Chip In Your Shoulder

Will RFID chips follow our every move?

If you think the “magnetic tags” found on consumer items like CDs and clothes are frustrating, dehumanizing and an invasion of your privacy, then you’ll be appalled at the coming Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) age. RFIDs are basically magnetic tags that broadcast information. Multinational corporations and government agencies will use them to accumulate information on people’s habits and to track us, in order to control us most efficiently with marketing, propaganda, and law-enforcement. Soon, your library books, your credit cards, your hospital wristband, and every packaged product you buy will be physically traceable by anybody who has the proper sensor technology. RFIDs are devices that send out tracking signals. Already they can be found in Gillette Razor packages, Benneton sweaters, credit cards, and they may soon be in many library books.

Specifically, they announce not only their presence, but a unique code corresponding to the actual item in hand. Example: magnetic tags carried through a sensor allow the sensor to infer that an active tag is present in the sensing area, which means an item is being stolen or was improperly checked out. Magnetic tags can be “killed” when an item is checked out so they don’t work anymore.

However an RFID tag in the same situation announces, “Hey! I’m here. I’m a book. I’m Das Kapital. I’m copy number 1455.” And when it leaves the library or store it still works. RFIDs aren’t only placed on products. RFIDs are already being used on credit cards, “I’m VISA #xxxx …,” car keys, “I’m key #3367 for car #3367,” in military hospital wristbands “I’m PFC 5555,” and on railroad cars, and the list goes on. You get the idea.

RFIDs are too small to contain batteries, so they don’t have enough power to broadcast their codes constantly. They derive their power from a magnetic pulse (called an “interrogation signal”) from a device that is tuned to listen for RFID broadcasts. The information tracked with RFIDs, when combined with numerous databases, can be much more threatening than simple tracking.

Databases are everywhere containing various personal information, ranging from marketing and credit records to government information. All databases can be cross-referenced by anybody with access. When any new information-gathering technology is introduced, its proprietors promise the public that the information will be carefully protected to prevent abuses. However, those seeking to invade privacy work hard to get around limitations.

While the government is not supposed to have access to certain types of privately collected personal database information, they have been getting around legal restrictions by partnering with private companies which are not subject to legal restrictions. The government also uses fear to compromise personal liberty for the sake of “security”, for example with passage of the Patriot Act.

The system of RFID tagging and databasing of personal information may soon be the primary threat to personal anonymity and security. This technology is already in use, and when it becomes more systematically integrated into our technological society, scenarios like this may become common:

“You go to Wal-Mart (they are the main proponents of RFID in stores right now) you pick up a Gillette razor to shave those pesky butt-crack hairs, and when the RFID-reader equipped shelf ‘hears’ you remove the item from the shelf, a ‘customer appreciation’ camera in the display takes your picture (this is already happening in the UK). The picture is sent to the security guard at the front of the store wirelessly, who waits to see if you pay for the high-theft item. You buy other RFID equipped items, which you may or may not know are broadcasting their location and type. Your route through the store is tracked by a network of sensors so Wal-mart can compile market statistics on the buying and walking habits of shaving people. You go to “check out” and find that most people walk right out the door, because the RFID antenna/computer at the door simultaneously totaled their purchase wirelessly and charged their credit card account when it sensed the RFID credit card in their purse (these are in use in Chicago, Singapore, Tokyo). Security is there to make sure all people that passed through had their credit card, and they are waiting to see if you will verify as you walk through because they know you are statistically likely to jack the razor. There is a single register for paranoid or marginalized cash customers, so you wave your razor in front of the register and feed your wrinkly dollar bills into the cash counter under the gaze of the security, who is just doing her job. It was a dehumanizing hassle, but you got your razor. Later, your credit card wielding sister gets a subpoena because the can of coke she legally walked out with (#18994) and charged to her account (#45879) was found near a torched SUV and linked to the crime by the FBI. What a bummer, cause she didn’t even do it. Though her highly paid lawyer gets her off after he pulls records that her credit card had automatically been buying her drinks at Club Trendy at the time the SUV was burning. Sometime later, you are eating at the local organic store when a cop walks by on the sidewalk with a handheld RFID reader and pegs the copy of Kropotkin’s Mutual Aid fresh from the library nestled harmlessly in your backpack and starts asking questions. He says, ‘son, in my experience kids with books like these commit crimes. Geez, if you saw the statistics I see every day, you wouldn’t be reading it. Calm down, I’m not arresting you, I’m sure you haven’t done anything wrong, I’m just waiting for you and your friends here to be cross-referenced through some databases to see if you are a security threat. It’s just a matter of routine.’”

This story is not incredible, it may just be a matter of time until it is commonplace. Many different industries are working to put RFIDs everywhere. They are starting to appear in the strangest places. Every government building, university, and research facility is using them for “key-cards.” Every pallet of goods that went to Gulf War II was tagged. The corporations are drooling over them because they can make supply chains ultra-efficient by tracking each item along the assembly line all the way to the shelf and curb shoplifting for good. The San Francisco library is thinking about putting them in their entire inventory.

As with all new technologies they are being marketed for their increased efficiency and convenience. Who would want to wait in line at the grocery store, when you could just walk out the door and everything would be paid for automatically? Consumers, especially in Germany, have objected to RFID, afraid of the Orwellian world that could result, and usually they are pacified (literally the word of choice in confidential marketing strategy plans stolen from the MIT Auto-ID center website — they are the primary patent-holders of this technology, until the entire lab was purchased and relocated by EPC Global) by promising that another device would send a “kill” signal to RFIDs when they leave stores. But if they are to be used in libraries, either the kill signal wouldn’t be used or a special “resume” signal would need to be programmed in.

Libraries seem to be the target market in the US. Who would ensure the “kill” signal is actually being sent by RFID readers? The consumer will never know, because all RFID reading/writing/killing/resuming is done silently and from a distance. Will the cops know the resume signal, if the kill signal is implemented? The CIA? The NSA? I don’t know. But I don’t trust it.

Thumbs down for RFID. It is a major threat to individual autonomy and anonymity, if you are doing legal or illegal things. Keep an eye out for them (see picture), and keep yourself informed on who has access
to what databases Tell your librarian you are opposed to RFID technology. Check out for more information, and US Patent #6,768,419 for a description of the proposed library RFID system.

Reduce, Reuse, Roadkill

DIY hide tanning

Here’s your chance to hasten the revolution by practicing urban survival tactics while getting in touch with the natural world that somehow seems to totally disappear under all that concrete. If you yearn for an intense experience of the wild but are stuck in the city and too busy to leave, you can start thinking bioregionally and connect with what is in your immediate neighborhood, even if its dead. There’s plenty of poor furry victims of our auto-dependent, gas-guzzling, concrete culture lying along the shoulders of our city highways and streets, and most are treated with little worth. But we can redeem their wasted lives and disregarded souls. We can make rundown raccoons into caps, smashed squirrels into shirts, and dead deer into dresses! That’s not even mentioning the plethora of pets that are out there! (oooh, taboo…) Plus, there are a number of tools and musical instruments to be made from the bones sinew and teeth. Even handy weapons that’ll pass through metal detectors (but you didn’t hear it here!). Of course, your next roadkill score could be your next meal. With a few skills and a bit of effort, its easy to see the possibilities inherent in the little noticed and dishonorably discharged by-products of our roadside excesses.

HOW TO: And Now For the Meaty Section!

Pretend you are riding your bike down the street and… Aghast!! Someone has callously murdered a deer with their gold-plated luxury full-size truck and left the mess in the gutter, where you ride, and now stand staring, curious about what to do.

You think: “How sad!”

Then the curiosity chimes in: “I wonder if I could make a pair of pants out of its skin?”

Well, here are some clues to look for that will suggest the possibility of such an endeavor:

Is it fresh? First, look at its eyes. How rotten are they? If they are totally rotted out, chances are it’s been there a while and you might not want to mess with it. But if they are intact, there’s a good chance the hide is still in workable shape and the chore of removing it will be relatively less disgusting.

Second, how stiff is the body? If it’s very stiff you’ll be able to use it but chances are it’ll be harder to skin without tearing it.

Third, does the hair pull out? If it pulls out readily, it’s been dead a while. You still might consider using it though because actually, when the hair is falling out, it’s much easier to scrape/slip (something I’ll discuss later on).

Finally, if it is still warm, you can eat it! Otherwise, it might not be a good idea to try, especially if the meat has turned green and is bruised and mealy looking.

If its winter and temperatures are cooler, the animal will not decay as fast, but in the summer its much more difficult to deal with the decay.

Okay, so you decide it’s a viable candidate, and you have some time on your hands to do all of this: what’s next?

Skinning — preferably gloves and a face mask should be worn if you are worried about infection. Caution should be taken to prevent your hands from touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while handling the animal.

Tools you will need:

sharp knife

lye (NaOH)



Dull scraping tool (see Figure A)

Scraping Post

First, while the animal is hanging, cut around its hands, feet and down the length of its arms and legs. If you do not want this portion of the hide, simply cut around the arms and legs where they meet the body. Next, slice a cut from the neck to the anus on the front side of the animal. You should be able to separate the skin from the fascia by pulling from either end towards the spine. When the hide is off the animal, I usually start pulling all the hanging, boogery looking strands of flesh off the inside before moving on to the next step.

Lye Soaking — The hide, hair and all, will go into a bucket of a solution of lye + water. Lye can be obtained in its pure chemical form purchased as drano or liquid plumber, red devil…etc, or in a less powerful form as the water from leached wood ash. Be careful as it is caustic. 8 tablespoons of drano for each gallon of water should be enough to cause the desired effect. The lye makes the epidermis of the skin swell up and enabling the hair to “slip” off the subdermal layers of skin a little easier.

Scraping/Slipping — after soaking for at least 24 hours or until the hide looks very swollen and pinkish, you are ready to start scraping the hide, thereby “slipping” the hair which will result, when finished, in a hairless, wet, slippery, creepy skin.

Construct a scraping post from a de-barked tree trunk, about 3.5’ long and 8-12” in diameter with ends cut at congruent angles to the ground and placed against a wall or tree, as shown in Figure B.

Lie the furry, wet soaked hide over the post with hide arms and legs hanging over the sides evenly, fur facing up, neck end towards the top of the post.

Kneel straddling the post and begin scraping the hair and pink epidermal layer of skin with your scraping tool. Its very important to get all the epidermal skin off, as it is very hard when dry and will not tan, leaving you with crunchy spots in your finished tanned hide. Its best to begin in the middle of the hide, making one hairless, epidermal-less line from the neck to the butt and working out towards the arms from there. Allow 3-4 hours to complete this task with a medium size deerhide.

Braining — “Every animal has enough brains to tan its own hide.” You might think this saying is just a clever aphorism, but physiologically it’s also true. When you find the animal and skin it, the brains are what you’ll use to actually “tan” , or soften the skin.

The way it works is brains are very fatty — like 100% saturated fat. The hide is very absorbent and stretchy and with some coaxing, will soak up the brains into its pores. Unless the brains are applied, when the hide dries it will normally get very hard because the hide is basically made of glue. But when the hide is in a warm water bath with the brains and soaks up the fats into its pores, the fats actually coat the pores so that the glues cannot stick to each other. After being smoked this way the hide can hold its fully stretched out position in dry weather forever, without reverting back to its original crunchy, dry raw hide texture, which when worn as clothing is very uncomfortable and un-sexy.

For braining, you’ll need:



Very warm water


Lots of time

Heat source or the sun on a warm day

4’ long by 4” wide smooth beam

2.5’ long smooth stick.

There is a very grizzly task involved that requires bludgeoning the skull to obtain the brains. There is no not-gross way to do this.

a. Mandatory Brief Philosophical Rambling

As an aside, it’s good to keep in mind the experience of all of this “gore” as we go about this process. Surrounded by a man-made landscape, it is hard to feel how severed we are from the sources of the things we consume. Making a connection in this way can jolt us into other realities that are extremely foreign, psychologically uncomfortable, shocking, and revealing. There are many artifices of civilization between our feet and the earth. These layers of concrete, rubber, metal, and asphalt literally distance us from the Earth, which is relatively speaking, always present. In most of our realities, experience is so disconnected from the reality of the natural world that our minds flip out when faced with something “real”. This skull bludgeoning thing can be as real as it gets, if you let it get to you. As the layers of social conditioning have built up to wall us off from the effects of our increasingly heinous planetary presence, there tends to be even more resistance to engaging with what is — b
ecause what is can be painful, cause anxiety, or make us change ourselves. A more personal analysis of one’s subjective experiences might yield an understanding that activities like skull bludgeoning and brain tanning are not necessarily grizzly and gross, but an extremely natural and reasonable thing to do, given any circumstances where clothing or tools are a necessity of human survival, which they almost always are.

That being said, once you’ve spooned out the brains you should either store them in a frozen state until further use, or use them immediately. Brains especially can become totally nasty smelling in a matter of nanoseconds.

b. Tools

At this point, or at some time previous, two tools need to be constructed to complete the braining and stretching process: the wringing bar and the roughing cable. The wringing bar can simply be a straight, de-barked tree limb fastened with twine between two close trees. The purpose of this bar is for twisting the hide until all the moisture is out of it. A very solid cured wood stick, also for wringing, about 1.5 to 2 feet in length should be procured (think short axe handle). You’ll also need to rig up a 6’ length of cable to something solid at both ends. In the process of hide drying rubbing the hide on the cable roughs it up when it dries too fast, and could become crunchy.

c. Soaking

After scraping the skin and hair off, the remaining wet, slippery hide is then soaked with the squashed up brains in very warm water (but not scalding to the touch). The idea is to ensure that the brains are absorbed into the hide. Using your hands to massage the brains in works well.

d. Wringing

After soaking the skin in the brains, it’s important to wring the hide out as much as you can. The best way to do this is to drape the hide width-wise across your wringing post which is tied up between the trees. By wrapping the smaller stick in the hanging hide and twisting, a lot of water can be liberated. Collecting this water is very important since its good to repeat this process of braining and wringing at least two times.

e. Stretching and Drying

Now its time to find a warm comfortable seat where you can plan on working for two or three hours. During this step, the hide is pulled and stretched again and again while it dries, so that it does not dry in an unstretched position. If the hide dries and it is not stretched, it will be very hard and uncomfortable, like raw hide. The motion is pulling the hide with your hands again and again to keep it stretched out. It can be a real knuckly job, if it’s a big hide. But its worth it because the finished hide is so soft, it feels like your own skin.

f. Smoking

The last stage is to smoke the hide. There are many different types of wood that will impart different effects like coloring or smell to the hide. The best wood to be used is the very rotten wood that you find decaying on the forest floor. Some people sew their hides together like a hot air balloon to get a very complete smoke, but its easiest to just get a ladder or some kind of frame and lie the hide over a very cold fire for a long time. After this step, you’ll have clothing or tool material that is durable and will last you many, many years.

Three Steps to Better Sex

Sounds, stated desire, anticipation

Some people say that all sex is individual taste, thus you cannot teach “better sex” techniques, but I disagree. Kids in American schools are taught how to put a condom on a banana, and then told to go on their way. Where do we learn better sex technique in safe and open environments, where experimentation is accepted and applauded? Most feminist websites have a whole section dedicated to “sex abuse,” yet I see very few feminist websites with a “sexual pleasuring” page, which is truly sad and quite telling. Additionally, it is illegal for women to go topless in most cities, yet you can buy a magazine of a woman without her top on at any 7-11 store. So, you can sell breasts, but you cannot wear breasts, in America. The way Americans learn about sex is very sheltered, full of Christian taboo, distorted by corporate porn and the media, and too many people are having bad sex due to this. It is time we openly discussed all aspects of sex from its power dynamics to its physicality. If you are not comfortable talking about safer sex precautions before and during sex, for example, then you should not be engaging in sex. If you cannot talk about safer sex, then you probably cannot talk openly about your sexual desires either, so it is never too early to start opening your sexuality up for more sexual responsibility and freedom, and less sexual dogma. The purpose of this article is to get people thinking creatively about sex. To get folks to start using logic with their sex, and to cut down taboos, so more pleasuring can occur in responsible sexual environments.

There are several things that can make sex better across the board, for most people. One of the most obvious, yet most often overlooked, is SOUND. Little is more stimulating than your lover audibly overcome with rapture. I think the sound of sex is what is appealing to many about porn, honestly. I know in group sex environments, once you hear one voice overcome in pleasure, things loosen up for the whole room and people want to be more sexual immediately. I recorded myself orgasming (for real, not faked) for the background track on a musical recording I did once. I noticed that the recording made everyone in the studio squirm when we played it. I gave it to my lover, and it drove him crazy with desire. The idea was to hear myself, to explore myself, and thus, I purposely made tapes of just me orgasming, not me and another together, as in a couple having sex on a tape. We would hit “record” on a tape recorder and the whole lovemaking session would focus on me and be recorded, and all you could hear, purposely, was me orgasming and plateauing repeatedly. I found it interesting not only to compare tapes over the period of years and how they changed, but also it was interesting to hear myself in animal-like sexual passion. Usually I am too involved to hear myself, so it is intriguing to hear yourself in that way. And it is ridiculously hard to NOT go have sex after listening to yourself, or your lover, wildly sigh and squirm and release and build with voice, but no words, during sex on audio tape. Letting out sound is incredibly liberating during sex.

You can learn how to have more passion in your freedom to make noise during masturbation, just as one learns other things through masturbation. (I had one friend who suggested making love to yourself in a full length mirror once, just for the experience. This same person recommended orgasming while looking in your own eyes while masturbating to learn how to be more present in sex). I have noticed that women, more than men, have learned how to be quiet in sex. I know for me, I was taught through Christian brainwashing that was very subtle, that feminine women did not show pleasure during sex, as crazy as that is. You were supposed to be a complacent and submissive vehicle for men to masturbate in, basically! But I found out with experience, that lovers liked women who were rowdy and alive and passionate and craving sexual fulfillment too, much more than silent women who would lie in bed like a dead catch.

The second better sex tip is to take responsibility for your own desires and learn how to VERBALIZE YOUR DESIRES OUT LOUD. Too many women, when asked what they would like sexually, say, “Whatever you want is fine.” THAT IS NOT AN ANSWER. Too many women do not experience sexual fulfillment because they have no idea what gets them off sexually. And how would they know if they have just been experiencing sex as a silent receptacle? The first step is to get honest and to assess what actually excites you, and then, the big step, I think, is to learn to VERBALIZE YOUR DESIRES. This is much bigger than people realize. Saying OUT LOUD to a sexual partner, what you actually want, is ridiculously difficult and requires a large amount of mutual trust. The tricky part in expressing your desires, I have found, is in finding someone you can trust enough to tell them what you DO NOT like sexually, as it is happening, without them becoming defensive, and freaked out as if you expressing your desires is a rejection of their sexual technique. (One exercise around this is to offer two different things to a lover, and have them choose one…do this over and over to learn what they like without risking the whole rejection as it happens thing…) Likewise, if you are not comfortable saying what you do not like in sex, during sex, it makes sense you cannot say what you do like. But if you can find safe people to explore with (oft times it is just a matter of asking close friends, they are sluttier than you may think, in all reality), you will find that you can exponentially increase your sexual pleasuring, if you can learn how to shed taboos and say what you want and like. Which requires you learning what you do like. And this translates into the actual lovemaking session too. Say out loud, “that feels really good” as it is happening, during sex, to become PRESENT in your lovemaking, and to guide your lover. Allow yourself and your lover to acknowledge your pleasure and joy. It is okay to experience pure physical joy openly.

I used to go to women-only erotic massages with my lesbian lover/partner I lived with. The massages involved about 20 women, and 4 massage tables. We would each get 20 minutes on the table, in groups of 5. So that would mean about 2 * hours of massaging, but mixed with taking rests, snacking, socializing, it was a day’s event. We would meet at one woman’s house, we would all take off our clothing, and the groups would then put one woman on the massage table, in each group, with 4 around her to attend to her, and ask her what she wanted sexually. I remember my first time, I said, “anything will be fine.” These women would not have that. They said, “do you want us to touch your genitals?” I said “okay.” Now, come on! I was at an erotic massage. Obviously I wanted to interact with genitals, but these women taught me to SAY IT! OUT LOUD! They taught me that it is alright to say, “YES! I DESIRE SEX! RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW, LIKE THIS,” and what is wrong with that?! After my lame passive shit my first time on the massage table, saying “whatever is fine…”, the next woman was on the table, and asked what she wanted. She said specifically what she wanted. She said “I want someone to make out with me, while someone else plays with my nipples, and I would like hand sex with my vagina and then after a while, I would like this dildo to be used, and in this manner…” I was STUNNED and envious as hell! Here I had been given 20 minutes to ask for whatever I wanted, and I wasted it on a nice little massage, but it was not sexual, really. And who was my uptight bullshit serving? Now this woman was going to leave sexually fulfilled, instead of sexually frustrated like I was. I wanted to become her.

My lesbian partner and I were very envious of the women who openly could ask for what they wanted like they did. Even though she and I were obviously working on learning about our sexuality if we were a
ttending erotic massages, we still were working through decades of sexual brainwashing. Just becoming open lesbians had been a big change for us. And then to now learn how to reclaim our sexuality as ours, and to redefine it, was a huge task. We both agreed that the next erotic massage we would ask for what we wanted sexually. Yet, the next massage we still were intimidated and did not ask for what we really wanted. I mean, it was not every day we had access to 8 hands at once like that! We regretted not using those situations to their full advantage each and every time once we got home. We thought we would try practicing asking for what we wanted out loud at home, and even that was hard! But that was how we worked on it, by practicing saying it at home! So I encourage you to say OUT LOUD, alone at home, WHAT YOU WANT SEXUALLY. Practice that interaction! Practice those words. Learn how to SAY what you want, learn how to SAY IT OUT LOUD. Of course, that involves learning what you like sexually, and that is another article entirely.

So, we have discussed two tips, using SOUND, and learning how to STATE YOUR DESIRES OUT LOUD (which involves the subtext of learning what you do like). The last tip that this article can hold (due to length restraints) is the use of “ANTICIPATION.” This one tool can drive one mad with desire and explosive ecstasy when used properly. There are a million applications for this when you think about it. Much of BDSM sensation play is based on withholding ecstasy until one finally has anticipation built to a fantastic level (but that is also another article). Playing with intense, teasing foreplay, and reeling one in through incremental stages of excitement is not time wasted, when mind-blowing pleasure is achieved as the result. Speed is an effective means of anticipation, and can be used in many ways. For penis play, for example, you can start with a few light strokes for about 4 seconds on the shaft and head. Then stop and go to something else for a minute or two. Then return, and stroke the shaft and head for 8 seconds. Then leave and do something else, so they think that you have moved on. But then, again, in another minute or two, return to the shaft and head, and this time, stroke lightly a few seconds, then go down on the shaft with mouth or hand. Then go to something else, then in a few minutes return. And intensify it a little each time. Until they are anticipating the increments and you can then start adding speed to the mix. Start getting intense, but slowly. Then you can make the movements faster with excitement and as one gets more enthralled.

For women, there is a move called “ringing the doorbell.” You push the clitoris lightly, like ringing a doorbell, very casually, and with proper finesse, then move on to other things, as if you did not ring the doorbell. Then after a minute or two, go back and casually, and lightly, ring the doorbell again, etc. A bit of this and most women I have played with, and myself, want you to quit just ringing the doorbell and to come inside for a spell of more bell ringing and other fun. There are a ton of ways to build anticipation, and the category of anticipation is one worthy of research and development among sexual skills. So there you have it, three things you can work on today for better sex. Making more fabulous sounds while lovemaking, learning about your sexual desires and learning how to verbalize them out loud, and lastly, get creative in your applications of anticipation in your lovemaking.

Slingshot Box

Slingshot is an independent, volunteer-run, radical newspaper published in the East Bay since 1988.

Issue #83 is definitely an exciting one. It’s been a hectic time, as always, for us here at Slingshot, with a lot of movin’ and shakin’. We have five new volunteers helping out and bringing a lot of new energy. Fresh ideas and excited faces are always welcome. Most of the collective was also in New York for the RNC, implementing their own special brand of radicalism. The S/M street theatre was a big hit with certain authorities! This is also our first issue back from our summer hiatus, through which we were working diligently on getting the organizer out and about.

We hope your lives have been as full and energetic as ours. It’s good to keep busy with such noble endeavors; but the movement suffers if you run yourself into the ground. Remember, there’s a reason we’re organizing, fighting, and striving: because we believe in a society that’s better than this one. And what better way to embody this ideal than taking a bike ride for the sake of the ride, or sneaking into a movie, or browsing your favorite book store dumpster, or doing whatever makes you feel refreshed and ready to keep toppling the system that keeps you from that feeling everyday. Even we at the Slingshot have to hop in the hot tub every once in a while.

This year we’re hoping to put out five issues of the paper, thus making the jump from a quarterly to a “quintorally” issued newspaper. It’s quite the advancement and we hope to be up to the challenge. Speaking of challenge, you’ll notice there are no Spanish language pages in this issue. Our sincerest apologies. We hope to bring back the bilingual paper for issue #84 and if any of you would like to and can help us translate articles from English to Spanish, or just want to submit an article, please don’t hesitate to contact us or simply come to the new volunteer meeting (see below).

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

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting October 24 at 1 p.m. at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below).

Article Deadline and Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 84 by November 19, 2004 at 3 p.m. We expect the next issue out in early December.

Volume 1, Number 83, Circulation 12,000

Printed September 30, 2004

Slingshot Newspaper

Sponsored by Long Haul

3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley, CA 94705

Phone: (510) 540-0751


The Draft

Dear Slingshot,

As a person who joined the Armed Forces out of economic desperation, I favor the draft reinstatement that’s before Congress this year over the de-facto draft we have now. It is too easy for Joe Public to get behind acts of aggression against other nations when they know, in their hearts, that it won’t be their clean-scrubbed college students coming back with a prosthetic leg. I look at the fear-mongering this White House attempts every time Kerry nudges ahead in the polls, and I know this is only an effective tactic because the middle class knows their kids are safe. I support a draft, not because I want to see more kids put on the firing line, but because I believe nothing less will wake America up about what goes on in the world.


SGT Daniel Reasor

2nd Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery

Currently stationed in Kabul, Afghanistan.


Dear Slingshot Collective

Hi! I’m the inventory manager at the [omitted to protect privacy], CA Borders Books & I was wondering if you guys distributed your Slingshot day planner to major book stores? One of my supervisors got ahold of your planner & we’d love to carry it! If at all possible, we’d only like an inital order of 10 planners (& maybe up it from there), & we can pay by credit card if that’s available. Please let me know so we can sell your amazing item!


[omitted to protect privacy

Inventory Manager, Borders, [—], CA

Our Response

Dear [—]:

Hi. Thanks for your email. We’re sorry, but our collective has decided not to sell the book to chain stores.

take care, love, slingshot

Dear Slingshot,

I am writing to request a bulk number of copies of the Slingshot newspaper, current and past issues. I live in a fairly rural area, turning into a rather nightmarish suburbia, and despite this terrible fact, there is an upside. A growing number of youth (like myself) are looking to more radical outlets of expression. More and more we are going beyond rebellion against our parents and looking at the larger system of oppresion. The problem is we are in a rural area and information is very limited. We receive many things from other places, mostly anything that comes in bulk, is close to free, and contains valuable information. We are trying to bring different aspects of radical culture to the youth so that they can get into radical politics through many means. Anyway, if you could please send some bulk copies of Slingshot it would help build radical culture in our area.



Pylesville, MD

Infoshop Update

Slingshot offers this Infoshop update every issue to update the list of radical contacts in our Organizer, but also because we love Infoshops. Infoshops take many forms ranging from radical cafes or bookstores that pay their workers to a spare room in a shared house hosting a zine library and Food Not Bombs meetings. They share a common function — providing a publicly accessible place where people who want to plug into the radical scene in a particular place can go to find out information about upcoming events, radical projects, and alternatives to the dominant society. Such places are great when you’re traveling, and they’re great because they can help radicals avoid the anarcho-ghetto — getting trapped in a closed social scene that only communicates with folks who are already part of the scene. Each Infoshop scattered across the globe represents a lot of hard work and a community coming together to create a space outside of corporate control where people can envision a new world. If you’re part of an Infoshop out there somewhere, thanks! Send us corrections, suggestions, and info on any new Infoshops that open up.

Iron Rail Bookstore – New Orleans

Iron Rail is a collectively run radical bookstore and lending library, that also sells records and street art supplies. They have a lending library with over 3,000 titles, many of them radical or hard-to-find books. They have been open 6 days a week since December, 2003. 511 Marigny St New Orleans, LA 70117 504-944-0366

Irregular Rhythm Asylum – Tokyo, Japan

IRA is an anarchist infoshop that just opened in Tokyo. They feature radical literature, punk rock stuff, music, books, zines, t-shirts, buttons, posters, videos and a chance for community for those who don’t fit into what its founders describe as the often conformist Japanese culture. They plan to organize music events, art shows, and discussions and they recently helped organize International Women’s Day in Tokyo. Before starting IRA, its founders helped create a DIY publishing collective, U-Do-Sha. (“U” means “play” or “frolic”, “DO” means “take action” and “sha” means‚ “collective” — “U-DO” together can also mean something like a Nomad.)

One organizer commented, “I hope people who visit our shop know that we can do anything without nations and corporations. And I hope we can support each other with autonomous people all over the world.” Check them out 1 – 8 p.m. at 1-30-12-302 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku Tokyo-to, Japan 160-0022. Tel: 03-3352-6916 (domestic); +81-3-3352-6916 (from abroad)

Catalyst Bookstore – Prescott, AZ.

The Catalyst Bookstore, Coffee and Infoshop opened in May. It distributes radical literature, sells political books and hosts a reading room, as well as a free skool. They are open late at night and provide space for meetings, films, studying, and general socializing with the explicit intent of taking down the man. In their parking lot they have a free bike space. 109 North McCormick Street, Prescott, AZ 86301 (928) 443-8525.

Uprising Books – Toronto, Canada

Ooops – we left Uprising books out of the 2005 Organizer because they moved and we couldn’t figure out their new address. Right after we went to press, they emailed us their new info: 6A Kensington Ave. Toronto, Ontario, Canada M5T 2J7 416-604-5254

Blank Generation – Little Rock

If you’re in Little Rock, check out this live music venue/radical book/skateboard/comics/music store. 608 Main Street, Little Rock, AR 72201

New Octopus Bookstore – Ottawa

An independent shop featuring local authors, small presses, radical and revolutionary voices, and writers from a variety of countries and cultures. 116 Third Ave. Ottawa, Ontario Canada K1s 2K1. 613-233-2589

Turning the Tide – Saskatoon

A new radical bookshop way up North. 525 11th St. East, Saskatoon, SK, Canada S7N 0G1 (306)955-3070

Santa Cruz, Calif. Anarchist Infoshop gets the boot

The folks at the Santa Cruz Infoshop got evicted from their space at the end of July by their liberal landlord the Resource Center for Nonviolence, which claimed that the Infoshopper’s smell was interfering with other tenants. Undeterred, they are hoping to find another space for their lending library, meetings, etc. soon. If you have any ideas for a new space, email them:

Infoshops listed in the 2005 Organizer that no longer exist:

* Sixth Street Books, San Francisco. RIP.

* Ecolibrium Environmental Shop, Burlingame, Calif.

Other Infoshops that are gone:

* Devil’s Claw Collective in Tucson.

* Cascadia Rising Infoshop, Portland, OR

Anarchist Therapy

In 1964, the military in Brazil carried out a coup d’etat supported by the CIA and local right-wing groups, inaugurating a bloody dictatorship. It was during the dictatorship that a clandestine anarchist activist named Roberto Freire, who also was a psychoanalyst, (anti)psychiatrist and author of books and plays, confirmed the destructive effects of repression on people’s behavior and psychological and mental health. Freire believed that micro-social relationships are the genesis for macro-social authoritarianism and he aimed for understanding the politics of modern society through people’s behavior in their everyday life. He realized that the fact that one believes in a certain ideology and has a libertarian view of the world doesn’t always lead one to have a libertarian behavior in his/her personal relationships with his/her fellows – there is something else, like an unconscious barrier, that determines the attitudes of the individuals towards life and other people. Freire, then, broke with psychoanalysis and over the next decades researched and developed Somatherapy – a therapy form in shape of a pedagogy, or a kind of pedagogy with therapeutic effects. That means that the way of dealing with neurosis is shifted from a medical perspetive to an educational one. The goal is to liberate those who have been subjected to repression (all of us). Somatherapy supports itself in theory and praxis with the social and corporeal psychology of Wilhelm Reich, Antipsychiatry, Gestalt Therapy, Anarchism and with the Afro-Brazilian art form of the people called Capoeira Angola.

The technique that he created consists of assembling a group of people to form a collective with limited duration (about a year and a half) that, through self-managed and non-hierarchical dynamics, will search to explore, understand and develop their capabilities to be creative, self-regulated, to love and to be loved and to be confident in the defense of their own desires and needs towards a society hostile to independent individuals.

All of this happens in a methodology composed of four elements: (1) experience of exercises created by Freire and carried out by the therapist in charge of the group (Freire or a disciple of him); (2) meetings of the group without the presence of the therapist (that guarantees the group’s and each person’s independence and responsibility for the therapeutic process); (3) practice of Capoeira Angola; (4) interaction of the group’s members in various social activities, either for fun or any kind of collective work.

The exercises created by Freire usually are body exercises, following Wilhelm Reich’s realization that neurosis is located not only in one’s mind, but also in his/her body. Reich realized that the authoritarian social structure and its mechanism of repression shape people’s personality, creating a neuromuscular character armor. That means a chronic rigidity in the muscles that obstruct the full circulation of the vital energy. Then it becomes a lifeless body, unable to act spontaneously, to feel pleasure, love or true emotions.

Reich was positive that this illness has social causes, that it is implanted by systematic suppression of instinctual needs of sex, pleasure and love carried out by authoritarian mechanisms that enforce all of us, starting in the first days of life, to adapt ourselves to patterns of social behavior. “The millenary subjugation of impulsive life created the ground for the psychological fear of the masses to the authority and the submission to it, for an incredible humility, on one side, and a

sadistic brutality, on the other side – and that’s why in the last 200 years the capitalist economy of profits could expand and survive” said Reich.

Roberto Freire is a forerunner of Reichian Therapy in Brazil and one of the few people in the world who kept the unity between social-political and psychotherapeutic approaches against neurosis. Opposing ideologies of sacrifice (neurosis), Freire maintains that the healthy human condition dwells in what he called ideology of pleasure. The exercises that he created bring the participants to bodily communicate their barriers and difficulties, at the same time they provide bioenergetic relief, release of creativity and stimulation and

awakening of the senses. They have simultaneous diagnostic and therapeutic effects.

Following the principle of pleasure, Freire refuted the tendency in traditional psychology to relate therapy with discomfort, suffering and formality and strove to create ludic, playfull and pleasant exercises that, based on theatrical techniques, stimulate sociability and new ways of interaction.

After each exercise the participants make use of verbal communication, but in a peculiar way. Sitting in circle, each person reports the sensations that she had, the barriers that she perceived in herself and other people, what kind of pleasure she felt or what kind of fear and difficulty came out. The way to report the experience should follow the theories and methods of Gestalt Therapy, which prioritize an objective and practical approach, trying to acknowledge (how it happened) rather than interpret (why it happened).

Based on studies of human perception, Dr. Frederick Perls, precursor of Gestalt Therapy, sustained the fundamental significance of living perceptually alert to the present moment. Perls believed that the unmediated perception through the senses allows the spontaneous and natural mechanism of self-regulation. Rational abstraction prevents this spontaneity from occurring and creates another mechanism that is alienation and self-censorship through acceptance of external values and judgments (coming from the family, society, etc.), which are settled in the conscious and unconscious.

Gestalt Therapy determines the practical way in which the anarchist therapy of Roberto Freire happens. Somatherapy is neither clinical nor confessional. It does not deal with traumas of the past, but it does deal with

their manifestations in the present, through the situations experienced during the exercises and everyday life. Freire understands that one of the many problems that people have is related to inability to define what they want and like. He believes that spontaneous self-regulation is achieved by the search for pleasure and by the discovery of each person’s own unique originality.

Because neurosis is born in social relationships, group therapy is more efficient because it creates a micro-social lab in which a variety of relationships may happen. In Somatherapy, it’s the self-managed and non-hierarchical dynamics that effectively make the therapy happen, on the personal level (self-

awareness) and on the social level (new strategies for living together), in so far as it establish a state of collaboration, cooperation and complicity between the members of the group.

Also, only in a group is it possible to deal with damaging forms of communications brought to light by Antipsychiatry. Somatherapy doesn’t work with schizophrenics or people in advanced states of emotional unbalance, but it uses those studies of Gregory Bateson, David Cooper and Ronald D. Laing that have prophylactic uses for neurosis.

Antipsychiatry makes use of the studies in pragmatics of human communication, which prove that paradoxical ways of communication in a context of strong emotional and affectional ties can lead to deep psychological disturbances in one’s personality. Somatherapy allows one to realize how his personality is shaped by the paradoxical communications used against him by his family when he was a child, as well as being able to perceive when it happens in the present. It makes possible the creation of strategies to defend oneself against emotional blackmails and teaches the importance of choosing sincere and direct ways to communicate and prove how useful metacommunication is (communication about the situation in which interaction takes place).

One of the last elements that Roberto Fr
eire added to his technique was Capoeira Angola. Unlike other styles of capoeira that spread out all over the world, Capoeira Angola is an Afro-Brazilian art form that combines playing music, dancing and fighting – it’s a theater and a playful game. It has its origin in African tribal rituals and dances. In Brazil, aspects of martial arts were introduced, so that black people could prepare

themselves to fight their oppressors: the slave masters and the Portuguese (and later Brazilian) Empire. Freire found in Capoeira Angola an excellent bioenergetic exercise, that enables body awareness, teaches how to keep all senses alert, and wakes up the ability to confront, which is very necessary in the struggle to defend oneself against repression and to affirm a free personality.

Subjective Ecology

With its anarchist perspective, Somatherapy brings to psychotherapy the concept that neurosis is a deviation in natural and ecological human behavior. Traditional psychology manifests in its praxis the attempt to adapt one to the social rules in

force. Somatherapy helps the individual to recover her capacity to satisfy her needs and desires by defending herself and struggling against a psychotic society that denies her the freedom to exercise her own unique originality.

For Roberto Freire, the human being must be understood in his unicity: the individual is the indivisible and non-hierarchical unity of his body, mind, emotions, memories, expectations, desires, culture, social behaviors and actions that he does at every moment. In western societies, the aspects of life are fragmented. Freire created Somatherapy with the aim to struggle for the totality of being, for the unity that allows the natural principle of spontaneous self-regulation. He conceived his technique for revolutionaries, challengers of the status quo and anyone who feels libertarian, as a tool in the struggle for a life directed by joy, beauty and pleasure.

Acting on the level of subjective ecology, which is understood as living accordingly to biological impulses, Somatherapy shows a different path in the struggle against patriarchy. Helping to liberate an individual from the barriers that prevent him from his own self-determination and freedom is consistent with the idea of not intending to construct a new world, but giving people the opportunity to create this new world by themselves.

Radical changes of behavior that enable the experience of pleasure and love are the reconciliation with our own nature, and that’s a step towards the utopia of a society that is not harmful to individuals or their environment. “Civilized society is at risk of disintegration by the primary hostility of men towards each other,” said Wilhelm Reich. “Only the liberation of the natural capacity for love in human beings can master their sadistic destructiveness.”

Questioning Anarchist Aesthetic and Rhetoric

I’ve been involved in anarchist organizing for a while. I was at the DNC Really, Really Democratic Bazaar today and at some point I started thinking about how the people who weren’t involved in the “scene” perceived us. Maybe I shouldn’t have; maybe I should have been like: “fuck that, why should I give a fuck about what other people think?” But the truth of the matter is that I do. Vangaurdism is for authoritarians; not anarchists. But I think that we’re perceived as vangaurdist sometimes. I feel that we’ve built some strains of a very interesting subculture and movement that is fun to be a part of and that is doing a lot of good work. But I feel like we need to step back a second and think about how our rhetoric, aesthetic and project focus/ implementation relates to what we claim to want.

For example, does “smash the state” or “up the punx” or half the rhetoric that we use mean anything to anyone outside our own egos? Does our rhetoric actually communicate what we’re all about and what we want or does it contribute to misunderstanding of what we are and what we’re all about. Are we communicating with people or at people? Does our punk rock talk alienate potential allies from us because they see what we’re doing as a sub-cultural thing that doesn’t relate to them? Are we caught up in old-left revolutionary or hippie or punk rock rhetoric or some other subcultural talk when we communicate with others not like us? If our language is about expression of ideas and not about conformity, then what are we expressing and how do we think expressing it is going to connect us with our communities, our regions and our world? Are we being dismissed because we are so self-absorbed and focused on our own subcultural styles of communication that we can’t understand how others communicate?

And this kind of bridges over to our aesthetic. There’s something to be said for the effect that dressing in anti-conformist ways have in combating a larger mindless control system. Situationism and the original punk rock seemed to be a lot about that. But what was originally anti-conformist has just turned into another form of sub-cultural conformity. An anti-conformity conformity. Does it have any effect anymore? Could the effect instead now just be a further separation from potential allies because other folks dismiss us as a subculture and don’t feel like they connect to our aesthetic expression? How does this contribute to lack of real diversity among anarchists? Are our political beliefs just another fashion? What kind of “insider”/ “outider” dynamics are we creating by our aesthetic? Are there more effective ways of communicating what we’re trying to communicate through our aesthetic, if we’re actually consciously communicating anything at all?

And lastly, what about our project focus/ implementation: How integrated are we really into our communities? Are we integrated enough to build projects that make a real step towards social revolution? Do we have alternative projects and counter-institutions that could replace the system we have now? Are we actually building towards them? Are we doing it in ways that are effective and inclusive? Are we ready to make real long term commitments to these projects or are our projects just another way to fit into the scene? Do we give a fuck enough to engage in the kind of projects and do the kind of work that doesn’t have glamour or excitement; but in the long term actually make a difference? Are we also just caught up in a world of instant gratification without the determination to build towards a world ready for revolutionary change? Are we ready to engage and connect with the world at a deeper, more serious level than just another sub-cultural scene? How are we really stepping things up? And what ways can we?

I don’t mean to be negative. There are a lot of really positive steps that we’re making. But I think that we also have a long way to go. And I feel like progress is going to be made if we start thinking about our actions and our commitment levels for the long-run. I feel like we need to be thinking about our rhetoric, aesthetic and project focus/ implementation on a much deeper and serious level than I can do in this short commentary. And I think that these are among many other things we’re going to need to do to move beyond a subculture and become an inclusive and effective movement towards social revolution.

Free Space Report

The stated purpose of the Berkeley Public Library is free access to information. The model is that all walks of the public life can use it. Yet recently, with the all pervasive state budget crisis, libraries have had to fire employees, tighten new material spending, and shorten hours. The result, of course, is that working people in the commuter/9-5 lifestyle will not be able to access the books (as if the monotony of today’s working life lends itself to inspire bookish folks anyway). Also, students seeking to hunker down with the ever increasing work load of schools will have less time to study for free. Though the cutting of these library services are only a small blow to our progressive/sensible community repository, the whole picture looks rotten.

Thank crom they rebuilt the main branch library a couple of years ago. Trying to manage money issues during such a Republican coup as we currently live under would be hard to imagine. Still, the library is one of the most endeared public resources of our city. Well, that is, until one contemplates the transformation of a public resource in the age of privatization. I think the public library issue points to the root of this problem: we are treating every public space as if they were businesses. The top brass have a penchant for large salaries, at a time when pay cuts for them would mean more jobs and more services for all. Berkeley’s development trend has followed a model of everything-new-and-sanitary, that is, a shopping mall model. This model has been replicated with the San Francisco and Oakland libraries. In fact, one wonders if this style is a majority of American libraries. I know some would bemoan any criticism of cleanliness and order, but the ugly repercussions of such policies are akin to when San Francisco threw away hundreds of thousands of books. It wasn’t until they were in the process of moving into their new building that many openly wondered how little shelf space there was. Like S.F., Berkeley remodeled its old building so that it has an open feel to it. The problem is that it has yet to be fully staffed as the old building was.

Another side effect of treating information as a product is an emerging technology called Radio Frequency I.D. These tiny chips will be embedded in every book…and we don’t even know if they work correctly yet!

This whole endeavor will be costly while the whole library is under staffed and struggling for money. There are those who fear these chips were being geared for placement in every product and hence making our private lives traceable to people who would normally creep you out. This technology, already ushered in at the S.F. library, is set to appear in Berkeley in an eye’s blink. The question is easy for library managers: the primary concern of libraries is book theft (that is, if you can steal them before they get thrown out!). And I can relate to this, as I’ve seen both sides: being a hateful, heavy metal amoral teen who saw libraries as a part of the alienating environment, and (now) identifying as a lover of rare information and print. I know how few some documents exist, how fragile they are. Once gone, they’re not even a memory. Also, the radio chips are cited as being useful in cutting down on repetitive motion employees make. Eventually, they could replace the workers with self check-in and check-out, cutting perceived budget drains such as workers comp. Aldous Huxley wrote that the new fascism would be clothed in the guise of efficiency! What happens when bureaucracies are run by machines?

Local librarians assure privacy to a paranoid public who complain about possibility of privacy invasion. They claim that the chips will only activate information on the book itself with no patron data. They say they can be made this way, unlike consumer chips, but this is not a given. It is possible that the R.F.I.D.s will be as incompetent as much of the world’s modern technologies are. At least one could hope they are capable of being subverted. Is there a way to block the signal much like some places can block cell phones?

The whole battle taking place with the public sphere troubles me. Libraries around the world are small spaces that people liberate themselves in. Many of the lands that America plunders, sorely need the breadth of mind that a place like the Berkeley Library holds. But with the T.V.’s leaders chanting never ending war, libraries are more likely to burn. A real example of this plunder is the burning of Iraq’s library, erasing a people’s memory. This is a step in genocide or forced submission to live like the West wants them to live. In American cities today the war pigs don’t exert their death technology like they blatantly do to rouge states. But it is a devastation nonetheless. Albeit slower and not as obvious, its motivation is still money.

We Junkie the People

I used to think drug addicts were all the same breed of wasted potential—easy to spot and best avoided lest they try to hustle you. They were “those people” and I was better than that. That was until I became hooked and discovered a world vastly different than what I had imagined.

I remember looking at my friend Stan’s teeth as he laughed on the day I met him. The remaining few jutting out like islands in a sea of animation. Frank, a 55 year old ex-biker who has been using crystal meth for over thirty years graduated from U.C. Berkeley, married, has a daughter he is in contact with and currently owns a home which he shares with several friends. He is not the stereotypical tweaker out to steal your stereo. In fact he’d probably rather make you dinner.

Junkies are people. People who are me, who are you, who are people you know. I have learned more about what it is to be human from junkies than from anyone else in my life.

The stereotypes that I had internalized about drugs and drug use were challenged when I discovered how many of the long term users I knew were intelligent, creative, productive, and perceptive people who accepted me, laughed at my dumb jokes, and showed me generosity. I came to understand the solace and relief that drugs provided. A magic that can erase unbearable pain or focus a scattered mind.

Most addicts I know have incorporated drugs into their daily lives and have no intention of quitting. Not like it never comes up but the options available are unnattractive. Nobody wants to give up their dope in exchange for withdrawal, assimilation and reentry back into the same fucked up world that they were trying to escape from in the first place. Especially if that means sacrificing the acceptance, support and security that is provided by their community. The drug communities that I have experienced have functioned as support systems. It gives me hope to see that humans, however wounded, have a natural tendency to come together and work as a community.

Our society fails to meet basic human needs of love and community. It is fragmented, cold, driven by greed, war, lies, and dependent upon the fear and insecurity of its population to maintain the status quo. Those who should give us love and teach us self-worth and respect, those who should guide us without an agenda and respect our boundaries, those who should teach us to hug, kiss, laugh, cooperate and respect, teach us to hate. Addicts are well aware of this. Many share histories of abuse and/or mental illness.

We have yet to break free from the shackles of morality and learn to be humans rather than judges. If there are those in need of love they deserve to be acknowledged, encouraged and treated with compassion.. I’m not trying to say that there aren’t thieves who have lost themselves in drugs and hustlers who won’t pick your pocket as they look you in the eye. There are all types. It’s the same with all people; there are some you can trust and some who will burn you. Perpetuating stigmas and participating in the dehumanization of a group of people strenghthens the hierarchal system we are trying to dismantle.

The question is not how do we help addicts get clean but how do we offer support without passing judgment. We must transform our society into a society that is based on love instead of fear and create a world that is not so unbearable to live in that the population needs to be drugged or entertained in order to cope with it. We can begin by starting a dialogue that acknowledges addiction and questions the way addicts; the homeless, the mentally ill, and all of those in need are dismissed. Sharing our stories of addiction with one another will help to break the spell of shame and alienation around drug use. The love and support of other addicts and the understanding and acceptance of those who do not use is an integral part of challenging the stigma. It would be much easier to overcome addiction if folks did not feel as if they had been branded with the scarlet letter. I think the best we can do is think about what Stan said to me last time I saw him, “A real simple act of humanity can bring people back.”

I am currently working on a multimedia project exploring the complexities of addiction and what that means in our society. I am looking for contributors willing to share their stories and insight on addiction. If you want to get involved or contribute please contact me for more information. Email me at or mail me at 809 Aileen St, Oakland, CA 94608

“A drug is neither moral nor immoral-it’s a chemical compound. The compound itself is not a menace to society until a human being treats it as if consumption bestowed a temporary license to act like an asshole. In other words, drugs do not cause behavior. How a person acts after taking a drug is determined by a complex interaction of variables, a process in which the user’s beliefs and choices play crucial roles. (Taken From Saying Yes to Drugs)