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Long Beach: VFP, SCIC, LBAPN, MFSO Celebrate Armistice Day

14 Nov
Antonio Palacios, of Veterans for Peace, speaks at Armistice Day, on Nov. 11 about his experience in the Navy; Photo by Barry Saks

About 50 people, many of whom were veterans, celebrated Armistice Day, instead of Veterans Day, on Thursday, Nov.11, to “(r)eclaim Armistice Day,” according to a Veterans for Peace flyer by gathering at Valparaiso Plaza, 2100 E. Ocean Blvd., hearing speakers and marching to the Lone Sailor Memorial at 3000 E. Ocean Blvd., where they heard more speakers.

Veterans for Peace, Long Beach Area Peace Network, Military Families Speak Out and the South Coast Interfaith Council primarily sponsored the celebration. SCIC was well-represented with many speakers from the local faith-based community.

Antonio Palacios, representing Veterans for Peace, was a speaker at Valparaiso Plaza, served in the Navy. Palacios characterized himself as “a smart, hard-working, ambitious, brown kid from La Puente, California.” He joined the Navy anticipating to use his service as a means of paying for college. While serving, a Master Chief Petty Officer took a liking to him. However, the Master Chief’s liking turned into sexual harassment, which traumatized him. Eventually Palacios was discharged early under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

Palacios expressed his ambivalence when people expressed their gratitude for his service. He said, “I don’t know how to accept it. I don’t know how to hear those words and feel normal. I don’t know how to casually reply with a ‘Thank You’ without feeling something sticks to me that I don’t want to feel… I don’t know how I can accept the fact that over a million Iraqis are dead now… I don’t know how I can accept a ‘Thank you for your service’ in relation to this.”

Pat Alviso, National Coordinator of Military Families Speak Out, speaks on Armistice Day, Nov. 11, about her son’s wartime experience; Photo by Barry Saks

Pat Alviso, the National Coordinator of MFSO, spoke at Lone Sailor Memorial. She said, “Earlier I said Nov. 11 is painful (for) me as I’m sure it is to other victims of war because I still can’t look away from all the faces of the young recruits (that) I have to witness at the endless color-guard ceremonies going on today and I flash back to my 18-year-old son’s innocent face as he was marching off to a war which he actually thought would be helping the Afghan people… Instead, he returned, like so many others completely demoralized because he ended up knocking down the doors of the homes of terrorized families, mostly women and children, and getting flipped off by those very same children.”

Alviso also said her son was redeployed five more times and now suffers from traumatic brain injury, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), chronic back and neck injury and hearing loss.

The same flyer, titled “Help Us Celebrate Armistice Day 2021,” said, in part, “Over 100 years ago the world celebrated peace as a universal principle. The first World War had just ended and nations mourning their dead collectively called for an end to all wars. Armistice Day was born and was designated as ‘a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated’.

“After World War II, the U.S. Congress decided to rebrand November 11 as Veterans Day. Honoring the warrior quickly morphed into honoring the military and glorifying war. Armistice Day was flipped from a day for peace into a for displays of militarism.”

Barry Saks was a member of MFSO.

SoCal Sunrise Movement Rallies to Stop Oil Drilling

12 Oct

About 100 people, on Monday, Oct. 11., mostly Sunrise Movement youth activists, rallied outside of the Wells Fargo Bank Building in Long Beach to demand “an END (sic) to offshore drilling, according to a Sunrise Movement Orange County webpage event announcement, while inside the building were the offices of Beta Offshore, the firm that ran the failed pipeline, causing, the oil spill, in early October off Huntington Beach in Orange County.

Josiah Edwards, 21, spokesperson for Sunrise Movement Los Angeles speaks, Monday, Oct. 11, at rally to end oil drilling; Photo by Barry Saks

One speaker at the rally was Josiah Edwards, the spokesperson from Sunrise Movement Los Angeles. Edwards, 21, said, “(W)e understand that our generation is going to be the one that inherits the world of climate catastrophe and climate disaster. We are in the frontlines of this crisis simply by the nature of our age. We are put at risk by the exploitation that is perpetuated against black and brown folks, indigenous folks, young people and poor and working-class folks because corporations, like, … Beta Offshore and Amplify Energy … believe it’s alright to take advantage of us young people, to take advantage of black and brown folks, to take advantage of poor folks….We are the generation on fire because these  people set us on fire, in the same way they set this state on fire, in the same way they our oceans on fire, in the same they set our communities on fire, they put us on fire… And now we are burning of flame of a generation that will continue to fight and make sure that we put an end to all offshore drilling and we put an end to the fossil fuel industry.”

Kenny Allen, 28, who is the Hub Coordinator for of the Sunrise Movement Long Beach, a couple of hours before the rally, by email, said, regarding the demographic makeup of the Sunrise Movement, “(F)rom my experience a majority of our organizers are high-schoolers, college-age students, and recent college graduates. Like most social justice movements, our movement is made up of a majority femme-identified (according to Wikipedia, a term, which ‘is most often a term used to describe a lesbian who exhibits a feminine identity. It is sometimes also used by feminine gay men, bisexuals, and transgender individuals.’) people.”

Dean Toji, who characterized himself as a member of Long Beach, on Oct. 5, by email, said, “Oil pipelines and other fossil fuel infrastructure is leaking and spilling all of the time, all across the country and the world. It’s a regular part of their operations.

Toji, who taught Asian-American Studies and Environmental Science and Policy at California State University Long Beach, added, “But even if there’s not an ‘accident,’ think about what happen. The oil goes to the refineries, where it poisons the air breathed by people in West Long Beach, Wilmington and Carson and in Torrance.  Then the processed fuel goes to trucks, cars and ships, as diesel fuel, gasoline and bunker fuel, producing more air pollution and also greenhouse gases that cause global warming. Fossil fuels have to be ended, along with program of just transition for workers in the industry and the surrounding communities.”

According to the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, Beta Offshore is an oil and gas producer at 111 W. Ocean Blvd., Suite 1240, “operate(ing) three offshore platforms (Ellen, Elly and Eureka, according to Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement) …12 miles south of Long Beach (in Federal waters)” and is “a division of Amplify Energy Corp.”

Allen, at the Long Beach City Council meeting of Tuesday, Oct. 5, said, “This past weekend, another pipeline did what pipelines everywhere are just about guaranteed to do. It burst. This time it was a pipeline in our own backyard connecting the Long Beach oil platform, named Elly to inland operations. The results have been devastating…This Council body is complicit in this spill… I’ve watched you sacrifice the air I breathe, our sacred wetlands and the future of my generation for too long.”

The Orange County Sunrise Movement event announcement also “strongly encouraged” people to comply with local mask mandates and to wear a mask. It also reminded people “outside of Sunrise” that Sunrise believes “in-nonviolent, direct action.”

Sunrise Movement activists on Monday, Oct. 11, demand the end to oil drilling; Photo by Barry Saks

Long Beach Marches for Women’s Reproductive Rights

2 Oct
About 500 marchers gathered in Harvey Milk Promenade Park on Saturday, Oct. 2 to defend women’s reproductive rights, after marching less than a mile from the County of Los Angeles, Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in downtown Long Beach; Photo by Barry Saks

About 500 people in Long Beach, as part of more than 600 events across the U.S. the Women’s March National initiated, on Saturday, Oct. 2, marched and rallied downtown for women’s reproductive rights, in response to recent anti-abortion laws in Texas and Mississippi.

The marchers started on their less-than-a-mile march at the Los Angeles County, Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse, 275 Magnolia Ave. From the courthouse, they walked on the sidewalk south toward Ocean Boulevard. From Ocean they turned east toward The Promenade North. From there, they went north toward Harvey Milk Promenade Park, 185 E. Third St., where they heard music and speakers, many of whom were locally elected officials.

Molly Watson, of the California Black Women’s Democratic Club, emceed at the rally at the courthouse and at the park. At the courthouse, Watson led call-and-response chants: Watson shouted, “My Body” and crowd responded with “My decision;” Watson shouted, “Abortion” and the crowd yelled, “Justice.” Another chant consisted of the call of “Hands off” with the response of “My body.”

After the chants, Watson said, “I would be remiss to not go ahead and pay attention to the disparities that we see every single day in particularly here Long Beach as well. We know that black women, brown women, indigenous women have higher rates of death, complications when they are pregnant, when they give birth. We know that access to affordable healthcare is not there for everybody. We know that reproductive rights for a very long time has been a white women’s issue and there are lot of us here who are ready to take a lot of that back. It’s about all of us.”

Emcee Molly Watson (Left), of the California Black Women’s Democratic Club and former 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce (Right) stand together on Oct. 2, before the next speaker reaches the podium at the Long Beach rally for women’s reproductive rights; Photo by Barry Saks.

In a press release of Sept. 24, from the Long Beach March for Reproductive Rights, former 2nd District Councilwoman Jeannine Pearce, said, “The current attacks on women’s reproductive rights are one part of the efforts to suppress the voices of women and people of color. Suppressing voices is clearly an example of oppression. I urge Congress to act to ensure women remain in control of their bodies. Women refuse to be victims of state oppression. We stand together to make sure we retain control of our bodies and our lives.”

On Sept. 28, Christina Sergy, who characterized herself as a host of the march, in an email, said, “We are so proud to see Long Beach come together so quickly to send a message that Congress must pass the Women’s Health Protection Act (The act codifies the right to an abortion in every state.) and the EACH Act to end the Hyde Amendment (The amendment bans federal funding for abortion except for rape, incest or threat to a women’s life, according to the Planned Parenthood Action Fund).”

According to the “Press-Telegram” of Sept. 29, the march was planned by The Women of Long Beach Political Action Committee, the North Pine Neighborhood Alliance and the Long Beach Resister Sisters.

According to the same press release of Sept. 24, the march was sponsored by Mayor Robert Garcia, Vice Mayor Rex Richardson, Councilmembers: Cindy Allen and Suely Saro, the Democratic Women’s Study Club, the Long Beach Young Democrats, the Long Beach Gray Panthers, Planned Parenthood, the National Association of Social Workers California Chapter, the California Working Families’ Party and the Yes We Can Democratic Club.

Sexual Assault, Drugging Allegations Follow JP23 Restaurant, Bar and Nightclub from Fullerton to Long Beach

13 Sep

About 15 people stand with their signs and chant near the southeast corner of Pine Avenue and Broadway in Long Beach on Saturday, Sept. 11, to demand the closing of the Long Beach location of JP23 Restaurant, Bar and Nightclub; Photo by Barry Saks.

About 15 protesters, near the southeast corner of Pine Avenue and Broadway, in downtown Long Beach, on Saturday, Sept. 11, stood with their signs and chanted, demanding the closure of the Long Beach JP23 location in solidarity with Samantha Velasquez, who alleged she had been drugged at the Fullerton nightclub, on Sunday, Aug.1, and sexually assaulted after leaving.

Among the protesters was Ron Feldman. Feldman said he heard about the protest from the Instagram account of the Democratic Socialists of America – Long Beach. He said he followed up by reading online news stories, like the Aug. 5 FoxLA story on the JP23 protest.

Above the heads of the protesters was the JP23 logo. The nightclub was closed.

Earlier, the protesters met at Harvey Milk Promenade Park, 185 E. Third St., where some painted signs. From the park, they walked to the protest.

The JP23 website, before the protest, announced its Long Beach “Grand Opening” of Friday, Sept. 3 and Saturday, Sept. 4 was postponed.

About 15 protesters gathered at and Harvey Milk Promenade Park, 185 E. Third St., Long Beach, where some painted signs on Saturday, Sept. 11, before the protest sight;; Photo by Barry Saks.

Outside Downtown Long Beach Convention, Pro-Immigrant Protesters Chant ‘Free the Children’

8 May

About 10 people, near the corner of East Seaside Way and South Pine Avenue in downtown Long Beach, just below the Long Beach Convention Center, on Saturday, May 8, stood on the sidewalk with their signs and chanted slogans in solidarity with the immigrant children being detained at the Long Beach Convention Center.

Using call and response, Someone would shout, “What do we want?” The others would shout, “Free the children.” Then someone would call, “When do we want it?” The others would respond with “Now.”

The protest was organized by BAMN, the Coalition to Defend Affirmative Action, Integration & Immigrant Rights, and Fight for Equality By Any Means Necessary.  

Long Beach May Day 2021 Coalition Demands Accountability From Feds, City Regarding the Housing of Immigrant Children at Convention Center

6 May

Solidarity with immigrants and workers, has always been central to the annual Long Beach May Day events. This year was no exception. However, this May Day, the Long Beach May Day Coalition had another issue to confront—the federal government, with the cooperation of the city, is housing unaccompanied immigrant children, many who are indigenous at the downtown Long Beach Convention Center.

A decorated car in the parking lot of the closed Food 4 Less grocery store, on May 1, 2021 in celebration of International Workers Day at 2185 E. South Street; Poto by Barry Saks.

The event began with a caravan of about 80 cars from the parking lot of the closed Food 4 Less grocery store, at 2185 E. South Street in North Long Beach. Before the caravan, the May Day participants decorated their cars.

Among the cars and the people in the parking lot was Alfredo Carlos, a political science professor at California State University Long Beach. Carlos, who has a doctorate from the University of California Irvine, said, “My dad was a member of UFCW (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union Local) 770 (when I was) growing up. We’re at a grocery store that is closed down…This is something that could have completely happened to him. He worked at Sav-On (drug store) his whole life. So, I’m out here supporting the struggle of people like my dad.”

Out of the parking lot, the caravan of cars, with horns, turned right onto South Street. The caravan weaved through the streets of North Long Beach eventually ending at Houghton Park, 6301 Myrtle Ave.

About 150 people attended the hours-long, multilingual program of English and Spanish in the southeast corner of the park, near the Long Beach Vietnam Veterans Memorial featuring the “Huey” helicopter. The program consisted of music, speeches and poetry.   

An email of May 1 before the caravan from the Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition contained a social media toolkit. It, in part, said, “The rapid increase of detention facilities for migrant children in our community is an ineffective response to an issue that has drawn public outrage from across the globe. It is a tragedy and a logistical failure brought on by the federal government’s decision to cling on to harmful Trump-era policies, namely the emergency regulation ‘Title 42’ implemented by the Trump Administration through the Center for Disease Control, that institutionalized family separation by allowing agents at the border to deny legal (a)sylum claims and separate families.

“Grassroots (o)rganizers have proposed creative and compassionate solutions that truly protect children and don’t rely on keeping them in cages. We must welcome those who are seeking safety from violence and persecution with care and compassion.  We must hold the City of Long Beach and the Federal government accountable for the well-being of the children at the Long Beach Convention Center through community oversight.” 

Samuel Farber on Trumpism

6 Jan


I’m posting a link,, to a piece, “Trumpism Will Endure,” by Samuel Farber, which helps me understand the situation now in the United States.

Farber has some formulations, which with I strongly agree and I believe are worth discussing.

One might call it food for thought.

I knew Farber when he lived in Los Angeles and taught at UCLA. I remember him lamenting on his inability to get academically published. Ironically, after moving to New York and teaching there, he has had at least two books published on Russia and Cuba, and numerous shorter pieces published.

President-Elect Joe Biden Picks Antony Blinken for Secretary of State

23 Nov

The New York Times and other news organizations reported on Monday, Nov. 23, President-elect Joe Biden picked Antony Blinken for Secretary of State.

According to the American Academy of diplomacy, Blinken is “managing director of the Penn Biden Center for Diplomacy and Global Engagement and the Herter/Nitze Distinguished Scholar at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies” and “held senior foreign policy positions in two administrations over three decades—including Deputy Secretary of State in the Obama administration.”

The former Senior Biden Campaign Adviser and now Biden’s choice for Secretary of State Tony Blinken spoke, by Zoom and Facebook Live on Monday, May 18, on “The U.S.-Israel Relationship in a Biden Administration” for the Democratic Majority for Israel. To hear his talk, go to

Recipe for Sugar Snap Pea, Garlic, Cheddar Cheese, Egg-White Omelet

17 Nov

One of my favorite eats is my morning omelet. While I don’t eat it every morning, I eat it often, perhaps three or four times each week.

As the title suggests, it consists of sugar snap peas, cheddar cheese, garlic, egg whites and some no-stick cooking spray. 

First, I apply an ample amount of cooking spray to the bottom of the frying pan.

Second, I crush the garlic (I use a lot, perhaps more than most people.).

Third, I heat the pan on a low heat and place the crushed garlic in the pan.

Fourth, every 15 or 30 seconds, I move the garlic around so it fries as evenly as possible.

Fifth, I take a handful of fresh sugar snap peas, wash them and I cut them length-wise.

Sixth, after the garlic is browned to my liking, I add the sugar snap peas and fry them with the garlic, probably no more than a few minutes, just long enough to get them hot.

Seventh, I add the egg whites.  I’ve learned to use as little egg whites as possible because the egg whites fry evenly and it’s easy to serve open face.

Eighth I add cheddar cheese.

Ninth, when egg-white liquid is no longer runny, I place it open-face on a plate,

I must confess what makes my omelets special is what I put on top. First, I put some mango salsa followed with nacho-style cut pickled jalapeño peppers. To me it’s yummy. Enjoy.

Long Beach Residents Rally for Democracy

8 Nov

About 100 people rallied, on Saturday, Nov. 7, in the rain, wind and cold, outside Long Beach City Hall at 411 West Ocean Blvd., demanding electoral “democracy,” according to a jpeg flyer from a Facebook page of Black Lives Matter – Long Beach, announcing the rally.

The same flyer listed as sponsors Long Beach Forward, LiBRE (Long Beach Residents Empowered), the Long Beach Chapter of Democratic Socialist of America, BLM – LB, QOWS (Queers Obliterating White Supremacy), Anakbayan – Long Beach (a local Filipinx youth and student organization), LBIRC (Long Beach Immigrant Rights Coalition) and the GRRRL Collective, whose Facebook About Page characterizes the organization as “an intersectional, queer, pro-migrant, pro(-sex)-worker, trans-inclusive feminist collective organizing, learning, and healing together in Long Beach.”

Audrena Redmond, who is an activist with Black Lives Matter – Long Beach, emcees, the Saturday, Nov. 7, rally for democracy; Photo by Barry Saks

Audrena Redmond of BLM-LB emceed. In her opening remarks, Redmond, in part, said, “After Barack Obama was elected, (some) people had the audacity to say, ‘Oh we live in a post-racial America.’ I beg to differ and I think the last 12 years have really proven that point…. Race colors everything in this country, our economics, our social standing, education, health care, all of that.”

Vick Bouzi, representing DSA-LB, in part, said, “We gather here today to be sure they count all the votes, which they did…but we’re not here riding for Biden, no. He’s the architect of the 1994 crime bill, that put so many brown and black bodies in prison…. We are not here for Kamala Harris, the self-proclaimed top cop in California…. From the top to the bottom, the Democrats are rotten. It stinks all the way down to Mayor Robert Garcia.” He added the Democrats have a “weak neo-liberal politics that revolves around identity, that revolves around representation.”

Brooklyn Desmond, who said she was once homeless, spoke, on Saturday, Nov. 7, at the rally for democracy; Photo by Barry Saks

Brooklyn Desmond was in the crowd. Desmond, who identified herself has a queer, black person who has been homeless, asked the crowd that instead of ignoring the homeless, when walking over them, that the crowd should respect the homeless by acknowledging and paying attention to them.

At least twice, the crowd shouted out, “Ain’t (sic) no power like the power of the people (be)cause the power of the people don’t (sic) stop.” Others would respond with “Say what?” The mood was celebratory and of relief regarding the results of the 2020 Presidential Campaign. The crowd also chanted, “White supremacy has got to go.” Another repeated chant was “Black lives they matter here.”

Three days earlier, about 70 people of the same groups met at the same location again demanding electoral democracy.

Barry Saks is a member of DSA-LB.

This version of the above story was corrected on Monday, Nov. 9, for the misspelling of Audrena Redmond’s first name. It’s Audrena not Andrena.