Category Archives: Summer, 2009 (04/24/09)

Endless 69 – the next round of Interstate 69

Organizing in Southern Indiana against construction of Interstate 69 remains vital to combating the systematic destruction of community, working conditions, and the earth. Interstate 69 — a superhighway project already constructed from Canada to Indianapolis and projected to extend down into Mexico — is an important component of both NAFTA and the Free Trade Area of the Americas. It is slated to run from Michigan to Texas, eventually connecting to the highways of the Plan Puebla Panama to facilitate trade and exploitation of workers and land throughout the Americas.

Construction of I-69 through southwestern Indiana has just begun. With it will come eviction for over 400 rural families, destruction of hundreds of acres of land, and devastation of the habitats of countless species of plants and animals, many of them already endangered.

Campaigning has been in hibernation for the winter. What we need now are motivated folks who are willing to commit energy and resources toward mobilizing landowners and activists. Housing is available in Evansville for those ready to assist in decelerating the construction of this road.

An assortment of actions to resist I-69 have occurred to date in Indiana and around the country. We have demonstrated at the offices of companies and homes of key figures responsible for construction, including Gohmann Asphalt Company, Michael Baker Corporation, HNTB Corporation, Bernardin, Lochmueller, and Associates, Earth Tech, and Chase Bank (owners of Washington Mutual). We’ve locked down, set up a tree-sit, and dropped banners to raise awareness about and opposition to NAFTA and I-69.

The neo-colonialist powers behind NAFTA are the friends of profit and the enemies of all life and joy on this planet. Where we see people, they see workers to be exploited. We see the beauty and wildness of the natural world and they see resources to be extracted and sold in their markets. The fight against NAFTA is not just an act of solidarity, but an act of self-defense. Don’t let the cage of global capitalism be erected around you. Resisting NAFTA and the infrastructure that makes it possible is crucial to all of our survival.

For more info check stopi69.wordpress.com or email roadblockef@yahoo.com

Political prisoner Daniel McGowan’s voice not buried in the hole

Daniel McGowan Letter

Daniel McGowan is serving a seven-year-sentence for charges relating to two arsons, one at the Superior Lumber and the other at Jefferson Poplar in Clatskanie, Oregon. Jefferson Poplar was doing research on genetically modified trees. The experiments were centered on creating more branches on trees to increase production for pulping. Despite the fact that no human beings were harmed in these actions, the government originally sought terrorism enhancement on the charges as a part of their Operation Backfire–the Green Scare. Daniel took a plea bargain, but refused to cooperate in the government’s attempts to persecute others in the movement. Daniel is housed in the notorious Marion Prison, which saw inmat’s in 1972 unite across racial lines to challenge the “form of permanent living death” that define the conditions there. Sadly those conditions have become more oppressive since then.

By Daniel McGowan

I am writing to you today from Lil’ Guantanamo–better known as the CMU or Communication Management Unit at United States Prison Marion.

For those who don’t know, the Bureau of Prisons operates two known CMUs — one here within the medium security prison in Marion, Illinois and the other at FCI Terre Haute, Indiana. (Information is scarce and secretive–you won’t find anything on the Bureau of Prisons or Department of ‘Justice’ websites either. I have heard of a female CMU at the medical center in Fort Worth, Texas, but it is presently unconfirmed.)

I am here with 19 other men — a majority of those who are Muslim and/or with “terrorism” cases (overwhelmingly, complex conspiracy cases you have read about in the news). Despite the fact that the US considers myself and many of my fellow prisoners “terrorists” or violent, peace is the norm here.

The unit itself is completely segregated from the 900+ men imprisoned at the medium-security prisons to the point of absurdity. For instance, when we go to medical, all other prisoners must be locked out of our sight to prevent any contact. We live on four ranges with a small recreation yard. However, it’s the limiting of our communication with the outside world that is most egregious and damaging to our well-being. We are afforded one phone call a week (compared to 300 minutes per month at all other federal prisons) and one four-hour non-contact visit per month (at the last prison I was at, we got up to eight days or 56 hours of contact-visit a month. Contact with our family, friends and communities is what makes doing time easier and more bearable. It allows us to actually see a healthy future for ourselves after release. The restriction of contact–for no disciplinary reason whatsoever–is appalling. Given this, the question is “What’s the purpose of the CMU”?

It is probably safe to say that being housed at the CMU accelerates the isolation, frustration and alienation that prisoners feel. The BOP claims I am here because of my offense conduct–not my behavior in prison–and that I am here for “better communication management”, not disciplinary reasons. Is this a political prisoner or “terrorist” unit? Is it legal or appropriate to segregate prisoners based on their religion? Is my identification with the social justice, prison reform and environmental movement the real issue here? One can guess, but the BOP isn’t being clear on this (big shock!).

That brings me to my final points. As you certainly know, President Obama has vowed to close the prison for ‘terrorist’ suspects at Guantanamo Bay. The backlash occurring right now in the media is all too predictable. Yesterday I read an article about the NIMBY (not in my backyard) approach being taken by legislatures all over the country. No one wants these scary, super-evil ‘terrorist’ suspects (remember’–they are not convicted of anything) in “their” state. What was ironic is that some of politicians are from Kansas, Indianan and Colorado–which already have large federal institutions housing ‘terrorists’. In fact, FCI Terre Haute in Indiana has a CMU with 52 prisoners operating in secret for two years now. Colorado has the lone ‘Supermax’ prison in Florence which houses many prisoners convicted of terrorism charges. I wonder–are the CMUs so secret that politicians from Indiana and Illinois don’t even know they exist or are they just hypocrites? According to the director of the BOP (in testimony given before a congressional subcommittee in July 2008), the BOP houses just over 1,200 terrorists (of which 200 are international). Yet–I don’t hear anyone complaining.

The US government is operating two known secret units in their system, completely in violation of federal law. No prisoner at the CMU was afforded due process through a hearing to contest placement here nor were our lawyers or families told when we disappeared. Knowing the plan would be wildly unpopular, former president Bush and Attorney General Gonzales just went ahead and implemented these units. Will Obama and his Attorney General Eric Holder live up to their promises to not only close Guantanamo Bay but also, act in a just manner and close Lil’ Guantanamo? It’s time to make amends for the mistakes of the Bush administration–please spread the word on this and don’t let us wallow in secrecy here. Thank you for your support and care.

Daniel McGowan #63794-053

USP Marion

PO Box 1000

Marion, IL 62959

PS: consult my supersite for updates www.supportdaniel.org

Another journey with the East Bay Foot

RIDING UP TELEGRAPH on the first day of spring, I was lost in a revenge daydream. My enemies were crowding onto a tiny boat bound for the South Seas–but just as I was leading the pink unicycle guy down the plank to join them, something jolted me out of my reverie. It was the insistent, incessant cry of a street hawker. I glanced around, expecting to find the faux biker who passed out fliers and ogled women on Telegraph throughout the Eighties, who quite recently returned from his two decade-long ride looking like he’d stopped along the way at the kind of rest areas where one spends years at a time. Much to my surprise, in place of the biker was a pair of young punks who’d commandeered his corner to peddle copies of Coupons, the newest fanzine in town. My heart was warmed by the sight: teams of dirty miscreants street-selling underground mags on the Ave., something rarely seen in Berkeley since the heady days of the Barb and Tribe. I hit the brakes, but they were none too effective, and three co-eds and the Joke Guy were forced to scatter as my rusty steed and I went careening over the curb. Coupons, however, proved well worth the crash. The rants of co-editors Hella Bekka and Rugrat acted as a soothing salve for my wounds, bringing comfort and inspiration that made me forget my physical pain. Do yourself a favor and find them on the corner, buy your own copy, and see if you feel the same. Comparisons to other new and mighty mags about town are not to be made lightly, but in this case “Asscactus with politics” is no idle boast.

MEANWHILE, the local mainstream media is a mess. The Daily Cal, not daily in ages, failed to bring out their annual April Fools edition, the only copy all year worth picking up. Instead, the Eastbay Express stole the idea, but the result was an even less laughable version of their already unreadable rag. Hopes that the recent employee takeover would make the Express a decent paper have been dashed. The Oakland Tribune also continues to limp along towards extinction, with a major merger the only real chance to save it. The question on everyone’s minds is: if the Trib weds the San Francisco Chronicle, can it keep its first name? Like the Raiders and the A’s, without the “Oakland” it just wouldn’t be the same. Oakland Chronicle, anybody? With that on the masthead of the Bay Area’s main news source, S.F. would finally have to acknowledge the cultural hegemony of the Eastbay. Yeah baby, who brought you the Black Panthers, Philip K. Dick, riots, Blatz, Sheila E., Too Short, and Fang? Without Oakland and Berkeley, the Bay Area would have just been Ferlinghetti, the Grateful Dead, and Herb Caen.

RUMOR HAS IT that DeLauer’s new owners are considering trimming the newsstand’s beloved all-night hours; also that Black Oak Books may soon be moving downtown. Somewhat more certain is the relocation of Semifreddi’s Bakery, displaced from their longtime Emeryville digs by a land grab by Pixar Studios, the giant corporation next door. Semifreddi’s plans to resettle in an offshore retirement community moored ten miles south. Their departure to Alameda will leave E-ville with not one redeeming feature, and their dumpster (literally the breadbasket of the Eastbay) will be sorely missed.

THE OAKLANDER IN ME: I took my date for an after-dinner drink at Colonial Donuts, the jewel in Lake Merritt’s necklace of lights. I thought I’d died and gone to heaven–who should we run into there but the Avengers, Bay Area punk legends! Penelope & co. sat there idling after their show at the Uptown, looking as cool as ever, and didn’t even kill us when we joined them uninvited. Thirty years of waiting in all-night dives for just such a chance meeting had finally paid off! The conversation was sparkling, with band members offering up opinions on German cultural mores, among other things. Then came the moment I’d been dreaming of my whole life: the queen of punk turned to me with a burning look in her eyes. “You of all people would know,” she purred. “Foot, where the fuck can we find food in this town after two A.M.?” Beaming with pride–but careful not to make eyes–I gave her the answer. Silly Avengers, everyone knows Chinatown is the place to go! Several restaurants there stay open till three, but Fortune at Ninth and Webster is by far the best, with reasonable prices and a staff that doesn’t care what you look like, smell like, or do. Rich and poor, beautiful and ugly, old school and new–all are equal in the eyes of Fortune, unlike anywhere else in the world. Heeding my advice, the former art school idols departed, leaving the two of us alone in the post-show Colonial glow, feeling both glazed and old-fashioned, with nothing left to hope for but a visit from the Dils.

THE TWENTIETH ANNIVERSARY of the closing of UC Berkeley housing co-operative Barrington Hall is coming up in October, and discussions about what refreshments to serve at the celebration are already rekindling old divisions among former residents. Those from the second floor suggest their traditional LSD-laden punch. Third floor denizens vote for speed, while fourth floor veterans are nostalgic for the long lost lady of their youth, heroin. Old habits are hard to break. Entertainment is also an issue: an Idiot Flesh reunion or Deadly Reign? Joking aside, Barrington was the cradle from which much of the Eastbay’s present counterculture came, including the paper you’re holding now. It was a beautiful and volatile place, a factory for turning college freshmen into wingnut freaks. Drugs were undeniably a part of the mix, but so was every kind of art, activism, and sex. The anniversary celebrations–whatever form they take–should not be missed.

SIGN OF THE TIMES: On a recent trip to the neighborhood where I was raised, I was sad to see a “for sale” sign on the house on the corner, home to the only Black family on the block. Growing up, I’d known the parents and played with the kids, and my family faced some of the same problems that theirs did. The kids ended up with drug habits and jail time–as did my brother and I. But their options were not as bright and their lawyers not as good as ours; their family fell upon hard times. When their parents died, their house fell into disrepair, making them even more conspicuous in an area that grew increasingly affluent. Ours was a relatively diverse block, with two Asian families, one Indian, and two Jewish–but that didn’t change the fact that it was overwhelmingly White. And not just our block, but the whole neighborhood. Despite Berkeley’s boasts of multiculturalism, the city remained badly segregated, with the 30% Black population living almost entirely south of Gilman Street and west of MLK. In fact, I knew of not one other Black family in all of North Berkeley. Now, not even one. I’m sad to see them go, and see my old stomping grounds get less diverse and less home-like every year, one sign at a time.

FOOTNOTES: What local market has an abandoned upstairs that has been turned into a squat? Foot sources say it just may be under the same roof where Berkeley’s most famous innocent bystander was shot…510-BAD-SMUT, the hotline for local events of interest, is back up and running. Call for info on the latest lectures, protests, and under-the-radar gigs, or to leave news of your own…Rod’s Hickory Pit, “Where the elite meet to eat meat,” remains a boarded up shell on the hill by the graveyard, but Layonna Vegetarian, Chinatown’s fake meat outlet, remains a thriving Mecca (and cheap!). A contest for a counter-slogan seems in order…Wind chimes have been mounted on North Berkeley telephone poles, and interactive art on the lampposts of North Oakland, but in the downtown area of both cities the dead trees bear no leaves. A free Slingshot subscription is offered to anyone seeking to remedy this problem who gets caught (free to prisoners, we shall always be).

Got a tip for the Foot? Leave it on the Bank of America building, in dripping red paint.

Economic disaster is no match for people’s spirit and self-organizing

Economic dislocation and pain has always given rise to creative forms of protest, direct action and rebellion. Right now, the French are showing the way with a wave of “boss-nappings” — when the boss tries to close a factory or layoff workers, the workers lock managers inside and won’t let them leave until demands for better severance pay are met. But outrage has been overflowing all over from unrest in Bolivia to Greek farmers blocking roads to riots in Vladivostok, Russia, and clashes with police in Reykjavik, Iceland. At the recent G20 protest in London, hundreds of people smashed the windows of the Royal Bank of Scotland.

The US has a powerful history of action during hard economic times — from general strikes to bread riots to widespread squatting that occurred during the depression in the 1930s. And while protest in the US often lags behind the rest of the world these days, things haven’t been totally boring in the USA. There have been marches on Wall Street and in Chicago, 300 members of the United Electrical workers seized their factory in December to protest its closing.

Given that recessions are part of capitalism’s normal functioning, it isn’t always clear whether popular uprisings inspired by economic pain can go beyond purely reformist and limited goals. While it is encouraging to see more people in the streets and less respect for bosses, corporations, and authority, it makes no sense to demand “jobs,” “more economic activity” or “more money” out of precisely the same system that has let us down. The recession is causing pain for people precisely because the economy has so much power over people’s lives — demanding that the system start working “better” so it can even further dominate our lives makes no sense.

Protests related to an economic downturn risk being myopic — addressing symptoms, but not causes, and seeking crumbs, not the whole pie. But popular eruptions don’t have to be so short-sighted.

How can we seize on capitalism’s current self-inflicted wounds — widening tiny cracks into huge breaches in its rotten facade? In the last issue of Slingshot, I suggested that the recession creates opportunities for people to build alternative economic structures outside the capitalist system that can enable us to live more sustainably during the recession and after it is over. These alternative structures can replace competition, consumption, and privatization with cooperation, sharing, and a broad re-evaluation of what we really need to make us happy and free.

The other opportunities opened by the economic collapse are exciting chances to mount direct attacks on the structures of capitalism, industrialization, and hierarchy that create and sustain material inequality and misery, and that — in the process — are wreaking devastation on the environment. Right now millions of people see banks, the stock market, and the dog-eat-dog economy as the problem, not the solution.

A boss-napping in France that forces a company to pay an extra three months severance is ultimately not very threatening to capitalism. The workers are still accepting their status as workers and the bosses’ right to own the factory and close it if they like. The extra wages can be factored in as a cost of doing business. The manager taken hostage is usually just another paid employee of a big corporation — not all that close to the people who are really in charge. Such an action fails to question the flaws in the system that run deeper than a periodic downturn leading to some layoffs, business failures and foreclosures. How can such actions be put in a broader context and make wider demands?

Even when the capitalist economy is booming and consumption is growing, all the hours spent at work, new products to buy, and technological improvements leave us poorer in the things that really matter. When the economy is healthy, we are robbed of our time to invest in relationships and community. A world in which all our needs are increasingly met through the market — rather than voluntarily by other people around us — replaces meaning, depth and intimacy with distraction, superficial interactions, and loneliness.

The gross domestic product grows as more and more people eat highly processed food transported over great distances, and fewer and fewer people have the time to grow their own food in a garden and sit with friends cooking a slow supper. The mainstream assumption that more money, consumption and higher production improves the “standard of living” or human happiness is absurd — based on manufactured misunderstandings about what really matters.

This recession is perhaps the first major economic collapse since society has become fully aware of the environmental consequences of capitalism’s model of limitless economic growth. During the Great Depression, it was clear that capitalism led to economic inequality, arbitrary displacement and misery. Capitalism meant millions would live alienated, meaningless lives based on mechanistic consumption and production, rather than humanistic pursuits of freedom, joy and beauty. In the 1930s, the scale of world capitalism and the state of environmental awareness made it difficult to understand capitalism’s even more dramatic flaw: a model that requires limitless growth cannot coexist with a finite planet.

The subprime mortgage recession of 2008 — or whatever future generations may eventually call these times — is occurring within a far different context. Now, perhaps the chief indictment against the system is on environmental grounds. The idea of restoring the economy to “normal” becomes even more sinister when one considers the health of the world’s ecosystems.

Will the failures of the capitalist economy beyond temporary layoffs be on trial during this long, hot summer of discontent? Can a factory occupation demand not just severance pay, but that the factory be turned over to its workers rather than closed? And once we own the factory, will we redirect its function away from producing limitlessly for profit and consumerism, and towards manufacturing things we actually need in a way that doesn’t undermine our ability to live on a fragile planet? Or will we decide we don’t need factories and the stuff they make at all?

Militant tactics like wildcat strikes, bread riots and neighborhood eviction defense contain within them very important seeds for a different world. Each of these actions represents people alone or in groups stepping outside the dream world of the system — a world of consumers and spectators powerless to control their own lives. To the contrary, when you’re in the streets, you are a full participant in history, not a passive observer. You’re helping to determine what will happen next and how social institutions shall be organized or transformed.

Urbicide: design by destruction – Israel strangles Palestine Everyday – Towards a no state solution

Nowhere is the true face of the armed state and its characteristic violence so blatant, the bankruptcy of its ruling class politics so brutally visible, as in the Palestinian West Bank under the Israeli boot. Tristan Anderson’s severe injury in Ni’ilin village on March 13 marked a dark Friday in a long non-violent struggle of resistance to the Israeli matrix of control and oppression, a struggle for dignity and self-determination at the grassroots in Occupied Palestine. Eight days later, many marched in solidarity with Tristan, and the hundreds of other Palestinians, Jewish Israelis and internationals injured or murdered by the Israeli military in Ni’ilin and numerous other villages and towns on the Occupied West Bank over the past nine years, in the vortex and wake of the al-Aqsa intifada.

A chronicle of oppression

Arafat al Khawaje, aged 22, was murdered in Ni’ilin by Israeli bullets, even as the attack on Gaza reached a new peak of ferocity, shot in the back on December 28. Arafat was a third-year student at the Arab-American University Jenin. The AAUJ held special services on January 1, 2009 to mourn his murder (1).

At the same demonstration, Mohammed Sa’adat Fahami Al Khawaje, 20, was shot in the forehead with live ammunition from close range, and died on New Year’s Eve. Mohammed was the fourth youth from Ni’ilin to be murdered by the Israeli Occupation Forces. 10-year-old Ahmed Mousa and 18-year-old Youself Amira were shot dead in late July, 2008.

This is a struggle over the uprooting of olive trees, the theft of land and livelihood, the erasure of a people from their homes, villages, soil. And the continuing construction of the Great Wall of Palestine, the Apartheid Barrier.

This village of some five thousand inhabitants had 22.4 square miles of land on the eve of the 1948 war that established the state of Israel. 15 square miles were confiscated at that time, along with some 4.5 square miles slated to be confiscated by the construction of the Separation Wall and other Israeli military barriers, which will leave the village with 2.8 square miles, including its built-up area.

At the forefront of the resistance in Ni’ilin – which has become an icon of the Palestinian struggle at the grassroots across Palestine – has been Anarchists Against the Wall, a direct action group out every week to protest in solidarity with local Palestinians. Nowhere else in the world is a small determined group of non-violent social anarchists facing a heavily armed military on a weekly, and sometimes a daily basis. The work of AATW deserves international support. Tristan stood in solidarity with them, and they stand with him.

Getting free

The ultimate radical vision that should guide Palestinians and Israelis is, in my view, a decentralized socialist commonwealth of ta’ayush (togetherness), cooperating in free association and mutual aid, beyond the abominations of capitalism and its nation-state system. The goal, as James Herod sees it, is to forge a community of communities, countering hierarchy, wage slavery, profit, commodities, social classes, private ownership of the means of production, patriarchy, and much more (2).

Herod argues that if we were already now reorganizing ourselves “into neighborhood, workplace, and household assemblies, and were struggling to seize power there, then we would have a base from which to stop ruling-class offensives.” He stresses that in the three-pronged attack on the System that he envisions, “by focusing not merely on the workplace (seizing the means of production) but also on neighborhoods and households, it anticipates a recapturing of decision-making – that is, its relocation out of state bureaucracies, parliaments, and corporate boards, and into our assemblies. […] It also emphasizes capturing the means of reproduction (and not only production) through household associations. Its guiding principle is free association.”

But that is a future space of radical liberation toward which we can move, down a long road of fightback and transformation. Revolutionary pragmatism knows that today’s work is standing together with those in the daily struggle – rooted in a tough and resilient sumud (steadfastness) — for justice, dignity, and resistance to the matrix of control and urbicide in Ni’ilin and across Occupied Palestine.

Urbicide in action

Integral to Zionist state ideology and matrices of control is a policy of “urbicide,” a form of spatial strangulation, stunting the demographic, physical and economic development of Palestinian communities. Palestinian villages and cities are systematically invaded and destroyed, along with structures of livelihood, health, education, and the surrounding natural landscape and agricultural land. The resistance in Ni’ilin is against this urbicide, and a policy of the “eradication of normalcy” designed to wear down and demoralize the Palestinian population. It is associated with a planning strategy of conquest where “Palestinian urban space is constructed as a pre-modern, formless, almost solid conglomerate of material and human refuse, a treacherous, dangerous place that needs to be cleansed through hygienic practices embodied in the act of ‘design by destruction’” (3).

In the sociopolitical imaginary of the Israeli ruling-class, Palestinian space is demonized and dehumanized, a “cancerous” threat to the purported organic “body” of the modern state of Israel (4). As Abujidi & Verschure stress: “Sovereignty over space is an important element in achieving geopolitical aims intrinsic to the longer-term policy imperative within the geopolitical colonial imaginary that guides the Israeli nation-state” (5).

The construction of the wall and intense violence against civilians throughout Palestine including the attacks in Ni’ilin and many other villages is urbicide in action, an engineering of space and an invasion of local neighborhoods designed to ensure total Israeli control of the Palestinian territories and traumatize the population, undermining all aspects of their infrastructure, and shattering their psychological well-being. In Sari Hanafi’s view, such policies are intended to make it all but impossible for Palestinians to live a normal life, and to induce them to emigrate – a form of “voluntary transfer,” as Israeli documents term it (6).

Resisting the brutality and building a different future deserves the solidarity of the progressive community in Oakland, throughout North America and around the globe. As Anne Feeney reminds us, from the West Bank to Seattle: “It’s a worldwide war. It’s a war on the workers / And it’s time we started calling the shots” (7). Now more than ever. ¡Ya basta! / khalas! is the watchword.

FOOTNOTES

1. The university is here: http://www.aauj.edu

2. James Herod, Getting free: Creating an association of democratic autonomous neighborhoods. Oakland: AK Press, 2007

3. See Nurhan Abujidi & Han Verschure, Military occupation as urbicide by “construction and destruction”: The case of Nablus, Palestine, The Arab World Geographer (2006), vol. 9, no. 2: 126-154.

4. Eyal Weizman, Builders and warriors: Military operations as urban planning, Site (November 2004): 2-4; see also Weizman, Hollow land: Israel’s architecture of occupation. London: Verso, 2007.

5. Abujidi & Verschure, ibid., 143.

6. Sari Hanafi, Targeting space through biopolitics; The Israeli colonial project, Palestine Report, February 18, 2004.

7. Listen to the song “War on the Workers,” http://home.earthlink.net/~unionmaid/id1.html

Tear down the apartheid wall

The Wall

Israel started building its so-called “separation barrier” in mid-2002, at the height of the second Palestinian Intifada, amidst the most violent period of Palestinian resistance to the occupation. Despite the fact that Palestinian violence was not remotely as grave as Israeli violence, it was a rather simple task for Israel to use the smokescreen of security and the collective hysteria of the Israeli public to legitimize a structural manifestation of Israel’s policy of apartheid.

It took time to see through the smokescreen to the scope and meaning of the Wall. Over time things became clearer. By now we understand that its route, penetrating deep into the West Bank, was planned to assure Israeli control over water resources, to grab as much land as possible, to allow the expansion of Israeli settlements, to strategically divide the West Bank into five reservation-like enclaves, and to create a de facto border that would eliminate anything that could be called the State of Palestine.

While the vast majority of Israelis are highly supportive of the Wall, Palestinians immediately understood the disastrous implications. Only a few short months after construction had begun, the people of Jayyous, a small village in the Qalqilya district–men, women and children, accompanied by a few International and Israeli activists–set out to stop the bulldozers pulverizing their fertile lands. Every day for almost three months they went out to confront the army M-16s and armored vehicles with nothing but their bodies and their hearts and the stones their land could offer.

The Wall was eventually built through Jayyous, but the village’s struggle and its spirit established a model for joint-popular resistance. It took time for another village to rise up in a similar way. This happened in the village of Budrus, during the last days of 2003. Waging a truly heroic struggle, villagers managed to push the bulldozers off their lands and force the path of the wall to be rerouted.

Budrus’s often-celebrated success empowered people in dozens of villages to explode with rage in what is probably the most significant popular movement of the second Intifada. For the good part of 2004, daily demonstrations were held in numerous villages at once, extricating the issue of Israel’s Wall from the dark back rooms of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, bringing it to the fore.

Oppression intensified as the movement grew. To date, seventeen demonstrators have been killed by the army, ten of them children. Thousands have been jailed and imprisoned, and countless were injured. Collective punishment in the form of movement restrictions, work permit withdrawals and strict curfews were also imposed on revolting villages.

Oppression had taken its toll on the movement. Demonstrations and riots now only take part in a handful of villages, and mostly on a weekly rather than a daily basis. Notable among these villages is Bil’in, where demonstrations have been held every Friday for the past four years, with absolutely no exception. Through their struggle, they have succeeded in getting a court order that re-routes the wall and gives much of their land back.

In May last year, the village of Ni’ilin, was in the fire of an uprising that brought back the intensity of the movement’s most fierce days. Confrontations between villagers and the army occurred almost daily, and despite military violence, often ended in construction halted for the day due to damaged heavy machinery.

In March of this year, Tristan Anderson unfortunately became one of many casualties in the conflict. The brutal attempt to suppress Ni’ilin has cost the village the lives of four of its sons, one of them only ten-years-old. About ten percent of the men between 15 and 50 were at one point or another imprisoned, and hundreds were seriously injured.

If there is one thing that I’ve learned in these years, it is that though their bullets hit hard, our passion is stronger, that our people who are sent to their jails remain freer than their soldiers will ever be, and that we still rise from the pools of our blood, and shout with parched throats– FREEDOM!

Who is Tristan? a brief biography of a modern day anarchist

So who is Tristan and why would he go almost halfway around the world to stand with Palestinians to protest injustices done against them by the state of Israel?

Tristan was born in 1971 to Quaker parents who made conscious choices not to chase the ‘American Dream’. Tristan grew up in a humble, rural environment. His parents instilled their pacifist and anti-war values in him. He went to his first demonstrations (against the Vietnam War) when he was an infant. In high school he got a lot of grief for his peace punk style and ethos.

In 1991 he moved to the East Bay and took part in protests against the First Gulf War. He started seeing and experiencing first hand the police repression of dissent. He became an active member of East Bay Food Not Bombs (FNB), cooking and sharing vegan food in People’s Park. He helped fight off the volleyball courts that UC Berkeley imposed on the Park in 1991. When the San Francisco police tried to shut down FNB in that city, he was arrested numerous times for sharing food. In the mid-90′s he traveled to El Salvador and met people resisting the brutal U.S. puppet government there. Back in the East Bay, he had a weekly show on Free Radio Berkeley and was a regular at Critical Mass bike rides.

Throughout the ’90s Tristan often traveled with the mobile FNB kitchen, which drew him to environmental, anti-nuclear and indigenous rights camps at the Nevada Test Site, Ward Valley and especially the forests of Northern California with Earth First! He became more dedicated to direct action. After taking part in the ‘Battle of Seattle’, where activists shut down the World Trade Organization meeting, he threw himself into the Global Justice movement as a participant and journalist at many summits worldwide.

In 2006 he went to Oaxaca after hearing his good friend Brad Will had been shot dead. Tristan came back with tales of love, liberation and late nights at the barricade. Brad’s death reminded him, as Tristan’s injury reminds us, of the risks we take when we stand for justice. While sobering, it is so important that these incidents re-energize our commitment to create a better world so we never allow our voices to be silenced.

More recently Tristan was a big part of the Memorial Oak Grove Tree-Sit, a 23-month effort to protect dozens of old trees on University of California Berkeley property. He often brought food, banners, props and gear. He spent many days and nights in the trees and was up there for the harrowing three-day showdown between the sitters and UCPD supervised goons. Though unable to save the trees, this broad-based community effort was wildly successful in inspiring thousands of people around the world, while shining a spotlight on UC’s evil ways.

Tristan traveled across many continents, working two jobs in between to fund his activism. He had already been to the Middle East twice, including Iraq where he toured with a circus cheering up kids in the war-torn country not long after the U.S. invasion. He was eager to go to Palestine for the first time and stand with the people there. When he was shot he was protesting and photographing the Israeli Apartheid Wall being built on Palestinian land in the West Bank.

Tristan is one the most beautiful and dedicated people we have ever met. His courage is immense; he’s usually one of the last to leave a crazy intense scene. He exemplifies thinking and acting both locally and globally. For him action is political AND personal, understanding the importance of coming together with others to challenge a system that exploits the Earth and her people, while also realizing the necessity of treating ourselves and each other with compassion, while building resistance that actualizes at each step the world we are building. Tristan remains in serious condition, and the effects of having part of his brain removed will not be known for some time. He fights for his own life as he has been fighting for all life for the last two decades. We are confident he will make a full recovery, growing in wisdom and bold as ever.

Tristan solidarity demo attacked

Within days of Tristan Anderson’s critical injury in Palestine on March 13, people were protesting Israel’s brutal policies on the streets of Tel Aviv, Chicago, New York, Miami, New Haven, London and in San Francisco. A large and spirited demonstration and march in SF on March 16 to show solidarity with Tristan and Palestine was pulled together in just a few hours after a meeting over the weekend at the SF Anarchist Book Fair.

Tristan’s almost two decades of intense activism on a diverse variety of issues meant that a broad cross-section of people in the bay area activist scene turned out for the march. This made for quite a festive presence in the heart of downtown San Francisco as black flags, large banners, a marching band and anti-state chants flooded the grid locked rush-hour streets. While the protest was for Tristan and Palestinian solidarity, there were connections made to other aspects of systemic oppression, such as police brutality, state repression, and nation-state borders.

The march made its way from the Israeli consulate on Montgomery Street through downtown, eventually seizing a major intersection on Market Street leading to a brief standoff with police. The march continued on Market until a splinter group broke away and managed to lose the main march’s heavy police escort by running up Montgomery Street into oncoming traffic — back to the consulate. A few ninja-like participants used the cars as their spring boards and leapt on ahead.

After some marchers reached the consulate, the situation seemed calm — the protest was winding down and people were dancing, drumming or drifting away — until a strike team of police arrived and entered the crowd to make an arrest. They forcefully grabbed a woman who began to scream, causing a larger mob of police to advance on the with riot batons swinging wildly. One protestor was clubbed in the head, resulting in a trip to the hospital with an injury that required nine staples. People were shoved, punched, hit with batons and ultimately there were eight arrests. The police charged four people with felonies on a range of bogus charges.

It is sadly ironic that a protest over the horrific state violence visited upon Tristan and Palestinians would itself be subjugated to a smaller dose of police brutality. It is evident that police violence is growing, and is everywhere. For Tristan, Oscar Grant, and so many others: Fuck the Police.

Swimming upstream against resignation and apathy – new infoshops & community centers

It can be humbling and isolating trying to struggle for social change. Just little you and your tiny circle of friends and comrades against massive and seemingly untouchable foes: global capitalism, industrial consumer culture, the eco-destroying economy and nation states armed to the teeth protecting the status quo.

But even though we may feel small and vulnerable, we are not alone or isolated in our struggle. We’re part of something much larger — we share with people around the world and through history a vision for a different world. Browsing the list of infoshops, radical community centers, alternative libraries and free bike shops, one sees the thread of community coming together in all directions. In each of our towns we may feel like we’re swimming upstream against resignation and apathy, but it helps to realize that people from the Philippines to Bolivia to Toledo are out there swimming with you.

Here are updates to the radical contact list published in the 2009 Slingshot organizer. We’re going to revise and update the list for the 2010 organizer. Let us know if you see any corrections. The deadline is July 31. For updates before then, check our online updates: slingshot.tao.ca. Happy traveling!

Rice, Beans & Revolution Infoshop – McAllen, TX

A new infoshop in deep South Texas just miles from the border wall with a lending library, zine library and bookstore. Open Mon-Fri 10 – 8, Sat/Sun noon – 6. 402 N. Main, McAllen, TX 78501, myspace.com/rice_beans_revolution, 956-212-8753

The Black Cherry – Toledo, OH

A bookstore, for-donation cafe and show space with a lending library, free store and an office for local projects as well as several apartments. 1420 Cherry St. Toledo Ohio 43608 theblackcherrycenter@gmail.com

EarthDiver book Collective – Oshkosh, WI

They have a lending library, show space, band practice space and host events, films and meetings for local projects like Books to Prisoners and a free food project “Relocation of Surplus Vittles Project (RSVP).” They also have a community garden. 949 W. 7th Ave. Oshkosh, WI 54902

CRASH collective infoshop – Burlington, VT

The have the first floor and basement of a house with a lending library, meeting/event room, zine distro and media center with free computer lab and a zine photocopier. They also have a bike tool share and bulk food buyers club. They serve free food and coffee and host a bunch of groups. Check them out at 117 Bank St Burlington VT 05401, infoshopvt@gmail.com.

Firebrand Infoshop – Nashville, TN

A warehouse with space for all-ages shows, a library, zines, computers and a bike co-op. They also have a free skool. Open Mon – Fri 5pm-8:30. 1318 Little Hamilton Road, Nashville, TN 37203 615-673-4153, livefreeordie@riseup.net

Burning River D.I.Y. Collective – Cleveland, OH

Ooops – we listed Burning River in our “RIP” section because a few years ago, there was a collective in Cleveland called Burning River. We think that the old collective did in fact die, but it turns out a new group of folks organized their own collective and picked the same name! The new group is alive and going strong. They have free workshops and continuing classes about “doing things for yourself — growing your own food, mending your own clothes, maintaining your own bikes … anything anyone in the group has to offer, under the premise of fostering personal and community strength through DIY punk ethics.” They host shows and seek to open up a show / zine library space. For now they are based out of a house at 2831 Hampshire Road #2 Cleveland Heights, OH 44118 (216) 577-4211

Joe Hill House – West Lafayette, IN

An alternative living space with an infoshop and community center in the garage: “a hub of radical activity in the Greater Lafayette area.” They have a lending library / zine library and host the IWW. 2108 North Salisbury Street, West Lafayette, Indiana 47906

Confluence Books – Grand Junction, CO

They have zines and host a radical community center for meetings and activities. They are active regarding h2a visa worker abuse in the sheep camps of Colorado. The similarly named Confluence collective currently listed in the organizer is a residential collective house. Find the infoshop at 600 White Ave. Suite 302 Grand Junction, Colorado 81501, 970-245-4442.

Silent City Distro – Ithaca, NY

A zine library and radical distro. 115 E. MLK St. (the commons), Ithaca, NY 14850, www.silentcitydistro.org

Wonderroot Community Arts Center – Atlanta, GA

“A place where artists and activists can come together to build community through art.” They have a darkroom, recording studio, digital media lab, performance space, and a room for classes or meetings available if you pay dues. Open Mon, Tues, Thurs and Friday 10-8 and Sat noon-9. 982 Memorial Dr SE Atlanta, GA 30316 (mail PO Box 89018, Atlanta, GA 30312), 404.254.5955

Coldwater Distro – Floyd, VA

A source for print media in do-it-yourself format about indigenous led resistance to global empire: “the revolution will not be on the internet” Visit 111 Main St. Floyd, VA (mail Box 672, Floyd, VA 24091.)

Bicycle Farm – Portland, OR

A volunteer-run space for learning about building, maintaining, and riding bikes. Open Fri, Sat, Sun, Mon and Tues (every other Tuesday is women/trans only.) 305 NE Wygant St., Portland, OR 97211, (971) 533-7428, bikefarm@bikefarm.org, bikefarm.org

Sibley Bike Depot -St. Paul, MN

A not-for-profit community bike shop that offers classes, tools and a workshop plus a women’s’ and trans’ night. Open Wed 3-9, Sat 10- 6, Sun 12-4. 712 University Ave St. Paul, MN 55104, 651-222-2080 sibleybikedepot.org

Anthology New and Used Books – Scranton, PA

An independent bookstore that carries zines and original art. 515 Center St. Scranton, PA 18503 570-341-1443 www.scranthology.com

Seomra Spraoi – Dublin, Ireland

An radical autonomous social center since 2005 that features shows, art, activist groups, meeting space, films, a vegan café, library, crafts workshop, bike repair tools and computer access. 10 Belvedere Court, Dublin 1 Ireland (off Gardiner St, near Mount Joy Square), seomraspraoi@gmail.com.

Café Victoria – Mexico City

They are a collective coffee roaster and coffeeshop born out of a strike at a cafe that locked them out. Open daily from 8 a.m. to 10.30 p.m. Mercado La Paz. Calle Victoria (entre Plaza de la Constitución y Madero, Centro de Tlalpan) Mexico DF cafe-victoria.blogspot.com

Coyotic: Lugar de Encuentro – Mexico City

A community meeting space that sells locally-made products. Copilco 102, planta alta, local 115. Mexico DF (Closest Metro is Miguel Angel de Quevedo) http://www.myspace.com/coyotic

Red TiNKU – Cochabamba, Bolivia

A radical social movement office always in need of volunteers that has a community house which hosts events, and where travelers can stay for cheap. Visit Esteban Arce 532, 1er Piso, Of. 2, Galería ¨El Nazareno¨, entre Calamo y Cadaislao Cabrera, Phone. 71769493, redtinkubolivia@gmail.com, www.redtinku.com

Espaço Impróprio – Sao Paulo, Brazil

A vegan restaurant with an infoshop, recording studio and open space that hosts documentaries, debates and concerts. Rua Dona Antonia de Queiroz, 40, Consolação, phone (11) 3129.7197, improprio@riseup.net, www.espacoimproprio.org

Kinaiyahan Unahon Collective -Davao, Philippines

They are a radical community center with a garden, theater group and a lending library with zines, videos and other radical media. They are working on anti-pesticide spraying campaigns, working with local farmers, and other ecological struggles. They are working to translate anarchist texts to the local language — send them materials. Dinah B. Canonigo Blk. 24 Lot 4 Phase 2 Ciudad De Esperanza Cabantian, Davao City, Philippines 8000, www.freewebs.com/kinaiyahanunahon

Freedom Shop – Wellington, New Zealand is moving

They are NZ’s longest running anarchist bookshop (since 1995). They are moving out of Cuba Mall and looking for a new space. Until then, they are tabling at festivals and events. If you visit NZ, contact them at: PO Box 9263, Te Aro, Wellington, New Zealand/Aotearoa, the_freedom_shop@yahoo.com

Corrections to 2009 Organizer

• The Rhizome Collective in Austin, TX was evicted in mid-March after the city cited them for building code violations. They had operated a number of community organizing and urban sustainability projects out of a warehouse since 2000.

• The Jack Pine Collective in Minneapolis, MN decided not to renew their lease in March due to a lack of financial and energy sustainability. They wrote in a nice goodbye message noting that they were established in 2006 as a child-friendly and sober radical space set up to be specifically anti-oppression.

• The Phoenix, AZ anarchist library is now located inside of the Conspire gallery at: 901 North 5th street, Phoenix, AZ 85004 (602) 237-5446.

Long Haul through the court system

The legal process has begun its slow grind since the Long Haul infoshop in Berkeley filed a lawsuit in federal court on January 14 over the August 27 police raid on the Long Haul by a joint terrorism task force composed of University of California police, sheriffs and the FBI. Since the lawsuit was filed, the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss on sovereign immunity grounds. A hearing is currently scheduled on May 29, 2009, although that date is subject to change. An initial case management conference is set for June 12.

The police seized all computers at Long Haul after breaking in with guns drawn to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation of allegedly threatening emails allegedly sent to UC Berkeley animal researchers from a public-access computer connected to the internet at Long Haul. The police would never have gotten such a broad search warrant to seize every computer at the Berkeley Public Library if the email in question had come from the public library, rather than from a radical Infoshop.

The raid on Long Haul may have been part of the investigation into local animal rights activities that lead to the arrests of Joseph Buddenberg, Maryam Khajavi, Nathan Pope, and Adriana Stumpo under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act on February 20 — the “AETA4″. (See related article, pg. 1). The statement of probable cause used to obtain the Long Haul search warrant discusses a January 27, 2008 demonstration, which is one of the “overt acts” listed in the indictment against the AETA4 and one of the AETA4 is specifically discussed in the Long Haul statement of probable cause. However, the indictment filed against the AETA4 doesn’t mention the Long Haul.

While the AETA4 indictment and the raid against Long Haul were both designed to intimidate local activists, these scare tactics haven’t worked.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU of Northern California are jointly representing Long Haul in the litigation. For more details about the police raid, see Slingshot #98. For information about the lawsuit, see Slingshot #99. If you want to attend court hearings to support Long Haul, check www.thelonghaul.org for updates.