Slingshot! #114

Working with the Slingshot! Collective has been one of the more exciting and fulfilling experiences I’ve had since leaving Tucson in July. I had submitted my review of Kids of the Black Hole which though submitted early missed the main editing meetings, and was considered too long by everyone who did look at it. But the upside has been working in person with a sizeable media collective in an Infoshop, The Long Haul, that has been around for some 20 years. I ended up submitting a very brief blurb about the tree sit and drafting the introduction which we’ll be meeting about amongst other things Thursday evening.

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

This issue we had one of the largest groups working on the journal in a while.  Meetings were attended by upwards of 15 people at a time, including many new folks.

Some of the big stories that are absent from this issue of Slingshot! were still discussed as we worked such as government whistle blowers; revealing NSA surveillance and Chelsea Manning’s trial.  Other stories from the injustice system such as George Zimmerman’s acquittal after shooting and killing an unarmed African American youth, Treyvon Martin, and the subsequent protests including those in the East Bay, and other shootings such as the North Carolina police shooting and killing an unarmed, 24 year old African American, Jonathan Ferrel, 10 times after he was in a car wreck, and the most recent mass shooting, this case in the Washington DC Navy Yard.

All of this is happening as the U$ government continues to wage a war of terror including, renewed saber rattling over a potential Syrian war, and to ignore if not deny climate change that has showed itself through both massive flooding in areas such as Colorado and massive fires such as those in Arizona, Oregon, Idaho and Alaska.  As if to increase this the tar sands pipeline continues to be worked on.

But amidst all this horror and injustice, we also see ongoing protests against the pipeline in both Canada and the U$, and the continued work on the institutions of a new society such as the gardens which came of the Biblioteca Popular Occupation which was reported in Slingshot! #113, ongoing movements such as Occupy the Farm, and new struggles such as even more squats being opened in Oakland.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors,  photographers, translators, distributors, etc. to make this paper. If  you send something written, please be open to editing.

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

Thanks to the people who made this:  Hayley, Joey, Jesse, Aaron, Brooke, Glenn, J— (wants to be called something else, please don’t forget!), Alex, Darin, J, Chris, Eggplant, __________… and all the authors and artists who contributed work.

White Castle Timber Sale Blockade

ahnb 002

The Cascadia Forest Defenders have been tree blockading the White Castle Timber sale via tree sits, stopping the destruction of remaining old forests in southern Oregon.  They are looking for support, and will provide what they can for people who come out such as food, training and gear.  I hitch hiked to Eugene in August where I met up with some of them and learned a bit about tree climbing before we went to the sit.

According to their call to action, “The White Castle timber sale is the first of a new type of clearcut – a Variable Retention Harvest.  Variable Retention Harvests cut 70% of a forest leaving the remaining 30% in little scattered patches. The science, developed by Drs. Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin, is that there is not enough young forest around for species that need more meadow-like habitat, like butterflies and moths.”

http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2013/08/10/cascadia-calling/

For more information please check:  forestdefensenow.com or write cascadiaforestdefenders at riseup dot net!

Hot Mess/RCA Squats, Oakland.

Hot Mess & RCA left to right.

Hot Mess & RCA left to right.

“Court Victory for Hot Mess / RCA: Hot Mess is a reclaimed house near the MacArthur BART station with a free store, a huge vegetable garden, and a chicken coop. In recent months, residents have liberated the abandoned RCA store next door, turning the shop’s ground floor into a lecture hall & music venue. On March 14, Hot Mess / RCA won a major victory in court when a judge chose to throw out the lawsuit being pressed against the squatters by the property owner. This victory will be useful in the defense of future squats (to find it in the books: Alameda County Superior Court Case #: RG12638555, Rockridge Properties LLC, vs Carey et al.). Legal defense was provided by Land Action, an Oakland-based non-profit that assists environmental & social-justice organizers in establishing and defending occupations used for housing & advancing projects. www.land-action.org

Taken from:  http://slingshot.tao.ca/issue.html?0113027

Visiting Oregon

After visiting Portland Oregon where I was also involved with the Occupy encampment that was happening in August, I decided to hitch hike back to Eugene to connect with the Cascadia Forest Defenders to check out a forest defense action happening in southern Oregon.  The Cascadia Forest Defenders have been tree blockading the White Castle Timber sale via tree sits, stopping the destruction of remaining old forests in southern Oregon. They are looking for support, and will provide what they can for people who come out such as food, training and gear.

According to their call to action, “The White Castle timber sale is the first of a new type of clearcut – a Variable Retention Harvest.  Variable Retention Harvests cut 70% of a forest leaving the remaining 30% in little scattered patches. The science, developed by Drs. Norm Johnson and Jerry Franklin, is that there is not enough young forest around for species that need more meadow-like habitat, like butterflies and moths.”

Taken from:  http://www.earthfirstjournal.org/newswire/2013/08/10/cascadia-calling/

For more information please check: http://www.forestdefensenow.com or write cascadiaforestdefenders at riseup dot net!

Hotshot from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Dunsmuir, California

Hotshot from Klamath Falls, Oregon to Dunsmuir, California

Afterwards I came back to the San Francisco Bay area to help with the new issue of Slingshot! and check out squats. Hopefully I’ll have more posted soon! Sorry these last two posts are out of order. I’ve been a bit discombobulated lately…

Rural Punks

This rant was inspired by the Rural Punks article in Profane Existence #64:   http://profaneexistence.com/#!/~/product/id=24379689

I did seasonal farm labor in the U$ Midwest from the late spring of 2004 every summer and at least parts of spring and fall through September 2011.  I also sometimes worked on farms in places with milder falls and winters like California, Virginia and Louisiana.
Part of my Love for the land and work came from the Do-It-Yourself mindset I picked up by being involved with Hardcore, Punk and Metal.  Some other people I knew through places like the South Side Punk House which used to be in West Lawn, Chicago and the Autonomous Zone Infoshop which was also in Chi started doing farm labor and talked about buying land and living more collectively and I was ready for it!  I had been part of these sorts if discussions in the 1990s in Ohio, but had relocated to Chi since too many people in Ohio really just did that, talk, while at least some of the people I knew in Chi were actually acting on our ideas.

I thought I would do this forever, and dreamed of either figuring out a way to do it especially by Traveling back and forth between the Midwest and more temperate zones.  This all started to seriously unravel for me in what was the 2011 season for me.

Looking back on all the work I’ve done, I’m pretty angry.  I’ve been exploited in the name of community, lied to, lied about, threatened for no good reason, sleazed up on, and have pointlessly fought for justice in the work site.  Worse has happened to many more, over all I’ve actually had it pretty good.  Of course there were good times, and I learned a great deal.  I feel like one of the students from Asia or Africa that went to the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) back in the year for technical training and received racist treatment and were punished when they protested.  I’ve learned critical skills, but at what cost?

When I finally had it with all the racism, xenophobia, dishonesty, second class at best treatment and exploitation in the name of all sorts of high sounding principles, I started Traveling harder and living better than ever before in many ways.  Towards the end of last spring I did start to feel that nagging feeling that I should be getting back to the land at least for the season, but I ignored it and had the best summer of my life at 32 years old.  This spring it didn’t even cross my mind.  As I’ve Traveled I’ve fallen back on a bit of gardening and farming, and I’d probably do it more again in the right situation, but as it stands right now I’m through with giving over the best years of my life to hippie capitalists and worse.