On two wheels: Some words of encouragement for folks who want to bicycle (more)

I have not driven a car in over ten years. This has been difficult as I was brought up in a car-worshipping society. While some people had photos of cars on the walls of their room, I opted for glam metal boys with long hair and makeup, completely vehicle-free. From the time I was a child, I was engulfed in apprehension of cars, from crossing the street in the suburbs to being a passenger.

Although I wanted to achieve the maturity and independence I imagined driving a car would bring me, the stress of being behind the wheel of a metal box that runs on gas felt unnatural. I was often nervous in the few years I drove. There was the fear of hurting others or mis-communicating with other drivers on the road; often the fear of not making it to where I needed to be on time. It was difficult to be present given all the stimuli and “power” I had simply by the pressure of my foot on the pedal.

Rushing from place to place seems to be commonplace. After living in New York City for nine years (where thankfully it was easy to be car-less) I found the constant busyness to be draining. How many people have been injured or killed simply because others behind the wheel were rushing to get to or from work? This saddens me given that so many people don’t even find their jobs fulfilling. In a race to support ourselves, we end up hurting others before even getting to the office.

I’ve been able to make it where I needed to go via bike, public transportation, hitchhiking or finding folks who were already heading the same way. While this might not be an option for everyone, beginning to bike — or simply biking more has made my life that much better, healthier, less stressful and I encourage all who are able to do the same. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing, even biking one way or one day a week can help. And just as with anything else, the more practice you have the more confident you will become.

At around eight years old I began bicycling with a friend of mine, Miriam, in the Chicago suburbs. It was wonderful to have the independence — to choose when and where we could go and explore. But then I moved and outgrew my childhood bike and I stopped bicycling.

It wasn’t until 2009, roughly twenty years after I’d began to bike that I resumed bicycling in New York after my friend, Tom, who had a knack for finding abandoned bikes, encouraged me start up again. I was terrified, of course. It’s a very fast city, sidewalks, streets, buildings, non-stop motion, frequent crowds. There are a lot of people, and an overwhelming intensity is a permanent resident of the city; it’s in the air. I wouldn’t say people in New York are mean, just frequently in a hurry, which is often interpreted as being unkind.

While many people bike in New York, it still wasn’t ideal. The bike lanes were few and far between. I remember being excited to find them, though often they were filled with potholes and occasionally oblivious pedestrians. Sometimes they would be blocked by taxis or the triple threat of bike lane blocking police on horses (gross & infuriating for multiple reasons), but it still became the quickest, most affordable way to get around.

Months before I started biking in NY I pictured myself arriving at a theater I frequented via bike. Perhaps it’s how some people see themselves in fantasies of arriving on the red carpet — getting out of a limo. My fantasy was simply to arrive outside an improv theater on a bicycle. Maybe I should have aimed higher. But when I started bicycling, every time I pulled up on my bike I felt magical for doing something I was afraid of and becoming the person I wanted to be.

As a child of the 80’s, I was brainwashed into thinking I had to live a certain way and depend on those in “power” for my well-being. I was taught I had to look and be a certain way to be acceptable. This was tied into giving money to corporations.

But I’ve learned that the products they are selling won’t bring me joy. If someone gave me a brand new car, I wouldn’t drive it because it wouldn’t make me into the attractive actor from all the commercials wearing fancy clothes and landing the woman of my dreams. I’m more into dudes at this juncture and one does not need a fucking car to be attractive. If I were behind the wheel I would still be nervous and thinking to myself, “what the fuck am I doing driving this SUV? And where is my bike??” But as much as I try to avoid advertisements, they find their way to me. The message is clear; Conform, conform, conform.

One reason bicycling is still looked at in many places as merely an “alternative” is because there is less profit to be made. Sure, there are the overpriced high end bike stores that are more concerned with making money than getting more people to safely bike — and they can go fuck themselves — yet there is not the weekly trip to the gas station, the insurance, the smog checks.

I think of how many people whose lives have been lost because greedy people want to make money by selling oil. Just because we don’t see the violence firsthand, doesn’t mean it’s not connected.

Imagine if even 10% of the cars were off the road what kind of a change we would see. Hitchhiking and ridesharing, especially with the advancement of social networking, should be commonplace. Spend an hour on the freeway and see how many cars with extra seats pass you by. I did! It sucked. Folks did stop, but they were in the minority. Humans have more than enough to share, yet everyone has their private metal boxes. So many people are going the same direction, yet separately.

I understand wanting alone time, I understand fear of others, yet look at what this fear of change and lack of trust amounts to — the unnecessary heartbreaking pollution of our fierce planet. And one of my favorite sayings every time you complain about being in traffic is to remember that you ARE traffic.

This is not a car vs. bike argument, because there is no need — obviously bikes win. This is more a call for those of us on two wheels to remember it is worth it, despite aggressive drivers, getting doored, unfriendly bike and subway compatibility and lack of bike lanes compared to cars. How about a freeway for bikes? One can bike down the side of the Highway 101 – why not allow this elsewhere? Minneapolis had something like this and it was great. Copenhagen is building one, too.

There is enough antagonism out there. The more bicyclists there are on the road the more confident we can become. Simply because cars rule the road and are larger and louder (and smellier) does not mean bicycles deserve less room and less safety.

As my friend Nogga told me, as I struggled to follow him weaving in and out of car traffic on DeKalb, a busy street in downtown Brooklyn, “You have to be aggressive. You have every right to be here.” True on a bike, as well as other situations. Everyone has a right to be here, even those without the ability, financial or otherwise, to be behind a wheel.

Finally, this is a call for those who are scared or don’t know how to ride. I was once there, too. I look forward to riding alongside you wherever and whenever that may be.

Love who you will, say what you must: New words as insult or acknowledgement

The motivation of this article was obliterated on the night we were proof reading for a project due the next day. This article — observing the phenomenon of radicals using the prefix “cis,” was in the back of my mind for weeks. The central point I wished to make is that I only hear people using the term in a derogatory, angry manner, as a sneer, a put down. But when I off-handedly mentioned this analysis to a good friend who was helping proofread, I was given another perspective. “My housemates use the word all the time and it’s more clinical — detached”. That’s good I thought, now I don’t have to write an embarrassing rant.

I’ve primarily encountered cis as a prefix placed before the noun ‘man’, or ‘men’, often paired with the adjective ‘white’ and it seems to connote “straight” as in vanilla, man & wife…heterosexual? The underlying meaning depends on the person using the word. My friend the other night described its function as a counter attack “so that trans is not considered the other.” Trans-Gendered brave hearts have multiplied in the last 40 years and their actions rally us all to challenge the pressures to disappear and accept 2nd class citizenship. My first experience hearing cis in a derogatory manner just so happened to be from someone at odds with some of the community who was getting kicked out of a local house and left a turd on the floor of their former room. Since then I’ve questioned the word, and wondered about the intent behind it.

A fundamental question that motivates me to write this is ‘what kind of world are radicals making in the process of working to achieve a goal?’ A big part of creating new worlds is language, for language informs perception. I think words are great. I like listening to people talk and sing, passionately discuss issues and make indescribable noises. I go to meetings, I dig the collage of noise at cafes, I get mesmerized by radio talk shows as well as underground musicians. I think words hold more value than money. Early on in life while playing in the streets of Berkeley I heard my first slang word — or at least one that wasn’t going to be taught in a classroom anytime soon. A kid said something was “Icy,” and I had to stop what I was doing and decipher it. It was the early 1980’s and I could relate that it had something to do with cool and fresh, except done with more style. Icy wasn’t likely to be a banner on some cheaply made product. It lived on the streets.

Also common since the 80’s is the rise of techno corporate babble that is useful for international trade. Mostly names for products of dubious worth, they represent the fact that common day to day words were eaten up by patents. People couldn’t name their garbage after a familiar mythological character or something in the natural world anymore, so instead a hybrid word would be used. I’m thinking of all sorts of alien words used to sell shit like pharmaceuticals, computer software and hardware, car insurance and the like. Words that just reek of corporate board rooms. For me, cis had a similar feel.

Well I guess looking at the word without looking it up, it could be “SIS” as in “sis-ter-man,” that doesn’t seem so bad to me. I like the incongruent mixings of that and the disorientating of every day norms. But cis comes out of the mouth something like a snake sound — or someone booing an unpleasant speaker. The first time I heard the word, the way it was used, it reminded me the feeling I had when I first heard “HPV,” a word noting a new sexually transmitted disease. In some ways cis resembles HPV, for both words imply something you don’t want to catch. Nor does it seem to be something people can get rid of. You are a straight male indoctrinated by capitalism, and you will die that way.

Radicals have a history of bringing soul and togetherness with their new words. Sure some hate speech is invented and used. But radicals generally use words and ideas that encourage pluralism. Think of a rainbow. They tend to encourage people to identify with others across boundaries.

A part of me could have started this article with an investigation; drawn up a list of intelligent people I know sharp on trans issues and throw them a couple of questions about cis. At the very least you would think I could do is troll around on the internet looking for definitions and people’s opinions and insights. But by not going that route there is also a purity of direct experience. I simply encounter people use “cis-men” in a derogatory vein. Usually it’s after a frustrating experience and the cis-man is judged a problem by labeling him as such. I wonder, sometimes, if they know the meaning of the word as they say it. It strikes me to be similar to another word — “hipster,” which is also used in an abusive manner very different from its origin describing jazz aficionados in the 40’s. The sneer of being called a “hipster” is pretty interesting. What is a hipster these days? Generally it seems to be someone who is young and dressed with noticeable style. It is the common parlance of people who are also confused to be hipsters themselves. What I think it says really is that the Hipster is a person who is not likeable. Cis then is the new thing to scrape off your shoe.

I most often hear it as “cis white man.” The rhythm of that could be a form of casting a spell — the sticking of needles into a doll. But what I’d like to raise is that these are assumptions. Is the person really white…hetero…male? And only that? Did your experience allow you to ask them to define themselves? Scruffy Frank rudely hitting on you at the party just might be a FTM transguy who is of mixed Irish and Navaho stock. His actions may be shitty, but why should radicals do the border checking of identity politics?

If I may mention as an aside, I think there is some discrepancy in labeling people white. Just what does it mean to be white in the “West”? One analysis is that white is all about assimilation. Distinctions of people’s ancestors are set aside for membership in the great white hope. In losing cultural distinctions one is more easily controlled. There is a difference between European people you know, be it Finnish or Spanish. The white question spirals out and ruins the harmony worldwide. Plenty of people get put down for being “of color” and having a “white” inside. Many communities of color also berate people for looking too white. It’s a kind of insanity that desperately needs a dissent. If a person sucks let’s find a more imaginative put down, that is, if we choose not to understand them.

Cis white man can be another category to shelve people in this consumeristic culture. In this light I can see radicals using cis as a put down — as another adopted tool of alienation. My friend and her community use it descriptively, but everyone else I encounter teems with frustration and righteous anger as the word erupts from their lips. So much in our environment allows us not to see how we are complicit in creating oppression.

For the people angry at the insensitivity of people perceived to be White, Male, and Heterosexual, allow me to suggest reading Shere Hite’s work. Her Hite Reports from the mid 70’s are pretty common in free boxes and used bookshelves. But even more worth searching out is her synthesis work called Women as Revolutionary Agents for Change. In it, her research leads to the conclusion that male roles and privileges not only hurt women, but men as well. In the act of keeping up the fronts and expectations of gender roles, there is a psychological price to pay — just like how soldiers who terrorize, harm and murder people start to crumble and disintegrate inside. I feel the work of queer and trans activists is awesome. It’s empowering to give people more options in how to identify. Its just that these categories we create can also be a slippery path and new words can go to building a new prison. Please consider this as one person’s attempt to figure these things out no matter how indelicately. I look forward to seeing responses and other attempts discussed in a paper like this.

Another experience of Cis

I first heard the term cis six years ago from trans friends and have identified as a queer cisman since that time. Cis or cisgendered describes people who are not transgendered, who still identify, more or less, with the gender they were assigned at birth. It comes from the Latin word ‘cis’ which means ‘on the near side of’ and is the opposite of the Latin word ‘trans’ which means ‘across’ or ‘on the far side of’. So, for example, the piece of land on the far side of the Romanian forest was called Transylvania (sylvan means woods) and the piece of ancient Gaul that was on the near side of the Alps (relative to Rome) was called Cisalpine Gaul.

Having a word that specifies people who are not trans in a way that does not also imply normalcy or authenticity (as options like ‘regular man’ or ‘bio-woman’ do) works to strip the language of some of its implicit biases and allows more generic terms like ‘man’ and ‘woman’ to be understood as trans inclusive (even if they don’t include everyone in the genderqueer middle of the gender spectrum). I also really appreciate having a way to identify my gender that is true to my experience and also signals my awareness of non-cisgender experience.

Feeding people in Missouri: an interview with Springfield Food Not Bombs

There have been people in Springfield Missouri who have wanted to start a local Food Not Bombs chapter for years and it just never materialized; J. was active at Occupy Oakland and made his way back to the Midwest with his friend C. They have been working to make Springfield FNB happen.
Hey J.!

Howdy! Springfield Food Not Bombs first feeding will be on Sunday! We planned it to be small since we are just starting out. We are making food for about 20 or so people. Tonight we have a meeting for a group of us (very small group) that are looking to start a Food Not Bombs.
How are you getting food and stuff?

That is what we are trying to figure out. Dumpstering is not really an option here. We saw an alternative in Reno, they hit food banks and used that. Then, there are some people who worked with some local health food place and other businesses to get some food donated for various actions so that is an avenue to check out as well. I am pretty excited [about starting a Food Not Bombs] and C. is even more so. We found some people who have been wanting to do it but never did. It’s not Oakland, but we are trying to bring some of that spirit here.
Given the way that feeding people overlaps with the mission of mainstream charities, what do you feel you are accomplishing by organizing a Food Not Bombs? I work with Food Not Bombs in the East Bay and this question comes up often.

Well here the homeless services are pretty limited. There is only one consistent night meal provided here and the place that does it, The Victory Mission, requires anyone who wishes to eat to sit through a sermon. If you are late they lock the doors and if you leave during the sermon, you don’t eat.
Starve in the name of Jesus, hallelujah!

When I was there the guy in charge told everyone to make sure to use the bathroom before chapel because if we left for any reason, we couldn’t eat.

To me that is absolutely ridiculous; that they will hold the ability to eat over people’s heads like that!
Tell me a little more about Springfield?

There is no real anarchist community here. There are a few anarchists that I have met, but they don’t really talk about it or do anything because it wouldn’t be accepted here. I am hoping that by organizing a Food Not Bombs that we can bring some of these people together and show them that although we are a minority, especially in this area of the country, we do exist.
What is the population like there?

A couple hundred thousand maybe, it’s the biggest city in this part of Missouri. There is a small group of us who want to start handing out anarchist literature. We are collecting various pamphlets and what-not. We want to start an anarchist community center. They had one here a few years ago but it didn’t last very long. We are thinking if we find a building with a room or two we could, as a group, rent the building and the rent for the rooms could help pay for the info-shop. Rent here is pretty cheap, so we may be able to pull it off.

Later that week…
Hey J., How did things go?

Hey! We did the first Food Not Bombs event tonight! Went better than I thought it would. Fed around 40. There were a few who came at the end and we ran out of food. It was interesting because most of the people here weren’t familiar with Food Not Bombs and were surprised by the lack of a sermon and more relaxed environment. It was fun. We are going to go over it tomorrow at the meeting and figure out how to make it better and be better prepared.


A-Zone of our own

(Dis) Connection was “a networking journal for radical collectives and infoshops.” The second issue was written by Chicagoans, and was largely about the Autonomous Zone Infoshop, a collectively run space that operated in the northwest side of Chicago for over ten years in five of its own storefronts and in the back room of another Collective’s space. The words “Left Bank donated $50.00 to assist in our goal of one Uzi per A-Zone member” on the inside cover of the November ‘94 issue instantly sparked my interest. Left Bank Books is a Collectively run, Leftist bookstore in Seattle which has been going since 1973. Successive issues were done in turn by the various cities that had collectives that were part of the project. The other Collectives were also Infoshop/radical community space Collectives that were maintaining storefronts, and thus shared common concerns about interpersonal relationships, gentrification, if paying rent to keep a space going made sense, and what not. I’d only discovered this journal when my comrade, ex-A-Zoner Rachel A., lent me two copies to help with my research for the A-Zone Essay Project. Networking with a radical organization that has been able to keep going for so long is a great opportunity, and journals are a great way to do so for people who can’t make a trip to Seattle or whatever other cities have been able to maintain such long term spaces such as May Day Books which has been going in Minneapolis since 1975.

I would Love to help try to organize a New Connections journal for Punk and/or Collective Houses, Infoshops, and other radical spaces and projects. The fact that we can use the Internet to easily distribute the journal, and allow various Collectives and independent organizers to print an appropriate number of copies and save money on shipping and share the printing costs are just two of the reasons why we can have a similar project now that could go really well. I would like to use a similar format where cities take turns publishing issues to share about the trials and tribulations in the Anti-State of their local movements, without airing too much dirty laundry. Maybe we can have a list serve for that! I would also greatly appreciate input from people who were involved with (Dis) Connection. Articles in the second issue such as “Against Half-Assed Race and Class Theory and Practice” by Ken Wong, “Gentrifuckation and White Frontier Collectives” and “On Boys In Collectives” were somewhat painful reminders about how many current Leftist activists in general, and participants in the Infoshop Movement in particular are pretty good at re-inventing faulty wheels. Bringing back these past discussions and insights is a large part of the point of that project.

When asked to be on a panel about “Zines & Libraries” at Chicago ‘Zine Fest in 2010 when I was doing the research, I made a point in inviting Ken Wong and bringing the two copies of (Dis) Connection with me, and talking about how Wicker Park was still 70% Latin@ at the time the A-Zone was there according to the journal. I brought this up while talking about the current gentrification of Pilsen, for anyone there who still might not be taking it seriously.

In the other issue of the journal I was able to check out, #3, Winter 95, one particular article stood out to me, “A-ZONE!? WHAT THE fuck?!?” The article is mostly an analysis of the discussion and its follow up, and a larger one was produced as a pamphlet, Existentialist Blues. I would Love to see a copy, and possibly include it as an appendix to a future edition of the project, or a new one. In an era of so-called “social networking” websites, these journals were a real challenge to get a hold of, and I’m sure I would have read them repeatedly if they were new, and that they would have spurred even more discussions than these old issues have recently.

It was also fascinating to see Food Not Bombs in Chicago declared dead forever. There were three different neighborhood chapters going strong when I was reading the journal years later! The death of the Earth First! Movement was also pondered in this 1990s journal, showing how we can often despair when there still is hope. The networking that came formally out of the journal culminated in Active Resistance, a series of events that were held in Chicago in opposition to the Democratic National Convention that met there in 1996. We had an Active Resistance banner hanging on the wall in the main room of the Bucktown space the whole time I was in the Collective, and the events were the stuff of local legend to me.

I had started the A-Zone Essay Project while volunteering for a space in El Barrio Pilsen, Chicago which had opened to the public as the Sowing Circle in the fall of 2008, and slowly changed to the Lichen Lending Library then La Biblioteca Popular del Barrio by the fall of 2009. I mentioned the A-Zone a great deal in meetings there, and was asked many questions which gave me the idea to put some of the history and lessons learned into print for people not involved with La Biblioteca, but other similar projects. As I’ve traveled the country since then, I’ve shared the ‘zine, The Autonomous Zone Infoshop: The A-Zone & a Decade of Anarchy in Chicago, which came out of the project, with volunteers, collective members and/or hangers-around at such projects as the Dry River Radical Resource Center, the Long Haul Infoshop, and the Taala Hooghan Infoshop. I’ve made a point of making the ‘zine available for free on zinelibrary.info where it can be read online easily or printed out.

Right now I’m mostly involved with the Taala Hooghan Infoshop in Flagstaff, Arizona, and the Collective is currently updating their 2010 DISORIENTATION GUIDE for students, which they’ve made available for free on their website, another great format which I first became familiar with while hanging around the Madison Infoshop in Wisconsin. There has been talk about making a state-wide Disorientation Guide for some time, and after I wrote the first draft of this article, there has been some talk here of making the it the first issue of this journal!

If you are interested in supporting this project, I can be reached at alextheweaver at yahoo dot com.

Free pizza for life

Free Pizza For Life
Plan-It-X/Secret Sailor Books
PO Box 2312
Bloomington, IN 47402
$5/224 Pgs.

This book from Chris Clavin of Plan-It-X chronicles at least a decade of the author’s life along with stories of other important people in his life like Sam/Samantha Dorsett who started the label and so much more (Sam had transitioned to become Samantha during their life). It felt very honest and open and had many intense moments for me because I had similar experiences with pop-punk, soda, eating pizza and trying to find spaces for myself where I could connect to people in a real way. The letters are a nice touch and really made me appreciate the very hands-on approach that Clavin talks about in the book. This book, for me, is so much more than stories of dumpstered pizza, which are in themselves full of vital scam info for intrepid freegans. Inexpensive and cute(!) in keeping with the spirit of Plan-It-X (DIYOD) and worth reading despite the many word usage errors…fucking spellcheck

infoshop update: changes to the 2013 Organizer

Social networking can’t just happen on-line — people everywhere yearn to create face-to-face communities in the real world. Against all odds, thousands of people scattered hither and yon are creating community spaces, DIY bike shops, and bookstores to host shows, discussions, meetings, and the personal interactions that keep us human. Here are some radical spaces we heard about too late to include in the 2013 Slingshot organizer, plus some corrections. Check them out. Let us know if you start one. We periodically post updates on our website slingshot.tao.ca.
Centro Social CCC – San Juan, Puerto Rico
A social center with a library and zines that hosts events. 1657 Ave. Fernández Juncos, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00909 infoshopsanturce.wordpress.com
Owl Farm – Nashville, TN
A new show and meeting space with a music, book and zine shop. 811 Dickerson Pike Unit I, Nashville, TN 37207
Hazardous Materials Zine Shop – Richmond, VA
A zine shop with books, posters, patches and a writing workspace that hosts workshops on zine making and writing. Open Thur – Mon 1-6 pm. 1806 Currie St. Richmond, VA 23220 hazardousmaterialsrva.wordpress.com
The Seed – Lancaster, Pennsylvania
A worker-owned vegetarian cafe and community space. 52 N. Queen Street Lancaster, PA 17603 theseedlancaster.com theseedlancaster@gmail.com 717-945-5787
Shades of Afrika – Long Beach, CA
An Afrikan-centered book & art store and cultural center that hosts events and 
study groups. 1001 East 4th St. Long Beach, CA 90802 562-436-2210 www.shadesofafrika.com
Portland Button Works – PDX, OR
A zine and button shop and mail order where you can make your own buttons. 1322 N Killingsworth St., Portland, OR 97217 503-922-2684 portlandbuttonworks.com
Noisebridge – San Francisco, CA
An educational hackerspace that provides tech resources and meeting/event space. 2169 Mission St. San Francisco, CA 94103 415-738-2341 www.noisebridge.net
The Roosevelt 2.0 – Tampa, FL
A community space that hosts music, art and events. 1812 N. 15th St. Tampa, Florida 33605 813-248-1904
Rag and Bones Bicycle Cooperative – Richmond, VA
A volunteer-run bike cooperative that rebuilds bikes and provides tools, shop space, parts and info to help people learn to fix their own bikes. 1320 School St. Bay 2, Richmond,VA 23220, ragandbonesrva.wordpress.com
Bike Forth – Davis, CA
A volunteer-run DIY bike repair shop where folks can use tools and learn to fix their own bikes. 1221 1/2 4th St. Davis, CA 95616
Rusty Spoke Bicycle Collective – Phoenix, AZ
A volunteer-run DIY bike shop and community space that provides bicycle work space and tools, recycles bikes, and hosts events. They have a women/trans workshop weekly. 1023 Grand Avenue, Phoenix, AZ 85007 www.rustyspoke.org (Entrance is through the alley between Taylor and Fillmore).
Acrata – Bruxelles, Belgium
A radical lending library with an archive and bookshop offering zines and books in English, French and Flemish about regional issues. They host a monthly vegetarian BBQ in the street. Highly recommended. 32 Rue de la Grande Île 1000 Brussels, Belgium www.acrata.be, acrata@post.com
The Tempest – Berlin, Germany
A multilingual radical library that has a lot of info about European radical activity and hosts events. Open Tue/Thu 4-8 and Fri/Sun 2-6. Reichenbergerstr. 63a 10999 Berlin, Germany tempestlibrary.com
Changes to the 2013 Organizer
As soon as we took the organizer to the printing press, many people started emailing us corrections and updates that were too late. Please hand write these in your organizer . . .

The Community Center Coalition in Lancaster, PA is closed.

The Minnehaha Free Space moved after we went to press. Their new address is 3747 Minnehaha Ave. S. Minneapolis, MN 55407 (mailing address: PO Box 8222, Minneapolis, MN 55408). They also have a phone number now: 612-729-3733.

We didn’t include the Grease Pit Community Bike Shop because we didn’t know they had a new address. They are now at 2750 Bloomington Ave. Minneapolis, MN 55407 greasepitbikes.com

The Bellingham Alternative Library moved after we went to press so the address published in the organizer is wrong. They are now at 306 Flora St. Bellingham, WA 98225.

The Farside in Tallahassee, FL has closed.

A lot of projects operate out of the 27 Social Center in Denver. We didn’t list all the names of the individual projects but one is the Denver Zine Library and they have this website: denverzinelibrary.org

We listed the address to Barricade Books in Melbourne Australia but they have since been evicted and are looking for a new location.

We didn’t list the Edmonton Small Press Association because they were between locations. Their new address is: 11336 101 St. Edmonton, AB T5G 2A7 Canada. Their phone number and PO box remain the same: 780-434-9236, P.O. Box 95086 (Whyte RPO – 8065 104 St.) Edmonton, Alberta T6E 4E3
On-line Resource

Neil wrote us to say that since 2007 he has maintained an international database of DIY and radical spaces at dodiy.org. Check it out. We’re going to try to check it when we work on the 2014 organizer to see if we can add some more contacts.

PDX Bike Swarm: pedal power to the people

PDX Bike Swarm is a group of Portland, OR (PDx) cyclists using the bicycle as a means to empower anarchists, activists and underserved citizens, and to challenge the idea and use of public spaces. The group began around last year’s Occupy Portland, when it created a buffer zone between protesters and the police just as eviction notices were about to be served. The swarm created a moving buffer between police and the encampment area, which kept the protest more peaceful than hostile, even though the police did clear out the area eventually. PDX Bike Swarm is kind of like Critical Mass in that it is a peaceful protest promoting bicycle use and safety with one simple message to drivers: share the road. But the two vary greatly in mission and riding technique.

A bike swarm congregates in areas where social and political injustices can be found. PDX Bike Swarm has no fixed leaders. People who call a particular swarm direct the swarm along a predetermined area of attack and will call in for help as needed. The beauty of the swarm is that it uses the bicycle — a slow-moving, emission-free, legal mode of transportation — to protest and protect the public and the use of public spaces, by defying ill-conceived notions of how the public is expected to behave in a public space.

Besides Occupy Portland, PDX Bike Swarm has protested police violence, homelessness and hunger, and rode in opposition to the Columbia River Crossing, a proposed 10-12 lane, nine-mile long freeway that will cost 4-10 billion dollars to build. Despite the city’s flourishing bicycle community, Portland cyclists are still overrun by automobiles and auto-centric transportation systems.

Every city deals with these issues. The push for more highways and faster commutes for drivers supersedes the need for livable urban communities and safe roads for everyone to use.

Other swarm groups have formed in Salt Lake City and London since the inception of PDX Bike Swarm, as well as groups with similar missions, including Bike Bloc in Seattle and Occupy Wall Street Bike Coalition. PDX Bike Swarm modeled their own strategy after the work of San Francisco Bike Calvary, which started in 2003 with a protest against the invasion of Iraq. The cavalry worked at the protest as bike messengers, riding around to find where police were staging and then riding around informing protesters of their whereabouts.

PDX Bike Swarm has only two rules: bring a bike and be awesome.

*Bring a Bike* – This one’s a no brainer. You need a bike to swarm. Also, bicycle safety is key in all rides. Make sure your bike works properly, wear a helmet and use bike lights at night.

*Be awesome* – The sky’s the limit on how to be awesome during a bike swarm event. Some cyclists ride wearing crazy outfits with musical instruments in their bicycle baskets or signs. Or whatever else. Be creative. Being awesome also means being ready to join the swarm when needed. Active involvement by group members is necessary for a successful swarm. PDX Bike Swarm has ridden in groups ranging from three cyclists to 100. Several cyclists are needed to form a swarm, especially during a ride where additional cyclists may be called in — from home or wherever else — to assist with a bike swarm event when a situation gets hostile, like during Occupy Portland.

*Strategy Meetings* – In Portland, strategy meetings occur before bike swarm events to discuss the group’s plan of action. Meetings usually occur on a weekly basis, in informal meeting areas like bars or whatever else is suggested. Those interested in getting involved can sign up to join the swarm’s Google group. Meetings and other bicycle-related news and events are constantly posted in the group.

*How to start a swarm*- Anyone can start a bike swarm, anywhere in the world. All you need is a bicycle and a strategy and some members. To start a successful swarm, connecting your bike swarm online is a good idea. Forming a Facebook or Google group is a simple way to meet new members and organize events and meetings online. You could also make fliers for swarm rides and meetings and post them in area around your city frequented by cyclists to attract new bike swarm members. Creating a design or symbol is helpful when promoting your bike swarm online or in your community, and it could also be used to make stickers, buttons and t-shirts.

Hot Dates

October 18 – 22
Radical Mycology Convergence – Port Townsend, WA radicalmycologyconvergence.com

October 19 – 21
Mountain Justice Fall Summit Rock Creek, WV www.mountainjustice.org

October 20 • 12 – 6
Southeast Zine Fest – St. Charleston, SC southeastzinefest.com

October 21 • 7:30 pm
Long Haul Oral History project on The Mission Yuppie Eradication Project – 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley thelonghaul.org

October 26 • 6 pm
San Francisco Critical Mass Halloween bike ride – dress up/gather@Justin Herman Plaza

November 9 – 11
Boston Anarchist Bookfair – Simmons College bostonanarchistbookfair.org

November 9 – 11 • 8 pm
East Bay Bike Party – start location TBA eastbaybikeparty.wordpress.com

November 10
Carrboro, NC Anarchist Bookfair carrboroanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com

November 16 – 18
Protest School of the Americas – Ft. Benning, GA soaw.org

November 21 • 7:30 pm
Long Haul Oral History project on The 1999 protests that Shutdown the WTO – 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley thelonghaul.org

November 23
Buy Nothing Day in N. America (Nov. 24 in UK)

December 1 • 11 – 6 pm
East Bay Anarchist Bookfair – Conversations & Books- Oakland, CA eastbayanarchist.com

December 8 • 10 – 5
East Bay Alternative Book & Zine Fest – eastbayalternativebookandzinefest.com

December 8
Humboldt Anarchist Bookfair – near Eureka, CA humboldtgrassroots.com/hg

January 19 • 3 pm
Slingshot article deadline for issue #112

January 20
Application deadline for the Montreal International Anarchist Theatre Festival (May 21/22) anarchistetheatrefestival.com

March 16 – 17
Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair – San Francisco new location 14th & Mission bayareaanarchistbookfair.wordpress.com

Zine Reviews

These publications are often made on a tight budget and a small run. By all means contact them to receive their goods but be cautious of a couple items. Not all publications will send a free copy to prisoners. You all are the most persistent of Slingshot readers who actually write people. Most of the responses come from you, so thanks. Don’t expect them to give you a publication for nothing. Consider offering to contribute content in exchange for their work. Ask what they would like you to give — words, art, news — and send it to them. Also if you are reading this a year or so after the Slingshot’s print date, send a letter of inquiry before you send money, to make sure they’re still there.

PO Box 1318 Cooper Stn. NYC, NY 10276 fly@peops.org
A gallery of outcasts and rebels with brief candid biographies. Or maybe you can consider it as trading cards of feral creatures with face tattoos, dreads, exotic piercings; musicians of acquired tastes, and squat puppies. This has been a staple of underground art for close to 20 years now and I am used to being bored by its familiar art and narratives. But once I set myself down to really look at these people I find that this work really animates the subjects and makes them seem thoughtful and likeable. This issue covers 35 people in the arts, on the streets and in community spaces. The stories these Peops tell create a subway map of sorts, capable of guiding both locals and tourists into the thick wilds of underground culture.
AB #13 May 2012 (2 for $2)
c/o Lisa Ahne Po Box 181 Alsea, OR 97324
Every inch of page space is maximized here which is not unusual for the obsessive compulsive nature of many zines — but in this case it represents the writers’ approach to living off the grid, frugally and in transit. This is made by the same people who do Dwelling Portably, which covers similar territory. The 16pgs of AB mostly act as a message board where various people give short bursts of advice and insights to alternative living in all sorts of places (Arizona, Eastern Washington, on a boat off the coast of Florida). The mosaic of voices is made more mysterious at times by the coded language and descriptions to strange projects. People acclimated to tweeter speak will feel at home as well as the seasoned pros in “How to Live Better for Less.” The general tone is not complacent with today’s consumer culture, and most of the people have genuine hope in seeing a world from a different angle. Before we had the internet, there were many publications that provided this kind of service — I say it’s still needed.
Bitch King #3,4,5
This is the work of people running and hanging out at the Blood Orange Info Shop in Southern Ca. There is urgency to the writing as it uses a plain and direct language. Resistance is a major topic as well as the meaning of being queer in an oppressive environment. Issue #5 is quarter size with manifesto type content throughout it. There’s poetry in #3&4 that has some revolutionary sentiments — but also some eros-oriented words. The art seems mostly taken from kid’s books, giving it a feeling that it was quickly thrown together. Though this might not sell to some people, have in mind quickly thrown together zines usually respond faster to current events.
Muchacha #3 $1
A mermaid adorns the cover with an ocean of ideas inside. Like a coral reef, there’s several pages of busy action to fill the eyes with complex collages, essays on current events, quotes, lists of cool bands, inspired lyrics destroying American Idol, historical sketches of activists, and manifestos. There are a few hands in the works, but the guiding force is one person focused on feminism and her family’s roots with Mexico. She started this zine as an endeavor to help represent a new movement called Feminism Is Not Dead (F.I.N.D.), Riot Grrrl being a major influence. This is an ideal publication to absorb during long waits at the DMV, while train-hopping, or during a life of working for real political change.
AVOW #24 $3
c/o Keith Rosson 1725 E. Linnwood Milwaukee, WI 53211 keithrosson.com
This is a sharp looking thing. It has the characteristics of where Cometbus left off in the late 90’s. The editor seems to be a DIY design nerd, given that his layouts could make people drool. He also fills the space with his unique style of writings and comics. The writing has a lot of personal introspection seeping from the pages. A record review will turn into an autobiographical flashback. This was made at a time of great change for the writer, and he sat with the content awhile before sharing it with us. The death of his father, moving, finding work, and quitting smoking fulfills the dramatic arch. Lots of pain and growth presented in a work that is both scruffy and slick.
Pipe Bomb #43
228 E. Clayton St. Athens, GA 30601 zinepipebomb@gmail.com
Brave crude comics fill the pages with various atrocities and fantasized nightmares. Images of punks, zombies, and body fluids all strung together with home cooked nursery rhymes. It’s all drawn by hand with varying levels of skill and time commitment. This zine has come a long way to remain straight forward and consistently be a labor of fun. I get the impression the editor has a hundred notebooks that she fills as the party rages around her, and later she giggles over the product.
Zine In Progress (ZIP) #2 $7(trade of comparable worth) zine.noisebridge.net/zip
PO Box 420051 SF CA 94142-0051
A space will inform what kind of work is made there. Check out the Noisebridge hacker space in SF; a fucking mind blowing endeavor to make you happy for revolution. This publication just bursts with active minds engaged with computers, potty humor and an impressive display of intelligence. Each page is intensely alive whether it is an interview with a Noisebridge regular or a page of goofing off. Of course, all the content is also available online.
Fluke #10
PO Box 24957 Tempe, AZ 85285
A music publication made on offset so it looks really fancy. They cover the punk scenes of the Bay Area and Arkansas. This issue is mostly interviews — the 2nd time in its 20 years of publishing. The majority of the interviews are conducted at exciting events so are pretty thin content wise. The value with this kind of dialog is in reading people’s quick-witted attitudes. A couple of the other interviews are from quieter environments but over all these people don’t seem to catch me. The conversations often look at punk rock and how it changed their lives, but I’m not sure if I’m into their definition of punk. Most of what they have to say isn’t too interesting, which is sad since so much effort went to making this.
Degenerate #10 $2
PO Box 3272 Berkeley, CA 94703 degeneratezine@gmail.com
A music zine that takes a chance with its approach. This issue contemplates, “Each man must kill the thing he loves,” and uses that idea to look at the deadening process of putting your ideas into records and zines. An interview with Meredith Graves of the band Shoppers consists of her analyzing the editor’s dream and doing word associations. There’s also reviews that are thoughtfully written and weird clip art. This is made by a shit worker of Maximum Rock n’ Roll and in some ways exhibits what’s missing from that established monthly.
High On Burning Photographs #8
c/o Ocean Capewell PO Box 40144 Pittsburgh, PA 15201 escape_well@yahoo.com
The introduction says this issue aims to help people in the current hard times. The whole zine gives a first person account of recovering from emotional devastation. A really honest opening up that peers into issues of broken relationships, abuse, and friendships. There’s a radical perspective guiding everything but one that doesn’t rely on canned slogans to answer to the issues. Instead the writer endeavors to understand the situation. The writing is enjoyable and doesn’t gloss over things, which tends to happen with personal zines. The introspection of a failed love even makes its way into a vignette/report of the Occupy Pittsburgh PA camp. This person also does a zine on carpal tunnel tendonitis and how to treat it.
No Fascism in the New Wave $5
c/o Goteblud 776 Valencia St. SF, CA 94110
This is put together by a radical media savvy proprietor of a store that deals with antique zines. This is a zine of clippings from rare publications put out in the late 70’s and early 80’s. The content looks at the then burgeoning punk scene and how it affected women, queers and people of color. It’s strange how studying history often reveals current events…a rising right wing, crashing economy, and a new music being made that defies categories. This makes studying history more like studying a mirror.
The Radvocate $2
3425 University Ave. Ste. 1430 San Diego, CA 92104
A free-for-all literary journal. This issue has 8 authors and 5 artists contributing to the delinquency of your mind. The randomness creates a hodge-podge of voices and approaches. The pages have an article on the scandal of a sports coach covering up child molestation. A travel story of skater kids going to Switzerland and being assholes. There’s also poetry, and other impressionistic writings that fill the pages. The writers are not particularly radical, but rebel in their own way. As one of them writes, “I believe rules should be challenged from now and then. Preferably now.” This zine seems so open it looks like you could be in the next issue.
Arming The Stripper
I love zines for moments like when the page has a bit of wisdom that blatantly strays from the established narrative of the rest of the pages. In this case there is a nicely decorated message stating, “Burning cop cars are a girl’s best friend” just hanging out in the layout. A quarter size multi-colored wonder that opens a window to the world of Por(n)tland’s Smut Industrial Complex. The scenes behind the sexy dance aren’t pretty. Unpleasant and boring moments bring out the real characters that populate the sleazy dives. The oddball customers, club owners, and the workers struggling in a shitty low wage existence are accounted for with the damages they make on an up-and-coming young lady. The zine has random images from mainstream porn and a barely functional typewriter tells the story — with typos. But what shines is the writer’s attitude and style. The writing is sharp and enthralling, yet the whole thing is over pretty fast.

c/o Witch Club Po Box 29335 Providence, RI 02909