Keep San Francisco FAIR!

Ed Lee is corrupt and San Francisco is being destroyed by the lack of affordable housing and the evisceration of rental stock by Airbnb.

Keep San Francisco FAIR! Vote yes on Prop F, yes on Prop A, yes on Prop I, and Replace Ed Lee!

Vote 1-2-3 to Replace Ed Lee! Use ranked choice voting to vote for the following candidates for Mayor, in any order:

  • Amy Farah Weiss
  • Francisco Herrera
  • “Broke-ass” Stuart Schuffman

Check out the campaign websites for:

Feel free to use the artwork, modify as you wish. Contact martin.mackerel@gmail.com for source documents.

I’ve also made a PDF on white background suitable for printing.

How do we get from here to liberation?

Some thoughts on property destruction, violence against the police, and the Black Friday Ferguson solidarity protest (#BlackoutBlackFriday) in San Francisco.

After the non-indictment of Darren Wilson on Monday, November 24th, 2014, very militant protests erupted all over the country, with more the next night and in the days following. The protests explicitly aim to “shut it down”, to interfere with business as usual. Protestors blocked many freeways, closed many a mall, halted BART service across the Bay for two and a half hours on Friday, and some protestors damaged and/or looted property in Ferguson, Oakland, and San Francisco. And in San Francisco there was definitely violence against individual police officers.

The cries of outrage against the response are weaker than usual. We seem to be at a very interesting moment in history in which more people seem sympathetic to property destruction and rioting as a response to the consistent, long-standing dehumanization of African-Americans and their mistreatment at the hands of police. The excellent piece Hey, Step Back with the Riot Shaming has been shared on Facebook tens of thousands of times, and even Time magazine – Time! – has an article entitled Ferguson: In Defense of Rioting.

Late Thursday night I re-watched Do the Right Thing (which I last saw as a teenager around the time it came out). I’m glad I did, as it helped me manage my anger and leaven it with an understanding of the tragic results of acting too directly on that anger. The title of the movie comes from this short clip, that at first reflection seems otherwise unrelated to the rest of the movie:

It’s a good motto to live by, and one that arguably Mookie fails to heed when he calmly and deliberately fetches a garbage can to throw through the window of the pizzeria, sparking a riot that ends in the building burning down.

Continue reading “How do we get from here to liberation?”

Some Modest Suggestions for #Googlebus Activism

Second Update:
I recently attended a meeting of “Tech Workers Against Displacement”. After that meeting, I realize that the Google bus protests are, at this point, probably pissing off potential allies (tech workers) more than achieving any real goals. So, while I still think Google et al. have a lot to answer for, I’d no longer recommend most of the below (the ILLEGAL one’s still not a bad idea, though, nor blocking fare enforcement of natural persons).

In general, we need more strategic thinking in addition to creative actions. I look forward to seeing how this movement develops.


Well, the Supes have done it. Missed a chance to treat the large corporations like the rest of us, and require an EIR for the tech commuter bus “pilot” program (what pilot lasts 18 months?).

So, like or not, the “pirate” buses will be reinvested with symbolic significance. Here are some ideas for activism focused on them:

  • Enter the bus, and insist on gathering money from the riders. At some fair amount, like $50, you leave, and take the money to the MTA (they have a building at Market and Van Ness, or you can feed it all into a Muni fare collector). Note: this is best done in costume, as a Muni fare enforcer. Please refrain from shooting anyone on the bus if they evade the fare.
  • When a bus stops at a red zone, sit in front of it and call SFPD’s non-emergency number: 415.553.0123. When the cops arrive, ask them to ticket the bus. If they demur (perhaps not knowing that the buses’ actions are still illegal under city law until the pilot starts, and anyway illegal under state law), point out that the bus companies can always appeal the ticket. Tell the police that the buses should be cited under California Vehicle Code (CVC) 22500.
  • While passengers are boarding, run a heavy chain through a wheel of the bus. Loop the chain through the loop of a fixed metal object (eg a bicycle rack or Muni bus shelter) and close it with a heavy padlock.
  • While the bus is idling, spray-paint the word “ILLEGAL” on the side of the bus. Use multiple people with stencils for a large effect and quick completion.
  • Let the air out of the tires of one side of the bus.

And, of course, you shouldn’t let this limit you. The more creative actions are the best – I very much enjoyed the “Gmuni” free bus program from Googlebuses.com!

Update:

Some other thoughts:

  • With a small group, surround a group of Muni fare enforcers, linking arms and chanting “Google won’t pay? We won’t pay!”.
  • On the day when the courts hear the lawsuit about San Francisco’s bullshit attempt to exempt the shuttle regularization from CEQA (or the day before), block Google buses everywhere in a people-heavy, arrestable way (small groups sitting in front of each bus, not leaving until arrested).
  • On May 1st, stop Google buses everywhere (could use less people-heavy methods like locking the bus to a bike rack) and leave signs on the buses telling the workers to take the day off for May Day!

Letter to certain SF supervisors concerning bike funding.

San Francisco loves to think that it’s a world-class biking city, but it spends less than a half a percent of its transportation budget on bicycle infrastructure. The SF Bicycle Coalition is at last pushing them hard on increasing funding. Here’s my email to three of the supervisors concerning this pressing need.

more money for bikes, and soon!

Unfortunately, I won’t be able to be at the hearing this Wednesday about biking in San Francisco. So I will share my thoughts with you now.

I have been biking in San Francisco for 13 years, and it’s gotten much, much better in that time. However, as a whole, SF is still way too car-centric.

A key point most people don’t mention is climate change. As part of our responsibilities under AB 32 and S-3-05, San Francisco must dramatically reduce its emissions – very quickly. This means consistently favoring transit and bikes over cars, even in cases – like Polk St – where it gets politically contentious.

Part of getting to those goals is putting our money where our mouth is. If bicycling accounts for 3.5% of all trips, and we have a goal to get to 20% by 2020, how can we have <1% of SFMTA funding go to bikes?

We need a massive increase in funding. It should be at least 5%, but 10% is much more realistic.

Thanks,
Martin

Daniel Ellsberg’s Comments on Bradley Manning and Masculinity

At the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club‘s annual dinner, on Wednesday, July 24th, 2013, Daniel Ellsberg accepted the “In His Footsteps” award on behalf of Bradley Manning. (The footsteps are Harvey Milk’s.) He pleasantly surprised the audience by including an provocative call to redefine masculinity (that starts about 6:23 in).

Continue reading “Daniel Ellsberg’s Comments on Bradley Manning and Masculinity”

My Comments to the SF Pride Board Community Meeting regarding the Bradley Manning as Grand Marshal Kerfuffle

My name is Martin MacKerel and I am a straight ally. [some remarks about the anger in the room and remembering the pastor’s words about respecting each others’ humanity]

When I say I’m an ally, I don’t just mean that I think gay rights are cool and I have some friends who are LGBT. I have played for several years in a pool league that “just happens to be gay” and met many people and that’s when these issues became important to me. I campaigned against Prop 8, and after it passed I joined a local grassroots group called “One Struggle One Fight” to fight against it, and as part of that I went to DC for the 2009 National Equality March.

I’m also a Bradley Manning supporter since I learned about his situation two and a half years ago. You may ask why? Is there a link? And, yes, there is a simple link in that these are both about justice.

Picture of speakers in line to speak at the meeting

But I think there is a deeper link. Both the process of coming out and Bradley’s actions involve speaking truths that might make people uncomfortable. Many people might initially not want to know that a family member or friend is queer. But hopefully in coming out, attitudes are shifted, and both the speaker and the listener are transformed.

I know that lots of people would prefer to believe that the government is on their side, that its military doesn’t commit war crimes, and that its foreign policy comes from good intentions.

Bradley showed us, as Daniel Ellsberg did, that these comforting notions are not true. I see the reaction to Bradley Manning’s selection as Grand Marshal as part of a prolonged attempt not to face the truth. But sooner or later, and the sooner the better, we must face the truth.

To deny Bradley – to shove him and his uncomfortable truths back in the closet – is to fail in our responsibility as a community.

So This is the Other Side of how the Sausage is Made

On Friday, March 29th, I went to the Hall of “Justice” in San Francisco to watch part of a hearing related to the case of the so-called ACAC19. These are 19 people who were arrested during a “Anti-Colonial, Anti-Capitalist March” on Columbus Day, 2012.

I was there for the whole afternoon – the hearing had apparently started in the morning, and will be continued at 9am, April 17th. The spectacle was fascinating in a sick way – so this is the other side of how the sausage is made. Apparently this hearing was about a motion to suppress certain evidence. A couple of cops testified and a video was played. There was no jury; just a judge, a prosecutor, and 19 defense attorneys, one for each defendant.

The hearing started out with the prosecutor showing the following video of events near the intersection of Battery and Sacramento:

Go to https://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2014/10/13/18762796.php
and play the video about halfway down

First of all, I was astonished by just how much detail one can miss, which became clear when the cops were questioned by the defense attorneys. After watching that video (only 1 minute 39 seconds long), can you answer the following questions?

Continue reading “So This is the Other Side of how the Sausage is Made”