Introduction – issue #108

Slingshot is an independent radical newspaper published since 1988.

We’ve pulled together this extra edition devoted to the occupy movement super quickly, running on the surge of enthusiasm pouring out of Occupy Oakland and related developments around the world. We had just finished our last (regularly scheduled) issue when Occupy Oakland started and a lot of us jumped right into the thick of it. We’re all having so many intense experiences, meeting so many new people, having so many amazing conversations and taking on so many new projects that life has felt overwhelming, like a blur, electric. It is humbling to be part of something so big, so complex, so fast-moving.

We’re having a blast mixed with moments of frustration, exhaustion and confusion. Is it too cheesy to say how much we love the people we’ve marched with, camped with, been in the general assembly with, and who’ve helped us through this? There is an amazing community developing on many levels and none of us could do all this without so many others holding down their parts.

Trying to create a coherent paper in just a couple of weeks has been challenging, and we know we’ve missed a lot of important topics and articles that we hope we can explore in our next issue — just 2 months away. We’ve each written a few notes here to share topics that didn’t make it into an article, but express something about what is going on. Join us and write something about your reality in all this!

• • •

Occupy has gifted us the public space to reveal parts of ourselves that had previously remained behind closed doors. Facets of our personalities that had been unable to emerge under the values of isolation and competition are beginning to blossom. Slowly but surely, we are developing post-capitalist identities. And once those identities have bloomed, there will be no going back: we will continue to demand the space we need to express them.

And, while some people at Occupy would like us to keep this process hidden–from the media and from each other–we will not let them stamp out the spark. We will not let the fear of looking bad on television derail us from experiencing the inward revolution: the process of decolonizing our behaviors, hearts, and minds. We don’t care if it doesn’t look pretty to outsiders. Let the media spin whatever they want about us: the pundits and talk show hosts are nothing more than yapping corporate lapdogs. Let them yap. Their power over us has ended: the media cannot spin our lives. Our experience belongs to us.

• • •

In all of the conversations about property damage and police violence, it is difficult sometimes to acknowledge that violent acts also happen within our communities. Chaotic moments of violence are part of the society we live in. The state and its financial patrons will always seize selectively on incidents of interpersonal violence as evidence that strong, authoritarian measures are needed to keep people safe. This is not true: at best these measures only push the misery around. More often, they exacerbate it. Emotional responses to trauma caused by institutional violence habitually lead to acts of interpersonal violence. The more our communities are composed of strong connections between people who are resilient and respect their own needs, the more manageable and less likely incidents of interpersonal violence become.

• • •

Events that linger fresh in our minds:

Sept 17: Occupy Wall Street camp begins

Sept 24: Video of unprovoked police pepper spraying of women goes viral

Oct 4: First Oakland General Assembly (GA) to discuss starting Occupy Oakland

Oct 11: Occupy Oakland encampment begins

Oct 25: Police raid OO in morning. That evening, 1000 people protest and are tear gassed; Iraq vet Scott Olsen’s scull fractured

Oct 26: OO camp re-established, 1600 person general assembly votes to call general strike

Nov 2: Oakland General Strike: thousands skip work and shut down the Port of Oakland

Nov 9: Occupy Cal begins at UC Berkeley. Those in tents are severely beaten and arrested

Nov 14: Police raid OO camp for 2nd time

Nov 15: UC Davis students occupy Mrak Hall. Occupy Cal strike and Open University. OO marches from Oakland to Berkley to join students

Nov 16: UC regents cancel meeting due to protests. Many march on their corporate sponsors and pitch a tent in the Bank of America in SF

Nov 17: Occupy Cal is raided at 3:30 am; Occupy UCLA begins

Nov 18: Demanding that the military cede power, tens of thousands of Egyptians flood Tahir Square; dozens are killed. UC Davis students are pepper-sprayed in the face while peacefully sitting in their quad in the middle of the day; 2 are hospitalized

Nov 21: The Davis General Assembly votes for a statewide strike on 11/28 to coincide with the Regent’s next budget vote. UCD faculty vote to support a resolution demanding that the UCD police be disbanded

• • •

Some of the best chants we heard:

“The system, has got to die, Hella, hella occupy!”

“Keep the world in our hands, let’s refuse to make demands!”

“We’re here, we’re queer, burn the fucking banks!”

On Halloween: “I don’t want a Fun Size, I want a King Size!”

To cops: “You’re Sexy! You’re cute! Take off your riot suit!”

“MOVE banks, get out the way. Get out the way banks, get out the way!

• • •

The General Strike Poster: The night after Occupy Oakland decided to call the general strike (Thursday), a few Slingshot folks discussed making a 17 X 23 inch poster to promote it — in the spirit of autonomous action. Our printing press needed the artwork by 2 pm Friday to get the poster printed by 4:30 Friday afternoon. I sent an email seeking artists but as the clock ticked Friday, it looked like it wasn’t going to happen. At noon, Lucis called to say he could do art. We dashed down to the Long Haul and he drew art while I laid out words. I biked to the printer at 2 and by 5 pm, 2,000 posters got delivered to the Occupation. They ended up all over Oakland.

• • •

Occupy Scene Report by hurricane

I lost my housing a month in a half ago, my solution: Travel! Occupy everything! Here’s the best to the worst to the swag along the west coast.

Vancouver BC: Canadians know what’s up. Period. Tons of DIY “Nobody For President 2012″ signs. Makes no sense, because I’m in fucking Canada.

Grass Valley: About 400 folks occupying. Nice variety of people who wouldn’t normally mix. Epic scenery.

Fresno: Fres-yes! Perfect weather, lots of actions organized with local labor unions. Right after I left camp, occupy was raided by the police. Damn!

Downtown LA: Across the street from Occupy is the county courthouse. Same location of the Michael Jackson murder trial. The mainstream media was there to film the outraged protesters. The strangest action I’ve ever participated in.

Overall I noticed a sense of unwarranted self-importance from the finance committees, everywhere! Just a suggestion to Occupy Camps universally: Money changes everything, money gives the illusion of power, that power needs to be destroyed. Or else money will destroy this movement. Check your privilege and get to know your fellow wingnuts at camp.

• • •

As we are putting the paper together, a series of raids that appear to have been federally coordinated forcibly are evicting Occupy encampments across the country. UC Davis cops are dousing sitting students with pepper spray. In Egypt, the military is murdering protesters in Tahir Square. Just a reminder: don’t believe them when they tell you they’ll manage your revolution.

• • •

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors, etc. to make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to editing.

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

Thanks to the people who made this: Babs, Bird, Claire, Darin, DA, Enola, Glenn, Ibrahim, Jesse, Joey, Josh, Kathryn, Kermit, Lew, Lucis, Micah, Samara, Sara, Sean, Suzanne, Solomon, Stella, Stephanie and all the authors and artists.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on Sunday, December 11, 2011 at 4 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline & Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 109 by January 14, 2012 at 3 p.m.

Volume 1, Number 108, Circulation 20,000

Printed November 25, 2011

Slingshot Newspaper

A publication of Long Haul

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Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703

Phone (510) 540-0751

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