Books that Blew Our Minds –


The Days of Abandonment – Elena Ferrante

Nevada – Imogen Binnie

The Activist – Renee Gladman

Parable of the Sower – Octavia Butler

Drown – Junot Díaz

The Good Soldier Švejk – Jaroslav Hašek

Nightwood – Djuna Barnes



How to Talk About Books You Haven’t Read – Pierre Bayard

Why Are Faggots So Afraid of Faggots? – Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore

The Secret Life on Puppets – Victoria Nelson

Towards a Creative Nothing – Renzo Novatore

Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate Politics – bell hooks

Are Prisons Obsolete? – Angela Davis

A Crime Called Freedom – Os Cangaceiros

Parasite Rex – Carl Zimmer

Walled States, Waning Sovereignty – Wendy Brown

The Fire Next Time – James Baldwin

Shotgun Seamstress Zine Anthology – Osa Atoe

The Gentrification of the Mind – Sarah Schulman




Top 40 – Brandon Brown

Prelude to Bruise – Saeed Jones

Citizen – Claudia Rankine

The Heart’s Traffic – Ching-In Chen

Letters to Wendy’s – Joe Wenderoth

The Maximus Poems – Charles Olson

Collected Poems – Kenneth Patchen

Engine Empire – Cathy Park Hong

Inter Arma – Lauren Shufran

Life on Mars – Tracy K. Smith



Sex Criminals

Bitch Planet

Fun Home

Black Science

Pretty Deadly

Watching the Detective

How to monitor the police: Copwatch

In a free, non-hierarchical society, there wouldn’t be a police force — a group of people paid by those in power to use violence to enforce laws. Laws are typically made by elites to protect their power and social position, and therefore a primary function of police is to protect inequality. Historically, the most oppressed communities have suffered the worst abuse and violence at the hands of police. In response to this brutality, people have organized to protect our communities by watching the cops. These efforts try to deter the worst police abuses by exposing them to public attention. While the police are always watching you, usually no one watches the police. The Black Panther party originally existed to follow police patrols and stop their abuse of the black community. In more recent years, activists around the world have started Copwatch projects to keep an eye on the police.

The following are exerpts of the Berkeley Copwatch Manual on how Copwatch groups monitor police activity. If your town doesn’t have a Copwatch project, you can start one by gathering friends and forming your own citizen patrols. Good luck!


Copwatch’s main tactic is to discourage police brutality and harassment by letting the cops know that their actions are being recorded and that they will be held accountable for their acts of harassment and abuse. To this end we will: record incidents of abuse and harassment, follow through on complaints, publicize incidents of abuse and harassment, educate those who don’t believe that police harassment exists.

Defuse Situations

As Copwatchers, we don’t want to escalate a situation to where police arrest someone as a way of getting back at us. We must learn how to assert our rights and to encourage others to assert their rights without endangering someone who is already in some amount of trouble.

We do not attempt to interfere with officers as they make routine arrests. We document and try to inform the cops when we feel that they are violating policy or the law.

Shift Procedures

• Be sure your warrant status, bike or car is up to date. Don’t give the cops any opportunity to bust you. Assume that this could happen.

• Identification can be very helpful if the police detain you.

• Have a partner for safety as well as good Copwatching. It is very important not to confront the police alone. You must have a witness and someone who can verify your story in case of a problem

• Make sure that you are not carrying anything illegal! No knives, drugs, etc.

• Wear a Copwatch identification badge.

• Be sure that you or your partner brings things you will need to Copwatch: Incident forms, the Copwatch Handbook, Police Dept. complaint forms, Copwatch literature to distribute, tape recorder, police scanner, video recorder, cameras, copy of Penal Code

During Shift

As you observe a situation, one partner records what officers are saying or doing, while the other quietly gets information from witnesses. Consult and share information. Get a firm grasp of the situation first. Record as much information as possible. Witness names and numbers and badge numbers are important. It also helps to write down when, where and what time the incident happened. If there has been an injury, encourage the person to see a doctor and take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible. Distribute Copwatch literature while you are observing a stop so that people understand that you are not just there to be entertained but are actually trying to help.

Remember that you have the right to watch the cops. You don’t have the right to interfere.

When you observe police remember that you don’t want to make the cops more nervous than they already are. Keep your hands visible at all times. Don’t approach an officer from behind or stand behind them. Don’t make any sudden movements or raise your voice to the cop. Try to keep the situation calm. You don’t want to get the person in more trouble. If an officer tells you to step back, tell the officer that you do not want to interfere, you simply wish to observe.

More Assertive Style:

• Ask victims if they know why they are being arrested or detained.

• If the stop is vague, ask the cop to name the Penal Code Section that they are enforcing.

• Have educational conversations with people standing around.

• Don’t piss the cop off if you can help it. Don’t let it get personal. No name calling!

• Identify yourself as “Copwatch.”

• Try to stay until the stop is concluded. Remember that Rodney King was just a traffic stop originally.

• If a person wants to take action, give them complaint forms.

• Don’t assume who is right and who is wrong. Observe and document before taking action.

Be Careful:

• Don’t inadvertently collaborate in a crime (don’t become a look-out, warning if police are coming, etc.)

• Taking pictures or videotaping can be a problem if the detainee doesn’t want you to. Respect them. Tell them that you are working to stop police misconduct. If this doesn’t satisfy them, turn off the camera.

• Don’t make promises that you can’t keep. Don’t tell people you will get them a lawyer or take the cops to court, etc.

• Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know” if you are asked legal questions. That is better than giving out wrong information.

To see the full manual or for other information, check out

Tips for dealing with the police – Know Your Rights

These suggestions from the National Lawyers Guild “Know Your Rights” guide summarize the rules to which the police are theoretically subject. However be careful: the police, the courts, and the government can and do ignore these rules when they feel like it. Sometimes, police retaliate against people for exercising their rights. These tips may help you later on in court, and sometimes they won’t. But even though the state can’t be counted on to follow its own laws, it still may be helpful to know what these laws are so you can shame particular state agents or deal with particular situations. Always use your best judgment — if you aren’t doing anything wrong, there may be no reason to be excessively paranoid or escalate a potentially innocent and brief encounter with a police officer who is just saying “hi” into an ugly situation by acting suspicious and refusing to say “hi” back. The point is to avoid giving information.

Providing this information isn’t intended to scare you into inactivity or make you paranoid. The vast majority of radical projects proceed with no interference from the police. The police hassle and arrest people because they hope that such repression will frighten the population into submission. We can take reasonable precautions while continuing the fight for liberation.


Never Talk to the Police

Anything you say to an FBI agent or cop may be used against you and other people — even if the questions seem routine or harmless. You don’t have to talk to FBI agents, police or investigators on the street, if you’ve been arrested, or if you’re in jail. (Exceptions: Your name, date of birth and address are known as “Booking questions” which are not included in your right to remain silent. Also, in some states you can get an additional minor charge for refusing to identify yourself after a police stop based on reasonable suspicion). Only a judge has the authority to order you to answer questions. Many activists have refused to answer questions, even when ordered by a judge or grand jury, and subsequently served jail time to avoid implicating others. It is common for the FBI to threaten to serve you with a grand jury subpoena unless you talk to them. Don’t be intimidated. This is frequently an empty threat, and if they are going to subpoena you, they will do so anyway. If you do receive a subpoena, call a lawyer right away.

Once you’ve been stopped or arrested, don’t try to engage cops in a dialogue or respond to accusations. If you are nervous about simply refusing to talk, you may find it easier to tell them to contact your lawyer. Once a lawyer is involved, the police sometimes back off. Even if you have already answered some questions, you can refuse to answer other questions until you have a lawyer. Don’t lie to the police or give a false name— lying to the police is a crime. However, the police are allowed to lie to you — don’t believe what they say. If you’ve been arrested, don’t talk about anything sensitive in police cars, jail cells or to other inmates — you are probably being recorded.

What To Do About Police Harassment On The Street

If the police stop you on the street, ask, “Am I free to go?” If yes, walk away. If not, you are being detained but this does not necessarily mean you will be arrested. Ask, “Can you explain why you are detaining me?” To stop you, cops must have specific reasons to suspect you of involvement in a specific crime. Police are entitled to pat you down during a detention. If the police try to further search you, your car, or your home, say repeatedly that you do not consent to the search, but do not physically resist.

What To Do If Police Visit Your Home

You do not have to let the FBI or police into your home or office unless they have a search warrant. If they have an arrest warrant you may limit entry if the person surrenders outside. In either case, Ask to inspect the warrant. It must specifically describe the place to be searched and the things to be seized. Do not have to tell them anything other than your name and address. Tell the police that you can not consent to the search unless it is also inspected by a lawyer. If the officers ask you to give them documents, your computer, do not consent to them taking it. However physically trying to block them from searching or seizing items may escalate the situation. You have a right to observe what they do. You should take written notes of their names and what they do. Have friends act as witnesses.

What To Do If Police Stop You In Your Car

If you are driving a car, you must show police your license, registration and proof of insurance, but you do not have to consent to a search or answer questions. Keep your hands where the police can see them and refuse to consent (agree) to a search. Police may separate passengers and drivers from each other to question them, but no one has to answer any questions.

What To Do If You Are Arrested

Repeatedly tell the police “I am going to remain silent, I would like to see my lawyer.” If you suffer police abuse while detained or arrested, try to remember the officer’s badge number and/or name. You have the right to ask the officer to identify himself. Write down everything as soon as you can and try to find witnesses. If you are injured, see a doctor and take pictures of the injuries as soon as possible.

Searches at International Borders

Your property (including data on laptops) can be searched and seized at border crossings without a warrant. Do not take any data you would like to keep private across the border. If you have to travel with electronic data encrypt it before crossing and make an encrypted back up of any data before crossing in case your computer or phone is seized.

Police Hassles: What If You Are Not A Citizen?

In most cases, you have the right to a hearing with an immigration judge before you can be deported. If you voluntarily give up this right or take voluntary departure, you could be deported without a hearing and you may never be able to enter the US legally again or ever get legal immigration status. Do not talk to the ICE, even on the phone, or sign any papers before talking to an immigration lawyer. Unless you are seeking entry into the country, you do not have to reveal your immigration status to any government official. If you are arrested in the US, you have the right to call your consulate or have the police inform the consulate of your arrest. Your consul may help you find a lawyer. You also have the right to refuse help from your consulate.

Police Hassles: What If You Are Under 18 Years Old?

Don’t talk to the police — minors also have the right to remain silent. You don’t have to talk to cops or school officials. Public school students have the right to politically organize at school by passing out leaflets, holding meetings and publishing independent newspapers as long as these activities do not disrupt classes. You have the right to a hearing with your parents and an attorney present before you are suspended or expelled. Students can have their backpacks and lockers searched by school officials without a warrant. Do not consent to any search, but do not physically resist.

Common Sense Activist Security Measures

Don’t speculate on or circulate rumors about protest actions or potentially illegal acts. Assume you are under surveillance if you are organizing mass direct action, anything illegal, or even legal stuff. Resist police disruption tactics by checking out the authenticity of any potentially disturbing letter, rumor, phone call, or other form of communication before acting on it. Ask the supposed source if she or he is responsible. Deal openly and honestly with the differences in our movements (race, gender, class, age religion, sexual orientation, etc.) before the police can exploit them. Don’t try to expose a suspected agent or informer without solid proof. Purges based on mere suspicion only help the police create distrust and paranoia. It generally works better to criticize what a disruptive person says and does without speculating as to why.

People who brag about, recklessly propose, or ask for unnecessary information about underground groups or illegal activities may be undercover police but even if they are not, they are a severe danger to the movement. The police may send infiltrators/provocateurs posing as activists to entrap people on conspiracy charges of planning illegal acts. You can be guilty of conspiracy just for agreeing with one other person to commit a crime even if you never go through with it — all that is required is an agreement to do something illegal and a single “overt act” in furtherance of the agreement, which can be a legal act like going to a store. It is reasonable to be suspicious of people in the scene who pressure us, manipulate us, offer to give us money or weapons, or make us feel like we aren’t cool if we don’t feel comfortable with a particular tactic, no matter why they do these things. Responsible activists considering risky actions will want to respect other people’s boundaries and limits and won’t want to pressure you into doing things you’re not ready for. Doing so is coercive and disrespectful — hardly a good basis on which to build a new society or an effective action.

Keep in mind that activists who spend all their time worrying about security measures and police surveillance will end up totally isolated and ineffective because they won’t be able to welcome new folks who want to join the struggle. We have to be aware of the possibility of police surveillance while maintaining our commitment to acting openly and publicly. Smashing the system is going to require mass action as well as secretive covert actions by a tiny clique of your trusted friends.

More info contact the National Lawyers Guild: 415 285-1055 or 212 627-2656; read The War at Home by Brian Glick or Agents of Repression by Ward Churchill


"I Love it when you . . ."

Good sex is an act of mutual aid. Every person, regardless of gender, is responsible for contributing to the well-being and pleasure of their partners and themselves. We must explore and know our own desires and learn to speak them. We must hear and respond to the desires of our partners (even if that means accepting refusal gracefully). This means finding the words to express how we like to be touched, spoken to, tied up, and cuddled. Getting explicit permission, however vulnerable and scary it may seem, is a great turn-on. What better than knowing your partner really likes it when you touch them that way, talk in that voice, or use that prop? What is better than knowing you can ask for anything, and it will at least be considered respectfully? There is no way that we or our relationships can grow if we don’t find safe spaces in which to explore.

If you have never spoken during sex, or asked permission, or blurted out your desires, feel free to start small. Most people hear compliments well, and appreciate encouraging suggestions. However, it’s equally important to discover the boundaries of your comfort (often situational) and speak them as well. Starting off with a “this feels so good” or “I love it when you…” or “I’d like you to spend the night if you’re interested” is fantastically brave. If you’re not there, work on moaning—just get yourself vocal. Steady yourself for disappointment (and delight), and enjoy the benefits of good communication. Often, people’s boundaries are related to past experience, and creating a safer “right now” can help some people open up closed doors. There is no implicit consent to touch someone’s genitals because you have kissed them, or to have intercourse because you’ve had oral sex. If your partner tenses up or cries or is unresponsive, it’s really important to stop, check in, and support what they need. Be honest about any risk factors you bring, such as sexually transmitted infections, whether you have unprotected sex with other people, and if you have allergies to glycerin or spermicide (in lube) or latex. Details make all the difference.

It’s also important that we take care of our community and help out our friends. At the very least, we should directly check in with them about what they want and expect, and possibly act to get them to a place of lower risk. It’s also important to confront people (in a supportive way) who act aggressively, because they may not understand that what they are doing is possibly assault. They are either okay with what they are doing, or don’t believe there’s anything wrong with it.

While being so direct about sex is outside of most norms, it transforms sexual experiences. When we are sure that we agree with our partners about expectation and desire, there is no fear to distract us—only pleasure and humor. It’s much less pressure to offer someone a choice (“Would you like to come home with me or would you rather hang out here?”) than a request (“Would you come home with me tonight?”). If we allow for slow and comfortable intimacy, we are likely to experience it more fully and joyfully.

So, if you are often the initiator of your sexual experiences, experiment with patience and let someone else take the lead. Even if it means being alone more often, you may find you enjoy yourself more when you have partners. If you are less likely to initiate sex, think of ways you could safely ask for intimacy. Having the support of friends could make it easier to approach that really great someone.

It’s our responsibility to create new sexual expectations based on good communication that not only reduce the likelihood of sexual assault, but affirm that sex is normal and necessary. This begins with teaching children healthy ideas about their bodies and believing people when they share stories of sexual assault. Consider it turning on the lights. There are endless ways for us to end our internal oppression and explore healthy, better sex.


Shut the Valve


turning off tar sands pipelines is easier than we thought

By Anonymous

Enbridge’s Line 9 has been a critical battleground in the war against the tar sands for over three years. This old pipeline would allow the expansion of the tar sands by providing an export market, puts the drinking water of millions at risk, and exacerbates the slow industrial genocide known as Chemical Valley, a hub of refineries that surrounds Aamjiwnaang First Nation, the most polluted place in so-called Canada.

After a years-long, hard-fought campaign against Line 9, which employed a diversity of tactics, from lobbying to legal battles to direct action, Line 9 transported crude to a refinery in Montreal on December 3, 2015.

On December 7, we shut it down. Literally. Most media reported that Enbridge shut down Line 9 as a “precautionary measure”, but we know better. We closed the valve manually. This is historic: to our knowledge, this is the first time that activists have manually shut down a pipeline. Who would have thought that it could be so simple?

The day of the action, Enbridge stock plunged 8 percent. For a company worth almost 60 Billion dollars, that’s about 4.8 Billion dollars. Take that, ya malignant scum!

There is a definite sense of exuberance following this action. One of the notable successes is how this action, which many people would consider radical, enjoyed broad support. This lockdown was organized by anarchists, but was publicly supported by citizens’ groups, including the ex-mayor of the town where it took place.

This whole action was a test of Canada’s new anti-terrorism law C-51, which expands the definition of terrorism to include tampering with critical infrastructure, specifically naming pipelines. Our line of thinking was this: If they charged us with terrorism, what they’d be saying is that a large segment of the population supports terrorism, and the state would lose the usefulness of the terrorism label to demonize an isolated political element. It wouldn’t be in their interests, but it would be good for our movement, since in all likelihood, once C-51 is tested in court it will (eventually) get thrown out as unconstitutional. And the sooner that happens, the better.

There is a general sense that this action has breathed new life into the anti-Line 9 campaign, which NGOs long ago abandoned as unwinnable. For the first time in a long while, activists are expressing optimism that Line 9 can be shut down before it spills. We’ve arrived at a critical juncture, and the time for bold direct action has come.

In the aim of spreading accurate, in-depth information about this action, we present to dkdkdkdkd


you the most detailed account of events yet available. It is our hope that this inspires you beloved outlaws out there to start plotting.

Timeline of action

6:15 a.m. First affinity group arrives at site. They unload supplies from vehicles and move them off-site.

6:45 a.m. Jean Leger calls Enbridge emergency number and tells them that he is closing the valve. This is filmed by a journalist co-conspirator. The whole valve and the ground starts vibrating. To avoid a potential explosion, the valve is opened slightly. The ground continues to vibrate, and the sound of pressurized flow is audible.

7:30 – Patricia Domingos, ex-mayor of Sainte-Justine-de-Newton shows up on scene. She has been very active in the fight against Enbridge for over three years, and she is completely delighted about what is happening. For the rest of the day, she acts as spokesperson. Because Enbridge has still not showed up, she calls the Enbridge emergency number a second time. Incredibly, she can’t reach someone who speaks French. Enbridge takes her name and number and tells her they’ll call her back.

8:24 Ontario Provincial Police show up on scene. Hilariously, they have no idea what is going on, they were just showing up to tell someone to move their car, which was parked in a church parking lot. When they figure out what’s going on, they express their gladness that the valve is on the Quebec side of the border, hence not their problem. They leave the scene.

Approx. 8:30 – Second affinity group (larger than the first) shows up on scene and begins setting up tents, hanging banners, filming, tweeting, and being an awesome support team.

Approx. 8:45 – A francophone Enbridge employee calls Mme. Domingos and finally, they get the message. They tell her that the pipeline isn’t closed, that everything’s showing up as normal on their monitoring system. Take a second to think about that — what does that say about their much-hyped high-tech security measures?

Approx. 9:00 – Activists unlock and the valve is firmly closed. The vibration reaches a fever pitch, but once the valve is wrenched as far as humanly possible to the right, the vibration stops altogether.

Activists lock back onto the valve.

9:17 – Súreté du Québec (Quebec Safety Police) (SQ) arrives on scene.

10:02 – Enbridge employees arrive on scene.

11:20 – Enbridge employee, flanked by SQ officers, reads a statement in French ordering activists to leave scene.

13:53 – “Specialist” team arrives on scene. Whatever they’re specialists in, it sure as fuck ain’t cutting locks. The next few hours are a comedy doing nothing to disprove stereotypes about the intelligence of cops (or lack thereof).

14:22 – SQ establishes perimeter, tells media to go to the road. Media leave initially, but are back minutes later, and continue to film at close distance for the rest of the day. The crowd of supporters also remains close at hand, maintaining an unruly and bold presence throughout the action. No supporters were arrested.

Around this same time, the two activists locked to the valve super-glue their locks shut. From this moment on, they no longer have any ability to unlock themselves. People begin to sing, and the sun comes out.

The activist locked to the fence is arrested, to raucous cheering, singing, and chanting. He is taken into custody and released about an hour and a half later.

When attempting to handcuff one of the activists locked to the valve, another valve that is part of the infrastructure sprays oil all over the place. All hell breaks loose at this point. One woman rushes towards the cage and is knocked down by cops. The intensity of the crowd reaches a fever pitch. The cops seem genuinely scared at this point, as they suddenly realize that they’re in a potentially explosive situation.

The crowd begins chanting for paramedics and firefighters to be brought to the scene, taunting the police for their incompetence. Police stop trying to extract the two people still locked down, and the jubilant crowd breaks into song, which continues for a long time. This is the energetic high point of an already awesome day.

Approx. 16:00 or 16:30 – Firefighters arrive with a whole bunch of heavy-duty equipment and break the valve, hauling the two remaining activists away with reinforced U-locks still on their necks.

17:00 or 17:30 p.m – Enbridge employees move in and immediately open the valve.

Post-Script – One of the activist who locked down refused to sign off on non-association conditions, but when he was brought to jail, he was refused entry because he had a lock around his neck! He spent the night at the cop shop and was released the following day, with no non-association conditions. Good to know, eh?

Speaking as a participant, this action was definitely a high point in my activism career. The support was absolutely incredible, the solidarity expressed through song and action was beyond beautiful, and everything about the entire day seemed to unroll according to the benevolent whims of some trickster god.

So there you have it: Enbridge’s secret is out. Shutting down pipelines is easy, and their security is woefully inadequate to prevent either direct action or disastrous spills.

For that reason, it’s appropriate here to temper this glee with a sober dose of reality: Enbridge’s Line 9 is currently active, and recent actions have shown that we have even more cause than before to be concerned about the very real prospect of an imminent spill. We can also be damn sure that any spill that does occur will be poorly managed. All the more reason to intensify our organizing.

Also, we can expect that industry pigs, their political boot-lickers, and their police peons are now having emergency meetings about how to neutralize our movement. It would be wise to prepare for a wave of repression and infiltration, though it’s hard to imagine them slowing the momentum of our movement at this point.

Lastly, the three activists who were arrested were charged with mischief, trespassing (breaking and entering), and obstruction. They plan to aggressively fight the charges, and given the staggering amount of witnesses and evidence, it could be a long time before they get to trial. They’ll have to raise funds because one of them, the C-51-defying, tactic-pioneering badass Jean Leger, isn’t eligible for legal aid. All this to say: don’t forget about your comrades!

And may the words that were chanted throughout the day resonate with you, dear reader, as they will resonate in my heart for the rest of my days.Those words: ON LACHE RIEN! (translation: WE’RE NOT GIVING UP!)

P.S. Two weeks after the action that this article describes, three people shut down Line 9 a second time right outside Chemical Valley. One of those who arrested was Vanessa Gray, an Anishnaabe woman who’s been a major voice in the campaign against Line 9. Then shortly after that, there was the first publicly-announced instance of clandestine sabotage. Anarchists visited a valve (this time on Enbridge’s Line 7) by cover of night, closed it, and locked it shut. Every action like this costs Enbridge a shit-ton of money, and the vast network of pipelines criss-crossing Turtle Island is far far far too large to be effectively surveilled. I think the saboteurs on Line 7 were sending a message – even if you don’t live close to Line 9, there’s for sure a pipeline near you that you could easily close. Stay safe, be bold, and remember that every raindrop contains the essence of the ocean.

The Kurdish and the State

By Wolverine de Cleyre

If you´ve seen any news about the Middle East lately, you´ve probably seen something about the Kurds, the courageous folks fighting ISIS on the ground in Syria. You may have seen pictures of their all-women battalions, who fascinate western journalists by how much they clash with the stereotype of the passive, victimized Muslim woman. You may have seen something of their daring rescue of the Yazidis, tens of thousands of whom were starving in the mountains, hiding from ISIS until the YPG, the People´s Protection Units, allowed them to escape north.

But who are the Kurds? Where did this freedom-fighting militia come from? Kurds are almost entirely Muslims, but a distinct ethnic group, with a different culture than those around them. They have their own language, which is unrelated to either Arabic or Turkish. They have lived in the mountainous region at the borders of what is now Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran for well over a thousand years. The Kurds have had it especially rough the past few decades because of these borders and the conflicts that come with them.

In order to understand what´s going on, we need to back up and take a longer view than we’re used to. We take the way governments operate now, the internally homogenous nation-state and it´s borders, pretty much for granted. You´re in the U.S., you pass through a checkpoint, and then you´re in Canada, under the control of the Canadian government, and the people there are either Canadians or foreigners. Or you cross the border to Mexico, and then you´re under the laws there. Any region within a national boundary has only as much power as the federal government allows. Anything else is treated as a failed state, a government that has collapsed and is unable to govern its territory.

But just a hundred and fifty years ago, this wasn’t the case. There used to be different kinds of governments, some big and small, and some would overlap — there were more grey areas. There were empires, semi-autonomous regions, and there were borderlands where no empire held sway.

A few hundred years ago, there was a huge empire, called the Ottoman Empire. It stretched from just east of Vienna in Southern Europe, to Algiers, Egypt, Iraq, and Saudi Arabia. The Ottoman government didn´t try to control all the territory to the same degree. Some of the regions were autonomous and mostly governed themselves, just sending the government in Istanbul taxes and boys to be made into soldiers. Some of them were more directly controlled by the empire, usually the regions that had more important resources. Even within the capital city, Istanbul, the different ethnicities were not treated equally under the law.

The Kurds were part of this empire, but their territory was pretty mountainous and most of them were herders or did just enough agriculture to feed themselves. It wasn´t worth it to the Ottomans to interfere with them, so they mostly left the Kurds alone. The Kurds maintained their language, culture and their own systems of self-governance.

The Ottoman Empire collapsed, from both internal problems and pressure from Europe. During the late 1800´s, the Western half broke away, with Greece and the Balkan countries separating into different countries, one for each ethnic group. This was based on the European model, where you had France for the French-speakers, Germany for the Germans, etc. But while the Western European countries were created by smaller regions joining together (occasionally by consent but mostly conquest), these nation-states were created by breaking apart, and millions of people had to move to create ethnically homogenous nation-states in places that had been mixed.

After WWI, the winning European powers cut the rest of the Ottoman Empire into pieces. The Middle East was divided according to the convenience of Europe, rather than the interests of the people living there. England got control of the newly created nation-states of Palestine, Jordan, and Iraq, while France got Lebanon and Syria.

What is now Turkey was going to be cut up too, but one of the Ottoman military officers rounded up the last of the military, drove the Europeans out, and force-modernized the country super quick. They felt like the only way to save the country from Europe was to make it into a nation like Europe, to force everyone to speak the same language and obey the central government.

So the Kurds didn´t get their own country. They were divided between Turkey, Iran, Iraq, and Syria. The new borders made it impossible for herders to move their animals with the seasons. Worse, it set them up for all kinds of conflicts with the nations they were forced to be a part of. They maintained a strong Kurdish identity, aided by their land. As the state motto of West Virginia puts it, “Mountaineers are always free.” That will to autonomy threatened those nascent governments.

In Iraq, they found oil under Kurdish territory and proceeded to take it. Saddam subdued the Kurds with poison gas when they tried to protest.

Iraq and Iran, always in conflict, would often send weapons to each other´s Kurds rather than engage each other directly, their own version of the Cold War. In Turkey, Kurds were forbidden from speaking their own language for decades, and mere possession of a newspaper written in Kurdish could land one in prison. The Turkish government combined incentives and programs to encourage assimilation with direct genocide of Kurdish people who refused.

In response, some Kurdish students in Turkey formed the Kurdish Workers´ Party (PKK) 1978, a Libertarian Socialist (more rules than anarchism, less hierarchy than communism) group dedicated to creating an independent Kurdistan. Since Turkey is a U.S. government ally, the PKK is officially designated as a terrorist organization by the State Department.

In contrast, the Kurdish militia in Syria, the People’s Defense Units (YPG), has been portrayed as heroes by western media, since they’re fighting ISIS, an enemy of the western world. But the YPG is much more than a reaction to ISIS. They´re the armed section of the Kurdish Supreme Committee, which has been governing Rojava, the Kurdish part of Syria, since the regime of Syrian president Assad lost control in 2012. Their ideology and struggle for Kurdish self-determination is the same as that of the PKK over in Turkey.

They have a sort of self-governing communism, both based on local organizational principles that have been in practice for generations, and recent influence from foreign socialist and anarchist ideas. In particular, writer Murray Bookchin´s concept of Libertarian Municipalism, which is even more boring than it sounds but seems to be working well for them.

One of the reasons Western nations haven´t been providing military aid to the best-organized folks fighting ISIS on the ground is that they’re worried strengthening the Kurdish militia in Syria will strengthen Kurdish autonomy all over the Middle East. This is only a problem because of the way the nation-state system is set up, more self-organization and power for the Kurds means less stability for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and Turkey.

The Middle East isn´t the only place where people don’t want to be part of a nation-state whose boundaries they’re technically within. Mountain peoples in many places often have little in common, culturally or economically, with the lowlands around them. The case of Kurdistan is echoed by the Basques within Spain and France, and the Tibetans within China, who have fought for autonomy against a central government struggling to maintain the state´s integrity.

Aside from these deliberate refusers, what happens when a state collapses, as is the case now in Syria, leaving millions stateless against their will?

Mainstream political discourse always characterizes the stateless person as the problem.

The language of the political Right is often openly hateful and xenophobic. The political Right characterizes people without a state as criminals to be expelled, destroyed, and dealt with as quickly and forcefully as possible. They often use xenophobia and hysteria over immigrants to distract from other problems like income inequality, lack of healthcare, and environmental destruction.

The language of the Left is kinder, but it still sees the stateless people themselves as the problem, albeit as a humanitarian rather than a criminal crisis. At best, the dearly departed state´s orphans will be classified as refugees, and seen as a public health problem to solve with aid programs. Of course the only real solution is to extend some charity to the poor souls by giving them a new citizenship and integrating them into the new state.

This position seems more humane, but what happens when a group of people don´t want to integrate into another country´s government? When they want to maintain their own culture and live by their own laws, as is the case with Kurds living in Turkey? There are currently a million refugees in Germany, what will happen if those people don’t want to assimilate fully, if they don’t want to live exactly as Germans do now?

The situation of people who are not part of an officially recognized state is often very desperate, not due to any fault in themselves, but because under the nation-state system, all rights come through the fact of citizenship, whether one is actually in the home country or not. For example, if I go to France or Mexico, I am recognized and treated by the government not as an individual, but according to my status as a U.S. citizen. Nation-states are incapable of dealing with anyone who isn’t part of one. People who are stateless cannot be recognized as humans by this system of government.

The individual humans and entire human cultures who happen to not have their own state are not the problem. These people and cultures existed before the states, the states and their borders were created around them, cutting them apart or putting them under the control of others with whom they have no affinity.

What is a nation? I can’t hold the United States in my hand. I can pick up a handful of dirt, but the land existed long before the Declaration of Independence was signed.

A nation, like a corporation, is an abstraction, an idea that organizes human behavior. When a corporation goes bankrupt, its buildings don’t explode, the people who worked for it don’t suddenly drop dead.

These ideas are so large that they seem like physical facts about the world, like the law of gravity or thermodynamics. But they aren’t. There are many other such ideas that have been picked up and put down through written history. Governments in Europe used to be based on the Divine Right of Kings, and for hundreds of years no other basis for social organization was thought possible.

The Nation-state is just one more organizing idea made by human beings, and we can unmake it if we so choose. The fate of living, breathing humanity depends on its destruction.


"No justice, no peace! No Racist Police!" Baltimore responds—the power of a protest

By Daniele Spagnolo

I live in the 21217 area of Baltimore City, Maryland, right next to West Baltimore, where police murdered Freddie Gray, an unarmed, innocent black man. The six officers responsible for Freddie Gray’s death unlawfully and violently arrested Freddie after he made eye contact with an officer and instinctively ran. The officers refused to provide medical treatment for Freddie after brutally injuring his spine, and a murderous rough police van ride lasted hours before their arrival at the police station. Gray, 25, died in a hospital a few days later. On December 16, 2015 I went to a large community response from Baltimore residents and local chapters of the Black Lives Matter movement to the declared mistrial for Officer William Porter, the first to face court.

The gathering in Baltimore was one of hundreds of recent protests against police killings of black people. These public actions have ranged from marches to school walkouts to blockades of freeways and airports. For example, activists with Black*Seed blockaded the San Francisco Bay Bridge on MLK day, and activists protested at the Minneapolis Airport and the Mall of America near peak holiday-shopping season last December. The BLM movement is national yet decentralized. Many actions have been meticulously planned to build people power that is unique to their community.

I heard rumors that the police had put a major protest leader on temporary probation earlier that morning to stop him from protest organizing. I feared the police’s attempt to cut off a valued organizer would affect the outcome of the protest. I arrived at Baltimore City’s courthouse to witness a swarm of news media and about seven activists holding picket signs. Initially, I was afraid these few activists held the entirety of the protest; my heart dropped, there had to be more. A few minutes later, from the South side of Calvert Street, I started to hear a low echo of, “No Justice, No Peace, No Racist Police!” The volume grew as the protestors multiplied. There must have been hundreds of people. I felt a rush of energy, the kind of energy one can only find at protests. Completely electric, the fighters of justice roared in the bodies of young, old, black, white, every kind of people.

We marched, shouted until our lungs gave out, stopped traffic, and walked at a pace that called for immediate action. Bystanders seamlessly joined the march and the power of our steps vibrated in the cement as the protestors of Baltimore built a familial bond. Powerful, inspiring, black men and women chanted in a revolutionary tune. Abruptly, our march for justice was forced to reroute because of a predictable police blockade. Side by side, they looked divided. I stared intently at every single officer’s eyes. Some looked afraid, others held back clear hatred, but most were indifferent. They were indifferent as if we were shouting at a volume their eardrums could not pick up on.

We headed toward the courthouse lawn. The media was well equipped with their gear, but they were obviously products of a sloppy two-hour sensitivity training session. The reporters from FOX, NBC, ABC, etc. seemed completely unable to relate to the people they were interviewing, and each crew looked afraid. Some protestors strongly urged all activists to stay away from the corporate news sources, only to talk to local reporters, given the reputation of sensationalist media. Other protestors flocked to the robotic newscasters and held them accountable for portraying Baltimore’s previous protests in April 2015 as a city on fire rather than illuminating a city’s cry for justice.

As the crowd started to dwindle, a few key protest organizers gave us options as the night went on. One, we could watch the filming of the Real News Network’s report on court proceedings. Two, we could follow team leaders to the Juvenile Center, where it was assumed that another protestor, a sixteen year old, was held. This young black teenager, a minor, was forcefully held on the ground and then put in a chokehold by a police officer. I followed the group to stand outside the Juvenile Center. All of the protestors, concerned about the young man’s status, demanded answers from the security guard outside the Juvenile Center. We asked for the minor’s whereabouts and the guard quickly responded with, “They lied to you. He isn’t here.” A couple protestors persisted by calling every kind of police office the city contained, only to be left with no information of the young man’s location or status. Frustrated, yet determined to continue with the protest, we linked arms in front of the Juvenile Center, and exclaimed a more rhythmic chant, “Show me what democracy looks like! This is what democracy looks like!” The sound chimed through the chilly air as we swayed together, and the crowd listened carefully as spontaneous testimonies of experiences with racism were spoken into the night.

A seventeen year-old black woman explained the absolute priority the city must make of our children, specifically our black children. She painted a picture of what the sixteen year old must have been going through, and demanded for more people to show up during these demonstrations for the sake of our future. A younger black man told the group about his struggles with growing up in the clutches of homelessness and foster care in addition to living through the oppression every young black man faces in Baltimore. He said he has been through the court system himself, and he motivated his brothers and sisters to continue with their education and tirelessly work for justice. Another young black woman, who cried while chanting earlier, explained that crying is how she lets the world know this system is horrifically sad. Tears fell down her face as she announced to the crowd that not everyone has to cry, but we have to be there, and in our presence we will prove our fight for change.

CNN arrived to tape live. An older black man, who had led much of the motion and emotion of the march, very frankly told the reporter that he would only be allowed to share what happened to the minor as well as the will of our protest. If the reporter did not decide to cooperate with telling the actual story, the surrounding protestors would be instructed to shut it down. About a minute before CNN went on air, the crowd pointed out a young black woman who was encouraged to share her story with reporter. She explained that her husband was shot by a Baltimore police officer. He fit the description of a light-skinned black man with waves in his hair. The police had unlawfully shot her husband, and now he was in jail with a bullet an inch away from his spine, his health slowly deteriorating. If he died, his name would be added to the disgustingly massive list of black men murdered by law enforcement. I was left breathless by her story, and a little sick.

I still feel a relentless sickness, because racism in the United States is clearly not a phenomenon that is contained by the police state and cured through one court ruling. Policing perpetuates a nefarious government and culture that was founded on racist ideals, followed through with white supremacy, and is preserved through a tradition that pleads “not guilty” for violent and racist acts. Baltimore’s demonstration personally gave me chills, and it allowed me to come to an important realization. Scare tactics do not faze the Black Lives Matter movement. This community, much like many across the nation, had a valued community organizer taken away from them, witnessed heinous acts committed against their children, faced a blockade of police officers, and still, the march only grew.

Take more recent events, in Flint, Michigan, where institutional racism permitted lead-tainted drinking water to be sent to black neighborhoods for months, poisoning people with their source of life. The community is fighting back through protest on the foundation of what it means for black lives to matter. Alicia Garza, Black Lives Matter founder, has observed, “When we say Black Lives Matter, we are talking about the ways in which Black people are deprived of our basic human rights and dignity. It is an acknowledgement that Black poverty and genocide is state violence.”

In Flint, San Fransisco, Minneapplis, Baltimore, and anywhere one finds injustice, the march of the movement is dauntlessly growing. Much like a hydra cut by a sword; Black Lives Matter intuitively erupts in courage when society attempts to cut off its resources, and this sentiment sends a powerful message that builds in a protestor’s mind.

The power of a protest lies in tomorrow. What is going to happen tomorrow because of the demonstration we put on today? I will show up to more community meetings, many are using social media to share their stories, and others are more proactively planning further actions. The life of a protest exists in the movement, the amoeba-like being, combining all of our souls, bouncing and moving together. We are following and leading, shouting and sitting in silence, rising up and “shutting it down.” Protesting is the true voice of a community, and Baltimore City has a lot more to say than a repeated clip of a burning CVS. The police, the system, and the traditional culture may not be able to hear us now, but the protest allows us to hear each other, and it encourages us to speak louder, with more strength, until our words can break through a purposeful and ignorant deafness. The revolution starts in these moments, and these moments are here, so get ready.


Introduction to Slingshot issue 120 (the "Slingshot box")

Slingshot is an independent radical newspaper published in Berkeley since 1988.

This issue got off to a promising start with plenty of people and ideas at the kick-off meeting and plenty of articles turned in by the deadline. But as we read through the articles, a lot of them were off-topic and others just needed a lot of help — we began to joke that the theme of the issue should be “a cry for help.” At the meeting, someone lamented that with too many mediocre articles, the issue would lack inspiration.

But, really, at a certain point maybe the inspiration is the just doing anything these days. Especially when you’re not an expert and maybe you’ve never written an article before. Especially trying to pull a paper together out of scraps that people send our way seemingly almost at random. Working as a collective in the scraps of time after work and in the scraps of space that haven’t been gobbled up by the developers. And yeah maybe it isn’t a very coherent or comprehensive response to the zeitgeist but we got the articles we got and then we ran with them. The authors wrote what inspired them in a way that made sense to them and honoring the work is important. And by the time we finished the issue, a lot of the articles got improved a lot as well.

Whatever it is that we’re doing here, plenty of people keep dropping in to help us do it. Late at night we were wondering if people just came by to be a part of the wild life. Or is it more like a zoo and they want to see the wildlife? But who’s inside the bars and who’s outside?

For the “Slingshot is soooo outdated” file: While doing layout one of us consulted the filing cabinet in the office that’s full of photos, clip art and drawings and found a file labeled “nudism” but not one for “climate change.”

It was a full moon while we were making the issue and late at night the silver light was intense and we took a moment to reflect. People are always dying and being born — not just famous people. Since last issue, we lost long-ago Slingshot author Chris Thompson, who died of a heart attack at 46.

Making this issue we also listened to the music of Native American activist and poet John Trudell who passed on recently. In his song Living in Reality, he describes his arrest during an anti-nuclear protest. While his hands are bound with plastic handcuffs, his mind is free while his jailers are the ones who lack freedom — caught up in their 12-hour shifts and chain of command.

One of the best things about vinyl records is when an album is over — the silence. The sounds then echo in the void.

Slingshot is always looking for new writers, artists, editors, photographers, translators, distributors, etc. to make this paper. If you send an article, please be open to editing.

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

Thanks to the people who made this: A. Iwasa, Cristina, Dane, Dov, Eggplant, Elke, Isabel, Jesse, Joey, Korvin, Magic8Ball, Molly Cat, Xander and all the authors and artists!

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting

Volunteers interested in getting involved with Slingshot can come to the new volunteer meeting on March 6, 2016 at 7 pm (new time!) at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline & Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 121 by April 9, 2016 at 3 pm.


Volume 1, Number 120, Circulation 22,000

Printed January 29, 2016


Slingshot Newspaper

A publication of Long Haul

Office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley CA 94705

Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703

Phone (510) 540-0751 • • twitter @slingshotnews




Slingshot free stuff

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage. Send $3 for 2 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library . slingshot at


Circulation information

Subscriptions to Slignshot are free to prisoners, low income, or anyone in the USA with a Slingshot Organizer, or $1 per issue. International $3 per issue. Outside the Bay Area we’ll mail you a free stack of copies if you give them out for free. Say how many copies and how long you’ll be at your address. In the Bay Area pick up copies at Long Haul and Bound Together books, SF.


Rest in Power Pirate Mike

Pirate Mike / photo by Brooke Porter

by Teresa Smith

Stephen Michael Clift, known as “Pirate Mike,” prolific treesitter of Occupy San Francisco, outspoken member of Veterans for Peace, and a part of the Slingshot Collective, died in the line of duty on Friday, October 30, 2015. He was on a cross-country bike tour that he helped organize in honor of homeless veterans when he was struck and killed by a car in Texas. In his last video post on his blog, Mike spoke fondly about returning to San Francisco so someone could cut his hair, which had just been whipped into a wild mess as he rode through a New Mexico hailstorm. He glared back at his disheveled image in the camera-phone with amused disapproval.

…a Soldier for Peace in the battle to keep our planet alive.

Mike was someone who treated everyone like they mattered, especially the trees. His passion wasn’t that bleeding heart liberal goo, but rather was marbled in wingnutty radicalness — he wasn’t afraid to pound nails into oaks as he worked to save them, building forts with flags and verve. His vest was covered in patches, his body with tattoos, his laptop with stickers. He was a hacker, a pirate, a proud veteran who orated about the need to dismantle the military and also to care for our wounded and homeless vets. He frequently joined groups of folks who needed emergency housing, and together they pitched camps and cracked squats. He always had a good speech in him, and also knew how to pause and listen to what everyone had to say.

I met Mike at the Hayes Valley Farm Treesit in June of 2013. I was joined that day by a student photographer from Mills College, Brooke Porter, and the goal was to write an article about the place, which had just been renamed “Gezi Gardens” in solidarity with the uprising in Turkey. Brooke seemed pretty thrilled about the whole thing, but I felt terror in the pit of my stomach as we walked around the green, sunlit permaculture garden, plagued by post-Occupy-Shutdown PTSD flashbacks. Every time I see something wonderful happening in public, I feel the presence of the police now, as if they are just past the edges of my vision, ready to leap out and start gassing and hurting everyone again. I sat down and grabbed my knees and breathed for a while, and nearly left the treesit, but then Pirate Mike introduced himself. Mike was grinning and ridiculous (yet awesome!) in his patch-covered military fatigues, all big handshakes and serious nods with that glimmer in his eye. If my catholic mom had been there, she might have proclaimed, “this guy’s an authentic saint!” But what I believe is that Pirate Mike was someone who had really learned to love himself, which is pretty much the bravest thing anyone can do, and that’s what gave him the courage to be so present with people, which is probably why he seemed to glow sometimes (ask around, I know I’m not the only one who noticed), and why something that I might call “meaning” seemed to sprout organically from Mike’s simplest gestures.

Mike’s Bag / photo by Brooke Porter

Mike gave us the grand tour of the 2.5-acre farm, which was buzzing with artists and musicians and radicals, and there was even a library and a kitchen, one group was making a music video with a saxophone player, while another group was putting sprouted plants into the ground. One young man was shoveling sod in big bunny slippers. Mike knew everybody’s names, and he also introduced us to the treeforts, taking us to their bases and pointing out all the neat construction hacks he’d used to make them. At one point, I turned away for half a minute to talk to some of the freshly planted vegetables, suddenly I turn back to see Brooke strapped into a harness, flying up into a tree! Mike was holding the rope, hoisting her up—could there be a better way to spend a Tuesday?

Hayes Valley Farm Treesit / photo by Brooke Porter

Yeah, sure, a lot of liberals in San Francisco got really huffy about that occupation—“We promised to give the permaculture farm away to developers, and now these radicals are making us look bad!” But Mike saw himself as a Soldier for Peace in a much bigger battle, the greatest battle known, the battle to keep our planet alive. Mike understood that every time we give up a local, permaculture farm, we are handing our food production over to corporate growers who are killing our oceans by dumping nitrogen on their crops, and pumping CO2 into our atmosphere. Mike understood the importance of holding on to every piece of land where local food might be grown.

Hayes Valley Farm Treesit / photo by Brooke Porter

Two days later, the Department of Homeland Security raided the treesit on behalf of Wall Street real estate corporation AvalonBay (NYSE: AVB). The 100-year-old trees were felled and some 45,000 square feet of farmland was destroyed to make the real estate commodity. A book Mike had written about his life was taken by Homeland Security during the raid, and never returned. Now I really wish I could get a hold of that book. I guess that’s just a grief reaction. I want to see him again. I really want him to emerge from the sidewalk crowd and say “Hey puffinstuff!” and give me some of his weirdly intimate random life advice.

“Veterans from all walks of military life need to step up their duty and reclaim some fresh living. Our hearts may still weep, yet our stories can inspire and our hands can teach.”
~ Pirate Mike

Mike was good to have at urban farming meetings. He didn’t always stay on topic (he tended to veer towards “so when do we start building tree forts?”), but he also had a knack for taking emotional stack, for offering subtle nods of encouragement to the people who seemed to be struggling to speak. As an anarchist, he helped remind us to make space for each other, to hold on to our basic humanity even during the most tyrannical of consensus meetings (like the ones that get taken over by those with the most privilege? Yeah, those ones). Mike would check in with people if he thought their feelings got hurt during a meeting, and would offer these pep talks, like a gentle drill sergeant, about how we have to stay in it for the long haul, sure sometimes it’s good to go cool off, but we can’t stop working for the things we believe, no matter how fucking obnoxious other anarchists can be.

Mike’s Patches / photo by Brooke Porter

In spring of 2015, Mike showed up at a Slingshot meeting with an article, Military Veterans and their Role in Revolution, which we ran on the front page. In the article he wrote: “Veterans from all walks of military life need to step up their duty and reclaim some fresh living. Our hearts may still weep, yet our stories can inspire and our hands can teach. If we can provide some safety; some collective wisdom, learn from what it means to be under constant stress and hungry, and how through team work and dedication we were able to overcome our challenges, we can become an invaluable asset to the “revolution”.”

After Mike was killed, newspapers across the country printed the announcement of his death, a testament to the many, many friends Mike made everywhere he went. He was never just passing through; Mike was always at home. Accounts of his adventures can be found at his blog:

How do we move forward without our friend? How do we honor him, and keep alive all the things he gave us so freely, simply by being himself in public?

Last time I saw Pirate Mike was in early spring of 2015, I was standing in line in front of a bank on Shattuck Ave, trying to figure out my life, when suddenly he was there with his gear-laden bicycle, and we talked for twenty minutes, and he was telling me about all the other places I could easily be: hitchhiking across Europe, tree-sitting in Oakland, anywhere but a place that is boring you! He orated passionately about the necessity to live the most full and authentic life possible, about the lengths one must go to at times to keep their soul alive.

I know I’m not the only one he reached, that so, so many people are feeling this loss right now. How do we move forward without our friend? How do we honor him, and keep alive all the things he gave us so freely, simply by being himself in public?

Urban adventurer. Loving provoker of lost girls and boys. A man ready to grab a stranger by the hand, strap her into a harness, and hoist her into the illegal occupation of a tree. Goddammit Mike, I’m going to miss your silly face, your thoughtful interjections, your inability to follow stack, the light you brought to a community on the edge of darkness. Occupy the afterlife, my friend. If it turns out there’s a heaven, you better be squatting the shit out of it.

Above: Mike’s last video post to his blog.

* * *

Share your memories, stories, and photos of Pirate Mike at the online memorial.  


Slingshot organizer invitation – the Organizer is always on our mind

oops – errors in the 2016 Organizer


Thanks if you purchased a 2016 Slingshot Organizer – they are how we can afford to print and distribute this newspaper for free. We still have copies if you want to order some.

There are 2 errors in the spiral Organizer (only). On page 3 the 2016/2017 calendar showing both years, the headline for 2017 is over the 2016 calendar and the headline for 2016 is over a 2017 calendar. On page 49 the days should read Fri, Sat, Sun. Please fix your copy with your favorite pen and tell your friends to fix theirs. Also in just the spiral Organizer on June 11 the International day of Solidarity with Marius Mason says “Marie” not Marius – sorry about the error.

In both the pocket and spiral organizer there are chemical formulas for human hormones and we’ve been told that these drawings are incorrect. We regret these errors.

If you want to plug into work on the 2017 Organizer, here is a rough schedule:

• We’ll edit the historical dates in May and June. Send us suggestions for dates.

• Between June 26 and July 29 artists will draw the calendar section for 2017. If you want to draw a 4 week section, let us know. We’ll also call and email all the radical contacts to update the list – send us your corrections in July and let us know if you want to help.

• The weekend of July 29-30 and August 5-6 we’ll have art and editing parties to put the Organizer together. If you’re in the Bay Area those weekends and want to help out, it is a fun participatory project – no experience necessary. Email us for information.

No matter where you are, you can send us art to paste here and there, cover submissions, feature essays for the back, the letters A-Z, the numbers 1-31, the names of each month, and the days of the week — we’ll paste it in for you.