Songs of Healing in a World at War

Country Joe McDonald’s songs denounce the atrocities of war and pay tribute to Vietnam War combat nurses and the legendary icon of mercy, Florence Nightingale, for bravely bringing medical care into war zones.

Country Joe: Singing Louder Than the Guns

Country Joe McDonald stands nearly alone among the musicians of the 1960s in staying true to his principles — still singing for peace, still denouncing the brutality of war.

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Street Spirit Interview with Country Joe McDonald Pt 1

Women coming home from the Vietnam War never were the same after their wartime experiences. They were shoved into a horrific, unbelievable experience. That’s what I wrote about in the song: “A vision of the wounded screams inside her brain, and the girl next door will never be the same.”

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Street Spirit Interview with Country Joe McDonald Pt 2

“It was magical. All at the same time, amazing stuff happened in Paris, London, and San Francisco — and BOOM! Everybody agreed on the same premise: peace and love. It was a moment of peace and love. It was a wonderful thing to happen. And I’m still a hippie: peace and love!”

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Suitcase Clinic Holds Town Hall on Homelessness

“Homeless people are the most creative, talented people I’ve ever met — we have to be. I’ve seen it through artwork, musicians, the places we design to sleep,” one woman commented about the lack of employment for homeless people. “We are wasting huge amounts of human potential and talent.”

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Mike Deserves a House

Recently I had the misfortune to interact with Berkeley’s newest scheme in combating homelessness. It’s called the coordinated entry system. In a nutshell, it is supposed to be a one-stop shop for homeless services. In reality, it is piles of paperwork and, quite frankly, a complete waste of time.

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Sleeping Ban Defeat in Santa Cruz Raises Many Questions

For decades, Santa Cruz has progressively sought to criminalize homelessness and the recent vote is little more than a sad confirmation of that well-established and deeply entrenched policy. Following the vote, one longtime observer commented that “now our community is officially homeless unfriendly.”

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Dogtown Redemption: Finding Gold in the Garbage

“We started making a film about poverty,” said Amir Soltani. “We ended up making a film about love.” The poverty of the recyclers profiled in the film is illustrated as people find or lose housing and shelter, find or lose loving relationships, and get a handle on their health and hope.

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Tiny House Movement Spreads Across the Country

Dignity Village in Portland started when homeless activists claimed space under a downtown bridge. It has grown into a 60-person village with tiny homes built of recycled materials by residents and volunteers. Community members practice self-governance, and select their own members under their own community agreements.

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Too Cute to Fail? A Critical Look at Tiny Houses

I’m hoping the seduction of miniaturization doesn’t distract from the call for a right to rest, for human rights, and for housing based on the needs of minimum-wage workers, people with disabilities, veterans, and low-income seniors who can’t compete in a market designed by and for the one percent.

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Tiny Houses: A New Vision of Home

Many are interested in tiny houses for the homeless community. “I hope it’s the beginning of an upswell of community support to get this tiny homes program under way in Berkeley. It seems that there is a possibility we can do that.”

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21 years of Street Spirit: Justice News and Homeless Blues

This month, Street Spirit turns twenty-one years old. To celebrate, we are launching our new podcast series with an interview with co-founder Terry Messman about the history of Street Spirit’s advocacy journalism. We also reprint an article about Street Spirit by Lily Kley, originally published FoundSF a project of Shaping San Francisco.

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The Media War on Homeless People in S.F.

The Chronicle has temporarily won its media war on homeless people by portraying the mayor and the city government as the underdog, while poor people suffering the effects of the housing crisis are portrayed as stubbornly unwilling to be part of the one percent’s good fortune.

Right to Rest Campaign Rejected in Sacramento, March 29, 2016

Everyone Deserves a Right to Rest

The Right to Rest Campaign is defending the human rights of homeless people by supporting legislation in California, Colorado and Oregon to decriminalize homelessness. These Bills would protect the rights of homeless people to move freely, rest, eat, and perform religious observations in public space as well as protect their right to occupy a legally parked motor vehicle.

Intentional Homeless Community in Berkeley

Business owners grow uneasy when homeless people organize and use the creative tactics of the labor and civil rights movements. Homeless people in Berkeley did just that by organizing occupations.

Reflections on Homelessness in Oakland

Martin Luther King said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’” If people know their history, King’s Poor People’s March, completed after his death, has not resulted in a society where all citizens matter, especially black men, the majority of men seen on Oakland streets.

Day of Reckoning for Right to Sleep in Santa Cruz

This is a call to conscience for the entire community to support the progressive decriminalization of homelessness in Santa Cruz. Our proposed amendment in support of the Right to Sleep removes references to the act of sleeping and the use of blankets in the camping section of the Municipal Code.

The Struggle for Renter Protections in Richmond

“Richmond’s rents, like rents all across the Bay Area, are rising sky high, causing much hardship and displacement. It’s very important to slow down this tide of rising rents. We don’t want outrageously high rent increases to continue, such that more and more struggling renters are forced out of our city.”