From Slingshot # 116

Review printed in Slingshot #116

Review printed in Slingshot #116, click to enlarge.

Voices of the Lucasville Uprising Volume 1

lucasvilleamnesty.org

The Lucasville Uprising was a prison rebellion against oppression and racism in the Southern Ohio Correctional Facility (SOCF) just outside of the village of Lucasville.  Nine inmates and one guard were killed in what was the longest prison rebellion in which lives were lost in U$ history.  I find it remarkable primarily for how it brought African American and white inmates together.

This ‘zine contains essays by abd one about people who were incarcerated in the SOCF during the 1993 uprising.  There is also a few very well drawn pictures, done by one of the ex-Lucasville inmates who is on death row for his alleged role in the uprising.  This ‘zine is a good place to start for those who want to learn more about the uprising, prisons, and the complexity of prisoners and their alliances whether one agrees with their politics or perhaps even oppose them.  Includes prisoners’ contact info.

functionally ill #17

functionallyill.blogspot.com

This is a ‘zine done by Laura-Marie, a 37 year old diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, bipolar type.  This particular issue deals with therapy and Laura-Marie’s feelings for her therapist, experiencing rapid cycling of depression and mania’s ups and downs, body image, navigating through the process of trying to get on disability and dreams.  Most of the stories are short but punchy, nicely formatted and the binding is hand stitched.

AUTONOMOUS ZONE POSITION STATEMENT

This is another oldie but goodie I found poking around the ‘net, a press release we started at a collective meeting but actually finished at my work while I was on the clock for the press conference we had with Chicago Direct Action Network (DAN)-Labor, the local Anarchist Black Cross (probably called Chicago ABC, it was part of the ABC Network as opposed to the ABC Federation back in 2004 when this happened), Not In Our Name (NION), the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), president of the local National Lawyers Guild (NLG) and Fred Hampton Jr. when we found out the Chicago Police Department’s Red Squad had been re-activated to monitor the above named groups.  You can read more about that in the ‘zine, The Autonomous Zone Infoshop: The A-Zone and a Decade of Anarchy in Chicago.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/219151997/The-Autonomous-Zone-Infoshop

CHICAGO–We, the Autonomous Zone Collective, are an anti-authoritarian organization.
We have been operating infoshops in the Chicagoland area for ten years. Our spaces
are used to facilitate political-social events in a fight for liberation from state
power.

We provided a space for some of the planning meetings around the time of the 2002
TABD Conference. Our group was one of the organizations that were infiltrated by the
Chicago Police Department in 2002 and some of our members were targeted for
harassment and false arrest.

The Chicago Police Department’s response is just another example of the state’s
historical systematic targeting of activists. Chicago’s history is rife with the
institutional abuse of power: from the genocide of the indigenous inhabitants of the
area to the repression we encounter today when people can’t organize against
military occupations abroad without being monitored secretly by the police.

It is illogical to say we are fighting for freedom abroad when our freedoms are
being siphoned away at home. Our government is perpetuating a climate of fear in
order to ensure compliance from the public. The security apparatus is designed to
protect the privileges of the minority of corporations and their politicians at the
cost of the civil liberties of the majority of the people.

Therefore, in defiance of this atmosphere of unwarranted fear, we feel it is
imperative to the survival of our freedom that we continue to organize against the
wars abroad and the incursions of our civil liberties at home.

“Our Economic Model is at War with Earth”

Original notes posted here: http://ivcaminos.blogspot.com/2014/04/naomi-klein-revolution-of-climate-change.html.

During a Hobo Residency this spring semester at Northern Arizona University I was able to hear Naomi Klein give a talk, (R)evolution of Climate Change:  How the Climate Crisis Can Spur Economic & Political Transformation.  Having gotten involved with radical politics in 2001, I feel like I’ve grown up reading her work from No Logo and Fences and Windows, through many articles especially in The Nation, to The Shock DoctrineThe Rise of Disaster Capitalism, which I actually picked up from the Iron Rail Infoshop the second time I was in New Orleans volunteering after Hurricane Katrina making it particularly relevant, and watching The Take and a handful of other videos.  On reflection, the fact that the climate crisis was being framed in a context that could spur economic transformation, should have made me apprehensive going into the talk, but I wasn’t thinking too deeply about the name of the talk at that point.

Klein started off speaking about how she hasn’t given many public talks over the last four years because she has been working on a new book which is currently in the final edits called This Changes Everything, the “This” being climate change.

She talked about how long she was in soft denial of climate change, and systematically about the various ways people try to ignore it including personal struggles, but how Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy showed this is a struggle people cannot ignore.

Next Klein addressed the predictions for the rise of temperatures on our current trajectory as an example of what will happen if we do nothing, and why we need to change how we think, relate to each other, even govern, everything needs to change.  I feel like such implications can’t be downplayed in their radical potential, but it seemed like most times this sort of rhetoric was used, it wasn’t expanded on much.  There are all sorts of ways we can change how we think, relate to each other and govern that would not make things better for many or most people even if they dealt with climate change.

Klein backtracked to 1988 as being the starting point for the emergence of the science behind climate change being connected to greenhouse gases.  She contextualized this by talking about how the Berlin Wall came down the next year and then began the era of global market fundamentalism that we are in, and has led to a 60% rise in emissions.

Klein considers it the fundamental problem that people consider the economic change we need, to be scarier than climate change.  She said many of the necessary changes are exciting, and solve other problems we have anyways.  She compared the transformation to the abolition of slavery and the New Deal.  When talking about abolitionism, Klein stressed its initial grassroots nature and how it eventually came to totally change society in the U$.  Talking about the era after the New Deal, she said she recently found out that in 1946 40% of the fresh produce consumed in the U$ was still being grown in the backyard Victory Gardens that had been a big part of the domestic side of the recently ended war drive, but what we need now will be bottom up.

The Ontario Green Energy plan to get off coal by 2015 was discussed next, and how they’ve been able to get down to just one coal burning plant when they used to be very dependent on it.  This plan was a response to the high point of the current economic crisis which saw many plant closures from the Big Three U$ auto-manufacturers in that province.  The Ontario government tried to offset these plant closures by creating Green jobs.  30,000 were created, and many ex-autoworkers started to make solar panels and wind turbines for local use.  She emphasized how many of the workers and their families were proud of the work they did for the first time.

Because of protectionist, local sourcing written into the plan, Japan and the European Union took Canada to the World Trade Organization (WTO) and won, Ontario promptly shutting down its program.  But this has caused many people to realize the need to change the laws that govern global trade.  Similarly in Quebec, a fracking ban has been challenged by a U$ corporation under the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

Next Klein talked at length about how a grassroots movement emerged in Boulder, Colorado initially to Green the coal powered grid, but moved to re-municipalize the energy system since the private company that ran it refused to get off coal.  This has been happening on a large scale in Germany where in Hamburg, the second largest city, a ballot initiative for re-municipalization of electricity has won.  In Berlin a similar vote got a majority, but voter turn out was too low to make the super majority needed to win.  Then the small scale, decentralized Green energy being used in Germany was described.
The brutal flooding this winter in the UK was talked about, and how Cameron’s austerity measures effected this through massive funding cuts to the organizations that should have been dealing with the flooding.  Klein compared this in detail to Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy.
Tar Sands and fracking projects came up next, and how they have created the movements that oppose extraction.  Klein talked about how one of the most exciting aspects of this resistance is the indigenous leadership in North America.
This was followed by campaigns for fossil fuel divestment such as the Do the Math Tour, and how schools, cities, churches and foundations are divesting from fossil fuels, and some in turn are investing in Green energy.
For particularly local relevance she talked about the Black Mesa Water Coalition, and the struggle against coal mining and burning for power on Dine land.

Then Klein backtracked to how her views on global warming started to change when she met with a Bolivian governmental representative who talked about the need for Green development, speaking to the UN in 2009.  She advocated a Green Marshal Plan for development in the Third World.  The contextualization of how this fit into the history of colonialism and the current crises of economics and the environment was a moment of clarity for Klein.
Klein ended her talk by reiterating the need for a movement similar to that of the abolitionists, and expanded this to how the women’s movement has helped bring attention to the ongoing crises women face, and how we need to stop looking away from climate change.
During questions and answers, Klein was asked about China’s rise to prominence in the global economy.  She said China is opening a coal burning plant a week, but Third World development has been used as an excuse to not cut First World emissions for far too long and this needs to stop, we need to get beyond this and “our economic model is at war with Earth and we need to change.”  We can’t pretend that colonization and the Industrial Revolution didn’t happen, we can’t ignore our history.  Confronting our history can be liberatory.  She also talked about how the anti-China messaging of many big Green groups in the U$ drives her crazy and how we go nowhere with this sort of hyper-patriotism.  This is something that has also been bugging me for a while, so I was glad to hear a white person say it.  It has been reminding me for years about how bad it sucked to be half Japanese and moving to the Rust Belt in 1989 when the Japanese-U$ trade deficit was being blamed for all our economic problems and all the racism and xenophobia that came with that.  Klein talked about how we need to foster internationalism and humanism.  “If we are going to win this, we need to have a values change.”
Klein was asked about the negative industrial aspects of Green energy, and she admitted it’s an important thing to examine, but talked about how complicated this is.  We need to consume less, and the transition will include urban planning adding more public transit and designing cities away from car culture in general.  She also talked about cleaner ways to recycle.
The topic of re-municipalization was returned to, trying to fight against urban sprawl, and how the leaders globally in Green energy are generally places where there is more public ownership.

Then the Transition Town Movement was discussed.  When visiting its birthplace in the UK, Klein stressed how one of its major components isn’t just giving people bad news, but hanging out with people and creating the space to process the information and make plans for the change we need.  She also emphasized how many of the participants in the Transition Town Movement had come out of other struggles such as the Women’s Movement.  I think this was one of her most well articulated points when it came to exactly how a grassroots response to climate change will look from Klein’s perspective.

When asked about Green Washing, Klein responded with how it creates an illusion of the scale of the problem.  It makes the threat seem small.  She said in the 1980s many environmentalists decided to not go directly after polluters, and how carbon offsetting and many other bad ideas that won’t work came out of this and she thinks it’s “scandalous.”  The emerging, grassroots climate movement will either turn to these groups to proper solutions or make them irrelevant.  “We’re actually acting like this is a war ’cause it is.”  The need to protect water is the driving force behind the movement against fossil fuels and it’s a largely women led movement all over the world, that’s exciting, and it starts with water and goes up.

As long as I’ve been reading her work I’ve felt like Klein dwells in a gray area between radical and liberal, and this talk seemed to bring that out in a more contradictory sense than anything else I’ve read or heard by her.  Though she consistently emphasized grassroots and radical change on every level of society, when it came to actual examples of change she came back overwhelmingly to the state and corporations again and again.  I caught myself wondering if she has taken a turn to the right or if she was playing down some of her more radical ideas since she was speaking in front of a big state school audience?  I’m still very excited about her next book, though I’m a bit apprehensive now too.

 

The Luddite Worker

An oldie but goodie I forgot about, this is a Travel story I originally printed in The Luddite Worker #3.  I’ve lost most of that material since zinelibrary.info went down for what seems like the count at this point.  Luckily I posted this on Squat the Planet when I was briefly addicted to that website.

Courtship Luddite-Hobo Style

In the fall of 2008 I was smitten by a crush I had on a Fellow Traveler I met while WWOOFing on a seed farm in Virginia.

One night she was spinning yarn with short fibered, colored cotton we were removing seeds from, with a drop spindle she had made with a potato and a chopstick. Need I write more?

Being mostly a hobo from the midwest, I started talking with her about wool and flax, the two locally produced fibers I had experience with. I lent her a ‘zine on growing flax and processing it into linen, and offered to send her a sheep’s fleece next time I was back in the midwest.

Fast forward about a month and a half. While taking a break from husteling up a grub steak in Des Moines, I went to a New Years Eve party in the southern part of Iowa. There I met up with a friend from the Little Farm, and swapped To Inherit the Earth, a book about Brazil’s Landless Workers’ Movement and some packets of seeds for a sheep’s fleece. The only problem now was that it was filthy! I liked my crush enough to send her the fleece without asking for anything in return, but I didn’t like her enough to clean it myself.

I took my chances and went to a UPS store back in Des Moines with the fleece in a garbage bag. As my luck would turn out, I was stuck in line behind an atractive female, and the smell of wool and sheep crap coming from the fleece was punishing! I was worried she might think the smell was coming from my body, but she never even made eye contact with me, so it didn’t really matter, I guess.

I finally got up to the counter, and started lazily chewing the fat with the worker as they struggled to get the garbage bag into a box. After a few tries, what I was worried about happened. The worker started screaming, “What is this!?” as clumps of wool, sheep crap, dirt and straw literally poured out of the bag and all over the counter. Having been worried this would happen, I was prepared to act like I thought what I was doing was some how normal and/or okay.

“Wool! I told you it’s a sheep’s fleece!” I yelled back, motioning with my right hand like it was a pair of sheep shears. “It’s wool right off of the sheep!”

The worker regained their composure, and after helping clean up the mess, it was shipped off to Indiana, where my crush was staying with her sister. Later she sent me a thank you e-mail, while taking a break from cooking a pig’s head. The next time I had a steady mailing address, she followed up by sending my a bottle of ginseng tincture she had made, from the root of a plant she had grown while I was lumberjacking in the Missouri Ozarks, and she was working on a sheep dairy in Washington. She included a thank you note that said the fleece was beautiful, after it was washed.

Other things of interest:  cover art, and The Chiapas Project from The Luddite Worker #2worm bin composting tutorial from The Luddite Worker #3 Carlos Cortez reproductions silk screened from The Luddite Worker #4.