Category Archives: Harvest 2007 (9/27/07)

US out of Iraq! – first person: movign the peace movement beyond the choir

When I saw this flyer calling for an independently organized peace rally at People’s Park in Berkeley, I put the date of the meeting directly in my organizer. The meeting brought me bolt upright in my seat and I set out to do what I could to help Terri and Lawrence and the rest of the gang get the job done. I ended up learning even more. Wanna hear about it?

I previously worked on the anti-war movement in a small military town in the South, where the locals organized against the war in Afghanistan and Iraq after September 11 — doing whatever seemed to stand a chance of stopping the war. I honed my skills flyering, handing out leaflets on the street, talking to active duty Navy and Marine GI’s at the Cafe I volunteered at, and enjoying the company of fellow activists at rallies and meetings. We all learned how to light and hold a candle. The climate was hostile but disorganized — the local social institutions didn’t know what to make of our shell-shock organizing. Thuggish military families sometimes confronted us, always on the verge of violence. One activist was pelted by frozen eggs from a car filled with scary black clad dudes in ski masks. We learned from it, wasted nothing, gained guts and commitment.

I used the peace organizing tactics I learned in the South in my efforts on the People’s Park peace rally, handing out fliers in all the unexpected places and to all the unexpected people that “activists” don’t usually visit.

I like inhabiting places that are shared with widely disparate groups. Telegraph Avenue in Berkeley features football players, military guys, tourists, drug dealers, thugs, college girls — there’s not much I have in common with most of these people. Take tourists, they drive me crazy — try to take pictures, “I’m not a postcard model, man.” But tourists come to check out the scene in the Bay Area — why not give them something to gape at and bring home with them that they’ll have to think about all year. Let them light your cigarette, give them a flyer, give them an exciting peace rally, a funny story, a good idea, a little street drama. They just might pay you back instead of sucking the life out of you, and it sure beats going cross-country to a far away peace rally. I am bored of that but I will if I have to. And you want to know something? At a peace rally in Berkeley when everybody’s got something to say to everybody, about everything, that’s a fucking special time and you better not miss it.

So if you want to go international and try to change the world, think about staying right here and working on changing the world here, first. Find the comfortable safe tourist destinations, the airports, the subway cars, because everybody’s gonna be there, everybody who’s not a shut-in or loaded or in a hospital or jail. Keep up the pressure — don’t lose your momentum. When I’m working the street handing out fliers against the war in Iraq, I can hear the roar of jet engines in my ears. Take the time to appreciate the company of like minded people. When you reach out beyond your comfort zone, you’re not preaching to the choir. In case you haven’t noticed the only choir we got is the Gay Men’s Chorus in SF, we need some new tunes! I mean I’m really into the bands that played in People’s Park — BACKBEAT WHISPER and ALL MY PRETTY ONES. FUNKY NIXONS — they sure got something to say but we need a new song — we need a new song — we need a new song. You better not just be preaching, they’re not a choir, they’re friends, and if you can reach out and touch people as humans, you’re keeping yourself from losing your mind.

Global Infoshop ho-down

Here are some new Infoshops that have formed since we took the 2008 Slingshot organizer to the printer. We compile a huge list of infoshops — generally defined as not-for-profit radical community centers that often feature zines, a library, public internet, etc. — so that if you’re traveling, you can meet radical folks all over. Let us know if you know of any radial spaces we haven’t heard about. You can find a recently updated list of Infoshops and radical spaces around the globe on our website: slingshot.tao.ca.

In Our Hearts Infoshop & Freegan Bike Workshop – Brooklyn, NY

They just opened a new infoshop and community space in the Bed-Stuy area of Brooklyn. Check them out at 123 Tompkins Ave #1L, Brooklyn, NY 11206.

Firebrand Collective Reading room and Free store – Nashville, TN

Firebrand Collective is seeking to create a community space to host a number of organizations and activities under one roof. They currently run a bunch of projects out of different spaces: a zine and radical literature library, a print co-op, a free school (skill share), free store, performance space, art space, bike repair shop, and Food Not Bombs. You can visit the Sin reading room open 5pm-10pm m-f at 918 Ward Street, Nashville, TN 37207 615-406-2076 or the free store at 1009 Joseph Ave. Nashville, TN 37207. Info at www.thefirebrand.org.

Edmonton Small Press Assc. Infoshop – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

They are a media activist group that tables, distributes materials, and presents films and visual exhibitions. The infoshop has zines and resources and is open Wednesday from 9am – noon and by appointment. Visit Room #9, 6th Floor, Stanley A. Milner Library #7 Sir Winston Churchill Square, Edmonton, Alberta, T5J 2V4 Canada, (780) 413-0215 or (780) 434-9236 www.edmontonsmallpress.org

Emma Goldman Community Space / Anarchist Bookstore – Santiago, Chile

They have a community space and library focused on bringing together people who are interested or involved in the radical transformation of society. They’re open Mon, Wed, Fri and Sat 3-9pm. In Espanol the “Espacio Comunitario y Librería Anarquista Emma Goldman.” Check them out at: Avenida Cumming #453, Santiago, Chile (between calle Catedral y Compañía) emma@traidores.org www.traidores.org/emma .

Changes since we published the 2008 Slingshot Organizer:

• Flywheel Arts Collective in Easthampton, MA has a new address:

43 Main St., Easthampton, MA 01027

• The Redwood Peace and Justice Center in Arcata, Calif. has lost its space and is looking for another one.

• Third Space in Norman, OK is inactive for the moment – they hope to re-emerge some day in the future.

• DIRA in Montreal, Canada no longer has a physical location – they are on-line only.

• We meant to include a list of mail order distributions in the organizer that would have included: Black Cat (P.O. Box 229 Roberts Creek, BC V0N 2W0 Canada, blackcat@resist.ca) and Microcosm (222 S. Rogers St. Bloomington, IN 47404 812-323-7395).

• Oops – someone sent us a postcard saying that the @ Infoshop in Barcelona, Spain was no longer there, but the card got lost under a pile of paper so we mistakenly printed the address in the organizer. Please cross it out.

Unconvetionally thoughtful

Slingshot received this communiqué from South Carolina some months ago. Although the discussions at this Consulta have since been superseded by the PreNC meeting of the RNC Welcoming Committee (see article page 3), we liked the thoughtfulness of this article and thought it would be helpful for others to read. We publish only selected portions here.

On May 12th and 13th, a faction of Unconventional Action hosted a Carolinas consulta in Chapel Hill, NC, as a way for anarchists and anti-authoritarians from across the Carolinas to develop strategies for resistance against the Democratic and Republican National Conventions in 2008. This was also intended to deepen the broader personal and political networks of solidarity and mutual aid across the Carolinas and to share news and feedback about local struggles.

It may seem strange to organize a gathering primarily focused on mobilizations so far in advance. We believe it is important for anarchists to be developing our own strategy for the conventions right now: both so that we are not forced to act within a framework of authoritarian and/or reformist-led permitted marches, and so as to spark a new dialogue that brings the failures of capitalism and electoral politics to the forefront of public debate. By strategizing, coordinating, and organizing early on, we can seize the initiative and create a situation conducive to accessible, participatory direct action.

This cannot be a closed-door process. We believe a good strategy enables a wide range of groups with different skill-sets to coordinate and integrate a range of tactics, in a way that respects and encourages the autonomous decision-making of those groups. Past experience has taught us that it is unrealistic to expect hundreds of people from different parts of the country to be able to develop an effective strategy at a last-minute spokescouncil held two days before we hope to shut down an entire city center. Ideally, affinity groups across the country should know exactly what their roles will be many months in advance, so they will come mentally, physically, and tactically prepared to fulfill them.

Although a strategy must be publicly determined and widely known, tactically, individuals and groups of friends decide what roles they will play within it, and only they need to know the specifics of what they take on.

. . . .

Goals for the protests distilled from brainstorming early in the consulta:

• To be inspirational, energizing, inclusive, and relevant to everyday life

• To remind people of the government’s failures and manifest a viable alternative to the two-party system

• To organize actions with a clear message, that are self-replicating–i.e., that offer a model which can be repeated in other contexts

• To create sustainable structures with the momentum to continue beyond the protests

• To shut down the cities, delay and disrupt each convention and the media coverage; to deter cities from wanting to host the conventions in the future

• To respect and work with local people and movements on their issues and concerns

• To support community projects and local organizations in the host cities

• To provide awesome medical and legal care for everyone involved

• To focus on the themes of “No War,” “No Warming” and “No Borders”

• To offer space for a range of tactics to provide opportunities for all varieties of activists

• To use the media to our advantage

. . .

The Carolinas consulta was organized in part to encourage other regions hold similar events, because we believe that the process by which we coordinate strategy proposals and organizing can result in anarchist networks and infrastructure that will last long after the Democratic and Republican Parties are dead and gone. These networks and infrastructure are at least as important as shutting down the conventions. To that end, we encourage others to organize consultas in their regions, to publish and distribute materials about the conventions, and to initiate dialogues with other groups and individuals.

unconventional_action@mountainrebel.net

Rabble Calendar – Issue #95

October

October 18-20

Anti-Corp. film festival @Victoria Theatre 16th & Mission SF www.countercorp.org.

October 18-21

World Bank/IMF protests in Washington DC octoberrebellion.org

October 19-21 • 11-6pm

Mid-Atlantic Radical Book Fair/film fest 2640 Saint Paul St. Baltimore www.redemmas.org/bookfair

October 22

11th Annual day of Protest Against Police Brutality Wear a black fish on your head

October 24 • 5:30 pm

8th Annual Brower Youth Eco-Awards Herbst Theater SF www.earthisland.org

October 31 • 4:30 pm

Capitalism gives us the Creeps – Halloween – Wicker Park, Chicago – dress in costumes that represent how capitalism destroys everything – march through the streets

November

November 1 • 6:30 pm

Mario Savio Awards – Featured speaker Angela Davis UC Berkeley Pauly Ballroom

November 2-4

Building Co-ops NASCO Institute Ann Arbor MI www.Nasco.coop/institute.

November 3 • 7 pm

Longest Walk Benefit Concert – Filmore SF www.redhotpromtions.com

November 5-11

No Borders Camp 2007 – Mexicali/Calexico www.noborderscamp.org

November 9-11

Milwaukee RNC Consulta in Wisconsin mkeanarchy.bravehost.com

November 10 • 10 – 6 pm

The 6th Annual New Orleans Bookfair www.nolabookfair.com

November 10 • 3 – 7 pm

Virginia Anarchist Conference 224 S. Cherry St. Richmond, VA easternanarchist@riseup.net

November 16 – 18

Protest the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia – www.soaw.org

November 22

Indigenous People’s Day Sunrise Ceremony at Alcatraz Island – spend three hours standing in line just to look at a bunch of people’s backs

November 23

Buy Nothing Day – General Strike to upset capitalism, free the turkeys

November 25 • 4 pm

Slingshot New Volunteer meeting for Issue #96 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley

And So on . . .

January 12 • 3 pm

Slingshot Article deadline Issue #96 Long Haul 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley

February 29 • at night

Leap Day Action Night – global, baby!