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Letters to Slingshot

Note: for unknown reasons, our computer is not allowing us to include apostrophes in text on the website, so we have replace all apostrophes with a *. Sorry for the inconvenience:

To whom it may concern;

Occupy used to have GA everyday. Now Occupy has court everyday. I think that all this has shown us what is truly wrong in the core of our affairs (you know, beyond all this spiritual growth, the self-realization rhetoric that isn*t spoken but experienced), if anything: law, authority, you owning me and the like. And what room is there for accountability in anarchy? So it*s like i got a wet sock on my right foot and a fucking alligator biting off my left. I*ve been ramped up about wet socks and meanwhile bleeding to death. This is what I mean when I say, “We hold each other back.” We hold each other back from achieving spiritual fitness while talk talk about sitcom distraction, and we hold each other back from understanding shared abundance so we eat thanksgiving dinner in dumpster caucuses, and we hold each other back from digging into art-soul integration while stale pop-memes trump the existentialist*s self-overcoming. I am too busy trying to become that which I already am. Why the hate? Because I*m pissed! Ah, these snakes eat themselves and I am bleeding out of my eyes for the injustices of all. I love you, and I goddamn well mean it.

Fuckon,

D.H. Sintax

I enjoyed the Occupy extra and the latest Slingshot very much. Their revolutionary engagement, energy, and passion really came through the pages. We*ll have our analyses about it all, which I think is important, but the palpable feeling you produce is what really juices people with the desire for more. I was amazed at the depth of Haven Quixote*s article on radical art, but thought, wow, this guy sounds like a stalinist commissar demanding socialist realism and peddling the line that Pollock*s abstract expressionism was part of a CIA conspiracy. It*s hard to say what the impact of art is at all in the modern era. I don*t think too many Americans were aware of, let alone viewed Pollock*s canvases, and to say he killed art borders on the ridiculous. Plus, there are so many ways to view art. It could be argued, and has, that the AE school was another attack on formalism and representational art, and hence was subversive even if the CIA masters intended something different. It*s structurelessness and randomness undercut the demand for rigid adherence to rules in art which was transformed into a general rebelliousness. There is a lot of art from the 19th century among the classics, for instance, which may only look like pretty pictures, but contained critiques of urbanism, industrialism, the collapse of rural communities, and lots of other subjects that might not be immediately obvious. Haven demanding that art have workers flying red, or even black flags lest it be deemed a failure by him, must send chills down the spine of every artist and creative person. I have art all over my house and not a single piece is political nor would I want any. We all need respites from fighting the empire and its injustices and just having objects of peace and beauty is what we should all be surrounded by. Hmm, I didn*t mean this as a letter to the paper, but feel free to run it. I*d be curious to read his or her [gotta be a guy] response. I thought your general strike was excellent although I don*t we*re going to see one in the U.S. unless it*s supported and led by trade unions. That*s who has been behind them all both in this country and recently abroad… best and comradely greetings, Peter Werbe

I am a POC organizer in the city of Louisville, KY. I have been scanning your planner and wondering how much of what slingshot covers is written by POC and how represented they are within what is written about. Being a person of color, I am always skeptical to read works by white anarchist, because I generally feel underrepresented or misrepresented, or I feel like they are not conscious enough about POC to write about us. There is this recurring theme of white anarchist seeming overly self-indulgent in zines, or speaking with too much academic jargon. I have attended college for 4 years now, and and can use the same language but I do feel like most people are not on the same page, and I especially feel like those of my group generally have not heard of patriarchy or gender binaries, etc. However, it is not to say they do not know or haven*t heard of these things. Another issue with the white anarchist spaces and zines I have encountered, is that I generally feel like they come at me and other POC as, “let me teach you,” or “let me help you,” or “here is some information I feel like you need,” rather than simply passing along books, zines, etc. that one might feel like could be useful to them. It*s best to allow that person to read and formulate their own opinions, or read and seek out what they do not know, and have now acquired through the texts. I also feel like there is rarely a diversity of ideas or enough objectivity, insofar as it can be accomplished, within them, which to me is off-putting. No one likes to feel like an idea is being forced upon them, or as if it is the end all be all. I am not sure if this is true to slingshot but if you have any works written by or for POC I would love to read it, not to simply critique and analyze but because I do enjoy them when they are formulated well.

Thank you so much for reading. Get back to me when you can!

Wheeze

Zine reviews

Note: for unknown reasons, our computer is not allowing us to include apostrophes in text on the website, so we have replaced all apostrophes with a *. Sorry for the inconvenience:

Nuts!!!#9 Winter 2011-2012

Po box 7302

Olympia, WA 98507

This publication has been growing in popularity. This issue is unique — five posters printed on newsprint, some of which are double sided. No staples, no cover…no bar code number. It had to happen with the amount of energy generated about this, it was going to either die or evolve. The content seems heavy on impressionistic art, which strikes me as odd since the HC punk scene this is attached to rarely appreciates this aesthetic. There is one page that reviews shows and explores women*s involvement in early punk, which will appease people stuck in the mundane past of printed matter. Given that no one expected this approach, the name Nuts will continue to cause ripples in zine circles.

(eggplant)

The LandLine

Po Box 891231

Chicago, IL 60608

A gnarly looking project packing homespun articles and art on sixty pages of newsprint. The poetry, essays, comics, opinions, reviews and politics run hot one minute — and cold the next. A descendant of the Skeleton News, with some of the same staff and much of the same approach. Hopefully the next issue will rely less on rejected academic papers and focus more on what needs to be communicated to their community.

(eggplant)

Flying Into the Chandelier

Po Box 401

Berkeley, CA 94701

Stories and insights that is largely Bay Area focused, with lots of adventures into spaces that are overlooked and unappreciated. There is an edge to this that has as much influence from the Beats as it does from punk rock. An air of enthusiasm and wonder is what motivates the writing — without all the shock and mental health issues that was dead baggage to those movements.

(eggplant)

Super Trooper #4/5

angela.k.roberts@gmail.com

These two zines seem to be in narrative form. Though not political, issues and resistance creep in at the edges. In issue four which is set in Korea, gentrification threatens displacement of poor people as a decrepit house absorbs the interest of the author. Anarchist, artists and activists are in the background of the story, but what seems central is a sense of establishing intimacy with the people around the author. Issue #5 is more focused on character sketches, evidently of people in Oakland CA.

(eggplant)

Negative Prophet (Mission Mini Comix)

Missionminicomix.com

This is from the highly active San Francisco artist Mike who usually collaborates his talents in one sheet mind blasts. This issue he goes solo and it is more comprehensive because of it. The art is killer, with the content and story peering into despair and idealism under our crumbling reality. It*s a short read but heavy in thought. But don*t blink — Mike and the gang will surely have a new issue out by next week.

(eggplant)

Baitline

74A Coleridge

SF CA 94110

An underground classified ads that provides an open forum on the projects, schemes and desires of radical deviants. Kink, art, and commerce are the main things being offered often priced as “trade” or some other anomaly. The covers are usually as provocative as the ads.

(eggplant)

Moira Scar Vs. The Shopping Maul

scar.press.blogspot.com

This crudely made comic from a San Francisco band would be more common in today*s environment if it wasn*t for the widespread gentrification so prevalent.

(eggplant)

Entropy

$5+4 stamps (No trades)

Po box 13502

Olympia, WA 98508

Lots of care went into making this taking the author five years to write, contemplate and assemble the content. We are warned right off the bat that this has triggering episodes inside. An early experience of sexual abuse by an older family member haunts the author and compels them into a life of seeking healing in the counter culture. The total look of the zine is impressive. The pages have stark solid images often of nature to accompany the text, and a thick cover printed on forest green paper. A cursory glance at the finished work it would seem like an environmentalist pamphlet. In fact the author is solidly footed in anarchism, and some theory of anti-civilization and counter culture wisdom does come out, but the zine is largely about emotional survival. There are a few assertions made that have a pseudo-scientific language that I found suspect — but faulty facts are endemic in zine culture. What is rare is the long time that went to getting this to readers, and because of that a lot of what*s here resonates.

(eggplant)

Food Eaters #1

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94607

Food Eaters makes its first appearance in the zine world with a collection of esoteric scribbles. The introduction describes the issue as a sort of artistic prank. It*s not clear whether this one is even material. The only way you can get this one is by sending in a fucked up drawing for trade.

(joey)

Long Haul settles lawsuit

Note: for unknown reasons, our computer is not allowing us to include apostrophes in text on the website, so we have replaced all apostrophes with a *. Sorry for the inconvenience:

By Jesse D. Palmer

The Long Haul radical community center in Berkeley achieved a $100,000 settlement of a federal lawsuit it brought against the FBI and the University of California police over a August 27, 2008 police raid on Long Haul by a joint terrorism task force during which authorities seized every computer at Long Haul. The UC cops and the FBI entered Long Haul with guns drawn to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation of threatening emails allegedly sent to UC Berkeley animal researchers from a public-access computer connected to the internet at Long Haul. No one was arrested during the raid or subsequently charged with sending the emails.

The Long Haul*s lawsuit claimed that the search was over-broad and contended that police violated the Privacy Protection Act because they seized computers used to publish Slingshot newspaper and the Slingshot Organizer without going through the right procedures. Police seized 14 computers and looked at lending library records and other files, particularly Slingshot file photos of various protests.

In addition to paying $100,000 jointly to Long Haul, co-plaintiff East Bay Prisoner Support, and their lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU, the police agreed to destroy computer hard drive data they seized as part of the raid, and the UCPD agreed to expand the scope of training on the Privacy Protection Act that the police implemented in the wake of the raid. The settlement states that the UCPD “determined there was no evidence of criminal activity on the part of Long Haul, Slingshot, and/or EBPS in connection with the crimes under investigation.” UCPD also “acknowledge[d] that at the time of the execution of the search warrant, Long Haul was a publisher protected by the Privacy Protection Act (*PPA*), and therefore, the PPA prohibited the seizure of any protected work product materials related to the dissemination of Slingshot, except as provided for in the PPA.” The lawyers took 98.5% of the money, which was fine with us. In the wake of the UC Davis pepper spraying and last fall*s UCPD beating of occupy demonstrators, it was nice to make the police squirm, if only a little bit, and if only on their own turf (in Court, wearing suits, etc.)

The police raid was a clumsy attempt to intimidate radicals, but it didn*t work. Long Haul reopened the night of the raid and replaced the seized computers. The police wouldn*t have staged an armed raid or seized every computer at the Berkeley Public Library if the email in question had come from the public library, rather than from a radical Infoshop.

While Long Haul participants were skeptical about turning to the court system, we ultimately decided that it made sense to sue so the police wouldn*t conclude that they can raid infoshops and take computers used to publish the alternative press with impunity. The EFF/ACLU lawyers agreed to do the case for free, so in a sense we didn*t have all that much to lose, even if we didn*t have all that much to gain.

The lawsuit process was educational. Our EFF/ACLU lawyers were great and we thank them for a ton of hard work. On the other hand, the Court system is disempowering, isolating and alienating, even when you*re the plaintiff. On the street during the raid, we had each other, we had our passion, and it was easy to see that the raid was wrong. In court, you*re on your own going through a hyper-bureaucratic dehumanizing framework. Everyone was getting well-paid except us, but somehow we were the only ones with a sense of humor. The worst part was that the court scheduled an all-day settlement conference the day before the Oakland General Strike, when many of us were hyper-busy trying to shut down the city.

We hoped the lawsuit would uncover creepy police tactics, but mostly the documents they released to us were blanked out, so we still can*t be sure how the raid on Long Haul fits into a bigger picture. We did learn that once the police got our computers to the crime lab, they searched them for all sorts of items that were totally unrelated to the telephone threats that they used to get a search warrant.

All in all, direct action and popular struggle are still where it*s at. What a long haul trip it*s been.

Model Students – stay away orders issued against university protesters

Note: for unknown reasons, our computer is not allowing us to include apostrophes in text on the website, so we have replace all apostrophes with a *. Sorry for the inconvenience:

Following are portions of a statement issued by three of the thirteen people who in March were belatedly charged with misdemeanors for participation in the November 9 2011 Occupy Cal protests at UC Berkeley during which police beat protesters who were linking arms. They now face fines up to $1,000 and jail sentences up to one year.

We are graduate students and teachers at UC Berkeley. Like thousands of other people here at Berkeley, we have participated in rallies and demonstrations and marches against the privatization of the University of California….

That we [are only just now] being charged for participating in the events of November 9 struck us as odd. Four months had passed. We had not been arrested on November 9, nor did we suspect that we were under investigation. The UC administration had even granted amnesty from student conduct charges for those who took part in the protest.…

Hundreds of people were on hand the afternoon of November 9. Even more were present on Sproul Plaza when police returned in the evening to again attack students and confiscate their tents, bringing out a crowd of at least 2000. Nearly ten thousand supporters joined in a student strike at UC Berkeley a week later in response to the appalling actions of police. Why are only 13 out of these thousands being charged? Is it a coincidence that some of those targeted are highly visible organizers at UC Berkeley? …

For months now, the Alameda County District Attorney*s office has been vindictively harassing anyone they suspect of taking part in the Occupy movement. Most recently the DA has started slapping stay-away orders on almost any activist brought before the court with ties to Occupy Oakland. This attempt to smother dissent through judicial means is simply a less spectacular (and far less bloody) approach than the hard-fisted tactics employed by their law enforcement brethren.

Since we knew full well how the judicial system is being geared to criminalize and stifle dissent in Alameda County, we should not have been the least bit astonished when our judge — without the slightest hesitation — granted the DA*s request to issue us indefinite stay-away orders from the University of California. Nevertheless, the stay-away orders first issued on March 19 took us all by surprise. Had administrators of the University of California deemed us worthy of banishment from campus, they could have used their own established protocols and procedures to do so — something they have hardly been hesitant to use before.

When asked why the stay away orders were to be applied not just to the UC Berkeley campus, but to all property owned by the University of California, the DA responded that we are known to travel to other campuses to protest meetings of the UC Board of Regents. The light this response sheds on the political motivation of the stay away orders should not be missed. We are now disallowed from stepping foot on any campus in the UC system for the simple reason that we might take part in political activity on UC property. The timing of these stay away orders, it should be noted, is extremely convenient for the UC administration: a major meeting of the UC Regents [was] scheduled at UC San Francisco [the week after the order].

In issuing these stay away orders, the judge granted a narrow exception to all of us who are students, as well as a few other exceptions to particular individuals (i.e. for living in university housing, or for performing official union responsibilities). Those of us with classes and teaching duties (which includes 12 of the 13 being charged) are allowed to visit campus for “lawful business.” We can attend our courses and meet with our students as usual. While a reasonable exception to an unreasonable order, this further reveals how the stay-away orders have been constructed expressly to eliminate our political engagement on campus. The stay-away-order-plus-exception effectively distills our lives as students and workers from all other trivial or superficial aspects. We are reduced to mere academics, without political or social lives, whose sole purpose is to work and study and return home. We cannot attend a lecture on campus. Or meet with a friend for coffee. Or stop to talk with a former student. And we most certainly can*t attend any protest. The court is permitting us to contribute to business as usual at the university so long as we do not do anything outside of the strict delimitation of such business, as long we do not attempt to challenge it in any way. We are made into model students and workers, perfectly obedient, without the encumbrance of feelings and thoughts beyond our academic work on campus.

Potentially complicating this analysis is the additional exception that one of us received for the performance of union responsibilities. When this individual*s lawyer initially spoke with the District Attorney, letting the DA know that his client was an elected steward in the UC union of academic workers, the DA responded by asking: “Union work is totally unrelated to occupy protests, right?” If this question betrays a basic unfamiliarity with recent organizing on campus, it also reveals something about how union activity is generally understood at this historical moment. Union activity is imagined here as a form of labor, performed by elected bureaucrats, who are recognized by management as the legitimate representatives for, and regulators of, a particular workforce. Such work appears unrelated to, if not in fact antagonistic toward, the forms of non-hierarchical direct action practiced by the occupy movement. When partitioned in this way from protest, union activity can evidently appear as part of the lawful business of a student instructor, whose life is thus distilled into acts of labor, some instructional and others bureaucratic.

Whatever the exceptions, we have little reason to trust that the campus police will interpret the stay-away orders in any predictable or consistent way. The actions of numerous John Pikes and Jared Kempers have taught us to never underestimate the lengths the UC police department is willing to go to punish campus protestors. We have little faith that the police will allow us to be on campus without also harassing us. This is, of course, their “lawful business.”

Revolution is the only culture – occupation by UC Davis revolutionaries of color

Note: for unknown reasons, our computer is not allowing us to include apostrophes in text on the website, so we have replace all apostrophes with a *. Sorry for the inconvenience:

On January 24, 2012, a group associated with Occupy UC Davis took over an abandoned building on the UC Davis campus. The building had formerly been the campus Cross-Cultural Center, but was being unused. The EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) was slated to move into the building, but had not. After the occupation began, the CCC and EOP mobilized against the occupiers, publicly accusing them of white privilege and racism, and comparing them to Columbus. Despite these criticisms, many of the occupiers were, in fact, people of color.

On January 28, the day of their departure from the CCC, UC Davis occupiers of color issued this response. As Slingshot goes to press, the building still stands empty.

“And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you*re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there*s got to be a change, people in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change. And a better world has to be built and the only way it*s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone — I don*t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.”

–El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

“I propose nothing short of the liberation of the man of color from himself.”

–Frantz Fanon (aka Ibrahim Fanon)

We, the revolutionaries (of color), who strategized, organized, mobilized, and directly participated in the action to take over the former cross-cultural center at UCD, which was an abandoned building, have decided to send a very clear and straightforward message to respond to the lies, propaganda, and misrepresentation of our movement–a misrepresentation that was systematically perpetrated by a couple of *people-of-color* (p-o-c) groups on campus that have proved to function from within the administrative logic of the university, the very same logic that uses the police force to repress student protest.

Four days ago, when we took over the building, we began with a clear anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and fundamentally anti-capitalist position. This was made clear when we rejected liberalism (the political supplement to capitalism): 1. We physically blocked media and surveillance into our “autonomous” space, 2. We confronted someone who wanted to sneak in an American flag into the building.

Our message was clear: We do not want administrative presence and the symbol of Empire in our space. We realize full well that the flag represents genocide, war, racism, imperialism, torture, surveillance, and the continued colonization of people (of color). We also understand the history of indigenous struggle in the Americas well enough to know that a proper anti-colonial movement (decolonization) involves the total dismantling of settler-colonialism. We also know that anti-colonialism without anti-capitalism is not a total critique of the given order. We realize that a proper struggle requires us to understand the ideological history of the Americas, the coordinates of indigenous resistance to State violence, and forms of political action that combat the ideology of colonialism. This was the foundation upon which we wanted to begin to build our movement. We knew that the rejection of the flag was symbolic, but nonetheless, we were excited about the tone the movement began to have within that space (a space that also has its own radical history).

When we put up the banner “Revolution is the only Culture” (a paraphrased Fanon quote) we knew very well that it would disturb, challenge, and expose the ideological function of late liberal multicultural capitalism. We were ready for the battle with the multiculturalist logic that helps pacify and commodify marginalized communities of color into fixed non-revolutionary entities. We understand the importance of culture well enough to know that true culture is impossible within capitalist social relations. We know clearly that what is presented as culture is fundamentally a non-culture, a kind of non-being, an inauthentic existence, determined by the historical conditions of the exploitative relations of capitalism. Culture is nothing but a horizontal arrangement of meaningless, colonized entities within the marketplace. And, therefore, culture is in need of liberation. Revolution is the only activity that can properly dismantle relations of exploitation that produce reified conceptions of identity. In this sense, we are fundamentally against identity politics. Identity politics, which is supported by the administration, has absolutely nothing to do with the realization of human potential. It has everything to do with co-opting communities of color into the logic of capitalism, ghettoizing marginal identities into narrow surveilled places, and using techniques of imprisonment (e.g. prisons, schools, mental institutions, social service institutions) upon bodies of color to finalize the colonial state. Every colonial project fundamentally worked through the methods of physical genocide and cultural genocide. We know that the colonial project in the Americas involved the same exact process of occupying a land through physical means, and then continuing with cultural genocide through institutions of education. Our fight against the administration is a fight against cultural genocide and colonialist capitalism.

When representatives of the EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) came over to argue to get back the space, they were supported by a couple of p-o-c groups that spoke of their identities and their cultures as if they are self-evident. They spoke of their individual stories of oppression and trauma. While we respect individuals, we fundamentally reject the line of reasoning that allows for this kind of isolation. We think it is a total misreading of the social, economic crises in communities of color, because no amount of individual counseling or therapy can resolve the larger problem of capitalism. The problem of capitalism can only be solved through revolutionary action that emerges from the tension between historical determinations and struggle. This is precisely why it is important for us to be aware of our own historical condition/moment. The revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East did not come out of a vacuum. A certain kind of historical situation presented itself, a certain set of crises emerged, and a certain kind of revolutionary struggle realized its task at hand. Identity politics is a strategy encouraged by administrative logic that aims to cloud the political truth procedures of marginalized and oppressed communities. And, therefore, identity politics within the logic of multiculturalism works against revolutionary politics. Our confrontation with EOP and the non-revolutionary p-o-c groups prove this point. We offered to share our space with EOP to help them become self-reliant. We also offered to occupy a larger place on campus for them. They declined both offers, and insisted on transitioning into our occupied space because that is what the administration had asked them to do.

When Malcolm X argues for “extreme methods” he is precisely talking about rejecting the idea of making “peace” with oppression, making “peace” with the system. We, the revolutionaries (of color) know very clearly the role of the *truth* of politics. We know how to identify our friends and enemies. Our truth is based on political action, but also a proper understanding of the “critique of political-economy.” In this sense, we never separate theory from action. We learn through doing, and we do when we learn. We are always ready to begin from the beginning. We know that the true movement of history can open up a different future, a different society without exploitation. When Fanon speaks of liberating “the man of color from himself” he is precisely talking about this possibility of the unfolding of history in the true revolutionary direction, where we destroy constructs created by the system.

Revolution is the only Culture.

Destroy (reified conceptions of) difference.