Shaping San Francisco hosts Public Talks on a variety of topics on Wednesday nights, about 18 times a year. One recurrent theme has brought together activists and the interested to discuss contemporary Social Movements. Here are the Talks we held at CounterPULSE at 1310 Mission Street in 2006, 2007, and 2008.
December 17, 2008
Lessons and Advice on How to Survive an Economic Meltdown
Working class historian Gifford Hartman revisits how people set up self-organized cooperative housing, food production and distribution and other projects to provide for basic needs and community self-defense during the great depression and the SF and Oakland general strikes. K. Ruby of the Oakland Institute for Urban Homesteading gives practical information and advice on doing-it-yourself when it comes to self-sustaining alternatives to dependency on the corporate world. Caitlin Fitzpatrick of San Francisco Food Not Bombs discusses how the organization feeds communities around the globe vegetarian and vegan food through nonviolent direct action. College of Marin instructor Robert Ovetz guides a brainstorming session to apply this history to how we can respond to and survive the coming storm and build projects from the bottom up that already envision the "future in the present."
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December 10, 2008
Neighborhood Newspapers: Community Journalism in San Francisco
Steven Moss with the Potrero View, Juan Gonzalez of El Tecolote, and Thomas Reynolds with the New Fillmore - the monthly neighborhood newspaper for Pacific Heights, the Fillmore, and Japantown, discuss how neighborhood newspapers have grown in San Francisco to fill niches abandoned by the daily press. They also address the changing role of newspapers and publishing in an ever-more-concentrated and ideologically uniform mass media world, vis-à-vis the infinitely diverse and broad on-line world of individual writing, reporting, pontificating and broadcasting.
October 22, 2008
Worker Cooperative Alternatives to Precariousness
Members from various Bay Area worker cooperatives: Gordon Edgar of Rainbow Grocery; Yochai Gal of TechCollective; Dan Thomases of Box Dog Bikes; Poonam Whabi of Design Action; and Kasper of NoBAWC share their thoughts on the history and practice of democratic organization and decision making, equitable employment, and the effects that these participatory organizations have had on the local economy.
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September 24, 2008
Global Africa: Liberation, Decolonialization, and Diaspora
Immanuel Wallerstein, Walter Turner, and Will Grant discuss African liberation movements and decolonialization from 1945 to present, tackling political problems of the post-independence period such as coups, civil wars, struggles against oppressive regimes, economic problems of post-independence, cultural renaissance, and links to movements in diaspora. Co-presented by Global Commons Foundation
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March 12, 2008
Arab San Francisco
Peoples from the Arab World have been migrating to San Francisco for over a hundred years. The earliest were mostly from the Levant: Syria, Lebanon, Jordan and Palestine; most recent immigrants coming from Yemen and Iraq. San Francisco, being a liberal progressive oasis, attracts many gay and lesbian Arabs as a home away from home. We also examine the gay and lesbian struggle in the context of conservatism in the Arab World, showing how Arab conservatism was created, encouraged and spread as a result of western interference. Monadel Herzallah (Arab American Union Members Council), Renda Dabit (Palestinian American artist, activist, and business woman), and Maher Sabry (Egyptian human rights activist and filmmaker) discuss why they have come here, how they have affected San Francisco life, what their ongoing connections to “homelands” across the world are, and how war and US interests in the Arab world have affected these communities.
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February 13, 2008
Community Art Spaces Survive Urban Pressures
Community-based public art spaces are stuck between business-like survival and serving their communities. Hear veterans of San Francisco’s Space Wars Jonathan Youtt (Cellspace), Robin Balliger (Komotion), and Michael Med-o Whitson (848 and CounterPULSE) discuss how they’ve navigated the repressive dynamics of real estate, money, and power to hold open spaces for diverse communities to meet, talk, make art, and shape life.
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January 9, 2008
Class and Power in Queer San Francisco
What does ‘class’ or ‘community’ mean? How does the newbie Midwesterner serving burgers at a Castro street diner relate to the landlord and shop owner ‘Gay Community’ spokesmen? How do the schisms between different classes of women, whether lesbian or bi or undefined, show up in daily life and local politics (or not)? How does fear of gender bending impact trans and intersexed people when it comes to paying the rent? With Meliza Bañales, Solidad de Costa, Keith Hennessy, and Michelle Tea.
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December 12, 2007
News and the Future of Journalism
Newsrooms are hamstrung by the business practices of Wall Street and Big Media, even as newspaper circulation declines and TV news continues the race to the bottom. Both the San Francisco Chronicle and San Jose Mercury News recently laid off large portions of their newsroom staff. The Internet is vulnerable to the same marketplace compromises. Explore alternative business models to ensure journalism remains a lively piece of our civic life. With Barry Parr, of Coastsider.com and founder of the Mercury Center; Michael Stoll, of Grade the News, SJSU, and the SF Public Press; Rose Aguilar of Your Call radio on KALW-FM; Josh Wilson, of Newsdesk.org/Indy Arts; and Carl Hall of Northern California Media Workers.
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November 14, 2007
Public Commons vs. Corporate Privatization
With Mayor Newsom trying to give away the City’s wi-fi space to a corporate consortium, efforts by Bechtel and other private contractors to take over our public water system, the ongoing scandal of PG&E selling us our own “public” power and their current efforts to take over alternative power, incessant pressure to privatize the public schools, and a national culture that blindly accepts corporate interests as preferable to public interests, our guests talk about how the San Francisco Bay Area can begin a concerted push back. With Ted Nace, author of The Rise of Corporate Power and the Disabling of Democracy, David Cobb, Shannon Tracy, Raymond Nat Turner, Jessica Bell, and Matt Leonard.
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October 10, 2007
Does voting matter? Do you urge everyone around you to vote? What kinds of power do we gain or lose by participating in elections? What else can we do? Our diverse panel includes folks who believe in representative democracy, those who propose reforms, and those who reject it outright. Michael Med-o Whitson, Natasha Marsh of the California League of Independent Voters, and James Rucker from colorofchange.org discuss the trouble with voting.
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March 7, 2007
Learnin’ + Teachin’: The Future of Education (4 podcasts)
In decaying and resource-starved public schools, teachers and staffers with incredible vision and energy are trying to make education work. But what do we want from education now? Should it be organized around children spending mandatory time in classrooms or should we take a hint from the burgeoning homeschooling movement and look toward other models? Lisa Schiff, Will Grant, Karen Allen, Ken Tray challenge our assumptions in this open-ended discussion. Part 1 features Lisa Schiff and Karen Allen. Part 2 features Will Grant, co-founder of statewide network in New Mexico of local leadership groups to transform education from K-12. He is followed by Ken Tray, high school teacher at Lowell High in San Francisco, and director of political education for United Educators of SF, the teachers' union. Parts 3 & 4 feature audience-led dialogue.
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January 17, 2007
The Public Health Epidemic in a Therapy Society (3 podcasts)
In the relatively wealthy Bay Area, state-of-the-art hi-tech medicine sits side by side with an ever-growing phalanx of alternative treatments and philosophies. Meanwhile a growing proportion of the population is denied access to any kind of health care. What should be the response of medical professionals, alternative practitioners, and community organizers? What role, if any, do we want the state and business to have in health care provision? Part 1 features Adrienne Pine with the California Nurses Association who gives a blistering critique of Governor Schwarzenegger's medical proposals. Part 2 features Bill Mosca of the California State Oriental Medical Association (CSOMA) and Jason Blantz of SF General Mental Health serving the disabled, indigent and poor on Medi-Cal. Part 3: Q&A among the panel and the audience with Chris Carlsson, Bill Mosca, Adrienne Pine, and Jason Blantz.
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December 13, 2006
Tactical Evolution: Protest Culture, Dissent, and Radical Change
Do the political forms received from past decades still work? If not, where are we going? What are our goals? How does protest and dissent fuel creative and innovative alternatives to the status quo? Have tactics backfired and reinforced the politics we oppose? David Solnit and Kate Raphael explore protest movements in the Bay Area from Vietnam through the Central American wars of the 1980s, the anti-nuke and nuke freeze movements, up through the WTO/Seattle protests, through the March 2003 shutdown of San Francisco when the Iraq War started.
October 11, 2006
Bolivar, Zapata and Sandino Ghosts and Revolution in South America
Bay Area revolutionary thinkers and actors John Ross, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Aileen “Chockie” Cottier open the discussion for the potential reshaping of our own politics in the Bay Area through the lens of left-leaning and re-emerging indigenous political movements which are altering politics in and changing our thinking of lands south of the U.S. border. Mobilized indigenous cultures are forming new social movements in the Andes, deposing governments and shifting the left toward a more profound anti-state and anti-imperialist politics from he state-sponsored programs in Venezuela called“Bolivarianism” to the bottom-up, grassroots Other Campaign of the Zapatistas in Mexico.
March 8, 2006
Infrastructure Wars: Sustainable Movements (3 podcasts)
Chris Carlsson, Kyle Pedersen, and Calvin Welch, housing activist, bring an historical look at how San Franciscans have fought for a human-centered city. The corporate agenda has been thwarted again and again in the saving of Telegraph Hill, stopping freeways, and resisting redevelopment. This public talk takes a look at the historic Burnham Plan and some other ideas for reshaping the City, as well as explores new movements which are again contesting the direction of the City, from a sustainable perspective.
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Parts 2 and 3 follow on this play bar:
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