Category Archives: Winter 2012 (11/27/12)

the instinct for power in the Occupy movement

The Occupy protestors have no instinct for power. The police and their respective politicians, with the historical advantage, are well aware of this lack on the part of the Occupiers. And the aspiring police and politicians of the Occupy movement manage the revolt while others sit idly by and convince themselves otherwise. We worry about maintaining wholesome images for media representations that are instrumental to the ruling class. In altering or masking oneself for the most “on point” production, many are seemingly leaving their goals behind. All this is under the guise of pragmatism, when these practical protestors cannot even keep up with the last media fabrication.

The “practical” protestor responds to an allegation by confirming fallacious terms with their own actions. They then think of how a given issue, one that the police and their bureaucrats care about in such a noble manner, can be addressed. The lives of those in power are made a little easier as their work is completed by protestors they previously thought were so unreasonable. This is perhaps the most easily read occurrence of the self-defeating, self-management of which Occupiers across the nation are guilty.

That the self-policing Occupiers perpetually “need” to be engaged by conscious anarchists shows how short-sighted they really are. For the former, the spectacular marches are satisfying enough, as other elements are held back by the rat-wheel of teach-ins and skill-shares. The practical protestors are unwilling to think in terms of power because they truly have no desire for radical change, let alone a revolution. With mixed success, the Occupy protests have limited themselves to self-contained dead-end issues (“we should be able to do this or that or else we will fight for that allowance”). Boredom is counter-revolutionary, yet its ubiquity has only led to a new set of slightly ameliorating hobbies for many. The Occupy protests at least signify a social shift that was much needed, though – people are finally utilizing the public space that was slowly stolen over time. Will Occupy’s grandest achievement vaguely be the reintegration of the public square into our lives?

George Lakoff linguist and political theorist was one of the more exciting developments for the soft left in the U.S. because he was able to think in terms of power. Lakoff explained that political discourse for the right was very strategic – words used consciously reflected mental frameworks that played into voters’ psychology. He was looking to elevate the position of Democracts in terms of representation. Truthfulness is not necessarily held in high regard, with a focus placed on positioning in relation to the most powerful frames. “Do not use their language.” Lakoff writes, “Their language picks out a frame–and it won’t be the frame you want.” Lakoff’s writings, although superficially irrelevant to those who reject electoral politics, illustrate how strategically authorities are thinking in terms of representation. There are some very common frames used in relation to the Occupy protests which include terms like “outside agitators,” “professional anarchists,” “violent protestors,” “health and safety issues,” and one can imagine more being fabricated and employed in the future. How do we escape these frames? We must think in our own terms.

Recently in Oakland, when an internal report reflected the statistic that crime had diminished by 19%, Oakland Police Chief Jordan wrote an email to Mayor Quan’s office. In the letter, Jordan noted the strategic inopportunity of such a statistic: “Not sure how you want to share this good news… It may be counter to our statement that the Occupy movement is negatively impacting crime in Oakland.” Suddenly, past instances of stories, fed to the media by police, show themselves for the tools that they are in the hands of the state. The predictable and fallacious façade of superior moral judgment of Jean Quan and the OPD beautifully unravels before our eyes.

Lakoff believes that the act of revealing facts is not enough to change anyone’s mind. The line goes that if the left could only learn to stop using the language of the right, then conservative power would lose the reinforcement it gets from being bashed by liberals (by using the former’s terms). However, engaging in this sort of rhetoric war limited to party politics is a failed endeavor from the beginning. We can in part understand how this back and forth is limited by examining the shift in world power to hegemony.

Under hegemony, power is internalized by all who exist within such a network of power. This concept was first developed by Italian Marxist Antonio Gramsci to describe a spectrum of power relations – involving both the creation and preservation of asymmetrical interdepencies. Through these dynamics of power, “[d]ominant ideological streams must be… reproduced in the activities of our most basic social units,” writes Cultural Studies theorist James Lull. Counter-cultural resistance is often absorbed and recycled into a reinforcement of such a power. The 1960s counter-cultural movement, for example, was quickly subsumed under a mountain of profitable psychedelic commodities and their respective lifestylisms – more of the same old shit covered in patchouli scented shampoo and Jim Morrison posters. Yet this is an unstable relationship – one that can at once “be actively won and secured [or] lost” (to quote some second-hand Stuart Hall, via James Lull; emphasis added). “Hegemony fails,” Lull writes, “when dominant ideology is weaker than social resistance.”

It does not take too far of a leap to imagine how Occupy protestors are complicit in reinforcing delicate balances of power. Some individuals at protests believe it is their mission to discipline others: with their tactics assuming the form of threats, physical violence, rhetoric, modeling of moral behavior (ex. scrubbing off graffiti), or snitching to the police. Regardless of the work that has been done, an acknowledgement of a diversity of tactics and solidarity among occupiers has yet to be completely fostered.

We live in a world in which the public often takes the news of blatant corruption with a wry smile and a weary shake of the head. OPD’s email conspiring with Mayor Quan – which should be considered not as an exception but the status quo – will probably scandalize the public for a moment, but it will not necessarily alter the trajectory of the Occupy movements (just as the globally prevailing orders of capitalism and imperialism did not come to a grinding halt due to thousands of Wikileaks).

The need for strategy in terms of media representations might doubly apply for activities in the streets. Actions speak louder than words. Police think in simple terms. If they are outnumbered and overpowered, they will back off. Yet the police will take any power granted to them – no matter the numbers at a demonstration. If the police can get away with giving out citations for irrelevant “offenses,” then they will if it proves fruitful (getting people to be dissuaded from protesting, for instance). A street protest establishes its own stage and boundaries that make up a territory. Police will do what they can to subvert and reorient these boundaries. What if we made it our goal to reappropriate such a tactic? We could ask ourselves how to best subvert the territory of the police. Here is where spontaneity and creativity both prove useful.

A powerful exercise would be to pay attention to the movements of both the protestors and the police. What short-term goals could we set for this action? What gets people arrested? What gets police to go away? How do we increase our autonomy, if only temporarily? A similar set of questions might apply for our interactions with the media. What terms are best suited for our current purposes? How is the media not important in relation to our actions? Can we counter anti-Occupy media fabrications with some of our own? All of these thought experiments will prove useful in developing a positive resistance.

The instinct for collective empowerment must be cultivated. Problems faced can be positive if we are able to learn from them. This requires an active acknowledgement of as much of the picture as we possibly can be aware of. We cannot reduce ourselves to tiny windows for action and thought. The Occupy protests should incorporate a wide sampling of human experience in order to strengthen its own position. The tactics will develop only if we are willing to think critically about context and possibility. Let us not limit ourselves, but find new pathways that have yet to be discovered.

the instinct for power in the Occupy movement

Occupy is Chaos

Chaos is a wild horse; we do not tame nor befriend it by throwing it to the ground and beating it with a stick. Gently point its eyes in the direction you want to go.

-Squatter graffiti, Oakland

I attended an event called “How Will the Walls Come Down?” A debate between “non-violence” and “diversity of tactics.” My expectations were low. I had already concluded that hardliners from both sides had dominated the debate, and the vast majority of people in Occupy, who held a view in between, struggled to reach unity on tactics amidst this noise. This formal debate seemed fated to amplify the noise.

These terms are often confuddled by strong opinions about the meanings of “violence” and “diversity.” “Diversity of tactics” is mocked as a euphemism for anything-goes with neither respect nor responsibility. People ask why “violence” in this discussion often means vandalism or screaming, but never includes calling the law on someone or voting. In this piece I’ll call these concepts “militancy” and “anti-militancy.” First because the utter vagueness of “militancy” allows everyone to know exactly what I mean, and also for a rhetorical reason that will be apparent.

There were four advocates of (anti)militancy on either side of the moderator. They all seemed to feel they had a lot to teach Occupy Oakland and little to learn. Two of the four would have said exactly the same things if Occupy Oakland had never happened.

While Occupy events at OG Plaza tended to be a third white people, a third black people, and a third other ethnicities, almost everyone in the audience at this debate was white. Three out of the four (anti)militancy advocates were white. Fortunately the panelists addressed this; a common theme was that the opposing position was from a vantage of privilege. Either the privilege of lenient treatment from the criminal justice system, or the privilege getting the system to work for one without drastic action.

So what the astonishing yet troubling thought for food, was, one of the (anti)militants explained that the Occupy Movement had to choose to be either a transformative revolution cherishing the most oppressed OR a middle-class liberal-moderate tax-the-rich movement favoring the recently dispossessed.

The key word is OR; I advocate AND. OR means that you see which way the movement is going and then decide whether to get on board. AND means that you don’t know where the movement is going, but you still must decide if you’re up for the ride. Combining anarchist tactics AND middle-class populism was a ridiculous experiment that was going great, until tactical anarchists and middle-class populists pointed out that it was ridiculous.

The socialist left must learn to navigate Occupy’s anarchist terrain if we hope to shape and lead the uprising instead of being shaped and led by it. – Pham Binh

The manipulations by the statist left no longer shock, or even amuse; one closes the tab and plays games on Facebook in search of greater relevance. Yet I see my anarchismist .comrades plying the same script. After spending 1-100 years promoting a point of view, it’s natural (while simultaneously perverted) to hope Occupy will fulfill that viewpoint and judge it on it’s ability to do so.

I read about the Occupy plan in Adbusters in August and thought the whole thing was hella stupid. But once I seen it strike a nerve in mass consciousness and that so many good people could stomach it, I started to consider that maybe in this particular case it may be conceivably possible to perhaps CHANGE MY MIND. On the other hand, if Occupy had dwindled and fizzled in lower Manhattan, no one would have stepped in to say that, more edgy or thoughtful tactics, or overcoming racial or gender alienation, would have saved the project from extinction. The success, which convinced me, made Occupy a target for everyone with a conflicting preconceived vision who couldn’t embrace the chaos.

On top of the ideological rigor mortis, some people just need an outlet for their accumulated negativity. Like when someone complains that OO in intruding on the homeless people in the Plaza, then the same person complains that OO is bringing homeless people to the plaza.

…not that we… have any problem with small business being attacked. IN fact, we absolutely love it as ALL business is still business. –article printed in last Slingshot

Apparently, in January, assholes have attacked small businesses again on an Occupy Oakland affiliated march.

“Business” comes from “busy.” 1Any economic activity is a business, a Food Not Bombs chapter, an infoshop (does this explain why so many “radicals” apparently think stealing from infoshops is a good idea?). A small for-profit business is often one more tiresome thing people do to get by, along with wage-slavery or disability, that’s rarely morally perfect.

Now, I’m vaguely sympathetic to the idea that everyone deserves the have their business smashed (just like I’m intrigued by the Christian idea that we all deserve to be miserable, die horribly and be tortured forever). But what if this is being done specifically to attack the idea that the poor AND the middle-class have common interests, the main idea of the Occupy movement. If this idea is so bad, why not let Occupy fail on its own merits?

Or , of course, Occupy might win, and then the normal middle-class white people betray the poor, the anarchists, the people of color and the queers. So? How would we be in a worse position than if we force the middle-class to side with the 1% now?

Occupy is the best thing yet to happen to the American black bloc, the best thing to happen to the Obama campaign (by upstaging the Tea Party garbage), the best thing to happen to the word “decolonize,” and the best thing for Oakland. All aboard the grainer to chaos and have a good time.

1It’s reasonable to believe that this hostility to the very idea of “business” comes from the flooding of radical movements by apathetic hippies during the 1960s. This may have been encouraged by Stalinist ideologues, hoping to achieve Soviet victory and domination by making Western society pathetic and dysfunctional.

The Empire Strikes Back

[Note: while the details of this article are Oakland-centric, the same (or worse) repression is perpetrated against marginalized communities daily. Wherever you are, please stand up and fight back].

During Fall of 2011 the people came out en mass to support Occupy Oakland. The numbers that were mobilized empowered us to directly and effectively confront the oppressive systems that are attacking our communities and ecosystems. Our unity, numbers and mutual solidarity created an environment of relative safety from police repression. Beautiful and creative actions I never thought possible were the norm, where we sought consent from our community, and never asked permission from our would-be masters.

While our organizing and networks are continuing to grow into the Winter, our visual presence has diminished, especially in Oscar Grant Plaza. The city and OPD have capitalized on this fact by instituting a crackdown and repression on Occupy organizers. Nearly 50 arrests and an unknown number of incidences of police violence have occurred during late January – early December The victims of this violence are by and large individuals that were not committing any crime. What the victims have in common is a high level of involvement in the movement. Media, Food, Medics and especially the Tactical Action Committee have been targeted and singled out for police violence and repression.

To help illustrate these facts, I will relate a few first hand accounts.

Member of TAC: “On January 4th, about 60 cops flooded the plaza, pointed people out then started grabbing them. I was across the street when an officer pointed in my direction. I started walking away, and when I turned around there were 3 officers walking toward me. They ran up and grabbed me. They called me by my first name and said things like “we got you again, aren’t you out on bail?”. I was booked for obstructing a ‘peace keeper’ and I now have a stay away order for the plaza. I was singled out because I have been a consistent and vocal presence in the plaza and active with various other projects.”

Leila: “I have been working within the Occupy Oakland community two months working and coordinating with the kitchen and gardening committees and in others ways such as coordinating communications for community planning, and helping to organize and advise others in their projects.

On the night of January 7th, during the march against police repression, I was assaulted by multiple Oakland police officers. I was shoved by an officer when I stopped to observe a medic get tackled and arrested. Then a second officer hit me strong enough to send me flying back. I fell and my partner ran to catch my head before it hit the pavement. Immediately the officer who hit me started to swing his baton at both of us. We attempted to pull away as multiple officers continued to aggressively pursue us, swinging batons and throwing a bike at us. No verbal communication by the officers had been made during this entire incident. I was hit on the hand; there was immediate swelling and bruising. My partner was hit on his arm; he later went to the hospital and was diagnosed with a hematoma.”

Josh: “I have been participating with Occupy Oakland since October and I have now been battered and arrested twice and beaten once by the police. Never was I acting violently or aggressively. On December 30th I was serving food in the plaza when the police moved in on the tree sit. My partner and a friend sat down near the base of the tree; within seconds and without warning the police grabbed and dragged them away. Seconds later a sergeant pointed at me and said, “Take ‘em”. Three cops grabbed me, put me in a pain compliance hold, slammed me against the cruiser and arrested me. I was charged with obstructing a “peace officer”, and moved from one holding cell to another for 22 hours before getting bonded out. Others arrested that day were held for 5 days and finally released without charges.”

LA Joe: “I came to Oakland from Occupy LA. During my 2½ months here I have been arrested twice and OPD addresses me by my first name. After my second arrest, Officer Nguyen approached me at the plaza. He essentially told me that he had looked in my file (he knew my mom’s name, where I grew up in LA, and where I went to college) and that because I was intelligent and educated, I had little in common with most occupiers and that he could “help me”. It should be obvious to us all that we are in an age of counter-intelligence.”

So yes, we are going through a period of heightened repression and counter-intelligence. This is nothing new and it should not be surprising. Repression and violence is the de facto response to any threat against the current prevailing power structure, and it’s effective. So the question is: How can we resist repression?

One response has been the weekly Fuck the Police (FTP) / Anti-repression marches. Assembling every Saturday evening (usually in the plaza), the marches zigzag around downtown and by the police station, drawing attention to the repression and directly confronting police brutality. The FTP marches are also a great laboratory to experiment with a variety of tactics. Lining up against the police went bad last time; let’s try maneuvering around them. How about an FTP parade to celebrate the coming insurrection and present ourselves in a less menacing way, or an FTP kittens march where we spread out over an area in small groups so the cops don’t have an organized mass to target?

Or just call it off last minute and kick it in the plaza; which is another thing we can do to help resist repression. Having a physical presence in a central public place was the hallmark of Occupy. Taking space in an open and public manor must be a part of what we do. But it can be risky when it’s only a small group out there. It makes it very easy for the police to pick out and arrest the girl bringing food to the occupiers, or the guy with the camera. So spend some time at the plaza, eat some food, join a committee, go to GA, whatever you like, just show up. Being there adds strength and security to the movement, and maybe you will make a new friend.

Filling the courts when our allies are on trial is another good way to support the people that are putting their necks on the line so we can all live in a better world. If you don’t have the time for that, call the mayor, the DA, the police chief, everyone, and demand the release of political prisoners.

In conclusion, the world is controlled by psychopathic fascists who control armies of soulless mercenaries. Do something about it before it’s too late.

To plug in and get more info without having to stand up, go to www.occupyoakland.org (or your local equivalent). Also check indymedia.org and find your local on the left side bar.

Jan 14:Two people were arrested Saturday night during a relatively peaceful antipolice demonstration, FTP march

Jan 7: FTP march. Police charge crowd, batoning, shooting beanbags, and arresting medics, media, and observers. Six arrested and at least two hospitalized.

Jan 5: Protest at city hall to demonstrate against the repressive police action. Two were snatched and arrested.

Jan 4: About sixty police in riot gear storm the plaza, picked out and arrested twelve people, many of whom are members of the media team. The police abruptly left after “destroying everything” at the peaceful vigil. Occupiers immediately marched to the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office in solidarity with those in custody.

Dec 30: Cops swarm the plaza immediately snatching and arresting folks. 11 occupiers in total were arrested, many of who faced bogus charges. It became apparent on this day that the cops were deliberately targeting and harassing specific people whom they consider to be key members of Occupy Oakland.

Dec 29: OPD raided the occupation of a foreclosed house on 10th and Mandela, arresting 12 people most of whom are part of the Tactical Action Committee.

Dec 28: Arrests were made during a raid of an occupation by Tactical Action Committee at an unused lot in West Oakland.

Black hole free film school

Black Hole Free Film School

By eggplant

A new group is forming called the Black Hole Free Film School, and though it saw its first meeting in a warehouse in Oakland, similar groups are taking the cue and are having meetings in L.A. and NY. The first meeting went quickly from mass dreaming to making an inventory list of resources to be shared and organized. Frankly this level of serious engagement is in no small part influenced by the Occupy Movement that swept through the land this past fall. Many of the same faces could be found there.

The group seeks to have the resources available for people to make and exhibit their works on video and film. The school will facilitate workshops and classes to give people more confidence in making their first film. Also planned is a monthly screening of new works where film makers can get feedback from their peers. Other ideas such as an online and printed newsletter look to set into motion a flurry of activity. This kind of enthusiasm over the barriers of mass communication was last seen after the WTO in Seattle, with the advent of Indymedia.

Just two days into the New Year a low-key announcement to discuss the Free School brought out over 25 people. Twenty-Five! On a Monday night… Now try to get that many people to work on a community newspaper or to fix up a long neglected community space, and it will be no argument on how people are moved by moving images. And why shouldn’t they be? There is one level of sophisticated political analysis that encourages people to follow their pleasure, and to use that momentum to dis-empower oppression. We have eyes and ears and they need to be fed too–and it’s a part of human nature to want to sit down and be enveloped in the dark and engaged in a story.

The name Black Hole has been used this past year for an underground film series that exhibits rare treats in warehouses around the Bay Area. It was agreed at the first meeting to adapt the same name for the emerging Free School. The inspiration for the name partially comes from reclaiming the technologies that have been discarded from modern consumer culture, as new technologies flood the market. Devices like 8mm, Super 8, VHS, Betamax are all to a degree still functional as tools, and they hold value to the Black Hole Theatre ethic. In fact, they are often more accessible to scavengers and the like. The Black Hole Free School intends to be able to screen movies off these devices–as well as the latest digital capabilities.

The first meeting generated some ideas as to what classes the school should offer. The goal is to get people with knowledge of film as well as those that don’t. The classes were not heavily scrutinized and this list is still at the brainstorm stage:

* Basic celluloid film production

* Sound in film: how to make recordings

* Light + sound = the relation of frequencies and patterns

* Basic maintenance and repair of gear/mechanics, proper film storage, modifications/circuit bends

* Objective vs. subjective: tendencies toward dissocation and the nature of dissociation in film (potential collaboration w/Icarus Project)

* Reading group: film theory, scripts, etc.

* Phenomenology workshop

* Improv group w/interactive film

* Filmic response to current events

Feel free to think up some cool classes and then get to organizing how would you pull it all off. Like all grassroots projects it gains from your input and support. For far too long various maneuvers have been employed to limit audiences’ access to independent media. The continuous efforts of a DIY network and the Internet have opened up a lot of space. This has done much to hasten the collapse of major newspapers, the music industry, and large movie companies. But to overly rely on the Internet is sloppy. Legislation like Stop Internet Piracy Act (SOPA) would return us to a limited vision of the world. The flow of power will continue downward only as long as a committed people act. Since the Black Hole is in the forming stages the best way to plug in is to check the web site until a solid venue is established. Don’t resist the pull of the Black Hole.

blackholefreefilmschool.wordpress.com

just waiting to be found – zine reviews

It is difficult to let go of the moments that come before reading a zine – your sore eyes notice a fresh cover peaking at you from the rack across the room, drawing you in. Then there is the time spent trying to delay the moment when your hands will shakily reach out and lift the light, crunchy inked pages from the shelf – maybe you put on a record or try to finish a chapter of the book you’re reading, meanwhile your expectations grow and your mind wanders… will this collection of paper be the response to some questions you have long needed answered? Will it make you feel more comfortable in your body? Are the images within, lurking on each page, going to inspire you to continue and pursue your passion of creating crudely inked pornography? The moment before you open the pages, you may be expecting to find an energy-sucking leech but instead find a friend. Although these contemplations are an important factor in discovering a new zine, we must eventually surrender ourselves to the thoughts that come after tending to paper goods – be it bedside, stuffed between books in the library, coffee stained, under dumpstered pizza — as we lovingly or half-assedly give them time and attention. Here are some of the impressions that came afterward from a few ziney Slingshotter folks.

Twenty-Four Hours

16pgs. Small size issue 7

39 w. 30th st.#g

Bayonne, NJ 07002

Twentyfourhourszine.blogspot.com

This is the 10th anniversary of this publication (the editor also does poetry and a rag called Noise Noise Noise). I never read it before which makes it makes it hard for me to contrast it with the other issues. My first impression is that the entirety of the zine is made on a computer — both its text and its graphics. There’s lots of open space on the page — which should be a welcomed sight to tired eyes, but its readability is diminished by the font size being just above squinting level. Thankfully all the content is rather short and compelling, which makes it easier to just pick it up quickly in between other pressing matters. The focus seems to be about hunting out people who do cool things — like writers and artists, and getting a little insight into their work. I felt like “what’s the point” a few times reading it, but the subject matter would suddenly improve thus captivating me. This issue has talks with a photographer who documents the last meals by death row inmates, writers like Aaron Cometbus, and the shortest of all possible book reviews. Watch out! you may be in the next issue. (eggplant)

Later Daze #7 – The “Fight Against Monotony” Issue

734 30th St. Oakland, CA 94609 or theheist@rock.com

This new issue of Later Daze is a product of Keith’s battle against dead time. The structure consists of some cures for boredom that seem to have worked for the writer. Almost in opposition to the comic on the back-cover, Keith philosophizes on the ebbs and floods of daily life in the Bay Area. An interview with his housemates becomes a meditation on gentrification. His comics swim in curious abandon. Like the photograph inside, he stands among ruins of things past, tracing the outlines of racial tensions that have marked the United States from its origins up to the present. The most impressive piece is on the race riots in 1945 on a night that Cab Calloway was in town – blacks were denied entry to the theatre. In looking for his own cure for boredom, the writer seems to have created such a cure for his readers. (joey)

Bacon in the Beans

P.O. Box 4912 Thousand Oaks, CA 91359 or baconinthebeans@gmail.com

Visiting SoCal suburbia I came across this one at a record store. Past the egg-making hominids on the cover are the thoughts of a guy who’s been involved in the punk scene for nearly 27 years… Most of those years, he writes, have been spent intoxicated. The zine might be described as a product of his recent shift towards sober living (one week as of the publication of the zine, which is no small feat). In addition to the diary-like entries are music-related interviews (including one on Siberian hardcore!), nursery rhymes, a piece on “punk social networking from 20 years ago,” and a critique of shows at big for-profit venues (“All the amenities provided to the counterculture”). The text is unbelievably small at times, which at least says something about the amount of material there is in this thin volume. The editor collects “vintage punk & hardcore 70s & 80s demos. Get in touch if you can unload your tapes.”

(joey)

Dreams of Donuts #13

836 57th St.

Oakland CA 94608

Heather Wreckage, the dreamer of this, really gets it. She knows the issues important to the activist anarchist scene well, and can still have a good time worth writing about. It’s all largely done in a comic style. This particular issue, the characters look shaded and more rounded, making them rise up from the page and their usual state of two dimensions. The eye candy appeal of it all out shines what is easiest to criticize — the flat story telling. The events pass thru the pages almost as if Heather is just making a list of the baddest ass moments of the past couple months. If you are not part of her inner circle it may not interest you. But in some ways what she makes here are like cave drawings of our culture. She is giving honors to the rare bunch of DIY punks around her. Their sparks of resistance and fleeting experiences are reinterpreted by her hand making them concrete. She made this issue during the Oakland Commune–but unfortunately it only has a one-page representation of those heady times. In this regard she is like No Gods No Mattress — reporting on things months later. That story and more will be in #14.

(eggplant)

Oscar Grant Plaza Gazette

oscargrantplazagazette@gmail.com

A one-sheet newsletter. Generally it documents the currents events on or around Oscar Grant Plaza — the Occupy Oakland base. Some of the writing is rather dull and lacking any juicy details. Each issue asks for contributions but I’ve only seen a few pieces by someone besides the editor. Most of the (uncredited) contributor writings seem to be the most lifeless and composed without an audience in mind. Supply lists or generic protester manifestos as example. In contrast the writings from the editor that describes the General Assemblies, the protests and the police harassment is on fire. This reporting reveals a very militant anarchist perspective. Fans of Green Anarchy, Modesto Anarcho and UA in the Bay will be smitten with each new issue. (eggplant)

OtherXCore zine

#3 winter 2011(no price listed but trade OK)

PO box 391

Madera, CA 93639

Fresno is not what people think of when thinking of California. But to the young people growing up there it is a real place — dull and oppressive. The urge to change the world from where they’re standing is not taken lightly. This zine is from one such person, who is hard at work chronicling the counter culture being created. When you read this issue you will find that some of the content is designed with the locals in mind, and it may seem insular. They got it together to open an all ages music venue called The Bell-Tower, which acts as the zine’s spiritual center. There are reports on the scene in San Francisco and Portland, but in the end, home is made all the more important. Also inside are some factoids on healthy Herbs and a fat piece on body politics. This issue shows an incredible growth in content compared to the previous issues. An enlarged audience for this publication promises that what they produce in the future will be more sophisticated. Worth supporting. (eggplant)

Port Wino#2

okupanda99@riseup.net

Once there was an art exhibit with a whale rotting in a museum. People paid to experience this art piece and got pissed off. Those that paid were disgusted and left in a rage making it very easy to sneak in. The lumpen proletariat’s reaction was typically to laugh, puke, cry, then laugh again. If you breathe too deeply of Port Wino#2 you might feel nauseous, but its acrid stench? is necessary to our collective development.

Port Wino#2 starts with a description of how families talk about members who live house less. And then, it goes right into a ghost story, “we don’t speak ill of the dead, unless they really deserve it cause they’re always listening.” The rest of the zine talks about gang tags, punk rock, class, war, sexuality, rednecks, border graffiti, and trains. Regarding tagging and the first amendment right to do so, the author says, “it only makes sense to ban creativity especially when it is contagious.” And, “I urge you to alter your reality into a contrast of your dreams and all the beauty you know. GRAFF AINT A CriME Bomb Reality”

Family matters permeate the zine and it is always brutally honest, “we aren’t born anymore as much as we are delegated to tax zones.” When talking about reluctance to speak to rich children they say, “SUE lawyers kid knew what poor Mexicans were because while my brothers were roofing their house; her mother spewed distrust from her lips to the neighbor over a very sour lemonade.” (baked brie)

Raging Pelican: Journal of Gulf Coast Resistance

ragingpelican.COM

ragingpelican@gmail.com

The third issue of the Raging Pelican highlights the occupy movement in the Gulf Coast region of the United States. In an article titled “Against the Wind: Colonial Louisiana in the 21st Century” T. Mayheart Dardar speaks of the desecration of the bayou by the BP oil spill and over 300 years of continual colonialism, and the effects upon the Houma community, indigenous to the Gulf Coast and un-recognized by the federal government of the U.S.

In “The Elephant of Color in the Room” Ben Last relates their experience in forming a people of color caucus, “the key to the total smashing of an alienating environment rests in successful outreach coupled with keen self-awareness.”

Mona Landsberg asks male socialized individuals to give up their privilege in “If I Can’t Keep My White Male Privilege. . .”

“Tahir Here” by Joeseph R. Jones points out that asking for permits does not replicate the uprising in Tahir Square where people illegally defended their spaces against violent state repression. They also tell the story of Occupy Denver’s police raid where the Denver Anarchist Black Cross defended the camp and the initial organizers insisted that the camp be taken down to be in compliance with the law, “the rebuilt encampment is now divided between those who would obey the law at all times, no matter the consequences, and those who will break it in order to defend the principles that they stand for.”

My personal favorite moments of issue #3 are a hilarious photo of fake counter-protesters at Occupy Mobile, one sign reading, “Who needs to trade stocks when you can trade human lives!!!” and the introduction which states, “I don’t really give a shit about Wall Street. I care about our homes and lives in South Louisiana and the Gulf Coast, our peoples, culture, traditions and ways of life, all of which are being destroyed.”

(baked brie)

including the invisible

The politics of inclusion have always been at the core of the disability rights movement, and activists with disabilities are speaking up at General Assemblies about how to make occupations more accessible. People with disabilities are used to obstacles, and activism comes natural to many of us, because we frequently find ourselves thrust upon a soapbox simply to demand our right to access public places. But disability rights are not merely about ramps and zero threshold, the willingness to provide sign language interpreters and resources in alternative formats, or making seats available to those who need them. Building an inclusive movement means becoming aware of all of our comrades’ needs, be they obvious or invisible, and feeling the empathy necessary for true solidarity. Reclaiming the commons for all is not about tolerating each other, but accepting and embracing our differences. It’s not about accommodation, but about community. ‘An injury to one, is an injury to all’ is not an empty slogan, but describes real people, with real injuries.

People with disabilities have been called the largest minority in the world, one that each and every person can become part of at any given moment, and without warning. If you’re lucky enough to live to a ripe old age, you most likely will end up with some measure of disability. Direct action activists who stand up to the police state are especially at risk of disabling injury, but are often unprepared for the difficult realities people with disabilities face. Disability rights are currently under heavy attack by the austerity measures of the 1%. Already living in poverty, we have seen deep cuts to the social services that keep many of us alive. SSI has been reduced several times over the last couple of years. Medicaid has been stripped so bare that street medics at many occupations have more to offer someone in need of medical care. In-home supportive services are being decimated, and as a result many people with disabilities are in danger of losing their independence and of being institutionalized.

The more complex our own individual struggle for immediate survival, the less likely we are able to help in the struggle for revolutionary change, unless the movement makes room for our needs. Many people with disabilities cannot participate fully in the Occupy movement, but desperately want to. Among the invisible 99% are comrades who are isolated by disabling illnesses that are caused by the industrial civilization of the 1%. As synthetic chemicals and other toxic substances have become a constant in our lives, some of us have reached toxic loads that are no longer manageable. For us there are no ‘small’ exposures. Every exposure is another drop in a barrel that’s already overflowing. Because the toxic substances that make us sick are so commonly used, many of us can rarely leave whatever controlled home environments we can create, and we become housebound, because every outing is a physical assault on our health. We are essentially barred from participation in the community, and are in effect invisible. When we do venture out, some of us have to wear masks to help minimize exposure, and stay at a distance to avoid perfumed smokers, keeping us further alienated from our comrades.

There are a few things that occupiers can do to help make it safer for comrades with toxic injuries to participate: as individuals you can choose to use fragrance-free laundry and personal products. Synthetic fragrances are made with petrochemicals, and a slew of other hazardous chemicals. Even essential oils are often extracted with toxic chemicals, and can make people ill. Occupations could explicitly discourage smoking in the crowds, and set up comfortable smoking areas. A very large segment of the population has asthma and other lung diseases, which are aggravated by second hand smoke, including from incense and burning sage. Any ceremonial burning could be planned for specific times that can be avoided by those of us who must. For comrades injured by electromagnetic radiation, which often overlaps with chemical injuries, it would be helpful to set up an area as far from any cell towers as possible, where cell phones and other wireless gadgets must be turned off.

Why should occupations do any of this? Out of solidarity, as well as self-preservation. Because there are millions of people who are injured and sensitized by chemicals and electromagnetic radiation, many who are pushed to the margins of society by the toxic industries of the 1%. There are millions of people with chemically-induced asthma and other respiratory diseases, of which thousands die each year. Every cell phone transmission puts an increasing number of people who live near cell towers at risk of cancer. In a society where the use of chemicals and wireless technology runs rampant, such injuries can happen to anyone. It can happen to you or someone you love. Like the canaries in the coal mines who alerted miners to deadly fumes, those of us who have been poisoned already are often able to recognize toxicity sooner than those who are still healthy. Some among us were first injured by teargas on previous actions, and have vital information and skills to contribute to the movement, but we can’t approach you when your cologne is impairing our central nervous system and making it hard to breathe.

Of course people with toxic injuries are unlikely to forget that the cozy villages that are being built by the Occupy movement are also direct actions with inherent risks not everyone will be able to take. Chemically injured people cannot afford to stick around when the cops put on their gasmasks. The threat of chemical weapons precludes our involvement in certain actions. But that is not to say that we should be excluded from history because of our limitations. The disability rights movement has been involved in civil disobedience from the start, challenging the misconceptions of helplessness, and continuing today with groups like ADAPT. People with disabilities are participating in occupations throughout the world. Even as comrades with toxic injuries are housebound, they find creative ways to support the occupations from where they are, like the folks who Occupy At Home & organize online occupyathome.wordpress.com. But we shouldn’t have to stay at home, isolated from our communities at large. A movement that unites the 99% should make explicit efforts to make occupations accessible for all in whatever way we can take part. This is our revolutionary moment too, and we’re entitled to participate and fight our own battles against the abuses of the 1%.

Organizer – today & tomorrow

Thanks to folks who bought a 2012 Slingshot organizer – selling them funds this paper! We still have copies available if you want to buy one or make a wholesale order. If you like the Slingshot paper, please support us financially by buying an organizer. We’re offering a special deal to any occupations that want to distribute organizers as a fundraiser or give-away. If you have ideas of ways to give free surplus copies to low-income teens or other folks who are unable to afford one, let us know. Email slingshot@tao.ca.

So far the only major error we’ve spotted is that the full month calendar on a page for September doesn’t have the days of the week in the same order as a standard calendar. Instead of being arranged SMTWTFS, it is MTWTFSS. The days of the week aren’t written in on that page, so please write them in correctly yourself. We’ll try to proofread that section more carefully next year.

Sales were down a lot this year, continuing a pattern of decreasing sales over the last few years. Aside from the effects of recession and the declining number of independent bookstores that exist to carry the organizer, it seems like demand for a paper calendar is falling off as many people get smart phones. Our cousin the War Resister’s League Peace calendar which started publishing in 1955 announced that 2012 would be their last year in response to shrinking sales. If trends continue, Slingshot collective needs to consider alternate ways to raise funds pay to print the paper.

One idea floating around is to make an organizer “app” for the iphone and other smart phones. Making an “app” doesn’t seem as do-it-yourself as making the organizer, so we need help. If you know how to develop smart phone applications and want to help make a Slingshot organizer app, let us know. Also, let us know if you think it should be free (with an option to donate) or should we charge a few pennies? The idea would be a calendar with radical historical dates, radical graphics, a menstrual calendar, and a radical contact list, plus access to helpful DIY features. Let us know if you have ideas for what other bells and whistles we should consider.

Until paper is totally dead, we’ll be working on the 2013 organizer this summer. It will be available around October 1. Let us know if you want to help us make the 2013 organizer. Here is a timeline for the work:

• In May and June, we’ll edit, correct and improve the list of historical dates. Deadline for finishing: June 22. The following dates in particular need more radical events, so if you want to do some research, email us and we’ll email you what we have so you can add to it:

• January 25, 28

• February 9, 16-18, 22, 24, 25

• March 2, 13, 17, 18

• April 6, 13, 16, 19

• May 14, 16, 17, 20, 22, 23

• June 3, 22, 27, 30,

• July 6, 11, 19, 24, 29, 30, 31

• August 4, 5, 11, 13, 14, 17, 21, 26

• September 1, 6, 10 22-25, 29, 30

• October 5, 6, 9, 10, 14, 16, 29, 31

• November 2, 3, 7, 10-12, 14, 15, 24, 26, 28-30

• December 22-24, 31

We particularly like adding events from 2011/12 to the list of historical dates.

• If you want to design a section of the calendar, let us know or send us random art by June 22. Deadline to finish calendar pages or give us suggestions for 2013 is July 27.

• We need all new or confirmed radical contact listings and cover art submissions by July 27.

• If you have ideas for the short features we publish in the back, let us know by July 27. We try to print different features every year.

• If you’re in the Bay Area July 28/29 or August 4/5, we loving having help with the final organizer design — all done by hand, which is extra fun. Contact us. We especially need to find some really careful proofreaders.

Unmasking the Thing – ALEC conceals the corporations that write the laws

To the extent the occupy movement wants to expand its focus beyond local occupations onto the national stage, exposing and disrupting the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) and its member companies offers an amazing opportunity because of the way ALEC combines corporate economic domination with political control. ALEC is a non-profit funded by the largest corporations where industry representatives work with conservative legislators to write pro-corporate model legislation which is then introduced into state legislatures across the country by elected officials who are ALEC. ALEC’s model laws focus on deregulation, attacks on labor and immigrants, and weakening environmental and health laws. 98 percent of ALEC’s income comes from 300 major corporate sources — companies like ExxonMobil, Coca-Cola, Wal-Mart, Bayer. Around 1/3 of US legislators from all 50 states — 2000 in all — belong to ALEC.

Following a spirited multi-day protest and direct action against the national ALEC meeting in Scottsdale, Arizona November 30-December 3 that led to the arrest of 25 people and police use of pepper spray, Occupy Portland has called for a national day of action against the corporations that fund ALEC on leap day, February 29. They are calling for “creative direct actions” to “shut down the corporations that are part of ALEC . . . shut down corporate headquarters and stop business as usual.” ALEC member companies have corporate outposts in almost every city and village across the country, so there’s no way for ALEC to hide from the hundreds of decentralized occupations.

Occupy Salt Lake is already discussing how to protest the 39th annual meeting of ALEC July 25 – 28 in Salt Lake City. Like the historic protests against the 1999 World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle, WA that brought together activists from all over the continent and shut down the meeting as well as the whole city, folks from occupations across the land could potentially converge on Salt Lake City to make the connections between the way the 1% use ALEC to write laws to serve corporate interests, not the public interests.

A key feature of the occupy phenomenon has been opening up dialog and debate on subjects like economic inequality that, for too long, weren’t discussed much. A secret to ALEC’s effectiveness has been the way it has exerted so much influence with so little public attention. Exposing ALEC and the boldfaced way corporations literally write the laws that increase their power is a key in the struggle against corporate domination.

In July, 2011 the Center for Media and Democracy released roughly 800 leaked model bills developed by the Council that are now on-line and subject to public scrutiny. Everyone should check out their website to understand what an octopus ALEC really is. The proposed laws cover school privatization, green house gas emissions, union busting, industrial farming, biotech, fracking, pesticides, liquified natural gas, childhood lead exposure, health insurance, coal ash, international trade, water, banking, consumer protection, auto insurance, credit cards, tort reform, voter ID, guns, death and taxes. ALEC was behind the anti-immigrant SB 1070 law in Arizona as well as Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker’s attack on public union organizing rights there.

In many ways, in many places, and with many voices, ALEC is being exposed.

To see the leaked 800 bills, check alecexposed.org. To plug into the Feb. 29 protest, check shutdownthecorporations.org. For a report about the Arizona protest and how to support those arrested, check azresistsalec.wordpress.com. Check out Occupy Salt Lake City at occupyslc.org.

Making Love Stay – promoting positive action

In Still Life With Woodpecker, Tom Robbins asked, “How do you make love stay?” This question is pertinent, in my view, as the occupy movement considers “where do we go from here?” Love, in the macrocosmic, can be thought of as a kind of vitality, an explosion of life energy, a sensation of unity, a bigness. As a movement in the most literal sense, moving/revolving, we are faced with the significant task of maintaining (expanding) the love/energy on whose waves the Revolution, as imagination, merely surfs.

In Jerry Rubin’s 1970 revolutionary manifesto Do It!, he suggests that an anti (anti-war, anti-poverty, anti-anything) movement can not sustain itself energetically, in effect it can only run on negative energy for brief spurts, so that eventually (in combination with ignoring, minimizing, demonizing and/or disrupting) the Powers That Be can wait out any anti movement with nervous confidence that it will, given a little time, go home.

Positive energy, on the other hand, is the Revolution’s sustainable energy. To stand in opposition to something is to be fractionalized and is by it’s nature a passive act. It is to define ourselves in opposition to a dominant, thereby contextualizing the relationship in a subordinator/subordinated paradigm and allowing the subordinator to define the terms, to draw the boundaries of the conversation. Reaction is passive-action as action is positive-action. Do we allow our actions to be guided by the actions of others or do we allow our actions to be guided by our values, our experiences, our suspicions and our imaginations?

Every passive-action functions as a mirror, reflecting the suggestion of positive-action. The anti-hunger activist who decides to stop spending their time petitioning signatures for a ballot measure to “fight hunger” and instead volunteers to help build community gardens in impoverished neighborhoods and educate people about the mechanics of growing/raising their own food source, instantly becomes pro-urban gardening and positively effects the production of food in his/her community. To dismiss this as a purely semantic argument is, I believe, to seriously underestimate the power of language in the harnessing/invoking of energy. Passive-action is abstract (holding a sign to end homelessness) while positive-action is tangible (squatting a vacant house). Passive-action waits for a revolution, Positive-action is in perpetual revolution, and performs revolutionary acts.

What we learn from the occupy movement is not that a group of people can hold signs in a park for longer than the establishment could have imagined, but that a group of people can form a voluntary association and establish imaginative models of community governance. That a group of people can come together in a circle without the help of the State or would be authorities and figure out how to provide themselves with healthcare, food, clothing, counseling, libraries and music festivals. We learn, above all, that a community is made of people and that the strength of a community is relative to the strength of it’s people. The Occupation has provided an example of radical models of social organization and our neighborhoods provide the opportunity to imaginatively explore those models through positive-action. To borrow a term from Chris Carlson, the revolution is nowtopian, and it is our charge to create the infrastructure of the future right here in our neighborhoods, to fashion a viable, alternate way of existing together as a people right now, and, by doing so, to Make Love Stay.

It is an illusion of the technocratic worldview that only through changing the macro can we change the micro. That only through petitioning the goodwill of the leaders of the free world can we effect change in our communities. It seems much more plausible that only through changing the micro can we change the macro. A number of individuals make up a neighborhood just as a number of neighborhoods make up a city and a number of cities make up a geographical region and so on and so forth until we are finally, always, citizens of the earth in solidarity, victims (or not) of the same circumstance: birth, death, and the space in between. The primary unit is one, the universe extends from there. The Revolution on the inside, through positive-action, manifests itself on the outside. And so we are left with you as the revolution and me as the revolution. We are challenged to become the Revolution we seek, to tear open our hearts, to strip away the cultural clothing that hangs on us like ill fitting, damp, and worn out rags. We are challenged to mix it up in the dirt a little (or a lot), to question everything and believe nothing until further evidence, and to add our odd fitting pieces to the puzzle, never completed.

Calendar

February 19 • 11 – 5

L.A Zine Fest – The Last Bookstore Zine wemakezines.ning.com

February 20 • Noon

Occupy 4 Prisoners – National Day Of Action – San Quentin, CA occupy4prisoners.org

February 25 • 1-6

NYC Feminist Zinefest- Brooklyn Commons wemakezines.ning.com

February 26 • 4 pm

Slingshot new volunteer meeting / article brainstorm – 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley

February 29 • 6pm

Funeral for capitalism – dancing on the grave to follow – Oscar Grant Plaza (14th & Broadway) in Oakland

February 29

Leap day action night – everywhere –www.leapdayaction.org

February 29

Shut down the Corporations national day of action vs. ALEC (see page 13) shutdownthecorporations.org

March 8

International Women’s Day www.internationalwomensday.com

March 10 • 3 pm

Article deadline for Slingshot #110 – email us something! slingshot@tao.ca

March 11 – 6-9 pm

Celebrate Slingshot’s 24th Birthday party – free food, music – 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley

March 30 • 6 pm

SF Critical Mass bike ride – Justin Herman Plaza in SF and worldwide

March 31 – April 1

Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair County Fair Building Lincoln Way & 9th Ave., SF sfbookfair.wordpress.com

April 1

Berkeley Anarchist Students of Theory and Research & Development (BASTARD) conference – sfbay-anarchists.org

April 10 – 12 • 10 am

The Art of Social Justice – Tivoli Student Union – Auraria Campus, Denver CO.

April 14 •

NYC Anarchist book fair – Judson Memorial Church, Manhattan.

April 15

Steal Something from Work Day stealfromwork.crimethinc.com

May 1

Global General Strike on May Day / International Worker’s Day

May 5 • 10 am

Protest the American Psychiatric Association – Counter-Celebration. March. Protest mindfreedom.org/campaign/boycott-normal/occupy-apa

May 19-20 • 10 – 5

Montreal anarchist book fair info@anarchistbookfair.ca

June 9-10 • noon – 10

SF Free Folk Festival. Presidio Middle School 450 30th Ave www.sffolkfest.org

June 16-24

Wild Roots Feral Futures – San Juan Mountains, Southwest Colorado feralfutures.blogspot.com

July 25-28

Shut down ALEC – Salt Lake City (see pg 2)

August 17 -19

Twin Oaks Intentional Community & Cooperatives Conference communitiesconference.org