Tag Archives: Slider

The Mississippi Delta: Birthplace of the Blues – “This Is Where the Soul of Man Never Dies.”

This is a story about how poverty, segregation and racial discrimination harm human beings. This is also a story about how beauty flowers from the fields of brutality. This is a story of the blues. “This is where the soul of man never dies,” as Sam Phillips said about Howlin’ Wolf.

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Songs of Social Justice

“It’s been a long time coming, but I know a change is gonna come.” Sam Cooke saw that change coming, and sang it, and wrote it down in indelible words for all of us to see. Nothing can ever erase his voice now. Nothing can stop that change from coming.

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The Flower Girl

Dostoyevsky’s Prince Myshkin believed/ “Beauty will save the world.”/ By taking beauty to the shelter,/your flowers saved one part of it./ You smile in the spirit of Don Quixote:/ Free flowers for the poor/ could subvert the whole economy,/ beauty could ruin the banking system,/ kindness could wreck capitalism.

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The Shelter of Love

What about street dogs,/ the soft undersides of paws/ laid at night/ upon face or arm/ warding off cold & harm./ Dogs with hungry sorrowful/ eyes will gaze into our own./ If we have zero food/ to offer, not even a bone,/ a dog still claims us,/ downtrodden as we are,/ as his home.

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The Comfortable and the Cold

We still have the highest/ percentage of homeless/ people per population/of any city in the nation/ It’s 2013 and still / the drained and pained/ unhoused battalions/ of brokenhearted shopping cart/ soldiers come and go

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BLOCK BY BLOCK: A BID by Merchants to Seize the Public Commons and Erode the Rights of the Poor

Business organizations in Berkeley have adopted the Block by Block approach to erode the human rights of the poor. The Measure S initiative was the most expensive campaign in Berkeley’s history. It was funded almost entirely by large property-holding companies which play an influential role in the Downtown Berkeley Association.

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Occupy the Auctions vs. the Foreclosure Vultures

Foreclosed homes in San Francisco are particularly appealing to buyers, especially since they can snap them up reasonably cheaply. Occupy the Auctions champions affected families by declaring a halt on home evictions and auctions and instead insisting the banks come up with a fair, affordable arrangement for financially strained families.

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Doug Minkler: An Artist on the Side of the People

Berkeley artist Doug Minkler approaches his work with a passionate commitment to social change. He wields the artist’s brush like a hammer with which to reshape an unjust society. His poster art battle corporate polluters, predatory banks, nuclear weapons laboratories, brutal police, union-busting businesses and “the masters of war.”

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Berkeley Chooses Compassion: Measure S Rejected by Voters

The victory over Measure S is the first time since 1994 that a ballot measure to criminalize homeless people has been defeated anywhere in the nation. This victory is even more remarkable considering that Berkeley’s powerful business organizations vastly outspent the financially strapped homeless organizations that opposed the initiative.

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The Desperate Housing Crisis in Berkeley

Every day I hear the desperation of people on the street. I worked as a community organizer for 14 years for BOSS, helping homeless people, but now I am jobless and homeless myself. I see how ineffective our housing policies are. We need a revival of street action and protest in Berkeley.

Youth Spirit Artworks Tries to Save Street Spirit

“We can’t afford to lose this essential platform for human rights and social justice, and we can’t let down the 100-plus vendors for whom this is a literal lifeline.” — Sally Hindman

Death in the West: Memorial for a Day Laborer

Roberto worked without medical coverage or a living wage. Not a cent went into Social Security for the aging worker. When he died in a doorway of the defunct U-Haul rental shop in at Allston Way and San Pablo in Berkeley, it took a day or so for anyone to notice.

Miss Raynel’s Shanty

The structure, if you can call it that, is made from heavy plastic tied to a fence facing a field where trains speed by many times a day. Inside the tent, Miss Raynel’s young nieces are under a blanket. There’s nothing behind them but fencing and a wild dog running in the field.

The U.S. Relationship to Violence in Mexico

More than 150,000 people have been killed in Mexico since former president Felipe Calderón declared a drug war, with U.S. support, in 2007, and another 27,000 disappearances have been reported. The most well-known example is the forced disappearance by police of 43 student teachers in Ayotzinapa in September 2014.

Oakland Officials Distort the Law to Punish the Poor

What a masterful demolition job. There is nothing like deploying the law to perseucte the poor — to crush them, silence them. You stripped Oakland’s recyclers of the right to their labor, the right to their freedom, and the right to eke out an existence on the margins of society.