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He was perfectly situated sitting quietly on a chair resting against a parking meter, the pieces of clothing he was selling, neatly folded on a small table, or on hangers hooked to metal bars at the entrance of a residence.  Just a couple of minutes before we started walking from the parking garage at 21st and Lexington, and then my wife realized that it was a little nippy and we were debating whether to go back to the car to get her peacoat.  And just when we were talking about that, we walked by the old man wearing a hat, selling used clothing... And she saw a wool scarf on the table.  Problem solved!  I asked the man how much for the scarf and he said one dollar; he made it a point to tell us that everything has been washed.  I paid him one dollar gave the scarf to my wife, and off we went towards the 16th Street BART station plaza.  It's a nice scarf; the label says "Made in Italy."

It was a beautiful day in San Francisco, at about 12:45 P.M. on Saturday, February 1st.  The day before (Friday) I had attended the San Francisco protest rally and march part of an Inter-continental Day of Action Against The TPP, against what activists have been calling a "corporate coup" against democracy, a description I totally agree with.  I had mentioned to my wife that there were two other rallies in San Francisco on Saturday and asked her if she wanted to go to the City since it had been a while since the last time she visited.

And so we decided to mix a little bit of activism with some r-and-r.  We have a nice arrangement when it comes to these type of situations when I'm in my activist mode because once I get to the location I get really immersed into the activities; I start taking pictures and videos; I talk to people about the event, about the issues being addressed... And so she hangs out for a while, but then off she goes to walk around and enjoy the sights in the neighborhood.  Once I've done my thing, I usually get a text from her letting me know that she's at a cute little coffee house close by.

The rally and protest on Friday (January 31st) was organized by a few organizations, including the Global Exchange, Occupy San Francisco, Raging Grannies, 99Rise, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, among others.

Here's the description of the anti-TPP event from the Trade Justice Network:

On January 31, 2014, Communities throughout Mexico, Canada and the United States will join together to say “ENOUGH!” to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), the pending Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and other corporate “trade” deals. They will do this in solidarity with with an important conference in Mexico City on the catastrophic impacts of NAFTA on Mexico and the need for a radically new trade model for the continent and beyond.
Another organization tackling this issue is Flush the TPP is an action campaign to Stop the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We invite you to join us. In order to stop the TPP we need to act quickly and in solidarity with people in other countries. This massive trade agreement is a high priority for transnational corporations, and they are working fast to make it law.

The TPP affects many issues, including worker’s rights and wages, environmental collapse and climate change, sovereignty of nations and democratic rule of law, Internet freedom and online creativity, food safety and agriculture, healthcare and financial regulation (including controls over the flow of capital), and much more...

So anyways, we got to the 16th Street BART Plaza a little after 1:00 P.M. when one of the organizers of the event, Laura Guzman (executive director at Mission Neighborhood Resource Center) had just begun to talk about the rally.
Potentially very big changes are in store for the community surrounding the 16th Street BART Plaza. An $82-million development with 351 residential housing units has been proposed for 1979 Mission Street (adjacent to the plaza) and is currently working its way through the City's approval process.

La Plaza 16 Coalición/ The Plaza 16 Coalition has come together to advocate for the 1979 Mission Street site to be used for much needed affordable housing in the neighborhood. We do not believe the recently introduced development project for the site, as currently proposed, primarily serves the needs of the existing community and thus we will oppose the development unless it is tailored to meet the need for truly affordable housing in the neighborhood.

After I listened to a few speakers and interview a local activist, Joey (see video below), I met my wife at a coffee house on 15th and Mission, had some ice tea, and then we proceeded to walk to the 24th Street BART Plaza.  The day before at the TPP event, Miguel Robles (co-founder and director of Biosafety Alliance) announced that they were going to be having an event to help raise awareness about the dangers of GMOs (genetically engineer organisms).
To grow GMO’s, the big Ag Industry uses tons of chemical fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides. The environmental impact of increased pesticide use and use of chemical fertilizers for seeds bred to grow only in conditions with lots of nitrogen has been widely reported. Additionally, the consolidation of the seed supply has been blamed for the disappearance of 90% of seed biodiversity as well as 90% of biological forms (plants, insects, birds & mammals, including bees), in the United States. We don’t know what the consequences of this will be for our health, soil, water and air, but there are hundreds of researches that report increasing rates of respiratory problems, asthma, allergies, cancer, birth defects and others related to the continuous exposure to GMO related products. The consumption of GMO grains in animals has created digestive problems in the long term and in rats has been linked to cancer.
We got there at around 3:30 P.M. and Miguel was addressing the crowd, talking about how prevalent GMOs are, about how a few corporations have come to dominate the food industry, and about the dangers this situation represents when it comes to food bio-diversity and to our health.

After I interviewed Mr. Miguel Robles, I found my wife again... We walked around, bought a few items we needed from local merchants, and off we went back to the parking garage on 21st and Lexington; and we headed home.

It was truly an extraordinary weekend.  As I wrote in my previous diary, "when I find myself around other people who make the effort to join in unity and solidarity with other activists to rise in opposition to injustice (when they could be doing something else), the experiences left me feeling energized and motivated.  There is something special about being around other people who are fully committed to standing up against injustices and oppression anywhere.  You feel the camaraderie, the unity, a certain affinity."

As I also wrote in my previous diary, the root of all these problems can be traced back to the fact that our institutions have been captured by corporatist cartels and monied interests... More and more people are realizing this and are rising up in opposition, to demand democracy and justice.  Join the movement!  There are a lot of good people involved.  See below...


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