Slingshot is an independent radical newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.
One of the functions of media is to capture events, people and issues of the day as they unfold and transform. Reality isn’t static. When recording an event or experience, it is important to maintain the life behind the scene, to keep it fermenting. Even the format of this paper shifts. Recently the post office ordered us to mail the paper in an envelope, not put labels on the back. This is a mixed blessing. On the one hand we now have more of the back cover for content where there used to be postal information. It also means we had to move the calendar to page 19.
As we go to print, the downtown Berkeley Post Office is the site of a year-long occupation. A 24-hour vigil demands that another service for the public trust not be sold and turned into more banal shops. The brokers are Richard Blum and developers who regard money above what the people who live here actually want. The vigil can use more people. Mostly, it’s a homeless encampment, which reveals the sad state of things in the Bay Area. People are either too busy making money to invest in protesting—or they are able to be on the front lines as long as they can live with abject poverty. The recent Black Lives Matter protests are a notable exception, with a consistently reinvigorating turnout. It suggests what we could accomplish if more people turned out for protests and direct action. We attempted to make a special issue in late December to document the feverish amount of activity but couldn’t rope in enough people to drop everything and write. We kept that theme as a cornerstone for this issue and we welcome more uprisings to inspire a future “emergency issue.”
Failure, loss, and disappointment are important aspects of fighting the war of resistance. Losing a cause like the post office is something we can learn from… and should. But losing a person is a deeper thing. The black lives stolen by police demonstrate how frustrating and soul-crushing death is. Losing people in the struggle creates a unique hole, for they are the people who make up the front line of engagement when it would seem that the whole world is oblivious. It saddens us that many radical aspects of a city we love, like nearby SF, are dying or being killed off. The death of anarchist poet Alfonso Texidor, a long time Mission District resident, occurred while wrapping up this issue. Late last year we lost Homes Not Jails organizer Ted Gullicksen and we also lost the Bay Guardian newspaper. The hole that they leave behind in SF is immense. We will all have to compensate. We did write one obituary this issue. It is fortunate that we didn’t have to write a second one: a long-time contributor to Slingshot and Long Haul recently had a heart attack. He was at a picnic and luckily a doctor was at the park during the emergency. Now he’s back, keeping us warm with his presence. As we proof-read the articles for this issue, he hung out downstairs, filling the room with his laughter.
Other victories arise. One of our collective member’s mother was misdiagnosed while fighting cancer and nearly lost her life. We are happy to have her first article ever in a radical journal themed around an issue she has worked on for years. Why don’t you consider putting together your thoughts and sending it to us sometime? Articles, interviews, art, photos… a lot of shit. (We don’t tend to print poetry, though.)
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: Aimi, A. Iwasa, Babs, Eggplant, Finn, Hayley, Heather, Isabel, Korvin, Jesse, Joey, Longshanks, Maggie, Michael, Owlx, Snow, Soren, Suzie Quattro, Vanessa, Xander 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 August 23, 2015 at 4 pm at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)
Article Deadline & Next Issue Date
Submit your articles for issue 119 on September 12, 2015 at 3 pm.
Volume 1, Number 118, Circulation 20,000
Printed March 5, 2015
A publication of Long Haul
Office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley CA 94705
Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703
Phone (510) 540-0751 • firstname.lastname@example.org slingshot.tao.ca • twitter @slingshotnews