Anarchist History Nerd Brigade – report back from the field


West of Eden: Communes and Utopia in Northern California edited by Iain Boal, Janferie Stone, Michael Watts and Cal Winslow. PM Press.

Reviewed by A. Iwasa

Coming out of what started as the Communes Project, a collaborative effort between the Institute of International Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the Mendocino Institute in 2003, this book is a striking example of the radical potential to utilize the resources of academia when people make a point of making them accessible to the general public.

Communes are placed historically both in the broader sense of general Utopian history, and the more particular focus of the book revolving around the 1968 social upheavals.

Fantastic chapters on the Native American occupation of Alcatraz and communalism in the black Panther Party work to dispel the myth of communal living as a white people thing.

Prominent also are back to the land projects such as the Morning Star and Black Bear Ranches. First hand accounts abound, and sources are extremely well cited for those interested in following up. The ongoing legacies of the communes and the people involved are also addressed from the pot economy to high tech industry.

This book is a must read for anyone interested in communal living, especially those now who think our much smaller and tamer communal living movement, or lack there of, is The Revolution. We’ve got a long way to go to rebuild what was, and the lessons we can learn from past efforts should be studied in works like this.

I think virtually every commune dweller past and present could fill a book this size alone with great stories fun and sad, economic and historical.  All these sorts of details are very important, and the editors were great about never getting stuck on any of the specifics.

On a personal level, I was able to make it in the Bay Area from Slingshot 119 to 120’s editing largely because of a communal living situation I was able to get into on my credentials as a member of the Slingshot Collective doing research on the topic.  Almost every place I’ve lived since I moved out of my mother’s house For The Last Time back in 2003 has been some sort of collective, so the topic is very dear to my heart.

I made a specific point of getting our review copy at the Howard Zinn Book Fair from PM Press because of this, and even though it’s a little old, Ramsey didn’t hesitate to donate it to us.  It would be great to see more work like this, both about the 1960s and ’70s, and the time since then which has been fascinating in its own ways.



Crashing the Party: Legacies and Lessons from the RNC 2000 by Kris Hermes. PM Press.

Reviewed by A. Iwasa

Starting off with a strong Foreword then Introduction placing the 2000 Republican National Convention (R2K) squarely in the pre-9/11 National Security State trajectory showing again and again how the United States government had been steadily ratcheting up its monitoring and disruption of political dissidents long before 9/11.

Philly itself, host of the R2K and future host of the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC) is similarly contextualized in its bloody history of police brutality and heavy-handed injustice system when it comes to civilians, and total lack of accountability when it comes to the police.

Also the R2K Legal Collective and the defense of the R2K arrestees is outlined as part of the re-emergence of activist-led legal collectives and radicals leading their own defense in political trials.

Then with the beginning of the first chapter enters the infamous John Timoney. Sworn in as Philly’s police commissioner in 1998, I first became familiar with him after he led the oppression of the 2003 Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) protests. The police brutality was so bad and systematic, it became known as the Miami Model. It turns out Timoney had been heading such affairs since the August 1988 Tompkins Square Park Riot in New York City. Here again, a systemic series of oppressive acts, regardless of which of the capitalist class political parties are calling the shots is outlines. He even policed the DNC in 1992!

Then Hermes moves on to the initial threats of political repression from the state and the beginning of street action. Similar to his own form of counter-protest hopping, Timoney had Philly police go to Seattle six months before the R2K to observe the actions against the World Trade Organization (WTO). This shows how we must also be vigilant, constantly studying the state, and not simply trying to use old tactics that may have worked in another time and/or place.

Along the same lines, February 2000 the FBI Academy in Virginia hosted a conference for police commanders around the country to study the WTO protests, and to prepare for future actions. Philly police attended other events in preparation such as the April 2000 International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank protests in Washington, DC, where they even conducted surveillance. And all this before the protests even started!

There are many reasons to read this book: history, strategy both in the streets and in the courts, and for those of us thinking of attending the upcoming protests against the DNC in Philly, and/or the RNC in Cleveland, Ohio. We should all be doing this sort of homework before we hit the streets, since we know the ruling class is doing theirs.

All out for Philly! All out for Clevo! All Power to the People!



Dark Tales from the Dungeons: Horrors from the ‘Hood for Youth to Beware

The Men for Honor Writing Group;

Edited by Dortell Williams

Reviewed by d’ eggplant

A totally unique DIY project that seeks to expand the voices of incarcerated people. That alone gets my attention and motivates me to turn pages. Sadly this book is so filtered through and through by the institution that’s killing these people I don’t end up lingering on the pages very long. While reading this I got the sense that every word of this work is scrutinized by some malevolent guard. The stories and poems here are laden down with a cautionary tone intent on converting youngsters off of a destructive path.

If you can get past that part then you’ll find some captivating storytellers. The people in prisons are immensely creative and quick witted. They tend to master the mind and exceed in social skills that most people stop flexing after college. They can master most fields given a chance as is evident here with regards to these half dozen writers. Their techniques using allusions, similes, puns and allegory are very effective in this book. They are people who have witnessed amazing things the least of which is seeing the human spirit soar while in toxic environments.

I wonder what if this book didn’t have to get approval from some bigoted prison guard. Having the writers coerced into using a confessional tone is another example of emasculating people who resisted the lingering effects of slavery and capitalism. In my utopian dream similar warning tracts would be crafted and delivered to the future police, bankers, politicians, developers, lawyers etc — the people in power who are educated and should know better, but continue to go on fucking everything up.

Understanding the GMO debate: the real dirt on what's happening to your food

by Maximus Thaler

Hello Slingshot! I’d like to take up the next 10 minutes of your life talking about the chemical glyphosate. (You can also follow along with the above video!)

Here is Glyphosate’s chemical structure. Its IUPAC name is (N-(phosphonomethyl)glycine)

Glyphosate is by far the most heavily used herbicide in the United States, with over 200 million pounds used annually(i). So what’s all this chemical for? Well, it kills weeds.

Glyphosate is an enzyme inhibitor. Glyphosate stops the enzyme 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase from doing its job, which is to help synthesize the amino acids tyrosine, tryptophan, and phenylalanine.(ii) There are twenty two amino acids that all creatures need to stay alive. Not having three means death.

So, if we don’t have any copies of this enzyme, then glyphosate shouldn’t do us any damage, right? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complex than that.

But, it’s important to remember that humans, and most other animals, don’t actually make 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase themselves. We’ve got mouths instead. We eat creatures (plants) that make fancy molecules like this, so that we don’t have to make them ourselves.

So, if we don’t have any copies of this enzyme, then glyphosate shouldn’t do us any damage, right? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complex than that.

Glyphosate was developed by the Monsanto corporation in 1970. For the last 46 years it’s been marketed under the name of Roundup®.(iii) But, Roundup® didn’t reach absurdly high levels of use until genetically modified foods became widespread.

Monsanto developed Roundup Ready® soybeans in 1994 and Roundup Ready® corn in 1996. These crops contain an alternative version of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase, a version derived from bacteria and which is not inhibited by glyphosate. Today, Roundup Ready® genes are found in about ninety percent of the soybeans and seventy percent of the corn and grown in the United States.(iv)

Are you with me so far? Let’s pause here for a second, because it’s about to get pretty complicated.

There are four hot-button issues all tangled up together which make it extremely difficult to talk about this chemical without someone getting angry at you. And they should get angry, because a lot of this is pretty messed up.

So here’s the deal: Some people are upset about the use of genetic modification technology. Some are also upset about the ecological damage caused by monocultures. Others worry about the toxicity of herbicides and pesticides, and still others don’t like the way our food system has fallen under the sway of international corporations like Monsanto.

Here are those four issues in a list:

1. Corporate Oligarchy

2. Monoculture

3. Agricultural Chemicals

4. Genetic Modification

These problems are all intertwined, but they have very distinct solutions. Unfortunately, the public debate surrounding these issues tends to look like this:

It’s possible that propaganda like this might be true, but I think we owe it to ourselves to try to figure out why…

It’s possible that propaganda like this might be true, but I think we owe it to ourselves to try to figure out why, OK? So, let’s look at each of the four issues I raised above individually.

Issue #1: Is Monsanto bad?

Absolutely, unequivocally, yes. They are terrible.

Most of their terribleness comes from their legally recognized monopoly. In 2009, Monsanto was investigated for violations of anti-trust laws. (v) This investigation went nowhere, perhaps because Supreme Court justice Clarence Thomas (along with several EPA and FDA officials) is a former Monsanto employee (vi). It should come as no surprise then that Thomas wrote the majority opinion in the 2001 court decision which found that “newly developed plant breeds are patentable under the general utility patent laws of the United States.”(vii)

Monsanto has begun to research Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT), also known as terminator seeds—seeds genetically engineered to produce sterile offspring, so seed saving is impossible. 

What this means in practice is that Monsanto has an unfair amount of control over how farmers grow and distribute their crops. Their patents prevent farmers from hybridizing Monsanto seeds with heirloom varieties.(viii) It’s also illegal to save seeds from Monsanto crops to use for the following year, forcing farmers to annually buy new seed from Monsanto. (ix)

For developing countries outside of the US without such strict patent protection, Monsanto has begun to research Genetic Use Restriction Technology (GURT), also known as terminator seeds—seeds genetically engineered to produce sterile offspring, so seed saving is impossible.

Thankfully, the international response to GURT was strong, and Monsanto halted research in 2006, (x) but the fact that this technology was even considered shows the ethical plane that Monsanto is operating on. Their policies make it harder for small farmers to make a living, and exclusively incentivize large industrial monocultures.

However, it’s important to keep in mind that Monsanto, as a corporation, is distinct from the idea of monoculture, or chemical use, or even genetic modification. Monsanto is terrible for political reasons, (the revolving door and unfair IP laws) and it might be possible for some version of the other ideas associated with the company to be applied sustainably in a different context.

For example, imagine a permaculture school which operates a lab, and uses open source methods to adapt the genomes of its crops to the local microclimate. Or, imagine a worker owned fungicide manufacturer, whose products are designed for targeted, ecologically sensitive use. There is no fundamental reason organizations like this couldn’t exist, but our current ideological landscape makes them difficult to conceive. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves here. As it stands, the agricultural chemicals and GM crops that Monsanto produces are inextricably tied to monocultures.

Let’s take a look at why that’s a problem.

Issue #2: Is monoculture bad?

The problem with monoculture is that it optimizes land use for machines, at the expense of biodiversity, human accessibility, and even yield. That’s right, even yield. Yields could be much higher if different species were planted amongst each other, to take advantage of different seasons and growth patterns and such (this is permaculture 101). But, we don’t often grow food like this anymore because it’s difficult to make a machine that can harvest one kind plant while leaving another kind intact. And so instead, we have thousands of acres occupied by loose grids of one kind of creature. This keeps prices low. But, this also keeps pest populations unusually high, so fields like this require a lot of pesticides. Like, a lot.

So, does that mean that agricultural chemicals are terrible too?

Issue #3: Are agricultural chemicals bad?

Well, it depends.

The vast majority of agricultural chemicals used in the US are used on monocultures. Thousands of acres are fumigated all at once, creating ecosystems of literally one species. Such “ecosystems” are unstable. It’s very easy for other organisms (“pests”) to enter and fill unoccupied niches. This forces the monocultural farmer to spray even more chemicals, creating vicious cycle. Here’s a stunning quote:

“[D]espite the more than 10- fold increase in insecticide use in the United States from 1945 to 2000, total crop losses from insect damage have nearly doubled from 7 to 13%”(xi)

Each season of monocultural production sees an increase of both pests and pesticide use in an evolutionary arms race. Clearly this use of agricultural chemicals is destructive. But, a monoculture is not the only place these chemicals can be used.

Let’s go back to glyphosate. A lot of the criticisms of Roundup® aren’t about the direct toxicity of glyphosate itself (although the surfactants it is mixed with are often toxic (xii)), but rather, its unexpected ecological effects. For example, glyphosate runoff has been shown to be particularly destructive to aquatic ecosystems. (xiii). But the only way that Roundup® could ever reach those aquatic ecosystems, when it’s supposed to be applied to just crops, is when it’s applied massively and repeatedly, over a huge area – monoculture applications.

Applying Roundup® to individual weeds with tenacious roots in your backyard garden likely isn’t going to do that much harm. If we chose to use these chemicals infrequently, for a specific pest in a localized area, we could protect our crops without bulldozing the surrounding environment. The goal is to use chemicals that are ecologically specific.

And, oddly enough, this is the promise of genetic modification.

Issue #4: Is genetic modification bad?

Let’s think about what’s been done to Roundup Ready® plants. They’ve been given an alternative copy of 5-enolpyruvylshikimate-3-phosphate synthase, a copy that’s not inhibited by glyphosate. (xiv) Glyphosate can then be applied to these crops, and it will leave them alone, while eliminating the more harmful weeds nearby. This style of modification could allow for incredibly specific chemical control, if used properly.

Or, take another GM crop, BT corn. BT corn has been modified to produce a bacteria toxin which is deadly to caterpillars.(xv) It is not however deadly to other insects like beetles or grasshoppers, nor is it harmful to humans. The toxin is produced in the tissues of the plant, so there is no risk of it leaching into the environment, like what would happen if the pesticide were sprayed willy-nilly all over the place.

Basically, genetic modification has the potential of providing highly specific, ecologically sensitive ways of controlling pests and improving fertility. Unfortunately, the way we’ve been using it has increased, not decreased our ecological footprint.

Basically, genetic modification has the potential of providing highly specific, ecologically sensitive ways of controlling pests and improving fertility. Unfortunately, the way we’ve been using it has increased, not decreased our ecological footprint. But that has more to do with the politics of Monsanto and the economics of monoculture than it has to do with genetic modification itself, or even the nature of agrichemicals. Instead of designing crops to resist the application of a broad spectrum herbicide, we could design them such that our chemical use could be precisely targeted, or even unneeded. Instead of adding artificial fertilizers, what if we modified our cereal crops to form nitrogen fixing symbioses like beans? Could our vegetables form mycorrhizal relationships with edible fungi?

Instead of designing crops to resist the application of a broad spectrum herbicide, we could design them such that our chemical use could be precisely targeted, or even unneeded. 

This is why I get so frustrated with the GMO debate. The fact of the matter is that GMOs are not inherently evil. They’re certainly not going to give you cancer, although there are plenty of articles which will tell you otherwise.(xvi) The same goes for many pesticides (although not all). The problem with these technologies is not inherent, but that their development and use is controlled by terrible corporations like Monsanto, which use their power to expand a destructive monocultural food system.

For the last century or two, various voices (mostly corporate) have promised us that each new technology on the horizon is going to dramatically improve our lives. Sometimes they do, sometimes they don’t. Often, it feels like these technologies cause more problems than they solve. After so many high-tech innovations gone awry, we are right to be skeptical of the scientific establishment and their monopoly on facts. Research on potential toxins funded by the industries that make them should be received extremely critically, or flat out rejected. But (and this is a big but) just because these technologies pose a risk of harm does not mean that they will unconditionally cause harm in all contexts. Harm to a human body is different from harm to an ecosystem (those GM corn flakes won’t give you cancer, but they’re terrible for biodiversity). And technologies that harm ecosystems can also be used to heal them.

The enemy here is not science, and it’s not technology. It’s not GM, and it’s not agrichemicals. The enemy is the political and economic conditions which allow small groups of people to control the sustenance of billions. 

The enemy here is not science, and it’s not technology. It’s not GM, and it’s not agrichemicals. The enemy is the political and economic conditions which allow small groups of people to control the sustenance of billions. Were our food system local, diverse, and horizontally managed, the specter of these technologies would not look nearly so terrifying. 

1.  Source:

2. see Wikipedia page on EPSP synthase

3. see Wikipedia page on Gylphosate

4. see Wikipeda pages for Corn and Soy, See also environment/04weed.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

5.  The Monsanto 2009 anti-trust investigation:

6. + 7. Monsanto & public officials conflicts of interest:

8.  Monsanto Lawsuit in Canada:

9. On the lawsuit allowing Monsanto to patent seeds:

10.  On Genetic use restiction technology, aka suicide seeds:


12. See Glyphosate Poisoning, Bradberry et all, 2004


14. Molecular basis for the herbicide resistance of Roundup Ready crops, Funke et all, 2006

15. ‘Insecticide-Producing Corn’

16. see for a typical example

Radical Spaces Update

Compiled by Jesse D. Palmer

Here are some additions and corrections to the 2016 Slingshot Organizer radical contact list. Let us know if you find errors or run across other spots we should include. We also post periodic updates at

Arcus Center for Social Justice – Kalamazoo, MI

A space at Kalamazoo College that hosts a radical book exchange and events with availability to non-students. 205 Monroe St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006 (mail: 1200 Academy St, Kalamazoo, MI 49006.) 269-337-7398

The Plant – Tallahassee, Fl

A DIY community workshop/art studio that offers anarchist free skool-style classes, film screenings, shows, display art, and hosts activist meetings and reading groups. All events are free/suggested donation and all ages. 517 W. Gaines Street, Tallahassee, FL 32304. theplanet.tally at

El Hormiguero – Medellín, Colombia

An infoshop that hosts events. Cra. 44 No. 41A-24 (second floor) Niquitao, Medellín, Colombia

Infoladen Magazin – Basel, Switzerland

An infoshop with a small anarchist library (books + zines), a free-access computer and printer. They host meetings, movies, discussions and workshops on topics including anti-repression, anti-racist, anti-gentrification, etc. Open Wed, Sat and Sunday afternoon. Inselstrasse 79, 4057 Basel, Switzerland

La Rizoma – Managua, Nicaragua

A radical collective / commune with an infoshop, community center, arts venue and student center. They have room for up to 7 volunteers / visitors / troublemakers if you’re in the area. Colonia Miguel Bonilla #129, Del Bar Esquina Fiel 3 Cuadras al Sur, Media Cuadra Arriba, Managua, Nicaragua. (on Facebook at La Rizoma Nicaragua.)

Changes to the 2016 Slingshot organizer

• Guide to Kulchur has moved. They are not at 5900 Detroit, Cleveland, OH 44102

• Yin Yang Fandango in Corpus Christi, TX closed.

• Last issue we published an address for Bombs Away in Athens, GA, but that address didn’t work out. They hope to have a new location in August.

• BRYCC house in Louisville, KY has closed.

• Soap Box in Cincinnati, OH has changed their name and moved. They are now McMicken Freespace at 527 W. McMicken, Cincinnati OH 45214.

• AK Press is moving. Their new address is 370 Ryan Ave #100 Chico, CA 95973.

• The Centro Social y Cultural Libertario in Medellin, Colombia no longer exists.

• The Red and Black Umbreall Social Centre in Wales (UK) has closed.

• The Valija de Fuego Bookstore in Bogotá moved and their new address is Cr 7 No 46-68. Chapinero, Bogotá, Colombia

• Biblioteca Social Reconstruir has moved. Their new address is Godard 20, Guadalupe Victoria II, 07790 Ciudad de México, D.F.


Hold the Space!!! A speech given to a collective in crisis

By Luna Lovebad

Radical communities, despite their best intentions to lessen systematic isolation, can be at risk for falling into the toxic interpersonal patterns that they purport to fight against. The following is an excerpt I read to a small radical community I am currently connected with. I share it in hopes that it will help other folks struggling with interpersonal tension in their communities that prevents productivity and action.

Shortly after the New Year, when I was at a local punk house/DIY venue, I noticed a man because he was impossible to not notice. He was loud, opinionated, and good at commanding attention. He appeared to like drinking beer, as many of us do. He also appeared to me, to be a white straight able-bodied cis male who had been socialized to fill up the space around him with his words. When he loudly gave unsolicited negative feedback to a friend, I told him he was being an alpha and that it was coming across a little funny to me. He responded, “Well, at least you had the balls to call me out.” I walked away and wrote him off, despite the better-than-I-expected response.

Hours later, I noticed he was sitting alone. It looked like there was a lot on his mind, and I decided to ask him about it. I am so beyond happy that I let my guard down to talk to him. I think the conversation that ensued will change me forever.

He told me that he is 20 years old and since he could remember, his family primed and trained him to become a fighter. His Christian military family saw a future for him of being a warrior for the federal United States government and did not encourage development in any direction more strongly than this one. In a recent training, his drill sergeant told him that he is “240 pounds of American kick ass”.

The problem is that he doesn’t want to do this with his life. While he has not been deployed, he has signed documents determining that if he backs out, he gets time in prison and comes out with a felony, along with serious conflicts with his family. These consequences would lead to being totally dependent on strangers to forgive his felony when he looks for jobs and housing. To say this man has been raised to be the strongest and most independent person in a room could be an understatement, so I can imagine why he does not feel like he has any choices. As he clutched my hand, and I clutched his back, I wanted so desperately to save him from his coerced servitude. But I know I can only save myself.

How many young people are terrified as they remained trapped into these circumstances? How many times have they been judged for joining the service on one side while being forced into it by the other?

Not everyone is necessarily oppressed, but everyone suffers under this system. Lost in the understandable defenses I developed toward men, I forgot that there is usually a very good reason for people being how they are. If there’s anything I’ve learned in life, it’s that. We are traumatized, some more than others. There are reasons why I am on my guard around loud white men, and many times I’ve deeply regretted trusting them. I regret trusting men who command power and authority in radical movements and all other aspects of my life who assault me or belittle my experiences of oppression, thus perpetuating the painful cycles. I regret trusting women who claim to love women but tear me down as soon as I show them my vulnerable side.

These instances are products of our environment and people have not yet always turned the mirror on themselves, and I was caught in that crossfire, as other people have been caught in mine. Understanding is not the same as justification. We all make mistakes. But I don’t regret trusting this man that I met. Being able to be vulnerable with one another in this world is a radical action and not a mistake. What a wonderful gift he has given me! And in that place of mutual vulnerability, I was able to share the ways in which I had felt he was unaware of his privilege, and he was open to listening.

I would like to see us all work together to create a culture in which we are vulnerable with each other, in which we do not cast immediate verbal judgments and offer unsolicited advice. I want people to listen to each other’s stories, thoughtfully and quietly, and not invalidate them. I want people to be aware of how much verbal and emotional space they are taking up in their interactions with others. We all have something to teach each other, but we all have something to learn from each other, too. I am sharing what I’ve learned in hopes that it can encourage us to make changes to how we are all conducting ourselves in this space and in this movement. I believe that cultures of gossip need to become cultures of direct and respectful communication. I have contributed to gossip cultures, and I imagine most, if not all have as well. Communities seem to work better together when oppressive and toxic behaviors are recognized and discussed face to face. It can be helpful to define differences between healthy processing and dishonest, passive aggressive gossip and other maladaptive, ego driven behaviors. To me, building solidarity means being directly honest with ourselves and others. Our oppression is built on lies and secrets. It is built upon a system that tells us to shove connection and humanity somewhere behind closed doors. I seek to tear down those doors.

To quote an excerpt from a zine called “Friends Make the Best Medicine” by The Icarus Project:

“There are so many of us out here who feel the world with thin skin and heavy hearts, who get called crazy because we’re too full of fire and pain, who know that other worlds exist and aren’t comfortable in this version of reality. We’ve been busting up out of sidewalks and blooming all kind of misfit flowers for as long as people have been walking on this Earth.”

“…We feel things stronger than the other people around us, a lot of us have visions about how things could be different, why they need to be different, and it’s painful to keep them silent.”

“…We need to start talking and networking- finding common ground and common language with the other people around us. We need to get together in groups and find language for our stories that make sense to us and leave us feeling good about ourselves. We need to summon up everything we’ve got to create social webs and lasting support networks for ourselves and the people who will follow us.”

For example, consent language could be a norm that is set to maintain solidarity within the group subculture. Consent language isn’t just about sexuality. It’s about saying, “hey, I want to have a discussion about solidarity but we’ve been meeting for 2 hours already. Let’s do a check in on who would like to shelve this until next week.” It’s about listening when someone says no the first time. There have been a couple of times I observed someone saying repeatedly that they wanted to engage in the activity or discussion that the rest of the group didn’t seem really excited about right in that moment. It seemed more about that one person’s agenda than what the group wanted.

Norms acknowledge that there are basic limits to the human body and psyche that must be taken into account. Emotional states change when we are overriding the messages our bodies are telling us, and some of us are more capable of these overrides than others. People often become grumpy when talking too and feel stuck in a meeting. The productivity of the meeting decreases. Then people snap at each other. This will not build the solidarity we seek.

Building solidarity requires not that we build a safe space, as no space is safe from the poison that we each have been steeped in as members of this giant machine. It requires, however, that we are aware of our poison, that we take ownership of it. We do not wake up one day perfectly attuned to everyone’s oppression and we just never participate in it again. Maybe we’ve tried to become as conscious as possible and stopped intentionally doing it, but that does not clear us of responsibility when someone calls us out, even if we had no idea we were doing it. I have been actively studying intersectional feminism over half of my life and have been a woman my whole life, yet I still have sexist thoughts. So when a man who has studied little of it tells me that he did not just do a sexist thing to me, or someone else belittles it when I recount that experience, I am not going to feel in solidarity with this person. And that does not make me reactionary or oversensitive. It makes me a non-robotic human who feels as though their valid experiences have been discounted.

I’ve noticed that in radical spaces I’ve frequented, many people have well-informed political and philosophical discussions about the problems with this society and our world, but do not always turn the mirror on themselves. Particularly for those with power and responsibility in these spaces, it is important to ask questions such as: How are the past romantic and sexual relationships between people in this collective impacting the way these meetings and groups are run? What about roommates and old friendships? Are people of color and older radicals feeling heard and welcomed here? Do homeless women even feel safe coming here, or are the men who are terrorizing them on the streets taking too much of the emotional and physical space without having boundaries set around those behaviors? Problematic behaviors could be something as seemingly simple as eye rolling or being frequently interrupted.

Is it possible that these factors are dragging us away from our goals of truly connecting with each other and being productive because we are trying to ignore it all, put it behind the door that I referred to at the beginning of this speech? Are we desperately avoiding uncomfortably direct and honest conversations, only to create a build up of even more painful discomfort? Are we trying to reinvent the wheel rather than actively looking for literature and advice from other radical spaces who have been through these same things?

As a counselor, a seeker of peace and social justice, woman, a queer person, a childhood victim of emotional, sexual, verbal, and physical abuse, a sufferer of severe depression and anxiety, and a person with white, cis, class, able bodied, thin privilege, I want to proclaim that it is time for us to wake up and start looking at how we unintentionally hinder others’ healing processes. We need to work to heal our collectives and heal ourselves, or how will we be able to heal anything else? We don’t need a restrictive 10 commandments to run a radical space. But, as the Icarus project says, we do need a common ground and a common language that leaves us feeling good about ourselves and our interactions, and that common ground and language should actively challenge privilege and support those who call out abuse of power, no matter how small of a micro aggression it might seem to someone who has never had to be at the receiving end of that micro aggression. We need a common language that helps people feel heard and empathized with even if they are not agreed with. We can reform the way we communicate with each other. But some will have to give up more power than they may be comfortable with. We can choose to do this by continually reminding ourselves that many struggles are invisible, or easy for someone from a privileged group to overlook. To bridge that gap, we can keep listening, stay open, and be willing to take accountability when our mistakes in doing this are brought to our attention.


Beat Happenings – Spring 2016 Events Calendar

FEBRUARY Black History Month


February 13 • 7pm – 9pm

1 Vision! 1 Voice! 1 Victory! VDay event to end violence against women and girls focusing on the resilience of women of color. Alicia Garza founder of Black Lives Matter keynote speaker. Historic Sweet’s Ballroom 1933 Broadway Oakland


February 14 • 12pm – 2pm

One Billion Rising: Dance Across the Golden Gate Bridge. Gather at the southeast end of the eastern walkway (San Francisco side). FREE ALL AGES


February 15 • 730pm

Anarchist Study Group (Weekly Event every Tuesday) @ Long Haul 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley FREE ALL AGES


February 16 • 7pm

Liberated Lens Movie Nite (Weekly Event every Wednesday) @ Omni Commons 4799 Shattuck Ave. Oakland


February 18 • 7:30pm

KPFA Benefit Talk about Mumia Abu-Jamal’s Writings Hosted by Angela Davis, Johanna Fernandez and Walter Turner. First Congregational Church of Oakland, 2501 Harrison, Oakland



Earth First UK Winter Moot Stroud England


February 20

Cardfiff Anarchist Bookfair UK


February 24 • 7pm

East Bay Homes Not Jails (Weekly Meeting every Wednesday) @ Omni Commons 4799 Shattuck Ave. Oakland.


February 26 • 6pm

Free Film Screening – “Incident at Oglala” 906 Columbia Street SE, Olympia, WA 98501 David William Building, 2nd Floor


February 26 • 6pm

San Francisco Critical Mass. Gather @ Justin Herman Plaza FREE ALL AGES


February 27

National Day of Action: Demand Obama Grant Clemency to Leonard Peltier!


February 29

Leap Day Action Night


MARCH Woman’s History Month


March 3 • 7:30pm

An Evening with Jonathan Lethem author of Dissident Gardens and others. First Congregational Church of Berkeley, 2345 Channing Way, Berkeley


March 5-6 • 8am – 9pm

Code Pink summit examining U.S.-Saudi ties. The UDC Clarke School of Law 4340 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, DC


March 6 • 7pm

Slingshot new volunteer meeting / article brainstorm for issue #121. Berkeley.


March 9 • 7:30pm

An Evening with Rebecca Solnit “Hope in the Dark: Untold Stories, Wild Possibilities” KPFA Benefit. Hillside Club, 2286 Cedar Street, Berkeley


March 6 • 11am – 6pm

LA Zine Fest. The Majestic 650 S. Spring St.


March 8

Int’l Woman’s Day


March 19 – 25

Sacred Peace Walk. Pilgrimage 63 miles from Las Vegas to the Nevada Test Site. Join for an hour, a day, or the entire week.


March 20 • Noon

National March for Palestine and the Palestinian people. White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington , DC


March 27 – April 2

Shut Down Creech Air Force Base and stop the killer drones, Indian Springs, Nevada.


April 1

St Stupid Parade / Fossil Fools Day

San Francisco


April 9 • 3pm

Slingshot article deadline for issue #121. 3124 Shattuck Ave. Berkeley.


April 15

Steal Something from Work Day


April 15 -16 • 11am – 6pm

NYC Anarchist Bookfair Judson Memorial Church, 55 Washington Square South, Manhattan


Sunday April 17 10-5pm

Gilman Zine Event. 924 Gilman St. Berkeley CA FREE ALL AGES


APRIL 23 • 10 – 6pm

21st Bay Area Anarchist Book Fair.

Oakland Metro Opera house


April 24 • noon-dusk

People’s Park Anniversary, Haste above Telegraph, Berkeley FREE ALL AGES


April 20

Earth Day


April 30 • 11am – 6pm

Bristol Anarchist Bookfair, Trinity Centre Trinity Rd, Bristol BS2 0NW


Late April – various days

Take Back the Night march – all over.


May 1 May Day!


May 1 – June 10

Oakland Spring Rising


May 1 • 11 – 4pm

Asheville Zine fest The Grey Eagle 185 Clingman Avenue, Asheville NC


May 20 – 22

Left Forum. John Jay, NYC


June 11 • Noon-10pm

SF Free Folk Fest. Everett Middle School 450 Church Street (between 16th and 17th St.) San Francisco FREE ALL AGES


July 6

Pacific Northwest Climate Camp. Lemon Island, Oregon – 11 miles from Portland (strategically located within easy paddling distance of railroads hauling oil and coal, other earth destroyers.