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TAKE BACK THE COMMONS

 

Arkley and his Buddies War on the Poor

by Cassandra

The Devils Playground is located behind the mall just past the bushes; a place known by local artists as the best public art gallery. There are also about a hundred people living back there, including families. There are even second generation residents.

This eviction equates the destruction of homeless camps, and the intimidation of those who stay. The people who are pushed out, who have it really hard as it is, are left with no where else to go. We can’t fix the “homeless problem” by trying to push them out; people don’t disappear into thin air just because they lost their homes. Instead, they’re becoming refuges from this man-made disaster.

The Devil’s Playground is not a safe or sanitary place to live, but this is more the city’s fault than the squatters. The city never installed garbage cans or toilets in the Devils Playground despite the obvious environmental need over the last 15 plus years. How can anyone be surprised by buckets of human waste, when there’s no toilets back there? And all those pallets that were hauled away aren’t just random trash; fires is how you stay warm when you’re living outdoors. There is still a serious need for trash service. If the garbage company stopped collecting for houses, the streets of Eureka would be filled with trash pretty soon.

The city is evicting the Devil’s Playground residents under the pretense of concern for public health and the environment. Meanwhile, the Eureka bay and all the areas surrounding it are incredibly contaminated by Dioxins and other carcinogens and toxins from the mill that used to operate in the area that is referred to as Parcel 4. This area includes the Devil’s Playground, which they have never done anything to decontaminate.

 

Instead they provided a grant to New Directions to manipulate homeless people into volunteering to dismantle camps and pick up trash. New Directions will pay these homeless workers for about 60% of the hours they work, and their workers don’t have many other options for employment. So homeless people are being paid less than minimum wage to destroy homeless camps, which in the end leaves these same people in a worse situation than before. They have a little more cash in their pockets but there’s far fewer places to stay now. These evictions shine yet again a light on how desperately our community needs at least an affordable place to camp.

There are deeper issues at play here than merely bad policies regarding sanitation and treatment of the poor and homeless. It isn’t just bad policy, in fact it isn’t even an accident. This act of destroying of a long time encampment area, even though it’s outside of the public eye, is part of a very ugly process. This act is a political push, that is in step with a very troubling ideology that is currently wreaking havoc across the country and around the globe.

 

Humboldt County politics have always boiled down to class war, whether the working class, employed and unemployed, get a share and a say in their community. This today is expressed in the fight over services and resources for the poor and homeless. It’s a constant struggle to hold on to affordable housing, healthcare, food, and education while people with sway in local and state politics lobby to end these services. Right now, these local elite and politicians are pooling their resources to get rid of these social services. Why? Because if they make enough cuts to affordable housing, social security and food stamps, many of the people considered “eyesores” will be forced to move on. If you agree with this policy, think again; If these elitists succeed, don’t think they will see a distinction between homeless people and the working class people who are the backbone of Eureka.

 

The Eureka city government wants to serve the well-to-do, attract businesses and wealthy and upper middle class families into the area. Businesses and wealthier individuals pay more taxes; meaning the city “as a business” will do better. This is an ideological conception of the city’s main purpose being to make money, rather than serving as a home where we care for one another. This idea reduces us all to consumers who either pay or are in the way, because in business the bottom line is all that matters.

 

The people who are pushing to cut services and kick out homeless people at any price, are the same ones who would have us believe that homelessness, unemployment, and addiction are all self-inflicted problems—not at all a result of a social system that creates and perpetuates the environments that necessitate all of them. The city’s local elites and their allies complain of impoverished people destroying the environment. At the same time, they try to develop and profit off of plots of land never cleaned up from corporate toxic waste dumping.

 

Attacking the homeless and their camps and evicting them, when the city has provided nothing for them is worse than shameful. It lays bare an ideology of economic progress over people—profit over people—at a time when poverty and desperation increase and the climate stutters and groans under an unsustainable way of life.

 

The way the economic and environmental crisis is going, anyone could be put out of doors any time. There is little doubt that the number of climate refugees and economic refugees will increase, with nowhere for anyone to go unless we establish a camp site. If the city is our home we the people should take care of each other. We should protect our home from the business interests who would harm and rob us. Should we as a community take back our dignity by establishing a more healthy place to live? For example, establishing a camp site now, as a temporary place to stay. We can easily fit a camp with composting toilets, trash cans and water using the appropriate technology skills and know-how that is available in droves in our community.

 

We need resources for locals who have been thrown out in the cold by our local economy. Everybody should have solidarity from their fellow workers, employed or not, because their fate could easily be yours. We need to get together and find a way to get our dignity and integrity as a community back.

By Will Potter

Most people have heard of tree-sitting—a tactic environmentalists use to prevent old-growth trees from being cut down and whole forests decimated. In its heyday, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, members of groups like Earth First! climbed 100-foot-tall Redwoods and stayed there to save them. Beginning in 1997, one woman in Humboldt, California, named her tree Luna and stayed in it for two years, until enough money could be raised to prevent it from being axed. In 1998, in a Northern California old-growth forest, another treesitter named David Gypsy Chain was “accidentally” killed when loggers felled a tree that came crashing into the protester. He died instantly of massive head trauma.

This style of protest was also hugely successful—that is, until a series of arrests in 2005 against radical environmentalists who were labeled “terrorists.” It scared the shit out of the environmental-activist community, and folks started drifting away.

Now, there's a vibrant national protest movement reviving those "direct action" tactics of civil disobedience again, and adding a new political savvy to the mix. They, too, have been incredibly effective. In Oregon, in the summer of 2011, one blockade took 50 cops, a backhoe, and a 125-foot-crane to remove treesitters. A few days later, activists locked themselves together in an Oregon Department of Forestry office. The group responsible, the Cascadia Forest Defenders, say they won't stop until the Elliott State Forest is protected from clearcutting…

Read More: New Laws Would Make Environmental Protest "Terrorism" (vice.com)

On May 1st may day let’s let everyone know how we feel about Walmart lowering average retail wages nationally. Let them know that we won’t stand by silenty while the greatest ripoff in recent memoryi8 certainly,causing the largest transfer of wealth from 99% of the population to 1% continues unabated. We won’t stand for our future being stolen for the sake of short sighted callous pursuit of profit and power. Gather together wednesday May 1st. Take an action in solidarity with fellow working people. Cause if we don’t stand and fight we lose. Plan an action that applies to your life. Your college program being cut? You have a degree and are just sattled with debt to show for it? Your friends or family in the military cause they couldnt find decent work? Your medical insurance doesn’t work? Police messed you over at occupy? Your working all the time and never getting ahead? May day is International day for the Workers http://www.wsm.ie/content/international-anarchist-mayday-statement This is out day don’t be invisible. Cause when we the working people really get together we’re invincible!

Many Anarchist projects have been rolling and are picking up speed and steam since the 5th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair on December 8th, 2012. Amazing and vibrant scene and zine Humboldt D.I.Y, is coming out of Arcata, courtesy in large part from the Humboldt Garden Collective, and many people from the various houses and radical spaces of Arcata. Humboldt Grassroots introduced the most recent Humboldt DIY with a little call out for more Anarchist media and coordination and cooperation. (That will be available online soon- the zine is only hard copy format now)
It is great luck to have more anarchist media and this Humboldt DIY zine is a fun read.
If you’re not familiar with the Humboldt Gardening collective, you might remember The recent Anarchy and agriculture workshop at the 5th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair, presented by farmer Paul and Ryan of the Humboldt Garden Collective.
The Humboldt Gardening Collective are helping grow anarchism in Arcata by getting together and growing food. You will heat more about them on our site and elsewhere for sure.

But wait there’s more

The work shop on transformative justice and community accountability – One of the important local workshops at the 5th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair- has spawned a study group-studying and discussing ideas methods and Strateging to create community accountability processes that work for our communities.
This is important work, if we want meaningful solidarity we can all rely on, we need to be accountable to one another so that oppressive and fucked up behaviour doesn’t go unchecked. At the same time no one is perfect, and kicking out each person who does something messed up is not the greatest way to solve problems and encourage personal and community growth.
Also violence and ostracizing methods tend to help encourage friends of abusers to make excuses for their friends behavior.
It is a big undertaking we are starting with posters that will be available online and at the infoshop as soon as they’re made.
The transformative justice study group meets at the Crescent house in Arcata and the Rhizome infoshop in Arcata check on Facebook for current meeting details.
Oh! The Rhizome infoshop, thanks to 10 dollars a month throw in from in infoshop Members, and of course all the volunteer work in fundraising all the rest, we have internet cheaper copy service than staples and regular open hours. Plus the multimedia lending library is fully operational.

Last time I talked with our treasurer we are doing all that without relying to heavily on HGR general fund needed to start projects, basic upkeep (like this website) emergencies and to put out print media and put on the book fair(travel costs materials etc.)

This may come as a surprise to some, but we are already looking towards the next Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair. We need people who interested in learning how to put this all together, some newer bottom liners, experienced-and non experienced HABF volunteers, contact people brainstorming, poster designing and making .etc
We’re getting the 6th Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair organizing collective together. So if you like the Book Fair consider helping put it on this year.
Everyone who wants to help will need to know deadlines and an idea of (brass tacks) how all the different components of the Humboldt Anarchist Book Fair come together. So we are organizing/calling out- to have a first meeting to let you get an idea. Veteran book fair organizers will share knowledge and experience with those who are new to it, and together we will come up with new ideas also.
Maybe a two day thing? An day of discussion like they do in SF? It is up to those who organize for it to decide.
So contact us lets get things going.

You can help with Humboldt Grassroots put this very important event on.
Contact Humboldtgrassroots@riseup.net
707-6164700