"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

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Community as a Key Component for a Social Movement

One of the conclusions I have come to after studying the Civil Rights Movement (known at the time as the Southern Freedom Movement), is that it was built on the foundations of community and personal relationships.  My thinking on this topic was echoed in an op-ed piece in the New York Times this morning (see excerpts and link below).  Susan Matt argues that leaving home, family and community takes a serious psychological toil on people. It seems to me that the price one pays for the kinds of geographic mobility that capitalism requires from us -- "depression and displacement" --  are serious obstacles for shared action and risk taking, which are fundamental to building and maintaining social movements.

John Dewey seemed to argue in Democracy and Education that a group of people cannot act in their own interests unless they a part of a community, which he defines as a group of people that spend enough time with each other so that they "attach the same meanings to things and to acts which others attach."  
To have the same ideas about things which others have, to be like-minded with them, and thus to be really members of a social group, is therefore to attach the same meanings to things and to acts which others attach. Otherwise, there is no common understanding, and no community life. But in a shared activity, each person refers what he is doing to what the other is doing and vice-versa. That is, the activity of each is placed in the same inclusive situation. To pull at a rope at which others happen to be pulling is not a shared or conjoint activity, unless the pulling is done with knowledge that others are pulling and for the sake of either helping or hindering what they are doing. A pin may pass in the course of its manufacture through the hands of many persons. But each may do his part without knowledge of what others do or without any reference to what they do; each may operate simply for the sake of a separate result—his own pay. There is, in this case, no common consequence to which the several acts are referred, and hence no genuine intercourse or association, in spite of juxtaposition, and in spite of the fact that their respective doings contribute to a single outcome. But if each views the consequences of his own acts as having a bearing upon what others are doing and takes into account the consequences of their behavior upon himself, then there is a common mind; a common intent in behavior.  [more of this at the very end of this post]
In the 1950s in the South, the black towns of Mississippi and Alabama produced local leaders who could mobilize their communities because of the "shared activity" and "common consequence"of segregation and the plantation system enforced by lynchings over generations. And one of the reasons that community activists were fighting for desegregation and NOT INTEGRATION, was the dessire to maintain those communities.  They were fighting to eliminate the humiliation of segregation, wanted freedom of association.  They were not fighting to leave their communities, abandon their values, their culture or their shared interests and relationships...their homes.  

Much has been made of the Occupy Movement not being "specific in their demands" or disciplined or strategic in devising and implementing their tactics.  That will happen after they succeed in rebuilding communities that have been destroyed during the last 50 years.  For example, urban renewal destroyed the stoop culture of urban neighborhoods.

Here is a draft I am working on regarding  "KEY COMPONENTS"

The New Globalist Is Homesick
By SUSAN J. MATT New York Times, March 21, 2012
The global desire to leave home arises from poverty and necessity, but it also grows out of a conviction that such mobility is possible. . . . This outlook was once a strange and threatening product of the Enlightenment but is now accepted as central to a globalized economy. It leads to opportunity and profits, but it also has high psychological costs. In nearly a decade’s research into the emotions and experiences of immigrants and migrants, I’ve discovered that many people who leave home in search of better prospects end up feeling displaced and depressed. Few speak openly of the substantial pain of leaving home. 

....Today, explicit discussions of homesickness are rare, for the emotion is typically regarded as an embarrassing impediment to individual progress and prosperity. This silence makes mobility appear deceptively easy.

....The immediacy that phone calls and the Internet provide means that those away from home can know exactly what they are missing and when it is happening. They give the illusion that one can be in two places at once but also highlight the impossibility of that proposition.
The persistence of homesickness points to the limitations of the cosmopolitan philosophy that undergirds so much of our market and society. The idea that we can and should feel at home anyplace on the globe is based on a worldview that celebrates the solitary, mobile individual and envisions men and women as easily separated from family, from home and from the past. But this vision doesn’t square with our emotions, for our ties to home, although often underestimated, are strong and enduring.
More from Dewey (Democracy and Education) on personal relationships and community

We are thus compelled to recognize that within even the most social group there are many relations which are not as yet social. A large number of human relationships in any social group are still upon the machine-like plane. Individuals use one another so as to get desired results, without reference to the emotional and intellectual disposition and consent of those used. Such uses express physical superiority, or superiority of position, skill, technical ability, and command of tools, mechanical or fiscal. So far as the relations of parent and child, teacher and pupil, employer and employee, governor and governed, remain upon this level, they form no true social group, no matter how closely their respective activities touch one another. Giving and taking of orders modifies action and results, but does not of itself effect a sharing of purposes, a communication of interests. 

Not only is social life identical with communication, but all communication (and hence all genuine social life) is educative. To be a recipient of a communication is to have an enlarged and changed experience. One shares in what another has thought and felt and in so far, meagerly or amply, has his own attitude modified. Nor is the one who communicates left unaffected. Try the experiment of communicating, with fullness and accuracy, some experience to another, especially if it be somewhat complicated, and you will find your own attitude toward your experience changing; otherwise you resort to expletives and ejaculations. The experience has to be formulated in order to be communicated. To formulate requires getting outside of it, seeing it as another would see it, considering what points of contact it has with the life of another so that it may be got into such form that he can appreciate its meaning. Except in dealing with commonplaces and catch phrases one has to assimilate, imaginatively, something of another's experience in order to tell him intelligently of one's own experience. All communication is like art. It may fairly be said, therefore, that any social arrangement that remains vitally social, or vitally shared, is educative to those who participate in it. Only when it becomes cast in a mold and runs in a routine way does it lose its educative power. 

In final account, then, not only does social life demand teaching and learning for its own permanence, but the very process of living together educates. It enlarges and enlightens experience; it stimulates and enriches imagination; it creates responsibility for accuracy and vividness of statement and thought. A man really living alone (alone mentally as well as physically) would have little or no occasion to reflect upon his past experience to extract its net meaning. The inequality of achievement between the mature and the immature not only necessitates teaching the young, but the necessity of this teaching gives an immense stimulus to reducing experience to that order and form which will render it most easily communicable and hence most usable.

Monday, March 19, 2012

March 20th - Rally in Oakland - Save Millionaire's Tax

 Occupy Education Flyer:
Let’s continue the campaign for the MILLIONAIRES’ TAX - the
only 100% progressive tax initiative, NOT Jerry Brown’s new
compromise tax initiative which attacks our side and aims to
keep the Millionaires’ Tax off the ballot.

Brown's compromise - East Bay Express - March 16th
In recent weeks it was becoming increasingly clear that Governor Jerry Brown’s tax measure proposal was headed for defeat, because it included an unpopular sales tax hike....  So Brown, instead of pushing on with his doomed measure, decided to strike a deal with the sponsors of the Millionaire’s Tax and combine the two measures into one.

...The new compromise measure will bring in an estimated $9 billion annually if it passes... 

...infighting and competing measures threatened to divide traditional alliances on the left. For example, the California Federation of Teachers was backing the Millionaire’s Tax while the state’s other major teachers’ union, the California Teachers’ Association, was supporting Brown’s plan. Now, the two influential unions will be working together for the same proposal....
...With two measures instead of one, opponents of the Millionaire’s Tax — i.e. Big Business and the wealthy — would have likely spent heavily to defeat it....The rich, of course, will probably go after the compromise measure, too. But at least Democrats and progressives will be united in their fight to pass it [and big business might not want to anger Brown for fear of not getting other things from him]

The new compromise measure, if it passes, will increase income taxes on the wealthy at a higher rate than what Brown had proposed. Individuals making more than $500,000 a year, and couples making more than $1 million, will see a 3-percent-tax hike, which is the same as what the Millionaire’s Tax proposed (the governor had proposed a 2-percent increase). The new measure also lowers Brown’s proposed sales tax increase from .5 percent to .25 percent. The Millionaire’s tax would have left sales taxes as is.
At the same time, the new measure would raise taxes by 1 percent on individuals who make more than $250,000 a year, and couples who make more than $500,000 (which is the same as what Brown originally proposed); and by 2 percent on individuals who make more than $500,000 a year, and couples who make more than $600,000 a year (Brown had originally proposed a 1.5 percent hike). The Millionaire’s Tax would have only increased taxes on incomes above $1 million. The compromise also discards the Millionaire’s Tax proposal to hike taxes by 5 percent on incomes above $3 million.

The main drawback, of course, to the compromise deal is the sales tax increase. Sales taxes are regressive because they impact low- and middle-income wage earners the most. They’re especially a bad idea in a state in which low-income people already pay a higher effective tax rate (10.2 percent) than the wealthy (7.4 percent), when considering all taxes.

Monday, March 12, 2012

MoveOn has discovered Highlander!

I love this!!!!!  excerpts from MoveOn letter.   SFFS would be happy to host a showing of the documentary, YOU GOT TO MOVE - a wonderful history of Highlander. see Trailer of movie on Youtube 

 Dear Move On member,
When Rosa Parks refused to leave her seat and launched the Montgomery bus boycott, it wasn't just a spontaneous decision. She'd been trained in nonviolent direct action at a place called the Highlander Center. And the brave folks who organized the freedom rides and the lunch-counter sit-ins had similar training.
Now, from the Wisconsin workers who took over their state capitol to Occupy Wall Street, there's a movement stirring in America focused on the massive inequality that's destroying our country. And it's once again using direct action to change the conversation. To help the 99% movement succeed, we want to kick off the spring by training 100,000 people in nonviolent direct action, in the spirit of Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Rosa Parks—and pave the way for a wave of progressive, nonviolent direct action like the country hasn't seen in 50 years.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Video and pictures from March 5th protest in Sacramento

FYI -- Strategic use of NVR = dramatization of injustice; getting the sympathy of a wider audience; getting more people to join; offering a variety of ways to participate in future actions.  (singing is better than chanting). 

Terrific slide show HERE by CCSF contigent!

 ABC videos -- several available at this site:

SF Chronicle article:
But unlike the basic "no cuts" message brought to the Capitol every March, education's 99 percent have a specific agenda this year. They want two measures to qualify for the statewide ballot in November: the so-called millionaires tax, an income tax hike on the state's highest earners; and Proposition 1522, an oil-extraction tax, both of which supporters say would raise billions of dollars for public education.

For the first time this year, the University of California gets less money from its diminishing state allocation than from students' tuition and fees, which have tripled to $13,218 in the last decade, not counting books or living expenses.
Tuition and fees at California State University have also tripled in that period, to more than $7,000.
Read more:

Monday, March 5, 2012

April 9th - TOY SOLDIERS at Freight and Salvage

It brings me much joy to announce a joint collaboration between Each One Reach One & Urban Healing Tour to support incredible youth theater programs in the Bay Area. EORO, who for the last past 10 years has been doing play-writing workshops inside of San Francisco Juvenile Hall also created the only GED program inside of Juvie. The GED program alone has graduated over 200 youth and what's so amazing is that it came from a Theater program. I personally have worked with EORO for the last 8 years aside from my work with Colored Ink.  We thought this partnership would be a match made in heaven.  UHT will be showcasing our amazing multi-media, hip hop theater production entitled "Toy Soldierzs" which deals with youth violence. We have some exciting news; a portion of the proceeds will going towards "Toy Soldierz" being performed @ the Nuyorican Poets Cafe in New York on May 4-6, 11-13, 2012. It's a really exciting time for me and my organization. God is good.  Check out the latest trailer for "Toy Soldierz" below.  Spread the word to your family, friends, co-workers, clergy and anyone else you think would benefit from this performance.  This night and cause is very important to our community.  Thank you again

Javier Reyes
Producer, Urban Healing Tour

"TOY SOLDIERZ" TRAILER 2012 from Javier Reyes on Vimeo.

DATE: April 9, 2012
TIME: Doors Open @ 7PM, Show 8PM
LOCATION: Freight & Salvage
2020 Addison Street, Berkeley, CA 94704
$20.50 In Advance, $22.50 At The Door
Half Price For Youth Under 25 Years Old
There is a $5 Parking Garage all night next door

URBAN HEALING TOUR PROJECT. The Urban Healing Tour (UHT) is a multimedia hip hop theatre platform that supports productions for social change and community advocacy coupled with arts-based workshops centered around healing and utilizing the arts in the process of recovery and learning to forgive. Projects that are produced through the Urban Healing Tour integrate the live stage, film/video, music, dance, and spoken word. Initially the tour was a singular project in advocacy against gun violence, but the Producer, Javier Reyes and Director, Cassandra A. Henderson saw the need and potential for expanding the vision; and in December of 2010, renamed the play itself TOY SOLDIERS serving under the umbrella of the Urban Healing Tour. UHT was created to be appeasing to all audiences; but primarily focuses on low-income, urban audiences particularly youth ages 13-25 

March 6th SF Protest

Hands Off Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid!
Protest Deficit Commission Chairs Simpson and Bowles

Tuesday, March 6,  7 PM, Paramount Theater, OAKLAND.
2025  Broadway  between 20th &  21st Street. (19th St. BART)

People from San Francisco meet at 6 PM to take BART to Oakland.
We'll assemble at Civic Center BART entrance by the Orpheum Theater.

It's on the north side of Market St. between Hyde & UN Plaza.

The chairs of Obama's Deficit Commission, Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, are on the lecture circuit rallying the 1% to implement their programs of (1) slashing Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid, (2) putting a cap on ALL federal revenue, to keep the safety net permanently in tatters, (3) further reducing taxes on the rich and increasing them for us, (4) taxing health insurance that has adequate benefits, and (5) cutting veterans health benefits.

Read more about their plans at

Though Bowles and Simpson were unable to get Commissioner's votes to force Congress to vote their plan up or down, they are still touring the country promoting their plan to audiences paying hundreds of dollars to see them.

Join the California Alliance for Retired Americans (CARA) and many other groups for an informational picket and press briefing to challenge these proposals. As more of us lose jobs and housing, and fall into poverty and hunger, Bowles and Simpson are using the deficit as a phony excuse to cut our services and safety net:

** It's wars to control oil, tax cuts to corporations and the rich, and bank bailouts that caused the deficit!

** Social Security does not add a cent to the deficit.

** Medicare and Medicaid add to the debt only because corporate healthcare refuses to let Medicare cover everyone with equal comprehensive healthcare.

Read Simpson and Bowles; We've Got Questions For You!:

See pictures and a story from an earlier Simpson-Bowles  demonstration

Friday, March 2, 2012

Thousands rally in bay area -- March 1 Day of Action

An estimated 1,200 to 1,500 people attended the rally -- mostly teachers and students from San Francisco K-12 schools, Community College of San Francisco, and San Francisco State University. This was just one of hundreds of actions that took place March 1st across California and nationwide in defense of public education and social services. from U&I.
NEXT STOP -- SACRAMENTO MARCH 5 --   march from SF......marching 99 miles!

The day’s protest in support of public education began with small campus demonstrations and culminated in a march through Oakland. Over the course of the day, demonstrators marched down Telegraph Avenue, rallied at Frank Ogawa Plaza and protested in front of the UC Office of the President, among other actions. Later in the day, a small group began a journey to Sacramento in advance of the upcoming March 5 protest there. By 8:30 a.m., protesters had wrapped caution tape around the perimeter of California Hall — which houses Chancellor Robert Birgeneau’s office — and about 20 protesters gathered outside the building in the rain. Protesters then shifted their attention to Sproul Plaza, where they convened in small groups and prepared for a noon rally.  from Daily Californian

speech by SFSU student at City Hall Rally

California students march  (Steve Rhodes)
 Photo Gallery from SJ Mercury News

Alex Schmaus, a student in City College of San Francisco and a participant in "Occupy CCSF," told the crowd that he had accumulated $27,000 in debt as a student at SFSU but didn't earn a degree, and now collection agencies were threatening to garnish his paychecks.
Schmaus drew connections between the campaign for better funding for higher education and some of the larger goals of the Occupy movement, including more access to housing and sending less people to prisons. Students from Mission High School in San Francisco were also invited onto the stage to speak, wondering what opportunities would be available if they were priced out of being able to attend college, and how they could give back to the world without access to an education."The way things are going we're going to have only private universities, we're not going to have public universities," Terence Yancey, 26, a philosophy major at San Francisco State University told the crowd. from SF Appeal

Amy Goodman (38 minute report) on Chicago and NYC Education Protests

Move On in SF March 15 - stop foreclosures parties

Dear MoveOn member,

President Obama could help twelve million homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage.1

But the president needs to hear directly from us.

Here's the story: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac hold 60% of mortgages—but the agency that oversees them is run by Bush appointee Ed DeMarco who refuses to allow underwater homeowners to adjust their mortgages to reflect the true value of their home.2

Homeowners are struggling to make ends meet. And helping them not only means saving their homes, it will also stabilize the market and help get the economy back on track for everyone.

President Obama has the power to replace DeMarco and make sure Fannie and Freddie provide relief to the millions of Americans struggling with mortgage debt.

That's why on Thursday, March 15—the same day the Senate banking committee meets in D.C. to discuss the fate of homeowners—we're organizing big rallies at Obama for America campaign offices around the country
. We'll tell the president: We're sinking in underwater mortgages—throw the 99% a lifeline to keep us in our homes. In communities without OFA offices, we'll rally in front of Wall Street bank branches and homes threatened by foreclosure to let the public and the media know that the 99% is standing up to save our homes.

Will you host a Save Our Homes rally on Thursday, March 15?

Yes, I can organize an even
Hosting an event is powerful and easy. Once you sign up, you'll get the petitions from MoveOn members and all the materials you'll need for a successful event.

Thanks for all you do.

–Elena, Laura, Sarah, Amy, and the rest of the team
1. "Co-Chairs Grijalva, Ellison Call for Justice for Underwater Mortgage Holders," Congressional Progressive Caucus, February 29, 2012
2. "Edward DeMarco: The Ideologue Who's Holding Homeowners—and the Economy—Hostage," The Huffington Post, February 14, 2012
3. "People Power vs Banker Power: Score One for the People," Nation of Change, January 25, 2012
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