Hydra House: Holdin’ it Down for One Year Today!

Photo taken at a solidarity action opposing the Rote Flora eviction last year.

I’m glad to be able to write that I’m in Oakland for the one year anniversary of the Hydra House’s being cracked open as a squat. Tomorrow I should be leaving for Sacto one way or another then hopefully heading back north.

Though there’s a great deal of noteworthy things going on in the Bay Area, I don’t feel like my presence is necessary at all. I know I’ve written about stopping using this blog before but right now is a good time because I’ve got all of the articles I’ve written for the last three or so years posted, so anything new I start can be a fresh break with the past.

If I come back I’m going to relate to things and people in a very different way.  I’ve already stopped checking my last two e-mail addresses in preparation for this.

Out like spandex,

Alex Iwasa

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The Redemptive Power of Music (2014 Remix)

I’ve been thinking of digging this article up for some months now and editing and adding to it.  There’s a few things the editors changed that I was unhappy with back in the day that I’ve put back in.  At the end of the original I also wrote Amerika, meaning AmeriKKKa, which I guess because they were Canadian they changed to America… which is one of the reasons I pretty much always write U$ now instead.

Anyways, I finally dug this up after reading the Greyscale: A fanzine for POC in the Punk Scene call for submissions the other day.  I orignially wrote this after watching the Integrity video above with the token Latina at Twin Oaks, Diana, and she compared it to some sort of pentecostal church service.  It appeared in the Christian Radical 3.9, November 2008.

Upon reflection I got where she was coming from, and she inspired me to finally write about why I quit making music, and how I started listening to it again with at least some passion.  A great deal has happened since then, so I’ve got a lot to add about dropping out of the largely Latin Punk scene I was a part of in Chi, and becoming a part of largely indigenous and Latin scenes in Arizona.  I’m posting this here because it’s old material, though edited and added to.  I still consider myself to be in kind of a huge state of transition that I can’t really articulate now, but I will probably make one more post of here of an old article of mine I’ve been thinking of editing and adding to.  This version was written for The Inner Condition.

The Redemptive Power of Music
I am a recovering musician. I got my first guitar when I was 12, and played on and off until I was 17 and bought a four string electric bass. The failed guitarist turned bassist, I knew the vacuum all to well of that avoided position in a band, after singing for a metalcore and a death metal band.I first got into hardcore and metal as an outlet of frustrations. I was also initially mostly into bands from northeast Ohio where I lived at the time, such as the Spudmonsters, Ringworm and Integrity, excited by the fact that they were just as good if not better than the national and international acts that were so much more popular. Plus I had a step cousin who played guitar in Face Value.My first metal show was Rollins Band, Helmet and Sausage, in Seattle, Washington in 1994. I was 14 years old, and pretty much sold on the genre by then. I went to my first local show in January the next year, at a bowling alley called the Redeye Rock Club, in North Royalton, Ohio. I went to see a hardcore band, Procrustus, and caught a death metal act, Infested. I actually had a foot print on me from falling in the pit during Infested, and this set the tone for years of dancing to vent frustrations at shows.

My first band was a metalcore band called Rancor. No, not the hardcore band from Pennsylvania nor the noise outfit from Germany. We started as a garage band in Parma, Ohio in 1995, cut two demos, only one of which was released, “No Time For Religion” in 1995, and played a couple Sweet 16 parties that year and one bar show in Cleveland’s Flats at the old Peabody’s Downunder in May 1996. We also appeared on a Gogmagod Records compilation, Gogmacomp II, under the name Baptized in Excrement, with a song from our second demo, “Evil Thoughts.”

My other bands were never much more successful, but I used to think if it wasn’t for having the hardcore, punk and metal scenes to vent my frustrations, I’m not exactly sure if I’d be alive right now.  Though on further reflection, participation in the scene caused me just us much pain as life did in general.  It was a very racist and xenophobic scene, and I am a person of color.  It was also a very homophobic scene and some people seemed to think I was gay as if there’s something wrong with that.  Interestingly at least three of them have come out since then, though they very much put my life at risk on occasion.  From January 1995-January 2000, for all intents and purposes, the scene was my life. Things came crashing to an end for me the day I quit my last metal band, Netherborn.  And I wouldn’t do any of it over again.

I’d reached a point in my life where I felt it was no longer acceptable to complain about alienation, misery and the state of the world, things had to change. I tried to shift the band’s message, making all of the songs I wrote lyrics for about things like how it can be fatal to drink and drive, and about how pollution was killing the earth. I started talking at our first show about the School of the Americas (SOA) and got into a shouting match with a number of people in the crowd. Later a band-mate and out guitar tech confronted me about it, and it was the beginning of the end. I started a ‘zine, “Outlet,” and instead of talking about the SOA, I distributed it at our next two shows.

I had actually been published in a poetry and artwork ‘zine during the beginning of my first freshman year of high school, over a year before I ever made my first recording with a band.  I have written almost continuously since then and wish I had kept that as my focus along with visual arts and crafts instead of pursuing music as I did for so long.

Anyways, it was too little too late. When a subculture does nothing but re-create the same forms of oppression and exploitation of the larger culture, it has negated its point. The fighting, racism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia and elitism in the scene all became too much for me, and I dropped out of musicianship. I had also converted to Christianity, and no one I knew for the scene was supporting me in the ways I was trying to change personally, except some straight edge youth who supported my abstaining from drugs, alcohol and sex. But that was a tiny minority.  I started to have some peripheral involvement in music as a fan in Ohio since then, even briefly playing in a contemporary worship band at a pentecostal church in the summer and fall of 2000, but musicianship could never mean much to me personally again.  I supported the few friends’ bands I maintained relationships with, but haven’t been to any shows in that area since early 2003, shortly after I moved to Chicago.
Just as I was completely dropping out of the underground music scene in northeastern Ohio For The Last Time, I was starting to get involved with a largely Latin and Anarchist Hardcore Punk Scene in Chicago.  The first couple of shows I went to in Chi are only noteworthy to me because a kid from the South Side Punk House played at one, and another was in the basement of the Autonomous Zone Infoshop (A-Zone) when it was in Bucktown.
Perhaps three’s the charm, since the next one I went to was the first time I saw Tras De Nada, which was in the backyard of a house in La Villita in April 2003.  It was the first time I’d ever been to a Punk Show where roughly half the crowd and most of the musicians were people of color.  With all the anger I felt about our inability to stop the recent invasion of Iraq, and my lost faith in God, I raged harder than I had in years.  This show set the stage for my next seven years of involvement with music in town, to the month, which ended with a Sin Orden show, also in a backyard in La Villita.
Initially what came to be was what I used to call my Pilsen Hardcore Summer.  Most of the shows I went to were either at the Swayze Compound, or a storefront next door to Radio Arte, both in Pilsen.  I saw Tras De Nada two more times, and many other bands such as Non-Fiktion Nois, Reaccion, Human Order, and Los PKDores.  Usually after the shows a bunch of us would go back to the South Side Punk House in West Lawn, or the Anarchist Skins and Punx Unity Crew (ASAP) House which was also in Pilsen.  We’d joke around, listen to music, and talk politics.  Most of us were street level militants continuing to take part in actions against the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and U$ support of Israel.  Many of us were also involved with the A-Zone and/or other radical projects in town such as the Industrial Workers of the World (IWW).  Up to that point, it was the best part of my life!
Tras De Nada, with songs such as Con Frente en Alto (With Head Held High) is a perfect example of how after being part of a scene in and around Clevo where I was considered only a good person in so far as I acted white, the Punk, Hardcore and Ska scene I got into in Chi was affirming and along with the radical politics I was involved with, especially the A-Zone then and much later the third Anarchist/Autonomist/Anti-Authoritarian People of Color (APOC) group, the scene gave me the confidence and self respect I was always denied living amongst white people.
As summer became fall and my living and work situations changed, I wasn’t able to go to many shows.  Eventually I began to see my membership in the IWW as pointless and the A-Zone closed both in December ’03.  I was asked to join the ASAP Crew and declined, then started to drift away from them after moving into the South Side Crew’s South Side Punk House.The South Side Punk House became one of my worst living situations ever, and I started to Travel around the Upper Midwest visiting a number of cooperatives and collectives in Minneapolis, Minnesota (MPLS) and and Anarchist Bookfair and Soccer Tournament called Pencils and Pandemonium in Madison, Wisconsin (Madcity).  I also started to do prairie restoration and organic farming.
I saw some great bands with right on politics such as Ass and Murder of Crows, but neither MPLS nor Madcity worked out for me, nor were any of the land projects an all year opportunity for me.
I started branching further and further out, checking out radical projects and bands as I went.  I visited some great spaces such as Laughing Horse Books in Portland, Oregon (PDX) where I saw Riot Cop a couple of times, and Millions of Dead Cops once.  Food Not Bombs was serving five days a week when I hit PDX in November of 2005, and I started cooking twice a week.  For the next year and a half that’s where I spent the most time.  But it never really clicked for me, and like many radicals roughly my age I went to New Orleans, Louisiana to volunteer a couple of times after Hurricane Katrina and continued to do seasonal farm labor in the midwest.
I had one last serious run with Punk in Chi which started with an Everything Is Ruined basement show at Ranchos Juevos in McKinley Park in the fall of ’09 and ended with the Sin Orden show already mentioned.  It was a very intense time in the radical community that largely revolved around the Lichen Lending Library/Biblioteca Popular, an Infoshop in Pilsen, and a number of collective houses largely in Pilsen and La Villita.  There was a lot of strife about the gentrification of those communities along with Logan Square, Humboldt Park and Bucktown, where there were a number of other collective houses and/or spaces.  There was also a lot of conflict around sexual assault and accountability, or lack there of.  Eventually I decided to leave since I felt like I had no real comrades in most of these situations.  Too much dishonesty, hypocrisy and entitlement and their natural outgrowths in misogyny, white supremacy, domestic violence , etc.I’ve only been back in the area once, though I was living and working in the southwest suburbs as part of a union organizing campaign only occasionally going to Chi.  I have kept in touch with a tiny handful of comrades and friends, but not many.  Again, when a subculture does nothing but re-create the same forms of oppression and exploitation of the larger culture, it has negated its point.
After farming for about five months in Iowa from April to September ’10 I came back to my home state of California.  I farmed, taught weaving workshops, gardened and connected with some radicals in the Bay Area that have gone on to become good comrades since then and started re-connecting with good comrades from Illinois.
I re-visited Tucson, Arizona in March and April 2011 for the first time in over five years and became in involved with No More Deaths doing food and water drops on the Migrants’ Trail from Mexico into the U$ and the Dry River Radical Resource Center, which was an Infoshop in the Dunbar Spring neighborhood.  Through Dry River I got re-involved with Punk Houses, my personal favorite having been the Vegan Straight Edge (XVX) Punk House.  I also started steadily writing political prisoners again, and caught some amazing shows.  The best of which was when I saw the indigenous metal bands Towardis and Let The World Die.  Marc from the Taala Hooghan Infoshop in Flagstaff is in both bands, and invited me to Flag to teach a weaving workshop!  I didn’t do it then, but after about another five months farming in Iowa I did.
Over my last farm season in Iowa, I steadily wrote political prisoners and prisoners of war, gaining new political insights and direction, and realized my bosses were terribly xenophobic from the their absolute refusal to allow me to invite Mexicans over to our city for a series of events we did about No More Deaths and immigration in general.  As soon as I could I left for Flagstaff and never looked back.

Since then I’ve been able to get very involved, not only attending Punk and Hardcore shows with many Latin and indigenous kids and musicians, I’ve been able to even book a couple shows and road trip to Prescott with Let the World Die for a house show with Windmill of Corpses and Requiem!  I’ve stayed in more Punk Houses, a couple squats, been involved with other land projects and struggles, participated in the Infoshop Movement, hitch hiked all over Arizona and the west coast, and hopped a couple freight trains.  I’ve continued to struggle against oppressive politics and exploitive economics, even participating in support work for a couple different tree sits and have continued to be a part of a number of street demonstrations and vigils.

Music has helped a great deal, though rather than being my life, it has improved it greatly and been a huge part of it.  The summer of 2012 which I spent in Flag was the first time since the summer of 2003 that I felt my life was getting consistently better, and as I write this in January 2014 at the Taala Hooghan Infoshop, I feel like my life in struggle for a better world, and to be a less fucked up person continues to improve because of the camaraderie in action, studies, reflection and art.

Collective Living

I’m going to add a “collective living” tag to this journal.   It’s hard to believe how much squatting has changed my life in a very short period of time, much like visiting my first urban commune then starting to Travel mostly by myself and living communally later on.

I’ve decided to re-post an old article of mine about communal living and working in Chi.  There are some things I regret about this article such as being mostly uncritical of the communities I wrote about.  There were other drafts where I wrote a bit about the short comings of both communities, but when pressed by an editor from Area Chicago for more details I decided to cut the material, that there was enough negative information about both communities already floating around of varying levels of truth so I decided to not play a part in that.  I regret this now, mostly because I never went back to St. Francis House.  Those people never had any similar respect for me, I was always just someone they were using, just like the Jesus People.

Collective Living & Work Spaces

http://areachicago.org/collective-living-work-spaces/

One of the main reasons I moved to Chicago in February 2003 was to experiment with communal living. One of the reasons that I am regularly drawn back to the city are the friends I know through collective houses and the opportunities these spaces create.

Two of the oldest intentional communities in town, the St. Francis Catholic Worker House and Jesus People USA (JPUSA, pronounced “jah-POO-zah”), have put up thousands of people since their respective starts in the 1970s. I spent most of my first two and a half months in Chicago living and working with some 499 other people at JPUSA in Uptown.

JPUSA was started in 1972, and according to their website, http://www.jpusa.org, “[t]he community is primarily self-supporting, generating about 90% of our income from a variety of community-owned and operated businesses. These include a roofing supply house, t-shirt printers, and a sheet metal shop.” When I was there, they also had a woodworking shop and a print shop.

Their ministries in Uptown include a women’s and children’s shelter; Cornerstone Community Outreach, to aid the homeless; a senior citizens’ home called Friendly Towers; and Brothas and Sistas United, an outreach program for neighborhood youth. Their outreach also includes Cornerstone magazine, “a quarterly journal of culture, politics and faith,” and, since 1984, the Cornerstone Festival, an annual music and arts festival held in Central Illinois that draws 20,000 people from around the world. I was introduced to their community through the festival in 2000.

Soon after my arrival at JPUSA I started hanging out at Francis House, also in Uptown, and became part of its extended, non-live-in community. In fact, so many people both before and after me have fled JPUSA for Francis House that we are called “refugees.”

Francis House was started in 1974. A chapter in the book Voices From the Catholic Worker, edited by Rosalie Riegle Troester, documents the house’s unfettered hospitality within the framework of Uptown in the 70s, when the neighborhood was “the national home of arson for profit” and “the white supremacists in the neighborhood would write threatening notes and paint swastikas on the house.” The start of the gentrification of Uptown is also mentioned. “This handful of owners had a block club type thing and they were pushing to sweep the poor out. The worker was there years before these yuppies with their attaché cases wanted to move in. And then they want us to keep from blighting their neighborhood,” recalled one Francis House resident.

As a house of hospitality Francis House provides food, shelter, a safer space, and clothes for single adults. As a part of the Catholic Worker Movement, which sometimes has very little or nothing to do with being Catholic or having a job, it is part of an informal network of some 200 houses and farms all over the world. Having been a part of the extended community of another Catholic Worker House in Ohio City, Cleveland, I made a point of looking them up shortly after getting to town.

Besides the live-in guests and drop ins who come for the hospitality, Francis House offers work for room and board for people interested in participating in the Catholic Worker Movement, Round Table Discussions on topics of interest to the community, Reading Amoebas to share whatever people are reading about, and sometimes is a sort of Movement Hotel for activists briefly coming to town or passing though.

Collective living and workplaces have many flaws. In many ways they are microcosms of the greater society with all of its flaws. Sometimes conflicts can seem more intense since you live and work with the person. Personally, dry houses are important to me. Shared food has also become a requirement for me from having bad experiences with lazy, shady housemates who repeatedly ate all or most of my food and then had the nerve to criticize me for not buying better food!

Zero tolerance for violence and sexual assaults in both theory and practice is also something I think a community needs. From my experiences, it seems like “accountability processes” have sometimes only enabled certain people to become repeat offenders in the same places, even equipping them with a rhetoric to hide behind so that “non-violent communication” becomes just a way to be verbally abusive without swearing and/or yelling.

If you are interested in living in a collective community I strongly recommend visiting one or as many as possible before moving in. Especially in urban areas, it is usually possible to just hang around and to see if you can fit in. For better or for worse, I think there is an intentional community out there for pretty much everyone, and it’s just a matter of finding where you are comfortable, and where people are comfortable with you.

Frequently when I leave town, one of the first things I will do is check to see if there is a Catholic Worker Community in the area where I am headed. “The Catholic Worker” prints a directory about every other year, which can also be found online at http://www.catholicworker.org. I’ll also check the Intentional Communities Directory to see what other kinds of collective living spaces there might be. It’s a wonderful textbook-sized book that can also be found online at http://www.ic.org. I also check Slingshot Organizers to see what kind of radical spaces I could get involved with in an area. I had an absolute blast slumming around Minneapolis in 2004 with one as my guide. Other ways I have been able to get involved in the various areas I travel to include http://www.foodnotbombs.net, to find local servings and get involved; local indymedia.org affiliates to find out about events; and hostels.

If it wasn’t for collective living and working spaces I don’t know how people without extensive resources like myself would make it. Collective living and work spaces have been invaluable institutions and infrastructures for many people around the world, and despite their flaws, they should be seen as a basic part of the fight for a world based on mutual aid, not competition.

Also Known As The Church of Carl Sagan

Chair to middle room

Matt from Squat the Planet visited one of the squats I’ve been staying at in Oakland and wrote this about it:

http://squattheplanet.com/2013/10/church-carl-sagan-squat/

he also took some pretty great pictures… it was a good visit.  I used to like his website a lot.  I should probably still at least check the blog now and then.

Dumpstered food

I’ll re-post more here: http://apocweaver.tumblr.com/tagged/squatting

The Albany Bulb

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

In Slingshot #113 this blurb caught my eye as something to follow up on as I was going to spending sometime in the East Bay:

“The Battle for the Bulb: On May 6th, 2013, Albany City Council voted towards removing the humans and art that live on the capped landfill known as the Albany Bulb, a capped landfill that juts out into the Bay. The Albany Bulb has been a space of human wilderness for over a decade — with art, music, theatre, gardening, and creativity bursting from the seams. It is not always a “safe” place, but it is a free space, and it has become an international icon of autonomy. This summer, we are calling on artists, performers, builders, and creative people of all ilks to come make the Bulb your playground. Let’s show the world why autonomous space is more valuable than anything money can tame!”

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

After getting to Berkeley and checking in at the Long Haul Infoshop, I found out there was going to be a screening of a film about the Albany Bulb and a discussion about how to stop the impending eviction. It turned out Osha Neumann, who had been in the Family/Up Against the Wall Mother Fuckers and lived at Black Bear Ranch was at the discussion and was in the film, Bum’s Paradise which I had actually seen at the Chicago Anarchist Film Festival in 2003 but had totally forgotten about.

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

I’ve been able to go out to the Bulb a few times, sleeping out a couple of times, and meeting with people, trying to figure out what we can do to try to preserve the space. At least some of the other media coverage has been down right bizarre such as article, The Bulb: Enter the Anarchists, posted on the Albany Patch website. This reminds me of the importance of controlling our own media. I’ve pasted below an update on the Bulb from the new issue of Slingshot, #114.

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

Mural by Osha Neumann in the Long Haul

Albany Bulb Under Attack

By Amber Whitson

So, it has all come down to this. Twenty years of human habitation, wild art, wildflowers, wildlife, wild lives… All set to come to an end, in a flurry of bulldozers and dirt.

In the early, and mid-1900’s, the Albany Waterfront (along with most of the East Bay shoreline) was a dump, literally. The Albany Landfill was the final resting place for everything from slag (a rock-like byproduct from milling steel), to household trash (I have friends who remember going to the dump with their parents), to debris from the demolition of everything that was in the way when BART was constructed (the original Richmond City Hall, the original Berkeley Public Library, houses, businesses, etc.) The Albany Landfill was created, as a result of that dumping. Twenty years of litigation by various environmental groups finally resulted in the closure of the Albany dump, in 1983.

30 years after local environmental advocates stopped the waters off the Albany Coast from being further filled with trash, the old Albany Landfill is a year-round pitstop for nomadic critters; an endlessly evolving gallery of Found-Object Art; and Home to (at last count) 64 people, who otherwise have nowhere else to live.

In 1993, local police started actually *telling* Albany’s homeless citizens, to go live at “the Landfill”. Then, in 1999, they threw the previously-homeless Albany Bulb residents, back out into the streets. The City of Albany spent money on a dog and pony show of “service organizations”; and put an ordinance on the books (which outlawed, among other things, “loitering” in Albany Parks and Open Spaces), in an attempt to essentially stop homeless individuals from being able to live in their town. Somewhere around the year 2000 (roughly), Albany told their Police to NOT enforce the camping ordinance.

So, not long after the ’99 eviction, people who were homeless in the area, were again, told to go stay at the Albany Bulb. Since then, those living on the Albany Bulb have done so without fear of the police harassment that others endure in nearby Berkeley, being inflicted upon them, just for being homeless.

Since this country’s economy started to *really* tank, and the number of people living on the streets in America has increased, so too has the number of otherwise-homeless individuals, who have (for lack of anywhere else to live) found and made a Home for themselves, on the Albany Bulb.

All these years, alongside those who live here, there are those who visit the Landfill, and enjoy this land for its recreational value. They hike, they walk their dogs, and 99% of them will tell you that the people who profess to be scared of the homeless who live on the Bulb, are being ridiculous.

With all of Albany’s homeless safely quarantined on the Albany Bulb, the City has seen no need to build (or even properly zone part of their town for) a homeless shelter. Albany has only 15 units of low income housing (the Creekside Apartments complex, at 1155 San Pablo Ave.) in the entire city. The City of Albany has never spent any of the funds that it receives from the government, which other cities commonly spend on their *own* homeless, on anything that has actually helped any homeless citizens. Ever.

Yet, in May of this year, a handful of right-wing recreationalists (mostly representatives of Citizens for East Shore Parks) wormed their way into the ears of the Albany City Council. And, in a unanimous decision, the Council voted to spend *more* money, on yet *another* dog and pony show, to be followed up by the “resumption” of enforcement of the camping ordinance, starting in October.

With nowhere else to legally sleep (while homeless), within the City of Albany, an economic cleansing* of sorts, is inevitable. “Economic cleansing” is similar to ethnic cleansing, but is instead done to an economic minority (poor people), as opposed to an ethnic minority.

The goal that the City of Albany is ultimately trying to achieve, is to hand the Albany Bulb over to the State, for the purpose of becoming part of the McLaughlin Eastshore State Park.

However, the transfer of the Bulb to the State, will mean something far more devastating than just 60 or so people becoming “re-homeless”…

From the Eastshore State Park General Plan: “Consistent with the Eastshore park project’s cultural resource guidelines, the practice and products associated with unauthorized artistic expression (e.g., installations, structures, paintings, etc.) on the Albany Bulb will be reviewed in accordance with State Parks’ systemwide (sic) cultural resource procedures prior to their removal.”

East Bay Regional Park District’s definition of a “cultural resource”: “Cultural resources include archaeological, historical, and scientifically valuable sites, areas, and objects.” To the Parks District, as well as to Albany, any art that is not officially commissioned is unauthorized.

That’s right. They’re coming for the art. And, they’ve already started. So far, they have only removed the Art that was on/near the Plateau. But, that’s merely the first few millimeters of their descent down the slippery slope of gentrification.

First, the Art and the Community of Bulb-dwellers… then, off-leash dogs… then…

If you support the right of *all people* to Share the Bulb:

1. Check out sharethebulb.org

2. Write to Albany City Hall at cityhall@albanyca.org, or

3. Go visit the Albany Bulb: At 1 Buchanan Street Extension in Albany, California, on the Albany Waterfront. Come see for yourself, we don’t bite. We just want to Share the Bulb… without being forced (back) into homelessness, first.

Stop Hobophobia. Share the Bulb

Taken from: http://slingshot.tao.ca/issue.html?0114007

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!

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…