Category Archives: issue #125 – Autumn 2017

Many hands make the work light

Thank you for reading Slingshot! We’re hoping you find at least one thought provoking sentence in every issue! Slingshot loves it the slow way, loves to do the hand job: writing, drawing, cutting, waxing, rolling, folding, putting the slingshots in envelopes, taking it to the post office on bike trailers…

We’re enjoying the collective(‘s) time together sharing our ideas, crazy thoughts and big questions while working together till the pages are all done and ready for the printer. That’s why we spend little time in front of the screen, that’s why it’s so hard to find us on the ‘other end’ of the screen: on your smartphone, tablet or computer, on social media…we started publishing in 1988, before the first website existed. Some of us think that computers and the internet won’t exist forever and we don’t want to lose our skills, want to stay independent from the system(s).

As a collective we still want to spend as little time as possible attached to the flickering box, and we’re also not good at it (guess why!). But we acknowledge that some of you are and you might even like it! Besides those of you that we meet on the streets (here is our limitation mainly to the Bay Area) we would love to reach as many active people as you out there in all possible ways into the farthest corners of the globe. Please help us! Please share the sentence, the article you like with your friends! Please make us more visible on the internet by posting a link in whatever computer platform you favor!

Every Slingshot issue you’ll find online at our websites slingshot.tao.ca or slingshotcollective.org – you can even dig deep down in our archive. Which social media (fb: slingshot collective; twitter: #slingshotnews) seems secure enough for you to chat with us, start a discussion, we would love that. …and if you want to retreat to our slow way we’re extremely happy to meet you in person in Berkeley at the Long Haul Infoshop!

 

Radness in your radius – radical spaces update

Compiled by Jesse D. Palmer

As usual, as soon as we took the 2018 Slingshot organizer to the printing press, folks started emailing us with updates and additions to the contact list. Let us know if you see things we should correct or add. Due to computer problems, we have been unable to update the on-line contact list (or even fix an error that eliminated all of Europe) for the last 6 months. We hope this will be fixed soon. The new website is slingshotcollective.org.

The Aquadome – Kirksville, MO

A volunteer-run DIY venue and art space that hosts events. “It is, unfortunately, not a water park.” 120 S Main St, Kirksville, MO 63501

Aboveground Zine Library – New Orleans, LA

They were closed for 6 years and now they have a new location at a radical / self help bookstore and flower shop (!) that has been nice to lend them some space. Open Wed-Sat 11-7 pm and Sun 11-5 pm closed Mon and Tues. c/o Rubber Library 3240 Dauphine St. New Orleans, LA 70117, 504-945-4662.

Appalshop/Boone Youth Drop-In Center – Whitesburg, KY

A non-profit arts and media project in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. They have video training facilities, a community radio station, a 150-seat theater and an art gallery space that hosts community projects. 91 Madison Ave, Whitesburg, KY 41858 606-633-0108 appalshop.org

The Plantory – Lexington, KY

A coworking space that rents work and meeting spaces to various non-profits. Our contact recommended it so if you visit, let us know what you think. 501 W 6th St Suite 250, Lexington, KY 40508 859-255-6999 plantory.org

Good Life Center – Harborside, ME

A five acre homestead farm that promotes “simple and sustainable living skills, social and economic justice, organic gardening and the non-exploitation of animals.” It was the home of Helen & Scott Nearing who promoted sustainable living starting in the 1930s. Someone suggested we include this in the contact list and it’s hard to know if it is a good fit – it is part museum and they host some educational projects. Let us know what you think. 372 Harborside Rd.Harborside, Maine, 04642 goodlife.org

Diggers Books & Zines – Prince Edward County, ON, Canada

They sell books and zines on radical topics and they host events. 2569 County Rd. 13, Prince Edward County, ON, K0K 2T0, Canada 613-920-4914, diggersbookshop.wordpress.com

Andrými – Reykjavik, Iceland

A new radical social center. Iðnó Vonastræti 3 Reykjavik, Iceland, andrymi.org

Updates to the 2018 Organizer and news bits

• The Che Cafe in San Diego – which had been in an epic battle for survival with the University of California – won and now has a stable lease!

• Peoples’ Action for Rights and community in Eureka, Calif. closed but left behind a super thoughtful communique about running a radical space amidst the horrors of capitalism. It will be included in the on-line version of this article:

RIGHT HERE!!!

 

This has been difficult to write. We’ve been telling people vaguely, but here goes:

PARC IS CLOSING SEPTEMBER 7, 2017

 

There are many reasons, but before we get into what they are, we want to emphasize the need for more places like PARC to be created. And maintained.

 

PARC (Peoples’ Action for Rights & Community) has existed for 10 years- all of our work has been volunteer and all of our funding and supplies have been from community donations (including our own pockets). We have no 501(C)(3), no statistics, no lists of all the people who have come through the door, and no purse strings (or other strings) that keep us quiet or prevent us from risking arrest, organizing with whomever we want, and doing and supporting whatever actions we find worthy in defense of the people, the Earth, and the critters. Not one donation we get stops us from choosing to publicly take positions on government, police, prisons, community, homelessness, laws, businesses, racism, Palestine, etc; nor have we ever signed an agreement with anyone that precludes us from opposing the concepts, systems, structures, and people who we find to be harmful or threatening to dignity, fairness, and life.

 

We are proud of our stances against such things as capitalism, racism, police, borders, war, GMO’s, death penalty, and animal abuse. We don’t change to attract a donor or government, and therein lies our integrity. That, plus our commitment to care for people every day, morning to night, has kept us supported for this long.

 

We are so grateful to the principled and generous people and organizations who have supported PARC with money and all other types of donations, invitations to events, letters in our defense (remember those?), volunteer time, hours of dishwashing, long distance solidarity, artwork, animal care, vehicles and rides, home-made and special event foods, college/university internships, and spiritual and political backing.

 

Why are we closing?

PARC has been in its current location for 8 ½ of our 10 years. In Oct 2016, new owners bought the property from our very supportive landlord. Our new lease guaranteed our tenancy for a year, but the new landlords have been trying to get us out since shortly after they became the owners. (Unfortunately for them, we do a little tenants’ rights work, so we know how to defend ourselves.)

Now that it is almost a year, we will close PARC on Sept 7th and take a few weeks to clear out the space.

 

For those of you asking “What’s going to happened next?” that’s what we are trying to figure out. Over the 10 years that PARC has existed, the inequalities of capitalism have gotten worse, and more and more people are suffering. More people have been pushed into poverty and have greater difficulty meeting their daily survival needs. The impact on PARC has meant more time, effort, and resources devoted to helping people to just get by, and less time doing the political work to end the conditions that are putting people on the streets. 10 years of working here ‘as’ PARC has provided a wealth of experience; we have learned a lot; and in this period of having to shut down in this location, we have the opportunity to evaluate our responsibilities moving forward, committed to working for justice and social change.

 

To the people who rely on PARC for survival, for respite, for shelter from the storm, we send you these words of encouragement:

Keep your heads up. Welcome new cycles in your lives. Even with so much against you, you persist and survive and help people who are more vulnerable than you. Work on your health and the health of the people around you. Take care of the land and the water. ORGANIZE so things will be better. You are the experts on how you’re being treated by the police, businesses, housed community people, organizations, city government, etc. Use what you know and learn about other movements from the streets. Understand that people who bring you food or give you a blanket want to help stop the oppression you are experiencing. Talk with them about that. ORGANIZE so things will be better. Love, PARC

 

Volunteers who become familiar with the people and the rhythm in the chaos and can come on a regular basis are critical. Countless volunteers have helped PARC over the years. We will not try and list all the names, for fear of leaving someone out, but everyone’s contributions were part of PARC’s spirit and success.

 

Each month we write an email asking for money donations to pay bills and rent. Here is the last one, which is a great explanation and her/history of PARC.https://peopleproject.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/parcs-presentation-to-veterans-for-peace/

 

Some of the projects you may remember or have participated in, largely based out of PARCinclude:

End the War on the Poor weekly demonstrations and dinner;

PEOPLE PROJECT Good Morning Neighbors Breakfast Program;

Days of Action Against Police Brutality;

the 33-night winter Safe Sleeping Space at Eureka City Hall;

the monthly radio show, Radical Rap;

a community produce table;

5pm for the 5 Demands weekly informational demos in support of the CA prisoner hunger strikers and against long term solitary confinement;

dog rescue + fostering and adopting;

Music for the People concerts at Clarke Plaza;

guerrilla film showings about the MOVE 9 political prisoners in efforts to win their release;

Know Your Rights workshops;

many street music and speaking events with PARC’s portable sound system;

Grub n Grab events;

a summer film screening and discussion series;

the Eureka Fair Wage Act;

lots of public dinners;

Jail Support;

Richardson Grove Action Now organizing;

and Homeless Persons Memorial Day marches & gatherings.

 

PARC has been an important resource center and organizing hub for 10 years.

 

PLEASE: Call PARC (707.442.7465) or email peoplesarc@gmail.com, if you would like to get together and talk about what you could do in the near future to prevent huge gaps in relief, food, bathrooms, showers, safe(r) space, computer use, phone use, mail service, legal support, etc. Without community action, these gaps will exist for people living on the street and for housed and unhoused people who need space, use of office equipment, and/or advocacy, for myriad reasons.

 

We want to talk with people about how to work a place like PARC, or a space that fills one or more of the needs that PARC has met, and how to establish this space and keep it going. There can and should be multiple places and methods that take care of community needs. Simple and consistent acts of creativity and dedication can do so much.

 

PARC needs to strategize with donors where to bring the clothes, food, and towel donations that we usually get. It is unacceptable for all donations to go to well-funded places (e.g. Eureka Rescue Mission, Betty Chinn) where only “certain” people can access them, and most can not.

 

Please consider the following needs:

 

WATER:

While we are not in the desert, or in scalding heat (on the coast), all of us require water to live. PARC has had water available inside and outside for many years. Where are the pubic and accessible water fountains in Eureka? There is water for dogs in bowls outside of some businesses (which were glad for), but no water dispensers for humans. Humboldt County Public Health and the people of Eureka and Humboldt should be insisting on potable water availability. The United Nations, after visiting Sacramento, reported that a lack of available potable water -and a lack of bathrooms- are human rights violations.)

MAIL: People need mail and street addresses for just about everything. To get a job, a driver’s license, a bank account, a phone, for court mail, for personal letters, for government mail, and on and on. PARC has had a very active mail service. The opportunities and relief that having an address provides are incredible. The Betty Kwan Chinn Center no longer allows people to receive mail there unless they are enrolled in a particular program (and space is limited). Brian Olsen (of St. Joe’s) is stationed at St. Vincent de Paul’s Free Meal and doesallow people to receive mail there. Unfortunately, for some people who are trying to stay away from “drama”drugs or who do not feel comfortable at Free Meal, mail service in that location will not work for them. The Eureka Rescue Mission is so prohibitive as far as who can use the services and who cannot, I believe only men in the Mission “Program” can get mail there, and women, not so much. We know about a lot of corruption by the Mission, including important things like medications, being stolen by the Mission, so we would not recommend having your mail sent there.

 

PHONE: Believe it or not, everyone does not have a cell phone. People need to make calls, look up numbers, sometimes get assistance navigating phone bureaucracies, put a contact number on an application, and connect with family and friends. There’s nothing like having a number where someone can call you back.

 

OUTLET TO CHARGE PHONES AND OTHER ELECTRONICS: Why not have outlets throughout the city where people can charge? The more there are, the less congregated people will be around one?

 

MENSTRUAL PADS, TAMPONS, UNDERWEAR: People who need menstrual supplies can get about 8 pads or tampons from the Eureka Rescue Mission Women’s side. You have to ring the bell and wait for someone to come to the sidewalk. Maybe people want to put free pad and tampon dispensers in public bathrooms? (Wait great idea, except NO PUBLIC BATHROOMS in Eureka!) folks, please put some free pad and tampon dispensers some where , maybe in a set up like a little free library.

 

SHOWER: Taking a shower and using a bathroom (don’t you usually do both?) are probably the most valued daily resources that PARC has offered. Individuals could take a shower every 3-4 days (1 or 2 showers a week). We want people to not smell bad, to get employed, to show up to work, to look a certain way (or stay out of sight), but Betty Chinn’s showers seem to be so scarce and randomly canceled that they may as well not be happening. PARC has been giving showers within a 6 hour time frame every day. People don’t have to sign up, or show up early in the morning to get in line. They don’t have to take a shower in a gym style big shower room with a bunch of other people. And they don’t have to rush to do everything (go to the bathroom, clean in the shower, shave, brush teeth) in record time. People take their time and before their shower, we find some clean clothes to change into. Without PARC, will there be showers for homeless people in Eureka?

 

BATHROOM: How can people complain about poop and pee in public when there are practically no public restrooms? PARC has been the most open, most available public restroom in Eureka. After 5pm , people have to use the bathroom. Laws, locked doors, snobby businesses, and “for customers only” signs do not change that. When the library is open, people may use the bathroom. The County Jail visitor waiting area (lovely place) no longer allows people to use the public bathroom unless they are going to visit someone in jail! Does County Public Health across the way offer a public bathroom? We need more bathrooms that are accessible to all, all the time. A place to go is a necessity and right. Until you can force the City of Eureka to make their park bathrooms ADA legal and open them up, individuals, businesses, and organizations need to open their restrooms to folks. We have found that white vinegar is an easy, non-toxic, and affordable cleaner for our public bathroom.

 

DETOX & HOSPITAL VISITS: PARC does not have a detox facility, but PARC helps people do what is required to get into the Detox house in Eureka. First, a person must call Detox,sometimes every morning, until there is a bed available. When a bed is available, the person must get to St. Joe’s Emergency Room, wait to be seen (often for hours), then get medically cleared. Then they usually need to pick up a prescription at the pharmacy and get to Detox on 14th and C Streets. Everyone must get to Detox within an hour of being seen in the ER. We drive people to the hospital, then when they are done, we bring them across town. It is often impossible for people otherwise. This process is going to change, possibly in September 2017, when the re-purposed MAC opens as a detox with a doctor on site.

 

Rides to the hospital are an important offering by PARC. If an ambulance is called for a street person, the police show up first, the ambulance may never come, and it often becomes a more dangerous situation for the sick or injured person. We give people rides to the hospital, and leave our number for a pick up when they are done. No police involved, no senseless and cruel violence for someone who is already hurting. Perhaps a network of drivers could get people to the hospital for care or detox clearance?

 

FOOD: People are always hungry. (Can you relate?) St. Vincent’s Free Meal is usually available from 11am to 12:30pm, some days closed down as group punishment , for instance, for two attendees getting in a fight outside. On Saturday and Sunday at Clarke Plaza (3rd and E St.), Food Not Bombs serves up a hot meal and donated pastries and such at 3pm. For people over 60, the Senior Resource Dining Hall has lunch available Tuesdays through Fridays 11:30am -12:15pm. Betty Chinn no longer feeds like she used to, only to people in her container program. On Sundays, our kind and generous community member, Larry Hourany (age 81) serves lunch to folks near Free Meal. We need more people to share food in public, carry it in your car, stop when you see people and feed em, organize sandwich or burrito give away days, do a community breakfast in a park or on a corner once a week- there are many possibilities with caring people.

 

LEGAL/COURT SUPPORT, TENANTS RIGHTS: There really are few resources for this, mostly none. Redwood Legal Services, which is supposed to help with tenant issues, hardly helps individuals; the Redwood Chapter ACLU is a bad joke (except for Shelley Mack and Peter Martin); in the Courthouse 3rd floor self-help area, there are helpful forms and sometimes helpful advice. There are no local renters’ rights organizations, although we believe there is a club establishing on HSU campus for that purpose, and maybe a student-organized legal clinic, too. Currently, there is no organization to help with restraining orders, and people get inaccurate or no information from the Court clerks.

 

Please tell Verbena if you want to learn, for free, to do this kind of work, legal/court support and tenants’ rights work – and share it for free.

 

Local houseless people, activists, animal rescuers, and long-time PARC supporters and collaborators are experiencing some shock and fear of loss when we tell them PARC is closing. Some of us who has been associated long term with PARC are also feeling a sense of loss People are going to miss what this space does. The loss of this little sanctuary is going to be harsh for the community. Let’s hope people here build sanctuary again, not waiting for thousands of dollars or for government permission, but because it is basic and necessary.

 

Over the years we have lost many friends and community members. We honor the memories of those who inspired us to create PARC, who blessed PARC with their wisdom, healing, kindness, and music, and who otherwise came to PARC throughout the years and were our family: Herb Macias, Colleen Branch, Rebecca Stiles, Dee Faye Moon, Adonia, Guitar Dan, Rachel Donahue, Etta Moo, Chris Ayers (Squrl), Thomas Rice, Bill Holmes, Derrick, Carrington, Miles (Milo), Tommy Weatherman, Wanda Kibby, Noel Adamson, Martin “Freddy” Cotton, and Christopher Burgess. Martin Cotton and Chris Burgess were murdered by local police. Young, homeless, mentally disabled, indigenous, of color, poor– targeted by the state and, in large part, society.

 

We created PARC while fighting for some kind of justice for their families and communities. In that spirit we ask you to seek justice, risk ridicule, use your privilege, and defend the vulnerable.

 

And, as we honor Black August 2017, we remember the counsel of our martyred freedom fighter, George Jackson: “Settle your quarrels, come together, understand the reality of our situation, understand that fascism is already here, that people are already dying who could be saved, that generations more will live poor butchered half-lives if you fail to act. Do what must be done, discover your humanity and your love in revolution”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2018 Slingshot organizer released

The 2018 Slingshot organizer is available now. By selling the organizer, we are able to print and give away this paper for free, so if you want to support the paper, please buy the organizer for yourself and as gifts.

Because our costs went up we raised the wholesale price for the organizer — the first price increase in over 10 years. The way stuff works, we don’t set the retail prices, but they’ll be higher. Thanks for your understanding. If you can make it to the Long Haul Infoshop at 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley, you can purchase it at the old price.

You can order the organizer on-line but if possible, please buy it from a brick and mortar store which helps support the many coops, infoshops and independent bookstores that sell the Organizer. If you know of a store in your area that might like to carry the organizer and/or the paper, let us know. We would like to meet them.

The process to make the 2018 organizer was particularly fun this summer and we think it looks amazing. A number of people who we had never met before dropped by to make last-minute art and stayed until 2 am. Thanks to everyone who helps make the organizer lovely.

 

Book Review- Environmental melancholia

Book by Renee Lertzmen

Review by Hayley

For those of us working hard to protect the environment, it is easy to become frustrated at the people who aren’t engaged. Don’t they realize what’s at stake? Why don’t they care more? In her book, Environmental Melancholia, environmental psychologist Renee Lertzman argues that many of these people do care, but their ability to act has been stifled by a deep, inchoate sense of loss and mourning. These people have become psychologically frozen when it comes to environmental action, and Lertzman argues that this frozenness is a completely natural human psychological phenomenon. As activists, it is important for us to see it as such, and avoid moralizing and judging people for it. If we are to help these people unlock their creative potential for action and become environmentally engaged, we have to get better at acknowledging the unconscious processes that prevent people from engaging—denial, projection, splitting, disavowal, and apathy. Only by helping these individuals name their loss and make public sense of their personal experiences of environmental degradation can we create a resilient environmental movement that harnesses the deep level of care that is already felt by a lot more people than we realize.

 

Book Review- Being the change – live well and spark a climate revolution

Book by by Peter Kalmus

Reviewed by elke

New Society Publishers $21.99 or read at the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley for free

This book is inspiring as it holds the mirror just in front of my face: We are the (climate) change! It talks about our common predicament and our millions of little ways of denial and escaping. It’s written by a fellow traveler in the middle of this industrial society, though he has to deal with the undeniable data and facts every day as a climate scientist.

Using very understandable language, he shares with us a critical view of how this data is processed in the culture/society.

The second part is the story of his gradual opting out to where he is now living using 1/10th of the fossil fuel of an average (ever rich) American (1/5th of the average German). Following his adventures on this path, the book explores and challenges his/our general mindset, his/our underlying beliefs and ideals, looking at it all that with one scientist’s eye and human eye. He attempts to find sense in the craziness, calling out the brokenness in the system and in us. It’s also a hands on instruction manual for living in a post-fossil fuel society, without ignoring the frequent and sometimes overwhelming questions and contradictions. I appreciate the 60 pages of source material for my own further research!

Why are we not fucking doing it? It’s right there! Peter Kalmus is not leaving us out of it, so Let’s fucking do it!! Let’s opt out of fossil fuels and everything connected: militarism, industrial society, separatism, and our death inducing imperial behavior towards the Earth.

Look forward to an interview with the author in our next issue.

 

Book Review- The lamb will slaughter the Lion

by Margaret Killjoy

www.tor.com

Review by Steve Brady

In The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, Danielle hitchhikes to Freedom, Iowa, a ghost town settled by anarchy-punks. She’s searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious suicide, and what Freedom might have to do with it. This community has all the pieces of a good idea but something is wrong—in the air, in the animals. Turns out their murderous demon has gone off-leash and rogue. And there’s a bigger and more dangerous problem: the usual squatter dysfunction and folly.

While Margaret Killjoy’s first novel, A Country of Ghosts, came out on her own label, this one is published by Tor, a leading sci-fi and fantasy publisher. Through speculative fiction, Margaret has found a way to bring her anarchist culture and ideas to a broad audience. Fortunately, she has a real talent for telling the punk-traveler experience.

Well, because so much written about the life is terrible. There’s so many bad zines, Kerouac-ism, and Evasion. All of this horror pales before what outsiders and poseurs write about us. Instead, Margaret Killjoy gets it right. She shows us as flawed and unpredictable, but beautiful and resourceful. This story is neither Lord of the Flies nor News From Nowhere. It’s about people who aren’t cut out for normal life living the only way they can. How amidst the ugliness and danger, that way of life is still worthwhile.

All the details are authentic; even when I disagree with her traveling and self-defense advice, it’s still real and doesn’t make me gag. One thing I find tiresome about urban fantasy is the moment the normal characters find out magic, vampires, ghosts, etc. are real—it’s never convincing. But in this skilled portrayal of a culture where anything can happen, Danielle’s acceptance of the demon’s existence goes down flawlessly.

And Uleksi is an outstanding demon. He’s mysterious like Moby Dick, an archetypical symbol of something or other, but he’s also more than that. Killjoy gets what it means to be intelligent without being human. Uleksi’s actions make consistent sense, but his idea of what to do is alien to us. Uleksi seeks out those who have violated others, but that’s because it’s his nature, not morals.

Uleksi fits in well with the theme of justice in anarchist communities and societies, which was also a major theme of A Country of Ghosts. Outside the system just like within, no one quite knows the answers. Killjoy’s anarchist characters know they’re merely doing the best they can. They’re not amoral or dogmatic; they’re sincere, but just because justice is anarchist doesn’t make it pretty.

To be vulnerable, Danielle’s lover reveals her weakness: “I fucking love trashy romance. The straighter the better. The worse the politics the better. I’ll just eat that shit up.” If this isn’t you, if you want a starkly unpredictable novel, that ignores gender conventions, with solid ambivalent politics, read The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion.

 

Movie Review- war for the planet of the apes

By Shane Redd and Gerald Smith

For movie fans hoping for some semblance of a political perspective to offset what has become a repetitive and mostly stale Hollywood, the summer 2017 movie season remained mostly apolitical. Yet one summer film represents that bright shining star in a Hollywood sky filled with dull mindless remakes.

War for the Planet of the Apes is part three of what has become one of the more inspiring movie trilogies of the decade; it’s also a major studio production (20th Century Fox) that has consistently highlighted the danger of the capitalist system and its potential to lay waste to the large majority of humanity, while offering a glimpse of the potential barbarism in store for the unfortunate souls who survive. War for the Planet of the Apes is the third film of 20th Century Fox’s reboot of the critically acclaimed 1968 original film — Planet of the Apes, based on French author Pierre Boulle’s 1963 novel – La Planete des Singes. With War, fans of the trilogy can appreciate the highly relevant themes they’ve come to expect from watching Rise and Dawn of the Planet of the Apes , including: Mans ceaseless attempts to manipulate and conquer nature, the dangers of shadowy capitalist industry (biotech, robotics, etc.), animal liberation, the importance of leadership, and socialism vs. barbarism. Each of these themes will inform the analysis of the film and help draw parallels with present-day capitalist realities.

At the opening of the third film, a mere fifteen years has passed since Caesar and his fellow apes uprising from captivity and escape into the redwood forests of Northern CA. In those fifteen years, planet earth has seen over 90% of humans killed off by a simian flu virus created in a Biotech research corporation (Gen-sys laboratories) experimenting on apes in the hopes of curing Alzheimer’s.

Gen-sys is the biotech corporation where Caesar, a chimpanzee, and his mother before him were given samples of an experimental Alzheimer’s drug that allowed for their intelligence evolution. With the first film, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, audiences are given a crystal clear glimpse of the dangers inherent with shadowy profit-driven capitalist industry. This danger becomes more significant and relevant to the present-day when considering the neoliberal deregulation that has become a staple of late capitalism. Humanity could any day come face to face with a contagion that wipes out the vast majority of people, with the survivors similarly blaming the victims, in the film the victims are the apes and the masses– all guinea pigs of profit driven biotechnology and big Pharma fantasies.

In the second film, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, we see the contrast between two communities of survivors. The apes, led by Caesar, have set up a communal society and are thriving in the Redwood forests to the north of the Bay Area. They live by one simple rule, “Apes don’t kill other Apes”. In contrast to their communal society, the surviving humans in San Francisco are struggling to come to terms with the reality they face. Rather than adapting and evolving to the new dawn, they are stockpiling weapons and are hell-bent on fixing a power source that lies in the heart of the Apes forest enclave. In other words, they cling to the hope that the capitalist society they knew, a society responsible for humanity’s demise, can be rebuilt.

War for the Planet of the Apes starts with the barbarism of the humans on full display. An elite soldier unit (Alpha Omega) has found the Apes hideout and is hoping to eliminate Caesar and his fellow apes once and for all. The elite soldiers are led by a demagogic colonel who is obsessed with exacting vengeance on the apes, despite their having nothing to do with the simian flu or the current war. The Alpha Omega soldiers are resisted by the Apes army, while four human soldiers are captured and ultimately let go by Caesar with a message for their rogue Colonel McCullough (played by Woody Harrelson). The message was clear and simple, “the apes did not start the war and they want peace between apes and humans”. Here again we see the “humanity” of intelligent apes compared with the vengeful barbarism of humans whom, despite their dwindling worldwide numbers, must conquer the apes and reclaim their “dominant” status on the planet.

Men and their ceaseless desire to manipulate and conquer all forms of nature is a consistent theme throughout the Planet of the Apes trilogy. The importance of leadership is also quite prominent, none more so than in the third film. At a certain point Caesar’s band is captured by the Alpha Omega soldiers and forced to work without food or water. Caesar steps up and tells the rogue colonel in no uncertain terms that if he wants the apes to work for him then he needs to feed them and quench their thirst. A request the desperate colonel grants as he needs the apes to build a wall to fend off an attack by U.S. Government forces, as it’s revealed (spoiler alert) the colonel and his Alpha Omega soldiers have gone rogue and are operating at the whims of the colonel who enjoys a cult status amongst his troops.

At issue is the colonel’s callous disregard for chain of command and his troops all in the pursuit of the alleged enemy of humanity. Here parallels can be drawn with the Bush Administration’s hawkish disregard for international law in going after those responsible for 9/11, and more recently the Trump Administration’s failure to even bother investigating whether or not Assad Sarin gassed his own people before launching missiles at a Syrian Air Force Base. Like Assad

and Hussein before him, the apes are similarly blamed to suit hawkish military purposes. Throughout the film we see the courageous leadership of Caesar set against the fascist-like demagoguery of the rogue McCullough. With these contrasting leadership styles its not hard to surmise which side wins out.

“Winning”, unfortunately, isn’t a very accurate description at the conclusion of the “war”. The apes suffer heavy casualties throughout the fighting but ultimately they persist. The humans, never able to come to grips with the new reality on the planet, still hold out the belief that there is something to be won despite the 90% loss of their species, and the remaining pockets pretending nature can still be conquered. This is the real tragedy portrayed throughout the trilogy.

The Planet of the Apes series is a work of science fiction, yet many of the themes resonate with the present reality of 2017. We still see a relatively small group of humans mistakenly believing in their race supremacy, we still face shadowy capitalist industries with the potential to destroy humanity, we still confront world leaders who believe that nature can and must be conquered, and we still have yet to accept our only chance for survival is through collective and peaceful coexistence.

Maybe, before its too late, some intelligent apes will come along and save humanity from

ourselves, until then the War for the Planet of the Apes much like the entire trilogy is worth a

look.

Calendar: Fall off the rat wheel

October 14 • 12-6pm

Atlanta Radical Bookfair, 101 Auburn Ave, NE, Atlanta, GA atlantaradicalbookfair.com

 

October 14 • 10am

Cassette Store Day – celebrate by making a mixtape

 

October 14

Indigenous Peoples Day

 

October 18

Justice for Kayla Moore, pack the courts! Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave, SF, CA justiceformaylamoore.wordpress.com

 

October 21 • 8-4pm

Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice, 2600 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA nwtsj.org

 

October 21 • 7pm

Benefit for Survivors of Human Trafficking in India, (film screening & performance), Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA bfuu.org/events

 

October 20-22

Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, CA conference.bioneers.org

 

October 27 • 6pm

Halloween Critical Mass Bike Ride – Dress up! Justin Herman Plaza San Francisco sfcriticalmass.org

 

October 28 • 10-7pm

Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair, Leimert Park Plaza la.anarchistbookfair.com

 

October 28

London Anarchist Bookfair, Park View School, Green Road, London anarchistbookfair.org.uk

 

October 28 • 7pm

Roundtable Discussion on Anarchist Video Activism @ Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland, CA omnicommons.org, ntaflof

 

November 3-5

Left Coast Forum 2017: State of the Struggle, 400 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA leftforum.org

 

November 10 • 8pm

East Bay Bike Party

 

November 11-12

Boston Anarchist Bookfair, 775 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA bostonanarchistbookfair.org

 

November 12 •12-7pm

Philly Zine Fest facebook.com/phillyzinefest

 

November 13 •1-8pm

SF Punk-Metal Flea Market, The DNA Lounge, 375 11th st, SF CA

 

November 15 •7:30pm

Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) Meeting, Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland, CA antipoliceterrorismproject.org

 

November 19 •10-6pm

Howard Zinn Radical Bookfair, San Francisco City College, Mission Campus, SF CA howardzinnbookfair.com

 

November 24

BUY NOTHING DAY

 

December 10 • 7pm

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting, Long Haul Infoshop, 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

 

December 16-17

Punk Rock Flea Market, 1901 59th St Philly PA

 

December 17-18

KPFA Winter Craft Fair, 1414 Harbour Way S., Richmond, CA kpfa.org/craftsfair

 

January 13 •3pm

Article submission deadline for Slingshot issue 126 to slingshotcollective@protonmail.com

The Slingshot Organizer app is here

Slingshot is pleased to announce the release of a Slingshot organizer smart phone app. It’s a calendar app with hand-drawn art, menstrual calendar and the radical historical dates that appear in the paper version of the organizer. If you click on the historical date, you can see all the dates we have in our list — up to 20 events for each day. The app syncs with your google calendar so all dates added in the app or in your google calendar will appear in the other automatically. The menstrual calendar in the app has a graphical predictive feature. The app is free with a donate button.

We hope you’ll try the app and if you like it, tell your friends. It seems like on-line things like the app get spread and popularized on-line, which poses a problem for Slingshot since we don’t have much of any on-line presence, so we leave it to our readers to help. Many people have approached us over the years and told us they previously used the paper organizer, but then they started using their phone calendar. We hope some of those folks will give the app a try.

In our wildest dreams, the app will help get radical information beyond our comfort zone and the activist ghettos based in big cities, college towns, and the coasts. Maybe it can get some Emma Goldman and IWW dates out to folks who’ve never seen the paper Organizer, or who don’t find it practical to use anymore.

We’re going to keep publishing the organizer on paper, because the paper calendar has different uses than an app. We decided to make the app a few years ago and it ended up being harder than expected to make the app a reality.

The app is a work-in-progress, and we expect we’ll find some bugs and perhaps upgrade or adjust it over the next year or so. Please send us your questions, comments or suggestions. Currently, the app only works on Android phones, and a big question is whether we should invest additional resources to make an iphone version. We don’t have an iphone programmer so if you know how to program apps for the iphone and want to help, let us know. To download it, go to the google play store and search “slingshot organizer.”

A challenge to bro culture in feminism

by Dorian Commode

“The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power; cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity [...] In order to have the continued opportunity to express their “generosity,” the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity” which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. That is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source.”
- Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed

This article is an exploration of the way those of us already invested in the destruction of patriarchy and gender create space to talk with and educate each other. It is not patriarchy 101, nor a proposal of specific solutions. In the tradition of popular education, I believe that the oppressed already contain enough information to assess and destroy our oppression, but that we must structure spaces in a way that such information is brought out in an actionable way.

Patriarchy remains a structural element of global society. It is neither about to be destroyed by the class climbing of a few highly privileged women, nor the injustice system “locking up rapists,” nor by genderfucking. Every transperson and woman I know (and a significant amount of men) has experienced some combination of sexual assault or domestic violence, almost entirely at the hands of men. Following the logic of The Shock Doctrine, this near universal, continuous experience and helpless witnessing of torture primes us to think of ourselves as individuals in permanent conflict with “The World”, incapable of solidarity and unable to resist the ongoing waves of violence we experience on larger economic scales as well as the regular abuses and entitlements of men*. As I wrote this article, I was “mildly” sexually assaulted by someone in my community. Of course, he honestly wants to do what he can to be a good feminist, and I honestly believe him. The condition of privilege is that of ignorance — the easiest thing is to participate in oppression. It is not an outlier.

Of course this is urgent. It’s been urgent for 5000 years. Of course men* of conscience want to defect. Of course they don’t know how. “What should I read?” I don’t know. “Educate me.” Are you ready? Am I? Are we? To be educated as an oppressor is to be reduced from a position of power as the oppressed free themselves. Since when should the oppressed not have to educate the oppressor”? Who else will?

While the quote above should be considered by all “allies,” the “oppressor” Freire referred to was not the privileged individual (man, white person, straight person, etc), but the economic ruling class. His “oppressed” are the economic/racial underclass. Men compose the majority of this ruling class, and are fused in a cross-class alliance with other men, most clearly within the Men’s Rights Movement which blames women, transpeople and queers for their (for poor/working class men, very real) disempowerment. If the privileged man* is not an oppressor, per se, what is strategy is left for common struggle? How will the privileged defect from their alliance with the oppressors? When must we struggle against them, and when can we struggle with them?

Articles like this one tend to provoke resentment, defensiveness, or unthinking submission from privileged people. Are these responses the failing of the writer? Or the fault of the “fucked up” reader? This lack of connection between voice of oppressed and ear of privileged is simply that — one that hasn’t been made yet. To focus on the “fucked-upness” of individuals is to silently acknowledge that the best we can do is get a few people to act slightly better. We need them to, yes, and a lot more.

The notions of declaring oneself a “male feminist ally” and forming a “feminist men’s group” (much like the whites-only anti-racist group) persist as “the” way to organize as aspiring feminist men. This is rather bizarre, considering that some prominent male feminists of the 70s ended up founding the Men’s Rights movement.** A group of privileged people, especially a group such as men, who are generally socialized to be competitive and uncommunicative, getting together in a “safe space” to talk about their privilege seems to me like an incubator for anti-feminist activity. Let me explain:

What I’ve seen of organized feminist men’s groups, and in subculture that considers itself feminist is this: those men who are best at talking the feminist talk are elevated as “good men” who can be trusted, regardless of their actions. I’ve known male women’s and gender studies majors who refuse to wash their dishes, feminist queer men who mansplain abortion rights, macho bros who feel really righteous when they “kick rapists’ asses,” men who are so excited to use “bitch” again now that it’s ok if you attach “basic” or “white,” and on and on. At worst, I was around a men’s group organized by two (unacknowledged) male rapists. These guys were, of course, “good dudes.”

This is what happens when talk is more important than walk, when someone can be considered an “Ally” as their static identity. Ally is a verb, something which must be done, not something to be. As long as we allow ourselves to fall into thinking that there are Good People and Bad People, rather than reacting to what people Actually Do, we will continue to be fooled by those who say all the right things and do all the wrong ones.

The evolution of a caucus of privileged people into a reactionary group is predictable because it imitates the structure of mainstream society — a space in which privileged people are listened to, but worse because the rest of us aren’t even there to observe or react. If men* need a space to process the (very real) hurt they carry from patriarchy, it’s probably best that they do that within organically developed, trusting friendships with people of many genders. Within a group of men* discussing feminism, it’s unlikely that members have a high enough degree of vulnerability and trust with each other to avoid a competition to be “most feminist.” It seems like a set-up for men to feel good about themselves either by ascending to the top of the hierarchy of “good dudes” or to engage in indulgent self-punishment for being “bad” (hire a dominatrix, it’s simpler). to make

Women and transpeople make groups for ourselves because we don’t have spaces in mainstream society where we hear each other and see each other as valuable. These spaces have far more potential to transgress normal social relations. I say “potential” because women-only spaces are an essential part of maintaining patriarchy. The kitchen, the laundry, the servant’s quarters, the boarding school, the brothel,*** the finishing school, the female-dominated care industries, and the private discussions in which we discuss those most unpleasant things: abortions, yeast infections, rape, who to watch out for. Those things that men just shouldn’t have to think about. Women also enforce gender norms on each other in these spaces: discussing men, instructing each other how to act and look in order to please them, putting each other down for our gender transgressions.

We need to change the way we relate within groups of oppressed people, too, and not assume that we are radical or feminist simply by getting together. Someone who experiences a certain type of oppression knows better than someone who doesn’t what that experience is like. What one does with that information varies.

I think it would be more useful, as far as discussions go, to have mixed gender groups in which men* are actively obliged to both speak honestly and respect other’s ideas. Women and trans people in such groups must also transgress expectations to not upset or offend men, to actively name when men are being overbearing or disrespectful, and to name and discuss openly aired patriarchal ideas. We’d have to challenge ourselves to be radically unsafe in a group of people with whom we could feel (but never actually be) safe around. Conflict in such a space could easily be dismissed as “too hard to deal with” (for men who have the option of avoiding discussions of patriarchy), or as a product of the irreparable ignorance of the privileged. Or it could be avoided. Or it could be productive.

We are not yet equipped for insurrection against patriarchy. Discussion groups, caucuses, and collective action make possible this insurrection by fusing the information we already have into something actionable, which then can be reanalyzed and turn into something even more effective. The discussion group is not an endpoint. What I’m proposing is the most challenging of actions- telling the truth to each other and ourselves, so that we might do something useful together. Maybe we will decide to try doing clinic defense again, become union organizers, get guns, learn to do abortions, infiltrate legal advocacy, opt for political homo- or asexuality. Who knows? We need to talk about it first.

THINGS YOU CAN DO TO BE AN ALLY:

Feminism has given us the adage “the personal is political.” Meaning, in part, what you actually do is the truest indicator of what one will continue to do. Your actions are your politics. You can aspire to something different, sure, but what you do is what you believe is ok or necessary to do right now.

  • Listen to people, especially those who don’t get listened to as much as you do. When you think their experiences or complaints sound too bad to be true, ask yourself where that denial comes from. Get in their shoes. Part of female socialization is constantly putting oneself in other’s shoes, try doing the same so we can try staying in ours. When someone has a patriarchy-related problem ask if there’s something you can do, don’t be disappointed if there isn’t, do not try to be a primary actor in the “resolution” nor reneg on responsibility to act.
  • Be nice to people. Assume that most people, especially those that experience oppression(s), have gone through some fucked up shit.
  • Seek validation outside of activism, that’s what good friends are for. Successes are few, and trying to “look busy” or be seen as a “good ally” rarely assists in strategic collective action.
  • Clean up after yourself. Seriously. It is a continual problem that men don’t clean up their shit, I assume this comes from a confidence that “someone” will come deal with the mess, or that the mess is “not a big deal.” The sense that someone will take care of you or that getting other people sick won’t impact you is an entitlement that most people don’t have. Oppression is always economic. One’s health and stuff is precious and costs money that is often hard earned. Yes, there are messy femmes, I live with them. It’s annoying but the political and social weight is just not the same.
  • Don’t participate in trends like calling women “basic bitches” or whatever. It’s still sexist.
  • Sexual tension is often used as a form of social control. Men have the option of using flirtation to insure themselves against being challenged, whether or not they are actually sexually interested in their subject, as femmes and women are less likely to compromise getting laid by being argumentative. It’s unacceptable to rely on being charming, sweet, or flirtatious as a way to avoid responsibility for ones actions.
  • Learn and practice feminist theory: Reading ideas and stories of women and transpeople is a great way for men to educate themselves without overburdening those people. Remember that this is not “self-education,” the writer did the work and is educating you, and someone had to make the reading list. That said, I’ve known plenty of men who’ve read all the right stuff and still act like sexist assholes. Why? Because they equate thinking with doing something. To be a true ally you cannot just do the homework — you must take what you’ve learned and actively apply it to your life, your behavior, your sex life. The future is unwritten, comrades.