Category Archives: April/May 2004 (4/8/04)

Bring Down B.I.O.

People across the continent are organizing to disrupt the global meeting of the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO) June 6-9 at San Francisco’s Moscone Center. BIO is the largest biotech lobbying organization in the world. It works to promote mega-corporate control of human food supplies and the environment. Its corporate members and supporters — Monsanto, Dow, DuPont, Genentech and all of the major pharmaceutical companies — are quite literally threatening the continuation of life on earth with their pollution, unsustainable agricultural practices, and genetic engineering experiments.

BIO’s decision to meet in San Francisco is a surprising opportunity — why would the biotech industry voluntarily have a huge meeting in a politically hostile, well organized community with a history of successful and militant direct action? Their blunder will be the people’s gain. 16,000 industry representatives, scientists and government officials are expected at the convention, filling local hotels for miles around. To say “logistical and security nightmare” understates the vulnerability of the BIO 2004 conference. Police will have to make the difficult choice of turning San Francisco into an armed camp — shutting down major streets around the convention center for days and deploying thousands of police — or allowing activists to turn the meeting into a chaotic, embarrassing fiasco.

June 6-9 may well become San Francisco’s Seattle. If you live in the Bay Area, now is the time to get together with your friends, neighbors and family to form affinity groups and figure out how you can plug into the uprising. If you live elsewhere, you might consider planning a trip to SF.

What is planned

Protest organizers under the umbrella “Reclaiming the Commons” are hoping to couple powerful street protests with inspiring examples of positive alternatives to a corporate controlled, biotech future: “It’s time to put as much energy into creating a better world as we have been putting into resisting the exploitative one! We need to get off the corporate grid, exercise democracy outside of party-driven, corporate-funded electoral machines, live sustainable lives, and create just and thriving communities amid the corporate-controlled world!”

They hope to showcase “community-based, eco-solutions to urban problems” — planting gardens, practicing mutual aid and direct democracy, and experimenting with sustainable, do-it-yourself ways to meet human needs. In addition to a welcome center with a food forest, composting toilets, solar showers, gray-water system and bike taxis and bio-diesel shuttles, there will be teach-ins, panels, and workshops all leading up to direct action against the BIO 2004 convention. Events are schedule June 3-9 — starting three days before the start of the BIO conference.

What is BIO 2004

According to BIO’s website: “BIO represents more than 1,000 biotechnology companies, academic institutions, state biotechnology centers and related organizations in all 50 U.S. states and 33 other nations. BIO members are involved in the research and development of health-care, agricultural, industrial and environmental biotechnology products.” The conference will include “biotech executives, investors, journalists, policymakers and scientists from more than 55 countries.”

BIO’s role is to clear the way for ever-increasing corporate control of agriculture and to promote biotechnology. According to Reclaim the Commons “The biotechnology industry is a prime example of how global corporations are eroding democracy, threatening our health and environment, and concentrating control of our food and resources in the hands of a few profit-driven companies. With almost no public debate, over 100-million acres of genetically engineered (GE) crops are planted each year in the United States. That’s almost 70% of the world’s GE crops. Once released into the environment, these GE life forms can’t be recalled, and there’s no way to predict their effects on our bodies, ecosystems, and our future. Gambling with the future of human and environmental health is gravely affecting food sovereignty throughout the world, dramatically increasing the risks of biowarfare and further entrenching the health-for-profit system with the creation of biopharmaceuticals that are ‘grown’ in GE plants and animals. Already these artificial life forms have contaminated seeds and crops that have been cultivated over thousands of years.”

According to the BIO website, the convention will include “150 panel sessions, 1,200 displays, a business forum with 200 company presentations, and a career fair.” It costs $1,995 to register for the conference, guaranteeing that only those friendly to the industry will be in attendance. BIO notes that “the Bay Area is the world’s leading bioscience corridor, with 820 companies generating an annual payroll of $5.8 billion, according to BayBio. But the region is not alone. Some 4,000 biotech companies worldwide are using biology to create products that solve health and environmental problems.”

June 3-9 will be our chance to show the corporations and their politicians that we don’t want BIO’s “solutions” to our health and environmental problems. We demand real solutions that work with the earth and are controlled by the people. At this stage in history, the best way to help the environment is to leave it alone and re-learn how to live simply and lightly on the earth.

Get involved

Make your travel plans / schedule your vacation now. There will be action spokes councils in SF on May 2 and May 31 from 4-6 at St. Boniface Church, 133 Golden Gate Ave. June 3-5 there will be teach-ins, panels and workshops from 9:30 – 5:30 at the Women’s Building at 3543 !8th St, at New College at 777 Valencia and at the Unitarian Hall at 1187 Franklin. Direct action is expected June 6-9. For more information, contact (877)806-2871 or www.reclaimthecommons.net. To check out what BIO is up to, check out www.bio.org.

Rogue Birth

Women helping other women deliver babies is as old as humanity. It makes sense. So why do mainstream doctors and hospitals act like midwifery is some radical, dangerous, medically-irresponsible quackery? In Scandanavia, the UK, and the Netherlands, female midwifery is a thriving occupation. Yet in America, it has been constructively outlawed as a profession, for 100 years. While I was in labor, during my home birth, I actually asked the midwives, “Are you sure this is okay to do at home, and not in a hospital?” They said, “Kirsten, think about it. THIS is the way women birthed for thousands of years before doctors and hospitals.” That made sense, but I had to ask, due to my years of American medical brainwashing.

My midwives were rogue outlaws, in many ways. They fully understood the political activism involved, they fully appreciated the anarchist nature of what they were doing. They birthed approximately 200 babies in the Seattle area, between the years of 1980 and 2000, and they did so with no licenses, and no medical credentials. They delivered my baby at home, illegally, and I am eternally grateful. When I gave birth in 1984, there were no hospitals allowing midwives to birth in them, no insurance plan would pay for a midwife, and Swedish Hospital was the only hospital in Seattle “experimenting” with birthing rooms. There were no single or gay mom childbirth classes, so I quit going to childbirth classes, as they were filled only with middle-class, heterosexual couples. One of my midwives, Miriamma Carson, was bisexual, spoke fluent Spanish, was a radical activist and feminist, and she offered me a safe place, when nowhere else felt safe. For $300, I was given private childbirth classes with other single moms, and pre/post natal exams, as well as a 30 hour labor and home birth attended by two midwives. When I had trouble paying it, Miriamma let me barter cooking dinners for her kids instead. I could never have afforded such superior health care under the status quo, for-massive-profit, medical system.

Both of my midwives, Miriamma and Barbara R., had sons living at home while they were midwives. And they helped homeless teens often. One night Miriamma’s son woke her up at 3 am, saying he had stumbled on a teen girl, in a car, behind the 7-11, in labor. She would not leave with him, so he asked her to wait, and said he would send his radical midwife mom to help her. Miriamma grabbed her birthing kit, and charged out the door towards the 7-11. Miriamma delivered the baby, in the car, in the middle of the night, with dignity, no questions asked. The girl refused to leave with Miriamma, but Miriamma invited the girl to her home, and gave the girl her home phone number before she left. I am wildly impressed by this. Some would say that was irresponsible of Miriamma, and that she should have called the cops, or CPS, or forced the mother into a hospital. But Miriamma understood the difference between trauma and empowerment, and via her gift of birthing assistance without authority trips, she often saved women unnecessary trauma, allowing the joy of birth to prevail.

Once Miriamma had a woman who only spoke Spanish, in labor, in her car, trying to drive her home for the birth. They got stuck in a traffic jam. Miriamma called her nearest friend and told her to prepare a room in their home for a birth. She got off at the next exit and drove to the friend’s house, where the woman had a healthy birth. Miriamma spent years living in poor Mexican villages, and she knew there had been mass marketing of corporate baby formulas in Mexico, as well as in the U.S., shaming poor moms away from breastfeeding. So Miriamma asked the friend whose house they had landed at, to start breastfeeding in front of the new mom, who just delivered, to set a positive tone for breastfeeding. Miriamma was very good at finding healthy ways for moms to learn from each other.

These midwives were also incredibly gifted at networking. They led me to Doctor David Springer, one of the first M.D.’s to graduate from John Bastyr’s Naturopathic College (http://www.bastyr.edu/), with an N.D. He became one of Seattle’s finest holistic health pediatricians and took grand care of my son for 18 years. They hooked me up with La Leche League (www.lalecheleague.org), when I had breastfeeding problems. They taught low-income moms about the WIC program. They facilitated safe homes for domestic violence victims. They arranged safe abortions when asked. As a matter of fact, Miriamma took me to a safe abortion clinic, when I asked, years before she attended my birth. She bought the equipment abortion clinics use, and hid it in her basement, when she feared abortion may become illegal again. Miriamma is from a long line of radical women who saw access to safe birth control, abortion and delivery, as a woman’s right. Emma Goldman took formal training in midwifery in 1895, and was saddened by the plight of women with unwanted pregnancies, as a matter of fact.

Long have the fields of midwifery, women’s health care, witchcraft, and feminism, been associated. In the article, “Witches, Midwives, and Nurses,” (www.blancmange.net/tmh/articles/witches.html) by B. Ehrenreich and D. English, they say, “Women healers were people’s doctors, and their medicine was part of a people’s subculture. To this very day women’s medical practice has thrived in the midst of rebellious lower class movements which have struggled to be free from the established authorities. Male professionals, on the other hand, served the ruling class…Witch hunts did not eliminate the lower class woman healer, but they branded her forever as superstitious and possibly malevolent.” Calling self-help, preventative and traditional medicine a “radical assault on medical elitism,” traditional healers named “King-craft, Priest-craft, Lawyer-craft and Doctor-craft” the “four great evils of the time,” according to the article. By the 1840′s, medical licensing laws had been repealed in almost all of the states. But by the 1900’s, racism was also playing into the sexism, classism, and medical elitism, and since it was mostly immigrant and poor women who were having and assisting home births, white women of the Victorian brand, were asking for the white male doctors in sterile hospitals for birthing help, not poor immigrant midwives with birthing experience and herbal knowledge. And elite, white, women doctors, such as Elizabeth Blackwell, turned on the women midwives too. The article says in 1910, 50% of all babies born in America were delivered by midwives. And although traditional medicine was primarily a political and economical issue, the mainstream medical profession tried to say it was a medical and/or scientific issue. The medical profession has attacked the autonomy of midwives as health care providers, yet DIY women’s health care continues, as a liberating force.

When I was about 20 hours into labor, I started wimping out, and asked to go to a hospital for drugs, as I was exhausted, and sick of the pain. But my midwives reminded me that if I went to a hospital, the midwives would be locked outside, I would be forced to do a lot of authoritative things I would want to rebel against via doctors, and it could end up in a C-section. Those threats kept me at home trying to birth naturally, which finally did happen. And I am so thankful for them talking me through it. Miriamma died in the mid-1990’s, due to cancer. It was an emotional loss for the community. Her memorial had a cast of hundreds. Woman after woman bore witness to how Miriamma saved her life when in crisis, giving her dignity and comfort, when many of us had felt like “untouchables.” Whether we were homeless teens, battered wives, single welfare moms, gay moms, Spanish-speaking moms; we were all welcome on earth, according to Miriamma’s open-arm policy. We all deserved superior health care. We all deserved safe births and breastfeeding without stigma. Due to these beliefs, my midwives were two of the most radical anarchists I have ever met.

My friend Beth, in Santa Cruz, Ca., gave birth to her daughter, at night, on the sand, at the beach, with the help of her friend/midwife Moon Maiden. Birth is a tremendously powerful event and being drugged in a sterile hospital with paternalistic doctors is not the ultimate birth experience for many of us. Many of us want to birth, with our friends and families, in nature, without drugs. And such freedoms around birth are barely legal, if at all. So rogue midwifery continues on, under the radar of the mainstream, as political activism, as feminism, as alternative health care. Even with the recent advent of birthing rooms and licensed midwives, this field is a rogue one at best. Even mainstream midwifery resources, such as Midwifery Today magazine ( www.midwiferytoday.com), and Midwives Online ( www.midwivesonline.com) have a very anti-authoritarian tone. Doctors are not women’s bosses, and radical midwives understand this. Groups such as the Radical Midwives group ( www.radmid.demon.co.uk) in the U.K., see midwifery as a political issue, as well as a health issue. Midwives have been doing this as long as humans have existed. No laws can change it.

They’re Into Bondage – thoughts on gay marriage

With all respect for every person’s search for happiness, regardless of whether it includes marriage…

It would be nice if we could just laugh at the folks getting gay-married… But marriage is no joke. Unlike lunch counter and voting booth struggles of previous years, which were based on individual access for all, this rights struggle is based on increasing access for some gays — those wanting to legitimize the sanctity of their coupledom. It’s about increasing access to services and economic privilege based on the willingness to enter into a ‘monogamous’ relationship legitimized by the state.

The sense of commitment once associated with straight marriage has disappeared, leaving behind a strange mixture of economic and legal privileges that should be accessible to anybody, with or without a marriage slipknot. Immigration, visitation, and adoption rights, tax breaks, healthcare — sanctified gay couples look forward to these privileges, while the rest of us unwilling or unable to ball-and-chain ourselves enjoy the trickledown liberation of one big blow smashed in the right wing’s ballooning homophobia. Do radicals have to join this poorly situated fight for gay inclusion in the mainstream before we have any hope of smashing the very institutions upon which the mainstream thrives?

Yes, the right wing’s bigoted response to gay marriage means that they truly believe we can fuck off and die. It’s a ball watching the right wing bend over backwards to stop gays from getting married, but we come down to the same old reality: some queers are still marginalized by our normalized gay cousins. The right wing’s magnificently homophobic response lends only temporarily disruptive potential to the otherwise monotonous attempt at assimilation. Liberals fight for an inclusive society while preserving their piece of the pie within a capitalist context that necessitates division and poverty. There’s nothing principled about this struggle for inclusion, because it is based on exclusion. Along with straights, gays will be rewarded with benefits — tax breaks and health insurance — that increase as couples approximate the middle class american dream. Those without the American FastPass — people working jobs that will never in a million years give them benefits; people working the street corner; people too sick to work; the crazies, cripples, sexual freaks, political radicals — for these gays, marriage is about as ‘nice’ as a particleboard bookshelf or cardboard shack.

The institution of marriage is very tricky. With straight divorce rates at 50%, it’s clear that the marriage myth is stronger than reality. The myth is upheld by the strong marriage (and by extension, divorce) economy. Between white weddings and custody battles, this economic niche is robust. With the entrance of the gay niche market, powerful in its own right, marriage will be here to stay as a stabilizing force of capitalism.

Money aside, the eternal true love and happiness promised by wedding vows are verrrrrry seductive….. fallacies. Long-lasting love and commitment to one person, to any person, to many people, are worked out through trust and intense, open communication. Many of the gay couples getting married have been together 10, 20 years — more evidence that relationship longevity is not dependent on access to the state sanction of marriage. Many people are getting married with no illusions about the commitment side of things, but specifically for the economic and legal privileges. Who’s to tell people not to make use of these newly available options? Who doesn’t want a tax break? It’s hard to sidestep the path of least resistance when the tide is strong.

Indeed, as happy couples of all sorts encircled the San Francisco city hall in a bizarre ritual, the sex police shut down My Place, an old SoMa bar renowned for gay cruising and hot back room sex. Gay marriage won’t help the freaks, the people too queer to be boxed in white with a silver bow, the people who think beyond this ‘liberatory’ limp dick. The onus is now on the gays getting married: prove that you understand the deadly complexity of the institution of which you partake, and make this gay ‘civil rights’ struggle mean something for all homos.

This is the real struggle here: not attaining the gay marriage act itself, but the opportunity, the necessity, for people to do hard work developing self-analyses of how their use of the marriage tool places them solidly within a matrix of oppressive institutions. There’s no time like the present for marriage to come out as a false god.

G8 Summit 2004: target Savannah Georgia

Activists across the globe are heading to Savannah, Georgia to protest the annual meeting of the G8 June 8-10. The meeting of the world’s wealthiest and most powerful nations — Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, England and the US — is actually being held on an island 80 miles from Savannah. Savannah will be as close as regular citizens can get to the rulers of these 8 “democracies.” After disruptive protests in Genoa in 2001 in which Carlo Guliani was killed and in Kananaskis, Canada in 2002 in which Ewoks seized forested areas, world leaders are increasingly tired of having to deal with pesky protests. Having the summit on an island was the best spot US organizers could find to isolate it from public view.

The meeting will give world leaders a chance to coordinate their agenda — the war on terrorism, centralization of corporate control over all life on earth, and the attack on self-determination and freedom. Are we going to just lie back and take it? FUCK NO!

According to protests organizers “Local activists have been working to build a broad, black and labor-led front at the neighborhood level to welcome out-of-town activists to Savannah.” They are calling for an “international festival for peace and civil liberties.”

The Savannah area provides numerous opportunities for linking the global struggle for economic justice and self-determination with local conditions. The majority of citizens are African-American but according to local activists, city politics are nonetheless tightly controlled by an all-white oligarchy.

For more information, contact the Free Speech Savannah coalition: 866.237.7563, 22 West Bryan St. (172) Savannah, GA 31401, www.freesavannah.com.

International Day of Action and Solidarity with Jeff “Free” Luers

June marks the fourth year that our friend and comrade, Jeff “Free” Luers has been imprisoned and held captive by the state of Oregon. Sentenced to 22 years and 8 months for burning three Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) at Romania Chevrolet in Eugene, Jeff has continued to be active in prison and fight back with his words and inspiration. This June 12, we aim to strengthen his efforts by promoting a day of action and solidarity with Jeff throughout the world.

This day will mean many things to many people — we say do what fits your local situation and your desires. Some ideas are film screenings, protests at SUV dealerships, wheat-pasting campaigns, letter writing and outreach, music shows and direct actions. The important thing is that you ask yourself: will this action help Jeff’s situation?

Jeff’s imprisonment is meant as a deterrent to social and environmental movements all over. There is no central organizing body or group to check in with but the J12 Organizing Committees can help by providing you with flyers, graphics, and merchandise such as videos, zines and stickers about Jeff’s case.

For info, contact: www.freefreenow.org or Break the Chains, P.O. Box 12122, Eugene, OR 97440 www.breakthechains.net or Free’s Defense Network, POB 3, Eugene, OR 97440.

Life in Iraq

Slingshot interviewed Tristan Wingnut, a Berkeley-based wandering activist, after his return from a month-long trip to Iraq. He was there during February, 2004 .

Slingshot: What does the U.S. occupation of Iraq look like/feel like?


T. Wingnut: Well it’s hard to say. Everyday life goes on. Streets are full of people who shop or go to work if they have a job etc. The biggest problems I see in Iraq are economic. For instance, massive unemployment while the Occupation enforces Saddam’s anti-worker laws and passes more. If Iraqis can’t get jobs and all the ‘reconstruction’ work goes to foreigners and all the money leaves the country, then Iraq isn’t really reconstructed as an economically viable entity even if it has newly painted schools. Mostly reconstruction is just repainting rather than building.

SS: Were you able to have interactions with U.S. soldiers? Did you find them to frustrated/angry with the situation they are in or did they come off as patriotic and focused on controlling Iraqis?

TW: I’m not a great one to talk to soldiers but friends talked to them lots and sometimes I was there. It’s hard in the streets as the soldiers are afraid, pointing guns and zipping by on convoys. At the CPA [Coalition Provisional Authority headquarters] and other places it’s easy. Almost all of the soldiers say they want to come home, for different reasons, mostly personal. Some fear death but also it’s boring and far from friends and parties etc. My friend handed out the Bring them Home post cards and the response was “Oh, I’m not allowed to take that” but no real hostility. One soldier said “I love being able to help the Iraqi people.” Basically they appear to think that they are doing a good thing by being in Iraq. Many soldiers have never left, for instance, The Green Zone, so their whole view of Iraq is from inside a military base. Patrolling is closer to Iraqis than many soldiers get. I saw a soldier pop his head out of a tank and take photos as he zipped down my street. I heard that there is plenty of hostility towards Iraqis, but I mostly missed it. Most soldiers are, like, 19 or 20 and I get the impression they are trying to “do the right thing” to help Iraq. I also spoke to Iraqis who had been in jail. They had plenty of terrible stories but also spoke very well of specific US soldiers who helped them and tried to do special things for them or treated them as human etc. I think those soldiers are trying to maintain their humanity in a bad situation.

SS: Is the presence of U.S./Foreign corporations noticeable and what is the opinion of the Iraqis about this?

TW: Iraqis aren’t stupid, and know they are being ripped off, but they desperately need jobs so they work for contractors — Bechtel or Stars and Stripes (army newspaper) or sell shish kababs in army bases. You see the corporate people zipping by in White SUVs with body guards and all. They waste a huge amount of money on this: overhead, executives, mercenaries and zipping about. They do tons of assessments but very little actual reconstruction. Most reconstruction is actually done by Iraqis, who aren’t afraid to work and will be there day after day and not hiding in US bases.

SS: What divisions did you observe in Iraqi society? What are the relations between regular Iraqis and Iraqi expatriates? Is there hope for Iraq working out its divisions?

TW: No one knows what will happen in Iraq. Some think civil war. Most people get along fine. People hate Ahmed Chalabi and his group and are mistrustful of many ex-patriots in politics. The return of so many Iraqis has made rents sky rocket in Baghdad, leading to tons of evictions, gentrification etc. There are thousands of squatters all over. Society is divided between Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and others. Race didn’t seem an important factor. Many people love Saddam. He was Iraq the way the US flag represents this country. Everywhere you see a flag here one used to see Saddam there. Others and especially Shiites hate Saddam and are so happy with the US for getting rid of him. Many people were happy to meet an Ameriki and praised George Bush. But I think patience is wearing thin. The Shiites want to run the country and soon.

SS: What did you see in regards to wimmins situations?

TW: Newspapers make it sound worse than it is. It is bad though. Under Saddam Iraq was reportedly relatively safe for women and they were able to move about. Now it’s much more dangerous and women fear strangers. Iraqis believe that the US created all these problems, either intentionally or not, and has no solutions. Iraq has become more and more Islamic in dress. Most women wear head scarves. Almost all Shiites and people from the south do. Many women wear a big black, all covering thing that I think is called an Abaya and it has to be held closed with one hand. Very male dominated society or men are the active ones and most of the workers but some women work too, you know paid employment.

SS: Did you find any other independent press or internationals?

TW: There are quite a few other Internationals such as the Christian Peacemaker Teams. There are a bunch of independent or leftish journalists too. Iraq has had an explosion of press — 200 some newspapers. I just heard the US shut one down. Cool Iraqis put out the independent Al Muajaha newspaper.

SS: What are the realities of people’s basic needs being met? Electricity, water, food, medical attention? Are there social divisions apparent where some people receive more of these resources?

TW: Baghdad has electricity for about 10 hours a day, people with money and stores have generators. Other cities have better or worse electricity. It goes out all the time with no warning. Gas station lines are down to about an hour. All stations are guarded by 4 guys with AK-47s and tons of barbed wire. Medical care is cheap or free but hard to get to for many and not high quality. The Oil for Food Program gives people the minimum food they need to get by. The port of Umm Qasr has no water. One guy told me “At least under Saddam we had running water twice a day for two hours.” Social divisions are the same as everywhere — the rich have generators, buy black market gas etc..

Slingshot Box

Slingshot is a quarterly, independent, radical newspaper published in the East Bay since 1988.

Just before getting to work on this, we sit and talk and eat and try to figure out the make-up of this paper. We often wonder outloud about the people who pick this up, and how much it is hated. It’s a good laugh considering how dire and unlaughable the world situation is these days. Being a DIY paper since 1988 makes for an amorphous collective. A startling difference between the first few years and now is funding. Slingshot previously had to dig deep into the collective’s pocket to publish it. Now it is largely funded by the organizer. Still we would not be here if it wasn’t for the nameless people who thanklessly carried on upholding self-imposed deadlines. What hasn’t changed much has been our home base. Ten years ago we printed our “temporary” new address at the Long Haul. Well we’re still here and if you come to town check our new leopard print facade. We can’t say much for the rest of our home town, and if you read Smash E-Ville on pg.9 you’ll get a good picture of how it is…and what we can do to it. Another hot item all over the place is the Gay Marriage debate. Obviously this affects our community closely. You wouldn’t think it but some of our Anarchist friends got gay married and no doubt they had good reasons. We hope we don’t lose any friends and can get people to consider different perspectives from the mainstream. A similar thing can be said of the Progressive Judaism piece on pg.10. Our awesome cover is the logo drawn by Becky for the new info shop in Indonesia. Check out the story on pg.4. And finally we are excited that the Biotech conference will be met with a Reclaim the Commons call to action in June. This will be in the heart of downtown San Fransico and not on some fucking island or fortress. Plus it may force people to consider the conumdrum of living in such an active conscious community, at the same time home to all sorts of awful corporations. We look forward to ample material documenting this next fight.

Slingshot is always on the lookout for writers, artists, editors, photographers, distributors and independent thinkers to help us make this paper. We are interested in reviewing books and zines again but ask contributors keep these under 200 words. If you send something written, please be open to editorial changes.

Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot collective, but not all the articles reflect the opinions of the collective members. We welcome debate, constructive criticism and discussion.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting May 2 at 1 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley

Indonesian Infoshop

working hard, seeking a network

Something is brewing in a vast archipelago across the ocean and it’s not the typical news that causes us to take to the streets in complete outrage. This is something to celebrate and support. Some folks in Bandung, West Java, Indonesia have decided to form a collective and plan to open the first ever infoshop in the region. Though faced with quite a few obstacles, the collective is still operating and struggling to carry through with their impressive plans.

Late 2002, a group of punks, activists and artists decided to ride a wave of inspiration and create what they’ve read and heard about in activist communities abroad….a community infoshop. Sindikat Bawang Putih was formed. Through consensus in weekly meetings, activities were quickly organized. Books, zines and newsletters were compiled for the library. There was a good response with donations from friends in Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Mexico, United States and parts of Europe. Next, came a Free Skool which included weekly teach ins on various political theories. The findings in the new shipments of literature were translated and discussed. Other workshops included fire dancing, trash puppets, cooking and comic art. Throughout this time, the collective kept hunting for a permanent space to use for the infoshop. They envisioned a small storefront where the library could be set up with floormats and pillows for reading, Other local groups could rely on a safe and convenient space for their meetings and activities. Local and foreign travellers could stop in, meet the community and participate in upcoming actions, shows or events.

That one pesky obstacle kept postponing this dream…MONEY. It’s hard enough just to get by paying personal expenses and they definately couldn’t receive federal or state fundings. A few hundred dollars could lease out a shop for a year but that’s alot of money in Indonesia. Some foreign communities took interest in donating but wanted the infoshop to establish a permanent address before contributing. The collective found itself in a classic catch 22. Without donations, a failed squat occupation and conflict with a promising parental contribution, the hopes of leasing a space were put on the back burner. The collective starting conjuring up other goals to be productive in this time of transience.

January 5, 2003 Sindikat Bawang Putih put on a free day long film festival. With a donated projector and screen, the use of an outdoor patio of an independent bookstore and the mad dash to compile documentaries from friends across the globe, more than 100 viewers gathered to watch the films about the massive worldwide demos against the WTO and IMF. These films included Global Insight, This Is What Democracy Looks Like and The Battle Of Seattle. Currently, Sindikat Bawang Putih had to change their name to Sayap Ikarus to remain anonymous and deal with a new pressing issue.

The Indonesian presidential elections are just around the corner and Suharto is striving hard to regain power. Almost all political parties running for office are actually owned and operated under Suharto. Keep in mind that Suharto was the World Bank’s prodigy child of a good economy and was the dictator behind the massive anti-”communist” genocide that stretch across the archipelago and massacred the people of East Timor. Now, Suharto’s Orde Baru (New Order) is a strong force on the political agenda and parties are using slogans like, “Since the reformation order failed, it’s time for the new order to return” or “Suharto, Suharto, who owns him? All of us do!” It seems like whoever you vote for, Suharto wins. So, Sayap Icarus is actively trying to educate the public about this election.

This project must be performed anonymously due to a new law called UU Anti-Terorisme which puts the activists at risk for arrest without a warrant or trial. Sayap Ikarus made 10,000 stickers that informed people of the corrupted elections and they go on nightly runs to post them around town. Sindikat Bawang Putih is also currently working with other autonomous groups to create a monthly public free food distribution, the likes of Food Not Bombs. After tabling at various events, the collective has found a network, support and contributions including free rice from a village farmer and a professional chef that apparently makes the best bok choy and taro root dish in town. Sindikat Bawang Putih wants this event to branch out beyond the typical basic anarcho punk/activist crowd and has suceeded in collaborating with the theater community, the art community, book clubs, leftist groups, independent book stores and factory workers. This monthly free food event will also include an open mic so that all communities can conjoin and share their views.

The intregrity of this collective needs recognition and international support. Please spread your ruckus across the ocean to the land of sweatshop exploitation and World Bank induced repression. Form a network with the activists in Indonesia. They are open to collaboration and communication. Check out the website www.sayapikarus.tk and contact resist_revolt@yahoo.com . As oppression spreads across the globe, so must our resistance.

Warsaw Wants You! Take on the E.E.F.

On April 28-30 the European Economic Forum (EEF) will take place in Warsaw. As you know, this took place before in Salzburg, Austria. President Kwasniewski volunteered Poland to host it at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos. The Polish authorities don’t hide the fact that they would like the EEF to be transfered to Warsaw for good. Besides the prestige of hosting such an event, they want to show the rest of the world that they have no problems with opponents of neoliberalism here in Poland. They know that the anti-globalist movement is weak and disorganized in Poland. They want to use this meeting to show the world that while every other place has tens of thousands of demonstrators in the streets, riots and closing off whole sections of the city, Poland will be calm and orderly. They are so sure of this that they have chosen to hold the event in the Palace of Culture in the center of Warsaw. The choice of this place shows how sure they are that nobody can bother them. The decision-makers in Davos pointed out that this event will decide if it will be permanently held in Warsaw.

So it is important that we foil their plans. We have to show them that we won’t tolerate their politics. The social situation is favourable because the imcompetence and corruption of all consecutive governments makes more and more people open their eyes to what’s going on. The effects of the policies of both the right-wing and left-wing governments in Poland have led to over 20% unemployment in the country and this is growing. (Among youth, not counting graduates of higher education, this figure is twice as high.) More than 60% of people live at or under the poverty line. Last year it came to violent miners’ protests in Warsaw. Such fights haven’t been seen since the 80s. Other social groups are also in an equally bad situation. Social frustration concerns many social groups and professions. The libertarian and left anti-authoritarian milieus started preparing late last year but we won’t hide the fact that without significant support from abroad we won’t be able to organize large-scale protests.

We are open to cooperation and welcome you here. We will accept any kind of help with open arms. This will be the first action on this scale in Poland. From our side we will try to ensure legal protection and basic medical care during the action to the best of our capabilities, a place to make banners and so on. In places we will have translators, we’ll organize a list of afforadable accomodations, the Food not Bombs activists from different cities in Poland will prepare food for those who need it. We will try to organize the technical infrastruture for Indymedia although this might be a problem on account of the very modest funds that we have available. We invite everybody who shares the ideals of fighting against suffocating neoliberalism. We’ll show the army of technocrats, politicians and financier/sharks who are coming here that nobody gave them any right to decide for us. Let’s all meet in Warsaw on 28-30 of April. We will decide about our future!

—Polish Libertarian Milieu Organizing the Anti-Summit Wa29

Infoshop Update

Santa Cruz Anarchist Infoshop

Check out the new Infoshop and zine distro in Santa Cruz. They have a lending library, a huge zine collection, free tea and free public internet access. Open Mon – Fri. 3-7 (Tues & Thurs until 9) and Sat and Sun from 11 -7. They’re asking folks to send them books, zines or other media for local distro and display: 509 Broadway, Santa Cruz, CA 95060.

Chateau DIY – Boulder

This house on 10 acres is working to create a community garden, a free store, lending library, childcare co-op, and free skool near Boulder. It takes over for the Soapbox space which just got unexpectedly closed down. The space is open for anyone traveling across country this summer to come stay and help out with the space. 9850 Arapahoe Rd., Lafayette, CO 80026, 303.554.0923, www.coloradicals.org/soapbox

Aboveground Zine Library – New Orleans

The library is located at the 4820 Banks Street warehouse in New Orleans. It’s free to use the non-profit library but since it is inside a private home, please respect the people that live their. They’re accepting donated zines from anyone. Send ‘em to: Quickdummies, 6810 Bellaire Drive, New Orleans, LA 70124 or www.geocities.com/abovegroundlibrary

Mad Hatters IMC moving

The Mad Hatters Independent Media Center and the Infoshop moved out of its space at 218 White Street in Danbury, Connecticut to save on rent money so they can publish their local paper, The Hat City Free Press, more often. They’re looking for a new, cheaper space and they’re still meeting every week. They have a 1,500 book lending library, an 800 video library, progressive publications and zines and a computer center. Contact them at 203-730-9397 or www.madhattersimc.org.

Places That Might Be Dead Or Have Moved:

* The Nevada County Peace & Justice Center in Grass Valley, California has either moved or closed. We got mail sent to them returned and their phone number is disconnected.

* The Wooden Spoon in Ann Arbor Michigan appears to be gone – we got mail returned and their phone # is disconnected. Let us know if they still exist.

* We got a package returned from Community Arts & Media Project in St. Louis but perhaps it was addressed wrong. Try 3022 A Cherokee St. St. Louis, MO 63118 instead of the address listed in the Organizer.

Australian Infoshops

Barricade Books in Melbourne has moved from the address listed in the 2004 Organizer. They are now at 4 Pitt Street, Brunswick a community warehouse. There is the indymedia centre at the same location. Mail them at PO Box 199, East Brunswick, VIC 3057, Australia. Also, if you’re in Melbourne check out the Friends of the Earth bookstore at 141 Smith Street, Collingwood.