Hunger Striker(s) needs your activism & support !! -- John Kenney begins week #5 of Occupy hunger strike !!

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11/04/2011 - 1:00pm
12/13/2011 - 1:59pm

Hunger Strike -- John Kenney continues his hunger strike, now in day #____(since Tuesday Nov. 8th!). Why you ask? ... because of the inaction of the City Council after nearly a hundred people have petitioned them by taking part in the Non-Agenda Public.

Comment in City Council session twice weekly. Asking for OSD’s proposal or resolution to be considered. He says that he will continue until the San Diego City Council puts Occupy San Diego’s resolution on the agenda.

JOHN home # is 619-269-1775


>> Nancy and Derek Cassady
>> Julie Kramer --

Activists On Hunger Strike Until City and Police Take Up Issue of Tents for Occupy San Diego

by Frank Gormlie on November 11, 2011 ·

in Civil Rights, Life Events, Organizing, San Diego
OBcian One of Activists on Hunger Strike

At least two San Diego activists are currently on a hunger strike because of the attitude of the City of San Diego and its Police Department toward allowing Occupy protesters to have tents at Civic Center Plaza as part of the protest.

Nancy Casady and John Kenney have both been on a hunger strike since earlier this week. Nancy began hers on Monday, November 7th*, and John, his the next day, Tuesday the 8th. So, it’s Nancy’s fifth day and John’s fourth day.

Nancy stated: “I am on a hunger strike until the City Council takes up our request for tents.”

The General Manager of People’s Food Co-op in Ocean Beach, Nancy has been attending Occupy San Diego events, marches and rallies since she and her partner Derek became involved in San Diego’s version of Occupy Wall Street near its beginning in late September.

John Kenney, an Ocean Beach resident, is now in his 4th day of his hunger strike. He’s doing it “in an attempt to get the City of San Diego, its Mayor, City Council and/or SDPD to recognize our right to occupy at least part of Civic Center with tents and committee stations such as Media, Medics, Food & Education.”

John has been involved with the movement since its inception – and has been visible just about every day since. John was recently cited by police for honking his horn in support of trade unionists waving their signs at the Plaza while driving by. Most view this incident as part of the on-going, daily harassment of Occupy protesters by police.

Kenney is taking in only water at this point. He expects to continue his hunger strike at least until the next City Council session with Public Comment, next Tuesday, November 15th.

In response to how he is doing, John said: “I’m okay – one day was pretty bad – Wednesday, the second day. I’ve done fasts before – this is not a fast but a hunger strike. And the second day is usually the worst.”

Both Nancy and John announced their hunger strikes at the San Diego City Council meeting on Tuesday – where OccupySD activists attempted for the fourth time in a month to get the Council to pass a resolution in support of the movement.

There may be another person on the strike but at this point if and who are unknowns.

The use of tents by Occupy San Diego demonstrators has been a huge bone of contention between them and the police, ever since the police raided the encampment on October 14th and forcibly removed the tents. The occupiers feel strongly that the tents are part of their protest, are part of their freedom of expression.

Throughout the Occupy Wall Street movement around the country, the use of tents has been a hot issue. This past Wednesday and Thursday, for instance, police made dozens of arrests in removing tents from the campus of UC Berkeley.

Yet in places like Los Angeles and Irvine, tents are allowed to be used by occupiers by city governments.

*Editor: We had mistakenly said October 7th, thanks @bricktamland for the heads up!


Ocean Beach Local and San Diego Occupier Continues Hunger Strike Through Thanksgiving

by Annie Lane on November 26, 2011 · 6 comments

in Civil Rights, Ocean Beach, San Diego

John Kenney

For most people, Thanksgiving Day is as much about the food as it is self reflection. The turkey cooked to a golden brown, mashed potatoes topped with gravy, salty stuffing, sweet cranberry sauce and a collection of pies for the tasting.

But for OBcean John Kenney, this Thanksgiving was spent sipping glasses of water and contemplating the state of politics.

Kenney has been on a hunger strike for 19 days.

He announced his intentions at the San Diego City Council meeting on Nov. 8 and has since only indulged in water and the occasional coffee. His hope is simple: to get the attention of the City Council members and begin a dialogue regarding the rights of San Diego occupiers to gather at the Civic Center.

This isn’t the first time Kenney has stopped eating for a cause. For the past 15 years, he’s abstained annually in observance of Ramadan, the Islam month of fasting. For him, getting past the second and third days are always the hardest, but the lucidity that follows is equally as intense.

“I can see things and dream things that I would never feel if I wasn’t on a fast,” said Kenney, who lives on Saratoga Avenue.

It wasn’t until 2004 that his fasting took on a political element. To protest electronic voting, Kenney stopped eating for 52 days, drinking only one glass of orange juice daily. He ended his hunger strike just prior to the November elections intending to resume afterward, but soon got the news that presidential candidate John Kerry had conceded.

“I felt someone had to do something; the only thing I could think of that an individual could do was a hunger strike,” he said of the experience.

Ironically, societal interactions as a whole have since become even more electronic. In fact, each local facet of the Occupy movement has been held together, kept informed and continues to grow largely via groups of people communicating through social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

But Kenney’s beef isn’t with that. Rather, it’s against the ever pervasive ambition of greed among U.S. leaders, which he says grew exponentially during the era of George W. Bush, America’s greatest “commander and thief.”

“Bush almost destroyed our world,” Kenney said. “Just being an American I can’t stand it, but being a humanitarian … We have to change. We are at the last straw.”

Kenney believes that change begins at home, as demonstrated by the efforts of occupiers at the Civic Center. He cites cities like Los Angeles and Oakland, where, respectively, a resolution was recently passed and a plans for a general strike are underway in support of the occupy movement.

The advances being made at other occupy locations is in stark contrast to the response of San Diego’s city officials—all of whom have largely ignored the pleas of occupiers. In fact, during their weekly meetings, members of the City Council appear disturbingly unsurprised by public accounts of gross violations of first amendment rights during mayor-approved police raids at the Civic Center in the wee morning hours.

In an interview with KPBS on Nov. 2, Council president Tony Young states that he alone has the ability to put a resolution regarding Occupy San Diego on the agenda, but that “we will discuss the resolution only if and when I have four members of the council who will sign.”

Young also stated that he frequents the Civic Center plaza in order to talk with individual occupiers. But that’s not what the regular occupiers will say.

“I have zero respect for them,” said Kenney of San Diego’s district representatives. “They’ve totally ignored us. They could negotiate with us any time they want.”

As for Young in particular, Kenney has been playing a game of phone tag that’s involved him making most of the calls.

“He still hasn’t gotten back to me,” Kenney said. “I’ve left three more messages.”

Surprisingly, that same lackadaisical sentiment is what Kenney faces from his friends, too. Most of them, he says, don’t quite get the purpose of the hunger strike and often tell him to “just eat.” It’s a response that Kenney blames squarely on plants within the movement.

“When you really go into a hunger strike, you’re supposed to have a whole emotional network behind you,” he said. “And I’ve felt just the opposite, even from people who I hoped would be supporters. I’m sure some of them are outright plants. But, some of them, I just think they don’t understand.”

Now a mere 11 days away from what doctors would consider critical, Kenney will be on day 29 at the next Council meeting, scheduled for Dec. 6.

“I feel drained,” Kenney said. “I definitely feel more spiritual than I would, for lack of a better word. That being said, I’m less tolerant of bullshit.”

But despite the brick wall San Diego occupiers seem to be running up against, Kenney is one to see the positive changes being made as well. For example, the face of local and national politics has already been forever altered by the movement. The dialogue has changed to include new terminology: Occupy, the 99%, Mic Check! and more.

There may be a lull in forward movement, but the sleeping beast that is social and economic justice has most certainly begun to stir.

“We may have to hibernate throughout the winter, but there will be an American spring,” Kenney said.


My name is Julie Kramer and I am an occupier at Occupy San Diego. There have been a slew of human rights violations at Occupy San Diego, and we have videotape evidence. In response to the continued harassment, brutality and abuses of power the SDPD has subjected us to, I am currently on hunger strike pending a public apology from Chief Landsdowne. I have attached my flier announcing my hunger strike, along with several other OSD fliers that show the harassment, unjust arrests and brutality at Civic Center. The most compelling and documented case is this:

On November 12, I witnessed one of my best and oldest friends be harassed by police for laying in a sleeping bag, then arrested for sitting on top of it. As the cops were standing him up, Officer Michael E. Sweet put my friend Bob O’Grady in a chokehold, slammed him to the ground and choked him for thirty to forty seconds, while he was restrained by three officers. That video has been watched by over 20,000 viewers and can be seen here:

Here is a different camera angle of that same event:

You can also read a full account of Bob’s arrest here:
I would very much appreciate any help I could get publicizing my hunger strike, as I don't have much weight to lose and I feel that we have enough evidence to warrant an apology. It is my hope that my hunger strike will bring awareness to the police misconduct at Civic Center.

I have filed a complaint against Officer Michael E. Sweet, who is shown choking Mr. O'Grady in the above video for 30-40 seconds, and yet he has returned to duty at Civic Center. On the news the chief said he would be transferred. This was a lie. The officers are becoming increasingly violent towards us, and arresting people for filming. We have a mountain of video evidence. I started a blog to document the reasons I am on hunger strike: Here you can see links to video evidence. I will add more videos each day, as we have PLENTY to share. Below you can see my email to Chief Landsdowne asking for an apology. Please contact me if you can help in any way. Thank you so much.

Julie Kramer