The Week

Rick Spaid promoted his own kind of Marxism at the No to Marxism rally with a historic sign he used first in Paris in 1968.
Mike O'Malley
Rick Spaid promoted his own kind of Marxism at the No to Marxism rally with a historic sign he used first in Paris in 1968.


New: Beating the Heat

Janis Mara (BCN)
Saturday September 02, 2017 - 04:35:00 PM

As the Bay Area heat wave continues, with temperatures above 90 degrees expected for much of the weekend, public officials and fire departments are offering tips and resources to help residents deal with the sweltering weather. -more-

Don't Miss This

Friday September 01, 2017 - 10:47:00 AM

Berkeley protests catapult black-clad 'antifa' to newfound fame and controversy The Mercury News

Black-clad Antifa marchers arrive at Civic Center Park, Sunday, Aug. 27, 2017, in a counter-protest against a planned alt-right rally in Berkeley, ...

The Ugly Side of Antifa, by Leighton Woodhouse

Recently, at the anti-Alt-Right rally in Berkeley, I watched groups of masked Antifa members in Black Bloc formation swarm individuals who were apparently antagonizing them, and pummel them with their fists, feet, and flagpoles. When the victims tried to escape, they were run down, and in at least one case, cut off by the Antifa mob and beaten down some more....


Pictures from the rally

Mark A O'Neill
Sunday August 27, 2017 - 09:03:00 AM
A peace bird flies over Martin Luther King Park in Berkeley Civic Center.

New: Observations of Sunday’s Protests

Steven Finacom
Friday September 01, 2017 - 10:12:00 AM
A collage of protest signs on August 27. Some of the slogans. “Resistance is Fertile”. Nazis are BAD, m’kaaay?” “Do the right thing, not the white thing.” “Hate has no home here” (paired with a painting of the Campanile. My favorite poster, upper right, has a Klansman  on the left and the Statue of Liberty on the right, and the caption  “Pick One”.

Special to the Planet / Copyright by the author (including photographs)

This is what I saw—or believe I saw—at the Sunday April 27, 2017 protests in Downtown Berkeley. I was in one place, for one period of time (as I’ll explain later), so I’m mainly going to write about that, not speculate on what happened elsewhere, before or after.

I want to clarify that I did not go as a journalist. I didn’t take a notebook, or interview people. I mainly walked around, talked with people I knew, and took photographs.

The parable about the blind men touching the different parts of an elephant and drawing different conclusions about its nature applies to the experiences of Sunday. So does a version of what Robert McNamara (an East Bay native and UC alumnus) called the “fog of war”. In this case the appropriate term might be “fog of protest”.

Consider the Wikipedia definition of “fog of war”. The term seeks to capture the uncertainty regarding one's own capability, adversary capability, and adversary intent during an engagement, operation, or campaign.

I’m going to write in some detail about what I saw on Sunday. But, first, here here are my conclusions from that experience. -more-

Flash: Red Flag Fire Warning in Effect

Janis Mara (Bay City News)
Friday September 01, 2017 - 10:10:00 AM

A red flag fire warning -- the highest alert -- is in effect today for the North and East Bay hills and Santa Cruz mountains because of hot, dry and windy conditions, according to the National Weather Service. The alert is in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday, weather service officials said. When red flag warnings are in effect, all residents are urged to use extreme caution because a simple spark can cause a major wildfire. Weather service officials cautioned residents not to mow or trim dry grass, to be sure there is 100 feet of space around structures that is clear of combustible materials, also known as defensible space, and to clear dead weeds and vegetation. Also, people should never pull over their vehicles in dry grass, according to the weather service. Berkeley's acting fire chief Dave Brannigan had additional suggestions specific to the Berkeley hills. Because of the danger of a rapidly spreading wildfire, Berkeley residents alongside the East Bay hills are encouraged to park in their driveways or garages, making as much space as possible in the narrow streets for emergency vehicles. Residents are asked to use extreme caution operating barbeques and power equipment. Fireworks are completely forbidden in the city and surrounding areas, Brannigan noted. -more-

Thoughts on Berkeley’s Response to the August 27 Alt-Right Fizzle

Dr. James McFadden
Saturday September 02, 2017 - 10:26:00 AM

After my Sunday morning hike up the Berkeley hills, I spent much of Sunday at the various counter-protests against the alt-right. I walked through civic park at 9:00, and again at 10:30 with friends and neighbors on my way to the “Rally Against Hate” on Oxford. Anti-hate and anti-white-supremacist banners were in place in Civic Park, on Old City Hall, and on trees and poles. The park also included multiple barricades and dozens of police. Only a small number of counter-protestors were there, and I didn’t spot any alt-righters at the time. -more-

Counter-protesters Criticize Coverage of Sunday Protest

Jeff Shuttleworth (BCN)
Tuesday August 29, 2017 - 11:55:00 AM

Anti-fascist protesters spoke out today against media coverage of demonstrations in Berkeley on Sunday that were marked by scattered violent clashes, tear gas and 13 arrests. -more-

What a Wonderful Rally!

Harry Brill
Tuesday August 29, 2017 - 10:11:00 AM

I tend to arrive early at political rallies, and then keep my fingers crossed hoping -more-

A celebratory note on Sunday’s people

Steve Martinot
Tuesday August 29, 2017 - 10:07:00 AM

With the thousands who turned out last Sunday (Aug. 27), I celebrate. But first, I want to thank the fascists for giving us all an opportunity to party in the city as we haven’t partied in a long time. I want to thank the fascists for bringing us to a new point of imagining how strong our arms become when we throw them around each other, and realize a new togetherness, and smile in our fearlessness. -more-

Go Home Antifa, and Take Your White Privilege With You

Carol Denney
Monday August 28, 2017 - 10:37:00 AM

You're not helping. You're making a great legal case for alt-right protesters being brutalized, having their constitutional rights trampled, and an ass of yourself with slogans like "We have no tolerance for intolerance!" You're accomplishing the nearly impossible task of creating sympathy for neo-Nazis and white supremacists when most of us didn't think it could be done. Stop it.

Berkeley heard your cries of victory after having doused the dialogue of the few Trump supporters who managed to make it through to the civic center grass, many of whom clearly had come to Berkeley from far away ready for spirited dialogue with liberals. But it doesn't make sense to silence them, and it isn't just that they have the constitutionally protected right to assemble and to speak. You need to hear them.

You're not likely to run across overt Trump supporters in the coastal cities of California. Even those few who live here in Berkeley but voted for Trump are unlikely to strike up conversation about it over the radiccio treviso, especially considering how many of you are so amped up to stomp somebody that the sight of a Trump t-shirt turns you into an unabashed comic book character.

You think you look like superheroes with your costumes and props, but by spewing hate you've let the alt-right set your table as predictably as a move in chess. You played their game, not Berkeley's; the City of Berkeley went way out of its way to affirm its stance with banners across the park and City Hall stating "We stand united against hate." -more-

Press Release: Berkeley Police Make 13 Arrests During Demonstrations

From Officer Jennifer Coats, BPD
Monday August 28, 2017 - 11:08:00 AM

Berkeley, California (Sunday, August 27, 2017) - Today, the Berkeley Police Department, the Berkeley Fire Department, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, and a variety of city staff, and our Law Enforcement Mutual Aid partners, worked to safeguard the peaceful expression of freedom of speech, while keeping people on our streets and parks safe.

Thirteen people were arrested on a variety of charges, including assault with a deadly weapon, felony assault, and violations of the Berkeley Municipal Code.

One officer was injured during an arrest and several officers were struck with paint. Six people were injured and treated by paramedics. Two of those individuals were transported to local hospitals for treatment. -more-

Rally Crowds Dispersing, Berkeley Quiet

Janis Mara (BCN)and Planet
Sunday August 27, 2017 - 10:04:00 PM

The large crowds in downtown Berkeley related to the "No to Marxism" rally have dispersed, with small crowds remaining in the city's Civic Center Park and Ohlone Park late this afternoon, police said.

The West Crescent at the edge of UC Berkeley, where a counter-demonstration was held, is clear of activity. There are still some residual traffic delays, according to police.

Most roadways are now open, police said. Caution is advised when driving due to heavy pedestrian traffic in the downtown area.

Many protesters left the Civic Center Park around 3 p.m., marching north on Martin Luther King Jr. Way to Ohlone Park about five blocks away.

Included in the march was a large contingent of protesters, predominantly young White males, dressed completely in black, many with their faces masked by black bandannas or covered in blackface makeup.

The marchers were led by a truck with speakers on it, including comedian and Berkeleyan W. Kamau Bell.

The crowd chanted, "I believe, I believe that we will win."

Ohlone Park is about northeast of Civic Center Park, on Milvia Street at Hearst Avenue.

The most recently reported number of arrests connected with the rally is 14, according to police. -more-

No Buses to Downtown Berkeley Today

Janis Mara (BCN)
Sunday August 27, 2017 - 09:07:00 AM

AC Transit will be detouring buses away from the downtown Berkeley area between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. today, transit officials said. -more-

U.C. Berkeley Police Say Stay Away to Counter-Protest

Alex Kekauoha (BCN)
Sunday August 27, 2017 - 08:51:00 AM

University of California at Berkeley police are asking the public to stay away from a planned rally today on the school's campus. -more-

Organizers appear to have cancelled SF "press conference" today, but urge going to Berkeley tomorrow

Janis Mara (BCN)
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 10:02:00 AM

A press conference scheduled for Alamo Square Park in San Francisco today appears to have been called off by organizers who planned the conference after canceling a Patriot Prayer rally at Crissy Field.

Joey Gibson, whose Facebook profile indicates that he manages Patriot Prayer, posted on Facebook around 9 a.m., "So they closed down Alamo Center Park. I appologize [sic] for everyone that spent money and plane tickets to come down here. Stay tuned."

By saying, "Stay tuned," Gibson appeared to be leaving the door open to Patriot Prayer actions elsewhere today.

Reached by telephone, Ansen Hatcher, who described himself as a former organizer of the Patriot Prayer rally, said, "The event is no longer being held. The Alamo Square press conference is cancelled due to it being blocked off by police today."

"The only event I see happening now is the event in Berkeley, but Amber has asked everyone not to come. Everyone knows the event is still going on. There's nothing stopping people from going to the park and walking around," Hatcher said.

He was referring to a rally by a group who calls themselves No To Marxism in America scheduled for Berkeley on Sunday. "Amber" is Amber Cummings, the main organizer of that event. -more-

Rules imposed for Sunday, August 27 at Civic Center Park

City of Berkeley News
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:57:00 AM

To ensure the peaceful expression of free speech, the City of Berkeley will be prohibiting sticks, pipes, poles, and anything else that can be used for a "riot" at Civic Center Park on Sunday, August 27.

Anyone violating these rules will be subject to citation and arrest. -more-

Flash: Patriot Prayer Group Cancels Rally, Announces Alamo Square News Briefing

Keith Burbank (BCN)
Friday August 25, 2017 - 04:14:00 PM

Organizers associated with the Patriot Prayer rally scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in San Francisco's Crissy Field announced this afternoon that the event has been cancelled. -more-

San Francisco Rally Cancelled!

Dave Brooksher (BCN)
Friday August 25, 2017 - 04:10:00 PM

Organizers associated with the Patriot Prayer rally scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday in San Francisco's Crissy Field announced that the event has been cancelled this afternoon. -more-

Join the Choral Majority for a singing demonstration on Sunday

Friday August 25, 2017 - 12:15:00 PM

Are you a singer? You might be able to take part in a singing and marching protest with fellow singers, starting at noon on Sunday. However, check the organization's web site to make sure. Details below: -more-

The Textiles of Jolom Mayaetik on view at the San Francisco Airport Museum

Charlene Woodcock
Thursday August 24, 2017 - 10:30:00 AM
Muestrario, demonstration tapestry, to be featured at SF Airport Museum exhibition

For the first time in the Bay Area, lovers of handwoven textiles will be treated to an extensive exhibition of work by contemporary Maya backstrap-loom weavers. The weavers live in rural indigenous communities in the highlands of Chiapas, the southernmost state of Mexico. They formed the Jolom Mayaetik weavers’ cooperative in 1996. They continue an ancient weaving tradition passed on for many generations and learned from their mothers and grandmothers. The San Francisco Airport Museum will open Empowering Threads: Textiles of Jolom Mayaetik on August 26 at the International Terminal Galleries, to be on display through March, 2018. -more-



What Bled Led in Berkeley Protest Coverage

Becky O'Malley
Monday August 28, 2017 - 08:17:00 PM
Most Rally Against Hate participants ended up in Oxford Street because U.C. Berkeley's "Crescent" lawn was barricaded.

Just in case you might someday be teaching a journalism class, as I once did, you might save the papers and the video clips and the twitter feeds from this weekend’s coverage of Berkeley’s response to the threatened “No to Marxism” rally, a non-event since nothing ever materialized under that name.

Title of this week’s class: “If it bleeds, it leads.”

Let’s start with the big story on Monday’s print front page of what purports to be the Bay Area paper of record, the San Francisco Chronicle, now owned by the Hearst Corporation. -more-

Stay Tuned for Further Information

Becky O'Malley
Friday August 25, 2017 - 04:06:00 PM

This week's editorial will be delayed pending developments, since the San Francisco rally seems to have bailed. Why am I not surprised? What might happen in Berkeley tomorrow is still unknown. -more-

The Editor's Back Fence

New: No new issue over Labor Day, but please submit your comments

Becky O'Malley
Friday September 01, 2017 - 10:50:00 AM

This is Labor Day weekend, so I'm extending this issue into a double issue--no dated "new issue" on Sept. 1.

I'll post submissions from regular correspondents when I get around to it.

Many people have written accounts and opinions regarding the August 27 protests which I'll be posting as they arrive.

If you'd like to add yours, please send it to, not to my personal email address. It's a whole lot easier for me if submissions are attached as .doc or .docx files. -more-

Public Comment

Bay Area Rally Against Hate: Statement Responding to Berkeley Mayor & City Officials

Ad-hoc coalition planning Bay Area Rally Against Hate on August 27th in Berkeley
Thursday August 24, 2017 - 12:23:00 PM

Update: Statement released early Tuesday prior to the Berkeley Mayor's most recent remarks. While we welcome the Berkeley Mayor's change in posture, we still stand by the statement below as we view this as a response to all city officials and to the city manager's authority on Aug. 27th.

At this point, it’s well known within the Bay Area that far right, neo-Nazi, and white supremacist groups have called for rallies in both San Francisco and Berkeley. In protest to these rallies, an ad hoc coalition called for the Bay Area Rally Against Hate in Berkeley. This rally has been endorsed by over 70 labor, community, faith, political organizations from across the Bay Area and the list continues to grow. In the wake of Charlottesville, this ad-hoc coalition called for a national weekend of action in solidarity against hate where actions have been called from coast to coast.

Considering the outpouring of solidarity for our rally in Berkeley in recent weeks and after 40,000 people marched in Boston and victoriously stood against neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups, we in this ad-hoc coalition firmly stand against the Berkeley Mayor Jesse Arreguin’s call for Berkeley residents to stay home. We also reject the Berkeley city council’s decision to give the city manager, Dee Williams-Ridley, the authority to quarantine areas of the city to restrict movement and curb protest. While the Mayor and city officials in Berkeley continue to say that this is for our safety, we in the ad-hoc coalition want to say that the most effective response to the neo-Nazi and white supremacist groups is responding to them with the widest possible numbers in a broad multi-racial coalition -- Boston has shown the way forward. -more-

Let's you and him fight: fascism defined

Thomas Lord
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 10:25:00 AM

I want to offer up a rough and ready definition of fascism, trying to keep it grounded in history.

Note that this is not meant to define, simply, the political party in Italy that called itself "fascist". For example, this fascism would also include Nazi Germany.

Note that this is not meant to summarize the way the word "fascism" is often used, today, in the press. I think the word is currently used in contradictory ways.

This is just meant to point out what fascism was in history — why suddenly there were multiple fascist countries.

It's to ask just which countries were/are or weren't/aren't fascist.

And it is meant to be useful: Knowing that a state is fascist, maybe this definition suggests what can be done about it. -more-

Combating Right-Wing Extremism: A Rally is not Enough

Harry Brill
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:45:00 AM

In the early 1960s, James Farmer, who was the executive director of CORE advised the Freedom Riders, who were challenging racism in the South, to discontinue their efforts. He was worried about the inherent dangers they confronted. But Diane Nash, who was an organizer of the Freedom Rides, appropriately responded, "We can't let them stop us with violence. If we do, the movement is dead". -more-

Berkeley's Response

Berkeley Councilmember Kate Harrison
Friday August 25, 2017 - 01:10:00 PM

This week, the Berkeley City Council joined countless other representatives on the steps of City Hall to make it clear that the city of Berkeley is committed to not only free speech but also the protection of all individuals from hateful speech. Thank you to Mayor Jesse Arreguin, Berkeley City Council, Congresswoman Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Senator Nancy Skinner, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond, Assemblymember Rob Bonta, Alameda County Supervisor Keith Carson, and District Attorney Nancy O'Malley for speaking at this conference.

On Sunday August 27th, an event called “No to Marxism” is set to occur in Civic Center Park, and it is currently unclear what, if any, connections exist between individuals organizing this event and those of the Charlottesville white nationalist rally that sought to celebrate confederate history. Whatever the source, I want to make it clear that hateful messages are not welcome in our city. I would also like to welcome you to attend alternative events away from the downtown on that day that engage our community in positive ways. This is all part of the citywide campaign “United Against Hate.” In light of recent national events, I too am very concerned but am confident that our City will remain safe and resolute. Please reach out to me to let me know if I can help any of you in any other way. Thank you for reading and for supporting our collective community values. -more-


Tejinder Uberoi
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:44:00 AM

We cannot seem to be able to step off the treadmill of failed policies. Repeating the same polices and expecting different results is the definition of insanity. Afghanistan was no threat to the US. 15 of the 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi’s. Saudi Arabia is the epicenter of terrorism yet we continue selling billions of weapons to the Saudi killing machine which have used to slaughter innocent men, women and children in neighboring Yemen making us complicit in serious war crimes. -more-

September Pepper Spray Times

By Grace Underpressure
Saturday September 02, 2017 - 11:46:00 AM

Editor's Note: The latest issue of the Pepper Spray Times is now available.

You can view it absolutely free of charge by clicking here . You can print it out to give to your friends.

Grace Underpressure has been producing it for many years now, even before the Berkeley Daily Planet started distributing it, most of the time without being paid, and now we'd like you to show your appreciation by using the button below to send her money.

This is a Very Good Deal. Go for it! -more-


New: THE PUBLIC EYE: Trump’s Big Deal

Bob Burnett
Saturday September 02, 2017 - 09:22:00 AM

Even though Donald Trump often appears to be out of control, he's executing a disciplined political strategy to tighten his grip on the Republican base. Nonetheless, to hold onto power, Trump's going to have to move beyond his base. To accomplish this, he's working on his biggest deal. -more-


Jack Bragen
Friday September 01, 2017 - 04:44:00 PM

Being nervous or anxious can occur in a wide variety of life situations. In some instances, it serves a purpose. In other instances, it gets in the way. -more-

THE PUBLIC EYE: Game of Trump: The Battle of Charlottesville

Bob Burnett
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:15:00 AM

We're more than half way through season 1 of "Game of Trump" and each week's episode brings new surprises. The aftermath of the battle of Charlottesville caused Emperor Trump to reveal his true character. Meanwhile, the resistance found new energy. -more-

DISPATCHES FROM THE EDGES: Spain: Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Conn Hallinan
Tuesday August 22, 2017 - 09:16:00 AM

When the Catalans goes to the polls Oct. 1, much more than independence for Spain’s restive province will be at stake. In many ways the vote will be a sounding board for Spain’s future, but it is also a test of whether the European Union—divided between north and south, east and west—can long endure. -more-

New: ECLECTIC RANT: Trump in the catbird seat

Ralph E. Stone
Saturday September 02, 2017 - 10:36:00 AM

I too am disturbed and even frightened by Trump's latest outrages in a long line of outrages. I'm talking about his Executive Order banning transgender military recruits and his pardoning of former sheriff Joe Arpaio. Now he his threatening to shut down the government if the budget does not include money for his wall of shame between the U.S. and Mexico. -more-


Jack Bragen
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:03:00 AM

A diagnosis of a psychiatric condition can spell a life of hardship, with few prospects of gratification. It should come as no surprise that many persons with mental illness have a "dual diagnosis"--an addiction to illicit drugs that compounds the psychiatric illness. -more-

SQUEAKY WHEEL: Killing us softly

Toni Mester
Friday August 25, 2017 - 03:24:00 PM
We can still do it

“Charlottesville changed the whole dynamic,” said Mayor Arreguin at last week’s special City Council meeting to consider how Berkeley will respond to another right-wing rally on Sunday. -more-

Arts & Events

New: Outstanding Singers in Merola 2017 Grand Finale

Reviewed by James Roy MacBean
Tuesday August 29, 2017 - 10:14:00 AM

Throughout the 2017 Merola Opera Program’s season I have been impressed by the uniformly excellent quality of the young singers, having heard thirteen of them in fully staged operas. Well, on Saturday, August 19 at the War Memorial Opera House I heard all twenty-three of this year’s crop of singers in the Merola Grand Finale, and without hesitation I would salute the 2017 Merola singers as the finest annual class in recent memory. In the Grand Finale there wasn’t a mediocre performance anywhere in the program. Every number, whether a solo aria, a duet, or an ensemble, was excellently sung. In reviewing a program chock full of highlights, I intend to give each and every singer their due by addressing every musical number in this concert in order of appearance. -more-

Preview: Céline Ricci To Star in LA CIRCE

Previewed by James Roy MacBean
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:07:00 AM

On September 8-9, Ars Minerva will present the opera La Circe by Pietro Andrea Ziani at San Francisco’s ODC Theatre in the Mission District. Ars Minerva is the company founded by renowned mezzo-soprano Céline Ricci with the purpose of reviving lost and forgotten operas from 17th century Venice. In 2015 Ricci revived La Cleopatra by Daniele da Castrovillari, and last year she brought us Le Amazone nelle isole fortunate by Carlo Pallavicino. Neither of these operas had been performed anywhere since their respective premieres in Venice in 1662 for La Cleopatra and in 1679 for Le Amazone. -more-

"Saddam's Parrot" by Jim Curry
(Aignos Publishing, 2017)

Reviewed by Gar Smith
Saturday August 26, 2017 - 09:28:00 AM

A new book that recently landed on my desk provided for a very entertaining weekend read—beginning with one of the year's best dedications: "To Blessed Elephants, Bernie Sanders and Our Revolution." -more-

Some Weekend Protests

Compiled by Mary Barlow from online sources
Friday August 25, 2017 - 12:11:00 PM

White supremacists seem to have cancelled their 3 rallies this weekend: (1) Google, Mountain View on Saturday, August 26 at 1pm; (2) San Francisco at Crissy Field on Saturday, August 26 at 2pm; and (3) Berkeley on Sunday, August 27, 1-4pm at Civic Center Park, downtown right between Cal & Berkeley High. This would have been their third visit to Berkeley this year, each prior visit resulting in violence and arrests. It is still possible that they will show up, however.s -more-