Strike the War's Achilles Heel

The recent elections in Iraq — all of the feel-good pictures on TV and rhetoric about freedom and democracy — can’t change the reality that the US military is bogged down in a quagmire in Iraq for which there is no exit strategy. Recall that even though the US organized elections in South Vietnam in 1967, fighting dragged on for another 8 years anyway. There are more and more parallels between the war in Iraq and Vietnam — the US Army may be the most powerful in the world with overwhelming firepower and lots of gadgets, but in a guerrilla war, no amount of violence or killing can bring victory against a determined population. In fact, the presence of 150,000 US troops is widely believed to fuel and unite the insurgency.

While there are parallels between Vietnam and Iraq, there is one huge difference which may turn out to be the Achilles heel for the US regime — this time there is no draft: the Army is an “all-volunteer force.” Here in the US, those of us who stand against the US imperial machine need to seize on this weakness and figure out ways to corrode away US military might from the inside by depriving it of what it hungers for the most — fresh American men and women to fill the body bags.

Just like in Vietnam, American troops who originally went to Iraq hoping to help “rebuild” and “bring democracy and freedom” are now coming to realize that the Iraqis don’t want them there, that there is never rebuilding — only killing and destruction — and that all the glorious reasons for the war have turned out to be lies. Most troops just hope to get through their time in Iraq and make it home alive.

There are huge opportunities for US-based opponents of a Yankee empire to cooperate with US troops who are increasingly skeptical about the war. Vietnam ultimately became unwinable because the troops refused to fight — instead, they killed their officers, deserted, claimed Conscientious Objector status, published underground military papers, went on strike, or just stopped trying in a million tiny ways. Folks at home helped where they could — setting up anti-war coffee houses outside bases, doing draft and pre-enlistment counseling, assisting deserters along an underground railroad and undermining domestic support for the war.

A month before the Iraq war, millions of people around the world demonstrated — but Bush held the power, and his ears were closed. As the war drags on, we need to shift from a short-term strategy to a long-term one. Huge turnouts at grandly orchestrated demonstration rituals have not been effective in breaking Bush’s ability to fight. A majority of the population does not support the war — 54 percent according to a January 19 Los Angeles Times poll — yet it continues. Those in power won’t stop it. But if the troops stop fighting — or if the army can’t get fresh troops — Bush will be unable to continue. The troops have the ultimate power in this situation — we need to support our troops by supporting their resistance. The US is risking their lives for nothing — it’s time for them to fight back!

In addition to cooperating with troops already in the military, US-based activists can help cut off the supply of fresh recruits. The US’s military recruiting machine operates in every town, in every high school, across the USA. (See list of recruiting stations, page 14.) The recruitment machine is a soft-target. By carrying out actions at military recruiting outposts all over the US, we can bring the war home and make the real connections between the pointless war in Iraq and our own communities. Why should the US military machine get a free pass here at home?

Since the government ended the draft, the US military has depended on a “poverty draft” to fill the ranks of the military. While the military is theoretically “all-volunteer,” lack of economic opportunities push poorer people into the military — sometimes to get elusive money for college — while middle class kids go straight to college. The military spends $2.5 billion a year on recruiting efforts which primarily target low-income communities selling the message that the military is a good way out of poverty.

As a result, the highest number of recruits come from the poorest communities. For example, according to the American Friends Service Committee, “Puerto Rico is the Army’s number one recruiting territory. With an unemployment rate on the island of more than 40 percent, Army recruiting offices in Puerto Rico garner more than 4 times the number of recruits US based recruiting offices average on a yearly basis.” Blacks are also recruited disproportionately: 29.8 percent of those serving in the first Gulf War were black versus about 12 percent of the US population.

But with over 1,400 US troops killed and over 10,000 wounded in a pointless war — and more getting killed almost every day — the poverty draft is getting less and less effective. For the first time in 10 years, the Marines Corps, which has taken heavy casualties in Iraq, missed its monthly recruiting goal for January. The Army National Guard missed its goal of recruiting 56,000 troops for fiscal 2004, signing up only 49,210. Lt. Gen. H Steven Blum, chief of the National Guard Bureau, said on January 26 that the Guard is 15,000 troops short of its normal strength of 350,000. In response, the National guard will add an additional 1,400 recruiters, and offer $15,000 signing bonuses. The regular army has so far met its recruitment goals, but all is not well in the ranks.

Stars & Stripes, a government-funded, military newspaper, surveyed 1,935 soldiers in Iraq during August 2003 for a series of articles published in October 2003 and found that 49 percent said they intended to leave the military as soon as possible. Only 18 percent said it was “very likely” they would remain. 55 percent of National Guard Reserve troops surveyed said it was “unlikely” or “very unlikely” that they would re-enlist. Since the article, the military has kept a tight lid on any other polls that would contradict Bush’s official version of reality.

One way the military has tried to maintain troop strength is by issuing “stop loss” orders that prevent soldiers from leaving the military when their contracts expire. Some troops have called the stop loss orders a “backdoor draft.”

Estimates of desertions from the war or AWOL troops range from 600 to 5,500 — the Pentagon refuses to provide any data. Canada is currently considering whether to grant refugee status to a handful of US soldiers fleeing service in Iraq.

Moreover, reports of resistance amongst US troops are beginning to surface. On October 13, 2004, 19 National Guard troops refused orders to drive unarmored fuel tankers to Baghdad — they considered it a “suicide mission.” It was the first reported mutiny in Iraq and was only made public because the soldiers called their families from a detention tent. We’ll probably never know about other mutiny incidents in Iraq.

Troop support for the policies underlying the war has also evaporated. In response to the Stars and Stripes question, “How worthwhile do you think fighting this war was for America?,” 31 percent said it was of “little value” or “not worthwhile at all,” while 48 percent responded that it was “worthwhile” or “very worthwhile.” Thirty-five percent answered that they were either “mostly unclear” or “not clear at all” about why they were in Iraq.

Because of the war, there are increasing murmurs that an official draft — not just the poverty draft — may be needed if the US is to continue the occupation of Iraq. A draft may be even more necessary if the Bush Administration hopes to invade Iran, Syria and/or North Korea over the next four years, as they would clearly like to do. The prospect of a draft rightly scares a lot of draft-age people who don’t much like the idea of either giv
ing their lives for Bush’s adventures or going to jail.

But looking beyond the fear factor, if the military is forced into a draft, it could help crystallize opposition to Bush and his wars. The January 19 Los Angeles Times poll found that only 39 percent of respondents said the “situation in Iraq was worth going to war over,” — with 56 percent saying it was not. What if all segments of American society — not primarily the poor — had sons and daughters in Iraq or headed that way? If voluntary recruitment declines and troops returning from Iraq refuse to re-enlist, Bush is left with a real crisis — if he tries a draft in the context of such an unpopular war, he would be putting domestic social stability at grave risk.

When I saw the new movie about the Weather Underground last year, one line stuck with me. A guy tried to explain his state of mind during the Vietnam war by saying that for years and years, every day he woke up and the first thing he thought was that there was a war on, that people were getting slaughtered for nothing, that the government of the place where he lived was killing them. And so every morning he would think, “What am I going to do today to stop the war?”

And the last few months, I’ve increasingly been waking up the same way. What can I do — what will I do — today to stop the war? Stopping this particular war isn’t just about Iraq — this is about folks who live here in the United States joining the world against the US empire and figuring out how we can turn the fact that we’re here in the belly of the beast to maximum advantage. Even if the US starts to pull its troops out of Iraq, we have to assume that the US just hopes to regroup so it can invade somewhere else.

I like the idea of dogging the military recruiting stations around the country because every town and city has one and you don’t need a big budget or a huge scripted ANSWER rally or anything to go down there and give ‘em hell. You can pick a regular time — say every Saturday — and do a picket. Or you can go at an unpredictable time every week so they never know when it’s going to happen. You can go alone, or with friends, or organize a big group. You can send out a press release and make it a public thing, or you can make your action covert. It can be a picket, handing out flyers, holding posters with gory photos from Iraq à la anti-abortion protests, having street theater, running inside for some light disruption or total outrageous mayhem with fake blood, coffins and a marching band. A lot of different social groups in a community could all hassle the same station in a variety of ways. Perhaps one day there would be veterans, one day high school students, one day mothers, one day clergy, etc. Maybe if your town has 3 high schools, they could run a contest to see which one can do the best protest. And since military recruiters go out to high schools and colleges on a regular basis, students can confront them on campus, too. On January 20, community college students in Seattle surrounded and trashed a recruiters table. The cops had to escort the recruiter’s to safety.

You know how so many towns have a Food Not Bombs chapter and a critical mass bike ride, etc. — what if all these towns went after the recruiters? Anywhere where there’s radicals, punks, free thinkers, freedom lovers — the military recruiters are gonna get hassled. Diversity, spontaneity and creativity are our key strengths in such efforts.

Bush shouldn’t be able to get away with this war just because “only” the poor have to fight it. If an official draft would lead to a national uprising, why are we letting the government get away with a poverty draft — why can’t we have the national uprising now! An all-volunteer Army can be a shield against pointless wars of aggression. To exploit this Achilles heel, we need to support the troops in their refusal and shut down the recruiters!

For more information or for flyers, materials, etc.: contact some of these folks:

• Central Committee for Conscientious Objectors, 405 14th Street #205 Oakland, CA 94612 510-465-1617,; sponsors the GI Rights Hotline (800) 394-9544; (215) 563-4620.

• War Resisters League 339 Lafayette Street New York, NY 10012 (212) 228-0450 fax (212) 228-6193

• Veterans for Peace, 216 S. Meramec Ave., St. Louis, MO 63130, (314) 725-6005,

Sunday School for Sinners

Some radicals have intimate contact with Christian conservatism, through family or community. Others have seen it only on TV or as “opposition” at a protest, like the January anti-choice rally in San Francisco. Perhaps some people have even worked on issues with the more progressive Christians. Whatever we know, it is not enough. The breadth and pervasiveness of modern American Christianity make it imperative that we study in order to overcome. And, though the social repressiveness of Christianity is often touted, little is written on the left about why Christianity has become so successful.

One of the best marketing tools used in the last decade by the right has been the label “compassionate conservative.” This term has found a home along the economic spectrum of the right, demonstrating its flexibility. For those who are “conservative” and wealthy, it has come to mean “I want my cash but I don’t mean to screw anyone else.” For those who are social/moral conservatives, the message is more “When I impose the morals of Christ, I’m doing it for the good of those degenerate, sinning, murderous homosexuals.” Kind of like killing the Inca so they couldn’t sin after baptism. What this means for us is a united front of language and action that isn’t easily penetrated. Conservatives (in fact, all ruling power) have been ok with contradiction for a long time, and pointing out that war and the murder of doctors is at least as wrong as abortion isn’t liable to change anyone’s mind.

The other duality of conservatism (besides its fiscal/moral split), is its neighbor/enemy stance. Though the Gospels tell us that we should have compassion and find a way to humiliate rather than kill our enemies, the modern interpretation has been much more tribal. Christians are very likely to help you out in a pinch (this is good to remember if you are traveling cross-country), but their leaders are also likely to raid your ass in a crusade if you threaten the obesity of their empire.

So, just as many of us resist the blanket definitions of anarchist/radical/left-of-left, we must know what kind of Christian we are talking to. Are they pacifist, non-evangelizing soup kitchen folk or door to door bible salesmen with a message of apocalypse? Maybe they are permaculturing, off-the-grid survivalists who use alternative fuels, shelter travelers and make jam? It’s only respectful to find out who you’re speaking to or about. However, remember that it’s for Jesus.


The success of churches today rests on many pillars. First, the capitalist-libertarian erosion of the public safety net with the exportation of living wage jobs has forced hordes of families to seek refuge elsewhere. Churches have long been a staple fixture of inner city communities, and they are often one of the only meeting places in rural communities. Some church complexes (and this is Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, not “cults”) are comprised of sanctuaries, daycare, kindergarten to high school, bars, lounges, soup kitchens and pantries, shelters, gyms and fields, banquet halls and more. Many hospitals began as part of church work, and charities like Habitat for Humanity are still Christian run. What if you saw all that on an infoshop brochure?

Christianity provides (like many religions) comprehensive community. Rites of passage — especially birth, coupling and death — have a defined meaning and place. Rituals offer physical and spiritual satiation, whether communion, baptism, speaking in tongues, bible study, or holiday celebrations. Because there is a role for each generation, people can participate from their birth until death with uninterrupted transition.

Christian propaganda has become insidious, or at least, ubiquitous in pop culture. Christian rock, country and gospel have stations all over the country; television sitcoms portray the dilemmas of growing up Christian in a “secular” society; evangelizing radio dominates the airwaves and even recreation has gone Christian. Surfers, biker gangs and even punks have converted en masse. This obviates the message that being “for Jesus” is dowdy or dorky; in fact, it’s cool. Even fashion has evolved to reinforce Christianity. “What would Jesus Do?” adorns jewelry, bags and the trim on clothes.


I view the Christian empire with a mixture of awe and disgust. There is much to be admired in the organization, and just as much to abhor. The best expressions of Christianity have created a symbiotic community based on love and service, while the most repressive rely on fear and ignorance.

There are a few lessons which radical communities could take from the success of American Christianity. First, we will only be successful when we have no shame about what we believe. Broadcast is important, and people know when you’re scared. There is a fine line between information and evangelism, but silence will never attract more people to radical movements. Second, many Christian communities work to be self-sufficient. The libertarian idea of independence can only be realized when we have both the competence to support ourselves and the communities to pool resources in. As Miles Stair reminds us, the government “has no affirmative duty to protect us” so well-being is the responsibility of individual and community (1). However, beyond some organizing strategies and a wee bit of love, Christianity has tormented this hemisphere for centuries.

The morals of love and brotherhood purported to be such a part of the Christian experience often function as the rewards for good behavior. Churches allow anyone to “come as you are,” but staying that way is often out of the question. Conformity includes creed, behavior and identity and becomes repressive quickly if one is not looking for imposed order. To someone seeking order, it can even be comforting. Unfortunately, the story passed on by most Christian sects is contaminated by St Paul (the defamer of Mary Magdalene) and the racism which brewed in Europe and exploded in the colonial Americas. Sunday morning is still the most segregated time in the US, which says a lot if many people depend on church for community and social welfare. Connections between sexual repression and abusive behavior have also been documented (2). As much as Christian morality denounces over-stimulation as unhealthy, lack of stimulation — whether knowledge of our bodies or just good fucking — does a whole lot of bad, too. It would be impossible to blame the US’s “isms” entirely on Christianity, but the propaganda does certainly reinforces them.

Within the cocoon of the San Francisco Bay Area, it’s easy to believe that radicalism has a chance to shape our society. Collectives are alive here; there are queer and anarchist people of color scenes, and protests regularly draw tens of thousands. But even if there were 500,000 post-lefties in the country, we are vastly outnumbered by the volume and communities of the right. Isolated, small town radicals may have a better idea of the work it will take to challenge the power and ideology of conservatism than Berkeley gardeners. So, engage the next bible seller you see, tell new creation stories, and send a spy to church if you can’t stand to go yourself. We can’t confront the Christians until we know enough to offer a real alternative.

(1) Miles has a great right wing survivalist page, Besides avoiding the “mark of the beast,” he’s actually got good tips on self-sufficiency. (2) Eric Schlosser’s book “Reefer Madness” has a whole section on the porn industry & American bipolar attitudes toward

Global Warming

A year-round swimsuit season? Cool! Global warming is now an American household concept, thanks to compelling doomsday scientific evidence, myriad legislative and technology-based ‘solutions’ — and a dominant culture of consumption that doesn’t give a fuck about the end results of catastrophic climate change.

Is this the point at which radical activists can safely hand over the campaign to progressive lobbyists and industry leaders, who float rosy tales of stellar fuel efficiency standards, clean coal technology, and industrial emissions trading — the ultimate in green capitalism?

Radicals, our work continues to be crucial: we can put the concept of stopping emissions back in the public mindset — demonstrating that gradual improvement ultimately doesn’t work within a context that continues to prioritize economic growth above all else. With creative thinking, radical activists can supplement pragmatic approaches, emphasizing global warming as a systemic flaw in capitalism joining racism, classism, poverty, and environmental concerns on global scales.

Strangely, after decades of study, and increasing evidence that humans are altering the earth’s climate, the subject is still debated. Conservatives papers, like the New York Post, use blizzards and winters storms to joke that “it’s not getting any warmer!” They’re missing the point. Warmer average global temperatures don’t mean more pleasant days at the beach; the sobering consequences extend far beyond longer growing seasons and expanded access to Arctic shipping routes. Rising temperatures mean atmospheric chaos, manifesting in erratic weather patterns: severe droughts, heavy rainstorms, heat waves, more frequent hurricanes, mud slides, floods. The sea does not rise smoothly.

National and international climate scientists, including analysts at the Pentagon, agree that humans have caused air and ocean temperatures to rise over the past 50 years — essentially ruling out natural climate variation as the cause. Greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, are emitted by almost every facet of industrial life, including driving, power generation, mass-scale farming, waste disposal, and of course many industries. Carbon dioxide is by far the most common greenhouse gas. Others, like sulfur hexaflouride (SF6), a popular non-toxic insulating gas here at ground level, are less prevalent than CO2 but absorb far more heat in the upper atmosphere. Deforestation is a major contributor to rising CO2 levels, as CO2-absorbing rainforest is converted into cash crop fields.

Scientists long thought that climate change happened gradually — presumably giving society time to adapt. But recent evidence from Arctic ice cores suggests that in fact climate change can happen very quickly, over the course of a few years!

Rising global temperatures could paradoxically lead to another ice age in some areas as soon as 2010-2020, while other areas get warmer. Temperatures could fall 5-6 degrees F in the northeastern United States and northern Europe, as the warm gulf stream is disrupted by fresh water from melting glaciers. In parts of South America, Australia, and southern Africa, temperatures could rise 4 degrees F.

According to a 2003 Pentagon analysis, which classifies the possible ice age as a national security priority, global chaos and war could break out soon after 2010. Britain could resemble Siberia, intense droughts could hit food producing areas, and wars could be fought over water. According to the Pentagon, rich areas like the US and Europe could become “virtual fortresses” to keep out waves of migrating “boat people” from the rest of the world (as if this wasn’t happening already).

How likely is this doomsday scenario? It is, of course, hard to say. The Pentagon report was designed to “think the unthinkable.” Although it was commissioned by leading Pentagon planner Andrew Marshall, it was not passed on to his superiors and was suppressed by the Bush administration.

The Pentagon approach suggests that we in the US have to stretch our minds in inconceivable directions to even imagine weather-related disasters common in other parts of the world. From the American position at the top of the food chain, it’s not at all “unthinkable” for Haiti or Bangladesh or some low-lying Pacific atoll country — unheard of except by locals and rich adventure eco-tourists — to be devastated by rising sea levels, heavy rainfall, and flooding.

Villages in the Himalayas are already being washed away, as mountain lakes formed by melting glaciers burst their natural dams and flood valleys. The Inuit in the Arctic face imminent destruction of their way of life as ice and permafrost melts, ending their access to food and collapsing roads and runways. People in poor countries everywhere, living on deforested hillsides, risk death as heavier rains cause mud slides and flooding.

But it is somehow shocking when south Florida is wiped out by hurricanes, or when mud slides cover homes in southern California — even though similar events happen here every few years. The same economy that is driving global warming has created an infrastructure in the US that can withstand extreme weather far better than a tent city housing migrant factory workers in, say, China, Malaysia, or Ciudad Juarez. But even apparently sturdy societal infrastructure is only as solid as the land upon which it rests. Driven by growth, development in the US is continually expanding into unstable ecological areas — like floodplains and the desert hills and mountains around LA — that leave even suburban Americans disaster prone.

Here in California, we are already seeing the effects of global warming in our water system. It’s likely that dams will have to be raised all over the state to store drinking and irrigation water, as warmer temperatures lead to less snow pack in the Sierras, and precipitation patterns become more chaotic. The Colorado River basin is experiencing the worst drought in 500 years, with effects worse than during the Dust Bowl.

US culpability

Since there’s no question that humans are causing catastrophic climate change, why is the mere reduction in industrial greenhouse gas emissions offered by fuel efficiency standards, clean coal technology, and industrial emissions trading an acceptable goal? Perhaps the point is to merely attempt to postpone global disaster a little bit, till the seawalls and concertina wire guarding Fortress America have been beefed up. “Sorry guys, we tried to pass that fuel efficiency bill, but the political atmosphere just wasn’t working with us?”

Better fuel efficiency standards are an obvious, reasonable idea, but they will only guarantee that each individual vehicle emits fewer greenhouse gasses per mile of driving. Automobile industry executives, and the current presidential administration, would still be happy if more people bought more cars and drove more miles every day, driving not only their new vehicles but presumably The Economy. This, in fact, is the essence of Bush’s porous approach to global warming, which advocates reducing “greenhouse gas intensity” by emitting fewer greenhouse gasses per unit of economic output — still allowing the total greenhouse gas output to increase.

Bush hopes to achieve this false reduction with the development of new, environmentally benevolent technology. This is humorous, because technology development is always shaped by who controls the development — in this case, the same capitalist class hell bent on burning every last bit of fossil fuel. The Bush administration recently awarded $1.2 billion for hydrogen-burning car development — hardly environmentally benign, despite lower greenhouse gas emissions. New technology always has unintended negative side effects, often not diagnosed for years after the technology has been in everyday use.

Furthermore, the US gov
ernment is very specific about how it invests in more “environmentally-friendly” technology. For example, approximately 850 new coal plants are scheduled to be built in China, India, and the US by 2012, which would spew almost 5 times as much carbon dioxide as the Kyoto Protocol aims to reduce, according to a study done by the Christian Science Monitor. Of the 72 plants likely to be built in the US, only 2 are currently designed to use cleaner coal technology, called Integrated Gasification Combined Cycle (IGCC) technology, which would siphon off CO2 before it goes up the smokestack. The US Department of Energy says they want to continue developing new technology by 2012 — but funding for a key IGCC experimental program is missing in action! Even US ‘dirty coal’ plants are more efficient than those in China or India, who are planning 562 and 213 new plants, respectively. Both countries are scrambling to fuel ballooning economies — to the pleasure of international investors.

Capitalists responded to global warming typically, by opening the Chicago Climate Exchange in 2003. Member companies can trade reductions in their emissions — commodifying, and therefore approving, the right to pollute. The atmosphere, something that moves fluidly around the globe, can now be portioned off to companies — privatized. “Americans always felt their air and water was free,” Richard Sandor, CEO and founder of the Exchange, noted in the Christian Science Monitor. “But that’s just not true anymore and we felt we could apply that to markets.” When Company A reduces their emissions and sells the reduction to Company B, the people living around Company A benefit with cleaner air to breath. But those around B continue to suffer, and the emissions themselves, “rightfully” emitted, cannot be controlled. This capitalist mindgame is highly popular: the US market for sulfur emissions is now worth more than the US wheat market, and companies will soon begin to trade mercury emissions and even endangered species!

Are we screwed?

What does a radical, anti-capitalist campaign against global warming look like? We are in the middle of a major war geared towards securing access to oil — which will all eventually be burned into the atmosphere. Fossil fuel consumption irrevocably links the Iraq occupation and global warming. The dead Iraqis ultimately caused by that SUV driving down the street are sadly matched by dead Haitians, Inuits, 3,000 French people killed by a heat wave in 2003, and countless others. This is an issue at the intersection of almost every single-issue campaign: the environment, poverty, racism and classism on global scales. The commercial trucks that emit 13% of US carbon dioxide emissions also spew asthma-causing compounds into the frequently low-income communities near shipping centers, like West Oakland.

It is hard not to find the United States responsible for the devastation of climate change, despite industrial and economic growth apologists. The US contributes directly — due to massive greenhouse gas emissions — and indirectly, through resource mining, labor, and trade policies that destabilize lower-impact ways of life in favor of engorged economic growth. It’s not just the policies of the Bush administration that are to blame. The Affluent First World lifestyle, epitomized by the popularity of the Hummer, fuels this near-term time bomb. Almost everybody living in the US contributes to the country’s effect on global warming, whether we intend to or not, because greenhouse gas sources are the structural basis of our society. Societies with fewer emissions are less industrialized. The fight is both cultural and structural — what will create the cultural change of everybody retiring their refrigerators in favor of “old-fashioned” cold boxes? What will create the structural change to make driving unattractive on a mass scale? Radicals are very good at effecting change within our own communities — how can we help this change ripple very quickly across mass US culture?

There are hundreds of legislation-based “good ideas” that would limit greenhouse gas emissions on a mass scale, from fuel efficiency standards, emissions limits, increased funding for non-fossil fuel energy sources, public transportation. But legislation that comes out of an industrial power structure won’t ever fully stop industrial emissions. Emissions are a waste product of industry; capitalism is only interested in limits if they produce value in some way, like on the Climate Exchange. The severity of the scientific evidence, of our global environmental and social predicament, is not matched by gradual, within-the-system solutions to global warming. These approaches are limited by the weakness of the hands applying them.

Any activist work done to counter first world consumption is work against global warming, and any community organizing against potential environmental disaster is valuable in countless ways. Cuba has a well organized system of neighborhood response to hurricanes that helps prevent disasters like that in Haiti last summer, where the government was already destablized with US help. Organizing for a coming disaster — figuring out how to get fresh water and food in a non-industrial context, for example — is a good way to bring the serious consequences of global warming home to our neighborhoods and daily lives.

The climate has inertia — it takes a long time to see the effects of climate change. Sea levels will continue to rise for several hundred years after CO2 emissions are stabilized. Clearly, the earth is responding powerfully to the current weight of first world living — not to mention the burgeoning capitalist growth in China, India, and other parts of the world. Can radicals organize for community sustainability — and for the very real possibility of industrial collapse?

Slingshot Box

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

Though it sometimes appears that repression is increasing nationally and internationally and there’s little hope of political relief in the States any time soon, we’re gonna continue on with the paper. Every stone you throw is important, even against armored tanks. Eventually, there will be enough of us to use catapults.

In March, Slingshot turns 17 years old! Never coquettish, we’re proud to be outspoken and wacky.

Last issue, we put out a call for more submissions, and we’ve been inundated with ‘em. Having more material to create the paper does at least three things: it lets us focus more on layout and editing, usually raises the quality of material in the paper, and improves the political and geographical diversity. This issue’s articles are from authors in Tennessee, Thailand and Japan — as well as Berkeley and Oakland. So, we again urge you to send us your articles. Slingshot is part-you, part-us.

As you’ll notice, there’s a Spanish page in this issue! Thanks to the translators!!! We’d love more (or any!) Spanish or bilingual submissions.

Thanks to Holi ( for the poster on page 11 and to Nikki McClure for the cover art ( Nikki cuts her pictures from paper using an x-acto knife! We love it when people send us fantastic art. In publishing these two pieces of art, we once again saw our archaic, pre-computerized, wax and scissors production methods running up against the sad, modern reality that publishing is all computerized now. How long can we hold out against the micro-chip tide? We don’t know for sure, but whereas it once was about our lack of money to buy computers, now its about soul. A digitized world is a cold lifeless world.

This issue was brought to you by beer, hot tubs, New Zealand stripies, and a fabulous quiche made from dumpstered eggs. Never pay for eggs in Alameda County!

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


Herbs not the only abortion option

Hi slingshot-ers,

Thanks for the new organizer, i’m glad for the update in the back pages! no more west coast astrology charts (finally!!) & plus the inclusion of the periodical table rocks!

i am a anarcha-single-mom. i am excited to see stuff on relationships & more sex positive info.

i am concerned about some of the reproductive health care information. i come from a fiercly-pro choice backgrand & as a young mama myself & am now in medical skool…so i have done TONS of research about contraception & options if you’re pregnant.

first, i hope that next year you’ll include more on contraception (and more alternatives to penis vagina sex)

mostly, tho, i am concerned about the over-reliance on herbs as effective forms of birth control/abortifcants. i’ve noticed in the ecoanarcho-scene that there is a vibe that looks down on hormonal birth control, or even the IUD etc, as “not natural”. basically i think that a lot of folks in our scenes judge herbs as being the ultimate form of health care. i’ve seen SO many women get prego using “natural family planning” and SO many women’s herbal abortions fail. the most optimistic data i’ve read is that 50 % of herbal remedies work in preventing pregnancy. but, elsewhere i’ve read that herbal remedies (vit C, carrot seed, cohosh etc) are no better than placebos. basically, women are gunna get seriously shafted if they rely soley on this herb information (which, hey, hopefully no one is doing…but…)

its really important for me to make sure that women who are maybe unexpectedly pregnant make sure that they have a health care provider & a support system. Plan B is readily accessible in most major cities & college campuses, but if women wait a few days to see if their carrot seeds kick in, they aren’t going to have the time to take Plan B. (Also, plan B works upto FIVE DAYS…not 3…and in some cities is available thru a pharmacist, not just thru a doctor’s visit & is covered by most Medical Assistance.) anyhow, if women don’t want to deal with a pregnancy crisis we should not advocate carrot seeds as a radical remedy.

women need to know what to do when/if herbs don’t work & they want to terminate their pregnancy. there have been cases of women thinking that herbals, like cohosh, are working, because they’re cramping, when actually they have an ectopic pregnancy. this has resulted in at least one woman dying.

word. please include more information about women’s health! please remember that herbs, in general, don’t prevent pregnancy with high accuracy. if they did i can guarantee that no one would be unexpectedly pregnant. women need information about medical and surgical abortions too! we need more accurate info on how to mimic Plan B with birth control pills


can you add a page about consent & contraception? abortion? parenting?



Thanks, “Junkie”

i just wanted to write to let you know that i really enjoyed reading the article, “Junkie: We the People” in issue 83, Autumn 2004. i have had a history with drug use and while fortunately i never got into using anything harder than marijuana, i still ended up spending a summer in rehab at the end of my freshman year in high school. after that i got into the whole underground scene and decided to claim edge and until i went to college this last fall i kept that edge. but yeah, i just really liked what you said about seeing people not as junkies or as the stigmas society has created, because having been edge even after experiencing some of the struggles of drug use myself, i started to lose sight of that, and it wasn’t until recently that i realized what a closed-minded person i had become. and i still see a lot of alienation from the straight-edge kids toward those who are not. i don’t know, this turned out to be really scattered and somewhat incoherent, but i just wanted to let you know that i thought it was cool that you would write an article on this subject especially within a community that is (ironically) many times very closed minded to the free-thinking that you have displayed.

– colin

Support Radical Education! Send your zines!


I’d like to request a subscription to Slingshot for Special English Program (SEP), a post-high school program in Umpium Mai Refugee Camp, Thailand, for Burmese refugees. The school has 100 adult students and is trying to build up the periodical library so students can learn about progressive politics.

Material with progressive/anarchist politics are especially useful because many of the students will do activist work in the community after graduation. We have a very limited budget so we were wondering if you and other indy publishers could donate subscriptions? Back issues would also be great.

The postal address is:

SEP School PO Box 114 Mae Sot, 63110 THAILAND

Please contact me if you need any more information and happy New Year.

In solidarity,


Nothing Natural About This Disaster

How should anti-authoritarian socialists respond to the politics of the great wall of water of 12/26 in the Indian Ocean and the spectacle of its havoc? Its horrific tragedy is interwoven with the very architecture of our world system built on inequality, privilege and greed — structures of neo-colonial control and dependency, wealthy centers and desperately impoverished peripheries — and spliced with the image machinery of the society of the spectacle. The tsunami becomes a text through which to view anew the contradictions of this system highlighting the need for a world built on socialist principles of mutual aid and self-organization.

Why No Warning?

Giles Ji Ungpakorn has stressed: “As events in Thailand show, natural disasters, such as violent storms, earthquakes and tsunamis may have natural causes, but their effects are the result of the profit-driven system we live in.” [2] The systems’ priorities are inscribed in a chilling fact on the morning of 12/26: a warning was sent from Hawaii to the American military base on the island of Diego Garcia far south of Sri Lanka — while elsewhere there was silence. Here in Thailand, someone in Bangkok made a conscious decision not to “alarm” the tourists at the very peak of high season on the Andaman Sea coast [3]. Simple science in the hands of the masses could have saved tens of thousands [4].

There were a full two hours in Thailand between the seaquake’s first tremor at 8 a.m. and the cataclysm that hit our southwestern coasts at 10. One of my own students, a tour guide out in a longboat with 21 passengers at Bamboo Island in Krabi, escaped in the nick of time because she suddenly spotted the Great Wave coming, was near shore, and hurried her boat captain and astounded tourists to high ground. She had a cell phone in her pocket and could have easily been given a warning had her firm been notified. There was no warning.

As Fred Goldstein notes: “Capitalist television networks have recently carried footage of amateur video showing the tsunami hitting Banda Aceh. But first you saw people cleaning up from the earthquake, slowly and methodically for 25 minutes, completely oblivious of what was to follow — despite definite danger signs, like the sea receding. An organized, educated, prepared population with the government fully behind it could have evacuated thousands of people, even at the site closest to the epicenter of the tsunami. Evacuation to safety in most areas involved moving people only a relatively short distance from the coast. This holds in even greater measure for the high-casualty areas further from the quake, such as Thailand, Sri Lanka, India and of course East Africa” [5].

Horror on the Margins of a Margin

This has been a calamity on the “periphery of a periphery,” massively affecting in the main simple fisher families and their economies where people live literally on the edge. Natural disasters affect poor and developing countries disproportionately because the struggle of the down-and-out for daily survival does not allow for disaster preparedness. And as mappings at the Earth Institute at Columbia University clearly show, most of the “disaster hot spots’ on our planet lie in the Global South. The geology and meteorology of calamity ominously overlap with the geography of poverty [6].

Profits not Mangroves

Yet this calamity was due in significant part not to geology but to massive environmental degradation as a result of a profit-driven system of priorities: the destruction of the mangrove forests along the coasts of the Indian Ocean over the past two decades, sacrificed to tourism development and excessive shrimp farming. As Devinder Sharma has stressed, the devastation wrought by this wall of water was “the outcome of an insane economic system — led by the World Bank and IMF — that believes in usurping environment, nature and human lives for the sake of unsustainable economic growth for a few” [7]. Nearly 72 per cent of the shrimp farming is confined to Asia, and the expansion of this shrimp farming in India, Thailand, Indonesia and elsewhere, has been specifically at the cost of tropical mangroves — amongst the world’s most important ecosystems. Here as elsewhere, the priorities of the World Bank were guided by concern for profits not people, greed not need, despite many warnings by environmentalists about the potential impact of the loss of mangrove forests. Sharma points out that at the very time the tsunami struck, logging companies were busy axing mangroves in the Aceh province in Sumatra for exports to Malaysia and Singapore. “Ecologists tell us that mangroves provide double protection — the first layer of red mangroves with their flexible branches and tangled roots hanging in the coastal waters absorb the first shock waves. The second layer of tall black mangroves than operates like a wall withstanding much of the sea’s fury. Mangroves in addition absorb more carbon dioxide per unit area than ocean phytoplankton, a critical factor in global warming.” The market-driven eco-collapse behind the disastrous effect of the tsunami has been underplayed by the capitalist media.

Spectacle’s Schizophrenia

Indeed, at the heart of the way the media have treated the tsunami’s havoc is a kind of schizophrenia in the face of the everyday tragedy of misdevelopment and inequality that ravages the Global South. At the core of the way the neoliberal corporate governments have responded is a similar schizophrenia. The extraordinary perhaps excessive “tidal wave” of charity masks an underlying indecency in the way our Spectacular world is organized — its fundamental dehumanizing indifference to the massive death of the poor. Natural disaster is a natural candidate for media and charity hype. Horrific suffering of the innocent is momentarily turned into the spectacle of the month, a barrage of benefit concerts, while the vast oppression that is much of humanity’s everyday in the Two-Thirds World remains endlessly invisible: the more than 2 million who will die this year of AIDS in Sub-Saharan Africa, the 900,000 who will die of malaria, the 11 million AIDS orphans in Africa at this very moment, the 2.7 billion on our planet who live on less than 2 dollars a day.

Certainly 12/26 has been the most mediatized natural catastrophe in modern memory. As Mike Whitney notes: “This is where the western press really excels: in the celebratory atmosphere of human catastrophe. Their penchant for misery is only surpassed by their appetite for profits. . . . The manipulation of calamity is particularly disturbing, especially when disaster is translated into a revenue windfall. . . . Simply put, tragedy is good for business. When it comes to Iraq, however, the whole paradigm shifts to the right. The dead and maimed are faithfully hidden from view. . . . The uneven coverage (of Iraq and the tsunami) highlights an industry in meltdown. Today’s privately owned media may bury one story, and yet, manipulate another to boost ratings. They are just as likely to exploit the suffering of Asians, while ignoring the pain of Iraqis” [8]. The anti-war movement needs to seize on these contradictions, bringing home to ordinary Americans their split consciousness: the hypocrisy of gala charity drives for tsunami victims and profuse “giving” — to ease our consciences — while our army and corporations wage a war literally against the world.

Compassion and Victimization as Control

Harsha Walia stresses that “political global compassion is often an ideology of political and social control couched in euphemisms and contradictions of humanitarian intervention . . . Let us be clear that there is no doubt that humanitarian work in order to save lives and provide adequate access to food and shelter is absolutely necessary. But the larger context must never be lost: international aid and NGO work will largely defuse the anger of those affected by the tsunami. . . . The power and anger of the people has again been channeled into victimization
to curb any political resistance” [9]. Central here is the entire hierarchical structure of much aid — top-down, dispersed by international governments and NGOs. Handouts construct a whole curriculum in the inculcation of dependency, drying up the wellsprings of self-sufficiency, reinforcing hierarchical structures that serve well ruling class interests. The governments in all the affected countries have sought to build a consciousness of victimization by “natural disaster” to deflect public anger.

Another aspect of such a frenzy of focus is the “tsunami relief industry,” largely Western, that rushes in with NGOs and bureaucrats quite literally to “exploit an emergency to reproduce their own bureaucracies,” for their own benefit, to justify their own existence, as detailed in an insightful article on the “accomplices of destruction” [10]. As Arundhati Roy reminds us: “NGOs . . . defuse political anger and dole out as aid or benevolence what people ought to have by right. They alter the public psyche. They turn people into dependent victims and blunt the edges of political resistance. . . . They unwittingly reinforce racist stereotypes and re-affirm the achievements, the comforts, and the compassion (the tough love) of Western civilization. They’re the secular missionaries of the modern world” [11].

Social anarchists need to be speaking out, telling people this calamity was in significant part preventable: you are the victims of the human greed on which this system is founded, you should be damn angry. We need to contemplate how to make this disaster a “politicizing” factor for self-action and rage against governments, statecraft elites and their inevitable failures — instead of one more lever for intensifying depoliticization and the passivity of the victim. That is also fed by the culture of ‘fate,’ what Thai Buddhists call ‘duang,’ acquiescence in the face of ‘predestined’ oppression and suffering.

The Tsunami and its Geopolitics

Troops in Aceh, Sri Lanka and Thailand have all been fighting separatist insurgencies for years. After the tsunami, these troops were more focused on these internal insurgencies than mobilizing to assist the Cataclysm’s victims [12]. This is another reason why Washington found it convenient to step in with such a massive ‘military humanitarian’ presence, conveniently attuned to its own geopolitical interests and imperatives across the region.

Indeed, Bush’s Pentagon is eager to reenter its old Vietnam War era military base U-tapao in Chonburi province 90 miles south of Bangkok [13]. Washington has been pressing Bangkok for the past 18 months to allow it to use Thailand as its new “forward positioning” site facilitating its armed forces in the war against terrorists in Southeast Asia [14]. Now that door has been opened, as Thailand is made a “regional hub” for a massive redeployment of military equipment and personnel, with the linchpin at U-tapao. And the pictures beamed across the planet of American soldiers helping distressed Moslem survivors in Indonesia is engineered to ‘improve’ Washington’s ‘image’ in the Moslem world and beyond, while at the same time reproducing and demonstrating capitalism’s military hegemony. Socialists in Sri Lanka (New Left Front) have called for the removal of American troops there: “On the one hand, it is an opportunity for the US to gain a foothold with designs to suppress the LTTE and control the Tamil liberation struggle on behalf of local capitalist rulers. On the other, it also provides an opening for the US not only to arm-twist Sri Lanka to go along with global capitalism, but also to use Sri Lanka’s strategic location to consolidate its neo-colonial agenda all the more blatantly” [15].

The spectrum of tsunami relief can be read as a lesson in the geopolitics of the manipulation of image and bolstering of power & influence in the name of compassion. Condy Rice called the tsunami a “marvelous opportunity” for showing the world how “generous” the U.S. is. It has also been a boon for Japan, China and India, major geopolitical players in the region [16].

Communalist Alternatives to Social Atomization?

An anarchist network of socialist communities grounded on mutual aid, radical direct democracy, self-organization and self-help, would know better how to respond to disaster. It would be better prepared by assuring that what safeguards exist are equally shared, not reserved for Hawaii, Japan, and the California coast. It would redirect the vast expenditures on the military toward help for the people. The networks of associated communities and regions would be able to distribute assistance where needed more equitably, more rapidly and without the vast corruption associated now with NGOs and their channeling of humanitarian aid through hierarchies of authority. The people would have had a proper system of information and education about the danger of massive Walls of Water. The need for science for the people is a natural moral of this horrific tale. Anarchist information structures could tap the reservoirs of traditional folk knowledge, reconnecting with the Earth, as in Thailand where Chao Lay nomadic fisher communities on the Andaman coast — so-called ‘sea gypsies’ — read the warning signs according to ancient sea lore and were able to flee in time to higher ground [17].

Fundamental here are basic eco-socialist water management, sustainable rural communities, a proper infrastructure of roads, adequate health care, a halt to the destruction of mangroves and their restoration. Decentralized empowerment would mean working class people doing far more for themselves on the ground where they are. This is the grassroots mutual aid in action, of which there are countless untold examples in this disaster — tales that radicals need to salvage and retell.

1. Harsha Walia, “The Tsunami and the Discourse of Compassion,” ZNet,

2. Giles Ji Ungpakorn (Workers Democracy, Bangkok), “A “natural’ disaster made worse by the profit system,” Socialist Worker, 8 Jan 2005, ; see also the insightful interview with Mike Davis, “The burden falls on the poorest societies,” Socialist Worker, 7 Jan 2005,

3. “What if an early warning had been given?,” The Nation (Bangkok), 31 Dec 2004, As a ranking Thai official noted: “The important factor in making the decision was that it’s high season and hotel rooms were nearly 100-per-cent full. If we had issued a warning, which would have led to an evacuation, [and if nothing happened], what would happen then? Business would be instantaneously affected.”

4. Arthur Lerner-Lam et al., “Simple Science Could Have Saved Thousands,” Los Angeles Times, 30 Dec 2004

5. Fred Goldstein, “Cuba leads world in managing disasters,” Workers World, 20 Jan 2005,

6. Michael Schirber, “Scientists Chart Global Disaster Hot Spots,”

7. Devinder Sharma, “Tsunami, Mangroves and Market Economy,” GM Watch MMII, 14 Jan 2005,

8. Mike Whitney, “Iraq Vs. Tsunami; The Duplicity of the Media,” Anarchist People of Color,

9. Walia, op.cit.

10. Thomas Seibert, “Komplizen der Zerstˆrung,” Sozialistische Zeitung (Cologne), Feb. 2005

11. A. Roy, “TIDE? OR IVORY SNOW? Public Power in the Age of Empire,” San Francisco, 16 Aug 2004,

12. Ungpakorn, ibid.

13. Sirinapha, “Tsunami Relief as a Subterfuge? The Pentagon Scrambles to Reenter its Old Thai Air Base,”

14. “Terror Offensive: US Wants Forward Base Here,” The Nation (Bangkok), 12 June 2003,

15. Dr. Vickramabahu, “No to induction of foreign troops!,” International Viewpoint, Jan 2005

16. Jacques Amalric, “The Tsunami and False Friends,” LibÈration, 20 Jan 2005,

17. “Wisdom of th
e sea,” Bangkok Post, 17 Jan 2005,

Moving Mountains – undermining the coal industry

The people of Appalachia need your help. Katuah Earth First!, Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition, Mountain Justice, and Coal River Mountain Watch are calling on all residents of Appalachia, traveling activists, ex-Appalachians, and concerned human rights and environmental activists to join us in defending the world’s most productive and biodiverse temperate forest ecosystems. In the traditions of Freedom Summer and Redwood Summer, we will be using publicity campaigns, mass demonstrations, and direct action to shut down King Coal during the summer of 2005 by stopping mountain top removal dead in its tracks.

Most Americans have never heard the words “mountain range removal/mountain top removal” It’s the dirty little secret that the U.S. government wants to keep hidden from the eyes of America, and the world. There is no better example of a human catastrophe linked to environmental destruction than life in the coal fields of Appalachia.

What is mountain top removal? It starts with the removal of all vegetation. Trees are bulldozed over and pushed into the valleys to be burned. Huge access roads are then built in order to bring in mammoth earth moving equipment. This alone requires much blasting, but once the equipment is in place, the real horror begins. Holes are drilled in the ground, and then packed with high explosives. Part of the mountain is then literally blown away.

Next come the giant earth movers (GEM) that dump all that is not coal (called overburden) into nearby valleys, burying mountain streams with pulverized rock, iron, copper, lead, chromium, mercury, and many other heavy metals that were once buried deep in the earth. Next, the coal is removed and sent down the mountain by beltline. The blasting and mutilation continue until all seams of coal are extracted, sometimes taking off 900 feet or more of the mountain, and creating huge valley fills above the homes of us who live there. What used to be rich topsoil is either incinerated or buried deep beneath heaps of blasted rock. The ecosystem of the mountain is destroyed forever.

The coal that is extracted has to be cleaned at the preparation plant before shipping. The coal goes into a gigantic chemically treated cleaning tank. This process removes impurities including mercury, arsenic, and many other toxins. The sludge generated from this cleaning process settles in the bottom of the tank and is then pumped back up the mountain and put into huge toxic sludge lakes confined by an earthen dam. The cleaned coal is then loaded into train cars or coal trucks and sprayed with a chemical binding agent in order to keep the coal dust down on the way to market.

Obviously, the environmental impact to plants, trees, and wildlife is enormous. But what about the impact on the human species?

The coal industry portrays opponents of mountain top removal as extremists who care more about birds, bats, and bullfrogs than they do about people. The coal industry lies. Appalachian PEOPLE — individuals, families, communities, and an entire culture — suffer the coal barons’ abuses in the U.S.’s mad lust for cheap, dirty fossil fuel. The coal industry and the media portray Appalachians as ignorant, backward, inbred hillbillies who are completely undeserving of the mountains in which they live. By dehumanizing the mountain residents, the coal industry uses the same tactics used by all colonial powers to justify robbing, displacing, and massacring the people of Appalachia. The struggle in Appalachia with the coal barons has been ongoing since the late 1800’s.

Those of us living in the coal fields exist in a constant state of terror. Since there is neither vegetation nor topsoil on the mountain to absorb the rainfall, we live in fear when it rains. During a rainstorm, our children go to bed fully clothed, plotting escape routes in case we have to flee in the middle of the night.

We have had people swept away in mud slides and water tides, pouring down from mountain top removal sites. Yet, the coal companies have the audacity to call these events, “acts of God.” In October of 2000, a sludge dam in Inez, Kentucky failed. Three hundred ten million gallons of toxic sludge spilled into Tug Fork of The Big Sandy River, destroying all aquatic life and poisoning ground water and soil for 110 miles downstream. These earthen dams will fail again. On the Coal River in southern West Virginia, there are four such dams pointed directly at communities and schools. All of them hold over two billion gallons of toxic sludge each. One of them, known as the Brushy Fork impoundment is the largest sludge dam in the United States. It currently contains 7 billion gallons of sludge and it is scheduled to soon grow to over 9 billion gallons. If it fails, all life will most likely be lost for 40 miles downstream. A smaller dam than this one caused the 1972 Buffalo Creek, West Virginia disaster, in which 127 residents were killed.

Despite all the hardship caused by mining, the people of Appalachia keep hanging on. They’re hoping for better days ahead or they’re just too stubborn to leave the land that has been in their families for eight or nine generations. Meanwhile, the coal industry convinces the masses that Appalachia must be leveled in order to provide employment and national security. Yet, as coal production has risen, coal employment in West Virginia has dropped nearly 75% in the last 20 years, due in large part to mountain top removal (source: WV Coal Association). Mountain top removal employs a handful of blasters and heavy equipment operators — a fraction of the numbers needed for underground mining. The ongoing exodus from West Virginia has resulted in closed schools, loss of congressional representation, and loss of hope for many.

A culture that allows these abuses will allow any abuse. We are being forced off our land and our mountain communities are being destroyed. Our mountains and valleys are being turned into a sacrifice zone for cheap electricity. Our Appalachian politicians ignore the pleas of their constituents while their pockets are lined with coal money. Our teachers, small business operators, and press are intimidated into silence. And the nation continues to waste energy by the megaton while coal companies and mountain top removal threaten to end our existence forever, putting the finishing touches to a long-standing cultural genocide.

To help, please contact The Mountain Justice Summer Coalition at: or call (976) 456-2345

Global Day of Action Against the G8

Activists in Europe are calling for a Global Day of Action July 5-8 2005 to coincide with the G8 Summit at Gleneagles, Perthshire, United Kingdom (Scotland, around 40 miles / 70 km from Edinburgh). The G8 is made up of the world’s most powerful capitalist countries which meet annually to coordinate the global economy. The summit, and ongoing activities throughout the year, involves communication between central bankers, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, think tanks and government finance ministers. The G8 shapes the lives of workers around the world with scant public participation. Much of the increasing trend towards a globalized world economy based on lowering wages, gutting environmental protection, increasing privatization, destroying local farming and dividing workers across boarders while uniting their bosses can be traced to the G8.

Dissent! Network in the UK has called for people to join the convergence in Scotland to disrupt the Summit, and for people to organize and take part in simultaneous actions in villages, towns and cities around the world.

The plan: On July 2 in Edinburgh: “Make Poverty History March”. July 3: “Protest at Dungavel Detention Centre” (Ayrshire). July 4 “Blockade of Faslane Nuclear Weapons Base” (Argyll) July 5: “Convergence on Gleneagles G8” (Perth) July 6th-8th, Gleneagle Hotel “Alternative Summit and Big Protests G8” (Perth) July 9: Gleneagle Hotel “Alternatives Concert.” (Perth)

For info, check out: www.agp.

or and or email

Anarchist People of Color 2005 Conference

Following up a successful 2003 Anarchist People of Color conference in Detroit, Michigan, the next Anarchist People of Color conference is being proposed for October 7-9, 2005 in Houston, Texas. Stay to the 10th to march against 500+ years of colonization on Monday October 10th (formally Colombus Day)!

Since the 2003 event, there have been APOC regional gatherings, new collectives and many projects, and we’re still going strong. Where are we as a unified movement? Come discuss community action, theory, internal struggles, external struggles, with the larger theme of “We are one, we are many, and we are a part of something bigger…”

Anarchism offers a dynamic ideology and methods of struggle against racism, poverty, police brutality, and other issues affecting peoples of color. We add ideals about building movements based on the masses of people rather than charismatic leaders, and building a new kind of radicalism recognizing that the political government is not our friend, nor is electoral activity a way to obtain our freedom. We will get our freedom and justice in the streets when we stand up and take back our communities from the white power structure. Finally, we present a new method of uniting all peoples of color against the common enemy, not just capitalism and the state, but white supremacy/European domination in all its forms.

As with the 2003 conference, the 2005 event is only open to people of color. Those sympathetic to the conference are encouraged to offer political support, solidarity and deep and honest understanding while we hold this conference and build our movement.

The conference will be kid friendly and some housing and travel assistance is available. There is a conference fee; no one turned away. For conference materials, downloadable flyers, information on how you can help, or anything else, visit To participate, send your name, level of interest, commitment and what skills/committee you would like to contribute:

5th Annual BASTARD Conference

BASTARD (Berkeley Anarchist Students of Theory And Research & Development) will be hosting their 5th annual anarchist conference on March 27th, 2005. It will be in the East Bay again this year, at UC Berkeley. There is no set theme this year and BASTARD is currently seeking proposals for workshops. Proposals on all topics of interest related to anarchist theory are welcome. For more information or if you would like to propose a workshop please visit . Or, if you prefer, send a proposal to: BASTARD, 3124 Shattuck Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705.