Category Archives: Spring 2012 (04/13/12)

Homo Ludens – finding the beach beneath the streets

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Reclaiming our glorious birthright as homo ludens (that is, the understanding of humanity as inherently playful) is predicated on what Raoul Vaneigem termed the Revolution of Everyday Life. In a broad sense, the first and last step of this transition is akin to satori, an act of realization that “breaks the spell” as CrimethINC and, earlier, G.I. Gurdjieff would say. The “spell” prevents us from recognizing the difference between being a consumer (be it of commodities or ideas) and anything else; it is, essentially, a state of dreamless sleep. This sleep state is characterized by a passive acceptance of the sense that what is presented to us by culture (or, perhaps more accurately stated, the Culture Industry) is insufficient yet seemingly totalizing in scope. Its self-appointed and self-evident status as the total sum of possibilities is a direct indication not of the world as it is, but of the dominance of a resilient and flexible perspective. As such, the problem is perception. However, we must be wary of our susceptibility to seductions promising the attainment of this shift in perception quickly, for the necessary realization will not come easily, nor can it even resemble anything we perceive now. Metaphorically, it is not simply rearranging the deck chairs; the shift is a new mode of transportation entirely. It will be unrecognizable; it will be too much; it will be your own.

At the heart of the consumerist perspective is the normalization of vicarious living. Described in terms of merely surviving as opposed to actually living, the normalization of vicarious living demands that one*s existence is understood in terms of an array of prefabricated images of life instead of the chaotic potentiality that resides therein. Ideologies and theologies (the difference merely being stylistic in terms of fashion and architecture), along with defeatist-receptive apathy and “caring” consumerism, generate these images which largely obstruct the imagination and defang the will. As desires outside of this perspective are understood as “impossible” to a worldview that prohibits the contexts for their realization, we are forced to a new order of mentation — be it dada epistemology, guerrilla ontology, or the suppression and realization of art. Larry Law puts an essential aspect of this maneuver eloquently: “theory is when you have ideas, ideology is when ideas have you.” This is not to say that we must throw the bathtub out with the bath-water. Ideology-mongering is out, but the eruption of glorious chaos is in.

Speaking pragmatically, and in large measure, for the sake of mental traveling, the question at the origin of the rainbow, which is also its end, is thus: “Does breaking the spell come gradually or all at once?” Standard hagiographies of Zen Buddhism (known as Ch*an Buddhism in China) cite the Chinese peasant Huineng as the sixth and final Patriarch of the tradition. While largely premised on a revisionist history of Buddhism, the details of his appointment to such a position informs the question at the heart of this essay, namely, how do we break the spell? Joining the monastery as an illiterate peasant, Huiheng was ostensibly an outsider from Buddhism despite his enthusiasms for the Dharma, that is, the way of the Buddha. Untrained and uncouth, Huineng*s presence at the monastery was tolerated, but by no means was he accepted as worthy of leadership as bestowed by the Dharma transmission from the ailing Fifth Patriarch. When the Fifth Patriarch announced that his successor would be determined by the man who composed the most illuminated poetic verse, only the head monk Shenxiu attempted, as all of the other monks deferred to his apparent wisdom. Indeed his verse was great, for its confirmed the truisms that one must embody to achieve enlightenment; however, it did not evidence the illumination necessary for the position of Patriarch. Upon seeing Shenxiu*s verse, Huineng immediately understood its failing — it had valorized the finger pointing to the moon instead of the moon itself; put differently, he mistook the map for the territory, to use Korzybski*s terminology; he did not have the theory, the theory had him. He wrote:

The body is the bodhi tree. The mind is like a bright mirror stand. Be always diligent in cleaning it. Do not let it attract any dust.

While Shenxiu properly diagnosed and explicated the essential issue at the heart of Zen, he could not see past his devotion to the images, symbols, and methods that composed his Zen lifeworld. Having little exposure to such distractions, Huineng responded without hesitation:

Bodhi is fundamentally without any tree. The bright mirror is also not a stand. Fundamentally there is not a single thing. Where could any dust be attracted?

Following Hakim Bey*s conception of “Immediatism,” Huineng*s response was “immediate” — both in the sense of being directly apprehended and without mediation. In wildness is the preservation of the world. Within his lifetime, Huineng*s immediate or “Sudden Enlightenment” approach to Zen would become ossified as the Southern School and it would remain at odds with the gradual approach that defined the Northern Schools. The split has begotten more schisms and the disputes persist to the present.

Based upon the aforementioned history, we can only answer the question posed at the outset of this essay in a paradoxical affirmative. Yes — breaking the spell comes gradually, *and* it comes all at once; or, stated differently, we can answer the question posed at the outset of this essay not by choosing one or the other, but by saying simply yes — yes to both, yes to everything. Breaking the spell, the revolutionary of everyday life, finding the beach beneath the streets, developing class/ecological/gender consciousness, etc. — these are the metaphorical and theoretical orientations that can guide us to the death we all deserve. Terminological telos-babel aside, let these poisoned antidotes of inspiration stain your finger; let us look no further than long days and even longer nights of insurrectory conviviality for such unmediated pleasure.

Breaking the spell is not something that can be accomplished once and for all. The dream of finality is the barren image of liberation. We should celebrate the privilege of scars, the ever-present necessity of the impossible.

Contact the author at Corvid College SF www.corvidcollegesf.com

Radical community spaces

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Here*s some community spaces we*ve learned about since we published the 2012 organizer, plus some more corrections. Thanks to everyone who sent us info, plus all the volunteers keeping these spaces afloat. You can check Slingshot*s on-line contact list for more updates: slingshot.tao.ca.

Humboldt Grassroots Infoshop – Eureka, CA

They have a lending library & zines and host movie nights, Spanish night, workshops and discussions. Open M-F various hours. 47B West Third St. Eureka, CA [Mailing address PO Box 196, Eureka, CA 95501] humboldtgrassroots@riseup.net

Gya Community Gallery – St. Louis

A gallery dedicated to women*s art and topics surrounding women*s issues including family, youth, and community. They host exhibitions and events. 2700 Locust Ave. St. Louis, MO 63103 yeyoarts.org 314 374-3282

Rota Gallery and Studio – Plattsburgh, NY

A co-op art gallery, all-ages venue & community space that hosts events. 19 Clinton St., Plattsburgh, NY 12901 518-314-9872

The Smell – Los Angeles, CA

An all-ages, volunteer-run venue. 247 S. Main St. Los Angeles, CA 90012

Esperanza Peace and Justice Center – San Antonio, TX

A huge 9500 square foot building that hosts art shows, speakers, meetings, and performance. They*re working to create a library, computer center, bookstore, coffee shop and shared office space. 922 San Pedro Ave, San Antonio, TX 78212, 210-228-0201

Bakersfield zine library – Bakersfield, CA

Zines and also a diy show venue in the garage called the Killer Clam. 137 Donna Ave. Bakersfield, CA 93304

Casa de Luz – Austin, TX

A macrobiotic, vegan restaurant / educational community center. 1701 Toomey Rd. Austin, TX 78704 (512) 476-2535

P&L Press Infoshop – Denver, CO

That have books, zines and materials for sale and host events. They are in the same building as Denver Health Collective, Bread and Roses (IWW), Colorado Street Medics, Denver Anarchist Black Cross, etc. 2727 27th Ave., Denver, CO 80211.

Visible Voice Books – Cleveland, OH

An independent new and used bookshop with a free meeting/performance space that hosts community events. They also have a wine bar and garden courtyard. 1023 Kenilworth Ave, Cleveland, Ohio 44113 216-701-0809, visiblevoicebooks.com

UniTEA House – Durango, CO

They offer free community space for meetings, shows, workshops, etc. They serve wild-crafted herb teas and locally made snacks on a donation basis. They have a free library, infoshop, free box and wi-fi. 666 College Drive Durango CO 81301, 970-239-1498

Groundswell Collective – Knoxville

A community space featuring events. 1512 Magnolia Ave., Knoxville, TN 37919

Tri-Cooperatives – Davis, CA

Three student coop houses located on campus that feature organic gardens and communal living. Near Regan Hall Circle, Davis, CA.

Ordinary Spokes Community Bike Shop – St. John*s, Newfoundland, Canada

A collectively-run, volunteer-operated DIY bike shop that refurbishes used bikes, provides shop space and bike tools, teaches bicycle mechanics and promotes cycling. They host events and provide social space in their new commercial space. 576A Water Street, St. John*s, NL, A1E 1B8, Canada, ordinaryspokes.org

Changes to the 2012 Slingshot Organizer

• The Black Cherry in Toledo, OH is closed.

• The Radish in Springfield, MO no longer exists.

• We printed the wrong phone number and a mis-leading name for what should be called the DeCleyre Housing Cooperative. The right number is (901)-746-8126.

• The BRYCC House in Louisville, KY (Building Resources Yielding Cultural Change) lost their building to foreclosure — they owned it for 7 years with a big mortgage. They are now at 825 South Floyd Street, Louisville, KY 502-383-1177 www.brycchouse.com

• The Furnace in Albany NY has a website: albanyfurnace.org.

• We got an email that the we should take the Sky Dragon Centre in Hamilton, Canada off the list because it is now a yuppie café that no longer hosts radical events and is hostile to radicals. Let us know if you agree or disagree.

Zine reviews

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Nuts!!!#9 Winter 2011-2012

Po box 7302

Olympia, WA 98507

This publication has been growing in popularity. This issue is unique — five posters printed on newsprint, some of which are double sided. No staples, no cover…no bar code number. It had to happen with the amount of energy generated about this, it was going to either die or evolve. The content seems heavy on impressionistic art, which strikes me as odd since the HC punk scene this is attached to rarely appreciates this aesthetic. There is one page that reviews shows and explores women*s involvement in early punk, which will appease people stuck in the mundane past of printed matter. Given that no one expected this approach, the name Nuts will continue to cause ripples in zine circles.

(eggplant)

The LandLine

Po Box 891231

Chicago, IL 60608

A gnarly looking project packing homespun articles and art on sixty pages of newsprint. The poetry, essays, comics, opinions, reviews and politics run hot one minute — and cold the next. A descendant of the Skeleton News, with some of the same staff and much of the same approach. Hopefully the next issue will rely less on rejected academic papers and focus more on what needs to be communicated to their community.

(eggplant)

Flying Into the Chandelier

Po Box 401

Berkeley, CA 94701

Stories and insights that is largely Bay Area focused, with lots of adventures into spaces that are overlooked and unappreciated. There is an edge to this that has as much influence from the Beats as it does from punk rock. An air of enthusiasm and wonder is what motivates the writing — without all the shock and mental health issues that was dead baggage to those movements.

(eggplant)

Super Trooper #4/5

angela.k.roberts@gmail.com

These two zines seem to be in narrative form. Though not political, issues and resistance creep in at the edges. In issue four which is set in Korea, gentrification threatens displacement of poor people as a decrepit house absorbs the interest of the author. Anarchist, artists and activists are in the background of the story, but what seems central is a sense of establishing intimacy with the people around the author. Issue #5 is more focused on character sketches, evidently of people in Oakland CA.

(eggplant)

Negative Prophet (Mission Mini Comix)

Missionminicomix.com

This is from the highly active San Francisco artist Mike who usually collaborates his talents in one sheet mind blasts. This issue he goes solo and it is more comprehensive because of it. The art is killer, with the content and story peering into despair and idealism under our crumbling reality. It*s a short read but heavy in thought. But don*t blink — Mike and the gang will surely have a new issue out by next week.

(eggplant)

Baitline

74A Coleridge

SF CA 94110

An underground classified ads that provides an open forum on the projects, schemes and desires of radical deviants. Kink, art, and commerce are the main things being offered often priced as “trade” or some other anomaly. The covers are usually as provocative as the ads.

(eggplant)

Moira Scar Vs. The Shopping Maul

scar.press.blogspot.com

This crudely made comic from a San Francisco band would be more common in today*s environment if it wasn*t for the widespread gentrification so prevalent.

(eggplant)

Entropy

$5+4 stamps (No trades)

Po box 13502

Olympia, WA 98508

Lots of care went into making this taking the author five years to write, contemplate and assemble the content. We are warned right off the bat that this has triggering episodes inside. An early experience of sexual abuse by an older family member haunts the author and compels them into a life of seeking healing in the counter culture. The total look of the zine is impressive. The pages have stark solid images often of nature to accompany the text, and a thick cover printed on forest green paper. A cursory glance at the finished work it would seem like an environmentalist pamphlet. In fact the author is solidly footed in anarchism, and some theory of anti-civilization and counter culture wisdom does come out, but the zine is largely about emotional survival. There are a few assertions made that have a pseudo-scientific language that I found suspect — but faulty facts are endemic in zine culture. What is rare is the long time that went to getting this to readers, and because of that a lot of what*s here resonates.

(eggplant)

Food Eaters #1

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94607

Food Eaters makes its first appearance in the zine world with a collection of esoteric scribbles. The introduction describes the issue as a sort of artistic prank. It*s not clear whether this one is even material. The only way you can get this one is by sending in a fucked up drawing for trade.

(joey)

Long Haul settles lawsuit

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By Jesse D. Palmer

The Long Haul radical community center in Berkeley achieved a $100,000 settlement of a federal lawsuit it brought against the FBI and the University of California police over a August 27, 2008 police raid on Long Haul by a joint terrorism task force during which authorities seized every computer at Long Haul. The UC cops and the FBI entered Long Haul with guns drawn to execute a search warrant as part of an investigation of threatening emails allegedly sent to UC Berkeley animal researchers from a public-access computer connected to the internet at Long Haul. No one was arrested during the raid or subsequently charged with sending the emails.

The Long Haul*s lawsuit claimed that the search was over-broad and contended that police violated the Privacy Protection Act because they seized computers used to publish Slingshot newspaper and the Slingshot Organizer without going through the right procedures. Police seized 14 computers and looked at lending library records and other files, particularly Slingshot file photos of various protests.

In addition to paying $100,000 jointly to Long Haul, co-plaintiff East Bay Prisoner Support, and their lawyers from the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the ACLU, the police agreed to destroy computer hard drive data they seized as part of the raid, and the UCPD agreed to expand the scope of training on the Privacy Protection Act that the police implemented in the wake of the raid. The settlement states that the UCPD “determined there was no evidence of criminal activity on the part of Long Haul, Slingshot, and/or EBPS in connection with the crimes under investigation.” UCPD also “acknowledge[d] that at the time of the execution of the search warrant, Long Haul was a publisher protected by the Privacy Protection Act (*PPA*), and therefore, the PPA prohibited the seizure of any protected work product materials related to the dissemination of Slingshot, except as provided for in the PPA.” The lawyers took 98.5% of the money, which was fine with us. In the wake of the UC Davis pepper spraying and last fall*s UCPD beating of occupy demonstrators, it was nice to make the police squirm, if only a little bit, and if only on their own turf (in Court, wearing suits, etc.)

The police raid was a clumsy attempt to intimidate radicals, but it didn*t work. Long Haul reopened the night of the raid and replaced the seized computers. The police wouldn*t have staged an armed raid or seized every computer at the Berkeley Public Library if the email in question had come from the public library, rather than from a radical Infoshop.

While Long Haul participants were skeptical about turning to the court system, we ultimately decided that it made sense to sue so the police wouldn*t conclude that they can raid infoshops and take computers used to publish the alternative press with impunity. The EFF/ACLU lawyers agreed to do the case for free, so in a sense we didn*t have all that much to lose, even if we didn*t have all that much to gain.

The lawsuit process was educational. Our EFF/ACLU lawyers were great and we thank them for a ton of hard work. On the other hand, the Court system is disempowering, isolating and alienating, even when you*re the plaintiff. On the street during the raid, we had each other, we had our passion, and it was easy to see that the raid was wrong. In court, you*re on your own going through a hyper-bureaucratic dehumanizing framework. Everyone was getting well-paid except us, but somehow we were the only ones with a sense of humor. The worst part was that the court scheduled an all-day settlement conference the day before the Oakland General Strike, when many of us were hyper-busy trying to shut down the city.

We hoped the lawsuit would uncover creepy police tactics, but mostly the documents they released to us were blanked out, so we still can*t be sure how the raid on Long Haul fits into a bigger picture. We did learn that once the police got our computers to the crime lab, they searched them for all sorts of items that were totally unrelated to the telephone threats that they used to get a search warrant.

All in all, direct action and popular struggle are still where it*s at. What a long haul trip it*s been.

Model Students – stay away orders issued against university protesters

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Following are portions of a statement issued by three of the thirteen people who in March were belatedly charged with misdemeanors for participation in the November 9 2011 Occupy Cal protests at UC Berkeley during which police beat protesters who were linking arms. They now face fines up to $1,000 and jail sentences up to one year.

We are graduate students and teachers at UC Berkeley. Like thousands of other people here at Berkeley, we have participated in rallies and demonstrations and marches against the privatization of the University of California….

That we [are only just now] being charged for participating in the events of November 9 struck us as odd. Four months had passed. We had not been arrested on November 9, nor did we suspect that we were under investigation. The UC administration had even granted amnesty from student conduct charges for those who took part in the protest.…

Hundreds of people were on hand the afternoon of November 9. Even more were present on Sproul Plaza when police returned in the evening to again attack students and confiscate their tents, bringing out a crowd of at least 2000. Nearly ten thousand supporters joined in a student strike at UC Berkeley a week later in response to the appalling actions of police. Why are only 13 out of these thousands being charged? Is it a coincidence that some of those targeted are highly visible organizers at UC Berkeley? …

For months now, the Alameda County District Attorney*s office has been vindictively harassing anyone they suspect of taking part in the Occupy movement. Most recently the DA has started slapping stay-away orders on almost any activist brought before the court with ties to Occupy Oakland. This attempt to smother dissent through judicial means is simply a less spectacular (and far less bloody) approach than the hard-fisted tactics employed by their law enforcement brethren.

Since we knew full well how the judicial system is being geared to criminalize and stifle dissent in Alameda County, we should not have been the least bit astonished when our judge — without the slightest hesitation — granted the DA*s request to issue us indefinite stay-away orders from the University of California. Nevertheless, the stay-away orders first issued on March 19 took us all by surprise. Had administrators of the University of California deemed us worthy of banishment from campus, they could have used their own established protocols and procedures to do so — something they have hardly been hesitant to use before.

When asked why the stay away orders were to be applied not just to the UC Berkeley campus, but to all property owned by the University of California, the DA responded that we are known to travel to other campuses to protest meetings of the UC Board of Regents. The light this response sheds on the political motivation of the stay away orders should not be missed. We are now disallowed from stepping foot on any campus in the UC system for the simple reason that we might take part in political activity on UC property. The timing of these stay away orders, it should be noted, is extremely convenient for the UC administration: a major meeting of the UC Regents [was] scheduled at UC San Francisco [the week after the order].

In issuing these stay away orders, the judge granted a narrow exception to all of us who are students, as well as a few other exceptions to particular individuals (i.e. for living in university housing, or for performing official union responsibilities). Those of us with classes and teaching duties (which includes 12 of the 13 being charged) are allowed to visit campus for “lawful business.” We can attend our courses and meet with our students as usual. While a reasonable exception to an unreasonable order, this further reveals how the stay-away orders have been constructed expressly to eliminate our political engagement on campus. The stay-away-order-plus-exception effectively distills our lives as students and workers from all other trivial or superficial aspects. We are reduced to mere academics, without political or social lives, whose sole purpose is to work and study and return home. We cannot attend a lecture on campus. Or meet with a friend for coffee. Or stop to talk with a former student. And we most certainly can*t attend any protest. The court is permitting us to contribute to business as usual at the university so long as we do not do anything outside of the strict delimitation of such business, as long we do not attempt to challenge it in any way. We are made into model students and workers, perfectly obedient, without the encumbrance of feelings and thoughts beyond our academic work on campus.

Potentially complicating this analysis is the additional exception that one of us received for the performance of union responsibilities. When this individual*s lawyer initially spoke with the District Attorney, letting the DA know that his client was an elected steward in the UC union of academic workers, the DA responded by asking: “Union work is totally unrelated to occupy protests, right?” If this question betrays a basic unfamiliarity with recent organizing on campus, it also reveals something about how union activity is generally understood at this historical moment. Union activity is imagined here as a form of labor, performed by elected bureaucrats, who are recognized by management as the legitimate representatives for, and regulators of, a particular workforce. Such work appears unrelated to, if not in fact antagonistic toward, the forms of non-hierarchical direct action practiced by the occupy movement. When partitioned in this way from protest, union activity can evidently appear as part of the lawful business of a student instructor, whose life is thus distilled into acts of labor, some instructional and others bureaucratic.

Whatever the exceptions, we have little reason to trust that the campus police will interpret the stay-away orders in any predictable or consistent way. The actions of numerous John Pikes and Jared Kempers have taught us to never underestimate the lengths the UC police department is willing to go to punish campus protestors. We have little faith that the police will allow us to be on campus without also harassing us. This is, of course, their “lawful business.”

Solidarity through the walls

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The struggle against the worst excesses of the California prison system continues. Until we can abolish prisons altogether, inmates, their families, and activists from the community are demanding that the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) address overcrowding, abusive “segregated housing units,” and the lack of access to adequate health care and education.

Thousands of inmates in at least twelve prisons across California have participated in ongoing hunger strikes since last July, after the US Supreme Court ruled that overcrowding in prisons throughout California causes “needless suffering and death” and ordered the state to reduce its prison population. Despite the ruling, inmates have seen few improvements.

To reduce overcrowding, the state began moving prisoners to other states. This is a shoddy response since these prisoners are now further from their families, making it harder for them to exercise visitation rights. They are also further from the arresting court, which reviews their cases in the event of an appeal.

On February 2, 2012, Christian Alexander Gomez, a 27 years old inmate held in an isolation cell who was participating in a hunger strike, died. He was refusing food in solidarity with 31 other inmates in the prison*s “administrative segregation unit” to protest lack of access to adequate health care, nutritious food, and legal assistance. He didn*t have to die. Why can*t the CDCR respond to prisoners* demands for education, health care, nourishing food, and healthy living conditions?

The Prisoner Hunger Strike Solidarity Coalition works in solidarity with the hunger strikers, with a team of lawyers and organizers. They held a recent protest outside of Pelican Bay Prison. It is crucial for folks on the inside to be encouraged and supported by people on the outside.

Other ongoing projects, such as prison literacy groups which send reading material to inmates, are essential to the prisoners* rights movement. Holistic rehabilitation programs (that receive few or no funds from the state) use a humanistic approach to help folks with addiction problems. Where government services are lacking, autonomous peoples must gather to support inmates and their human rights.

On March 20, 2012, 400 inmates throughout California signed a petition to ask the U.N. to investigate solitary confinement as torture. It is a common practice for state prisons in California to isolate inmates as punishment for gang affiliations or for committing violent crimes in custody. The official excuse is that this strategy protects the rest of the prison population. Being held in isolation for days, months, and years on end can result in psychological illness. Currently, prisoners stay in the isolated housing units unless and until they drop out of the gang and “debrief” officials, which means disclosing information about the gang and other persons. This is similar to tactics used by the government in places like Guantanamo in order to extract names and information. It is more important than ever to call out the federal and state government for under-the-table acts of torture.

The existence of gangs is a reality of life in prison. The framework of gang separation is created and perpetuated by the prison system itself. Violent and nonviolent offenders are housed together in large open rooms that may contain over sixty beds. There is no concept of personal space or personal property. Resources are distributed unequally and inadequately to inmates, which induces prisoners to form alliances in order to protect themselves or trade for items that will help them survive. These collections of people are called gangs.

A report from the ACLU demonstrates that Mississippi lowered its crime rate and reduced its prison population by 22 percent between 2008 and 2011 by allowing inmates to earn time off their sentences for participating in educational and reentry programs. If California were really committed to rehabilitation and lowering crime, the CDCR would provide prisoners access to education, safe living conditions, and health care. The state and the cops do not want to admit fault nor relinquish their power over incarcerated people or people who are different, poor, or politically active.

The movement for prisoner rights and against police brutality and torture reaches far and wide from California, across the country, and throughout the globe. It is encouraging that inmates and their supporters in California are protesting, but frustrating that progress is slow. The system of oppression is deeply racist and immoral at its core; it will take time and persistence to break down the systematic walls that divide us. Those who are opposed to this system must build their own walls in resistance. Solidarity is perhaps the most important tool in this fight: inmates must know that they are neither alone nor forgotten in their struggle.

Revolution is the only culture – occupation by UC Davis revolutionaries of color

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On January 24, 2012, a group associated with Occupy UC Davis took over an abandoned building on the UC Davis campus. The building had formerly been the campus Cross-Cultural Center, but was being unused. The EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) was slated to move into the building, but had not. After the occupation began, the CCC and EOP mobilized against the occupiers, publicly accusing them of white privilege and racism, and comparing them to Columbus. Despite these criticisms, many of the occupiers were, in fact, people of color.

On January 28, the day of their departure from the CCC, UC Davis occupiers of color issued this response. As Slingshot goes to press, the building still stands empty.

“And in my opinion, the young generation of whites, blacks, browns, whatever else there is, you*re living at a time of extremism, a time of revolution, a time when there*s got to be a change, people in power have misused it, and now there has to be a change. And a better world has to be built and the only way it*s going to be built is with extreme methods. And I, for one, will join in with anyone — I don*t care what color you are — as long as you want to change this miserable condition that exists on this earth.”

–El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz (Malcolm X)

“I propose nothing short of the liberation of the man of color from himself.”

–Frantz Fanon (aka Ibrahim Fanon)

We, the revolutionaries (of color), who strategized, organized, mobilized, and directly participated in the action to take over the former cross-cultural center at UCD, which was an abandoned building, have decided to send a very clear and straightforward message to respond to the lies, propaganda, and misrepresentation of our movement–a misrepresentation that was systematically perpetrated by a couple of *people-of-color* (p-o-c) groups on campus that have proved to function from within the administrative logic of the university, the very same logic that uses the police force to repress student protest.

Four days ago, when we took over the building, we began with a clear anti-colonial, anti-imperialist, and fundamentally anti-capitalist position. This was made clear when we rejected liberalism (the political supplement to capitalism): 1. We physically blocked media and surveillance into our “autonomous” space, 2. We confronted someone who wanted to sneak in an American flag into the building.

Our message was clear: We do not want administrative presence and the symbol of Empire in our space. We realize full well that the flag represents genocide, war, racism, imperialism, torture, surveillance, and the continued colonization of people (of color). We also understand the history of indigenous struggle in the Americas well enough to know that a proper anti-colonial movement (decolonization) involves the total dismantling of settler-colonialism. We also know that anti-colonialism without anti-capitalism is not a total critique of the given order. We realize that a proper struggle requires us to understand the ideological history of the Americas, the coordinates of indigenous resistance to State violence, and forms of political action that combat the ideology of colonialism. This was the foundation upon which we wanted to begin to build our movement. We knew that the rejection of the flag was symbolic, but nonetheless, we were excited about the tone the movement began to have within that space (a space that also has its own radical history).

When we put up the banner “Revolution is the only Culture” (a paraphrased Fanon quote) we knew very well that it would disturb, challenge, and expose the ideological function of late liberal multicultural capitalism. We were ready for the battle with the multiculturalist logic that helps pacify and commodify marginalized communities of color into fixed non-revolutionary entities. We understand the importance of culture well enough to know that true culture is impossible within capitalist social relations. We know clearly that what is presented as culture is fundamentally a non-culture, a kind of non-being, an inauthentic existence, determined by the historical conditions of the exploitative relations of capitalism. Culture is nothing but a horizontal arrangement of meaningless, colonized entities within the marketplace. And, therefore, culture is in need of liberation. Revolution is the only activity that can properly dismantle relations of exploitation that produce reified conceptions of identity. In this sense, we are fundamentally against identity politics. Identity politics, which is supported by the administration, has absolutely nothing to do with the realization of human potential. It has everything to do with co-opting communities of color into the logic of capitalism, ghettoizing marginal identities into narrow surveilled places, and using techniques of imprisonment (e.g. prisons, schools, mental institutions, social service institutions) upon bodies of color to finalize the colonial state. Every colonial project fundamentally worked through the methods of physical genocide and cultural genocide. We know that the colonial project in the Americas involved the same exact process of occupying a land through physical means, and then continuing with cultural genocide through institutions of education. Our fight against the administration is a fight against cultural genocide and colonialist capitalism.

When representatives of the EOP (Educational Opportunity Program) came over to argue to get back the space, they were supported by a couple of p-o-c groups that spoke of their identities and their cultures as if they are self-evident. They spoke of their individual stories of oppression and trauma. While we respect individuals, we fundamentally reject the line of reasoning that allows for this kind of isolation. We think it is a total misreading of the social, economic crises in communities of color, because no amount of individual counseling or therapy can resolve the larger problem of capitalism. The problem of capitalism can only be solved through revolutionary action that emerges from the tension between historical determinations and struggle. This is precisely why it is important for us to be aware of our own historical condition/moment. The revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East did not come out of a vacuum. A certain kind of historical situation presented itself, a certain set of crises emerged, and a certain kind of revolutionary struggle realized its task at hand. Identity politics is a strategy encouraged by administrative logic that aims to cloud the political truth procedures of marginalized and oppressed communities. And, therefore, identity politics within the logic of multiculturalism works against revolutionary politics. Our confrontation with EOP and the non-revolutionary p-o-c groups prove this point. We offered to share our space with EOP to help them become self-reliant. We also offered to occupy a larger place on campus for them. They declined both offers, and insisted on transitioning into our occupied space because that is what the administration had asked them to do.

When Malcolm X argues for “extreme methods” he is precisely talking about rejecting the idea of making “peace” with oppression, making “peace” with the system. We, the revolutionaries (of color) know very clearly the role of the *truth* of politics. We know how to identify our friends and enemies. Our truth is based on political action, but also a proper understanding of the “critique of political-economy.” In this sense, we never separate theory from action. We learn through doing, and we do when we learn. We are always ready to begin from the beginning. We know that the true movement of history can open up a different future, a different society without exploitation. When Fanon speaks of liberating “the man of color from himself” he is precisely talking about this possibility of the unfolding of history in the true revolutionary direction, where we destroy constructs created by the system.

Revolution is the only Culture.

Destroy (reified conceptions of) difference.

Co-op – We own it! UN declares 2012 International Year of the Co-op

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The United Nations General Assembly has declared 2012 the International Year of Cooperatives! The resolution urges promotion of housing co-ops, worker-owned businesses, consumer co-ops, and agricultural co-ops and identifies cooperatives as a key strategy to eradicate poverty, provide affordable housing, increase food production, and create jobs.

WHAT IS A COOPERATIVE?

A cooperative is a member-owned and democratically controlled enterprise or business. Housing co-ops are owned and operated by the residents. Worker co-ops are owned and run by their workers, with no boss or shareholders to make profits from workers* labor. Consumer co-ops, such as many food stores and credit unions, are owned by the members who patronize the business. Agricultural co-ops, such as fruit or dairy cooperatives, are made up of farmers who use the power of their numbers to get a fair price for their products, for joint purchasing, marketing, and advocacy with regulatory bodies.

Cooperatives demonstrate that workers don*t need a boss, residents don*t need a landlord, farmers don*t need corporate agribusiness, and consumers don*t need mega-conglomerates or big banks. Co-ops demonstrate every day that cooperation works, and that competition is not necessary or natural. Cooperatives are a strong model for both self-help and societal transformation. They empower working people and lower-income people, by giving workers control of the means of production, residents control over their housing, farmers control over food production, and consumers control of needed products and services. Cooperatives take the slogans, “Another world is possible” and “Be the change you want to see in the world,” seriously by creating decentralized democracy here and now.

Most Americans are not aware that cooperatives exist, because they are a small part of the overall economy. We are taught that competition, rather than working together, is the only way to run an economy. However, in recent years co-ops have grown dramatically at the same time that so many traditional businesses are going under due to the failure of the capitalist economic system. Over 30,000 cooperatives are currently flourishing in the US, with over 73,000 places of business, as some cooperatives have more than one branch, restaurant, bank, store, etc. These co-ops have over 130 million members, generating $653 million in revenue, creating more than two million jobs.

For instance, there are 800 electricity cooperatives in the US, organized into the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, producing electricity and promoting renewable energy sources. There are over 300 food co-ops. Ninety-two million Americans are member-owners of the nation*s 7,790 credit unions. In 2011, over 650,000 people closed their accounts in banks and moved their money to credit unions. New York City has over one million people who belong to a co-op of some type.

YEAR OF THE CO-OP EVENTS HAPPENING AROUND THE WORLD!

Lots of exciting projects and events are planned for the International Year of the Co-op. The International Cooperative Alliance has a comprehensive list at ica.coop. They are taking the lead in organizing and coordinating many activities around the world. The National Cooperative Business Association has set up a special website, USA2012.coop, where you can download materials such as IYC posters, articles and leaflets promoting co-ops, profiles of all their member co-ops, and even bingo cards to play Co-op Bingo (with names of different co-ops on each bingo square, along with fun facts and statistics about how cooperatives benefit the community).

The San Francisco Bay Area is a stronghold of cooperatives of all types, especially housing cooperatives and worker-owned businesses.

WORKER CO-OPS IN THE BAY

The Network of Bay Area Worker Cooperatives (NOBAWC, pronounced “No Boss”) represents 35 thriving worker-owned cooperatives ranging from Nabolom Bakery to Pedal Express bike delivery service to Rainbow Grocery Co-op to Inkworks printing collective to wood-working co-ops to the Lusty Lady strip club. In fact, some of NOBAWC businesses have been so successful that they have “cloned” themselves by creating spin-off businesses, such as the ever-growing number of Arizmendi bakeries on all sides of the Bay. NOBAWC has created a map showing locations of all their member co-ops (www.nobawc.org for details).

The California Center for Cooperative Development (CCCD) will be holding a two-day “Celebrate Cooperatives!” conference in Oakland May 4 & 5, primarily focused on worker co-ops. cccd.org.

HOUSING COOPERATIVES

Housing cooperatives have flourished in the Bay Area for over 40 years, from small independent co-ops of 5 units to huge co-ops with over 400 units. The East Bay Cooperative Housing Coalition is planning a series of events to bring more attention to housing co-ops as an important component of affordable housing. The current economic meltdown has caused many people to lose their homes through foreclosures, but limited equity housing co-ops are stable and thriving. The current real estate crisis was created by predatory lending and other fraudulent practices by financial institutions. Since limited equity housing co-ops are by definition removed from the speculative real estate market, their value has not been inflated, so they are not vulnerable to market fluctuations.

International Year of the Co-op provides an opportunity to demonstrate how co-ops provide affordable home ownership for working people who otherwise could not afford to buy homes. The coalition is planning a Housing Co-op Tour of Berkeley on May 20, touring successful housing co-ops as part of Affordable Housing Week. And members of housing co-ops have designed a co-op flag, with the intention of having each co-op in the Bay Area fly the co-op flag throughout the year. Most people are not aware of the existence of co-ops in their own neighborhood, so the co-op flags can educate the public about co-ops. A new website connecting residents of different housing co-ops has been developed to educate people and to strengthen the power of co-ops: www.coopnetwork.net. You can order a flag for your co-op from Bay Area Community Land Trust www.bayareaclt.org. Also, check out sfclt.org, mycooprocks.coop, uk.coop/2012, and strongertogether.coop.

Building eco systems of community – Andrea Prichett wins Slingshot award for Lifetime Achievement

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Slingshot awarded its 7th annual Award for Lifetime Achievement to Andrea Prichett at our 24th birthday party in March. Andrea is a corner stone of the Berkeley radical scene and a remarkable presence at street protests — usually standing close to a scary line of police filming what they*re doing. During all the occupy protests recently, we counted on running into her during the tense moments. She has a sly smile and carefully chosen words, chewing on a toothpick while sitting on her bike.

Slingshot created our lifetime achievement award to recognize direct action radicals who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for alternatives to the current system. Front-line radicals frequently operate below the radar and lack widespread recognition, which is too bad. While awards can be part of systems of hierarchy, a complete lack of recognition for long-term activists robs us of chances to appreciate and learn from the contributions individuals can make during a lifetime of organizing. Thanks, Andrea, for your continuing contributions to the struggle. Here*s a short biography of Andrea.

Andrea grew up in Connecticut and remembers being fascinated by the American revolutionaries and the US Constitution, which were a big part of the culture in the area. “Tri-corner hats were cool.”

When she was 13, she moved to Hollister, California. She was struck by how Latinos and Anglos were segregated, coming together at school but mostly living separately in the community. She wanted to escape the constraints of the small town. In high school she went to Model UN conferences in Berkeley and loved the culture here. She remembers sneaking away from the Model UN to see the Rocky Horror Picture Show at midnight. When she finished high school, she only applied to the University of California (UC) Berkeley. “If I hadn*t gotten in, I wouldn*t have gone to college,” she recalls.

At Berkeley it took her awhile to get involved in the radical scene. She attended a meeting of a Maoist front group, met some members of the Sparticist League and then gave up any affiliation with them once it became clear that they had no appreciation for spiritual ideas and beliefs.

During the summer of 1984 Andrea joined an affinity group to do art actions around campus in the middle of the night. A group of people got arrested and a community coalesced around their arrest. “Everybody had to come together to defend our comrades. It was our fear of university repression that made everyone feel like they couldn*t just walk away and go home,” she explained.

Andrea*s community got organized just as the international anti-apartheid movement was heating up. Apartheid in South Africa was a legal system of racial segregation and enforced white supremacy. Less than 20 percent of South Africans were white, yet whites controlled most of the wealth and power. In 1983 and 84, black South Africans protested daily against a new racist constitution and were met with vicious force. Daily TV coverage of the repression sparked international protests against apartheid and reinvigorated efforts to get US businesses and governments to stop doing business with the racist South African government.

Andrea describes the anti-apartheid movement in Berkeley as a perfect storm. Activism in South Africa was inspiring and motivating students abroad. “We were ready to take their lead” she explains. Students at Berkeley started having direct actions outside of University Hall demanding that the University of California divest from South Africa by dropping investments in companies doing business in South Africa. In December 1984, students and celebrities got arrested for sitting down in front of University Hall, where the bureaucrats running the whole 9-campus University of California system were based.

At the same time, connections were being built between students, radical elements in the labor movement, and radicals from the community off campus. These connections inspired even greater student activism. At the time, The Daily Cal, the campus paper, published numerous investigative articles exposing UC connections with South Africa.

Andrea became a key student leader in the UCB anti-apartheid movement and remembers talking to black South Africans who were saying, “Why aren*t you being more active — why aren*t you taking on the system more directly?” The movement in Berkeley confronted complex dynamics of race, class and political differences that prepared her for later activism in which she has observed those dynamics playing out again and again. Some parts of the movement favored symbolic actions, while other parts favored more disruptive direct resistance, and there was race baiting between the factions. She advises, “You don*t have to take it personal that these are things that come into play. But if it fits, take it personally.”

In late March and early April 1985, students occupied Sproul Plaza in a five-week long sit-in at the center of campus in front of the administration building. Andrea recalls that the sit-in faced, “the same challenges that Occupy Oakland faced with a prolonged encampment” — dealing with nightly police harassment employing divide and conquer tactics and trying to address the basic needs of homeless people who joined the sit-in. Despite the challenges, the sit-in was successful in confronting the university on a daily basis and building a thriving protest community of students and non-student fighting for divestment. 400 people were arrested over 44 days, including 156 arrested during a 6 am raid on April 16 that caused 10,000 students to boycott classes. The plaza was renamed “Biko Plaza” after South African student leader Stephen Biko who was murdered by South African police in 1977. The occupiers published the Biko Plaza News on a daily basis — which inspired creation of Slingshot 3 years later.

Despite the sit-in, the University failed to divest from South Africa in 1985. The next year, radicals constructed a shanty town in front of University Hall, sparking 2 nights of rioting on campus. Andrea hadn*t seen such extreme police violence — and resistance from the community — before. She remembers it being like “warfare without guns” including intense police beatings and the crowd throwing objects. She realized “a raw and ugly fact that the university doesn*t just represent capitalism but it is the gears of capitalism. . . . When people are resisting the university they are resisting control.”

With rumors that the National Guard was going to be called in, she was surprised to see how quickly the situation changed from “oh we*re having a little protest here; to resistance; to they*re really bringing down the hammer here.” It was an important lesson: the university is crucial target and a viable place for radicals to restrict the functioning of the system. In the wake of the shanty town, the university announced that it would divest from South Africa.

From 1987-89, Andrea lived in Zimbabwe traveling and working as a teacher. She worked at a school for ex-combatants who fought in the Zimbabwe revolution, which still existed when she returned to Zimbabwe in 2007.

Upon returning to the US, Andrea dropped by People*s Park although she hadn*t been involved in its struggles previously. She was struck by the prevalence of poverty in the US, which she saw with a new eye because of her time in Africa. She began organizing around the park, poverty and homelessness, and around Telegraph Avenue, which at the time functioned as a town square permitting discussion and interactions between many types of people.

But her efforts kept running into problems with the police who were harassing radicals and poor people alike around Telegraph Ave. In March, 1990 she and two other women called a meeting to start the first Copwatch group in the US. Her original idea was to mount patrols to watch and photograph the police to both limit and document their abuses. At the time, she says they weren*t thinking about similar patrols that the Black Panther Party had operated. Copwatch had an office on Telegraph, did a couple of patrols a week, and published a quarterly report. At first, it focused on Telegraph but eventually expanded to other areas.

In the pre-internet 1990s, Andrea mailed out copies of the Copwatch handbook and a video tape entitled Refuse to be Abused to anyone who asked. She went to national conferences of the National Association for Police Accountability and wrote articles about Copwatch*s successes in Berkeley. Copwatch also ran a class at UC Berkeley that took students out on patrol. During weekly discussions of policing, students would say “I never thought about things this way before.” Gradually, Copwatch chapters spread throughout the US and around the world thanks to her tireless efforts.

While Andrea has been a mover and shaker with Copwatch for over 20 years, she*s also done many other things with her life. She taught at a private school and did some construction before earning her teacher*s credential in 2005 and becoming an 8th grade English and history teacher. “Being a teacher is wonderful — it*s like a garden where something is going to grow, as opposed to activism where you can put in years and not necessarily see anything happen.”

Andrea played music with Rebecca Riots for 8 years and enjoyed being in a band that could play benefits for radical groups. “I don*t think it*s enough to do music but maybe its not enough to just do activism either” she notes.

Being involved in a long-term project like Copwatch, Andrea explains that the project needs you and you need the project. “Copwatch gives me a way to connect to what rises and falls.”

“For all the activism I*ve done, the thing I*ve learned is that change is possible when we have relationships and community. Unless we have those relationships I can pass out fliers but nothing is really going to happen. We don*t have vast resources but we have social capital– built year by year that is crucial in the success of our projects. In the time of the internet, knowing a face and having trust is invaluable.” Andrea is focused on the “ecosystem of the community” — trying to figure out what is going to be good for the community and how to achieve it.

Thanks Andrea, and keep struggling!

Dates to watch out for – Calendar

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May 1

General Strike

MAY 5

Climate Impact Day 350.org

MAY 15-16

International Anarchist Theatre Festival – Montreal anarchistetheatrefestival.com

MAY 19-20

Montreal Anarchist Bookfair anarchistbookfair.ca

MAY 25

SF Critical Mass bike ride – Justin Herman Plaza in SF & worldwide sfcriticalmass.org/

June 1 – 3

Mobilizing and Organizing From Below conference – Baltimore, Maryland mobconf.org

June 16 – 24

Wild Roots Feral Futures – San Juan Mts. Colorado feralfutures.blogspot.com

June 22 • 3 pm

Trans March – Dolores Park SF transmarch.org

July 1- 7

Earth First! Round River Rendezvous – marcellusearthfirst.rocus.org

July 1- 7

Rainbow Gathering – Somewhere in White Mountain National Forest (Kentucky, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Georgia) tbd in June: ask a hippie for details.

July 4 • 3 pm

TV smashing – Berkeley: People*s Park

July 25 – 28

Shut down ALEC – Salt Lake City see pg. 2

August 9-12

International anarchist meeting – St. Imier, Switzerland anarchisme202.ch

August 11 – 12 • 10 am – 5

Portland Zine Symposium 116 SE Yamhill pdxzines.com

August 17-19

Twin Oaks International Community & Coop conf communitiesconference.org

August 26

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

August 27-30

Disrupt the Republican National Convention – Tampa, FL marchonthernc.com

August 29-September 3

Trans and Womyn*s Action Camp – Cascadia twac.wordpress.com

September 3-7

Disrupt the Democratic National Convention – Charlotte, NC protestdnc.org/

September 15

Article deadline for Slingshot #111 – please send us an article! slingshot@tao.ca

September 15 – 16

Twin Cities Anarchist Bookfair – Powderhorn Community Center, Minneapolis, MN