HELP STOP THE SALE!
Sat. Nov. 1, 2014 2000 Allston Way on the steps of the
Berkeley Post Office
It’s now in contract TO BE STOLEN!
The fate of the downtown Berkeley Post Office has reached a crisis point. The transfer of the building to private ownership may be only days away. For this reason, Berkeley Post Office Defenders call for a collaborative mobilization of all those who oppose the threat of privatization. Individuals and organizations will gather to share music, establish an ongoing direct action presence, and provide updates and support for political and legal action including:
– An injunction to Stop the Sale
– Postal banking
– Preservation of historic public property
– Boycott Staples profitization of postal services
- Massive Rally, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm,
1ST Action: Sponsored by Save the Berkeley Post Office
For more information please go to www.savethebpo.com
- Jam the Sale, 1 pm till 10 pm
2nd Action: Coordinated by Berkeley Post Office Defenders, berkeleypostofficedefenders.wordpress.com
“Come play music! Bring instruments — including your singing voice, spoken word and dancing body. We will not allow our Post Office to be sold, and nothing can sustain persistent resistance like music. We will play until USPS stops pretending not to hear us say that our Post Office is not for sale!” You’re welcome to pre- schedule at http://tinyurl.com/mlxgpff
- Direct Action Presence, (bring your pillows)
3rd Action: in Collaboration with First They Came for the Homeless
It’s time to establish and support a physical presence at the Downtown Berkeley Post Office. By taking direct action to defend our public goods, we affirm our reasons for living in community by sharing our energy and resources for the benefit of all. ___________________________________________________
Please help us mobilize for a massive live and media protest.
Contact us email@example.com
Today, there is unprecedented momentum in the effort to stop fossil fuels and win climate justice.
However, with most of our attention focused on fighting short-term battles, we often forget to ask the question:What would the world look like if we won?
Change the Course, a new program from Rainforest Action Network, is an invitation to dig deep and think hard about what it would actually take to stabilize the climate and create a just transition to a post-carbon future.
We are launching a series of climate-focused workshops and visioning sessions — in cities across the country as well as through a new online platform. Through this program, we will crowd-source a detailed vision of what a sustainable and just future would look like — and develop the strategies and tactics that will get us there.
Our opponents in the fossil fuel industry have their own vision for the future, one defined by rising oceans and ever-increasing carbon emissions — a future where extreme energy practices fly in the face of science and common-sense, and where the worst impacts of climate change are shouldered by the communities least able to bear them.
It’s not too late to define the future we want to live in.
Together, let’s change the course.
Please join us at the upcoming Climate Leadership Summit to kick this project off. This 2 day event will bring communities together from across the region for an innovative visioning, strategic development and skills summit. We will strengthen and grow local groups and prepare our movement to take action together, with our end goals in mind.
This summit will take place on Saturday and Sunday from 1pm-6pm each day. RSVP now!
Nothing’s better for sustaining persistent resistance like persistent music
Why: To create a physical boundary of bodies and voices blocking the transfer of ownership of our public post office
The fate of the Downtown Berkeley Post Office has reached a crisis point.� The transfer of that building to private ownership may be only days away. For this reason, the Berkeley Post Office Defenders call for mobilization of all those who appreciate the danger of privatization. It is time to establish and support a physical presence at the Downtown Berkeley Post Office so that, with arms locked, we can block any poacher of our public property from taking possession. By taking direct action to defend our public goods, we will affirm our reasons for living in community by sharing our energy and resources for the benefit of all.
The Board of Governors of the USPS has done a skillful job of narrowing the focus of the objections to the sale of the Downtown Berkeley Post Office to the issue of two New Deal works of art contained therein. At this time, the position of the USPS is that they’ve done everything they can to satisfy the concerns of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (an agency formed by the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966) and concerns of the City of Berkeley for the preservation of these artworks, even to the point of promising that the USPS will provide that protection themselves in perpetuity after the building is sold.
The Berkeley Post Office Defenders re-emphasize two objections that have been largely ignored in the struggle to save our post office:
- The sale that the USPS intends to process is one manifestation of the neo-liberal strategy of privatization, deregulation, union-busting, and the cutting of government services, pursued via the World Bank and the WTO, which in the last half-century have proved to to be so detrimental to the welfare of people living in Chile, Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa, the nations of the former Soviet Union, Iraq, and many others. Locally, the privately-owned Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) is trying to bankrupt the publicly controlled City College of San Francisco. The capital property of the USPS is a possession of the people of the United States as a public holding, meaning it is a component of national wealth and infrastructure, and the defense of that wealth is necessary for maintaining the viability of the national enterprise. The Berkeley Post Office Defenders oppose the privatization of publicly owned property everywhere it is threatened, and we have mobilized our opposition locally to shield the erosion of the material foundation of community, of which the Downtown Berkeley Post Office is an element.
- With regard to the public ownership of the New Deal artworks, the promise of the USPS to preserve them given its strategy of privatizatioon is a deception. By selling more than 300 of its properties since 2006, the Board of Governors of the USPS has undermined the capital foundation of the enterprise it is publicly charged with protecting. This insidious strategy follows the steps to complete privatization of postal services pursued by other countries the United Kingdom, New Zealand, Sweden, Germany and The Netherlands. Given that the Board of Governors is selling the USPS out of business, it is their intention that, very soon, they will no longer be in a position to preserve the public ownership of anything.
The Downtown Berkeley Post Office is not only a monument to public organization, it is an organ of our common body; without it we grow weaker. The agents of privatization are chiseling away at the investment our ancestors made to the survival of democracy. Our post office was built by the sweat equity of our great-grandparents, and financed by their tax dollars. As such, the Postal Service has NO RIGHT to sell it. Berkeley Post Office Defenders DEMAND that this sale be halted and that the building continue to serve our – and our great-grandchildren’s – common good.
For more on the current status of the Downtown Berkeley Post Office: https://occupyoakland.org/2014/10/berkeley-post-office-contract-sold/
Berkeley Post Office Defenders: http://berkeleypostofficedefenders.wordpress.com/
First They Came for the Homeless: https://www.facebook.com/pages/First-they-came-for-the-homeless/253882908111999?ref=br_tf
BPOD is affiliated with Strike Debt Bay Area: http://strike-debt-bay-area.tumblr.com/
For more on the Staples boycott:
The Seeds of Protest Bloom. Staples Boycott Goes National.
For background on the fight to Save Berkeley’s Post Office:
For more on the privatization of the USPS:
Saving the United States Postal Service as a Public Enterprise: http://tinyurl.com/ltqq7ng
In respond to the Global Day of Action in solidarity with Kobanê
The four proposals below will be on the agenda of the Occupy Oakland General Assembly for Sunday, November 2 – the third anniversary of the General Strike, one of the largest protests in Oakland’s history. The GA will be held at Oscar Grant Plaza at 4:00PM. If a quorum of 70 people is reached, then these proposals will be voted on and could become OO resolutions. No matter what your feelings are about these proposed endorsements, your judgment will have an effect on whatever consensus is resolved.
Along with two queued proposals, Occupy Oakland organizers have recently received a proposal that OO endorse Dan Siegel for Mayor (see below), which raises the question, should OO get involved in electoral politics by encouraging its members to vote for any creature – even if it’s our lovably outspoken canine comrade Einstein, who is also running in the Mayor’s race?
In response to the proposed endorsement of Dan Siegel, a member of the Committee to Elect Einstein has submitted a counter-proposal (also below) that Occupy Oakland could consider a write-in vote for Einstein as a vote against executive political power and for direct democracy. As Einstein’s platform states:
“Without a fallible human in the Mayor’s Office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future. No longer will we ask what the City Government can do for us. Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the City ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council. No longer will we have a single individual to blame for our problems. After all, how can a very good dog like Einstein cause social problems?”
Dan Siegel has provided a great deal of support for Occupy Oakland comrades and has fought long-and-hard for social justice, but this proposal of OO’s endorsement of his campaign for Mayor (not submitted by his campaign) calls for a discussion of the role Occupy Oakland can play in our City’s politics, or whether it should.
Note: The two endorsement proposals are not necessarily mutually exclusive. With Oakland’s Ranked Choice Voting System it is possible to write in Einstein AND vote for Dan Siegel (or someone else, or no one). Your Mayoral ballot will not be voided with a vote for Einstein; your other choices will count.
Whereas, Dan Siegel has worked as a civil rights attorney in Oakland for over thirty years. In addition to fighting for justice for Oscar Grant and Nubia Bowe, he has been a friend and advocate of Occupy Oakland and its offshoot organizations for three years. To all the efforts listed below (a far-from-complete list for more information on his electoral positions, please visit http://siegelforoakland.org/materials.php), Dan has provided his knowledge, experience, and his access to the media as an advocate for radical progressivism in Oakland.
- He showed his loyalty to Occupy activists on Nov. 14, 2011 when he resigned as adviser to Mayor Jean Quan in protest against her brutal and authoritarian destruction of the Occupy Oakland encampment, calling her a government facilitator of the strategies of the 1%.
- He acted as defense attorney for Khali (2011-12), fighting against the cruel treatment of Khali while in custody, against the Alameda County Sherriff’s Department’s misrepresentation of the facts of Khali’s arrest and incarceration, and against the denial of Khali’s fair and proper access to attorney’s counsel.
- He participated in the defense of Occupy Oakland activists known as the Ice Cream Three in the spring of 2012 against unfounded charges of robbery and hate crimes.
- He provided legal counsel to the family of Alan Blueford as they sought justice for the murder of their son by Oakland Police Officer Miguel Masso.
- In May-June 2013, he defended the members of Occupy the Farm who were arrested for growing food on vacant land in Albany.
- He has provided legal counsel to the Oakland Privacy Working Group in their opposition to the expansion and collation of surveillance data.
- He has frequently spoken out in opposition to the reckless militarization of local law enforcement and to the Urban Shield weapons and tactics trade show.
There is no other official candidate in this year’s Oakland Mayors race who represents the values of the Occupy Movement so well as Dan Siegel. There is no other official candidate so strongly committed to holding police officers and Oakland City Government accountable to the people of our city. For this reason, Occupy Oakland feels that Dan Siegel is the voters’ best choice for Oakland Mayor.
Therefore, Occupy Oakland endorses Dan Siegel for Mayor.
A dog for Mayor of Oakland?! Sound crazy? But the question, as we see it, is not, “Can a dog run the City?” The question we should all ask is, “Can any individual be accountable for running the City?”
Of course, the Mayor doesn’t run the City single-handedly. Nevertheless, who do we hold responsible when residents suffer from mismanagement of the City’s tremendous wealth of resources? Is it not the highest elected official in City Government? This system allows residents to blame the Mayor for not solving the social problems facing Oakland.
Whereas, Without a fallible human in the Mayor’s Office, we must all play our parts in determining the route Oakland will take into the future. Please read Einstein’s Platform and Blog and see if you agree that if Einstein is elected, the interaction of residents with City officials and with each other will change, radically. No longer will we ask what the City Government can do for us. Instead, we will see the way clear to changing the City ourselves, to expanding the power of residents of modest income, to shrinking the power of the rich by establishing a larger and more representative City Council. No longer will we have a single individual to blame for our problems. After all, how can a dog who prioritizes caring connection over status and profit cause social problems?
A selection of planks in Einstein’s platform:
- Greatly expanded democratic representation for the residents of Oakland
- An end to Orwellian surveillance and a restoration of privacy
- The rights of Oakland’s residents supersede the rights of police officers.
- Penalties for crimes must be apportioned according to wealth.
- Einstein will facilitate the creation of the Public Bank of Oakland and the Oakland Debtors’ Assembly.
- A maximum-wage requirement to eliminate the inflationary pressures that render minimum-wage requirements ineffective at increasing the purchasing power of Oakland’s hardest-working and most unappreciated residents
- Single payer health care.
Whereas Einstein intends be a voice in this campaign for what is right and what is needed by many Oakland residents, without concern for what is legal or politically feasible. Democracy means We govern together; financial independence for all benefits all; and the protection of civil rights by governing officials is necessary for full democratic participation in our society.
Therefore, Occupy Oakland asks everyone to write-in “Einstein” as one of their ranked-choice votes for Mayor of Oakland.
Whereas the General Assembly of Occupy Oakland has continued to meet every week,
Whereas the last resolution regarding quorum set quorum at 70 attendees,
Whereas the General Assembly is generally attended by less than 20 people,
Whereas the current quorum makes it impossible for Occupy Oakland to pass official resolutions endorsing new committees or actions,
Therefore it is resolved to set quorum at 25 attendees until such time as typical attendance increases and this number can be re-evaluated.
The goal of the committee is to educate and mobilize around the issue of debt. The committee will work with Strike Debt Bay Area and the national Strike Debt movement to develop and share information about the role of debt in 21st century capitalism. We will help organize collective resistance to debt, which may include forming debtors’ unions, supporting free check cashing services, negotiating debt reductions with institutions, promoting alternative economies, etc. There are many possible ways to protest the current debt system and create alternatives.
The goals of the Occupy Oakland Strike Debt committee include increasing participation by OO activists in Strike Debt activities and bringing the resources of OO to support these activities. We have organized the first Bay Area Debtors’ Assembly, which was held in East Oakland on February 2, and the second, on May 18 in San Francisco.
Membership in the committee is open to anyone interested in participating. We meet monthly at a time and location posted on the OO website calendar. We will create a committee page on the OO website with an email address through OO. And we will announce our activities at the General Assembly. We can also be reached through the contacts for Strike Debt Bay Area: website http://strike-debt-bay-area.tumblr.com/
and email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Therefore Occupy Oakland participants in Strike Debt Bay Area are requesting official recognition of the Occupy Oakland Strike Debt committee.
The Occupy Oakland General Assembly meeting time has been temporarily changed to 4:00 PM for the summer, anyway.
The Occupy Oakland General Assembly generally meets Sundays, 2-4 PM at Oscar Grant Plaza amphitheater at 14th Street & Broadway, often on the steps of City Hall. “If it is raining (as in RAINING, not just misting) at 2:00 PM we meet inside at the new Sudoroom, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland Directions
We have met on a continuous basis for more then two and a half years! Our General Assembly is a participatory gathering of Oakland community members and beyond, where everyone who shows up is treated equally . Our Assembly and the process we have collectively cultivated strives to reach agreement while building community.
The bulk of the work of Occupy Oakland does NOT happen in the General Assembly. It happens in various committees, caucuses, and loosely associated groups whose representatives voluntarily come to the GA and report on past and future actions. We encourage everyone participating in the Occupy Oakland GA to be part of at least one associated group, but it is by no means a requirement. If you like, just come and hear all the organizing being done! Occupy Oakland encourages political activity that is decentralized and welcomes diverse voices and actions into the movement.
General Assembly Standard Agenda
- Welcome & Introductions
- Reports from Committees, Caucuses, & Independent Organizations
- Discussion Topic
Occupy Oakland activities and contact info for some Bay Area Groups with past or present Occupy Oakland members.
Occupy Oakland Web Committee: (email@example.com)
Occupy Oakland Kitchen Committee: (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Strike Debt Bay Area : strikedebtbayarea.tumblr.com
Berkeley Post Office Defenders: http://berkeleypostofficedefenders.wordpress.com/
Justice 4 Alan Blueford: justice4alanblueford.org
Oakland Privacy Group: oaklandprivacy.wordpress.com
Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity: prisonerhungerstrikesolidarity.wordpress.com/
Bay Area AntiRepression: email@example.com
Biblioteca Popular: http://tinyurl.com/mdlzshy
Interfaith Tent: www.facebook.com/InterfaithTent
Port Truckers Solidarity: oaklandporttruckers.wordpress.com
Bay Area Intifada: bayareaintifada.wordpress.com
Transport Workers Solidarity: www.transportworkers.org
Albany Bulb Defense: sharethebulb.org
Fresh Juice Party (aka Chalkupy) freshjuiceparty.com/chalkupy-gallery
Sudo Room: sudoroom.org
Occupy the electoral process!!
YES on G
After our last OccupyForum, Addressing the Housing Crisis Head-On, we’ve decided to do just that:
OccupyForum will be joining the YES on G peeps at their headquarters the night before the election to do whatever it takes
to pass this local ballot measure and keep our brothers and sisters from being kicked out of their homes.
Prop G stops evictions by penalizing speculation and quick “flipping” of rental property.
(Only multi-unit properties that are bought and resold within five years will face surtaxes under the law.
Single family homes, condos, and owner-occupied housing will never be taxed under Prop G.)
Let’s throw our might against the rampaging capitalist speculators determined to turn all but the wealthiest out of our fair city.
(Over 10,000 SF tenants have been displaced by the Ellis Act since 1997.) Let’s fight the national, state and local realtors associations
(which have put well over $1.5 million into stopping it), and resist one of the Bay Area’s most detested corporations, PG & E,
(which just threw $180,000 into the fight to defeat G!)
Solidarity with our brothers and sisters to keep our homes!
YES on G is asking us to drop off polling location information for the western end of SF (transportation provided) and make phone calls.
The larger effort will start around 5 pm but volunteers can stop by any time after 10 am. Food will be provided.
Yes on G also needs volunteers on Saturday, Sunday and especially Tuesday, election day. Please contact Yes on G at:
Prop G will penalize flipping properties and evicting all the tenants; or in plain English (or Spanish),
“S T O P T H E E V I C T I O N S ! ” “ ! A L T O � A L O S D E S A L O J O S ! ”
THE POSTAL SERVICE HAS THE BERKELEY POST OFFICE “UNDER CONTRACT.” !!!!!!!!!!!
Come help us plan our next steps in opposition to their proposed theft of our public commons.
Strike Debt In Action with Student Debtors
We invite you to join us at the Department of Education Public Hearing to support current and former Corinthian (Everest, Heald, and Wyotech) students who will be speak directly to DOE officials to tell their stories and demand debt cancellation.
Join online at: Corinthian.debt.is The Debt Collective tech team created this page so that those of us who can’t be in Anaheim in person can be there virtually. This website will go live an hour before the hearing with a livestream, chat, social media links, DoE twitter bomb and other virtual actions. Everyone who wants to support Corinthian students as they demand debt cancellation, meet here on Nov 4th: http://corinthian.debt.is
What’s the Background?
On September 17th, Strike Debt launched The Debt Collective, where we are developing a new platform for organization, advocacy, and resistance. We aim to build power to bargain with creditors or even to threaten a debt strike. As we build membership, debtors can join together based on region, type of debt, or lender.
Alone our debts are a burden; together they make us powerful.
People already get it. Denny in South Dakota emailed us to ask, “Is it possible there are others who have some of my issues in common? Is there an opportunity to collectivize this issue?”
Phil in California asked a similar question, “Do you have a collective group of Bank of America Mortgage debtors?” Denny and Phil’s questions show that people already understand what the debt collective can do.
People are ready to organize and begin demanding fair terms: fair interest rates, fair principal amounts, even the abolition of unjust debts.
Why Start With a For-Profit College?
The Debt Collective’s pilot project is with current and former students from for-profit Everest college. Everest, like other for-profit schools, targets students from low-income households, disproportionately from minority backgrounds. As Everest’s parent company, Corinthian, falls apart and its predatory activities are revealed, students are still expected to pay back their loans.
If Everest students join together, we believe they can win a full debt discharge. Their victory will help us demonstrate debtors’ collective power and other groups can be formed to follow their example.
What Will Happen at the Hearing?
On November 4th, we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the power of debtors acting collectively at the Department of Education public hearing.
If you live in the Los Angeles area, we invite you to join us at the event.
If you don’t live in southern California but still want to support students, go here, starting at 12p PST, to help share students’ messages, see video clips, and watch the livestream of the hearing.
Rally to support #RasmeaOdeh! Human rights activist faces 10-year sentence and deportation.
Bay Area Book Launch and Conversation
Join us November 4th, for conversation, snacks, beverages, contemplation and celebration, for the Bay Area launch of “Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better“!
Author Maya Schenwar will read from her book and discuss the impact of prison on families and communities — and how people around the country are taking action to create a world without prison.
CURB will also have two special speakers there!
- Alex Berliner, new Organizer with All of Us or None a Project of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children, will talk about her experience with having a loved one inside.
- Emily Harris, Statewide Coordinator of Californians United for a Responsible Budget (CURB), will speak about the movement to reduce prison populations and close prisons throughout the state of California.
Join CURB members, allies, friends for conversation, snacks, beverages, contemplation and celebration!
See Michelle Alexendar and Angela Davis’ reviews of the book on our event RSVP.
Oakland author Michael Goldstein will be reading from his Return of the Light at the Montclair
Branch of the Oakland Public Library Tuesday night, November 4. The book, subtitled “A
Political Fable in Which the American People Retake Their Country,” has been endorsed by
political commentators Michael Parenti and Don Hazen, Executive Editor of Alternet, spiritual
teachers Michael Lerner and Wes (“Scoop”) Nisker, and Wavy Gravy, among others.
Goldstein finds the library’s scheduling him for election night to be fortuitous. “The book is
really for those with doubts that the two-party system can give us the ‘change we can believe in’
that we are perennially promised.”
Return of the Light is set on the night of the Winter Solstice in 2120. At one of thousands of
community gatherings across the United States, a storyteller does the annual retelling of how,
back in 2023, a decade-long movement culminated in the people taking over their own
government, making it a means for mobilizing their collective power to promote peace, social
justice, environmental sustainability, and a society hospitable to the needs of the human spirit.
Goldstein says it is intended to be a vision of the road forward for today’s concerned citizens.
According to Parenti, it is “clearly written, hopeful and useful for those interested in building a
real democracy,” and Hazen describes it as “a very encouraging read, in a time of little
For more information or a review copy, contact:
Leslie Keenan 415 897-0413
Michael Goldstein blogs on the Huffington Post and OpenSalon.com, focusing on the need to move beyond the teeter-totter of the two-party system and the means to do so. Goldstein works as a mediator and death-penalty appeals lawyer in Northern California.
Our Comrade Ali was arrested at a Ferguson/ Mike Brown Solidarity Action in Vallejo. Please come out and support him at his court date .
March to Chelsea Manning Plaza.
This 5th of November, we call on those of you that see the wrongs of society, those that can see we are on a collision course with oblivion. This 5th of November, we ask those of you that can see the fabric of our civilization unraveling before our very eyes to take a stand against the corruption, lies, deceit and greed threatening our very existence. This 5th of November, we ask that you look through the veil of obscurity the shady and corrupt individuals in leadership are desperately trying to perpetuate in order to continue with their obscenities. This 5th of November, we ask that you dawn your mask, take a stand and refuse to live a lie any longer. Let us stand united against the wrongs of this world on Anonymous’ Million Mask March and let us give them a 5th of November they will never, ever forget!
— Starting Position: Civic Center Plaza (near the center of the plaza) —
10:00AM-10:30AM: Gathering the Armada – This is the time we have for the majority of the attendees to arrive and get together; mingle, discuss the upcoming march, advertise to passers-by about our cause and get ready to march. We are not going to be doing too much in the way of preparation here, mostly just waiting for people to arrive.
10:30AM-11:00AM: Time for a little Chat – At this time, we will be mostly assembled and will listen intently as Alfred gives us the “pre-flight safety guidelines” for our march and following rally. Please pay attention as we do want you guys to be safe through-out the duration of the event. In addition to the safety briefing, we will also be reciting the cadences that will be used during the march.
11:00AM-~12:00PM: We will begin our progression to the set destination: Justin Herman Plaza. Our route will be as follows:
Civic Center Plaza –> Larkin St.
Larkin Street –> Golden Gate Avenue
Golden Gate Avenue –> Market Street
Market Street –> Justin Herman Plaza
—- End Position: Justin Herman Plaza —-
12:00PM-~3:00PM: May the Speakers Stand Up – We will have our confirmed speakers give their stance on the issues facing our country and world. This will also be a time for those in the audience to give their points of view as well. Please keep in mind though, that we will be on a time limit permit-wise, so if you do have something you would like to say, be sure to have a general idea what you are saying before you step up.
3:00PM-???: Time for dispersal of our fine march. Great work to all and pats on the back all around!
Agenda includes preparations for the Board of Governors meeting on November 17th
The Oakland City Council recently passed amendments to the Nuisance Eviction Ordinance (NEO) mandating landlords to evict sex workers.
Join Red Light Legal at the Oakland City Council meeting this Wednesday November 5th to voice your opposition to NEO and participate in a breakout strategy discussion as we build a coalition to see the NEO repealed.
To be clear, the NEO isn’t on the agenda and has already passed. If we want to see this ordinance reversed we’re going to have to force the issue. By showing up at the meeting we’re hoping to call the council’s attention to our opposition during public comment. We’re also trying to meet those who oppose the NEO in person. We can have a conversation in Oscar Grant Plaza, get to know one another and begin to form a plan to see this law torn down.
Bring a coat in case it’s cold outside!
Devoted to understanding debt, how it interacts with our financial system, and theorizing about what to do about it.
Readings for the 29th:
Below is the Wolf article the first link refers to. All 3 of these together really isn’t very long. Also, we can review the last reading (found here), which still has a lot to it that is not quite clear.
Strip private banks of their power to create money
By Martin Wolf
The giant hole at the heart of our market economies needs to be plugged
Printing counterfeit banknotes is illegal, but creating private money is not. The interdependence between the state and the businesses that can do this is the source of much of the instability of our economies. It could and should be terminated.
I explained how this works two weeks ago. Banks create deposits as a byproduct of their lending. In the UK, such deposits make up about 97 per cent of the money supply. Some people object that deposits are not money but only transferable private debts. Yet the public views the banks’ imitation money as electronic cash: a safe source of purchasing power.
Banking is therefore not a normal market activity, because it provides two linked public goods: money and the payments network. On one side of banks’ balance sheets lie risky assets; on the other lie liabilities the public thinks safe. This is why central banks act as lenders of last resort and governments provide deposit insurance and equity injections. It is also why banking is heavily regulated. Yet credit cycles are still hugely destabilising.
What is to be done? A minimum response would leave this industry largely as it is but both tighten regulation and insist that a bigger proportion of the balance sheet be financed with equity or credibly loss-absorbing debt. I discussed this approach last week. Higher capital is the recommendation made by Anat Admati of Stanford and Martin Hellwig of the Max Planck Institute in The Bankers’ New Clothes.
A maximum response would be to give the state a monopoly on money creation. One of the most important such proposals was in the Chicago Plan, advanced in the 1930s by, among others, a great economist, Irving Fisher. Its core was the requirement for 100 per cent reserves against deposits. Fisher argued that this would greatly reduce business cycles, end bank runs and drastically reduce public debt. A 2012 study by International Monetary Fund staff suggests this plan could work well.
First, the state, not banks, would create all transactions money, just as it creates cash today. Customers would own the money in transaction accounts, and would pay the banks a fee for managing them.
Second, banks could offer investment accounts, which would provide loans. But they could only loan money actually invested by customers. They would be stopped from creating such accounts out of thin air and so would become the intermediaries that many wrongly believe they now are. Holdings in such accounts could not be reassigned as a means of payment. Holders of investment accounts would be vulnerable to losses. Regulators might impose equity requirements and other prudential rules against such accounts.
Third, the central bank would create new money as needed to promote non-inflationary growth. Decisions on money creation would, as now, be taken by a committee independent of government.
Finally, the new money would be injected into the economy in four possible ways: to finance government spending, in place of taxes or borrowing; to make direct payments to citizens; to redeem outstanding debts, public or private; or to make new loans through banks or other intermediaries. All such mechanisms could (and should) be made as transparent as one might wish.
The transition to a system in which money creation is separated from financial intermediation would be feasible, albeit complex. But it would bring huge advantages. It would be possible to increase the money supply without encouraging people to borrow to the hilt. It would end “too big to fail” in banking. It would also transfer seignorage – the benefits from creating money – to the public. In 2013, for example, sterling M1 (transaactions money) was 80 per cent of gross domestic product. If the central bank decided this could grow at 5 per cent a year, the government could run a fiscal deficit of 4 per cent of GDP without borrowing or taxing. The right might decide to cut taxes, the left to raise spending. The choice would be political, as it should be.
Opponents will argue that the economy would die for lack of credit. I was once sympathetic to that argument. But only about 10 per cent of UK bank lending has financed business investment in sectors other than commercial property. We could find other ways of funding this.
Our financial system is so unstable because the state first allowed it to create almost all the money in the economy and was then forced to insure it when performing that function. This is a giant hole at the heart of our market economies. It could be closed by separating the provision of money, rightly a function of the state, from the provision of finance, a function of the private sector.
This will not happen now. But remember the possibility. When the next crisis comes – and it surely will – we need to be be ready.
Wifi Mesh General Meeting
We’re building a community wireless mesh network!
A wireless mesh network is a network where each computer acts as a relay to other computers, such that a network can stretch to cover entire cities. Our goal is to create such a free mesh network that is entirely controlled and operated by the community!
Want to help create an alternate means of digital communication that isn’t governed by for-profit internet service providers? Join us for the mesh hacknight!
We have crowdfunded the purchase of our first 100+ routers and are preparing to deploy the first nodes in Oakland. We need people with both technical and non-technical backgrounds to help with everything from local community involvement and crowdfunding to mounting wifi routers on buildings and developing software!
Last Thursdays are General Meetings for planning, strategy, and orientation for new folks.
For more info go to https://
Bring your cell phone, flashlight, or candle!
Don’t miss your opportunity to see Pay 2 Play: Democracy’s High Stakes, a documentary that chronicles the corrupting influence of money in politics and what we can do to fix the system, on November 6 in Berkeley.
One solution discussed in the film is giving “we the people” the tools to combat this big money takeover of our democracy and California Common Cause is already committed to this effort in our campaign to pass H.R. 20, the Government By The People Act.
Sign up to see Pay 2 Play for FREE and to learn more about H.R. 20!
Pay 2 Play is a documentary full-feature film that unmasks the enigma that is money’s role in today’s politics and explores the need to level the playing field for individuals running for U.S. office to ensure that the BEST candidate wins; NOT necessarily the richest. The documentary features our National Board President Robert Reich, and CA Common Cause Executive Director Kathay Feng! View the trailer here.