Category Archives: May/June 2005 (4/15/05)

Bring DOwn BIO

June 18-21 in Philadelphia, thousands of biological profiteers representing the Biotechnology Industry Organization will convene to celebrate and promote their dangerous manipulation of life’s very building blocks for private gain. In response, thousands of concerned activists and citizens will gather to decry this ruthless commodification of Earth’s biodiversity and the proliferation of genetically-modified organisms (GMOs). All who dare to paint poems of resistance on walls of oppression, dance in city streets in defiance of police states, and plant seeds of sedition in the shadows of Empire: come to Philadelphia!

Reclaim The Commons! notes: “We recall a custom much older than two-party Republics, in which croplands, grazing land and forests were a public domain that benefited the whole community and belonged exclusively to no one. In today’s global society, our commons encompass the biological strata that sustain life on earth — air, water, food, medicine, energy, biodiversity — plus the means of communication, education and transit that connect us culturally. Today, to a degree unprecedented in human history, corporations have seized this public wealth and privatized it to reap growing profits for a small and ever-shrinking elite.

“Sustainable, community-based alternatives to corporate biotech are possible and viable, and we are making them real! At our counter-convention in June, we will not only shine an educational spotlight on the dangers of GE food, medicine and weapons, but will also exhibit the grassroots eco-solutions taking shape in our own communities. The Philadelphia area is home to a fabulous array of community gardens and organic farms, food co-ops and urban nutrition initiatives, radical health collectives and advocates for universal public health care, groups of student environmentalists and war resisters, interfaith leaders for human rights and renewable energy, and diverse neighborhood coalitions against police brutality, the gutting of public services, and environmental injustice …”

Under the Pavement Organizing Collective notes “our enemies are not just GMOs but global capitalism, neo-colonialism, patriarchy, the industrial ethos, & anthropocentric western science itself, which aim to reduce all people and nature to orders of coercion and control.”

Contact: phillyrage@riseup.net, Nathaniel (215) 222 4711, www.reclaimthecommons.net www.biodev.org, www.gbug.org.

Book Review: That’s Revolting!

That’s Revolting! Queer Strategies for Resisting Assimilation – Ed. Mattilda, AKA Matt Bernstein Sycamore (Soft Skull Press, Brooklyn 2004) 318 pages. paper $16.95

If this was a different era, say the 80′s, the reviews from establishment press of That’s Revolting would label it as a Politically Correct workbook. But the term PC is archaic and can hardly be useful as propaganda much longer. If any one thing these odd assortment of 27 or so contributors represent, its that they cut through the lies and misrepresentations of straight America and offer up a challenge to bigotry. Most of the writing is short-easy-to digest pieces. It’s ideal for getting acquainted with at a book store or keeping you occupied while waiting for a bus. Because the subject matter is dense with experience it is laborious to read right through for a lot is offered up to reflect on. The topics that surface are many although there’s a strong reverberating shoutout towards issues of queer people of color, youth, and the gay marriage question. There are also addresses on trans issues, inter sex experiences, guerrilla art and other things totally ignored in mainstream discussions. For example, what of queers in sex Ed class, much less encouraging youth to be acquainted with the skills of consent and pleasure. The writing is peppered with intelligence and humor. It is well placed considering the stark realities illuminated for us in pieces dealing with a murdered drag queen or a fag doing peace work in occupied Palestine.

True to the name of assimilation, the straight world does not want the outsider. Many of the authors are writing from an outsider perspective dealing with life ignored at best, but often under intense scrutiny. One piece suggests we consider why public displays of affection is acceptable to straights whereas queers are better off keeping it private. Another piece points to bathroom access for transpeople, how there’s a need to consider diverse needs and make safe access for all. Solutions are looked at: Create a clandestine queer cruising spot in a public park, form alliances with disability activists and scout out bathrooms on campus, hold meetings in them, survey them, and write up demands to give to the chancellor. Start a radio station, go on a sustainable living road show. Lots of what’s written is action based but the added bonus is that the participants (the authors) have reflected on their time spent pushing for change and wish to see us improve on their model.

The writing is a mix of styles most of it in a plaintive conversation like voice. A lot of them are concise and clear. Some pieces are rants, or like a personal zine where the surface of a topic is skimmed. There’s a dry academic type piece, transcripts from a panel discussion, an interview and memoirs. I really get the feeling that works were not heavily edited from the authors` original words. The variety of topics and styles and the fact that it comes across very relevant makes it read like a community paper. We hear from street fighters, a musician, a lawyer, a drug dealing homeless youth, activists but all in all, thinkers: thinkers in the ways that queers on popular TV would never represent. The introduction spends a few pages ripping at these programs with their white yuppie situations, lesbian characters played by straights. I found this part the most boring since I don’t keep up with the nonsense on TV, but still useful. But its not long before the book rips into passionate humor and pain. The first essay DR. LAURA SIT ON MY FACE got me laughing in the library, a crime no worse than the cell phone conversations people in there graze on.

Another recurring theme is the question of monied gays turning their backs on queer homeless youth. This is evident in NY with the West Village Piers being cleared of youth and the fights made for them to preserve it as a home. We also get a look at how the SF Castro community united together not to fight homelessness, but a homeless youth shelter. There is an account of the LGBT center hosting vampire gruesome Gavin Newsom, how they called police on his protesters, and their subsequent beating. There is a run through of Gay Shame’s growth by the book’s editor Mattilda, and the over the top tactics that makes them relevant. After a while I felt that some life changing events were brewing across the bridge from Oakland these past few years. In fact the majority of the voices represented are San Francisco/Bay Area in style. But the perspectives are ultimately from all over. Its good people are thinking and planning on changing this dreary American culture. Since Slingshot is not the establishment, I would categorize this book as a threat by example, a drive to stop the charade of normalcy and a bold challenge to assimilation. It is done repeatedly by linking issues beyond just queer topics. With people reading/writing books like this we will all have tools to dismantle that which oppresses us.

Queeruption 8: Barcelona!

Queeruption 8 will be held May 30-June 6 in Barcelona! Queeruption is a non-commercial, DIY, radical queer gathering full of workshops, skillshares, art, fucking, parties, food, and politics. Past Queeruptions have been held in London, New York, San Francisco, Berlin, Amsterdam, and Sydney. This Barcelona queeruption might be the first one that’s not primarily English speaking! Maybe next year there will be one in Mexico City, or maybe El Paso and Juarez!?

Queers in the Bay Area are busting out numerous fabulous fundraisers, putting our relatively robust local economy to work for the always-free Queeruption. Money goes to everything from totally sexy portajohns to setting up a fund to help activists from economically disadvantaged countries get to upcoming Queeruptions. Last year, a big chunk of money was sent to Queer Serbia.

Check out these fabulous fun parties in SF to have fun while spreading american $ a little farther. On April 28 there’s Unisexy at the Make-Out Room, where you’ll find a Queer Dating game with Audience Participation! April 29 at night is the extremely fancy Ravenous! Dinner Theatre at CounterPULSE. May 12 it’s a Slutty Sleazy Makeout Party at the Stud featuring Full Moon Partisans and other bands.

Why go to Queeruption, why help raise money for it? It’s what keeps some of us alive, living in scenes where queers are sometimes hard to find— even when queer allies are many. Queeruption is decentralized and automous; we must work to expand the queeruption community, making it accessible to more and more people.

The first Queeruption happened in the spring of 1998, when about a hundred queers spent a weekend together in a squatted building in South London. The organizers’ goal was to make a politically inspiring and educational gathering that was open to all, and was about us all taking initiative, creating and participating, instead of just consuming a lifestyle sold to us.

Ongoing discussions within the community include topics of race, class, and cultural exclusivity, ablism, gender binarism /transphobia, and the reproduction of oppresive sexual norms within radical communties. At Queeruption, radical queers delve into fantastic meaty political topics… and top off the discussion by delving into each other!!! Fuck yeah!!!

Guadalahardcore

The 28th and 29th of last May, 2004, the Third Summit of the Leaders of Latin America, the Carribean, and the European Union was held in the city of Guadalajara, México. They were looking to pass economic accords and investments on behalf of countries who are members of the European Union, and at the same time to reinforce and strengthen the penetration of the many bosses, entrepreneurs and transnational companies of our continent.

Thousands of people against the meeting took to the streets to demonstrate their rejection of these economic, political, and social plans that a small privileged class wants to impose over an entire people, only trying to get the most profit possible at the cost of the suffering of thousands of families and communities. Different organizations: social, farmer, worker, student, punk and anarchist collectives, tried to halt the Summit, taking the streets in protest and in order to inform society about the negative impacts that this meeting could have on the country’s reality.

The protest was brutally repressed, there were confrontations with the police and destruction of comercial property for many hours, resulting in a toll of more than 150 people detained of which 49 were transfered to a precautionary prison:

10 people sentenced

5 still waiting in jail for their legal situation to be resolved

30 are free under parole

4 underaged who already completed their sentences.

The crimes they are charged with range from rioting, gang activity, carrying illegal weapons, destruction of private property, stealing and injury to authority representatives.

In addition to this, 8 “friends in struggle” from different parts of the world were deported.

Almost a year after these events, a permanent sit-in or strike, established by a part of the movement in Ciudad de Guadalajara, continues to ask for freedom for the detained, keeping the struggle on its feet…

If it is possible for you to help with the financial expenses involved or if you want more information about the situation or to get in contact, in solidarity with the political prisoners:

BANORTE

Account Number

4915-6610-3839-0030

Representative Maria Asuncion Rodriguez Martines

Mas informacion:

insurreciondelatierra@yahoo.com, vistalibertari@yahoo.com,

Presxs-Kaminando: libresyunudxs@yahoo.com.mx

mauser-ponte-en-pie@hotmail.com

Bay Area Support for Political Prisoners: C.A.P.S.

No political prisoners in California? Think again!! California Anarchist Prisoner Solidarity (CAPS) formed in September 2004 to support those who face incarceration as a direct response to their beliefs or actions. Some were confronting the oppressive nature of the state, the injustices that exist due to class, racism, sexism, and homophobia, or the destruction of the earth and the species who inhabit it. We seek the abolition of prisons as part of a dismantling of all repressive state apparatuses and also extend our solidarity to those imprisoned around the world. However, we have so far chosen to focus most of our limited resources on political prisoners in California and neighboring Mexico because we believe it is important to fight locally. We correspond with prisoners, fundraise on their behalf, and build public awareness of their situations. We hope to remind those in prison they are not alone, break down the bars that separate us from them and inspire those on the outside to continue the battle. Here are some of the prisoners we are in solidarity with.

Hugo Pinell A.K.A. Yogi Bear

(turned 60 on March 10) # A88401 POB 7500 SHU-D-214 Crescent City CA 95531. Hugo Pinell has been in California prisons since he was 19 years old. He is now 60. His original case (an assault charge for which he turned himself in) would have cost the average citizen a few years in prison. Hugo became politicized by revolutionary prisoners like W.L. Nolen, George L. Jackson, et al., who promoted revolution among prisoners and organize resistance to the racist attacks against them. They wanted fair treatment and opportunity for a good life when they left prison. On August 21, 1971, Jackson was murdered on the yard at San Quentin in an alleged escape attempt. Six prisoners were put on trial for the murders and assaults of three guards and two inmate trustees during the incident. Hugo is the only one of the six who remains in prison. He is now in his 40th year of continuous custody, 34 of those years have been in solitary confinement.

Hugo is kept in Pelican Bay SHU, in the Northwest corner of California on the Oregon. The prison is solid gray concrete and the SHU (Security Housing Unit) is windowless with only doors for entrance, like a large tomb. It’s hi-tech—with automatic doors and gates, only artificial light, and even the so-called yard is nothing more than a “dog run” or outdoor closet with 20′ high walls covered on top by Plexiglas. SHU prisoners are locked down 24/7 except for a possible hour on the dog run where they can exercise alone with no equipment whatsoever. They are not permitted any arts and crafts, and only a very limited number of books and property. They are chained hand and foot whenever they leave their cells escorted by two prison guards. Visits are limited to weekends and holidays and are less than two hours. Their visits are conducted in a “phone booth” and they cannot call outside. In short, Yogi’s mother, who has been visiting him for all these years, has not been able to hug her son in at least 30.

Bill Dunne

#10916-086 Box 019001 Atwater, CA 95301. Bill Dunne is serving a 90 year sentence after being apprehended for allegedly plotting the escape of a friend from a Seattle prison in 1979. In addition to a conspiracy count, he faced further charges alleging that the operation was financed by bank expropriation and materially facilitated by illegal acquisition of weapons, explosives, vehicles, ID and other equipment. Four years later in 1983, he was given an additional 15 years for attempted escape. He still professes his commitment to radical causes.

Carlos Arroyo

Carlos Arroyo was arrested in May 2001 in Mexico City, framed by police for a robbery. He was beaten and tortured by police at the time of his arrest and faced a trial that involved fabrication of evidence against him. His original sentence was 15 years, subsequently reduced to 12. Prior to his arrest Carlos was involved in the anarchist community in Mexico City; he also participated in the university student strikes. It is likely that he was set up by the state as retaliation for his political activities. He was 22 at the time of his arrest. Carlos’ family is extremely poor and has been unable to shoulder the burden of legal expenses. They were scammed by two lawyers, which resulted in a loss of money, and also squandered all of Carlos’ chances for appeals. They have depended on the support of friends and are still greatly in need of financial assistance. Several benefit compilation tapes/cds have been made on Carlos’ behalf. Recently his sentence was reduced to 6 years based on his “good behavior.” There is a slim possibility that a new law in Mexico City could result in a further reduction of his sentence, but at this point he is scheduled for release in May 2006. In the meantime, Carlos is greatly in need of funds to provide resources for his family to continue visiting him, as well as to buy food in prison and bribe prison guards to avoid physical abuse. (Unfortunately Carlos cannot receive mail in jail as it has been repeatedly stolen by prison guards.)

Please take some time to write any of these prisoners a letter, or if you wish to donate on their behalf please contact us. Please use common sense when writing. Visit our website to learn more!

C.A.P.S. PO Box 22449 Oakland CA 94609 www.caps.anarhija.org — caps@riseup.net

Infoshop Update

Bill Hicks Resurrection Laboratory, Houston, TX

The Bill Hicks Resurrection Laboratory is a Do-it-yourself (DIY) collective warehouse space. They have a community garden, Food Not Bombs kitchen, woodshop, metal working, craft area, screenprinting, sewing stuff, lending library, zine center and public internet access. They also have an event space for musicians and activists. Check them out: 2915 Delafield, Houson, TX 77023, 719-921-1924.

Free Mind Media – Santa Rosa, Calif.

After more than 2 years of meetings, dreaming, planning and fundraising, they’re open at last! They have garden space, internet access and tons of Books, Zines and Info to Distro. They’re having a huge May Day Grand Opening and Art Show. 546 Pacific Ave Santa Rosa, CA 95404, 707-579-1605.

Asheville Community Resource Center

After being shut down by its landlord a year ago as part of a gentrification agenda to “clean up” Asheville, the ACRC is open again Wednesday through Sunday, 12-6pm in a different location. It features a reading room, lending library, and collective movie theater. The space also hosts numerous organizations: the Prison Books Program, the Bountiful Cities Project which works to help neighborhoods in Asheville develop their own urban gardens, Katuah Earth First!, the Asheville Doula Collective which offers prenatal, birth and post-partum support to pregnant women, Tranzmission, a coalition of transgendered people and allies and Food Not Bombs. They describe themselves as a “non-hierarchical coalition of groups and individuals working together to sustain a space for the promotion of social change.” They’re now at 16 Carolina Lane, Asheville, NC 28801, (828)252-8999

Blitz – Oslo, Norway

Lisa reports that, “Blitz is a squatted building that has been occupied since the 1980′s. It is huge!! Inside, besides apartments, it has a vegetarian/vegan cafe, a performance space (where they have punk shows 1-2 times a week), a gallery space, and a small movie theater where they show independent films.” They’re at Pilestredet 30c, 0164 Oslo, Norway, Phone 22 112349.

More Info?

We just got the address for The Radish at 3137 S Dayton, Springfield, MO 65807 – anyone have any additional info?

Corrections to the 2005 Organizer

- The listing for Black Star Books in New Zealand is wrong. The correct info is P.O Box 812, Dunedin, New Zealand, info@blackstar.dystopia.net.nz, street address 24 Stafford Street, Dunedin, Aotearoa. They write “everyone should come visit us!”

- Atlas Bower books in Providence, RI is gone.

- Uprisings Infoshop in Toronto is at 6A Kensington Ave., and can be reached at 416-580-RIOT.

Slingshot News

Organizer update

We still have some leftover copies of the small 2005 version of the organizer. Because we printed too many, we’re having a sale on the small size: just $1.50 each wholesale. You have to order at least 20 copies to get this price. If you want less than 20 copies, you’ll have to order from a retail mail order distro — check our website for a list. We also have a few copies of the spiral bound organizer available for $9 each (including postage) or $5 each if you order at least 6.

If you bought a 2005 Organizer from anyone — Infoshop, mail order, whatever — you can get a free one-year mail subscription to Slingshot newspaper — send us an email, postcard, etc. with your mailing address. This offer is good within the USA only.

If you have ideas, graphics, historical dates, etc. for the 2006 version — due out October 1, 2005 — send them to us by July 1 or sooner. We’re always looking for more listings for our radical contact list, so if you know of one in your area that isn’t listed, please send it. Contacts have to have a physical address and usually a phone number. We’ll put it together in August — if you’re in the Bay Area in August and want to help out, let us know.

A note about historical dates: we have a database of 10-50 events for each day of the year. Since we only print 3-4 historical dates per day, that means that many, many important historical events don’t appear in any particular edition of the organizer. If a date didn’t appear in 2005, it may have appeared in 2003 or maybe it will in 2006. So if you want to suggest historical dates, keep in mind that if it is a fairly obvious one, we almost surely already have it – its failure to appear in 2005 doesn’t mean we don’t care about that date – it just means that we don’t want to print the same exact events year after year (boring!)

Slingshot seeks 2006 Organizer interns

The Slingshot collective is looking for a person or persons to help distribute the 2006 Slingshot Organizer — the distro is a massive job that has gotten beyond our small collective’s abilities the past few years. This is not paid — we’re an all volunteer collective. For distro, we’re looking for help any time between September 15 and December 15. Keeping up with orders can take 8-20 hours a week during that time so you would have time for paid work or you could volunteer with other projects around town. We may be able to help you find housing. If you’re interested in creating the organizer, we can use help there too but during a much shorter window — an intense week in mid-late August – we’ll know more specific dates in late June or July.

We’re using the magic word “intern” because that has gotten a lot of response the past few years, but what we’re really looking for is someone to join the collective (temporarily or forever) and be our equal by sharing decision making and work with other folks in the collective. We are not bosses and we’re not looking for an employee or slave. The folks already in the collective do as much shipping as we can — we just don’t have time to keep up with all of it. In addition to doing Organizer shipping stuff, the collective will be publishing the paper during the fall, which means you’ll be in on meetings, editing, writing, art, etc.

This is a great opportunity for someone to learn about a collective publishing project. Please contact us if you are interested:

Slingshot collective

3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705

510 540-0751 ex. 3, slingshot@tao.ca.

Slingshot Back Issue Project

Have you ever wanted to read back issues of Slingshot? If you have, we’re cleaning out our office and have a special deal on back issues. We’ll send you packages of mixed back issues for the cost of postage: 2 lbs for $2 or 5 lbs for $3. If you’re a library or infoshop, we’ll send them free!

If you want 2 lbs., let us know if you want “older” or “more recent.” 5 lbs. gets you a copy of most of our back issues. If you want specific issue #s, please let us know.

Send a postcard or a check or well concealed cash to “Slingshot” :

Slingshot Collective

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705