In the past two years, the ANSWER Coalition has extended our organizing presence to many new areas of the country, from several states in the South including South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and North Carolina; Michigan, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota in the Midwest; and Colorado, Utah, Idaho and Arizona in the Mountain West. In northern California, there are now ANSWER activist groups in Fresno, Arcata, Sonoma County, and the South Bay, as well as our chapters in the Bay Area and Sacramento.
In late November, the American Indian Movement-West held its annual conference in our office, attended by more than 100 Native American leaders from nations and tribes across the country. It is the largest gathering AIM-West has held in recent years, and reflects the surge in Native organizing on reservations and in urban centers, opposing climate-destroying pipelines, assaults by Trump on Native rights, and demanding the release of Leonard Peltier, political prisoner now imprisoned 43 years. This is the third year that our office has hosted AIM-West’s annual conference.
The ANSWER office continues to serve as a unique venue for progressive political and cultural activism in the Bay Area. Over the past year, our office has hosted more than 75 community forums, coalition meetings, benefits, poetry readings and other events.
But ANSWER provides more than a venue, much more. It is an organizing center for critically important struggles on many fronts, as a look back over some highlights of the past year makes clear.
- ANSWER chapters coast-to-coast mobilized in January for the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day actions and the Women’s Marches on the second anniversary of the ascendancy of Trump to the presidency.
- In February, ANSWER sponsored a forum and film showings in commemoration of Black History Month.
From Feb. 7 to March 7, ANSWER organizer Gloria La Riva traveled through Venezuela, at the height of the U.S.-led campaign to overthrow the government of that country. When she returned, Gloria embarked on an extraordinary 48-city national speaking tour, exposing the lies and distortions perpetrated by Washington politicians and the corporate media.
On March 16, an ANSWER-initiated coalition held a spirited March on the White House of more than 1,000 people demanding an end to the coup and sanctions on Venezuela. Parallel actions were held in San Francisco and other cities. Together with Code Pink and Popular Resistance, ANSWER was one of the core organizations in the Embassy Protection Collective that for several weeks held off U.S. government and fascist elements in their attempts to take over the Venezuelan embassy in Washington, D.C.
Hundreds marched in solidarity with Palestine in San Francisco on March 30 to mark the one year anniversary of the “Great March of Return” demonstrations held on a weekly basis along the border of Gaza. The action was organized by the Palestine Action Network, of which the ANSWER Coalition is a member.
- On May 1, ANSWER joined the International Longshore and Warehouse Union Local 10 and other labor and community organizations for a rally and march in Oakland celebrating International Workers Day. Two day later, ANSWER participated in an international day of solidarity with Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning.
ANSWER sponsored an Emergency Speak Out/Rally at 24th & Mission BART, calling for No U.S. War on Iran-End the Sanctions Now on June 25. On June 30, ANSWER marched as part of the huge Resistance Contingent in the San Francisco LGBTQ Pride Parade.
Bay Area ANSWER has been particularly active in movements opposing the vicious and racist anti-immigrant actions of the criminal Trump regime. On August 23, young ANSWER activists played a key role in organizing a youth-led emergency protest against Palo Alto-based Palantir Companies contracting with ICE to repress immigrants. The ANSWER office hosted the Bay Area Coalition to Close the Camps, which mobilized 3,000 students, teachers and others for a mass protest on Sept. 16 — a weekday — in the Mission District. ANSWER activists joined the “Bay Youth & Allies Climate Strike” on Sept. 20.
- The Empire Files and ANSWER sponsored a national tour of the widely acclaimed film, “Gaza Fights for Freedom,” produced by Abby Martin and Mike Prysner. Three hundred people packed the Brava Theater for the Bay Area premiere on Oct. 5.
On Oct. 25, ANSWER co-sponsored a public forum, “Cuba — Today’s Challenges to its Economy,” featuring Cuban economist Dr. Jourdy James Heredia who spoke to a full house at the ANSWER office.
- ANSWER initiated emergency protests against the U.S.-backed coup in Bolivia in many cities, including in the Bay Area in San Francisco on Nov. 11 and San Jose on Nov. 18.
In a peaceful protest of the exploding homeless crisis, a youth-led coalition set up several symbolic tents in Oscar Grant Plaza in front of Oakland City Hall on the evening of Nov. 23. At midnight, a huge detachment of Oakland police arrested 19 people.
- In a major people’s victory announced in early November, a united coalition of grassroots groups including ANSWER and led by the Washington-based Partnership for Civil Justice Fund effectively stopped new regulations proposed by that would have required fees amounting to tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars to protest on federal property. The significance of this victory can hardly be overstated, as the proposed regulations would have made it virtually impossible to obtain permits for mass protests in Washington, D.C.
The coming year is sure to bring continued resistance to the policies of the Trump administration and U.S. empire, on many fronts. We believe a vital part is to build a powerful, sustained, grassroots people’s movement in the United States. If you agree please make as generous a donation as possible to enable us to continue and expand our work. Tax-deductible donations can be made to the Progress Unity Fund.
For peace with justice,
Western Regional Coordinator