I'm not going to be teapolitik anymore. The International Tea Conspiracy has ceased to be, and I think I'd like another pretentious-sounding identity.
I won't be purchasing a name change, as I find the idea of giving money to the pusher abhorrent, but I'll consider letting people know who I am. If I don't, it's not like it won't be terribly obvious. I'm easy to spot that way.
With as much love as one can have for strange, voyeuristic perverts on the InterNest.
I feel purged.
I'm not an anarchists anymore.
Now I get my life back.
I'm increasingly impressed by the Insurrectionary Anarchists of Seattle. I'm reading their zine, At Daggers Drawn, and it strikes me as sensible and downright respectable. Here's some...
This world is poisoning us and forcing us to carry out useless noxious activity; it imposes the need for money on us and deprives us of impassioned relationships. We are growing old among men and women without dreams, strangers in a reality which leaves no room for outbursts of generosity. We are not partisans of abnegation. It's just that the best this society can offer us (a career, fame, a sudden win, 'love') simply doesn't interest us. Giving orders disgusts us just as much as obedience. We are exploited like everyone else and want to put an ened to the exploitation right away. For us, revolt needs no other justification.It sounds kind of irresponsible, but clarification is always helpful.
Revolutionary strength is not a strength that is equal to and against that of power. If that were the case we would be defeated before we start, because any change would be the eternal return of constriction. Everything would be reduced to military conflict, a danse macabre of standards. Real movements escape the quantitative glance.Here and throughout the text, it's evident that their conception of insurrection isn't simply a senseless attack, like bombing military barracks without any public support; it requires thought and theory. Their argument is complex and well thought out.
I actually disagree with their basic position: that revolution must happen soon, and that truly liberating dual power relationships can only come with force ("You cannot remove a method [neighborhood meetings, direct decision-making, horizontal linking up, et cetera] from the context that made it possible, or even draw it up against the latter... Before thinking about what the proletarian councils signified for example–and what they could signify today–it is necessary to consider the conditions under which they existed... These were insurrectional times. Will someone please explain how it would be possible for the exploited to decide in first person on questions of any importance today without breaking social normality by force?")--to which my answer is, by breaking social normality without force--but clearly there is a lot of valuable thought that's gone into their work, and it deserves some attention.
I got this from freedomallah.
Excuse the typos, it's a copy-and-paste job.
We never traveled together at all, you know, since the kids been little they've always known that I vanished from their lives periodically. And they never really had any idea of what it is that I do.
Yeah, Brandon, the fourteen-year-old, he got to travel with me, during the summer. But we got a chance to talk to each other as adults, you know, as well as adults, instead of just father and son. We left Boston - we were headed up to the Left Bank Cafe in Blue Hill, Maine - and Brandon, just above Marble Head, turned to me and he said, "How did you get to be like that?"
It's a fair question.
I knew what he meant, but he didn't have all the language to say exactly what he meant - what he meant to say was: "Why is it that you are fundamentally alienated from the entire institutional structure of society?"
And I said, "Well, I've never been asked that, you know. Now don't listen to the radio and don't talk to me for half an hour while I think about it." So we drove and talked - we were on Highway 1 because it was pretty and close to the water. Got up toward the Maine border and there was a picnic area, off to the side some picnic tables. It was a bright, clear day. So I pulled into their parking lot; we sat down at the picnic tables, and I said, "Now, sit down, I want to tell you a story, cause I've thought about it."
So I sat down and said, "You know, I was over in Korea." And he said, "Yeah, I've always wondered about that, did you shoot anybody?" And I said, as honestly as I could, "I don't know. But that's not the story," I said, this is what I was telling him:
I was up at Kumori Gap there by the Imjin River. There were about seventy-five thousand Chinese soldiers on the other side and they all wanted me out of there, with every righteous reason that you could think of. I had long since figured out that I was the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time for the most specious of reasons.
But there I was - my clothing was rotting on my body, every exotic mold in the world was attacking my clothing and my person, my boots had big holes in them from the rot. I wanted to swim in the Imjin River, and get that feeling of death, that feeling of rot off of me. The Chinese soldiers were on the other side; they were swimming, they were having a wonderful time. But there was a rule, a regulation against swimming in the Imjin River. I thought that was foolish, but then a young Korean fellow - cartworked for us as a carpenter - by the name of Young Shik Han. All of his family had been killed off in the war.
Well, he said to me in what English he had, "You know, when we get married here, the young married couple moves in with the elders, they move in with the grandparents. But there's nothing growing, everything's been destroyed. There's no food. So [when] the first baby's born, the oldest, the old man, goes out with a jug of water and a blanket and sits on the bank of the Imjin River and waits to die. He sits there until he dies, and then will roll down the bank and into the river, and his body will be carried out to the sea. And we don't want you to swim in the Imjin River because our elders are floating out to sea."
That's when it began to crumble for me, you know. That's when I, well, I ran away, and not just from that, I ran away from the blueprint for self-destruction I had been handed as a man, for violence in excess. For sexual excess, for racial excess. We had a commanding officer, who said of the G.I. babies fathered by G.I.'s and Korean mothers that the Korean government wouldn't care for so they were in these orphanages, and he said: "Well, as sad as that is, someday this'll really help the Korean people cause it'll raise the intelligence level." That's what we were dealing with, you know.
So I ran away. I ran down to Seoul City, down toward Askom. Not to the Army. I ran away to a place called the Korea House. It was a Korean civilians' [group] reaching out to G.I.'s to give them some better vision of who they were than what we were getting up at the divisions. And they hid me for three weeks. Late one night - I didn't have any clothes that would fit me - late one night, it was a stormy, stormy night, the rain falling in sheets, I could go out, cause they figured no one would see me. We walked through the mud and the rain - Seoul City was devastated. And they took me to a concert at the Aiwa Women's University. Large auditorium with shell holes in the ceiling and the rain pouring through the holes, and clyde lights on the stage hooked up to car batteries. This wasn't the USO, this was the Korean Students' Association.
The person that they invited to sing - I was the only white person there - the person that they invited to sing was Marian Anderson, great black operatic soprano who had been on tour in Japan, you see. There she was, singing "Oh Freedom" and "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen." And I watched her through the rain coming through the ceiling and thought back to Salt Lake [City].
My father, Sid, who ran the Capitol Theatre - it was a movie house but it had been an old vaudeville house and he wanted to bring back live performances back to the Capitol - in 1948 he invited Marian Anderson to comed and sing there. I remembered we went to the, to the train station to pick her up and took her to the biggest hotel in town, The Hotel Utah, but they wouldn't let her stay there, because she was black.
And I remembered my father's humiliation and her humiliation, as I saw her singing in there, through the rain. And I realized right then, I said, "Brandon, right then I knew that it was all wrong, and it all had to change. And that that change had to start with me."
In case anyone's wondering, I haven't become a nazi. It's a picture of a Hindu celebration, and I got the user icon to annoy people on anarchists who think that using symbolism that got co-opted by fascists is fascist.
... hate America?
And that was the big mistake about America: They didn't -- it was the crazy-people underestimation. We did not know how to deal with them -- still don't.
[What's-a-]Motto of the Surrealist Party of Seattle:
You stop making sense, we'll stop making sense!
Why am I just now finding out about the Church of Euthanasia?
(This post is cross-posted from anarchists, as a response to this thread)
I wanted to post a little something about this that wouldn't get buried in the other thread.
gentrification ( Big quote.Collapse )
The term "gentrification" is based on the word gentry:
People of gentle birth, good breeding, or high social position.
Here we see that gentrification is, and always has been, a class issue first and foremost. Obviously a class system which institutionalizes racist privilege is going to have racist expressions. In that sense, gentrification probably hits people of color hardest, as most people of color find themselves in the lower classes. Which is to say that people of color are more likely to be the target of gentrification.
But that does not mean that gentrification itself is a racial problem--which would lead to the conclusion that, where there is white privilege, white people cannot be the victims of gentrification. Instead, it means that the poor and disadvantaged can be its victims, including poor whites.
A number of people described poor whites as having a role in furthering gentrification. I think this is a really harmful position to take, and not at all based in reality. It means that poor whites cannot be victims of gentrification, as they are among the victimizers. While poor whites are privileged above poor people of color, they are still subordinate to the higher classes, regardless of "race".
Most poor whites live in the neighborhoods they do out of necessity. When poor, one isn't given much in the way of choices. As there is no low-income neighborhood reserved for white people (nor should there be!), it follows that poor white people will live in the same neighborhoods as poor people of color. It isn't an invasion, nor a migration, it's been this way for quite some time. Implying that their "entry" into those neighborhoods is an early step in the process of gentrification simply dismisses the long history of poverty for many whites, the fact that they have lived for some time in neighborhoods shared by many poor people of color, and the fact that they are also being displaced.
I think it's important to address the racist expressions of gentrification without denying the effects on poor whites.
Someone, preferably a post-modernist, needs to define exactly what post-modernism is.
Folks, "Anna" has been revealed!
It turns out, "Anna" is actually Noam Chomsky!
Noam Chomsky is an informant. Here we see him sharing sensitive information about left-wing activists!
Noam Chomsky is a Communist who is plotting the overthrow of America to form One World Communist Government!
Here we see Chomsky meeting, and shaking hands, with both Saddam Hussein and Donald Rumsfeld. The conspiracy runs deep, indeed.
Can you spot Chomsky? Beware of this lizard man, who lives on the moon and controls the Jewish World Banking Industry. When he comes to the planet Earth to spread his hate against the white race and control the banks, he might also be inclined to drink your blood. Because he is also a vampire.
Palestinians voted for Hamas because of our refusal to give up their rights. But we are ready to make a just peace
It is widely recognised that the Palestinians are among the most politicised and educated peoples in the world. When they went to the polls last Wednesday they were well aware of what was on offer and those who voted for Hamas knew what it stood for. They chose Hamas because of its pledge never to give up the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people and its promise to embark on a programme of reform. There were voices warning them, locally and internationally, not to vote for an organisation branded by the US and EU as terrorist because such a democratically exercised right would cost them the financial aid provided by foreign donors.
The day Hamas won the Palestinian democratic elections the world's leading democracies failed the test of democracy. Rather than recognise the legitimacy of Hamas as a freely elected representative of the Palestinian people, seize the opportunity created by the result to support the development of good governance in Palestine and search for a means of ending the bloodshed, the US and EU threatened the Palestinian people with collective punishment for exercising their right to choose their parliamentary representatives.
We are being punished simply for resisting oppression and striving for justice. Those who threaten to impose sanctions on our people are the same powers that initiated our suffering and continue to support our oppressors almost unconditionally. We, the victims, are being penalised while our oppressors are pampered. The US and EU could have used the success of Hamas to open a new chapter in their relations with the Palestinians, the Arabs and the Muslims and to understand better a movement that has so far been seen largely through the eyes of the Zionist occupiers of our land.
Our message to the US and EU governments is this: your attempt to force us to give up our principles or our struggle is in vain. Our people who gave thousands of martyrs, the millions of refugees who have waited for nearly 60 years to return home and our 9,000 political and war prisoners in Israeli jails have not made those sacrifices in order to settle for close to nothing.
Hamas has been elected mainly because of its immovable faith in the inevitability of victory; and Hamas is immune to bribery, intimidation and blackmail. While we are keen on having friendly relations with all nations we shall not seek friendships at the expense of our legitimate rights. We have seen how other nations, including the peoples of Vietnam and South Africa, persisted in their struggle until their quest for freedom and justice was accomplished. We are no different, our cause is no less worthy, our determination is no less profound and our patience is no less abundant.
Our message to the Muslim and Arab nations is this: you have a responsibility to stand by your Palestinian brothers and sisters whose sacrifices are made on behalf of all of you. Our people in Palestine should not need to wait for any aid from countries that attach humiliating conditions to every dollar or euro they pay despite their historical and moral responsibility for our plight. We expect you to step in and compensate the Palestinian people for any loss of aid and we demand you lift all restrictions on civil society institutions that wish to fundraise for the Palestinian cause.
Our message to the Palestinians is this: our people are not only those who live under siege in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip but also the millions languishing in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Syria and the millions spread around the world unable to return home. We promise you that nothing in the world will deter us from pursuing our goal of liberation and return. We shall spare no effort to work with all factions and institutions in order to put our Palestinian house in order. Having won the parliamentary elections, our medium-term objective is to reform the PLO in order to revive its role as a true representative of all the Palestinian people, without exception or discrimination.
Our message to the Israelis is this: we do not fight you because you belong to a certain faith or culture. Jews have lived in the Muslim world for 13 centuries in peace and harmony; they are in our religion "the people of the book" who have a covenant from God and His Messenger Muhammad (peace be upon him) to be respected and protected. Our conflict with you is not religious but political. We have no problem with Jews who have not attacked us - our problem is with those who came to our land, imposed themselves on us by force, destroyed our society and banished our people.
We shall never recognise the right of any power to rob us of our land and deny us our national rights. We shall never recognise the legitimacy of a Zionist state created on our soil in order to atone for somebody else's sins or solve somebody else's problem. But if you are willing to accept the principle of a long-term truce, we are prepared to negotiate the terms. Hamas is extending a hand of peace to those who are truly interested in a peace based on justice.
· Khalid Mish'al is head of the political bureau of Hamas
I just cannot believe how ridiculous this is. I bought a copy of Newsweek a few weeks ago because it had the word "imperial" on the cover, and it was actually describing the US (well, Bush). It's been sitting in my bathroom, and I finally happened on this gem of an article.
But is scooting becoming a crutch for people who might benefit from walking more? Scooter companies acknowledge it's a sensitive issue. "I had a situation where a doctor thought [a customer] would gain too much weight if they bought one," says Donny Albrecht, of the Wishing Well, a Santa Monica, Calif., mobility store. (Albrecht sold the scooter anyway.)
It frightened me to realize that "human resources" doesn't mean resources for humans, but using humans as resources.
There was a two-state solution proposed by the United Nations in 1948. And if the Palestinians had accepted what the Israelis accepted, a small, non-contiguous state, with "bantustans", to quote Professor Chomsky, and instead had not invaded, and if the Egyptians had not occupied the Gaza--something that nobody complained about, it was literally a prison for twenty years; and if the Jordanians hadn't occupied the West Bank, literally a prison for twenty years, and had the situation gone forward, as it was supposed to go forward in '48, we would not be here. We'd have a two-state solution. But what happend is it's clear that the Palestinian and Arab leadership was more interested in destroying the nascent Jewish state of Israel than establishing a Palestinian state. That is simply the truth, and there is no way to deny that. And no amount of rhetoric can undercut that reality.Those damn Palestinians. If they had just accepted their colonization, rather than resisting it, they wouldn't be so oppressed now!
Lead is gold!
If you want it
Don't get me wrong. I like John Lennon. I just find that damn cliché really annoying.
"Five-hundred-and-one million what?" repeated the little prince, who never in his life had let go of a question once he asked it.
The business man raised his head.
"During the fifty-four years that I have inhabited this planet, I have been disturbed only three times. The first time was twenty-two years ago, when some giddy goose fell from goodness knows where. He made the most frightful noise that resounded all over the place, and I made four mistakes in my addition. The second time, eleven years ago, I was disturbed by an attack of rheumatism. I don't get enough excersize. I have no time for loafing. The third time—well, this is it! I was saying, then, five-hundred-and-one-millions—"
"Millions of what?"
The businessman suddenly realized that there was no hope of being left in peace until he answered this question.
"Millions of those little objects," he said, "which one sometimes sees in the sky."
"Oh, no. Little glittering objects."
"Oh, no. Little golden objects that set lazy men to idle dreaming. As for me, I am concerned with matters of consequence. There is no time for idle dreaming in my life."
"Ah! You mean the stars?"
"Yes, that's it. The stars."
"And what do you do with five-hundred millions of stars?"
"Five-hundred-and-one million, six-hundred-twenty-two thousand, seven-hundred-thirty-one. I am concerned with matters of consequence: I am accurate."
"And what do you do with these stars?"
"What do I do with them?"
"Nothing. I own them."
"You own the stars?"
"But I have already seen a king who—"
"Kings do not own, they reign over. It is a very different matter."
"And what good does it do you to own the stars?"
"It does me the good of making me rich."
"And what good does it do you to be rich?"
"It makes it possible for me to buy more stars, if any are discovered."
"This man," the little prince said to himself, "seems a little like my poor tippler..."
Nevertheless, he still had some more questions.
"How is it possible for one to own the stars?"
"To whom do they belong?" the businessman retorted, peevishly.
"I don't know. To nobody."
"Then they belong to me, because I was the first person to think of it."
"Is that all that is necessary?"
"Certainly. When you find a diamond that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you discover an island that belongs to nobody, it is yours. When you get an idea before any one else, you take out a patent on it: it is yours. So with me: I own the stars, because nobody else before me ever thought of owning them."
"Yes, that is true," said the little prince. "And what do you do with them?"
"I administer them," replied the businessman. "I count them and recount them. It is difficult. But I am a man who is naturally interested in matters of consequence."
The little prince was still not satisfied.
"If I owned a silk scarf," he said, "I could put it around my neck and take it away with me. If I owned a flower, I could pluck that flower and take it away with me. But you cannot pluck the stars from heaven..."
"No. But I can put them in the bank."
"Whatever does that mean?"
"That means that I write the number of my stars on a little paper. And then I put this paper in a drawer and lock it with a key."
"And that is all?"
"That is enough," said the businessman.
"It is entertaining," thought the little prince. "It is rather poetic. But it is of no great consequence."
On matters of consequence, the little prince had ideas which were very different from those of the grown-ups.
"I myself own a flower," he continued his conversation with the businessman, "which I water every day. I own three volcanoes, which I clean out every week (for I also clean out the one that is extinct; one never knows). It is of some use to my volcanoes, and it is of some use to my flower, that I own them. But you are of no use to the stars..."
The businessman opened his mouth, but he found nothing to say in answer. And the little prince went away.
"The grown-ups are certainly altogether extraordinary," he said simply, talking to himself as he continued on his journey.
Seattle area social, global, environmental justice activists:
come together with other Seattle area activists to open a dialogue, to share ideas for building a more powerful, effective movement. Where would we like to see the movement go? How can we work together, support each other and foster solidarity? What problems do we see in the movement, and how can we overcome them?
Bring food and friends, words and music
Friday December 16 2005 @ 5:00 PM
Cascade People’s Center
309 Pontius Ave N.
(Pontius & Thomas, 2 blocks NE of Denny & Fairview - Map)
organized by the Seattle CrossSection Collective
firstname.lastname@example.org - 206-328-5667
Donations gladly accepted to benefit the Cascade People’s Center and help CrossSection with future events and projects
I wonder what it would be like to blow up a dam with her...
Sadly, we live in a world where creative romantic statements of this sort require a disclaimer: this is not a reference to any kind of plans, it is a reference to an excellent author. So please don't visit me to "investigate".
AP reported that the Iraqi death toll [is] much higher than [that of the] U.S. (not news to most of you for sure, but interesting that it was reported by AP). I noticed something interesting about it, though:
While American troops are killed at the rate of about 60 to 70 per month, the new Iraqi military suffers that many deaths in a week, mainly from insurgent attacks that rose to about 90 per day in September, O'Hanlon said.Since the "Iraqi military" is a colonial army, wouldn't it make more sense to consider Iraqi military deaths part of the coalition toll, rather than part of the general Iraqi toll? Their interests are tied much more closely with the occupiers' interests than with those of the Iraqi people.
If we draw the line between occupying, coalition and Iraqi government forces on the one hand, and Iraqi insurgents and civilians on the other, the numbers must look very different.
Actually, here's what they look like (over the last 6 months, based on the information from the article):
Iraqis total: ~645/month
"Iraqi military": ~260/month
US + "Iraqi military": ~325/month
Iraqis - "Iraqi military": ~385/month
Or over the last 6 months...
US + "Iraqi military": ~1950
Iraqis - "Iraqi military": ~2310
I think we underestimate the size and power of the Iraqi resistance. Yes, they have some problems with focus, but this is staggering. Of course the occupiers would rather sacrifice their colonial puppets' forces before their own, but that the resistance is able to inflict nearly the same amount of damage against their enemies as the imperialists are inflicting upon them is just amazing.
Come Together:An autumn social justice celebration, potluck dinner and open mic
featuring a presentation by International Solidarity Mission delegates to the Philippines, and Colombian union activist, William Mendoza, on the fight against corporate human rights abuses in Colombia, the Philippines and around the world
Connect with other Seattle area activists, to celebrate our work towards creating a world of justice, respect and dignity. Come for an autumn feast, share your words and music, have a good time!
November 11 2005 @ 5:00 PM
Cascade People’s Center
309 Pontius Ave N.
(Pontius & Thomas, 2 blocks NE of Denny & Fairview - Map)
This event is organized by the Seattle CrossSection Collective and the Philippine U.S. Solidarity Organization (contact PUSO).
Help spread the word! Flyers to print in PDF format.
Posted to teapolitik, seacrosssection, seattleactivism, seattle_events, sea_musicians, seattle, antiwar and anarchists.
This was written as a response to a thread in anarchists, but I am unusually pleased with the eloquence and directness I was able to summon in my reply, so I am posting it here. The original post linked to an article called Civilization, Primitivism and anarchism, and this was my response:
The usual disclaimer: I am not a primitivist.
The primitivist critique of anarchism is based around the claim to have discovered a contradiction between liberty and mass society.Primitivism isn't, in itself, a critique of anarchism at all. It is a suppliment to anarchism, just as syndicalism or communism would be. The primitivist critique (and that of anti-civilization generally) of certain schools of thought in anarchism is not necessarily that "liberty" and "mass society" are irreconcilable, except in broadening "liberty" to mean the right for all life to experience the integrity and continuity of their ecosystem.
The argument is that civilization (and for some, technology, agriculture, language, and other products of human society) is not compatible with ecological sustainability--and that the persistence of civilization, whether feudal, capitalist, socialist or anarchist, would lead to the eventual destruction of the life-sustaining qualities of this planet. While I'd dispute some of the arguments against technology (which, if taken so broadly, is an argument against sentience), agriculture (which can be sustainable, depending upon certain methods), language and abstract thought, the argument that civilization is ecologically destructive has a historical basis.
One can follow that argument to the conclusion that repression is a natural enforcement mechanism of any system that destroys the ecosystem--eco is derived from the Greek word oikos, meaning house or habitation. In the expansion of civilization, sustainable, egalitarian societies were either destroyed or civilized by force. This process was followed by deforestation, soil erosion, soil depletion, salination, and eventually desertification. Repression is necessary to convince any living being to destroy its home. This is true regardless of social organization, and an anarchist society would need to be severely auto-repressive in order to maintain civilization.
The author, of course, conflates anti-civlization with anti-agriculture, anti-technology and anti-thought, and therefore with hunting and gathering, which isn't necessary. It's widely agreed that the planet can ecologically sustain about one billion humans in agricultural societies. This would require a significant change to our social and economic relationships. It would also require the elimination of certain technologies: the processes necessary to fuel or build most modern technogical wonders are environmentally destructive, regardless of who "controls the means of production" or their consciousness in doing so. Mining, mass monocultural farming, large-scale electricity leave too large a footprint.
The author is sure to recognize that human populations are far too high for ecological integrity, but is quick to retreat to accusations of genocidal intent, apparently arguing that ecocide is necessary as a prevention of genocide. What the author must fail to recognize is that humans die every day (making a natural progression towards a sustainable human population possible), and that an eventual product of ecocide will be mass human deaths. Arguing that requiring a dramatic reduction in human populations is unrealistic is dishonest, because Earth is finite, and the reduction will happen eventually, be it from a gradual return to balance that comes with a conscious rejection of civilization, or from a cataclysmic collapse of the ecosystem.
The article makes so many assumptions that can't be true. A "tiny wealthy elite" could not possibly continue to control vast natural resources in the event of collapse--when one elite can no longer hold a carrot in front of thousands of poor, those poor will revolt. And much of the article is predicated on the domination of the environment which led to the ecological crisis we are facing.
The author argues that, given the chance to start over on "some Earth like planet", "the few primitivists amongst us might head off to run with the deer," but the "next time the primitivists wandered through the area we settled they'd find a landscape of farms and dams" (nevermind that farms require deforestation and dams destroy water life), "domestication" (enslavement) of large mammals, mining of coal and iron (destroying mountain ecosystems), "felling a lot of lumber to turn into charcoal to extract whatever iron or copper we could from what could be found" (deliberate deforestation and conscious destruction of finite resources), purification of water (which somehow would have been contaminated, the author doesn't explain how...), "sewage removal systems" (to where? Now "water purification" makes more sense...), "large-scale mining and construction" (large-scale habitat destruction), concrete (!).
We need to really come to terms with with the word "unsustainable." It is not an abstract concept, the world is finite, and that will never change. The death of salmon and large mammals, the disappearance of bird populations and most of the planet's vegetation, are not only aesthetic losses to be mourned as unfortunate (though they are obviously that, too), but they are signs of a planetary illness. If we don't deal with sustainability, we are effectively driving towards a brick wall, either accelerating or maintaining pace. Even if we simply slow down, the brick wall will remain. The world is finite.
The world is finite.
No human social arrangements can change this, and we will continue on our charge towards the brick wall until we reevaluate our inter-species social relations.
What is CrossSection?We are a Seattle area collective of activists from a variety of communities and backgrounds. Our political focuses are many and varied, and together we believe our impact will be broader, and more likely to help to bring about fundamental change. We believe that our focuses should remain diverse, but that our interactions and connections lend strength and credibility to all of our focuses, as well as our role in fundamental change.
As a collective, our work will focus on two main goals: first, to build connections among activists, to foster solidarity, collaboration and mutual aid. As we see it, effective activism is about more than marches, rallies, counter-cultures, direct actions or campaigns. To be effective, we must connect, expand, and go beyond all of these. We expect that as the links are illustrated and bridges built, between issues, actions, groups and regions, we will have empowered our movements to make real change.
Our second, and most important, focus is to help to empower our own communities—and to help other activists do the same within their own communities—to take control of their own needs, dreams and collective fate. Too often, activists are disconnected and isolated from, and irrelevant to, the communities of which they are a part.
While ideologically diverse, we believe actions and ideas can't be separated. It's not enough to feed a person, nor to simply explain how to do so themselves. We won't try to remove politics from action, and we trust people to think independently and critically. So long as the values of the collective are respected, anyone can work with CrossSection, and will be encouraged to share their personal views as such.
Notes from our founding meetingCrossSection's founding meeting was a small, intimate potluck dinner on September 25, 2005. We discussed how and when to meet, collective principles, project ideas, and we began to get to know one another.
We decided for now to hold meetings twice a month at B & O Espresso (204 Belmont Ave E in Seattle), beginning Thursday, 6 October 2005. One idea that came up was to have one formal monthly meeting, as well as a monthly casual social gathering. Another idea was to rotate the locations of some meetings to make transportation less difficult.
While a number of ideas about collective principles were brought up, we decided it would be best to extend this discussion to our next meeting, to allow more people to participate.
A few project ideas that came up were:
Want to participate?We are just forming and very much welcome input and advice. If you find these ideas appealing and you want to take part, please come to our next meeting.
We have a website (which is new and will probably change as we evolve): Seattle CrossSection Collective. You can contact us by emailing crossSection@againstthewall.net or calling 206-328-5667, or you can join our email list.
Posted to teapolitik, anarchists and seattleactivism.
When I began to hear about the destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina, I envisioned thousands of the displaced--as well as thousands of outside solidarity activists who had brought busloads of blankets, tents, firewood, water and food--working side-by-side in reconstruction crews, cooking crews, first aid teams, search and rescue, and on and on.
On this vision's heels was a cynical vision, of what turns out to be an unrealistic fantasy as well, when compared to the unfolding reality: corporate contractors gutting the public resources of the victims' communities, in a long, expensive, unfairly disproportionate "reconstruction effort."
While the second vision is surely the future for the victims, I never imagined tens of thousands of refugees in the US would be held without food, medical or sanitary resources for several days, by threat of force and shoot-to-kill orders. I never imagined thousands of refugees would be forced to remain in a disaster zone to protect property (buses), even at the cost of the destruction of that property (due to flooding).
I'm sure this failure to predict the extent of the crimes the state would commit against its citizens is the product of my generally optimistic attitude. But this outright criminality complicates the message I want to convey: the aftermath of Katrina is not a failure of the state, which seems to be proactively defending its interests (exposing itself even to reporters for Fox News). Indeed, this failure was our own.
What I mean is that those of us who envision a just and humane world, who believe in mutual aid and direct action, failed the communities hit by Katrina many months ago. While the efforts of some to take aid into their own hands, for instance Food Not Bombs who are sending busloads of food to the affected area, are noble acts of love and compassion (which is absolutely necessary in these times), we have another duty to our own communities as well.
We must organize grassroots evacuation, reconstruction and medic teams, prepared to respond to potential disasters in our communities. We must foster the values of mutual aid and independence from the state when these disasters strike.
We should have networks between communities in case of evacuation: housing, food, medical supplies and clean water should be a phone call away. We can work with existing neighborhood, community, religious organizations and schools where possible. Trainings should be held for basic first aid certification and street medic skills. Lists of available shelters and resources should be made available in ever community. If evacuation is necessary, familiar places should be used for meeting to arrange carpools, or if arrangements can be made, buses.
Each community will face its own particular challenges, organizationally as well as geographically and ecologically. While the southeast faces hurricanes, the northwest faces volcanic activities, forest areas face fires, and so on. We must help educate our communities about these dangers, and what to do in case of emergency.
Where my point becomes further complicated is in recognizing that the state will see these efforts as a threat, and will respond with repression, possibly far worse than what's taken place in New Orleans this week. We must be prepared to act in collective self-defense, fostering a sense of collective interest, and we must make it clear that the state is not inept: the victims of a disaster can be the state's enemies, and their lives are disposable. We must stand in their defense!
None of this work is going to be easy. We will need to work to gain trust, and maintain participation, to be effective. But the potential for success is, I think, real. And the benefits of this work can go far beyond simply preparing for disasters. By putting people's fate back in their own hands, collectively they can become empowered, enabling us to cooperate more effectively and empowering us to function without outside intervention.
And none of this is meant rhetorically: if we learn anything from Katrina, it should be that only the people have the interests of the people at heart. We must begin organizing now. Many regions face looming disasters, and with climate change these are sure to increase. These efforts shouldn't take away from other efforts for fundamental change, they should be part of the strategy, by empowering our own communities and preparing for both natural and organized destruction.
This article has been edited since its original writing. Edited at 2:30 PM PDT. Posted to teapolitik, seattleactivism, anarchists, and antiwar. The article has also evidently been published on ZNet with a different title.
We'll watch gods battle for the heavens by starlight,
and possums raid trash cans while bonfires
rage in the city streets.
Rusted cars will be drums and we'll dance and chant in tongues,
writhing lustfully under a full moon.
Huddled into crumbling mansions, we'll tell
fairy tales of theives who wasted their lives in skyscrapers,
which became mile-high gardens.
The village children will run naked with war paint on their faces until dawn.
Rivers will fill Spring Street,
and everywhere we will wade through seas of ivy.
We'll race dumpsters down hills for sport,
or read yellowed paperbacks of philosophical prose by the lake for hours.
This is how we'll live after the weeds reclaim our city.
In case anyone is interested, I've started another journal, tea_spirit, as a place to discuss spirituality and philosophy. As anyone who knows me well might guess, there will be a lot of overlap between my thoughts here and my thoughts there. But if it's something you'd like to read, add it to your friends list.
I also completed a redesign of my website, Gnosis, my creative outlet for photography and music on the Internet.