I Feel Like Lee Ving!

This weekend Outta Your Backpack Media (OYBM) the main other project that shares the infoplex with the Taala Hooghan had another film making session, and I was able to help with two of them.  When first approached to be in a film as a scavenger hunting a cat, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.  An old part friend of mine started a rumor that my whole family ate cats when a couple kids asked him at a party if I knew karate, and he got annoyed because he knew the only reason they were asking that was because I’m half Japanese.  Hopefully the film will be posted soon.

The second film I helped with is Dumpster Divine and can be watched now!    

‘Zine Reviews

MalintZINE #1

malintzine.com

A ‘zine by radical women involved with the struggle for Mexican American Studies (MAS) in Tucson, Arizona.  Mostly prose, there’s a lyrical sense in most of the writing that gives the whole ‘zine flow along with the poetry, and creative formatting from page to page similarly interacts with with the art.  Sexual assault, a gay bashing, and fat phobia are confronted within communities of color and the struggles against racism and for MAS.  Suggested listening through a mix tape page and suggested reading are also included.

kids

Kids of the Black Hole:  Perspectives On The North American Punk House

edited by Bryan May

Mostly dealing with Punk Houses in Portland, Oregon and Santa Cruz, California where the editor has lived, there’s also one article about an old Punk House in Portland, Maine, the Coyle St. House.  This is a long overdue contribution to the body of literature dealing with different forms of collective living.  Articles, artwork and photography are mixed well, though the tone is largely negative.  It’s far better than the fluff pieces that usually circulate that make out collective living to be the be all and end all with little or no imperfections, it’s largely a synopsis of everything that can go wrong with living in a Punk House, with little of what makes it one of my favorite forms of collective living.

Copies can be ordered at http://blackmold.storenvy.com/products/1524502-kids-of-the-black-hole-perspectives-on-the-north-american-punk-house-zine or write brybry at riseup dot net to see about ordering with cash.

Radical Writing Circle with Mary Sojourner

Saturday at the A Fire at the Mountain Anti-Colonial and Anarchist Bookfair I participated in a writing circle with Mary Sojourner and a number of my comrades from town.  After talking a bit, she got us started on our first exercise.  She gave us a sentence to start with, and told us to write until she told us to stop.  This is what I wrote:

I can’t stop it pouring from my heart.  When I left Tucson the last time in July I knew I had to leave.  The last night I slept at the Halfway House I kept second guessing myself, thinking of every possible reason why leaving made little to no sense but knew I had to leave.

It took a whole day to make sure I took care of everything I needed to before leaving, but I moved like on autopilot and was done doubting.

I did get stuck in Marana for a day which was sort of nightmarish and had some creeping doubts, but just couldn’t turn around.  Once I really started rolling, I was in Tempe, then Indio, California by the end of my second day On The Road and knew I’d be fine.

There were a few moments when I felt how completely out of control my situation was, but it was actually a good feeling.  I imagined that it was what it felt like to be in the womb of a Loving mother or in a cocoon, an autonomous creature in transformation though temporarily stuck in one place.

I spent far too much time thinking about Tucson, but was totally at peace with the lack of solid direction that I had.  Direction, quit literally was all I felt.  I wanted to go west on the 10 from Tucson, then north on the 5 from LA.

I wasn’t sure what else I was doing, but I was sure of the direction I was heading.  It took me two weeks to the day to reach Olympia, and after about 24 hours, the same uncontrollable feelings had me headed back south, getting to Eugene the same day I left.

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For the second exercise, Mary gave us some words to think about such as colors, smell/scent, light, weather, dark, blood.  Then again she gave us another sentence asking us to write non-stop what came to mind though to keep away from polemics this time.  This is what I wrote:

I couldn’t believe my eyes.  Someone stumbled back inside the Halfway House from fighting outside and I thought he was going to die.  His temple was bulged out so far I thought it had to be his brains coming out and there was nothing we could do about it, he had to go to a hospital.

There was blood and beer all over the floor but he laid down anyways.  For someone to be hurt so bad that they lay down on that floor you know there’s big trouble.

His friends help him into a car and the rest of the fighting has stopped.  People left or calmed down but many of us stand around in the relative cool of a Tucson night in June, long after the sun has set, before the monsoons make town muggy.

The front yard is mostly lit by the yellow haze of a street light, and there’s still a lot of angst in the air as people talk about what happened and why.  The police show up long after the fighting stops for the second time that day, and are luckily reasonable and leave.  There’s a little chaos anyways, and the House finally mostly clears out for the night and I try to sweep and mop at least the places there are blood.

As two women walk out, one says to the other, “People live here,” and I smirk because I am one of them.  I live in the laundry room, or at least for about another month.

Interview with Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers

After hearing Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers speak, I was able to ask them a few questions. In front of me in line to speak with Dohrn was Boots Riley from The Coup’s father! Later I remembered Boots wrote the introduction to ex-Weather Underground Organization cadre David Gilbert’s memoirs, but I didn’t remember him talking about his father being a radical also! He was already personally familiar with Dohrn, and they greeted each other warmly. It was cool to meet him and he gladly accepted a copy of Slingshot.

I introduced myself to Dohrn by giving her a copy of Slingshot which she was happy to get and telling her about the talk at Knox College in Illinois where we met and I heard her talk in 2010. She said she remembered the talk and would answer a couple questions.

AI: I read that Shin’ya Ono who had wrote You Do Need a Weatherman to Know Which Way the Wind Blows [a weather faction of Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) position statement re-printed in the Weatherman reader, available to borrow from the Long Haul Infoshop] was Japanese, I’m half Japanese, so I find that interesting. I tried to do some research about what he’s doing now and all that came up was about a prominent Japanese politician with the same name and I had no idea, like I never read anything that he did, like if he even went underground or anything, so I was wondering if you could tell me what became of him after that.

BD: I don’t know. That’s not trivia and I don’t know the answer. Shin’ya Ono was a really brilliant historian and activist and he played you know I think a very important role once we went underground because he wasn’t partisan and he wasn’t part of those wars. But also he loved the fire and the spirit that we represented and yet he thought we were foolish in a lot of ways, and I think he played a very important role but I don’t know if he’s still alive. He was a terrific, independent intellectual which we need more of.

AI: I also recently read in Jane Alpert’s memoirs (Growing Up Underground, also available to borrow from the Long Haul!) that the code name for the Weather Underground was the eggplant and I’ve got a comrade in town, that’s his street name so I thought it was kind of funny so I started calling him The Eggplant whenever I refer to him.

BD: laughs.

AI: I was just wondering why? Why the eggplant?

BD: The Eggplant That Ate Chicago. [A song by the Dr. West’s Medicine Show and Junk Band, which I think I remembered reading this in Fugitive Days by Bill Ayers years ago since I knew the song from Dr. Demento broadcasts.]

AI: Oh, okay, ’cause of the Days of Rage.

BD: Yes. Well just because SDS came out of the National Office, was in Chicago, and I was born there, some of us were from there. Just that was the connection.

AI: Thank you very much.

BD: It’s a pleasure!

Afterwords I gave Bill Ayers a copy of Slingshot which he was also already familiar with and excited to get.

AI: I came in on a press pass from Slingshot and you know from reading collections like Weatherman and seeing the old film Underground I realized the importance of controlling our own media. New Left Notes (SDS’s journal) and you even did a journal and a political statement (Osawatomie and Prairie Fire:  The Politics of Revolutionary Anti-Imperialism, along with many communiques) while you were underground. You talked a lot about mainstream media but only a little about underground, not even underground but the DIY stuff like KPFA (the local Pacifica station which this event was a benefit for), could you expand a bit about the importance of controlling our own media?

BA: When you say that I talk a lot about the mainstream media, what do you mean?

AI: [Tonight] you talked about how the mainstream media made a cartoon of you.

BA: I spend very little time whining about the mainstream media. The reality is that every movement has and develops its own media, it’s part of building a movement, is develop your own media and your own means of communication. One of the things that I think is an indication of the weakness of the progressive movement now and then is that we get into these silly kind of arguments about how the press is reporting us as if that’s what makes a movement. That doesn’t make a movement. So if the New York Times says that there were 50,000 of us in Washington and really there were 100,000 a lot of progressives get very agitated and their nose out of joint about that I don’t. I don’t look to the New York Times for affirmation, I don’t look to the Washington Post to see if I’m a real person. As we build a movement we have to build our own ways to communicate. The wonderful thing, you can go through history, all social movements have done this, but the wonderful thing about this moment is that today, our generation, this generation has more access to more information, and to more different kinds of formats than we ever had in history.  We have to use that as a tool to help us build a revolution.  That’s what we have to do, so yes, independent media.

By the time Ayers finished answering we were outside of the hall.  I thanked him and remarked I was in the A-Zone Collective when he spoke at one of our events at the New World Resource Center when it was in Humboldt Park, Chi back in ’04.  He said he remembered the event and asked how could I leave town.  I told him the neighborhoods I spent the most time in were being gentrifucked out of existence (namely Uptown and Pilsen) to which he replied, Yeah, but you’ve got to stop and fight sometime.  I didn’t want to get into this discussion since it was pretty late and I regrettably had turned out Slingshot’s recorder, so I replied with the quick answer, But I’m from the South Bay, which received a round of Ohs including from Ayers as someone remarked He’s a homeboy!   

An Evening with Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn

Image

On Wednesday November 6 I was able to attend a speech given by ex-Weather Underground Organization (WUO) cadre and educator Bill Ayers in Berkeley.   After getting on to the complimentary seats list on behalf of Slingshot, I grabbed a stack of 100 copies of the paper from the Long Haul Infoshop and meandered to the Hillside Club.  The usual gauntlet of beady eyed sectarians distributing pamphlets to the masses outside was sparse.  A couple Sparticists who for a change didn’t hassle me for not taking up exactly their line and someone from KPFA, the local Pacifica station that this was a benefit for and I were it compared to the Commie alphabet soup I’m used to from places like Chi and Clevo.

After being introduced to a packed room, Ayers introduced his long time partner who was also in the WUO and an educator, Bernardine Dohrn.  He started talking about the 2008 Presidential Campaign, and how Hillary Clinton was actually the first person to question Obama about his relationship with Ayers, before the McCain campaign really ran with it.

He went on to talk a great deal about his family, saying Dohrn used to joke that they only survived 11 years together on the run because she never told him they were underground.  He talked about their kids and parents, and described their home life with stories such as how once when his father, after he got Alzheimer’s and was living with them, was passed by six Anarchists staying at the house while attending an Anarchist conference in town said “This is some hotel you have here!”

Dohrn talked about resisting the Grand Jury invoked after the Brinks robbery which left three people dead and a number of radicals in prison including two ex-WUO cadre.  She described Grand Juries, including how they started in England and how they along with prisons should be abolished.  She described the prisoner support she received, and how she felt like she was supporting her visitors more than vice versa, a feeling I’ve gotten from pen palling with political prisoners and prisoners of war!  She concluded with how her mother, who had voted for Sen. Joseph McCarthy three times, smuggled a homemade chocolate chip cookie into prison for her in her bra!  Ayers went on to read from the part of his new memoirs that dealt with this time.

The host brought up a part of the book regarding talking with Tea Partiers, and Ayers responded giving examples of talking with all kinds of people and the meaninglessness of labels.

Ayers was asked about his stance on Obama and Arnie Duncan’s educational policies.  He talked about how both of their educational policies have a corporate nature involving privatization and and standardized tests.  He went on to say all kids should have access to the education children of these politicians get.  He told some illustrative stories then Dohrn talked about the Chicago teachers’ strike in 2012.

Ayers emphasized how Obama is an admittedly moderate politician, then Dohrn pointed out how it’s irrelevant because “he sits in the throne of empire,” we live in an empire in decline and we need to acknowledge that and organize at the grassroots.  Ayers expanded on the need for grassroots organizing.

They were asked if the WUO ruined the movement and what advice they have for young radicals.  Dohrn replied she had no advice for young people, but plenty for old ones, follow the youth!  She praised groups like the Immigrant Youth Justice League and the queer movement and the wide anti-war sentiment from when Obama proposed military action against Syria.  She talked about harnessing that momentum and also praised Code Pink.

Ayers followed advocating that we all think about what we can do for peace everyday and act on it, not just when there’s a war.  He talked about how the G8 was prevented from meeting in Chi and described the NATO protests last year and how the black Bloc’s slogan, “Shit’s fucked up!” was something we could all get behind.  He also spoke highly of the Iraq and Afghan Veterans Against the War and was seconded by Dohrn.

Dohrn talked about how the WUO was only a small part of the New Left, and how people should research many other groups from the era such as the Black Panthers.  She praised the women’s movement of the time and how many New Leftists participated in the turn towards labor, organizing in the factories and how that’s continued to effect the labor movement today.

Ayers pointed out that the movement wasn’t confined to the ’60s and paraphrased the Port Huron Statement saying we are all part of this generation, looking uncomfortably at the world we inherit.  He talked about the changes in the citizens of the U$ becoming against the war in Vietnam and praised the Black Freedom Movement and its work against the war, desertion by troops and the Vietnam Veterans Against the War.

Dohrn talked about how the Vietnam War still effects people here, and the need for a Truth and Reconciliation Committee like in South Africa at the end of Apartheid.  Ayers admitted the WUO made a thousand mistakes but opposing the war with every fiber of their bodies was not one of them.  Dohrn brought up how they weren’t just an anti-war group, they were trying to make a revolution, and she wishes they hadn’t used the language of war in their rhetoric.

The last question they fielded was about how we can fight back against the attack on public education.  Ayers talked about the need to re-frame the discussion.  Every kid in public schools deserves a good education and this struggle is linked to environmentalism, poverty, women’s rights and Dohrn added racial justice.

The crowd, which had been applauding and occasionally laughing and at one point shared a collective gasp went wild one more time as Dohrn and Ayers were mobbed with people asking questions and taking photos.  I was able to ask a few questions which I’ll try to post the answers to later!

Disappointed in Slingshot? Submit an Article or Art!

When I first read Slingshot around the turn of the century I wasn’t impressed at all. I can’t remember why, I just didn’t like it. Years later in either late 2005 or early ’06 I found myself at one of the worker run cafes in Portland, Oregon at the time, the Red and Black, without reading material. I grabbed a recent copy of Slingshot and read it cover to cover, enjoying every article!

Knowing myself, I’m sure at least some of the change in perception was from my own personal growth or the other way around depending on how you look at! I’m also sure at least some of my change in opinion came from what was possibly a whole different slew of contributors from the first couple issues I perused of Slingshot, and the first one I actually read and enjoyed all the way through. Since then, my readings of Slingshot have been mostly somewhere in the middle.

If I’m not mistaken, pretty much every issue includes a call for submissions in the introduction. Though I’ve been writing political material and trying to get my work published much longer than I’ve been reading Slingshot, this didn’t register with me for years. The first submission I made wasn’t accepted for publication, and I was asked to edit my second but didn’t. Some months later after writing another version of the second submission, an article about writing prisoners for the website People of Color Organize! I also sent it to Slingshot and it was accepted with a major addition from the collective which made it far better, and became a new draft which was published by both the journal and website People Not Profit.

In other words, I would recommend that radical writers and artists please consider submitting your work to Slingshot. Even if your first submission doesn’t get printed, please don’t be discouraged but think about trying to get something else of yours in.

Love & Rage Vol.7, #3 Special Broadsheet Edition Aug. 1996

Love & Rage Vol.7, #3 Special Broadsheet Edition Aug. 1996

Personally something I’d like to see in the journal are some historical pieces drawing from what has become a remarkable record of radicalism over the last 25 years by Slingshot itself. I’ve seen 25 years ago in… and 10 years ago in… sections in Socialist and ever bourgeois papers. Such a section would really add to Slingshot, and make good use of the archive at the Long Haul. Living participants could add exciting details. Other somewhat old radical journals that had participation by people from the long Haul such as Love & Rage and my personal favorite (Dis) Connection could be utilized.

Something else I’d really like to see in Slingshot are more stories written about the various projects in the Slingshot Radical Contact List written by the participants.  One of the most inspiring things I ever did was look up everything on the list in the U$ to make a data base for a couple of Leftist artists in Arizona City looking for potential vendors.  It’s an amazing informal network, and I think if it was more cohesive and formal, like the Network of Anarchist Collectives that put together (Dis) Connection. back in the ’90s we would all benefit.

Anarchy in the Windy City A Look at the Active Resistance Counter-Convention

Anarchy in the Windy City
A Look at the Active Resistance Counter-Convention taken from Love & Rage Vol. 7, No. 5 Oct/Nov 1996

For non-writers and artists living in or visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, please consider volunteering for the collective anyways. There are many ways to plug in and help from typing to folding and taping copies of the paper for mailing. It’s a truly collective process and a great deal of fun, for the most part.

http://slingshot.tao.ca/submissions.html or slingshot at tao dot ca

More on Slingshot

One of the articles I’ve been brainstorming for the next issue of Slingshot is a call for submissions.

Disappointed in Slingshot?  Submit an Article or Art!

When I first read Slingshot around the turn of the century I wasn’t impressed at all.  I can’t remember why, I just didn’t like it.  Years later in either late 2005 or early ’06 I found myself at one of the worker run cafes in Portland, Oregon at the time, the Red and Black without reading material.  I grabbed a recent copy of Slingshot and read it cover to cover, enjoying every article!

Knowing myself, I’m sure at least some of the change in perception was from my own personal growth (and/or de-evolution).  Though I’m sure at least some of my change in opinion came from what was possibly a whole different slew of contributors from the first couple issues I perused of Slingshot, and the first one I actually read and enjoyed all the way through.  Since then, my readings of Slingshot have been mostly somewhere in the middle.

If I’m not mistaken, pretty much every issue includes a call for submissions in the introduction.  Though I’ve been writing political material and trying to get my work published much longer than I’ve been reading Slingshot, this didn’t register with me for years.  The first submission I made wasn’t accepted for publication, and I was asked to edit my second but didn’t.  Some months later after writing another version of the second submission, an article about writing prisoners, for the website People of Color Organize! I also sent it to Slingshot and it was accepted with a major edition from the collective which made it far better, and became a new draft which was published by both the journal and website People Not Profit.

In other words, I would recommend that radical writers and artists please consider submitting your work to Slingshot.  Even if your first submission doesn’t get printed, please don’t be discouraged but think about trying to get something else of yours in.

For non-writers and artists living in or visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, please consider volunteering for the collective anyways.  There are many ways to plug in and help from typing to folding and taping copies of the paper for mailing.  It’s a truly collective process and a great deal of fun, for the most part.

http://slingshot.tao.ca/submissions.html or slingshot at tao dot ca

Slingshot Collective
P.O. Box 3051
Berkeley, CA 94703
510 540-0751 ex. 3

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As published before on this blog, I’ve pasted my original draft for the intro to the last issue of Slingshot.  Then below it I’ve pasted what was published which if I’m not mistaken was created by adding and subtracting material from three other drafts, plus the notes of co-editors who looked over the drafts.

To me this shows the truly collective nature of the writing process that can take place on certain pieces, and was illustrated in other aspects of the creation and distribution of the journal.

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.

“Introduction to Slingshot #114

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

“This issue comes into the world as the light is fading and we are entering the season of long nights. More state oppression surrounds us with back room deals bent on fucking up the planet and depriving people of a free life… Visible resistance seems to spike from the early spring until now as we progress to the seed of winter. We will fucking rock into the night.

“The events in this issue give a slight nod to the ground recently taken. Since our last issue, governments worldwide continued repression of direct action activists — from Chelsea Manning and the NSA to banner droppers in the Arctic. It hasn’t stopped large numbers of us from taking the streets demanding immigrant rights, an increase of the minimum wage to $15 an hour, justice for Trayvon Martin and others killed by racists and cops, protests over mineral and land rights, and defeat of corrupt overseers in Honduras, Bahrain, etc. The Shit’s On!!

“On the surface the ferment may not appear as contagious and hip as the awe inspiring numbers who laid siege to Seattle or the wild fire spread of Occupy. But people are still pursuing that same kind of engagement whether the mainstream news reports it or not. The writing and ideas printed here aspire to express that spirit as it converges wrapped with a crudely made Anarchy sign.

“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. There is very little pre-planned about this paper. The articles that make it into print are usually from random sources — but that makes the final paper multifaceted — like the movement itself. Of course it also makes our “voice” Off Beat, and not in a good way. Vital struggles and victories are happening as we are publicizing half cooked ideas and tepid analysis of (non)-events.

“This paper pulls together so many disparate voices, sometimes it seems like it’s fighting itself. Our individual ideas are frequently discordant. But when you place our voices side-by-side rather than against each other, you get a choir rather than a battlefield still harmonizing towards a better world.

“If you squint your eyes while turning the pages, you may just see this as another paint by numbers political waste of space. A big yawn. You may regard this as the same old recycled (issues) pictures, slogans and manifestos. And worse — presently this project is preoccupied with fluffy solutions. We lack visible and visceral anger and daring illegal acts. No unpleasant invites for those still awake beaconing a dash across barbed wire to freedom in the face of exponentially increasing rules and traps. At best you may hear a familiar song, “Diversity of Tactics” that may drive you from the dance floor entirely. But don’t go. If it’s missing in this paper…write for it, collect info for it, paint for it…

“This issue we used full-color rather than the two-tone spot color we’ve been using the last few years. We miss the low-tech simplicity of spot color even while full-color offers new toys to play with.

“Often we disparage our relation to money. Money offers poor security as compared with community. This paper allows you to enter a circle of people struggling to make its way without clinging to a bottom line that is determined to sell us out. A free paper for a free people on a free planet. Now is an exciting time for us when we ship off the Slingshot Organizer. That little dayplanner ultimately pays for this project — and enhances so many people’s lives. We hope we’ve done well with the support you have given us.

“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: Aaron, Alex, Brooke, Carey, Darin, Eggplant, Emily, Fred, Gina, Glenn, Hayley, Heather, Jesse, Joey, Jordan, J-tronn, Kris, Mama Gramps, Mason, Susan, Vanessa, and all the authors and artists who contributed work.”

Taken from:  http://slingshot.tao.ca/issue.html?0114004