Category Archives: Harvest 1997 (9/23/97)

Radioactive Art!

WASHINGTON

What markers might be sufficiently ominous or impressive to prevent people from drilling into a nuclear waste dump or otherwise releasing its radioactive burden 10,000 years from now?

Specialists estimate that English will have retained as few as 12 percent of its current basic words, and still less of its complex vocabulary. These specialists recommend a menacing earthworks design, with the land above the repository to be surrounded by immense, lightning-shaped mounds of earth.

Visitors walking through the earthworks would lose sight of the horizon and experience a loss of connection to any sense of place. In an open central area, there would be a large walk-on world map showing the location of all radioactive waste repositories.

The basic warning: Do not dig or drill here before 12000 A.D. in seven languages would be flanked by human faces, one denoting horror and the other denoting sickness and nausea.

The experts agreed that exposed site markers must be large enough to withstand centuries of wind and water erosion. They must also resist the tendency of human beings to vandalize or remove pieces of structures. They recommended using materials of little value and in shapes that make them poorly suited for reuse. What do you recommend?

Submit your artwork, or proposals and ensure your art has a half-life of 10,000 years. Still art, video, music, text, installations, whatever you think is appropriate. Enough entries will cause us to have an art show!

Radioactive Art
3124 Shattuck Ave.
Berkeley, CA 94705

Shopping Cart People Organize

On the night of August 29 at approximately 3 a.m. in a deserted shopping market parking lot over fifty odd (yes, well, quite odd by most standards though who’s to say) homeless and home owner shopping cart drivers met to discuss mutual problems and to ORGANIZE! Notes of the meeting follow . . . .

1) The group decided to have no laws, no rules, each issue would be handled as it came along.

2) Mike Mechanic offered to help anyone with wiggley wheels.

3) The group talked anxiously about the coming end of the world and decided that they were tuned into the urgency of such an event because people with many possessions are too busy hanging onto the pleasures and decadence of this world to notice that the birds are singing new songs. The group decided that when the Big BOOM or Big Bang or big whatever comes the earth planet will be strewn with such chaos leaving those who collect recyclables in high demand. It will then be their responsibility to gather metal, including aluminum and others, plastic, paper, glass, etc. from elsewhere all over the frigging place because bits and pieces will be all that’s left of proud lands. The items will be categorized and built into their proper sections and will rise like mountains; tremendous piles like sacrificial alters rising up to the sky; leftovers from thousands of civilizations. Colossal masses of STUFF to be judged by the Gods and Goddesses. After the piles are made the shopping cart people will dust off their hands, bow their heads solemnly and then raise their heads to the sky and laugh and laugh and laugh uproariously.

4) While waiting for this finale of the earth the shopping cart group will hold a fundraiser selling empty shopping carts devoid of anything but a few microcosmic organisms to people in the islands of the South Pacific who have never seen shopping carts. The money made will sponsor a parade during which all present will decorate their shopping carts like circus floats in a parade and roll doobies as big as your arm. Contestants will box with their carts and the winner will be declared when the loser’s cart is turned upside down.

5) The group will meet whenever and carry on like there’s no tomorrow.

–signed Nate the note guy with help from Louie and Martin the Muskrat

Sister Subverter

It was like going to another world entirely, says Tatiana of Oakland’s Girl Army about Sister Subverter. The week-long gathering occurred in Northwestern Arkansas on the wooded Amazon Acres, one of several womyn owned homesteads located in that area. Sister Subverter was conceived of by Anarchist and Activist womyn who wanted a gathering that reflected their politics. This was the second Subverter.

Starting on Monday, August 18th, the gathering began with more than 200 in attendance. Daily workshops on a huge variety of topics including racism, direct action, and supporting single moms, as well as daily self-defense trainings, were well attended. Evenings exploded with fire-play, music, drumming, and spin-the-bottle. The week long corn cob building workshop yielded a permanent composting toilet.

Says another ‘subvertee’, Sister Subverter was a space for playing, exploring, exchanging experiences and skills and it is the beginning for me in a lot of ways; an inspiration for networking and living in a supportive way instead of competition.

A west coast regional spin off of S.S. called Bad-Ass and Free is now being planned for February 1998. For more information write to:

Bad-Ass and Free
c/o Black Cat Cafe
4110 Roosevelt
Seattle, WA 98105

Free the Ts’Peten Defenders

On July 30, after the longest trial in Canadian history, Canadian Government Judge Josephson sentenced 12 indigenous sovereignty activists to prison for defending their sacred land. Although the jury acquitted the activists of the most serious attempted murder charges, they were convicted of lesser charges. The judge handed down stiff sentences including an 8 year prison term for a 66 year old Shaswap elder known as Wolverine, who led the defense of the site. Three others were convicted but spared imprisonment.

The sentences are the culmination of a systematic military/political attack on the British Columbian native activists. In 1989, Shuswap faith keeper Percy Rosette asked a cattle rancher, Lyle James, if he could hold a sundance festival on a small part of a vast cattle ranch near 100 Mile House, BC. James agreed and the sundance was held every year thereafter at a native burial ground and holy place called Ts’Peten (or Gustafsen Lake).

Although a large American cattle company claims it owns Ts’Peten, the ranch is on unceded, unsurrendered Shuswap traditional territory. Under international law, the absence of a treaty or sale of the land voids the cattle company’s land claim against the Shuswap.

As people gathered for the sundance on June 3, 1995, James and 20 cowboys arrived and served a homemade eviction paper, demanding that the natives leave the area. Rosette and the others refused to leave and called for support. Several who answered the call brought rifles. The sundance was concluded but some activists stayed on the land to press their demands for ownership. Police, meanwhile, surrounded the site and a 31 day standoff began. 18 adult defenders were trapped by 400 police and army troops armed with Armored Personnel Carriers, machine guns and high tech surveillance equipment.

On September 11, a native truck was blown up by a land mine and rammed by an APC. Miraculously, the two occupants were able to survive the blast, run through the forest, swim across the lake, and eventually surrender while dodging 20,000 bullets. Police repeatedly attacked the defenders and the Canadian press portrayed the defenders as terrorists. Through the whole crisis, the defenders fired 106 bullets while the police shot 77,000, according to police records revealed during the trial. On September 17, 1995, the defenders surrendered.

The trial lasted from July 1996 to May 1997. The judge refused to permit the defenders to introduce evidence showing that the government and the Courts have no jurisdiction over Ts’Peten because it is unceded native land. The trial also revealed numerous instances of police misconduct, many caught on police video tape. The evidence released during the trial indicated that police and government officials participated in a conspiracy to kill the occupants of the Ts’Peten Sundance Camp while smearing them in the press.

Activists are now calling for public pressure to Free the Ts’Peten Defenders. 140 Department of Indian Affairs Band Council Chiefs have signed a petition demanding an inquiry into the attempted murder against the Indian People at Ts’Peten.

Meanwhile, government officials, stung by the information released during the trial, are arguing over whether they will conduct a federal or a BC based investigation of the siege. But activists don’t believe that either government body can conduct a fair investigation, since they would in essence have to investigate themselves. Activists are calling for an independent, impartial, international third party to investigate the siege and the trial.

Letters demanding a real investigation can be sent to:

Prime Minister Jean Chretien

House of Commons

Ottawa, Ont. K1A 0A6

Canada

For more information, contact:



Settlers in Support of Indigenous Sovereignty


PO Box 8673

Victoria, BC, V8X 3S2

Canada

CRUCIAL QUESTIONS TO MAKE THIS WHOLE THING MORE CREDIBLE:

1. What American cattle company claims it owns the land.

2. First name of the judge

Where Women Have No Doctor

by A. August Burns, Ronnie Lovich, Jane Maxwell and Katharine Shapiro

Hesperian Foundation

Where Women Have No Doctor, is a health guide for women that has as its audience both lay health care workers and women who need information on their own health care when they can’t easily access modern medicine.

It is written in a lower literacy, easy-to-follow format with multiple illustrations inclusive of many races, body sizes and disabilities. The book often begins chapters with a story or case study, then follows with discussion on the case study and practical approaches to women’s health in this given topic. One such story is Mira’s Story, a 2-page piece about a woman who dies from cervical cancer. The chapter challenges readers to question what caused Mira’s death. Did Mira die because she didn’t know she should get a regular pap smear to detect cervical cancer before it was too late? Or did Mira die because when she first began to feel pain, her husband forbid her to seek medical care, in other words because Mira lacked power because she was a woman? Did Mira die because when she finally did seek medical care, the health worker wasn’t knowledgeable about women’s health problems and sent Mira away with an ineffective cream? Or did Mira die because her husband had genital warts but didn’t know to get treated or how to prevent passing the virus they cause to his sexual partners? Where Women Have No Doctor explores each of these causes in a nonjudgmental manner, respecting women’s cultures and beliefs while at times showing how some of these cultural norms can be psychologically or physically damaging to women.

Other stories in Where Women Have No Doctor talk about women who have made positive changes in their communities. In Zimbabwe, for example, the Musasa Project was created to help women who are victims of violence. Another story, written in the first person, talks about the narrator’s friend who died during child birth and how women in her community worked together to make child birth in their village safer for all. Two other stories talk about a woman and a couple who couldn’t conceive children and how they dealt with this.

Where Women Have No Doctor gives information to women on topics such as: how to decide whether an abortion (legal or not) will be safe, pregnancy and childbirth, sexual assault, infertility, mental health from a community point of view, female circumcision, how to make sure your water supply is not contaminated, and a section on women with disabilities. It has much to offer women in places where there are doctors as well. For example, it has suggestions on how to talk with your partner about safer sex, information on various birth control options, a chapter on sexual harassment, easy to understand material on STDs, and what to expect during a pelvic exam.

This book also has a great deal of pertinent information for health workers. It includes everything from how to give an injection, to various medications and their recommended doses, to how to tell if a fetus is positioned correctly for birth. It also gives clear indications or signs for when a health worker should transport a patient to more highly skilled medical care.

It seems the only notable exception to this books inclusiveness is its omission of talking about lesbianism and homosexuals in general. The topic is touched upon briefly when discussing gender roles in society and how, often, lesbians fall outside of these acceptable roles in many cultures. Discussions on lesbian health and lifestyle are, however, noticeably missing.

But aside from this omission, Where Women Have No Doctor is a wonderful book which can be both read cover to cover or simply kept as a reference tool. Information contained in this book is useful for lay health workers, women in other parts of the world, or women right here in the Bay Area looking for information on their own health or the global health of women and how it can be improved.

Where Women Have No Doctor is published by the Hesperian Foundation, 1919 Addison St., Suite 304, Berkeley, CA 94704, (510) 845-4507. ISBN 0-942364-25-2. 583 pages. $20.00.

35 for 40 proposal

Every year the rich get richer and the people who do the work stagnate, or get paid less. The wealth of the richest 1 percent of Americans has increased almost 50 percent since 1989, while the median family wealth has remained unchanged for the last 15 years. The stock market has doubled over the last 30 months and corporate profits are exploding. Meanwhile, wage levels are declining, benefits are being cut, working conditions are deteriorating and good jobs are moving to low wage countries. Even when wages aren’t cut, but just stay the same, workers lose the amount of inflation every year. These invisible losses have been going on for 20 years.

The Committee for a Shorter Work Week in Berkeley is hoping to do something about this attack on the working class. Building on the immensely successful state initiative petition drive to increase the minimum wage which was passed in the last California election, they hope to pass an initiative in Berkeley to cut the work week to 35 hours a week with no decrease in pay. The Berkeley initiative would be a demonstration project for an idea that, if it was implemented nationally, would materially improve the lives of workers.

A shorter work week not only gives workers extra personal time in these hectic times, but it creates a labor shortage which increases the negotiating power of workers. With technological improvements constantly reducing the amount of labor needed to create social wealth, it is only natural that the average work week should be reduced to keep pace. Throughout the industrial revolution, the labor movement struggled to reduce the length of the work week. By the 1930s, the 40 hour week had become the standard. Workers have been stuck at the 40 hour week since then.

It takes a minimum of 4,363 valid Berkeley signatures, out of about 100,000 registered Berkeley voters, to get an initiative on the ballot. The committee has come up with draft language for the initiative, which they are hoping to revise, improve and then submit to the city. After the initiative is published by the city, there are 180 days to circulate the petition. The Committee is aiming to have the initiative on either the June or November, 1998 election ballot. They hope to use innovative, community based tactics, and avoid paid signature gatherers, in getting the initiative on the ballot.

If you want to get involved, contact the Committee at PO Box 451, Oakland, CA 94604. Or call (510)595-3229 for more information. Meetings are going to be every other Saturday starting October 11 at 10a.m. at the Berkeley Public Library Claremont Brach at Ashby and Benvenue in Berkeley.