"For me, the most important lesson
[of the Freedom Movement] is that by respecting the fact that fellow activists could passionately disagree over strategy and tactics—yet remain allies—they strengthened SNCC and the Movement as a whole."
From Bruce Hartford's article in the current issue of Urban Habitat.
View Kathy Emery, PhD's LinkedIn profileView Kathy Emery, PhD's profile

Monday, January 30, 2012

Occupy Oakland: Move-In Day....the goal is?

I am trying to figure out what the goal of Move-In day is.  Reading the NY Times article (below), I see an attempt to reclaim public space.  But then watching the video (see link below), I see an attempt to overthrow the government?????!! 

Reclaiming public space makes a great deal of sense to me since it is a necessary variable to rebuilding community (upon which social movements are built).  But what is the most effective way to do so?   The second goal - revolution -  doesn't make any sense to me.  The vast majority of people in this country are not interested in revolution.  I can't imagine a critical mass of people being inspired to take to the streets or join a general strike on the basis of watching the video or the actual event. How long will this tactic continue?  When will occupiers take advantage of the time tested theories of nonviolent direct action of: 
  • The Onion Theory of Nonviolent Protest: The purpose of Nonviolent Resistance is to affect peoples' thinking and build political movements for social change. From that perspective, Nonviolent Resistance is a broad concept encompassing education, organizing, alternative social structures, personal-witness, noncooperation — and, of course, direct action protests....When we study the actual impact of nonviolent protests it's like peeling away the layers of an onion, with each layer representing a different audience.......
  • Working the 5-95 Split: The sociologists and historians tell us that only rarely does a social movement involve more than 5% of the affected population in active participation. ....BUT these struggles by a small activist cores succeeded because they won the political support of the great majority.........
  • Audacity and Humor - Tactics of Nonviolence:  Audacity and humor are more effective tactics for achieving social change than are rage and fury.......       (thanks for these theories Bruce Hartford!)

NY TIMES | January 30, 2012
Hundreds Held in Oakland Occupy Protest
Hundreds of protesters tried to take over Oakland's vacant convention center and then briefly broke into City Hall before being rousted by the police. ....Chief Howard Jordan of the Oakland Police Department said the protesters’ objective “was not to peacefully assemble and march, but to seek opportunity to further criminal acts, confront police and repeatedly attempt to illegally occupy buildings.”  .....The events were part of a demonstration dubbed “Move-In Day,” a plan by protesters to take over the vacant convention center and use it as a commune-like command center, according to the Web site
Occupy Oakland's building occupation, an act of civil disobedience, was disrupted by a brutal police response yesterday.....Later, in a subsequent attempt to Occupy an abandoned building in downtown Oakland, Oakland police arrested hundreds of demonstrators. Many were reported injured as police used batons to herd protesters into a kettle in front of the YMCA.
Occupy Video shows police using rubber bullets and tear gas to gradually force protesters to retreat, arresting people when they are cut out from the herd.  Front row of protesters have home-made shields and wear helmets and hankerchiefs around nose and mouth, in anticipation of the bullets and gas.
"If it's vacant, take it"
"whose streets? our streets"
"city by city, block by block, occupy"
"occupy move in, cops move out"
"pigs go home"
"[to the police] you do not have authority over the people of California, fuck you!"  
"[to the police] what side of history do you want to be on?  who do you stand for?"

Friday, January 27, 2012

bad history

Chris Christie on Civil Rights

"I think people would have been happy to have a referendum on civil rights rather than fighting and dying in the streets in the South.” 
[to be fair, he elaborated: “My point is, they’re trying to say the only way to deal with a civil rights issue is through legislation, and my point is that in a state like this, the fact of the matter is their own polling belies that position.”]

Equally bad history in response to Christie's comment:

" It look legislative action to bring justice to all Americans, just as legislative action is the right way to bring marriage equality to all New Jerseyans.”
Regarding civil rights, legislative, executive or judicial action is rarely sufficient on its own.  Although, it can be used strategically.

For example
  • Brown v Board (Southern towns shut down public schools or refused to integrate)
  • Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965  (it still took nonviolent direct action and tedious door-to-door organizing in the face of violence to integrate and register voters)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

March to and Occupation of Sacramento - a good idea?

.....but first, a few thoughts re: marches from the perspective of the Southern Freedom Movement:  A march is not a movement -- a march is strategic if it is part of a larger plan.  For  example:
Februrary: lunch counter sit-ins lead to a successful boycott of downtown stores.  
April: Local lawyer, C. Alexander Looby's house is bombed.  Organizers leveraged the outrage of this bombing by staging  a silent march of 4,000 to the steps of city hall where Diane Nash asks the mayor, Ben West, whether he thought segregation was moral and right. He said no, it is not right.  This was the turning point in the Nashville movement, which continued to provide leadership in the subsequent Freedom Rides (1961-3), Freedom Summer (1964), and in Selma (1965).

In 1962, SNCC came to Selma to help local activists register black voters but met heavy resistance from one of the most vicious sheriffs (Jim Clark) in all of the South.  King brought his (SCLC) organization's people, money and media attention to Selma in Jan., 1965.  Through a series of marches and other nonviolent actions, King was able to provoke a vicious backlash by the police that garnered national media attention (much to irritation of SNCC organizers).  King continued to escalate the confrontations as more and more members of the community were inspired to join the marches to the courthouse to try to vote.  To escalate (provoke the police) further, SCLC decided to have night marches with a deadly result. Jimmie Lee Jackson (16 yr old local black) was shot to death by a cop in a night demonstration/march in nearby Marion.  This led to King calling upon the nation's clergy and other activists to come to Selma.......Rev. Reeb (northern white) was killed.....the march from Selma to Montgomery. The march was designed to allow people to let off steam (black anger and outrage over the double standard of national outrage over Reeb's death but not Jackson's) as well as to demonstrate for the need for the passage of a Voting Rights Act.  SNCC opposed the march but went along with it in order to establish personal relationships with people in the counties through which the protesters marched.  These personal connections led to the formation of the Lowndes County Freedom Party (the first use of the symbol of the black panther) by SNCC leaders -- including Stokely Carmichael.
Best source of Civil Rights History is the website!


 WHAT:  Occupy San Francisco Action Council Meeting to Kick-Off Planning for San Francisco Participation in the March 1 day of Action followed by March 5th Mass Mobilization to Sacramento


WHEN:  Sunday January 29th, 2:45 -- 4:00 p.m.

WHERE:  Unite Here Local 2, 209 Golden Gate
            @ Leavenworth, Just North of 7th and Market (Near Civic Center Bart)


** A Broad-Based Call to Action for the 99%!
** No Cuts! No Concessions! Fully fund education and social services
** Tax the rich
** Support the Millionaires Tax
** Support the Oil Tax to Fund Education (Prop. 1522)
** Reject Jerry Brown's budget
** Defend Free Speech and the Right of Assembly
** End police attacks on Occupy
** Health care for the 99%
** Support workers' rights
** End immigrant scapegoating to cover-up economic injustice

AFT 2121
Alameda Central Labor Council
Berkeley Faculty Association
Berkeley Federation of Teachers
California Federation of Teachers
International Socialist Organization (Northern California)
La Raza Centro Legal
Oakland Education Association
Occupy SF Action Council
Occupy Solidarity Network Community Labor and Faith Groups
Occupy Bernal
Occupy CAL
Occupy Education NorCal
Occupy UC Santa Cruz_
Peralta Association of Teacher_
San Lorenzo Education
San Francisco Labor Council Executive Committee
San Mateo Federation of Teachers'
SEIU 1021
UAW 2865
United Educators of San Francisco

Friday, January 20, 2012

Against the Cuts Workshop

Against Cuts  January 28th conference to discuss organizing and educational efforts for this spring, leading up to the march in Sacramento on March 5th.

10 am to 3 pm
Berkeley City College Basement
2050 Center Street (nr Shattuck)

Please arrive to register by 10:00 AM
We will provide coffee, pastries and lunch. In planning for food it would help us if you RSVP ( ) that you are coming, and how many people you are bringing, as soon as you can.

January 28 Agenda
10:30 AM sharp
    We will have introductions so we all know who is there
    Presentation about the next rounds of cuts at the state level
    Questions and Discussion 11:30 AM
    The March 5th action in Sacramento
    Proposals for outreach and educational activities in the coming weeks
    Explore how to build a network of activists to continue the fight after March 5th
    Questions and Discussion
12:30 PM
    Lunch in the Atrium
1:30 PM
    Break into geographic regions, plan organizing activities, set up calendars, and decide where to go etc.

Please come and if possible bring a team from your school, neighborhood, union, or workplace.

We will have T-shirts ($10 each), buttons (50 cents each) packets ($1.00 each), and free posters, fliers and stickers for you to take. We would appreciate donations to help cover the printing costs for the stickers, posters and fliers, which are free.

Also please let us know if you have access to xeroxing and could run fliers for us at your office or school. We are going to need a lot of fliers!

If you can, bring money from your school or other organization, to purchase an ?institutional? bag or bring money if you can purchase an individual organizer?s bag. Institutional bags will be $100 and individual bags will be $25. They will have everything you need for outreach including T-shirts, buttons, posters, fliers, stickers and packets. Of course you can just purchase whatever you want separately.

If you know that you will want to purchase a large order (5 or more) of T-shirts, on the 28 -- please let us know ahead of time so we know how many to order.

We have added some events to our calendar of other group?s activities where Against Cuts folks will be fliering or tabling.

1) Creating Balance Networking Night
Friday, January 13th
Blondie?s Bar & No Grill
540 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA 94110

2) Diane Ravitch, KPFA, 1/19/12, Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar St, Berkeley, 7:30 PM

3) West Coast Rally for Reproductive Justice
Saturday, January 21, 2012 at 11am
Justin Herman Plaza, San Francisco at Stuart and Market Streets. Embarcadero BART

Experimental College at SFSU

The following is a letter sent out by two students teaching a course in the SFSU Experimental College

Dear students/faculty/lecturers,

Over the past few semesters, we've seen classes disappear and class sizes increase beyond capacity. This is a problem that plagues both students and teachers, but we believe we have an alternative. The experimental college at SFSU allows groups of students to effectively teach themselves and each other curriculum for credit towards graduation. The college is designed to provide learning opportunities to fill in the gaps in the heavily stripped course catalog, as well as to provide aide to students who need access to classes that are usually impacted.

Currently, the experimental college is still setting up the infrastructure necessary to meet all its goals. This semester, we will focus on providing students with workshops to acclimate them to the idea of a self education. In the fall semester, we hope to provide a wide array of upper division and GE classes for students who were unable (or unwilling) to register for regular university courses.

We are, however, offering at least one course students can take for credit during the Spring '12 semester. The class will be a tour of social movements designed to push its students to critique their surroundings and promote activism. It is being offered through the political science department, sponsored by Kathy Emery and James Martel. Up to three units will be available for the class.

THE CLASS: Students will research and discuss social movements and the historical and social conditions that led to their necessity. Examples include the Southern Freedom movement, the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground, and the Earth Liberation Front. We will analyze the effectiveness of the movements using our established "11 Key Components for Effective Social Movements". Students taking the class for credit will be responsible for leading at least one class discussion, either alone or in a group. Grades will established by the students themselves on an honor system. Failing grades will only be given to students who registered but did not present, or to those who stopped attending/participating, with few exceptions. The first few weeks will be led by Will and I as a means of demonstration, then the reins of the class will be passed to its attendees. We will strive for a democratic environment. Our goals will be to heighten awareness and embody consciousness through research and experience.

Students: If you are interested in taking the class, or, if you would like to know how to offer your own class or workshop, reply to this email and information will be given.

Faculty/Lecturers: If you have students in excess on your first day of classes, we ask that you let them know about this alternative. It is important that the experimental college succeed so that students and teachers alike be alleviated of the burdens placed on them by the administration, cuts from the capital, and the overwhelming influence corporations have over public institutions of learning. We feel that, with your support, the success of the college will be inevitable.

Thank you for taking the time to consider our proposal. Feel free to contact us if you have any questions OR if you would like to meet with us to chat.


Kelly Corwin, Will Nelson and facilitators of the Experimental College
Kelly:, Will:

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

SFFS at SFSU - Fall 2012 Semester - visitors welcome!!

LAST UPDATED: September 28, 2012
Below is the course schedule of PLSI 357 at SFSU (Political Movements: Lessons from Freedom Summer).
This is the course that was developed over six summers as the SF Freedom School (2005-2010), which took place in the Parish Hall of St. Francis Lutheran Church.  This Fall (2012) will be the FOURTH time this course has been taught at SFSU.

Fall 2012 Class is at Hensil Hall room 439
MONDAYS and WEDNESDAYS from 2:10 to 3:50 pm

Textbook: Lessons from Freedom Summer  
The Southern Freedom Movement as a case study of how social movements happen, illustrating the Key Components of a successful social movement:
  • identifying the problem
  • doing your homework (research)
  • personal relationship and community building
  • building an infrastructure
  • development of local leadership
  • creating coalitions
  • strategic use of the arts
  • strategic use of nonviolent direct resistance
  • learning how to deal with the contradictions within the movement
  • Chude Allen
  • and being in the right historical moment.
August 29th : Community
Movie: When We Were Colored 

September 5th : The 1968 Strike and the 2012 Experimental College
Movie: SFSU on Strike 

September 10th: Black Labor History (infrastructure)

September 12th: Ida B. Wells and A. Philip Randolph (research and infrastructure)
Movie: 10,000 Men Named George 

September 17th: NAACP (infrastructure and research)
Movie: With All Deliberate Speed

September 19th : Why become an Activist?
Guest Speaker: Chude Allen

Wazir Peacock
September 24th: personal relationships, local leadership, identifying the problem
Movie: You Got to Move

September 26th : The Montgomery Bus Boycott - coalitions, local leadership and the strategic use of nonviolent direct action. Movie: Boycott (excerpts) 

October 1: Sit Ins and the formation of SNCC
Movie: When We Were Warriors 

October 3:  The Strategic Use of Nonviolent Direct Action
Guest Speaker: Bruce Hartford   

October 10:  Effective Communication Workshop
Guest Speakers: Will Nelson and Kelly Corwin, SFSU Exco students

October 15: Freedom Rides 
movie: Freedom Riders (excerpts) 

October  17: Freedom Rides
Guest Speaker: Mimi Real (Freedom Rider)  

October 22: The White Power Structure in Mississippi  

October 24: Freedom Summer – Mississippi 1960-63
Movie: Freedom Song 

October 29: Freedom Summer
Movie: Eyes on the Prize  

October 31: Guest Speaker: Wazir Peacock   

November 5: Lessons from Freedom Summer  

November 7:  Selma to Montgomery
Movie: Eyes on the Prize: Bridge to Freedom (excerpts)   

November 14: Guest Speaker: Jimmy Rogers (SNCC organizer in Lowndes County, Alabama)  

November 26: From Civil Rights to Black Power 
Movie: Orangeburg Massacre   

November 28: Guest Speaker: Phil Hutchings
SNCC, 1963-70, Georgia, Maryland, Tennessee
Phil was one of the most effective urban organizers of the Sixties and Seventies.  In 1966, he was the leading SNCC field secretary in Newark, NJ--"the urban Mississippi."  Phil became a national SNCC leader in 1968. He was actively involved in the anti-Vietnam War and peace movements and was one of the founders of the Venceramos Brigade. For many years, Phil lived in Detroit where he was involved in organizing young people around issues of education, community control of educational institutions and drug abuse. He was a regular columnist for the Guardian newspaper and a board member of PRSC, an organization in support of independence for Puerto Rico. After moving to the Bay Area of San Francisco, he has worked on organizing multi-racial/multi-ethnic coalitions (e.g., Black Alliance for Just Immigration, and Just Cause), neighborhood organizing and serves as a technical and financial consultant for non profit organizations. He was the grants director for the Vanguard Foundation. He is an active participant in the Bay Area Veterans of the CivilRights Movement and consultant to neighborhood organizations.