California Studies Association

The latest news, events, and perspectives from the CSA


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Howard Zinn Book Fair in SF — Sat. Nov 15, 2014

Many current and former California Studies Associationhoward-zinn-book-fair_final-design-o-pp2 members and friends will be participating in the Howard Zinn book Fair this weekend at Mission High School in San Francisco.

Many of the tables and workshops will focus on California history, in various ways. All are oriented around the kind of “people’s history” that Zinn popularized, and the line-up is very exciting.

The event is free and open to all, including tables and workshops from 10-5pm and an evening plenary from 5:30 onward.

Full schedule here: http://howardzinnbookfair.com/


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Christopher Fan on Silicon Valley

In this narrative progression from marginalized identity to predominant position of power, we find the nucleus of Silicon Valley’s mythology: Nerds win. Yet what this mythology has been very good at obscuring, through ritualistic repetition of the revenge narratives of white, male founders, is how deeply racialized the narrative is. Not all nerds are entitled to equal portions of revenge.

There’s not enough resentment toward Silicon Valley. I say that while acknowledging the dripping anger that pervades everyday life in the Bay Area. This was at its most visible during last year’s massive protests against the Google Bus—a metonym for the extensive network of imposing, privately chartered buses that use public stops to pick up and transport tech workers 40-some miles from San Francisco to their offices on the peninsula. These tensions have arisen in response to skyrocketing housing prices and community displacement—both direct consequences of the influx of Silicon Valley money and the regulatory capture of local governments. Some San Franciscans do not wish to live in a suburb of Palo Alto.

From: “Not All Nerds” by Christopher Fan in the new California-themed issue of The New Inquiry (subscribe)


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Richmond, CA: Big Oil attacks local politics

Democracy Now trained its lens on little Richmond California today, where progressive politics is taking a beating from Chevron. But it’s not over yet:

Screen Shot 2014-11-03 at 9.06.11 AMFrom Democracy Now: “The oil giant Chevron is being accused of attempting to buy the city government of Richmond, California. The company has spent more than $3 million to back a slate of pro-Chevron candidates for mayor and city council ahead of Tuesday’s election. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, Chevron has paid for TV attack ads, purchased space on virtually every billboard in town,

funded a flood of mailers and financed a fake “news” website run by a Chevron employee. The move comes two years after a massive fire at Chevron’s oil refinery in Richmond sent 15,000 residents to the hospital. It was the third refinery fire since 1989 in the city. The city of Richmond responded to the latest fire by suing Chevron, accusing officials of placing profits and executive pay over public safety. We speak to one of the politicians being targeted, outgoing Mayor Gayle McLaughlin. She was elected mayor of Richmond in 2006, becoming the first Green Party official to represent a city of more than 100,000. Due to mayoral term limits, McLaughlin is now running for Richmond City Council. ….”

Read the whole story here.