Target: WTO: Sacramento to Cancun

WTO attacks water and agriculture. We attack WTO

The war on Iraq is over, but the struggle for control of the rest of the world is still raging. The battle pits a tiny fraction of the globe’s rich and powerful elite, using corporations as their weapons, and bodies like the World Trade Organization as their Central Command, against everyone else and the natural environment This summer, the front is in North America on the streets of Sacramento, California and Cancún, Mexico, where the WTO will be meeting.

Thousands of people are mobilizing to disrupt the WTO’s Fifth Ministerial Summit in Cancún September 10-14. Cancún is the first opportunity to directly confront the WTO since Seattle, when tens of thousands of people shut down the meeting and exposed the secretive, undemocratic WTO process to public scrutiny. After Seattle, the WTO had to have their next meeting in Qatar, a US-backed monarchy free of annoying demonstrators or pesky democratic participation.

In Cancún, the WTO won’t be able to hide from the people’s wrath. The Mexican people — especially hard hit by economic globalization, which has meant more corporate control, pollution, sweatshops and poverty — have been mobilizing to shut down the WTO meeting. Folks in the United States and Canada can help by going to Cancún.

But you don’t need to go to Mexico to resist the WTO’s centralization of power. In preparation for the Cancún summit, the United States has invited Ministers of Trade, Agriculture, and Environment from 180 nations to a pre-WTO meeting in Sacramento June 23-25. The meeting is intended to prepare treaty text for the agriculture portion of the WTO’s Cancún summit.

Agriculture may be one of the WTO’s Achilles heels, because the United States, Europe and many other countries are severely split over use of genetically modified plants and animals and farm subsidies. If agreement is impossible on agriculture, the rest of the WTO’s expansion will also be threatened. Thus, successfully disrupting the Sacramento meeting will powerfully set the stage for Cancún.

The US government hopes they’ll be able to push through agreements in Sacramento to open up the world’s dinner tables to corporate dominated, factory farmed mega-agra corporate food. Corporate forces are putting on a private “Expo On Agricultural Science and Technology” at the same time as the WTO meeting to push their agenda. The US and a “coalition of the willing” recently took steps in a WTO court to sue European Union countries which have been cautious about permitting genetically modified organisms in Europe. The struggle at the WTO isn’t only to save family and subsistence farmers from centralized corporate control — it’s to save the environment from pesticides and genetic engineering.

Sacramento is an amazing opportunity to refocus public attention from Bush’s agenda of war, tax cuts, fear and attacks on civil liberties back to our agenda — the struggle for freedom, self-determination and an ecologically sustainable future. During the war, tens of thousands of people in the Bay Area took the streets and shut down business as usual. Let’s build on what we learned and go one better by shutting down the WTO meeting in Sacramento.

The elite can only lose the Struggle in Sacramento, because they can only save the meeting from chaos by turning California’s capitol into an armed camp. So be it — ultimately the corporate capitalist world envisioned by the WTO requires open violence to enforce the systematic theft of labor power and natural resources. Let’s make sure the system’s violence is exposed so the whole world can see it. Just because the overt war in Iraq has ended doesn’t mean that the everyday war against the earth and the public has changed. The ordinary, everyday, secret war is claiming victims right now.

Thousands of people will use a diversity of tactics to disrupt the WTO in Sacramento ranging from militant, mobile direct action to legal protests to street theater to educational events. Sacramento is flat with warm weather in June — perfect for mobile tactics, quick disguise changes, bike actions, disruptive public sex, etc. Get together with your friends now and figure out how to be part of the struggle. With creativity, spontaneity, courage and humor we’ll prevent the WTO from proceeding.

On to Cancún

Trade ministers from around the world will be in Cancún to conclude agreements on services (water, health care, and education); agriculture; and intellectual property among other topics. Each new agreement concluded by the WTO transfers more power over the work we do, the way we live, and what we know to multi-national corporations. Under the WTO, these corporations gain power to overturn any local laws regulating labor, health or environmental matters as “unfair barriers to trade.” Thus, the WTO brings us even farther from a world in which neither corporations nor governments control our lives. In the name of freedom and the survival of the earth, it’s vital to fight the growth of corporate power and the expansion of the WTO.

The convention center where the Summit will be held is at the tip of a long strip of land boarded on one side by the ocean, and on the other by the Nichupte Lagoon. Two bridges connect this strip to the main land and downtown. Most of the workers who serve the tourist industry on the island live on the mainland, so the authorities will have to try to keep access to the island open during the meeting. But with only two bridges and perhaps tens of thousands of protesters, this could be difficult.

There may also be attempts to block access from the airport to the island to prevent people from getting to the meeting site. Cancún’s airport is on the mainland — served by a single three-mile, two-lane highway thickly forested on either side.

In Seattle, we had to surround a convention center that was accessible from every direction, requiring the subdivision of downtown Seattle by blockaders into 13 sectors. In Cancún, the tactical issues may be much simpler.

For Americans hoping to go to Cancún, one significant problem may be crossing the border. Although you can drive to Cancún from anywhere in the US in a few days or fly relatively inexpensively since it’s a popular tourist destination, it’s likely that the police will stop people who appear to be on their way to the protest.

Because corporate controlled free trade — and in particular the North American Free Trade Agreement — has been such a disaster for the average Mexican, resistance to the WTO meeting is expected to be strong in Mexico. Hundreds of Mexican individuals and organizations have been participating in planning the resistance to the Cancun meeting.

Nonetheless, participation in the protests by people from the United States and outside Mexico is also important. The chances for brutal repression of demonstrations may be somewhat less if it would mean attacking large numbers of US citizens.

Nurturing international solidarity against the WTO and in favor of a future controlled by people instead of corporations is crucial. When thousands of ordinary Mexicans and Americans march arm and arm against the power structure that exploits them, it will become clear that workers in the US and Mexico have everything to gain together, and everything to lose if they can be divided.

The protests in Seattle were powerful not because the media correctly conveyed the complex economic and social arguments made by the thousands in the streets — we know such messages won’t get through the corporate media. Rather, highly visible resistance to the WTO and corporate control are crucial because they demonstrate to ordinary folks everywhere that everyone isn’t united around a corporate future, and there are still opportunities to struggle against the ruling order.

Many people thr
oughout the world are deeply dissatisfied with the life offered them by corporate control. People work meaningless, degrading jobs so that a tiny minority can get rich. The earth is being destroyed. The material abundance created by all the work and resource extraction is hollow — a million identical strip malls for the privileged western nations; a million identical slums and sweatshops in the third world. Existence is a vast prison without walls — the real decisions are out of ordinary people’s hands.

When we create images of passion, rage and a refusal to accept the life corporations offer us, we’re building a powerful vision of hope for something different. Visible opposition is our best hope to break the isolation and resignation that corporate society uses to control the future. We don’t need to passively accept our fate — people can struggle and build something better.

The Anti-War Argument While Still Supporting the Troops

In this time of permanent war, it is our job to provide the counter perspective: That of the 24 US bombing campaigns since WWII, none resulted in the establishment or continuation of democracy. Many campaigns were waged against democratically elected leaders, and most ended with the establishment and continued funding of dictatorships. We must point out the correlation between US-sponsored “democracy” and market-based capitalism, and push for self-determination on the part of people around the world.

Many people already sense that something is deeply wrong with this country even as they hang yellow ribbons. People are hurting economically, and Bush seems to be continually missing that point. But many folks are troubled by questions of loyalty, still hurting from the September 11 attacks, and still believe the government line that US intervention is appreciated by and brings freedom and democracy to people around the world.

These days, a hot topic in patriot land – and a good way to address fuzzy patriot thinking – is support for the troops.

Support for the recent Iraq war didn’t fully solidify until after the troops were in combat. After the war officially started, many folks who had serious doubts about the war felt it was unethical – unpatriotic – to protest the efforts of our soldiers, fighting for us.

You can support the troops, without supporting the designs of the Commander in Chief, because you don’t support people fighting and dying, period. In particular, we can support troops who break ranks. Support for troops does not mean demanding they occupy a country where they’re clearly not wanted—witness skyrocketing anti-occupation protests in Iraq. Instead, real support means good-paying jobs at home, non-militarized education, and emotional support of friends and family.

There is a poverty draft in place today. Despite small upsurges in interest in the military after 9/11 and the Iraq war, most folks still join the military to receive promised job skills and education funding. But two-thirds of recruits never get the financial aid they were promised – and only 15% actually get the four year degree they wanted! According to a report in the Army Times, the military actually took $720 million more from GIs in non-refundable deposits, than they paid out in college benefits between 1986 and 1993. About 90% of folks don’t end up using the skills they learned in the military in their post-military jobs. What a bunch of bullshit!

Some people package these anti-military arguments under the slogan “Peace is Patriotic.” The radical analysis goes further: Peace is not patriotic! Peace requires consideration, negotiation, listening. Patriotism requires unthinking allegiance. Peace won’t come from following directions, only from working out new solutions that empower people, not governments.

Now is the time to sever the link between support for government and support for people. Wars waged by the US to “liberate” people elsewhere, supported by people here at home, are not fought in the interests of people at home or abroad. Government leaders, and their friends in corporate boardrooms – from Bush and Cheney to Saddam – fight wars for their own private power-mongering interests, not in the interests of regular folks in either the US or Iraq. The money river that starts at government founts and pools around defense contractors runs dry by the time it reaches the dude on the street.

Let’s bust up myths that assume the government cares about us, and replace government loyalty with people loyalty. George Bush isn’t my man, my best idiot, my friend – YOU ARE.

The Brain Behind the Brainwash

An intelligent US public? That’s not the goal of the media, with its dumbed down soup of fear, sensationalism, and unquestioning patriotism. Radical grassroots activists, overwhelmed with the flood of insane patriotic imagery, make a false assumption: that people who buy into the stupid american dream are themselves…. Stupid.

True, it’s a lot easier to write folks off as stupid, than to actually engage with them. But when we focus on insane displays of patriotism, rather than the person behind them, we actually let the media and the government win. We perpetuate the fear of disagreement, debate, and critical thinking that allows this government to build an empire on lies.

Who are we, as radical grassroots activists, often based in urban areas, writing off? We don’t write off the urban poor, and other traditionally “oppressed” people – native people, migrant workers, for example. The people we discount are people who have bought, to some extent, into the american dream. From the far left, we see the folks in cookie-cutter suburban neighborhoods, the folks flocking to the mall, the callers on AM Talk Radio, all feasting on american milk and honey.

Undeniably, folks who love the american dream are buying into a web of oppression. But the fact that they don’t appear to see this truth and fail to analyze the consequences of their actions, doesn’t mean they’re one-dimensional humans without potential for change. The american dream is the status quo, easy to adopt, if hard to actually obtain. People often have thoughts and feelings much more complex than what’s seen on the outside. Truth be told, many “oppressed” people also want the american dream, it’s just not happening for them.

Neither is the appearance of american-style success a guarantee of happiness. There is real pain in the suburbs, small towns, rural areas, as well as in the cities—generalized dissatisfaction with life that goes far beyond 30-second sensationalized trauma spots in the news.

Many grassroots activists know this pain – many of us came to the urban scene from suburbs and small towns. We know that people can be stupid fucks and be damn proud of it. It’s fine that we’ve moved on. But we must remember that beneath that brainwashing is an actual brain, being fed practically nothing but grossly manipulated media.

In many parts of the US, there’s little access to the world news and analysis that the left thrives upon. American media does not encourage critical thinking. Issues are draped in patriotism, not framed in ways that foster consideration and discussion. Debate forums that do exist, like talk radio and political debate shows, are overwhelmed by dogmatic right-biased spectacle. So-called ‘alternative’ free weeklies have become cookie-cutter clones spewed out by a few companies.

Serious questioning and disagreement are tantamount to treason. Bush and Co’s conquering mentality – that there’s one answer, it’s American, and if you disagree, you are less than human – applies at home as well as abroad, and is essentially the end of debate.

The military industrial complex has powerful tools to smash dissent. The real threats of surveillance, infiltration, prison time, etc make anything beyond very mundane disagreement with the government very scary. In this climate of fear, support for the government, whether active or passive, is much easier than fully articulating and acting upon dissenting views.

But imagine a world where disagreement was okay. Where you could support people you disagreed with, where tolerance for difference was the norm. Where critical thinking and raising questions meant respect and discussion instead of being a nerd, a pinko asshole, or a domestic terrorist. This is the antithesis of the american imperialist view of the world, and it is the real meaning of freedom.

Radical activists can start spreading this freedom today, by engaging with people outside our tight, friendship-based circles—people who don’t automatically share our view of the world, with whom we might disagree. This is not a critique of doing activism with groups of friends, nor is it necessarily a recruiting assignment for the suburbs. This is a call for engagement in support of critical thinking. Before I try to persuade somebody to adopt an anti-capitalist view of the world, I want them to have the critical thinking skills to actually consider what I’m saying. I want people to feel empowered to think critically about the daily news, the political double-speak, the whole nine yards, in hopes that once people start viewing the news with a critical eye, events will seems as blatantly ridiculous to them as they do to me.

This is about listening and sharing ideas with people as people, not as stereotypes. Folks won’t take you seriously if you don’t prove you care about what they actually think and feel. This effort is about sharing information, listening to people’s response, suggesting analyses—and then stepping back and trusting people to arrive at their own conclusions. This is the fundamental difference between recruitment and engagement.

I don’t expect people to come flocking to our movement. People have their own ways of processing information and creating change. Politicizing doesn’t necessarily mean organizing—that’s its own very valid project. I’m scattering seeds, not looking for immediate recognition and political affinity. In the process, we might very well meet new friends and action partners, people who would find this activist scene on their own in a few years. Why should we wait for people to find their own radical grassroots movement? Let’s put ourselves out in the world!

Let’s go to people in neutral environments, where they’re comfortable. Let’s think beyond the old recipe of “talking” to people – sometimes a surprisingly challenging act. Let’s go to the suburbs with flyers, posters, sticker campaigns, street theater, several times a year. Let’s go in approachable small groups, looking like we’re interested in people instead of attacking The Man. Let’s cover cafes and Laundromats in alternative media. Let’s listen to people, so we can understand people outside of divisive stereotypes. Let’s try to discover the many motivations behind what comes off as unquestioning patriotism, so we can better understand why people put up with — and appear to enjoy – all this shit.

Some folks will call this an invasion or a missionary expedition. I think it’s mutual aid. We don’t want folks to become slaves to ideology. The message is, Stop – Don’t React – Think.

Movement of Opportunity

Torque the System Towards Radical Action!

In the immediate aftermath of the US war against Iraq, some folks who oppose a global US military empire are feeling discouraged and isolated. This is a big mistake — in this unsettled period, there are tremendous opportunities to advance the struggle against capitalism and its military empires.

The period leading up to the war brought millions of people around the world out into the streets against the war. Bush didn’t seem to care, and the war went ahead anyway. Big fucking deal! The point here isn’t that the war happened in spite of massive protest — the point is the massive protest, and that millions of people have learned a crucial lesson — that the political system is just going to ignore their polite protests.

The disappointment of millions of people who were unsuccessful in stopping the war using polite protest can lead in two directions: either people will be pushed into apathy and silence, or they’ll get radicalized and start to realize that the only way to stop the system’s drive towards mass murder is to figure out how to disrupt, resist and fight the system. If the system won’t listen to the people, the people will have to tear the system down as an act of self-defense.

The war, the disunity over the war amongst the capitalist powers, the crisis at the UN, and the global popular resistance to the war all disrupted the previous political balance. Like a balloon that was over-inflated and burst, all of the pieces of the game have been briefly tossed into the air.

Such an historical rupture can open the way for massive social change. The direction of that change is unknown, with all parties hoping to seize the moment and promote their own agenda. It’s up to the anti-war movement, and particularly radicals and anti-authoritarians within the anti-war movement, to make sure that the change in this unstable period is positive, not negative.

Now is a crucial time to organize, continue the struggle, emphasize lessons learned, and transform the organizations and people mobilized by the war from the reactive anti-war effort to a struggle for something new. It’s essential in the aftermath of the war to describe what we’re for — and move beyond what we’re against.

Our alternative vision is of a world organized around freedom, self-determination, cooperation and meeting human needs — not domination, violence, coercion and profit. Most people realize that naked might shouldn’t make right. Its easy to confuse Bush’s inevitable military victory with a political victory — with winning the peace. The anti-war movement may have a better chance of discrediting military solutions after the war than it did preventing the war.

The anti-war struggle has radicalized portions of an entire generation. People who have been through the experience of optimistically marching and rallying — only to be dismissed and attacked — have become critical towards many social institutions. In particular the media, which normally serves to promote political and social stability and hegemony, has been discredited.

For millions of people in the US, the United States government is no longer “their” government — it is a hostile, repressive force that endangers them. For most people around the world, it has become clear that the greatest threat to peace and freedom is the US government operating as an unchallenged, unaccountable, nuclear-armed mono-power.

We are Citizens of the Earth

What tangible actions can people take to use the aftermath of the war against Bush’s drive to forge an American empire?

It has been inspiring to see the creativity and courage of the Iraq people’s resistance to Iraq’s occupation by US forces. Bush touted the invasion as an effort to bring “freedom” and liberation to Iraq. But within just a few days after US troops crushed military resistance, thousands of Iraqis began peacefully marching in the streets — with English language banners — demanding “Yankee Go Home.”

The Iraqi anti-occupation movement has generally not been pro-Saddam. Participants are happy to be rid of a dictatorship, but don’t want to see it replaced by an authoritarian American client state. Here in the United States, anti-war activists should do everything we can to support Iraqi resistance to the occupation. American soldiers have been shooting into peaceful crowds, killing dozens of civilian demonstrators. The American anti-imperialist movement should make clear that the blood shed in Iraq is our brothers’ and sisters’ blood, and we will hold the US military regime accountable.

We can have solidarity with the Iraqis — while advancing our own domestic goals — by keeping news of Iraqi resistance in the headlines. The US media, after initial reporting about anti-American protest in Iraq, has largely gone silent on this topic. Does this mean that protests have stopped in Iraq? It seems unlikely. Perhaps it’s time to get a few independent media sources and civilian observers to Iraq.

As this article is being written, the American occupiers are quickly organizing a “new” regime to control Iraq. Not surprisingly, this involves merely recycling the old regime. Police and other officials under the former “evil” Baathist regime have now been rehired to be police and officials for the new “free” regime.

The difference is that now the leaders are American generals and Iraqi puppets of the Americans. Ordinary Iraqis are nervous to see their former oppressors re-armed, but Bush’s version of “freedom” doesn’t have much to do with the lives of ordinary people. As usual, the American rulers’ idea of “freedom” is freedom for American corporations to do business in Iraq. None of this is a surprise — western imperialism has always used local elites to control the local population.

Saddam’s regime was brutal, using summary execution, torture and a whole host of police state tactics. Unfortunately, the US commonly tolerates or promotes human rights violations in regimes it installs in countries it has “liberated.” Repressive conditions are common in countries supported by the US. Many of the countries that provided bases for the war against Iraq have horrible records of dictatorship, torture and repression. Agitating against US support for human rights violations can provide the American opposition opportunities to criticize the rush towards a larger US empire.

Before the war, a popular slogan was “no blood for oil.” It has been astonishing how quickly and boldly the American occupiers have made clear that dominance over oil was a primary goal of the war. As we go to press, the UN is poised to give the American occupiers direct control over the money generated by Iraqi oil sales. The money will supposedly be used for humanitarian aid and rebuilding Iraq.

The reality is that reconstruction will be carried out by huge American corporations with close ties to the Bush Administration. Bechtel was awarded — without competitive bidding — a $680 million contract for rebuilding only days after the fighting stopped. Vice-president Cheney’s old company Halliburton quietly obtained a contract that could be worth up to $7 billion (but may now “only” amount to $500 million) for rebuilding. The rush to war makes a bit more sense when one realizes that Bush’s close advisors and allies stand to make millions of dollars off Iraqi oil in the aftermath of the war. It is crucial that American radicals publicize these connections in the aftermath of the war.

The contradictions, lies and brutality pointed out above are just a few of the results of the war against Iraq. Now is the time for US activists to struggle to win the political war, and seize on the political instability in the aftermath of the war to promote an alternative vision for the future. We need to
build on the anti-war mobilization and expand the base of people opposed to a US global military empire. Preventing future contemplated wars against Syria, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Libya (and interventions in the Philippines, Indonesia, Colombia, Venezuela, etc.) is part of the picture, but isn’t enough. The American opposition has to be for something, not just against everything.

Just as Seattle and the globalization movement brought together environmentalists and labor / sweatshop activists, the resistance movement in the wake of the war must bring together the lessons and ideas of the anti-globalization activists with a new internationalism based on the anti-war movement. There are exciting opportunities to unite the US resistance movement with movements around the world who are struggling to resist US domination.

In the wake of the war against Iraq, there is no time to retreat into silence, apathy and defeatism. Like Joe Hill said, don’t mourn — ORGANIZE!!

Slingshot Box

Slingshot is a quarterly, independent, radical, newspaper published in the East Bay since 1988.

In an attempt to expand our artistic horizons, Slingshotters this issue debated the editorial content of the paper by engaging in competitive interpretive dance. It was an awesome sight; the staff frolicking and flinging themselves to and fro around the loft/office, emoting heavy political content with the added benefit of participating in strenuous, aerobic physical activity, to keep our blood flowing.

Finally, after fifteen years of publishing, we had our first ever retreat in April. What was planned as a sunny Saturday in one of the many beautiful nature spots here in the Bay Area, turned out to be a soggy, lightning and thunder filled afternoon in a leaky, red VW microbus. That may sound like an Arlo Guthrie song, but it actually was very productive, that is until we got to the bowling alley. No, really.

We decided that we want to change the process so we can publish the paper more often. We want to crunch the distribution cycle from about 3 weeks to just one weekend. That would take a lot more volunteer help that weekend. We talked about how we could get help from people who didn’t necessarily want to go to all our meetings and be fully involved in the collective, but who would nonetheless like to help Slingshot expand and thrive.

We also talked about reducing the period between our article brainstorm and our article deadline to just 3 weeks, instead of the current 5. To do that, we would need to find more writers outside the collective who would be willing to write an article or two per issue. Such folks wouldn’t have to go to our meetings or even live in the Bay Area. We would like to make these changes starting in 2004. Let us know if you can help.

In responding to a reporter’s question about the supremes hearing a case on sodomy, Sen. R. Santorum sez he is against all consensual sex. In response to that, a letter to ‘Savage Love’ suggested naming a sex act after Mr. S. We at Slingshot think this is a fine idea and after much heated debate and experimentation, suggest eating out an armpit as the act to henceforth to be dubbed Santoruming.

We are always on the lookout for writers, artists, editors, photographers, (folks from out of the area/US sincerely wanted!) distributors and independent thinkers to help us put out this paper. If you have such skills and would like to contribute we’d greatly appreciate it. Photos of demos or of cool reworkings of the cultural landscape, and stencils, are particularly welcome. If you do send us something, please be open to editorial discussion.

Editorial decisions about Slingshot are made by the collective, but not all articles reflect the opinions of all collective members. We welcome debate, constructive criticism and discussion.

Thanks to everyone who helped us create this issue!!!

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot come to the new volunteer meeting September 14th at 1p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below).

Article deadline and Next Issue date

Submit your articles for issue 79 by October 18th, 2003. We expect the issue out the end of October

Volume 1, Number 78 Circulation 12,000

Printed May 22, 2003

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Ave Berkeley Ca 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751

State Fucking With Anarchists

Dear Slingshot,

I am a prisoner at Oregon State Penitentiary, I have been for eight years. Currently I have a lawsuit going against the Oregon Dept. of Corrections for excessive, unreasonable censorship of Anarchist materials/publications and other publications who happen to print an article containing Anarchist symbols and statements/articles that contain Anarchist symbols. All funds that I do manage to accumulate are going towards this legal action. Currently, I, and my cellmate, Rob Los Ricos, are serving 120 days in the “hole” for unauthorized organization for fighting these restrictions. Both of us can be reached at the Oregon State Penitentiary.

Brian McCarvill 11037967

Rob Los Ricos 12112716

2605 State St.

Salem, OR 97310

Objurgating in Oregon,

Brian McCarvill

Mexican Anarchist in Prison

Mexican anarchist Carlos Alberto Estrada Arroyo was recently sentenced to 12 and a half years in jail for an alleged robbery that he denies having anything to do with. On May 14, 2001, Carlos was on his way back to work from a lunch break at his job as a brick mason in Mexico City, when he was arrested by the police. He was then beaten and tortured but still refused to admit guilt to a crime that he didn’t commit. Carlos was politically active including being involved in the large UNAM strike in 2000 that was crushed by the police.

Carlos and his family are thankful for the international support he has received including help from Argentina. Brazil, the U.S., France and Poland. His mother Sara Arroyo Granados writes: “…I am writing to thank you for the economic and moral help that has been provided to my son. The economic aid that has been given to us without knowing that we are a family with scarce resources and the letters you have sent to Carlos have cheered him up so much. They are like spinach for Popeye. When he is feeling down we bring him the letters and it brings back his strength. For this I implore that you don’t stop writing him. Even for me personally, I feel very inspired to know that we have friends, true friends. Thank you kids, thank you from all of my heart. To all in general, from all the states of the republic and of countries who have sent support, I know you may not believe in God, but I hope that life gives you all that can be desired. Goodbye.”

To send letters or donations to Carlos contact:


Hi Slingshot,

I just moved into a cell that someone had left a copy of Slingshot, Winter 2002 issue in. I really enjoyed it and found a lot in common with most all the views and agenda’s expressed. What’s a trip is you guys also chose to put “Godzilla” on the cover of that issue. I actually wrote some lyrics about Bin Laden hummed to the Blue Oyster Cult’s “Godzilla” song. Below is as copy of the lyrics for ya. Feel free to publish them and even publish my name and current residence here at the state prison. I’m only doing a short violation but I’m looking for like minded people to write to.

When I parole I’ll be homeless, I plan on residing in the Bay Area/Berkeley temporarily but have dreams and goals of traveling America. I’ve done a lot of time since 1990 (pretty much all of the 90’s) so even though parole will still have my number, I’m not gonna let it restrict my happiness and ambition of seeking personal freedom- “Fuck State Parole.” Everytime I get out it’s my time! My life- My way!

Anyway, I’m curious about the current state of Albany’s Natural Dumpsite? That article about such a place really intrigued me. You got my sympathy and agreement on saving such an area at its natural state of growth. I wish I could be there to help and support, possibly soon. I loved your ideas about everyone coming together. All walks of life and outcasts, united together! I’m a 31 year old, ex-punkrocker/lost identity, anti-social, wingnut-big gg fan.

Welp, thanks for your time. please write back. Respectfully for all tribes.

One love,

Alfred Busby T37800

San Quentin State Prison

San Quentin, CA 94974


Like a masquerading pirate, he rocked the

Kings ship, then ducked in a cave and

Laughed at the world while he took a shit

Oh yeah, got to go! Go-go Bin Ladin

Community Shuts Down Red Star Yeast

A coalition of community environmental justice organizations has finally succeeded in shutting down the stinking yeast factory in West Oakland! Lesaffre Yeast, formerly Red Star Yeast, emitted carcinogenic plumes into the densely populated West Oakland neighborhood. Despite efforts of Bay Area Air Quality Management District to actually renew Lesaffre’s permit, the company was forced to close after being bombarded by everything from street protests to legal proceedings.

Organizer Update

Thanks to everyone who bought a 2003 Slingshot Organizer — they pay for this paper to be free all over the place. We’re already working on the 2004 Organizer, expected out October 1, 2003. Please don’t order until then — it’s confusing. If you have ideas for the 2004 version (or graphics or historical dates, etc.) send them to us by August 1 or sooner. We’re always looking for more listings for our radical contact list, so if you know of one in your area that isn’t listed, please send it. Contacts have to have a physical address and usually a phone number. Also, we just got a few 2003 Organizers returned, so you can still get one for $5 (includes shipping). Ignore the website which says we are out.

Murder in Palestine: Don't Mourn Organize

Rachel Corrie, 23, American — run over by an Israeli Army bulldozer and killed defending a doctor’s house from demolition.

Tom Hurndall, 21, British — shot in the back of the head by an Israeli sniper while he was trying to get children out of the line of fire.

Bryan Avery, 24, American — shot in the face by Israeli soldiers firing from an armored personnel carrier.

Rachel, Tom and Bryan were in Palestine working with the International Solidarity Movement when they were killed or wounded. All were clearly identified as ISM activists — they wore bright orange vests with reflective stripes.

Their names are western and familiar sounding here in the US. We don’t know the names of the hundreds of Palestinians killed by Israeli attacks in the occupied territories over the past months or years. Their names aren’t familiar. Because they are not white, their lives and deaths don’t seem to matter much to the US news media or the American political system.

The idea behind the ISM is that mostly white activists from powerful countries would not be killed by the Israeli military the way Palestinians are routinely killed. These western activists — living with Palestinians and participating in non-violent actions in the occupied territories and offering humanitarian assistance there — could help protect Palestinians and act as independent observers of Israeli atrocities.

The ISM isn’t backing down now that it is obvious that the Israelis will kill western activists just as savagely as they have always killed Palestinians. Instead, they are laying plans for Freedom Summer 2003 between July 1 – August 15:

“The International Solidarity Movement is urgently calling for international volunteers to come to the Occupied West Bank and Gaza to stand with Palestinians against attacks on their very existence. An international presence CAN make a difference. This Summer, hundreds, perhaps thousands, of concerned citizens from around the world will travel to Palestine to participate in nonviolent direct action in support of Palestinian human rights. Join us!”

In the face of the courage and persistence of the ISM, the Israeli military regime has stepped up attacks on the Palestinian-led human rights organization. On April 16, Army Chief of Staff, Lt. General Moshe Yaalon announced that he had given the order to “take the ISM out”, claiming that they “injure [the] freedom of action” of his troops.

True to their word, on May 9 dozens of police and soldiers, 20 army jeeps and an armored personnel carrier surrounded and raided the ISM media office in Beit Sahour, confiscating computers, photographs, files, destroying other equipment and arresting 3 activists. Two westerners were deported.

The western ISM activists killed in Israel over the past months wouldn’t have wanted an obituary because they understood that Palestinians — and other poor and non-white people around the world — are dying every day at the hands of western militarism and capitalism. The poor never get an obituary in the western press, even though all of us humans are equally valuable — equally capable of love, life, hope and pain.

We know that the ISM activists were brave, caring, committed activists. They left behind families and friends who loved them. They refused to sit passively and watch brutality. They stood up — powerfully and nonviolently — to do something about it, and for that, they were killed.

What the western ISM activists would have wanted is to know that others would have the courage to rush to fill their places. The struggle for the liberation of Palestinians and all people across the world must continue.

The ISM requests that people wishing to volunteer do so for at least 10 days. They plan to conduct trainings at least once a week from July 1 – Aug. 15 in Bethlehem. The ISM maintains a presence in Palestine year-round, not just during the summer. For more information, contact, +972-2-277-4602.