All posts by Slingshot collective

Rabble calendar

October

October 15

Worldwide anti-McDonald’s Day – actions all over

October 22 • 2 pm

10th Annual national day of protest to stop police brutality, repression and the criminalization of a Generation – around the USA and in San Francisco, a march from Haight and Stanyan to the Fillmore

October 27 • 6 pm Friday

San Francisco Critical Mass Halloween Bike ride – dress up and ride! at Justin Herman Plaza. www.critical-mass.org (the last Friday of each month)

October 28 • 10-6 pm

5th Annual New Orleans Bookfair. Barrister’s Gallery, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, www.hotironpress.com

November

November 9-12

6th National Harm Reduction Conference – Oakland, CA. 212-213-6376 – harmreduction.org

November 10 • 6 pm

Berkeley Critical Mass bike ride – gather at downtown Berkeley BART station

November 10 – 12

CounterCorp. anti-corporate film festival San Francisco www.countercorp.org

November 10 – 12

Conference to organize global protest to shut-down the G8 Summit scheduled for Heiligendamm, Germany (near Rostock) for July, 2007. www.heiligendamm-2007.de

November 17-19

Protest the School of the Americas at Fort Benning, Georgia – info@soaw.org or at 202-234-3440 www.soaw.org

November 24

Buy Nothing Day -Celebrate free living and protest mass shopping seasons

November 24

Sunrise Ceremony on Alcatraz Island. Take the ferry from Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco.

November 26 • 4 pm Sunday

Slingshot new volunteer meeting – get involved in this rag – 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley

December

December 7

National Day of Action to protest the Green Scare on the anniversary of the FBI’s arrest of eco-activists in Oregon. Protests at Federal Buildings in numerous towns around the US — organize your own if no one else has already.

And so on…

January 6 • 3 pm Saturday

Article and art submission dues for Slingshot issue #93 at the Long Haul in Berkeley.

July, 2007

Protest to disrupt the G8 meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany (near Rostock).

Ongoing…

Each Tuesday 12:30-1:30

Teach-In And Vigil Against American Torture And The Dictatorial Presidency in front of University of California, Berkeley Boalt Hall Law school (Corner of Bancroft & College Ave). Every Tuesday until December 21.

Each and every minute

Help protect the Free Box Bike Cart! If you’re in the Bay Area and could help guard the free box at People’s Park, leave a note in the mailbox at 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley CA 94705 or email freeboxbikecart@yahoo.com.

Slingshot info – issue 91

Slingshot is an independent, radical, quarterly newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

We’re excited about this issue, especially since it was almost canceled at last week’s deadline meeting when only three people and four solid articles showed up. We’re glad we took a leap of faith and decided to go forward. In the end, new people and existing members of the collective came out of the woodwork from all directions to pull the issue together on a hot, sweaty weekend. It’s hotter than the Arctic here in the Slingshot loft and we managed to overheat the printer doing layout because we have so many hands working on the paper. New energy keeps us inspired. We’re grateful for the friends of friends and travelers who come by, and we always welcome new faces.

The writing and editing before and after the deadline were a different matter with very few folks around. It is getting increasingly difficult for us to find writers and good articles. We suspect this is because so many great writers have turned to blogging and other internet publishing. We believe that the random people who pick up Slingshot at the laundromat are important & that by existing in print, we can inspire some of the folks who’ll never google “anarchy”. It’s true that you can reach a lot of people blogging but we think that good old print is still an important tool.

Even harder than getting writers is getting bookstores to pay us for the Slingshot organizers we sent them last October. As you may know, the organizer funds this project. We’ve been getting a lot of stories and a few checks. One place in Brooklyn that owed us $1,500 went out of business — we heard they even owed money to the Zapatistas!

On a totally random note, when we say you can send us checks or “concealed cash” for items, please don’t make the money impossible to find. Some lovely people who owed us $225 for organizers stuffed it into a teddy bear, put a red face mask on the bear and mailed it to us — no return address, no note saying there was money in the bear, just the bear in a box. We thought it was a weird toy and kind of silly. It sat around in the packing room for months and when we had a table at the SF Anarchist Book Fair, we tried to drop it off at the kid’s section. But we were too disorganized, so luckily it came back home. Then we tried to sell the bear at a yard sale, and when it didn’t sell, we put it in a free box. Then when we were calling folks to collect money, that store said “oh, we concealed it in a teddy bear.” We were pretty sure we had given or thrown the bear away, but unbelievably, we found it in a dark corner in the basement — the money still inside.

We’re enjoying the perfect California summer, riding our bikes and meeting everyone who comes to town. When will you be by?

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors and independent thinkers to help us make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to editorial changes.

Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot collective, but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate, constructive criticism and discussion.

Thanks to all who worked on this: Adam, Artnoose, B, Dale, Eggplant, Hefty Lefty, Kerry, Maneli, Molly, Moxy, Natalia, PB, Rachel.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on August 20 at 4 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below).

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 92 by September 16, 2006 at 3 p.m.

Volume 1, Number 91, Circulation 15,000

Printed June 8, 2006

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751

slingshot@tao.ca • www.slingshot.tao.ca

Back issue Project

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage: send us $2 for 2 lbs or $3 for 4 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. Or drop by our office. Send cash or check to Slingshot to: Slingshot 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705.

Circulation Information

Slingshot is free in the Bay Area and is available at Long Haul and Bound Together Books (SF), plus lots of other places. Contact us or come by if you want to distribute Slingshot for free in the Bay Area.

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income and anyone in the USA who owns a Slingshot organizer, or cost $1 per issue. International is $2.50 per issue. Back issues are also available for the cost of postage. National free distribution program: Outside of the Bay Area, we’ll mail a stack of free copies of Slingshot to distributors, infoshops, bookstores and random friendly individuals for FREE in the US if they give ‘em out for free.

Free Box Spooks the Rich: Dark forces allegedly within the contraption!

People’s Park in Berkeley has been an emblem of the people’s power to create a world of our own design in it’s tumultuous thirty-seven years, and now once again, the park community is under attack. Over the last nine months, the University of California (UC) has been using its police to prevent re-construction of a free clothing exchange box at the park. For 30 years people have used the free box to share clothing, children’s toys, and a wide range of household items and necessities, that would otherwise go to waste. The idea, seemingly simple enough, is for people to take what they’d like from the free box and to contribute to it what they don’t need, nourishing a system of mutual aid and un-mediated (by money) exchange, although for the past several years it has been anything but simple.

Attempts to rebuild the box, which was mysteriously destroyed by arson in 2005, have been met with police repression and the destruction of a number of volunteer constructed boxes, all destruction being orchestrated by UC under its claims to ownership of the land upon which the park was built by the people in 1969. Park activists are struggling to re-build and defend the free box today in order to preserve its very practical significance.

Park activists are asking the community to bring clothing donations to People’s Park during the times that FNB serves – weekdays, 3 pm- 4:30 pm, as UC police have been threatening tickets to clothing donors at other times. A mobile Free Box has been showing up somewhat sporadically.

The most recent incident in the struggle for the free box was on May 16 when two UC workers demolished a free box that volunteers had built the previous Saturday afternoon, and had been conducting night time Copwatch vigils to defend. A supervisor from the UC Sports and Rec. Department was present (Sports and Rec. is the body that administrates the Park.) There were three UC police officers in attendance, including a lieutenant, who was videotaping the procedure.

On April 25, early in the morning, a free box was removed which had been built on the parking strip near the driveway on Haste St.

On April 28, at 3 pm, a bicycle cart intended for use as a mobile free clothing distribution site was impounded by UC police in front of the Free Speech stage. It was empty at the time.

Copwatch is participating in the vigils, and has been sending teams to the Park to document police abuse and police harassment of FNB, and the weekday afternoon free clothing distribution has stopped when they are around.

In defending their refusal to permit a new box to be re-built at the park, university officials argue that the free box attracts undesirable people to the Park. A press release from 1999, entitled “UC Berkeley’s New Security Campaign” attempts to demonize the free box and push for its removal by alleging that “Individuals gather around the box to conduct drug-dealing transactions…” and …. “some sell the donated clothing – using the proceeds to fund their alcohol habits” as if to say that a box is in some way contributing to the drug trade and in some way responsible for the propagation of chemical dependency.

It is increasingly apparent that the principle of free economic exchange proposed by the free box is a threat to the University and its corporate clients. They have spent thousands of dollars in attempts to shut down the park all together throughout the years.

With all the pressure and scare-tactics being imposed by UC, it is clear that this fight has some serious underlying motives. For thirty-seven years now, the struggle over ownership of the park has been at the forefront — it has been over this question of property rights that so much sweat, tears and blood has been shed. When the park was peacefully created by volunteers in 1969 on vacant, UC-owned land, the university’s massive, military over-reaction delegitimized future UC claims to ownership of the land. During days of rioting after the university’s middle of the night construction of a fence around the park, police shot into crowds with shotguns, killing one, blinding one, and wounding 128. Governor Reagan ordered the National Guard to occupy Berkeley. Although the fence stayed up for a while, the university has never been able to develop the land because of permanent community support for the park.

One can draw a correlation from the very beginning of the park’s history to today’s free box battle, in which throughout this time span, People’s Park has been creating an independent spirit of community cooperation. It is this demonstration of people’s power that so greatly threatens those who would rather see the continuance of the people’s dependency on a hierarchical and capitalist system. Rather than crouch down and give up, people are still struggling for self-determination, sustainability, and change.

A call for defense – protester is scapegoat in police temper tantrum

Gabriel Meyers, 28, is facing an August 4 trial on felony and misdemeanor charges in connection with his arrest at a July 8, 2005 San Francisco protest against the G8 Summit. The G8 includes the richest industrialized countries whose leaders gather annually to organize continued global economic domination by the powerful over everyone else. Protests against the G8 were held world-wide last summer during the Scotland G8 Summit meeting. Gabe could face up to three years in prison if convicted, and he needs support.

Gabe was arrested along with two others last year and charged with felony attempted lynching — i.e. “unarresting” someone by trying to free them from police custody — and misdemeanor rioting during an incident in which a cop was hit in the head and suffered a fractured skull. Gabe is not charged with striking the officer. The police didn’t arrest anyone in connection with the beating. The government is accusing Gabe of attempting to lynch himself — essentially of trying to get away from the cops after they grabbed him. He was originally also charged with two misdemeanor resisting arrest charges, but they were dropped because of their weakness at a June 2 court hearing.

Gabe’s lawyers think the other charges are also very weak and that the government is pressing on with the case for political reasons. Gabe is being used as a scapegoat for the incident because the cops never found the person who hit the officer and they want to get someone for something. After the officer was injured, members of the police force were furious over the beating and circulated a petition voicing “no confidence” in the police chief and other police commanders.

Gabe is receiving support from the Midnight Special Law Collective and the National Lawyers Guild. He is asking people to contact SF district Attorney Kamala Harris and tell her to drop the charges against Gabriel Meyers – call her at 415 553-1752 or email at www.sfgov.org/.

Rabble calendar

June

June 27-30

Boycott the Congreso de Merco Soja. (Soy bean corporation) No more land overuse. Rosario Argentina mierdasoja2006@yahoo.com.ar

June 30 – July 2

Baltimore Mid-Atlantic Radical Bookfair & Infoshop Gathering – redemmas.org

July

July 1 • 10 am-midnight

Get Awesome Fest 3 – bands, food, games, skillshares, workshops, etc. Santa Fe NM www.warehouse21.org

July 1-7

Rainbow Gathering – Western Colorado – for directions, ask a hippie on the street www.welcomehome.org

July 3 – 10

26th Earth First! Round River Rendezvous. Katuah EF. Asheville, NC. www.earthfirstjournal.org

July 4

Smash TVs, burn the flag, watch fireworks, undermine the US empire. In Berkeley @ People’s Park @ 3 p.m.

July 5-11

Plan-it-X Fest and punk summer camp, music, workshops – Bloomington, Indiana Plan-it-x.com

July 7-9

Midwest Social Forum. University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union. www.mwsocialforum.org

July 14

International Mad Pride day — Free Minds At Ease. Many cities: mindfreedom.org

July 15 – 17

International days of protest against neo-liberalism and the G8 meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia in towns all over the globe. Demand zero emissions / halt climate change reclaimthecommons.net -www.nadir.org

July 28 – 30

National Grassroots Immigrant Strategy Conference American University Washington, DC www.ImmigrantSolidarity.org (800)598-6379

August

August 4

Free Radio Berkeley radio camp – build an FM transmitter – $150 – pre-register 510-625-0314, wwwfreeradio.org

August 4-13

Ferral Visions Against Civilization conference – Northern Arizona or New Mexico, greenanarchy.org

August 6

Hiroshima Day action – protest 61 years of US nukes

August 11-13

Portland, Oregon Zine Symposium. wwwpdxzines.com

August 11 • 8 pm

Long Haul Infoshop’s 13th birthday party – music, dancing – 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley – 510 540-0751 (after Berkeley critical mass bike ride – 6 @ Berkeley BART)

August 20 • 4 p.m.

New volunteer meeting for Slingshot issue #92

August 25

International Day of Solidarity with the victims of McDonalds – make an action in your town!

August 25 • 6 pm

San Francisco Critical Mass bike ride – Justin Herman Plz

August 26 – 28

A World Beyond Capitalism Conference – Portland, OR www.aworldbeyondcapitalism.org

And so on

September 16 • 3 pm

Article deadline for Slingshot issue #92

October 1

2007 Slingshot organizer available for distro

October 19 – 22

Counter Corp-anti-corporate film festival San Francisco www.countercorp.org

October 28 • 10-6 pm

5th Annual New Orleans Bookfair. Barrister’s Gallery, 1724 Oretha Castle Haley Blvd, www.hotironpress.com

Slingshot Issue #90 introduction

Slingshot is an independent, radical, quarterly newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

Hanging in the east bay radical scene can be so inspiring. We wish we could somehow write up and publish all of the myriad experiences we have every day that give us insights into how a new world might look. When people live their lives for pleasure — based on cooperation — living simply with few possessions but great richness and complexity — every day feels like it lasts forever filled with adventure, powerful emotions, long talks, hugs and dancing. Also gathering, mending, struggling and growth.

Sometimes it seems like the normal rules that control the operation of the rest of the world are crumbling in our personal daily lives, even as those rules seem to grow more oppressive out in the “real world.” But what is real anyway? Who says you have to spend your oh-so-short life working a job you hate, living compromise, letting days slip away? We’re dropping out of the rat race and into another place — a place where we get to define the questions, the conflicts, and our paths. . . .

The government’s recent prosecution of activists merely for writing or talking — without them committing any illegal actions — is designed to scare us. Here’s a little scary story that happened to Slingshot recently. We got a call from a reporter with The Herald-Sun in Durham, North Carolina. She was writing an article about some graffiti at a military recruiting center there and wanted us to comment on a report that we were responsible because of an article we had published about the Iraq war. Of course, we’re in Berkeley and don’t have any members in North Carolina, so we were fuckin’ confused! By the time we called her back, she had already published the article:

The motivation for the graffiti may have come from a [article] that urges readers to make “an anti-recruitment effort.” The [article] allegedly written by members of the organization The Slingshot Collective, lists 46 recruitment centers in 24 states as eligible targets for “disruptive actions designed to cripple the U.S. war effort in Iraq.”

We got hate emails from North Carolina after the article ran. She quoted the police and the military recruiters, so one of them must have given her the information. Who was it in the government who read our article and decided it meant that we were responsible for any random graffiti painted on a wall somewhere? A lot of our friends have reported similarly strange incidents and visits from homeland security. Despite it all, we’ll keep publishing as we please until they drag us off or we run out of James Brown tapes and beer. Take that spell-check.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors and independent thinkers to help us make this paper. If you send something written, please be open to editorial changes.

Editorial decisions are made by the Slingshot collective, but not all the articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate, constructive criticism and discussion.

Oops! — a ton of letters from prisoners asking for papers didn’t get typed in & didn’t get last issue – we’re trying to fix the problem.

Thanks to all who worked on this: Artnoose, Hefty Lefty, Kale, Cara, Sal, Dale, Eggplant, Gregg, Lew, Rachel, Nissa, Maneli, PB.

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on April 30 at 1 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below).

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 91 by May 27, 2006 at 3 p.m. — however we may put off publication until the fall depending on events this spring, in which case the deadline would be delayed until September. If we decide to publish in June, we’ll display one ass in the North tower of the Long Haul. If we’re going to publish in September, we’ll display two asses in the North tower.

Volume 1, Number 90, Circulation 14,000

Printed April 6, 2006

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751

slingshot@tao.ca • www.slingshot.tao.ca

Back issue Project

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage: send us $2 for 2 lbs or $3 for 4 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. Or drop by our office. Send cash or check to Slingshot to: Slingshot 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705.

Circulation Information

Slingshot is free in the Bay Area and is available at Long Haul and Bound Together Books (SF), plus lots of other places. Contact us or come by if you want to distribute Slingshot for free in the Bay Area.

Subscriptions to Slingshot are free to prisoners, low income and anyone in the USA who owns a Slingshot organizer, or cost $1 per issue. International is $2.50 per issue. Back issues are also available for the cost of postage. National free distribution program: Outside of the Bay Area, we’ll mail a stack of free copies of Slingshot to distributors, infoshops, bookstores and random friendly individuals for FREE in the US if they give ‘em out for free.

War on terrorism targets eco activists BUT WE WON’T BE SCARED

Over the past few months, radical environmentalists from New York to Oregon have been arrested and accused of “eco-terrorism” — a term invented by pro-industry think-tanks that falsely links non-violent activists with atrocities like those committed on September 11. All those arrested are facing outrageously harsh prison sentences, sometimes for vague crimes in which no action actually occurred, and in other cases for instances of property destruction in which no one was injured. The harshness of the sentences are based on the politics of the defendants more than the seriousness of any crime — even assuming there was any crime. Some defendants face life terms for arsons which — if committed for non-political motives — would only earn them a few months behind bars. All of this has been termed the “green scare” to compare it with the “red scares” of the 1920 and 1950s — witch hunts against radicals based on what people thought, not what they did. The point of these government actions is to scare us, but we won’t be scared.

The recent cases include the eco-activists indicted in Oregon, the comrades arrested in Auburn, the SHAC 7 and Rod Coronado, among other cases. (See specific articles, pg. 12, 13 and 22.) The government’s attempt to label these activists as terrorists is a dangerous and baseless extension of the “war on terrorism” to domestic environmental activists. Whereas the State Department defines “terrorism” as involving violence against human beings, the FBI definition of domestic terrorism includes any politically motivated crime. Even actions such as graffiti, gluing a lock or clogging a toilet are included in the FBI’s lists of domestic terrorist incidents. Although the FBI describes property damage as “violence” for purposes of prosecuting activists, the FBI’s national Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) system defines “violent crime” as murder, rape, robbery and assault. The FBI has used the media to accuse activists of being eco-terrorists even though none of them have been charged under the terrorist criminal statutes (US Code Sec. 2331) and “eco-terrorist” is not defined in federal law.

These arrests come as a result of extensive surveillance and the use of paid informants. They coincide with other draconian measures that are being taken by the government, such as the push for immigration legislation which would increase the persecution of people who are indigenous to this land mass, but are deemed ‘illegal aliens’, and those who support them, and increased surveillance of groups participating in direct actions that run damage control for capitalism outside of ‘legal’ frameworks like Food Not Bombs and Critical Mass.

The FBI has identified “ecoterrorism” as the Number One domestic terrorism threat, although in 2003, FBI statistics showed 7,400 hate crimes and only 450 environmental crimes — none involving human injury. By contrast, since 1977, anti-abortion activists have perpetrated more than 59,000 acts of violence and destruction in the U.S. including seven murders, 17 attempted murders, 41 bombings, 165 arsons, three kidnappings, 122 assaults, 343 death threats and, most recently, 480 anthrax threats, according to the National Abortion Rights Action League.

In an excellent recent article, Catherine Komp credits industry groups — such as Ron Arnold’s Center for the Defense of Free enterprise — with inventing and promoting the concept of eco-terrorism. She explains that industry groups are now working to pass eco-terrorist laws: “The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public-policy organization funded by more than 300 corporations, collaborated with the US Sportsmen’s Alliance, an advocacy group for hunters, fishers, and trappers, to write the Animal and Ecological Terrorism Act. If passed into law, the Act would consider arson, property destruction or trespassing acts of domestic terrorism – if committed by animal-rights activists. The groups also wish to criminalize acts [such as] providing ‘financial support or other resources,’ including lodging, training or transportation to aid eco-terrorist activities.” While these laws have not yet passed, she notes “On the state level . . . lawmakers in Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, South Carolina, Arizona, Washington and Hawaii are pushing various versions of the ecological terrorism legislation.”

It is important to ask why the state is putting so much energy and imposing literal and rhetorical force against people who have not harmed or threatened to harm any living thing. The reason this is happening is because those in power want to draw attention away from the failing ‘war on terror’ abroad and scare people from supporting groups and activities which call attention to the way that neo-liberal economic policies lead to poverty, death, and ecological destruction. This is especially true for movements that have gained broad public support.

Large segments of the public are beginning to question the sustainability of the ‘American way of life.’ Real environmental dilemmas are every day becoming more urgent and less easy to disregard. The idea that our world and the life in it, in all its diversity, is more important than property or monetary gain is one that resonates with most people. The result of this is that policy makers can no longer ignore environmental issues. Even George Bush has had to admit that our society is addicted to oil.

The people with money and power are trying to pacify and commercialize the environmental movement like they have every other social movement or sub-culture that has set itself against the status quo, purging it of its most radical elements and buying out what is left. The green scare is an attempt to separate militant environmental activists who have a radical analysis from mainstream environmentalism by falsely equating militancy and attacks on property with terrorism — the mass destruction of life.

Meanwhile what is left of the movement is herded into state sanctioned channels of dissent, such as voting, letter writing, product purchasing and boycotts, which often render all but the most short-term solutions unachievable. The results range from promoting unsustainable and lucrative alternatives to oil like ethanol to commodifying the aesthetics of environmentally conscious living so completely that once alternative lifestyles become just another set of niche-markets within the system of global capital. All of this despite the fact that the neo-liberal order itself is daily responsible for more real terror and destruction of life in all its forms than any other force — and that the only way to address the root causes of environmental catastrophes is to disassemble the system.

The green scare is also part of a larger process whereby the government slowly pushes forward the boundary of its power, gradually desensitizing people to increased top-down repression and control. Visible markers of this advance can be seen on a myriad of fronts, from the high profile arrests of people for ‘eco-terrorism’ to increasing intimidation of radical projects on a more widespread scale. Projects like Food Not Bombs and Critical Mass are a threat to those in power because they go against the principles of neo-liberal capitalism by demonstrating that people can come together and get things done without being motivated by the market; that mutual aid and direct action can be more persuasive and effective than isolation and greed.

The objective of these intimidation tactics, in the end, is to scare us because we have scared them and because we are being effective. We have scared the rulers by failing to respect the greed ethic of capitalism and by valuing life and the environment over corporate profits and property. They want us to watch what we say and who we associate with or to focus on reacting to their oppression instead of engaging with our world and creating new and beautiful visions for it. If environmental consciousness is to become ubiquitous, they want to make sure that it is also harmless and ineffective.

The only way they can win is if we give in to fear and spend all our energy reacting to their repression. They win if we cease to live in defiance of their brutal machine. Efforts like prisoner support are important, but can’t take the place of staying militantly on the offensive with vibrant and creative actions that are motivated by mutual love and respect for ourselves and our world.

Succor the SHAC 7 – Government wins convictions for incitment to peacefully protest

The government’s campaign against animal rights activists sunk to a new level March 2 when it won convictions against six activists simply for advocating protest activities. In the first trial ever under the Animal Enterprise Protection Act of 1992 (formerly known as the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act), animal rights activists Kevin Kjonaas, Lauren Gazzola, Jacob Conroy, Joshua Harper, Andrew Stepanian, Darius Fullmer were found guilty March 2 of multiple felonies related to their campaign to close animal-testing lab Huntingdon Life Sciences.

While the charges, including violation of the Act as well as conspiracy to harass using a telecommunications device, may sound alarming, the defendants were never accused of having personally engaged in any terrorist or threatening acts. Instead, the government alleged that above-ground organizers of the protest campaign were responsible for any and all acts that anyone engaged in while furthering the goals of the organizers. That the government won convictions based on such flimsy charges is designed to send a shiver down the spine of activists everywhere.

The six activists with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), charged along with John McGee who was dropped from the case, are known as the SHAC 7. Some of them now face up to ten years in prison. All of the defendants were involved in some capacity in the campaign to close Huntingdon Life Sciences, a contract research lab with one facility in New Jersey and two in England. Acts of cruelty to animals at the lab were exposed in five different undercover investigations which obtained video footage showing countless violations of the animal welfare act. Since 1999, activists have campaigned globally against the lab, bringing it to the brink of closure.

The trial of the case was biased against the defendants. The judge ruled that the defendants could not introduce their own computer expert (but the government could introduce their computer expert) and that there could be no anti-vivisection expert (but the government witnesses could carry on about the benefits of animal research). The judge also limited the defendants’ preemptory challenges during jury selection to seven and failed to dismiss jurors who worked for companies that had been the subject of the campaign to close HLS.

The government called witnesses who were unable to identify any of the defendants as engaging in any criminal acts against them. For example, the judge allowed HLS Director Brian Cass to testify about the campaign in England, an attack on him in England, and the benefits of animal research, despite the fact that he had nothing to say about the defendants in the case.

The SHAC7 (or 6) desperately need our support – both financially to cover the costs of the appeal process and morally to help them through these difficult and trying times. For more information on how you can help support the SHAC7 and defend the ability of activists to organize protest activities, check out www.SHAC7.com.

Christ died for his own sins . . . 2nd annual Slingshot Wingnut Award for Lifetime Achievement

At Slingshot’s 18th birthday party, the Slingshot Collective awarded the second annual Wingnut prize for Lifetime Achievement to our comrade Michael Diel. A short biography of Michael appears below. Slingshot created the Wingnut prize to recognize direct action radicals who have dedicated their lives to the struggle for alternatives to the current depressing, rotten system.

Wingnut is the term some of us use to refer to folks who walk on the wild side of reality — rejecting social, political and economic norms while fighting for a different world. A wingnut is more than just another boring radical, and more than just a nutcase — he or she is a blend of the best parts of both.

For 2007, we hope to award two Wingnut Awards for Lifetime Achievement: one for the East Bay scene, and one global award. Please send us your nominations along with why a particular person should be awarded the wingnut title for 2007. Someone must have at least 25 years of “service” to get the award.

Biography of Michael

Michael showed an early proclivity for activism in fourth grade in Windham, N.H. when he refused to stand for the pledge of allegiance and when he organized a boycott of music class because the students were being forced to sing Christmas music. He notes that this atheist action is ironic since he finally ended up as a dedicated pagan. In high school in the 1970s, Michael published an underground high school paper called Threshold. He organized a petition drive against mid-term exams which he got 80 percent of his fellow students to sign. “In high school I came to realize that in my writings I was espousing an anarchist criticism of the school system,” he notes. He recalls hating school, although he also founded an alternative school called the Alternative Learning Project which still exists today.

Michael attended Antioch college but because there were so many activist oriented students, he got into other things, among them, mid-1970s punk rock. He notes that he was “really into dancing” (he still is) and that he had “a lot of anger — punk gave me an outlet.” Michael dropped out of Antioch for a while and ended up in Berkeley for the first time in 1976 as a homeless street squatting gutter punk. He eventually finished school with a degree in early childhood education which he’s never used all that much.

During the 1980s, Michael was mostly homeless and was less explicitly political. He made art and got deeply into meditation. It was meditation that eventually told him that he should “get back involved in the world.”

Michael joined the 924 Gilman Street Project, an all-ages, volunteer run punk club, in the late 1980s. He was first involved in the art committee — he wanted to paint the walls. He eventually became manager and helped the club become a collective and a non-profit corporation — it was originally a project of Maximum Rock’n'Roll/Tim Yohannon. When the city wanted to close Gilman down, Michael helped organize 150 punks to show up to the city zoning commission meeting, and the city backed down. Gilman will celebrate its 20th birthday this year. Michael’s involvement in Gilman street brought him back to politics when he was involved with the club’s stand against racist skinheads. Michael spent a lot of time at Gilman offering counseling and advice to the younger punks, leading him eventually to the Berkeley Free Clinic, where he has focused on mental health and peer counseling.

Michael originally worked for the Free Clinic as a fundraiser but eventually became a key part of the Peer Counseling Collective which provides alternative mental health services. Michael is currently chairman of the Berkeley Mental Health Commission, a mental health advocate, and a member of the Radical Mental Health Collective.

In the 1990s, Michael became involved with the struggle to defend Berkeley’s People’s Park from University of California efforts to gentrify the park by building a volleyball court there. At around the same time, he devoted significant efforts to homeless advocacy, struggling to defeat city efforts to ban panhandling and harass homeless street youth. He helped win a federal court case against the city’s anti-panhandling/sitting on the sidewalk law. He was involved with an 11 day, 60 person strong Berkeley Homeless Union camp out in front of City Hall.

Michael became a member of the police monitoring group Copwatch to try to limit police abuse. In 1999 he helped Copwatch stand down the police chief and 40 officers who were trying to break up Camp KPFA outside the threatened radio station. He also got a radio show on pioneering unlicensed micro-radio station Free Radio Berkeley. He is rumored to still be involved in micro-radio on Berkeley Liberation Radio, 104.1 FM.

When asked why he deserved the 2006 Wingnut Award for lifetime achievement, Michael murmured “because I’m crazy!” Michael is well appreciated in the east bay for his unique ability to mix politics, punk, crazy dancing, paganism and street action. Michael walks everywhere he goes. “I got my top hat handed to me by a homeless woman and since then have been known as ‘the mayor of the streets’.” he added. Michael’s wise, radical and joyful presence is the very definition of wingnut-ism.

Arrests continue in Goverment Eco-crackdown

Slingshot issue #89 reported the December arrests of a number of people accused of involvement with actions claimed by the Earth Liberation Front/Animal Liberation Front. Unfortunately, a few days after we took the paper to the press, a number of additional people were arrested and there were an number of additional developments in the case. Here’s an update:

On January 19, the FBI arrested Jonathan Paul and Suzanne Savoie. Following his arrest Jonathan Paul was charged with involvement in an ALF arson on a horsemeat packing plant/slaughter house; whilst Suzanne was charged with involvement in an ELF arson on the offices of a lumber mill.

A few days after Jonathan & Suzanne’s arrests the FBI released a 65 count indictment against eleven people: Joseph Dibee, Chelsea Gerlach, Sarah Harvey, Daniel McGowan, Stanislas Meyerhoff, Josephine Overaker, Rebecca Rubin, Darren Thurston, Kevin Tubbs, Jonathan Paul and Suzanne Savoie. The FBI made it clear that there were others involved in that case who had not yet been identified.

On the February 23, the FBI announced they had arrested Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher, accusing them of involvement in an ELF arson against a poplar tree farm.

And on March 30, the government unsealed an indictment charging Briana Waters, 30, of Berkeley, Calif., with involvement in the arson of the University of Washington Center for Urban Horticulture in 2001. She faces a life sentence if convicted. She was released from custody after turning herself in and pleading not guilty.

The majority of the defendants in this case (the original eleven defendants named in the FBI document) are charged with involvement in an over-arching “Conspiracy to Commit Arson” and “Conspiracy to Commit Arson and Destruction of an Energy Facility”. The prosecution alleges that the conspiracy included 15 actions that involved arson, 2 attempted arsons and the production of an incendiary guide manual. Two of the alleged arsons were against wild horse corals and besides the fires it is alleged that wild horses were also released from their captivity.

The two conspiracy charges do not allege that the eleven defendants facing these charges where involved with all of the alleged actions. Conspiracy charges means that it is immaterial how much personal involvement each or any of the defendants had with any of the alleged actions.

Besides the two over-arching conspiracy charges, the defendants also each face a series of personal charges for their alleged involvement in the various actions. Some face as many as 57 individual charges. The reason why some of the defendants are facing multiple arson charges for their alleged involvement in one or two actions is because the FBI are placing one charge of arson against people for every single vehicle burnt in an action. So for example, during the arson on the SUV dealership thirty-five vehicles were destroyed so that is thirty-five separate charges of arson.

As we previously reported, following his arrest Stanislas Meyerhoff became a police informant. Since issue #89, Kevin Tubbs and Sarah Harvey have also both been named in open court as cooperating with the authorities although at this stage it is unknown what level of cooperation they have given the police. Other informants in this case have been named, in open court, as Jacob Ferguson and Jen Kolar.

Out of the other ten defendants, who are not cooperating with the police: Joseph Dibee, Rebecca Rubin and Josephine Overtaker have not yet been located by the FBI and it is believed these three are no longer living in the USA.

Daniel McGowan, Suzanne Savoie and Jonathan Paul have all been released from prison on conditional bail until their trial.

Chelsea Gerlach, Darren Thurston, Nathan Block and Joyanna Zacher remain in prison. Initially the Prosecution indicated they wished to hold a series of separate trials for each of the separate charges against each individual defendant. However the latest indication is the authorities have decided on one big show trial to be held in October 2006.

Support Campaigns have now been set up for the majority of the defendants in this case.

• Chelsea Gerlach, #1308678, PO Box 50307 Eugene, OR 97405 freechelseagerlach@hotmail.com

• Daniel McGowan, send donations to Lisa McGowan PO Box 106 New York, NY 10156.

FriendsofDanielMcG@yahoo.com

• Nathan Block supportersofnathanandjoyanna@gmail.com

• Suzanne Savoie friendsofsuzannesavoie@yahoo.com

• Darren Thurston freedarren@resist.ca

• Joyanna Zacher supportersofnathanandjoyanna@gmail.com

You can write to those in custody in Eugene at [name & # of prisoner] Lane County Jail 101 W 5th Ave Eugene, OR 97401.

All of these folks are the victims of a government witch-hunt and need our support. We have every reason to assume that all those arrested are innocent of the crimes of which they are accused, and that they will eventually be found innocent and released. We also have every reason to believe that people everywhere will continue to resist industries and institutions that destroy the earth. Finally, we have every reason to believe that the government will do everything it can to frighten the environmental movement by framing-up innocent activists. We won’t be scared and we won’t stop our actions to defend the earth.