Jill Stein to Speak on the Post Office Steps

jill-steinOn Friday, June 3rd, Green Party candidate for the US Presidency Jill Stein will speak at 4:30 PM on the steps of the downtown Berkeley Post Office at the invite of Berkeley Post Office Defenders.

Some excerpts from her “Power to the People” Plan:

…create deep system change, moving from the greed and exploitation of corporate capitalism to a human-centered economy that puts people, planet and peace over profit.

  • Create living-wage jobs for every American who needs work
  • Abolish student debt to free a generation of Americans from debt servitude.
  • Create democratically run public banks and utilities. Replace corporate trade agreements with fair trade agreements.
  • terminate unconstitutional surveillance and unwarranted spying
  • Abolish corporate personhood

Save the Garden: An Open Letter to the U.S. Attorney General

May 23, 2016

The Honorable Loretta Lynch

Attorney General of the United States

[Open letter: sent via Internet and by mail.

Available for website posting and email distribution]

Dear Madam Attorney General:

As I hope you know, protesters whose goal was to protect and defend Federal property from private encroachment set up a 24-hour information center on a corner of the land surrounding the Berkeley Main Post Office in Berkeley, California. That direct action presence was in place for over seventeen months. A free box for sharing clothes, tables for food and book sharing, and a community garden were created and maintained.  The community garden is in a space that had previously been used as a litter dump, and was done as part of our attempt to improve federal property. During this time the City of Berkeley and thousands of community members succeeded in quashing the Postal Service’s plan to privatize the land, sell the building to high-profit developers, and and endanger the future of the beautiful and historic Post Office Building building.

Residents of the community have been informed by Berkeley City Councilmember Jesse Arreguin that your department was involved in authorizing the April 12, 2016 raid which demolished and cancelled these community services and displaced the people who were living there and providing them. This information was provided to Councilmember Arreguin by postal and/or postal police officials. Also please know that Berkeley city police were witnessed advising people to sleep in the community garden. When ongoing and open drug abuse by those who had been advised to stay there was reported to both the Berkeley and Postal police no action was taken. These actions and nonactions were disruptive and destructive to the whole area, especially as it is across the street from  Berkeley High School. Rather than help solve the open drug abuse problem and restore peace and well-being to the area, your team chose a scorched-earth option by fencing off the garden and corner and removing the bike rack.

Now, two people, one of them an active participant in the 17-month information center, is being charged for impeding access to the post office, which no one involved in the protest ever did. We note that none of the drug dealers have been charged with anything. It seems to us that the current barricade is impeding  access, which our protest never did.

We are writing now to ask you to have your marshals take down the barricade so that we can tend to the crops in the community garden. We have been watering our garden with a bionic arm water transport driver and a step ladder. It seems unduly harsh to let the vegetables die uneaten in the course of suppressing free speech and preventing access to federal land.

Ideally, of course, the barricade will be taken down and left down. Ideally, you would welcome peaceful public protest on federal land, as well as gardens, fresh vegetables, and sources of good information. However, if you can only see your way clear to taking it down long enough for people to tend to the garden, we can be reached through Debbie Notkin (kith@spicejar.org) to arrange a date and time.

Sincerely yours,

BERKELEY POST OFFICE DEFENDERS

 

 

 

First They Came for the Homeless… Then They Fenced Off Public Space.

First they came for the homeless, and evicted them on April 12th.  Two weeks later, Postal Officials decided that they had had enough of the rabble, erecting an iron fence around the Community Garden and the area where the bike rack used to be (it looks from the photo that the bike rack has been removed)

We are waiting for the moat to be installed around the entire property, and a drawbridge that opens only to the password “Privatize It All!”when uttered by a one-percenter.

po-fence-4-27-16

 

 

The ‘MUST GO ON’ Celebration!

A press conference and celebration to discuss what’s next for the activists who occupied the grounds of the Main Berkeley Post Office for a year-and-a-half

When: Saturday, April 23, 2016 starting at 1:00PM
Where: Downtown Berkeley Post Office, 2000 Allston Way, Berkeley, CA
Why: Though our occupation has been torn down, the fight to preserve public resources, free speech, and the rights of homeless people must continue

BPOD-FIRST-flyer-4-23-2016

Though the Main Berkeley Post Office is not currently up for sale, the USPS continues to pursue a “shrink to survive” strategy by reducing and outsourcing services, chiseling away at union employment, and selling post offices around the country.  Management of this huge enterprise is neglected with only three Governors on the Board that is chartered for eleven.  The Postal Service continues to ignore the strong recommendations of its own Inspector General to correct anti-competitive practices in its real estate division and to pursue financial viability by offering banking services to its customers.

Continue reading

An Urgent Situation at the Berkeley Post Office

To Berkeley City Officials:

Thanks for your participation in the collaborative community effort to protect the Berkeley Post Office from sale and privatization. The ongoing efforts of people who are homeless, activists, union members, members of community organizations and those holding public offices has created a powerful coalition capable of preserving our commons in the face of powerful opposition and manipulation. At this time we face a serious obstacle to our collective efforts.

The community garden on the west side of the post office is under siege. We community members who tend it have found syringes, human excrement, rotten food, trash and bicycle parts in the garden. Recently we have been yelled at by those apparently using drugs, and/or those storing their belongings in the garden. People in the area have been exposed to second hand smoke from drugs used in the garden and tents and other gear have destroyed many plants.

Continue reading

Berkeley’s Letter to the USPS Regarding Use of the Berkeley Post Office Finally Sent!

October 20th, 2015

Mr. Tom Samra
Vice President, Facilities
United States Postal Service
475 L’Enfant Plaza SW
Washington, DC 20260-1101

Dear Mr. Samra,

At a meeting of the Berkeley City Council on June 30th, 2015 the Council approved a resolution regarding the Main Post Office at 2000 Allston Way in downtown Berkeley (attached), and requested that City offices begin discussions on the following issues with the appropriate staff from the United States Postal Service (USPS):

Continue reading