10.09.13 - The RCA and the Hotmess are squats — which is to say they are a set of buildings left to die before being illegally transformed into a living home, a place where weary travelers can rest their heads, and an experiment in developing relationships that challenge the logic of property. About two years ago the project of transforming these adjacent vacant buildings began. The squats are positioned along a vulnerable section of W MacArthur Blvd in West Oakland. Developers call this section of town the “MacArthur Corridor.” Others prefer to call it home. If taken from the squatters, the RCA/Hotmess would have likely been slated for demolition and “developed” into condominiums for Oakland’s “up and coming”. Read…

History of the Spanish Missions: Early Colonization of the Bay Area

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10.09.13 - After the flood, Coyote and the other ancestors created the people of the earth. Over time they grew into separate tribes, speaking different languages, remembering the creation stories differently. From the north near the old volcanoes came obsidian, from the hills came deer hides, from the long coast came beautiful sea shells. Some people ground acorns, some hunted, some gathered shellfish and other creatures from the sea. After the shellfish were eaten, the shells were thrown into mounds that had been there since time began, and these mounds were testaments that this way of life had existed forever and would continue until the world ended. Read…

Four Theses on the Public School


10.09.13 - Since the summer of 2012, the Bay Area Public School (bayareapublicschool.org) has been working throughout Oakland and San Francisco to build a free, anti-capitalist, horizontally structured experiment in alternative education. Formed in the wake of Occupy Oakland, its core members are activists and intellectuals who conceive of the School’s project as explicitly political. I’m one of those members, and though I don’t claim to speak for the collective or any of its other members, I’m excited to share with FireWorks’ readers some of the reasons I think the Public School is an important attempt to extend what activism looks like in Oakland.

Drones in the Sky, Cameras on the Wall #1


10.09.13 - If you’ve taken BART in the past few months, you may have noticed the new cameras installed inside and around the BART system. It’s no coincidence that this fresh wave of cameras are being introduced to the San Francisco Bay, now several years into a second tech boom. The ascent of social and web technologies here heralds a boom in surveillance, control, and hi-tech weapons of war. Read…

Interview with the People’s Community Medics


10.09.13 - The People’s Community Medics (PCM) were formed in the summer of 2011, in the aftermath of investigations into Oscar Grant’s murder. FireWorks sat down with two of the PCM’s founders, Sharena Thomas (CNA, MA) and Lesley Phillips, both First Aid/CPR certified and trained in Wilderness First Aid, for an extensive interview about their project and the work still to be done.

Fighting Displacement: a letter from a resident of the 5th ave marina


10.09.13 - Earlier this year we received a note on our door about an upcoming inspection with an appraiser. We thought: refinance or sale. At the beginning of April we saw Channel 2 news reporting outside on the street and that day It was announced that Gov. Jerry Brown made a $1.5 billion deal between the Oakland-based real estate development company Signature Development Group and China-based investors, Zarsion Holdings Group, to finance the redevelopment of the 5th Avenue Marina. Read…