Call for Solidarity from the Student Occupation Movement with the California Valley Miwok Tribe
Thousands of students have taken part in the occupation of their universities and schools – yet many have asked how this movement will grow and expand itself? How will it break out of the schools and institutions of “higher education,” and begin to involve itself in the territory of all social life? Recently, the California Valley Miwok Tribe in Stockton (about 1 hour south of Sacramento and 20 minutes north of Modesto) occupied their tribal office/home and have held it for several months. Barricaded inside their space, the tribe has created an international stir and held their ground behind barricaded walls. On January 15th, the Sheriffs are set to come in and evict the tribe. In response, the tribe is holding two large demonstrations and pickets in Sacramento on the 6th and 7th of January. These pickets will take place at the John Moss Building (Bureau of Indian Affairs Office) 650 Capital Mall, from 10 AM – 1PM each day. People are encouraged to bring signs, banners, and as many people as possible. Stand in solidarity with all people occupying and taking back their lives – from the schools to their foreclosed homes.
If the students who stood against the budget cuts and fee hikes now stand in solidarity with the Miwok people who are resisting eviction by occupying their space, we can expand our movement and make powerful connections. We can generalize our struggle across new terrain and space. We can push for the occupation of all aspects of our lives. We must occupy and escalate!
More information on the pickets: http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2009/12/29/18633785.php
Interview with CVMT in Modesto Anarcho: http://www.anarchistnews.org/?q=node/10371
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Skateboarding is Not a Crime
By Mike Rhodes
Does your right to carry a skateboard vanish into thin air when you step onto the Fresno City College campus? Ask Greg and Demone Moultrie, who are still sitting in the Fresno County Jail, what they think. According to witnesses, Greg Moultrie was walking on campus with his skateboard in his hands on September 25, 2009 when he was stopped by a campus police officer. The officer ordered Moultrie to hand over his skateboard. When he did not want to comply with what he felt was an unreasonable request, the incident escalated and Demone Moultrie, Greg’s brother, got involved. As officers scuffled with the Moultries, a student at the Native American Intertribal Student Association table got on the group’s PA system and encouraged students to use their cell phones to film the incident.
In video on the Internet < http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=7033613 >, you can see the chaotic scene, including one of the officers hitting Demone with his baton. Greg was sprayed with mace. Greg is now—more than three months after this incident—still sitting in the Fresno County Jail. He has just been given a 3 year sentence for charges filed against him in the skateboarding incident. When I went to visit Demone on December 22, Greg was in The Hole - solitary confinement. Demone is also still in jail and is scheduled to be sent to Chino State Prison on January 21, all because of this skateboarding incident. How could something as simple as walking across the FCC campus with a skateboard end up with two young men in jail for a prolonged period of time?
In an attempt to find out the answer to this question, I talked to students at FCC and contacted the Public Information Office. I received a response from Joseph Callahan, Chief of Police with the State Center Community College District who defended their “skateboarding is a crime” policy by stating that “once skateboards get away from their owner, they are little more than missiles capable of great harm.”
Just before school let out for winter break, I talked to JP, who was sitting on a bench next to the fountain where the incident had occurred. He had his skateboard with him. I asked if he had ever had any trouble with the police, and he told me about two incidents when he had his skateboard confiscated. “They took my skateboard when I was on the sidewalk on the McKinley side of the campus, and I had to pay $16 to get it back.”
Callahan says that if the fine is not paid within twenty-one days it doubles. He went on to say that “skateboards that are not claimed will be held for ninety days. After ninety days a letter will be mailed to the owner advising them that if they do not come in and pick up their property within thirty days, it will be transferred to the Director of Maintenance and Operations for auction.” That might explain why the police have a more than causal interest in confiscating skateboards, whether or not students are in violation of any rules.
Rigo Garcia is a member of the Sustainable Action Club at FCC. He said that “after the skateboarding incident in September, we tried to hold a forum on campus to discuss the incident.” Even though the club is a campus group, the school administration refused to allow them to use a building for the forum, in part because “they said we are an environmental group and that this issue didn’t have anything to do with the environment.” Garcia said that Sustainable Action is a social and economic justice group and that they should be able to discuss issues of concern on the campus. He feels the refusal by the FCC administration to allow them to use a room to discuss this issue was a violation of their free speech rights.
The FCC administration, immediately following the September 25 incident, banned campus groups from setting up tables near the fountain. Garcia said they claimed that it was a “security concern” because emergency vehicles would have a hard time getting on campus with student tables in the fountain area, but it is commonly understood at FCC that the ban was in response to the student group that got on the PA system, announced that the police were attacking students and asked if someone could turn on their cell phone and video the incident. The December 2 FCC Rampage (the student newspaper) had an in-depth story connecting the ban on tables at the fountain and the skateboarding incident.
“FCC has a new video surveillance system with a camera focused on the fountain, but they are telling us that somehow that camera was not working on September 25,” Garcia said. The missing video could have shown what happened before the police confronted, hit and arrested Greg and Demone Moultrie. Instead, what you have is missing video that would have given insight into the incident and the FCC administration retaliating against student groups because they encouraged fellow students to document the incident. In addition, they tried to prevent students from discussing the incident by refusing to allow Sustainable Action to hold a forum on the incident. What is it about academic freedom that the FCC administration doesn’t understand?
Garcia has a theory about why the FCC police behave the way they do. He says that when officers in the notoriously aggressive Fresno Police Department get into trouble, they end up with the FCC campus police. That could explain the culture at the FCC campus police, but it does not explain why the FCC administration allows these violations of basic constitutional rights to continue. If these violations continue, it is only a matter of time before an organization such as the American Civil Liberties Union becomes involved and files a lawsuit, resulting in a huge settlement or judgment against the college.
Ceres takes on truant students
CERES -- With almost 20 percent of students ditching school on a regular basis, Ceres Unified School District officials are more aggressively pursuing truants with the help of prosecutors and county courts.
For most school districts, students are considered truant if they have three or more absences in a school year that have not been excused with parents' or doctors' notes. In 2008-09, about 1,991 of 10,200 Ceres students were considered truants.
In the three years Ceres Unified officials have taken the initiative in monitoring truancy, attendance is up 1.5 percent.
"Our goal is to get students back in school. Without being there every day, they're losing out," said John Christensen, the district's coordinator of child welfare and attendance. "We can also provide resources to help families and general knowledge about why school is important."
Truancy is the result of several factors -- rebellious students who refuse to go to school, pushover parents who let their children stay home or parents who don't require their children to attend school. It's not just teens missing school; a growing number of younger children are frequently absent. Half of Ceres' 2008-09 truants were in elementary school.
Take the case of one elementary student not making it to class.
When Ceres Unified's attendance liaison, Brian Chandler, contacted the student's mother, he said she relayed her difficulty waking her son up in the morning.
Chandler said he found out that she frequently fed the child fast food for dinner, which was usually around 8 p.m.
After slurping down caffeinated Mountain Dew at that hour, the child wasn't falling asleep until 2 a.m. It was no wonder he wasn't up bright and early ready for school, Chandler said.
Once that was pointed out to the mother, she started feeding her child earlier and he's now attending school regularly.
Solutions to truancy can be as simple as attitude adjustments for students or better parenting skills. Some families just can't afford alarm clocks to wake up on time, Ceres officials said.
When students are not coming to school, officials try to meet with parents and remind them of the importance of school or refer the families for financial or social help.
Fines up to $445 per day
If that doesn't work, officials educate parents and students about the law, that truancy can result in fines of up to $445 for parents and $380 for students every day a child is not in school, and jail time for parents and students.
Most people don't realize truancy can carry such penalties, officials said.
The fines are funneled back to school districts, Superior Court Judge Linda McFadden said. She presides over juvenile court.
As a last resort, school district officials refer truancy cases to the Stanislaus County district attorney's office, which can take parents or children to court to remedy the absences. Though fines and jail time are rarely levied, the threat is there while attendance is monitored.
Prosecutors find that when young people stop attending school, they are more likely to commit crimes, said Jared Carrillo, the deputy district attorney who is in charge of most truancy cases.
Truants often in trouble
"Those who stay in school tend to have better jobs and better lives," said Carrillo, adding that many truants dabble in drugs and gangs.
The district attorney's office also will try cases in juvenile court when the main culprits are the students themselves, a change from the past.
"The community needs to work together to keep students in school," McFadden said. "Children have to have something else to do (besides committing crime) so they're not a distraction to the community and themselves. It's about prevention."
The threat of fines and jail time usually solves the problem, but a few families still protest. Chandler said he has a handful of truancy cases still in court three years later.
"The majority of them do change. Some take longer than others," Christiansen said.
Chandler remembers a first-grader living with grandparents who didn't think school was important. The grandparents didn't show up to meetings with administrators, but once the family was summoned to court, they were scared straight. The child now has perfect attendance, he said.
One high school student had a history of not attending or liking school, so the student was ordered to volunteer in the community. Now the student is in school on a regular basis, Chandler said.
"I try to tell (parents and students) how fortunate we are in this country to have this education," McFadden said.
Bee staff writer Michelle Hatfield can be reached at email@example.com or 578-2339. Read her education blog at thehive.modbee.com/ ExtraCredit.
Read more: http://www.modbee.com/local/story/988684.html#ixzz0b6y6K8Rw
Monday, December 28, 2009
OCCUPY EVERYTHING!: California Valley Miwok Tribe Occupies Foreclosed House in Stockton
From the upcoming issue of Modesto Anarcho, 3 year anniversary issue!
Modesto Anarcho: Many people do not know the history of the Native peoples in the Central Valley, can you tell us a little about the history of the Miwoks?
California Valley Miwok Tribe: Previous to Rancherias being created in California, the Miwok People's territory covered ten (10) counties. Now our Tribe is fighting to retain its Tribal Property that consists of one and one half (1 ½) acres, located in (Morada) Stockton, California.
MA: How does your tribe use the house that is located in Stockton?
CVMT: The Tribal Property at 10601 Escondido Pl. Stockton, California 95212 has a multi-purpose function. Since our tribe is a landless tribe, the piece of property, including the building, is considered to the Tribe to be its reservation, and is utilized as such. Until such time as the tribe is able to acquire a larger tract of land for the benefit of future tribal members [the house is all we have]. The Tribe conducts official Tribal 'governmental' business, day-to-day office duties, Tribal Programs, Tribal Meetings, and a portion of the building is used for housing.
MA: What brought your house to foreclosure?
CVMT: Our PL-93 638 Mature Status Contract (BIA) has been illegally withheld for two years and our Indian Gaming Revenue Sharing Trust Fund (RSTF) monies have been illegally stopped. Since the end of 2005. Without any funds coming in, the Tribe had no way to pay its mortgage on the only piece of property, the place the Tribe calls “home”. Please see our DOT US website for further info: http://www.californiavalleymiwoks.us
MA: Why did people physically occupy your house? How did you go about making sure that people were not going to be able to easily get into the house?
CVMT: The Tribe decided to stand its ground when it was threatened with eviction. We had no choice, where were we supposed to go? Our monies have been illegally withheld for no good reason, our jobs lost, our medical benefits lost with our jobs, we tribal members have been using own personal money to keep the Tribe going, to keep the USDA Food Program open for the people in need to still be able to get their monthly rations of food. We had to make our point clear that we were no longer going to be pushed out and forgotten like yesterday's trash!! We are human beings. We are not just names and/ or numbers on a piece of paper. We needed the Department of the Interior Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, DC to take notice of what was being allowed to happen to our Tribe. We were pushed in a corner and had no other choice but to go into survival mode and stand our ground. The Tribe went into a vote and decided to go into lockdown and barricade itself in until the Dept. of the Interior would be forced to take notice of our devastating situation and agree to sit down at the table with us to resolve our immediate problem that had been ignored up until we decided to stand our ground.
I can't answer the second part of your question because our crisis isn't over yet. We are still negotiating.
MA: How have the state and their police responded to your situation? How have other people and/ or institutions tried to hinder your efforts?
CVMT: Well, the state still hasn't released the Tribe's money. I would say that the sad part to this dilemma is seeing some of the people believing the negative stuff that had been going out on blogs. It hurts our hearts to see people say such cruel things when they don't know the whole truth behind the situation. We are confident that the truth will prevail and so we don't follow the blogs. Although we do want to thank those who stood by us and still stand with us today...
MA: In what ways have other Tribes and communities/groups offered you support?
CVMT: We are thankful for the internet radio talk shows , tv hosts, Veteran Affairs, some pocket members of the American Indian Movement (AIM), legal services, individual concerned citizens (Indians and non-Indian peoples), universities, special interest groups, Canadian Indians, doctors, Calaveras Band of Mi-Wuk Indians, Calaveras County Mountain Miwuk, Historical Shingle Springs Miwok Indians, Modesto Anarcho, Ghost Machine Group, United Native Americans Inc., WPFW Nightwolf, Onnativeground. Recently, Chairperson Burley did a presentation at the Consumnes River College in Sacramento in which they have asked how they can help show their support for the Tribe. Also, UC San Diego has passed a resolution in support of the California Valley Miwok Tribe and they have continued to be stong advocates to help our tribe get justice.
MA: Anything you would like to add?
CVMT: We (“The Tribe”) are asking for help from the General Public. Please help our tribe survive. Help us protect not only our history/culture but the native history that is a big part of California and the United States. For more information, please visit our websites at:
Monday, December 21, 2009
Sunday, December 20, 2009
Even though you partied yourself silly and your head still hurts after New Years, come out to Firehouse 51 on January 1st in order to celebrate a big year for Modesto Anarcho Crew, and help plan for another one. Even though we want to talk about the coming year, we also want to get down. So, be prepared to bust a move.
ZINE RELEASE PARTY FOR MODESTO ANARCHO #13, OMGz!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
A note to fellow students and workers of CSU Stanislaus
On December 9th, the students, staff and faculty of CSU Stanislaus gathered in the quad to voice their grievances against an administration that uses education as an opportunity to profit at the expense of the students. Throughout the course of the rally, attendees discussed the president's incompetence and effects the current wave of fee hikes and class cuts have had on our lives. It cannot be stressed enough that Shirvani and his administrative staff are not acting in the interests of students, teachers, and workers. Where we see an opportunity to make something out of ourselves, he sees an opportunity to increase the size of his wallet. And this is an approach that is being implemented more and more by those who control things. When the level of privatization in our society increases, the quality and depth of our lives decrease. When we take the time to look at the structures that operate around us, it is apparent that those that are set up to create profit for people like Shirvani are expected to be paid for by us, students and workers. They want us to pay for their crisis.
We should recognize something here: that unity creates power. Becoming aware of our role in this struggle is vital to keep up the momentum that gets things done. Coming together to act on our anger gives us a vehicle to realize our collective desires. What we accomplished today as an organized force was something that is not experienced by regular people in today's world: the creation of our own power. It is important to understand that by acting, and by acting with each other, even if we were present for different reasons, we can take back control of our lives.
With love and solidarity,
-Some students and workers from the Central Valley
Read article on indybay with comments here.
Hundreds Rally at CSUS, Storm President's Office
Today we found power. We found it in ourselves, and we found it in each other. We found it in our collective self on the quad of CSU Stanislaus. We found it again in MSR, when the administration hid behind the boys in blue rather than face us. And we found it once more when we got in.
Today, around 200 students, faculty, and staff walked out of their classes around 11:00 AM and met in the quad at CSU Stanislaus. After an hour-long rally, filled with speeches of discontent and enraging stories of the downward spiral of our university. 150 of us marched across campus to the Mary Stuart Rogers building (the administration building). Met with police barricades, we continued on towards the intersection of Geer Road and Monte Vista/University Way (arguably the busiest intersection in Turlock). After rallying there for fifteen minutes, we returned to the MSR building with 60 people to sit down in President Shirvani's office on the third floor around 1:00 PM. After another half an hour of discussion and wall-shaking chants, we left of our own accord.
Today was a victory. However, we are not without regrets. Today's numbers are unprecedented. This is likely the largest show of power the people of Turlock have ever manifested. At a university where normality consists not of radicals and hippies, but of nursing students and teachers, with no history of agitation or radical politics, we interrupted it, if only briefly.
That said: today we did not fulfill our desires. Today's action was rife with infighting and attempts at liberal remediation. Several individuals in particular showed up to the initial rally with the intention of co-opting the mass of students to their own goals of "speaking truth to power" and establishing a dialog with the administration, in stark contrast to the wishes of those assembled. We fell short of our potential when we refrained from storming Shirvani's office the first go-around, in fear of two police officers. We fell short when, at Geer and Monte Vista, we refrained from taking the streets, again for fear of police intervention. And we fell short when we allowed our energy to drain out in a matter of minutes after reaching Shirvani's office. Diminished already, with no support or resources to commence an occupation, and no direction or energy to escalate, those of us who remained in MSR filed out in the spectre of what could have happened today.
But in that spectre lies the possibility for so much more. We learned several lessons today. We have the power to organize in significant numbers, even on a CSU in the middle of the Central Valley. We are not alone in our discontent; everyone on our campus, at other CSUs, at the Community Colleges, and the UCs, everyone is feeling the effects of this crisis, and everyone is angry. We have broad faculty support. Even at CSU, we find ourselves faced with the leftist squanderers and student cops that our comrades at the UCs faced. It is a disservice to ourselves, and our desires, to allow such elements to remain within our ranks unannounced. Most importantly, we learned that we have the power to create the conditions in which we could act out our desires for our campus. Until next time.
Solidarity to SF State! Solidarity to Wheeler Hall! Solidarity to all of our comrades who are resisting at their campuses and workplaces across California and the world! We want to take a minute and especially shout out to our comrades who came from MJC today; towards the liberation of not only universities, but community colleges!
a student from the valley
Read article from indybay with comments here.
Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Sunday, December 6, 2009
On Saturday, November 5th, students, faculty, and workers took to the streets of an upscale neighborhood in Turlock California, located about 15 minutes south of Modesto, to protest outside of the home of CSU President, Dr. Shirvani. Shirvani makes around $350,000 a year, and receives more in car and housing allowances than many professors make in a year. Faculty at the university have recently voted almost 90% in "No Confidence" of the President, and student outrage against him is at an all time high.
Faculty at CSU Stanislaus have faced job lay offs of up to 20% and many staff workers have also been laid off or have had their hours cut. For students, fees have risen by ten percent over the last couple of years every year, while class room sizes have risen and many classes have been eliminated. Shirvani has also outright abolished winter term, which for many students means a loss of access to certain classes that they need. This move was also opposed by about 80% of the students, according to certain polls taken.
This action was the most confrontational and militant yet by CSU Stanislaus students, as previous actions have included small sit-ins in early-mid November of the administration building, which resulted in closed door meetings between several students and the President. Nothing came out of these meetings but Shirvani re articulating that he will continue to make cuts and break down the public university system towards a more privatized one. Flipping the popular student slogan around, Shirvani has stated, "Education is a privilege, not a right."
As the recent article on the CFA (California Faculty Association) website stated (http://restructuringcsu.wordpress.com/), Shirvani is leading the forefront assault on education, that seeks to make it harder for working class students to go to college and will push out various majors such as art and philosophy, promoting instead more online courses and bigger class room sizes.
About 30 students protested outside of Shirvani's home for about an hour, and despite at the end three police cars showing up to guard the house (one of them being a CSU Police car - showing again that the university police are NOT NEUTRAL in this struggle), students remained loud and resolved. More actions like this and constant pressure are needed to stop the job lay offs of faculty and staff, the rising student fees, and the cuts to classes and services for students. As many students stated during Saturday, the time for working within the system and writing letters is over. More than ever we need unity between staff, faculty, and students, as we fight against our class enemies within the university.
We have no faith in the student government. They are an arm of the administration. We have no faith in the student leaders among the "movement" which seek to police and direct us - we are not children, we can organize ourselves. "Socialist" student cops are still cops. We have no faith in asking politely for our enemies to change. We will take, we will strike. we will occupy. We will takeover.