Daily Mail (UK): “Reclaiming the banks: Activists turn British banks into creches, classrooms and launderettes in protest over public service cuts”
“Reclaiming the banks: Activists turn British banks into creches, classrooms and launderettes in protest over public service cuts”
Daily Mail [UK], Feb. 26, 2011 [link]
Activists stormed more than 40 banks across Britain in protest over executive bonuses and public service cuts - and turned them into a variety of ad hoc walk-in centres.
UK Uncut said demonstrators set up creches, laundries, school classrooms, libraries, homeless shelters, drama clubs, walk-in clinics, youth centres, job centres and leisure centres at branches of RBS, NatWest and Lloyds.
At 10am in Camden, north London, demonstrators invaded a NatWest and set up a creche where children played, practiced musical instruments while parents caught up.
Playcentre: In Camden, north London, demonstrators invaded a NatWest and set up a creche where children played, practiced musical instruments while parents caught up Read more…
I’m taking a break from posting for a while. Check the index on the right-hand side for a list of all 150 or so posts.
If you want to take over or take a different direction, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Crisis in Care: Interview with an anarchist support worker”
Jan. 31, 2011 [link]
The Fargate Speaker talks to a local support worker about the problems in social care as a result of the recession and the proposed austerity measures.
I work as a support worker for a private company that provides social care for people in Sheffield for people with learning disabilities and mental health issues. The company I work operates across the city. According to government officials, cuts to public spending will not harm front line services, workers, or service users. The reality of the situation is that working conditions are getting worse, day services are closing down, and those paying for the support services are being excluded from any of the decisions relating to care they supposedly direct and influence. Read more…
UT Latin American Studies student Elizabeth O’Brien holds up her 21-month-old daughter Graciela O’Brien to Richard Flores, Associate Dean of the College of Liberal Arts at UT, at Gebauer Hall on Wednesday Dec. 1, 2010. O’Brien was one of scores of students protesting proposed budget cuts in the College of Liberal Arts. When Flores said he didn’t oppose the budget cuts, O’Brien told him to tell that to her daughter’s face.
[The Statesman, 12/1/2010]
“Parents anguish over child care cuts”
Rick Radin, Contra Costa Times [10/19/2010]
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s elimination of a child care subsidy, benefiting 8,000 children in the Bay Area and more than 57,000 statewide, has parents and providers upset and worried.
The loss of the subsidy will cost low-income parents hundreds and perhaps thousands of dollars a month, depending on how many children they have who were covered by the subsidy.
The program, known as CalWORKs Stage 3, gives continuing child care subsidies to parents who have been out of the CalWORKs welfare-to-work program for job training and education for at least two years.
California will end Stage 3 payments Nov. 1, but child care providers haven’t been paid since July 1 because of the delay in settling the state budget. The state has promised that it will make up the back payments.
Assembly Speaker John Pérez, D-Los Angeles, announced a proposal this week that would go around the governor and restore funding until a new chief executive takes office in January.
Schwarzenegger killed the program in one of several line-item vetoes after completing a budget deal with the Legislature earlier this month. Eliminating the child care subsidy is intended to save the state about $256 million a year.
About 1,700 children in Contra Costa County and 2,200 in Alameda County will lose their subsidies, according to the Contra Costa Childcare Council, the county’s largest child care network.
Elimination of the program will leave parents who rely on help to stay in the work force with few, if any, options, said council Director Kate Ertz-Berger.
It also may cause children to be yanked from providers with whom they are prospering to face an unknown future with lower-cost providers or even less-stable arrangements, Ertz-Berger said.
Alternatively, some parents may choose to quit their jobs to stay home with their children and apply for county welfare, she said.
“The bottom line is families will be devastated,” Ertz-Berger said. “Children will lose the ability to prepare for school.”
Elimination of the program was part of $962 million in cuts the governor made to restore a state “rainy day” fund to a $1.3 billion balance, said H.D. Palmer, deputy director of the state Department of Finance.
About $1.7 billion in other categories of child care subsidies are still available, Palmer said.
“The reserve (fund) was unacceptably low,” he said. “Not to single out child care, but the reserve was not sufficient.” Read more…
“Protests draw attention to halt in Kidango funding”
Sean Maher, Oakland Tribune [9/29/2010]
OAKLAND — Parents of about 2,000 Bay Area children found themselves temporarily without child care service Wednesday as a major local provider closed up shop to demand Sacramento lawmakers to finalize and pass the state budget, which is three months late.
Kidango, a nonprofit with child services in 42 locations across the Bay Area, closed all its doors for a day to stage a protest that drew hundreds of parents and their children to a march through Fremont and into to Oakland via BART for a rally at the Elihu M. Harris State Building and City Hall.
California gives the nonprofit about $800,000 a month to aid its operating budget — about $35 per day for each child in its care — but has not sent any money since July 1, when the state’s last budget expired. The 91 days that have passed are a record for the most populous U.S. state.
Kidango organizers said they’re weary of struggling every year to protect state funding for child services, but that this year has been the worst yet since Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed in May to cut child welfare services funding entirely.
“California has been funding child services since World War II, when women had to enter the work force, and never has a governor suggested this funding be eliminated,” Kidango regional director Jennifer Cambra said.
“Of course, it was probably just a bargaining chip to get Democrats negotiating,” Cambra said, “but it was audacious.” Read more…
Solidarity with the Whittier Parents sit-in – stop the demolition of the field house!!
The Whittier Parents’ Committee is staging a sit-in to fight against the demolition of the Whittier Dual Language School’s field house, in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago. The sit-in has been widely reported as the struggle of a community against the blind austerity cuts instituted by a cash-strapped school board. But in fact this struggle brings to light larger and more contentious issues in Chicago and nationally: control over Tax Increment Funding and the top-down reshaping of public education.
The Whittier Parents’ Committee has been organizing for seven years to push Pilsen alderman Daniel Solis to allocate some of the estimated $1 billion in Mayor Daley’s TIF coffers to their school for a school expansion – he finally agreed to give $1.4million of TIF funds for school renovation. Cynically, Chicago Public Schools (CPS) has earmarked a part of this money for the destruction of the school’s field house, which has been used for years as a center for community organizing and services. This would directly undermine the ability of the Whittier community to organize and struggle for educational rights. Parents are demanding to be part of the decision-making process.
CPS has been conducting an extreme makeover of public education: privatization, demolitions, school closures and turnarounds, massive firings of seasoned teachers have been part of the large-scale redesign of public education. Public funds are being used to renovate schools that are privatized, while low income neighborhood schools are being starved of the most basic resources. The fight over the survival of this little field house is an important one in the larger struggles around educational rights, community self-determination and control over public land and institutions.
We support the demands of the Whittier Parents’ Committee!
1. Do not demolish the field house – use the same $354,000 allocated to demolish the field house to remodel the building and expand the programs offered, including a school library
2. Work with parents and the local community instead of imposing a top-down vision for the school
“California students get tracking devices”
The Associated Press [08/18/2010]
RICHMOND, Calif.—California officials are outfitting preschoolers in Contra Costa County with tracking devices they say will save staff time and money.
The system was introduced Tuesday. When at the school, students will wear a jersey that has a small radio frequency tag. The tag will send signals to sensors that help track children’s whereabouts, attendance and even whether they’ve eaten or not.
School officials say it will free up teachers and administrators who previously had to note on paper files when a child was absent or had eaten.
Sung Kim of the county’s employment and human services department said the system could save thousands of hours of staff time and pay for itself within a year.
It cost $50,000 and was paid by a federal grant.
Parents, Teachers, Students and Community Members Vow to Keep Childhood Development Centers (CDC’s) Open
PRESS CONFERENCE Sunday, Aug. 29, 4:00 pm
Golden Gate Child Development Center (CDC)
6232 Herzog St., near San Pablo + Alcatraz (Oakland)
TAKE ACTION this Tuesday, Aug. 31, 4:30 pm
Golden Gate Child Development Center (CDC)
6232 Herzog St., near San Pablo + Alcatraz (Oakland)
Parents, teachers, students, and community members vow to keep open the Golden Gate and Santa Fe Childhood Development Centers (CDC’s) in Oakland. They are holding a press conference today to announce their intention to mobilize a mass protest and action on Tuesday at 4:30 pm in front of Golden Gate CDC to stop them from being closed.
On Friday, the Oakland Unified School District announced that the two CDC’s in Oakland would close next week, despite finding the money to keep five other centers open that had also been scheduled for closure.
“If they found $2.4 million to keep open five of the schools, then I know they can find the money to keep my son’s school open, too. This whole fight is about the right for every child to an equal, quality, public education. We’re fighting for what Martin Luther King fought for,” said Alonie Butler, Oakland parent and BAMN supporter.
Over the course of the summer, OUSD attempted to close seven centers which run early childhood and before and after school programs for children, sparking a community-wide movement and series of protests, marches, and occupations. That movement kept all the centers open until the end of August. Last Friday, when the District announced its intention to close Golden Gate and Santa Fe CDC’s, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration, and Immigrant Rights and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary (BAMN) organized teachers, students, and parents to sit-in and occupy Golden Gate CDC to keep those centers open. Read more…
“Oakland keeping 5 child care centers open”
Kevin Fagan, SF Chronicle [August 28, 2010]
Parents and activists fighting to save a string of low-income child care centers in Oakland won a partial victory Friday when the school district came up with enough funding to keep most of the centers open – but protesters are now occupying the two that have been shut, demanding that they, too, be preserved.
Members of the community group By Any Means Necessary said they will stay in the two centers through the weekend and open them up on Monday whether the district likes it or not.
“We’ve got to draw a line with early childhood education,” Yvette Felarca of Oakland, an organizer with the group, said as she prepared to bed down for the night in the Golden Gate Childhood Development Center on Herzog Street, one of the two facilities closed as of 5 p.m. Friday. “We want the school district, the governor and Sacramento to know they’ve got to stop playing political games with our children. Read more…
“7 Oakland day care centers may close”
Kevin Fagan, SF Chronicle [August 27, 2010]
The tots looked happy nibbling on snacks and playing tag around the tables, but for the adults at Jefferson Childhood Development Center in Oakland, Thursday afternoon was anything but fun and games.
Today may be the last day of operation for this full-service, low-income day care center and six others in the city. And as they stood contemplating that probability, the moms, dads and teachers said they have no idea what their alternatives will be.
Whatever they are, they’re bound to be either inconvenient or much more expensive, the adults all agreed. If there are alternatives at all.
“If they take this place away, I guess I’ll have to go to a family day care of some kind, and I don’t really know yet how I’ll pay for that,” said Tonya Hughes, worry lining her face as she watched her 7-year-old son, Andre Powell, laughing with his pals in the center at 40th Avenue and San Juan Street.
“If you’re trying to pay for mortgage, PG&E, food and child care, something has to give,” said Hughes, a social worker. “What do they want parents to do?” Read more…
“Budget Protesters Block Major Road Near Capitol”
KCRA video [Aug. 18, 2010]
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Protesters upset over proposed cuts to California’s budget blocked a major road near the Capitol in downtown Sacramento Wednesday afternoon.
Sacramento police arrested 22 people on misdemeanor charges of resisting arrest. Sgt. Norm Leong said one person was booked into jail on suspicion of inciting disorder, while the others were cited and released.
The intersection of 11th and L streets was blocked by about 100 demonstrators, who set up tents in the middle of L Street.
They also placed stretchers in the road.
Right in the middle of the street, the protesters set up an effigy of Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger with a sign around its neck saying “Cuts Kill.”
Organizers said they planned civil disobedience to get the governor’s attention about his proposed budget cuts to social services.
“People need to see this is what’s going to happen if these cuts go through,” demonstrator Robin Earth said. “I know it’s against the law, but what should be against the law is people being made homeless.
L Street reopened just after 4 p.m. in time for rush-hour traffic.
No injuries were reported.
“Child care providers struggle without a state budget”
Without a state budget, child care programs funded through school districts, nonprofit organizations and licensed individuals are facing financial hardships as they try to “float” their budgets until state funds are let loose.
Some child care providers have been forced to close, and others are considering closing in the coming weeks if no budget is signed, county child care coordinators said.
In his May revision of the 2010-11 budget, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger proposed eliminating about $1.2 billion in need-based, subsidized child care. The governor’s proposed budget included state preschool, but eliminated about 142,000 slots for subsidized child care, according to the revision.
H.D. Palmer, state Department of Finance spokesman, said the now-dead proposal to remove child care from the budget came about because of billions of dollars in lost savings in May relative to the January budget due to “legislative inaction,” he said. Palmer said the governor’s proposal to remove child care from the budget was no longer “on the table” since the Legislature has rejected it. Read more…
“I’ve been to three ‘Stand for Kids’ marches in Sacramento (to save CalWORKs),” said Loomis, a graphic designer for a sign company in Antioch. “(Providers) want $180 to $200 a week per child, and that would be my entire paycheck if I had to pay it all myself.” Read more…
“Students, Parents March Against Closure Of Oakland Childcare Centers”
KTVU [Aug. 11 2010]
OAKLAND, Calif. – Families opposed to the closure of seven Oakland Unified School District childcare centers marched Wednesday to the Board of Education meeting to protest shuttering the state-funded centers, a spokeswoman for the families said.
Parent support group Oakland Parents Together and families of students from the childcare centers held a press conference before marching to the 5 p.m. board meeting.
Students will speak during the public comment period at the board meeting, said Laurice Brown, a parent of students at the Manzanita childcare center and an Oakland Parents Together spokeswoman. Read more…
Antonia Zerbisias Feature Writer [August 6, 2010]
It’s said that a woman’s work is never done.
As far as Stephen Harper’s government is concerned, it need never be measured either.
All but lost in the controversy over the Conservatives’ impending elimination of the mandatory long-form census is how, in the proposed $30 million dollar replacement — the voluntary National Household Survey — Question 33 from the long form has been cut.
Question 33 (let’s call it Q.33) is a three-part query that has been in place since Canada made commitments at the 1995 UN World Conference on Women in Beijing. The question gathered data on how much time people spent on unpaid work: domestic chores, child care and attending to the needs of elderly relatives and friends. It helped make Canada a world leader in “time-use” data.
The results have also been showing how women are faring, socially and economically.
For example, the results indicate that despite a higher volume and percentage of women in the workforce over the past 20 years, changes between men and women in respective unpaid workloads have merely been “marginal.”
Based on information gathered in the 2006 census, StatsCan reports that, on average, “Women spend about an hour a day more on basic housework chores than their male counterparts. In 2005, women aged 25 to 54 averaged 2.4 hours daily cooking, cleaning and doing other basic unpaid household chores, compared with 1.4 hours per day for men in this age range.”
Two-thirds of Canada’s unpaid work is being performed by women. No matter how the value of that is evaluated —anywhere between 30 to 45 per cent of Canada’s $1.5 trillion GDP. That’s a heck of a lot of productivity that is being completely discounted.
“Question 33 has made it possible to understand that productivity does not consist in producing dollars alone,” says Queen’s University law professor Kathleen Lahey, author of Removing Fiscal Barriers to Women’s Labour Force Participation. “Productivity also consists of producing the human beings who grow up, if they are healthy, to become functioning members of the workforce, who help drive innovation, develop technology, etc. And it includes the work that produces day-to-day life that sustains human growth and evolution.
“Why don’t we want to know about that part of our productivity anymore?’’ Read more…
Island of Alameda, “[Alameda Unified School] District set to slash child care programs” (Aug. 10, 2010)
“District set to slash child care programs”
Michele Ellson [Aug. 10, 2010]
Alameda Unified School District officials are getting set to cut toddler and school-age child care programs for next year in anticipation of state funding cuts to those programs.
Toddler and school-age programs offered at Woodstock Child Development Center, Ruby Bridges Elementary School and Haight Elementary School will cease after August 27. But the district’s other preschool programs will remain in place, district officials are set to tell the Board of Education tonight, and they’re expected to serve 100 children during the school year.
Alameda Unified is one of many California school districts shuttering child care programs, district officials said, because without a state budget in place, they’re not sure the state will be paying for them this year. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s May budget proposal slashes funding for the programs, though Democrats who control the state Legislature want to maintain that funding. Read more…
“Community Members Gather to Protest Proposed Childcare Cuts”
Demonstrators gathered outside Berkeley’s City Hall Thursday to protest proposed cuts to state funding of child care programs.
When Gennelle Lacy gets called in to work for an 8 a.m. shift, she relies on the low-income child care program at Malcolm X Arts and Academics Magnet elementary school to watch over her 8-year-old daughter.
But with the program facing imminent closure due to ongoing state budget woes, Lacy wonders who will take care of her daughter during her often 40-hour work weeks. She said comparable child care would cost her over half a month’s wages.
“I would just be working for child care,” she said. Read more…
“Child Care Centers Remain Open, for Now: Oakland parents get a reprieve, but state budget cuts still loom”
Katharine Mieszkowski, SF Bay Citizen [July 30, 2010]
Seven centers, which were scheduled to shut down, will remain open through the end of August, thanks to $400,000 in federal stimulus money, which the district reallocated at the last minute. The centers, which serve children who are in pre-K through third grade, are threatened by the state budget crisis. Even though a budget hasn’t been finalized, the school district is already feeling the pain.
“We’re not getting any new revenue from the state until the budget is passed, so as a stopgap measure we were going to have to close at least seven sites effective on Monday, August 2nd,” said Troy Flint, a spokesman for the school district. Read more…
SF Bay View, “‘People’s Takeover’ of child care centers planned by Oakland Parents Together” (July 26, 2010)
‘People’s takeover’ of child care centers planned by Oakland Parents Together
Oakland – More than 120 parents and staff members of the Oakland Unified School District’s Child Development Program (CDC) met at Santa Fe Elementary School and unanimously and enthusiastically endorsed a proposal from Oakland Parents Together (OPT) to organize the seven CDC sites slated for closure for a “People’s Takeover – the opposite of a State Takeover – which will keep these sites operating with volunteers until the state of California reinstates the money cut from the CDC budget.” The seven sites are Manzanita, Santa Fe, Piedmont Avenue, Hintel, Sequoia, Golden Gate and Jefferson CDCs. The proposal continued: “It is unacceptable to the people of Oakland that the state budget be balanced on the backs of our babies.”
According to OPT Executive Director Henry Hitz: “We have to draw the line. If we allow these sites to close, they may never open again even if the money is restored.” Read more…