity Rape Culture

by Doug Porter 12.10.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Students at San Diego State University participated in a march and sit-in on Tuesday, demanding the school take action in response to sexual assaults and harassment. The protest was triggered by reports of people associated with fraternity houses yelling  obscenities, waving dildos and throwing eggs at a Nov. 21st  anti-rape march called Take Back the Night.

Their demands included an open forum with  SDSU President Elliot Hirshman during the spring semester, along with the resignations of fraternity members of the Sigma Phi Epsilon and Delta Sigma Phi from various posts on the campus. The protesters cited the need for a planned Women’s Resource Center to serve as a rape crisis center and for CSU and UC colleges to release all statistical data on the investigation, adjudication and sanction of cases involving sexual assault, domestic violence and stalking.

As is the case with police-linked killings around the country, the protests are the local manifestation of a much larger problem, and today I’ll try to give this story some context.

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Thumbnail image for Who is Mike McCoy?

Who is Mike McCoy?

by At Large 12.10.2014 Activism

By bzzaragoza / South Bay Compass

Eye on the Locals: In the micro-world of our communities, many people dedicate their lives to bettering our neighborhoods and end up bettering the world. Mike McCoy of Imperial Beach is heralded as the individual who helped save the largest coastal wetland in Southern California. Here is his story:

Mike McCoy grew up in Boulder, Colorado and came to San Diego in 1970, the year he graduated veterinarian school and got an internship at the San Diego Zoo. While going to vet school, he worked for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and it qualified him to land that particular internship. It was the first long extended internship they offered at the zoo.

It was here that he met his wife, Patricia McCoy, an Englishwoman from London who fled to the countryside during the WWII bombings. She eventually became a city council member in Imperial Beach and they both were avid environmental activists.

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Thumbnail image for Torture Tuesday: A Study in Manufacturing Consent

Torture Tuesday: A Study in Manufacturing Consent

by Doug Porter 12.09.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

If you are unfortunate enough to be aware of the news today, you’ll be a witness to our country’s greatest exercise in what Walter Lippmann and subsequently Noam Chomsky called ‘manufactured consent.”

I’m referring to the release of the heavily redacted summary of the the Senate Intelligence Committee report on the use of torture. By the end of the day, via the conclusions of the chattering class, the American public will know three things:

  • US policy following the 2001 Al Qaeda attacks included broadly worded permissions to engage in torture.
  • There is controversy over whether torture was effective.
  • Oversight of the intelligence apparatus in the government is a danger to our national security.
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Thumbnail image for Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 2

Conversion to Renewable Energy is Going Too Slow to Avoid Catastrophe – Part 2

by John Lawrence 12.09.2014 Business

By Frank Thomas and John Lawrence / Part 1 can be found here

We are lucky to have advanced to a stage that scientists can determine the relationship between the rate of carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions into the atmosphere, the absolute value in tons of CO2 already in and projected to be in the atmosphere, the rate of increase of CO2 emissions and the relationship between amount of CO2 in the atmosphere and the Earth’s surface temperatures.

If we didn’t have this science, we might go right ahead destroying the earth’s environment to the point of extinction of human life without even understanding what was happening to us.

As it is, even though scientists have spelled it out for us, many people are not convinced the threat from global warming is even real or, if it is, that moderate methods that don’t disrupt current economic relationships will be sufficient to keep the problem at bay.

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Thumbnail image for Barbara Boxer Likely to Step Down from US Senate

Barbara Boxer Likely to Step Down from US Senate

by Doug Porter 12.08.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

Washington DC’s Politico.com has posted a story strongly suggesting California Senator Barbara Boxer is on her way out the door in 2016.

It’s been more than two decades since California’s sitting Senators were first elected and a recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll indicates voters are ready for a change. A majority of state voters (59%) told pollsters they believed it was time for new blood, even though both incumbents remain popular and would likely win re-election if they sought it..

The Politico story focuses on the back-room maneuvering underway among candidates who may seek Senator Boxer’s seat in 2016. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, billionaire hedge-fund manager and environmentalist Tom Steyer, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom are all mentioned as possible candidates.

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Thumbnail image for Dystopia Now: “Anticipatory Grief” or “Real Grounds for Hope”?

Dystopia Now: “Anticipatory Grief” or “Real Grounds for Hope”?

by Jim Miller 12.08.2014 Activism

By Jim Miller

Just when you think you are living in a dystopian science fiction novel, the world keeps upping the ante. It’s not just scenes of burning cars and storefronts in Ferguson on TV evoking the mood either. There are some even darker clouds on the horizon that many of us just don’t want to acknowledge, no less come to terms with in a thoroughgoing and serious fashion.

Last week, as the country went through yet another round of dismay, rage, and painful racial self-examination in the wake of a New York Grand Jury’s failure to bring any charges against a policeman for the death by chokehold of Eric Garner, a pair of other unsettling stories emerged on the margins of the American media.

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Thumbnail image for People Rise Up: The Streets Are Alive with the Sound of Movement

People Rise Up: The Streets Are Alive with the Sound of Movement

by Doug Porter 12.08.2014 Activism

By Randall Amster / Common Dreams

In an era rife with pop-culture trivialities juxtaposed with escalating calamities, we find ourselves at a remarkable moment that poses profound existential questions for the soul of the nation.

Systems that have claimed the mantle of “justice” (while practicing little of it) are being exposed to an unprecedented level of scrutiny, demonstrating in stark terms that tragic episodes from Ferguson to New York are not exceptional but instead constitute the baseline norm of official behavior.

The message is not that this system is broken, but rather that it is working exactly the way it was designed. The primary difference now is that people are paying attention.

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Thumbnail image for Neil Shigley’s Portraits: The Importance of Capturing the Light on the Face

Neil Shigley’s Portraits: The Importance of Capturing the Light on the Face

by At Large 12.06.2014 Activism

The character and nobility in the daily struggles of homeless San Diegans

By Taylor Scalise, Filmmaker and Neil Shigley, Artist 

Neil Shigley has been involved in printmaking for many years, first beginning while in art school at San Diego State University and Art Center College of Design in Pasadena.

He is also a painter, sculptor, illustrator and currently teaches art at San Diego State University.  But printmaking is a medium that continues to capture his imagination and passion.  His subjects are homeless people living on the streets near his studio in San Diego.

Their daily struggle to survive has given them the character and nobility that could not be earned in another way.

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Thumbnail image for A Day of Protests in San Diego and Around the Nation

A Day of Protests in San Diego and Around the Nation

by Doug Porter 12.05.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The big news in downtown San Diego yesterday, if you are a reader of the local daily newspaper, was the bomb squad being called in to investigate a discarded sex toy left on the ground near the federal courthouse.

In keeping with UT-San Diego’s historic lack of coverage, there was no mention of early morning protests temporarily causing a McDonald’s franchise in City Heights to lock their doors. Or the members of the City Council who came out at 6am to stand with the demonstrators. Or the 150 or so protesters who marched all over downtown for a three hour period mid-day, targeting not only fast food stores but federal immigration enforcement, and echoing nationwide dismay over recent killings at the hands of law enforcement officers.

Local TV stations sent cameramen to get a bit of footage of the downtown demonstrations. KUSI, KFMB, Fox5, and 10news all used a local wire service for their actual reporting on the demonstration.

Now I know these demonstrations weren’t “page one or lead story” news by contemporary journalism standards. Something is happening here in San Diego and around the country. There is a larger story about inequality and injustice. And it’s not going away.

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Thumbnail image for Amid Receipt of ‘Alternative Nobel,’ McKibben Donates Prize Money to 350.org, Steps Down as Chair

Amid Receipt of ‘Alternative Nobel,’ McKibben Donates Prize Money to 350.org, Steps Down as Chair

by Source 12.05.2014 Activism

“Don’t worry,” author and activist assured members. “I’ll still be there when the time comes to go to jail, or to march in the streets, or to celebrate the next big win on divestment.”

By Jon Queally / Common Dreams

In a letter on Tuesday morning sent from Stockholm, Sweden—where on Monday night he accepted a Right Livelihood Award on behalf of himself and the climate action group 350.org—the journalist turned activist Bill McKibben announced that in addition to donating the prize money to the group he co-founded with former students, he will also be stepping down as chair of the organization’s board of directors.

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Thumbnail image for I’m in San Diego and I Can’t Breathe

I’m in San Diego and I Can’t Breathe

by Doug Porter 12.04.2014 Activism

By Doug Porter

The national chattering class finally found a dead black man they can get behind yesterday as a grand jury in Staten Island refused to indict the policeman who was videotaped choking Eric Garner.

Since videos exist showing both the arrest and the subsequent four minute delay before officers attempted CPR, it’s not possible to easily weasel out of the conclusion this was -at a minimum- a case of criminally negligent homicide, as concluded by Fox legal expert  Judge Andrew Napolitano.

The “best” lame excuses coming out of the flat-earther set were that Garner died because he was obese or that the “nanny state” laws taxing tobacco were to blame. Nobody’s called him a “thug”–yet.

Largely peaceful demonstrations (there were arrests for acts of civil disobedience) happened around the country, and are expected to continue into the weekend. Today I’ll share some of the reactions appearing in the news and social media.

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Thumbnail image for Two Guatemalan Teens Explain Why They Traveled 2500 Miles, Without Their Parents, To America

Two Guatemalan Teens Explain Why They Traveled 2500 Miles, Without Their Parents, To America

by Source 12.04.2014 Immigration

By Esther Yu-His Lee / ThinkProgress

In August SDFP Editorial Board member and Desde la Logan columnist Brent E. Beltrán interviewed Logan Heights restaurateur Mark Lane about death threats he faced for taking in a refugee family from Guatamala. This ThinkProgress article gives an update on the status of that family.

These two Guatemalan brothers can play soccer now. There aren’t gang members waiting to grab them out on the playing field. They are less likely to witness shootings now. They likely won’t get beat up on their way to school. And the death threats — the reason they ran in the first place — are 2,500 miles away. But the stability they sought, the security two host families have provided, may not last.

The 15 and 16-year-old brothers, M.C. and D.C., were among the wave of 68,445 Latin American children and parents, who arrived at America’s southern border this year. Like many others, they said that they fled Guatemala to escape gang violence. It took them a month to make the journey on foot, by train, then bus, before they surrendered at the Tijuana port of entry, a vibrant border city that abuts the border wall along San Diego County. After 20 days in an immigration detention center, the pair were released with three other family members to a host family. Although ThinkProgress is unable to verify the details of their journey, M.C. and D.C. were thrust into the national spotlight when one of two host families that took them in began receiving death threats by anti-immigrant extremists for their hospitality. Now, nearly five months on, the media attention and threats have ebbed away. While the host family has returned to a life resembling cautious normalcy in this coastal San Diego suburb, the Guatemalan teens have only just begun to navigate the complications of being undocumented with the uncertainty of an impending immigration court decision.

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