Corporate dictatorship may look like business as usual. But at its heart, it’s pressuring government officials to do what benefits business, not what benefits “we the people.”
Take Oakland CA, for example, where the city’s corporate voice, the Chamber of Commerce, has long been wary of public protests by environmentalists, Black Lives Matter demonstrators, labor union members, OurWalmart protestors, advocates for a higher minimum wage and other activists for social justice. Demonstrators have been active in Oakland’s streets and government buildings since long before Oscar Grant was shot in the back and killed by a transit policeman as he lay face down on the Fruitvale station BART platform on New Year’s Day, 2009.
CLICK HERE to see a powerful protest video, “Don’t Let Them Get Away With Murder.”
Earlier this year, after violent individuals took advantage of peaceful protest demonstrations to smash store and car windows along Broadway Auto Row, Oakland’s new mayor, Libby Schaaf, issued an order banning demonstrations after 10 p.m.
There is a federal 9th Circuit Court decision saying when unlawful conduct mixes with First Amendment activity, the proper thing is to punish the unlawful conduct, not prevent the First Amendment activity from occurring. The ACLU sued. Mayor Schaaf has not publicly rescinded her order, but has since allowed a few nighttime demonstrations. As Dr. Martin Luther King said in his last speech, made on April 3, 1968, to striking garbage workers in Memphis TN, “The greatness of America lies in the right to protest for right.”
Before the mayor’s ban on nighttime protests, Oakland closed a City Council chamber balcony after affordable housing activists shut down a Council meeting to protest the planned sale of public land to a luxury housing developer, despite city and state policies favoring affordable housing on public land.
The closed balcony meant the Council was turning away people who wanted to attend its public meetings. A union representing some city workers sued, charging that it violated city and state open meeting laws. It took an order from an Alameda Superior Court Judge for the public to regain access to what by law is a public proceeding.
In Alameda County, where Oakland is located, the district attorney’s office is keeping mum about its plans to acquire a half-million-dollar device capable of locating and tracking your cellphone. The East Bay Express reports that the DA has signed a non-disclosure agreement with the manufacturer, and there is no guarantee that the tracking device works as claimed. CLICK HERE to read the East Bay Express article, “Alameda County DA Seeks Controversial Surveillance Device.”