9- Taking our bodies back

By H. Sabet

Squiggling notes in my 2019 Slingshot Organizer, I notice that this Tuesday, January 22nd is the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade’s decision to legalize abortion in the US. Ironically enough, it is also a day that I dread its overturn. After Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation last fall, the Supreme Court had the fifth vote it needed to push the anti-abortion movement forward, allowing states to restrict abortions further, and essentially dismantling Roe v. Wade. Just weeks after Kavanaugh was sworn in, states had already started passing state constitutional amendments banning abortions if Roe v. Wade is overturned. Many states, especially in the south, have already wiped out abortion clinics and services to near extinction. Currently, there are six states with only 1 clinic and ten to twelve states with only 2 or 3 clinics. Many people seeking abortions are forced to travel out of state and wait several days to complete the procedure—a costly and arduous undertaking.

Though 1 in 4 women in the US will have an abortion by the age of 45, abortion services in the US are shrinking for those who need it most. Regardless of one’s procreative preferences or lack thereof, access to abortion, care, and contraceptives is more than just a matter of reproductive freedom. As Robin Marty so perfectly elucidates in her new book Handbook for a Post-Roe America1, we need a reproductive justice framework that “goes far beyond just reproductive health and rights to highlight the intersections of race, class, gender, socioeconomic status, immigration status, religion, and the other intersections of women and people’s lives.” At this critical moment, we must work to create a framework that not only pre-emptively protects our rights, but also expands rights for every single person in this cuntry.

New York legislators have set an example by passing the Reproductive Health Act on Tuesday—the 46th anniversary of Roe v. Wade. The bill essentially ensures the full protections guaranteed under Roe, decriminalizes abortions in the state, and closes loopholes for abortions needed later in pregnancy. Though all options for prevention and termination of pregnancy should be available to all women and people regardless of identity, the reality of the moment is that even if you’re lucky enough to access abortion care, abortions can still suck. They can be expensive, emotionally draining, painful, and often disrupt our work and personal lives.

Taking our bodies into our own brains

Given that a majority of abortions in the US in past years involved women who were not using birth control, contraception can be a key predictor of whether a woman will have an abortion. Many of these women who had abortions had concerns with contraceptive methods, or did not think they would get pregnant (Guttmacher Institute)2. The pressure for women to choose, afford, attain, and sustain contraception can be a massive and sometimes insurmountable barrier to reproductive freedom. This responsibility can and should be shared by both/all partners, and selection of contraception should be mutually feasible and beneficial. Though the relatively recent advent of birth control has empowered reproductive freedom, people’s reliance on it has potentially distanced us from our bodies natural cycles.

Because of this distance and our society’s penchant to avoid or vilify women’s cycles/moon time, rather than revel and support women’s health and comfort, many people remain fuzzy on the specifics around menstruation, ovulation, and fertility. Yes, even women, young girls, and maybe even you—it’s ok, no judgment—could use a refresher. Let’s take our bodies back through knowledge.

Here’s a breakdown ya’ll:

*An egg is usually released ONCE in each cycle. The egg lives 12-24 hours. This is ovulation.
*Depending on your regularity (the number of days between each cycle), ovulation usually occurs about 14 days before the start of your moon time/menstruation. Tracking basal temperature every morning, discharge, and other symptoms can help determine the day of ovulation. There are also home ovulation tests that you can get at many pharmacies.

*Sperm can live up to 5-6 days in the uterus, and can fertilize an egg during this time

What does this mean?

A woman is fertile for as long as six days before ovulation, and two or three days after ovulation, a total of seven to eight days of fertility each month. (optionsforsexualhealth.org)

[Insert visual/chart]

What can we do?

*The Slingshot Organizer has a dope af Mynstrual Calendar that helps you track your moon time/mynstrual cycle by recording the first day of each cycle. It gives an awesome visual that clearly shows the number of days between each cycle, your regularities and irregularities.

*Even though we all want to hate phones forever, there are many apps that help track your cycle, predict ovulation, moon time, symptoms, mood, and some that allow your partner to track symptoms and events as well.

*Even though we all want to hate Amazon forever, Amazon sells Plan B/emergency contraception—starting at $8/pill.

*Donate money or miles to women seeking abortion services.

*Provide alternatives

Alternatives to Contraceptives

Though hormonal contraceptives are widely used, they are not the only option. If you don’t want to take on the pretty huge responsibility, health risks, financial strain, and mental burden of birth control in the form of hormonal patches, pills, injections, alien probes inserted into your vagina, there are other options. There is the copper IUD, a nonhormonal alien probe-looking thing that can provide contraception for up to ten years. There’s also withdrawal and condoms, though not always dependable. Supplementing withdrawal or condoms with the use of FAM, or Fertility Awareness Method, can increase dependability. The Fertility Awareness Method is free and safe. It can also connect you with your own body in a way that may enhance your life in unexpected ways. It can deepen communication, cooperation, and responsibility between partners. FAM’s effectiveness relies heavily on regularity of moon times, willingness and ability to track symptoms accurately, and the use of consistent supplementary birth control as needed. This is where withdrawal, condoms, and emergency contraception can be imperative. The book Taking Charge of Your Fertility by Toni Weschler is an awesome resource for learning more about FAM!

IMPORTANT TO NOTE: None of the birth control methods mentioned (except for condoms) protect you from STIs. This is a very real thing, so if you would like to avoid STIs, it is crucial that you talk with partners about their last partner(s), their last STI test, and maybe even get tested together! Romantical date at the STI clinic—shown to help build trust and empower individuals and partners.

Why does any of this matter to me?

Even if you feel that this information does not directly matter to you, exploring these ideas, advocating state legislature, and researching more can be a way to support the people around you, to embolden your fellow comrades and community. Access to abortion, care and contraceptives is a class and race issue, and beyond. People with privilege will always be able to find help when they need it. What can you do to help?


 Seven Stories Pres, January 15, 2019


 a super rad, leading reproductive health/rights research and policy organization

8- Y’all need to stop: on white fragility

by Michael Caro, 17 y/o

Let’s talk about some whiteys.

That’s all it takes for white people to be made a little uncomfortable. Even if you (a white person) aren’t made angry by the statement, you’re probably “taken aback” or “struck” by those words. Because of that fact I am going be saying “whitey” for the rest of this essay.

Now you might ask, “hey why you calling me whitey?” Because it challenges your incessant and irritating individuality. In America every white person is special (unless you’re poor, which makes you “white trash”). If you’re a whitey you very rarely have to consider the implications of your skin color in any situation. The result is that whiteys don’t think of themselves as white people but rather as not not-white.

Growing up half whitey on the front line of gentrification has been an experience. West Berkeley is one of the few true American “melting pots” I’ve actually seen. You can walk down Allston Way and see projects on one block and suburban houses on the next. I grew up not being exposed to many whiteys while also at the same time passing as white. The only concrete examples of white people besides what I saw on T.V. were my mom and police. I was treated as white without a white upbringing. Because of this, I observed weird instances of racial coding from a young age. I saw how people and police treated me as opposed to my dad, or how white people said racist shit with me and completely switched what they were saying in front of a black or latino person. The whole idea of the “woke white person” was kind of smashed with a hammer then shot with a glock.

When I read the book White Fragility by Robin DiAngelo it really gave me the vocabulary to express what I’ve seen happening and just called “white people shit.” So I will proceed to share what this book explained and why it’s worth reading, without using overly academic language.

In American society, race is relative to whiteness. The term “Person of color” (PoC), derived from the term “colored,” shows this dynamic. A person of color is a color in contrast to white, which implies that Euro-Americans are somehow aracial. So it makes sense that whiteys also tend to be avid supporters of the “we are all the same on the inside” phrase. While a good idea at face value, like most one sentence ideologies it doesn’t really capture the nuance of the real world. Yes, we are all the same (despite what disproven “scientists” from the mid 1800’s may say), but society doesn’t treat us all the same. From the moment of birth, a black baby has a bunch of bullshit (and some of that bullshit comes even before birth) to deal with that a white baby might not even see in their entire lifetime. Now if this were truly acknowledged, saying “we are all the same on the inside” wouldn’t really be a problem, but usually saying “we are all the same on the inside” is a response to someone stating that the experience of non-whites and white people are different. This stems from the idea that whiteys’ experience is the universal one. One cause of this delusion is that whiteys are the most portrayed group in popular media, which creates both physical and media segregation. When white people are not exposed to the perspectives of PoC in real life or in media they have no reason to think that there is any other general experience besides the one they know. This creates cognitive dissonance when whiteys are suddenly presented with experiences and perspectives that contradict their own (having to worry about clothing color, hostility from police, etc…). That dissonance then results in the triggering of white fragility.

In conversations about race (especially when a PoC is involved) white people generally display reactions of

guilt (e.g. feeling “attacked” or “blamed” regardless of whether they are)


fear (e.g. fearing being called racist and by extension a morally corrupt person)

subversion (e.g. “we are all the same on the inside”)

“devil’s advocacy”

crying in order to subvert


repeating the statement “I’m not racist” regardless of the subject

leaving the situation altogether

These are all hallmarks of triggered white fragility. This, in its essence, is the lack of racial “stamina” that white people display.

Now that we understand this we have to ask the question, “Why is it bad?” The main effect of white fragility is that it allows white people to keep themselves segregated from the perspectives of PoC. When a white person chooses to be play “devil’s advocate” or chooses to be silent and disengaged, they don’t have to really absorb what’s being said and can instead choose to remain comfortable and segregated in their viewpoint without suffering any real consequences. But all actions have consequences and the people who end up having to deal with white fragility are PoC. When white people are allowed to shut down or shut out the perspectives of PoC it reinforces the social dynamics of white domination. Whiteys are able to control who is listened to and what’s a valid thing to say without even realizing it. The all too common shifting of a conversation about racism to one about how a whitey involved in that conversation is not racist, in itself is racist, whether it’s intended to be or not.

Whether what you’re doing is racist or not is like whether you are or are not being an asshole. You don’t choose whether you’re considered an asshole, just like how you don’t choose whether you’re being racist. Your actions are to be judged by others, but there is a key difference between calling out a general asshole and calling out someone for racism. In our sort of “post civil rights era” America, being and/or doing something racist has been conflated with being a morally corrupt individual (among “progressive” whiteys). So when you call out someone for racism, in their mind you are calling them an inherently bad person. With racism being such a serious accusation, if someone were to call out someone else and the their peers don’t agree, the consequences for the person accusing are quite steep.  When someone calls out racism it should generally be listened to rather than dismissed, as its impact was racist enough for them to put themselves under scrutiny.

We as a society need to redefine the word racism. As society becomes more integrated, racism becomes more nuanced in how it shows itself (among progressive whiteys). Not actively calling people racial slurs doesn’t get you a medal. We live in a society that is steeped in white supremacy, colorism, and racism. Simply being “colorblind” (if that’s even possible) isn’t enough. It’s on white people to not only allow change, but actively make change themselves, as whiteys have actively been trying to take the ability to make change from anyone who isn’t white for centuries. Racism is not just racial prejudice, it is not only the individual actions of the “bad white people”; racism is also the systematic, social, and economic oppression of non white people. Anyone can be racist regardless of race, but the racism that is built into every individual in America by centuries of oppression, media messaging, and violence will always benefit the white man (and woman).

Perhaps the only real thing people can do is to educate themselves and the people around them. If you try to present some of these ideas to some white people you know, you will probably be met with white fragility- that’s just how these things tend to work out. People who stopped reading the first time I said “whitey” will never get this message; and even if they had kept reading, they probably never would. But that’s not who this piece is for. For change to happen in this country, white people need to be willing to not only create change within themselves but to spread change within their own communities. White people need to be willing to call out racism when they see it. So next time your work buddy talks about having “jungle fever,” tell him “hey bruh you should try to lay off that.” While this might require that you put your ass on the chopping block, after centuries of making everyone else do the same, it might be time for your turn.

7- NOT an interview with Extinction Rebellion

Extinction Rebellion was formed in the UK in late 2018 and has already been involved in numerous disruptive direct action protests — thousands of people blockading the 5 main bridges over the River Thames in London, gluing themselves to the gates of Downing Street, blocking major roads with ‘swarming’ roadblocks (repeated 7 minute roadblocks) and even a sit-in at the UK headquarters of Greenpeace. They are spreading around the world.

Accepting that climate change threatens humans as well as other species with extinction, they aim to raise the stakes of government inaction and they have issued 3 demands: “1. That the Government must tell the truth about how deadly our situation is, it must reverse all policies not in alignment with that position and must work alongside the media to communicate the urgency for change including what individuals, communities and businesses need to do. 2. The Government must enact legally-binding policies to reduce carbon emissions in the UK to net zero by 2025 and take further action to remove the excess of atmospheric greenhouse gases. It must cooperate internationally so that the global economy runs on no more than half a planet’s worth of resources per year. 3. By necessity these demands require initiatives and mobilization of similar size and scope to those enacted in times of war. We do not however, trust our Government to make the bold, swift and long-term changes necessary to achieve this and we do not intend to hand further power to our politicians. Instead we demand a Citizens’ Assembly to oversee the changes, as we rise from the wreckage, creating a democracy fit for purpose.” It would be great to interview them, but instead here’s answers to questions they asked themselves in the FAQ on their website.

Yes. We are facing an unprecedented global emergency, the planet is in crisis and we are in the midst of a mass extinction bigger and faster than the one that killed the dinosaurs. Scientists believe we have entered a period of abrupt climate breakdown. The Earth’s atmosphere is already over 1°C warmer than pre-industrial levels and the chance of staying below the 2°C limit set in the Paris Agreement is tiny. Projections show we are on course for 3 degrees of warming and probably much higher.

We and our children will face unimaginable horrors as a result of floods, wildfires, extreme weather, crop failures and the inevitable breakdown of society when the pressures are so great. We are unprepared for the danger our future holds.

The time for denial is over – we know the truth about climate change. It is time to act.

There is no guarantee of anything. World leaders have failed to adequately confront the existential threats posed by climate and ecological breakdown, let alone the causes of the crises. Polite lobbying, marching, voting, consumer- and shareholder-activism, have all failed. We are now on the brink. If asking the establishment nicely doesn’t get them to act, then the only option left is civil disobedience, to disrupt the ordinary working of things, so that decision makers HAVE to take notice.

As Frederick Douglas put it,’ “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out just what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continue ‘til they are resisted with either words or blows, or both.”

We are strictly and avowedly non-violent. But we can and will use our words and our bodies to disrupt the system that threatens us all.

That said, our aim was to always test out tactics, reflect on what works and then repurpose and adapt as circumstances change. Our goal has always been to build a mass movement. We have undertaken research and training to understand how things change. We are training coordinators on how to mass mobilise.

We know the task ahead is daunting and the likelihood of success may seem slim, but the stakes are so high, the risks of continuing down the ruinous path we are on so dire, with all Life hanging in the balance, that doing nothing, even doing only what we’ve done before, is unthinkable.

Ultimately, we are doing this because it is the right thing to do. Given the scale of the challenge, we remain unattached to outcomes. Meaning that although we hope we can save something of Life on Earth, we are motivated by action being the right thing to do, rather than taking action because we think it will work.

People are now waking up to the enormity of the crisis that we face. … People are not stupid. They are aware that these disasters are escalating in severity and frequency and that increasingly they are approaching our own shores, with thousands dying in the recent heatwave across Southern Europe. And they are rightly angry that our Government’s response to this is to approve ever more catastrophic projects to exploit ever less conventional sources of fossil fuels, such as fracking, causing earthquakes in Lancashire in grim portent of the much larger scale calamities to come. They demand a brighter future, in which we and our children are free to live in a world where we are in harmony with the rest of the living world around us, and not in conflict with it. There is a growing will to be rid of the corrupt power structures leading us ever deeper into the abyss and to forge the beautiful future that we all wish for our children and their children’s children. The time is ripe, right now, and we are confident that this is the beginning of the movement which will finally turn the tide.

We have partially shut down Heathrow Airport on two occasions and carried out many road blocks. We are always concerned about causing inconvenience to people and it doesn’t feel good when you learn someone missed an important gathering like a funeral or a hospital appointment. We are doing it as we believe we have to look at the bigger picture of how many people are dying today and how dire our trajectory is (the extreme being that human extinction is a very real possibility). In the face of this we accept that we inevitably cause inconvenience to people. We sincerely apologise to them. We are firmly and collectively of the view that, given the dismal failure of world leaders to date, disruption is now necessary to get anything like commensurate change. If there was a better, less disruptive way of doing this we would do that instead! Many of us have faced arrest, fines, convictions for our actions; some of us have been on hunger strike and gone to jail. So we are willing to take the consequences of our actions and to make personal sacrifices in order to do them. Business as usual is simply no longer a viable option.

No, everybody taking part in non-violent civil disobedience in defense of the planet, whether experienced or not, understands the risks they are taking and the reasons why, of their own free and informed will, they are choosing to take them. We understand that this is an important element of movement building and disrupting everyday life / perceived normal reality, to create a national conversation on the climate and ecological crisis. As George Monbiot put it in his inspiring speech on 31st October 2018 at our Declaration of Rebellion against the UK Government on Parliament Square: “The only time that people know it is serious, is when people are prepared to sacrifice their liberty in defence of their beliefs”.

We are a decentralised organisation – anyone can do things in the name of Rising Up! / Extinction Rebellion if they agree with and adhere to our principles and values [ed: a 10-point list is on their website] – people don’t need anyone’s permission on that basis. We use holacracy as a decision making tool – people are empowered to get on with jobs without everyone agreeing on outputs. Good holacracy includes taking advice and feedback from at least two people and being responsible for outcomes. We have learned from previous movements and groups that consensus can really clog things up and drain energy so we wanted to try a different model to empower participation. Strategic decisions are made by the coordination team, those who are putting in the most time to make this thing happen. That said we are currently investigating ways to improve this.

Yes, we are aware of the structural racism in our policing and legal system. We give people information about arrest and those of us who are white have acknowledged our privilege, in the likelihood that we will be treated differently / better than our colleagues of colour. People can take a variety of roles. We think it’s important for white people to use their privilege. People of colour (PoC) have been more at risk for generations in defence of the environment and their lands, both here in the UK and around the world. It is time to for white people to take this risk too so that PoCs, who are threatened by structural racism, don’t have to. The ecological crisis affects people of colour more than it does white people currently. Environmental activists of colour in other countries have been killed for defending their land. We also try to acknowledge the police as human beings and to be respectful during our protests, but this does not make us naive about what the police have done to activists and communities in the UK. Activists have been subjected to lies, assault, the spy cop trauma and worse.

Yes, we may be. There is far less awareness than we need in the public around just how bad a situation we are in, though there are signs that this is finally and rapidly improving. This goes to the very heart of the problem. And so, yes, people who do not understand, or who through denial reject the gravity of the situation being laid out by scientists, may find it easy to disagree with the actions and find us alienating.

The aim is not to alienate people, of course. The aim is to make these most critical and urgent issues of our time finally unignorable to decision makers. If they want less disruption, they must act.

Yes, this is an uncompromising stance to adopt, we accept that. We do because we have clear sight of the utterly uncompromising nature of the situation we are in.


6- The Ecology of Decolonization – (Re)weaving Lands and Cultures

By Muck

Decolonization is means and end: to take on its labor is to trace the plait of us and our lands, following our becoming with our environments. Colonization unthreads our art into its image. In decolonizing, we must know from how we are woven how to (re)weave, how we create ecological arts through land and culture, how we live our stories and histories. To decolonize is to overcome our anxieties of alienation and authenticity, aid our peer decolonizers, and oust the colonizers from our lands and minds. To decolonize is to (re)form land culture, our knowledges and heritages as they arise from our lands. While I use my own Filipino heritage as an example, we are to weave decolonized ecologies everywhere, from Unist’ot’en to L’eau est la vie and outwards.

The weave of ecology between land and culture encompasses entire bodies of knowledge ranging from botany and agriculture, to myth and history, to language, and results from generations of intimation with our lands. Some of my culture’s discrete artifacts hint at the connection. Filipino adobo, meat marinaded and boiled in soy sauce, vinegar, peppercorns, and garlic, is theorized to have come from the ingredients’ widespread occurrence through the Philippine Islands, and because its acidity ensures safe storage at high ambient temperatures and humidity. The etymology of the Filipino dance form tinikling suggests imitation of the tikling bird in the dancers’ skips over bamboo sticks.

The knowledges, traditions, and methodologies we form surrounding our lands are disrupted by colonization, replaced with an industrialized, commodified abstraction of land. How so? In my culture’s history, colonization has changed the names of our foods, our lineages, and our lands, pushing peoples together under an imagined “Philippine” identity. Colonizers have committed genocide of peoples and lands, leaving behind landscapes of coconut palms and concrete. Colonizers engender internal strife that forces us to leave behind our homes for their empires, whether foreign or on our soil. Colonization has tied us to the market, an abstraction both land-ful and placeless, everywhere and nowhere but in empire. Colonization births us in foreign lands and paradigms, neutering our own diverse knowledges. This is the colonization ecology that controls our lands, movements, and thoughts.

What is the ecology of decolonization? It involves (re)formation of our relationship with land, implicates both the physical ousting of capitalism, colonialism, and their bodies and infrastructure, but also the mental ousting of colonialism. Without colonizers’ discipline, without pipelines and “explorers” on our lands, we are free to move around in our own spaces, explore ourselves and our surroundings, the physical framework of our cultures. The Wet’suwet’en and Lakota wars against TransCanada and the State are two examples of the importance of the physical fight. But we have to allow ourselves the mental freedom to explore and build, an equally daunting, if not more insidious, task.

Our positive project of mental decolonization begins with history. First we look to our roots and understand the relationship with land that produced knowledges like cuisines and languages from land. This involves (re)constructing land knowledges and setting up the conditions of their application via land (re)claiming, dependency, and ecological immediacy. Reviving pre-colonial history is not decolonization ecology’s goal – in studying history we study ways of moving forward by building on our heritage. We can choose to integrate the languages and ways of knowing our ancestors spoke alongside the ways of knowing we employ now. We can build knowledges of our lands as they exist today. We change with our lands and times.

What about settlers like me, brought to or born in lands we settle upon? What relationship do we have with land, removed from our roots? We consider the very deconstruction, though not the elimination, of the notion of roots. Imbued in the latter is the concept of authenticity, an idealized past or origin invoked to measure our “purity” relative to the effects under colonialism. Anticolonial theorists like Frantz Fanon or Ngugi wa Thiong’o have suggested reviving traditions and languages, possibly even repatriation, in rebuilding cultural myth and identity.

I reject authenticity as a tool used by oppressors to invalidate our histories and integrate us further into our colonizers’ culture. I reject the idea of returning to roots because there is no going back, only going forward. Just as I’ve said above, we choose our futures. Using willows or using aspirin, speaking English or speaking Lushootseed, living in the United States or the Philippines, what’s key in mental decolonization is understanding and employing the same processes that accorded our ancestors their knowledge, deciding our own directions, redeveloping agencies colonizers have deaccorded us.

But how do we build an anticolonial relationship upon settled lands? I’ve settled stolen Seminole and Coast Salish lands, lands that despite my high affinities, I will not call home. Yet my ancestors’ homelands are foreign to me. L’eau est la vie has similar circumstances, expelling Energy Transfer Partners from gulf Louisiana where the pipeline will pollute the waters of both poor black folk, settlers, and the United Houma Nation. It’s hard to argue against the anticolonial character of such an action, but what relationship with land should we as non-colonizing settlers of indigenous lands choose to foster? What are we to do?

We create decolonized spaces for the colonized. We take back land bases from our colonizers and free them for the indigenous folk of those lands, create refuges for those escaping colonialism in their home lands (or elsewhere). We fight not only against the pipelines on the Pacific Coast, the Gulf, the Plains, Appalachia, but also against walls, police, and industrialization. Such a relationship is an overtly political-analytical ideology of land, creating a new type of culture that’s anticolonial but also a product of a non-indigenous relationship with land. We are to be stewards (but not saviors) to the peoples and lands we settle upon, we are allowed to build our own knowledges of a land (we are allowed to feel seasons, for example) but the land will not be ours.

Why take on decolonization? Spectators try rationalizing anticolonialism with theory about cultural diversity. This understanding is hierarchical: such progressivist discourse subjects us to the Western gaze of cultural preservation, like a bird redesignated as threatened instead of endangered. I would say that one would have to understand decolonization as if an insider, but there’s no hope for that project. I write for decolonizers to uphold their unique knowledges of their own anticolonial struggles, their relationships with their lands, to talk not as if to others about their culture, but to talk in living our culture and our lands. Our liberation narrative dictates that we decolonize all cultures and lands, but we also decolonize our own.

Do we have an end in discussing a decolonization ecology? Our own (re)formation. Ousting the colonizers and their constructed worlds begets us the unbridled energy of agency and self-determination; it allows us imagination, new states-of-being to explore, and the foreground of our land bases. The land relationship coevolves with these decolonized realities. We can develop and explore our knowledges and methods of the land outside of exploitative industrial language. We can relate with our fellow decolonizers and share our cultures and becomings in the anticolonial war. We can know our give-and-takes with our lands, the more we depend on what we can see and live. We are no less of peoples now than we were or will be – our potentials, however, will be fully realized in a decolonized ecology.

5-Brazil takes a step back: the big picture of the far right victory in Brazil and why progressives everywhere should pay attention

By Victor Strazzeri São Paulo, Brazil

The election of former army captain Jair Bolsonaro to the presidency of Brazil with 55% of the vote is a watershed moment for politics in Latin America with ramifications that extend far beyond it. What is at stake in the right-winger’s victory is what political formulas will prove successful in the post-2008 world and whether any horizon of liberation will be left standing if the increasing convergence of far-right politics and the radicalized neoliberal agenda favored by the capitalist classes grows more widely into a full symbiosis, as it did in the Brazilian case.

Political life since the 2008 global economic crisis and the ‘great recession’ has played out in very peculiar circumstances, as they have prevailed for a full decade now and risk being normalized. This period has had its share of tragedies and the balance sheet has been overwhelmingly tilted towards the right. It has also raised prospects of hope and profound change that, despite being in short supply lately, must come to bear on the analysis of any major political shift as is the case of last year’s Brazilian election.

The narrative of our times rings familiar by now. The system formerly known as ‘the end of history’, i.e., the unfettered, neoliberal variant of global capitalism, experienced a catastrophic crisis at its very core and the result has not only been the continued dominance of the economic doctrine and deregulating free-market policies responsible for the crisis, but an even more vicious cycle of attacks on workers’ rights in the aftermath of government bailouts of the financial system. The decision to turn ‘there is no alternative’ from slogan to policy in the post-2008 world has since spurred a global resurgence of bigotry in all its forms, from xenophobic nationalism and white-supremacism to overt racism and misogyny. Bolsonaro is the latest embodiment of this new global state of affairs, but far-right victories have not been the only hallmark of political life in the last decade.

After the signal for global revolt was given by Tunisia in late 2010, countless explosions of mass unrest have presented a challenge from below to the neoliberal status quo the world over and Brazil was no exception. Whether they were movements for democracy and social justice in countries long ruled by authoritarian regimes such as Egypt, the square occupations they inspired or a resurgent women’s movement, the crisis years have seen constant eruptions from a mass reservoir of popular unrest. In fact, the possibilities raised by these revolts are the key to understand both the aggressive right-wing resurgence that has now scored a major victory in Latin America, as well as how progressive alternatives to it can be built.

Until recently, Latin America represented a consistent glimmer of hope that another way of doing politics was indeed possible. That its progressive governments were riddled with contradictions, perhaps nowhere more than in Brazil, is something I will return to below. With Bolsonaro, however, the region decisively followed suit in the broader trend that has seen progressive alternatives crushed and bigoted politics tolerated as long as neoliberal orthodoxy remains in place. That, after a quarter-century of struggle for social justice, the region is again the stage for a right-wing experiment is highly significant. Seen from below, globalization is not about working people in different countries taking each other’s jobs or pushing down each other’s wages, but rather about how they intimately share in each other’s catastrophes (whether aware of this or not).

From this standpoint, these defeats must be understood in their interconnections, commonalities and particular traits. What distinguishes the Bolsonaro government is, in this sense, the toxic mix it brought into office: libertarians, hard-line conservatives, evangelicals and direct representatives of large landowners, banks and powerful interests seeking a more thorough privatization of the health and education sectors. Migration played next to no role in the elections, showing that the far-right can come to power without necessarily leveraging the issue. The rejection of ‘gender ideology’, i.e., policies of gender equality and LGBTQ rights, was, however, central to his discourse. This is by far the most universal fixture of the global right’s agenda, likely stemming from its claim to vindicate their core constituency, the self-victimizing middle-class white male. The ability to galvanize this sector, which gives it its most ardent supporters, is key for the right’s advance.

The same was true for Brazil, but Bolsonaro’s camp had to build a broader basis of support to win the popular vote. In a country ranking among the world’s worst in the concentration of income, wealth and land-ownership this demanded convincing the middle classes and even better-off segments of the working population that social justice — whether it translates to addressing racial, gender or class inequalities — generates losers outside the elites. The successful forging of a ‘bottom-up’ identification between the country’s struggling middle-classes and its ruling elites was perhaps Bolsonaro’s greatest feat.

The key to this was hypocritically blaming the economic crisis the country has faced in the last few years on the corruption scandals of the Workers’ Party administration, on the one hand, and on ‘excessive state intervention’, on the other. This paved the way for a return to an agenda of neoliberal reform and privatizations embodied in Bolsonaro’s Chicago-trained Minister of the Economy, Paulo Guedes. While other candidates offered a similar return to neoliberal orthodoxy, Bolsonaro was the only one capable of garnering mass support through a hard-line stance on crime — bolstered by his status as a former army captain — and the promotion of conservative values in line with a growing evangelical segment of voters.

Bolsonaro’s victory, built on a combination of nostalgia for the times of the military dictatorship and radical free-market agenda, is highly symbolic considering the peculiar role Latin America has played in the neoliberal epoch. The region is both the seat of the very first neoliberal experiment under the auspices of the Chilean dictatorship in the mid-1970s, but also where the first cycle of sustained mass opposition to widespread privatization and deregulation arose in the 1990s, leading to the election of a series of progressive governments in the following decade, the so-called ‘Pink Wave’. Few of these center-left governments still stand, but Brazil is no doubt a central piece in the reversal of the political fate of the region.

Beyond its continental dimensions and place amongst the ten largest economies in the world, Brazil’s political developments have always carried broader significance. The overthrow of progressive president João Goulart in 1964, while not the first CIA-backed military coup in Latin America, was a major watershed for politics in the region and the US-led efforts to prevent the Cuban Revolution from igniting a turn towards socialism in its ‘backyard’. It is no coincidence that Bolsonaro is a product of the civil and military regime that ruled Brazil until 1984 and which he refuses to call a dictatorship. During the campaign, Bolsonaro has in fact gone on record claiming he wanted to restore the country to what it was ‘forty or fifty years ago’. In 1968 the Brazilian dictatorship suspended all remaining civil and political freedoms and stepped up the bloody repression of the opposition and insurgents. He has also repeatedly paid homage to one of the dictatorship’s most notorious torturers. Bolsonaro’s victory, much like the coup in 1964, represents not only a major political shift in the region, but another far-reaching Latin American experiment.

Will democracy survive the experiment or simply be hollowed out? The latter process has, of course, already been underway in Brazil since 2016. Bolsonaro would probably not have been elected were it not for a parliamentary coup against Dilma Rousseff of the Workers’ Party that year and the subsequent prosecution of ex-president Lula by Judge Sérgio Moro, whose anti-corruption crusade has won him a controversial appointment as Minister of Justice in Bolsonaro’s government.

The more fundamental question remains, however, why the most moderate of the ‘Pink Wave’ governments, which never fully broke with neoliberalism and refrained from implementing any structural reforms that could address the country’s major social inequalities was precisely the one to end in a ‘soft coup’ and be succeeded by a far-right politician. In this respect there are close parallels to the fate of the Obama presidency. Lula’s election was, for Brazil, just as momentous as Obama’s. A former union-leader with roots in the country’s impoverished Northeastern region was swept into office with tremendous popular support in 2002.

Yet, the expectations of profound change his election raised were never truly met; the government’s desire to reassure foreign investors and local elites never allowed more than timid redistributive measures. These were, nevertheless, already enough to draw fierce opposition from the oligarchy and the media under its control. Lula will be remembered by the policy shift that marked the end of his first term in office, soon after an initial round of corruption scandals hit the Workers’ Party and put his reelection at risk. The shift comprised a state-led investment program, the massive expansion of credit and moderate rises to the minimum-wage which contributed to a cycle of growth — aided by the ‘commodity boom’ — between 2007 and 2012 and very high levels of government popularity.

Lula chose Dilma Rousseff as his successor, hoping the middle classes would identify with her image of a tough but efficient public administrator. Dilma Rousseff’s election again combined a highly symbolic character — not only the first woman president, but a former guerrilla-fighter — with the refusal to address the country’s secular legacy of inequality other than through very gradual, market-friendly policies.

In 2013, the country was suddenly gripped by a massive surge of social struggle. The country’s working youth demanded free public transportation and more investment in the public health and education systems rather than in football stadiums and costly mega-event infrastructure. At the same time, a record number of strikes indicated that the gradual pace of social change favored by the government was vastly out of touch with what the more active segments of the youth and working population were expecting. Significantly, the massive demonstrations led by social movements and small leftist parties, on the one hand, and the strike wave, on the other, were parallel phenomena that only rarely converged. This rekindling of protest went, however, entirely unheeded by a Workers’ Party government seeking to reassure the markets in the context of the worsening economic situation that marked the start of Dilma Rousseff’s second term in 2015.

The resulting political vacuum coupled with a turn to austerity and the emergence of new corruption scandals centered on Petrobras, the country’s state-owned oil company, saw right-wing supporters take to the streets, benefiting from massive positive coverage in the media. The far-right saw an opening in what had become a full-blown economic crisis and plunging support for Rousseff and stepped up its protests now aiming for an impeachment; an opportunistic vice-president, Michel Temer, offered the private sector a combination of austerity and neoliberal reforms the Workers’ Party would never be able to deliver thus sealing the fate of Dilma Rousseff, despite her never being directly tied to corruption scandals.

Temer’s time in office (2016-2018) was an unmitigated disaster for Brazil’s working people, as he took advantage of the democratic hiatus to approve a series of reforms attacking workers’ rights and, in a matter of months, reversing several hard-fought policy advances on the rights of people of color and of native peoples. This culminated in single-digit approval ratings — the worst ever by a president since redemocratization — and a despondent electorate, who also had to contend with a common refrain from corporate media that a return to Workers’ Party rule was synonymous with corruption, inefficiency and raised the prospects of becoming ‘another Venezuela’.

Instead of going on the opposition and denouncing the parliamentary coup and subsequent regressive legislation, the Workers’ Party bid its time expecting Lula’s victory in the 2018 election. His arrest and consequent removal from the presidential race led to a desperate campaign by all progressive segments of the electorate in favor of the moderate former mayor of São Paulo, Fernando Haddad. Significantly, the women’s movement built by far the leading force in the opposition to Bolsonaro during the campaign, holding several massive demonstrations. Though Haddad made it to the run-off vote, there was not enough time to reverse the surge of Bolsonaro in the polls, though many in the left had their doubts on whether a Workers’ Party government would have ever been allowed to take office.

The opposition is still reeling from this massive defeat, but the campaign made it clear that social movements will likely lead the resistance to Bolsonaro, though they will need allies if the worst authoritarian threats and neoliberal dystopian scenarios are to be prevented. If the right has found a formula for coming to power in the Bolsonaro experiment, which the global right will look to replicate elsewhere, it is now the left that has to find the formula that can reunite the party left, the labor movement and the resurgent social movements which were either side-by-side (but distant) or at odds in the struggles opened up in 2013. Progressive forces everywhere should be watching.

4- Brazil takes a step back: Brazil’s President Vows to Rip Up Amazonian Indigenous Reserves, Give “Carte Blanche for the Police to Kill,” Rule as a Dictator, and Make Minorities “Bow to the Majorities”

By A. Goldstein

Just hours after assuming office on January 1st 2019, Brazil’s new President, Jair Bolsonaro, signed an executive order stripping the indigenous affairs agency, Funai, of its powers to manage indigenous lands. The order transferred these responsibilities along with those of managing public forests and the powers of the Brazilian Forestry Service to the Agricultural Ministry with the intention of giving the ministry free reign to clear cut the precious Amazon rainforest to expand already massive, unsustainable cattle ranches, palm oil plantations, and logging and mining operations. Bolsonaro’s order also gives Carlos Alberto Dos Santos Cruz, Government Secretary, temporary power to “supervise, coordinate, monitor and accompany the activities and actions of international organizations and non-governmental organizations in the national territory” to suppress NGOs and human and ecological rights organizations that work on behalf of Brazil’s indigenous peoples and the Amazon. If the Brazilian Congress does not ratify the order, it will expire in 120 days. This order, however, is already having major effects. For example, reports have surfaced this January of outsiders invading Uru-eu-wau-wau Indigenous Land in Rondônia and of loggers encroaching on Arara Indigenous Land in Pará.1

During his campaign, Bolsonaro’s anti-indigenous rhetoric was brazen. He stated, “To the people of Roraima state, in 2019, we are going to rip up Raposa Serra do Sol Indigenous Reserve. We are going to give all the ranchers guns.” 2 “Not one centimeter of land will be demarcated for Indigenous reserves orquilombolas [descendants of those people who freed themselves from slavery].”3 “Let’s make a Brazil for the majorities. Minorities have to bow to the majorities! The Law must exist to defend the majorities. Minorities must fit in or simply disappear!”4 As Vijay Prashad wrote “This is the language of genocide. He gives Brazil’s indigenous people — about a million people out of 210 million — an impossible choice: either abandon your independence and culture (protected by Article 231 of Brazil’s 1988 Constitution) or die.” Bolsonaro’s rapacious approach to the environment is one shared by many hyper capitalist politicians rising to power, such as Trump who has gutted the EPA and environmental regulations. Bolsonaro sees the priceless Amazon purely as a resource to be exploited for capital, and much of this exploitation has already been carried out. Aljazeera just reported that “across Brazil’s Amazon states, deforestation increased by nearly 50 percent during the August to October election period.” This is because Bolsonaro’s rhetoric emboldens loggers and ranchers intent on clear-cutting protected lands because they feel there will be no consequences.

Bolsonaro’s advisers, such as Oswaldo Ferreira have told the press he plans to complete and expand nuclear and hydroelectric power plants in the Amazon, which have already devastated the ecosystem and displaced thousands of indigenous peoples. Specifically, they pledged his administration would complete the Angra 3 nuclear power station and the giant Belo Monte hydro dam on the Xingú river, which has displaced the Kayapo people.5 By transferring the responsibilities of the indigenous affairs agency, Funai, to the Agricultural Ministry, Bolsonaro hopes to avoid any internal state opposition to these projects.

Bolsonaro is pushing so hard for environmental exploitation likely because he stands to gain financially from it. He hired Paulo Guedes as his economic adviser who is co-founder of the investment bank BTG Pactual, which manages more than two million acres of land, much of it in Brazil, and has significant investments in tree farms and natural forests.6 Surely, opening up protected forests to logging for BTG Pactual would line Bolsonaro’s own pockets.

Bolsonaro’s plan to make minorities “”fit in or disappear” will likely be carried out by Brazil’s police and military if he is not stopped. In 1996, nineteen protesting rural workers of the Landless Worker’s Movement were massacred by Brazilian police in the municipality of Eldorado do Carajas and only two police colonels were arrested for the crime. When Bolsonaro visited the site in July he said “Who needed to have been arrested were the MST, (Landless Worker’s Movement) who are scoundrels and shameless.” At an event in Deerfield Beach, Florida on October 8, 2017, Bolsonaro stated “I’ll give carte blanche for the police to kill.” 7 Brazil is already rife with police brutality. 56,337 people were killed in Brazil in 2012 alone,8 many by police who kill children and residents of favellas (ghettos) with impunity. That year 90% of Brazil’s homicide victims were male, 77% were black, and 54% were between the ages of 15 and 29. According to a report from Amnesty International, from 2005 to 2014 police killed 8,466 people in the state of Rio de Janeiro alone.9 Nine of every ten of these murders committed in the municipality of Acari in Rio were extrajudicial, intentional executions of people who had already surrendered or been apprehended. Further, “publicly available information shows that, in the city of Rio de Janeiro, of 1,275 registered cases of killings by on-duty police between 2010 and 2013, 99.5% [of the]victims were men, 79% were black and 75% were aged between 15 and 29.” In 2011 Brazilian civil police investigated just 220 police murders in the city of Rio de Janeiro and as of April 2015 only one resulted in prosecution by the Public Prosecution service. Police essentially already have carte blanche to kill in Brazil but Bolsonaro’s unapologetic support of such human rights violations could only embolden these already out-of-control racist, classist agents of the state.

Most of Bolsonaro’s hate is directed towards indigenous peoples who he has compared to “animals trapped in a zoo” and he has even lamented “It’s a shame that the Brazilian cavalry wasn’t as efficient as the Americans, who exterminated the Indians.” But he hasn’t just targeted indigenous peoples in his disgusting rhetoric. He has also called Haitian, African, and Middle Eastern refugees in Brazil “the scum of humanity” who ought to be dealt with “by the army”. 10 He has called black activists “animals” who “should go back to the zoo.” He has called for the criminalization of Islam and African religions, as he believes they are in conflict with the “national faith” and serve as an “open door to terrorists”. (His new human rights minister, Damares Alves, has echoed such sentiments with statements like “It is time for the church to govern”) He is a strong supporter of the Israeli apartheid state, claims Palestine is not a country, and he has called Palestinians “terrorists.”11 Of course, to no one’s surprise, Bolsonaro is also a strong supporter of Trump and his bloody foreign policy.

Bolsonaro is also virulently homophobic. In an interview with Playboy in 2011, Bolsonaro said that he would rather have his son “die in an accident” than have a gay son.12 In an interview with the journal, Folha de S.Paulo, Bolsonaro stated “If I see two men kissing in the street, I will beat them.”13 On the “Popular Participation” TV program, Bolsonaro also stated that parents need to beat their children if they are gay to “change their behavior.”14 And in a 2016 interview, Bolsonaro explained he believes homosexuality is a result of more women entering the workforce. Some bigots in Brazil have also chanted Bolsonaro’s name while attacking gay people.15

Of course, the working class is another central target of Bolsonaro’s administration. On January 3rd, Bolsonaro made economic proposals to privatize twelve airports, (and eventually 44) four seaports, and Electrobas, a major utilities provider, of which 52% is currently owned by the government. Electrobas provides 69% of Brazil’s electricity and privatization would likely cause many lower-income individuals to lose power. On the third of January, Bolsonaro also announced plans to cut pensions, slash the minimum wage to $260 per month, and cut taxes for the rich. 16

Bolsonaro has repeatedly supported Latin American dictatorships and called Brazil’s 1964 military coup d’état “a revolution”.17 In reality, the coup leaders installed right-wing fascists as heads of state like Humberto de Alencar Castelo Branco who terminated all civil rights and liberties in the country and gave himself emergency powers. All parties were outlawed and replaced with the military government’s party. The Brazilian dictatorship then instituted polices of torture, incarceration, and murders of all who opposed the military rule, including artists, writers, painters, singers, filmmakers, and students. To Bolsonaro this was a “glorious period” in Brazil’s history18 representing “20 years of order and progress”19 that had “led to a more sustainable and prosperous Brazil”20. The dictatorship’s only error, according Bolsonaro was that it “tortured, but did not kill”21 (In Portuguese: “o erro foi torturar e não matar.”) But make no mistake, Bolsonaro supports torture as well. In fact, he even praised one of the most ruthless torturers of the military regime, Carlos Brilhante Ustra, as one of the country’s greatest “heroes.”22 During a Truth Commission hearing on people who “disappeared” during the dictatorship, Bolsonaro declared that only “dogs look for bones”. It is important to note, Bolsonaro isn’t just talk. He was a part of Brazil’s military dictatorship and served for fifteen years, eventually reaching the rank of captain before entering politics.

Brazil’s former dictatorship is not the only regime Bolsonaro defends. He has also praised the Chilean dictator, Augusto Pinochet, and went as far as saying “Pinochet should have killed more people”23 In a 1999 interview with the Câmera Aberta television program, Bolsonaro said that if he becomes President, he would shut down the National Congress and lead a military coup himself: “I have no doubts – I would begin the coup on the very first day! And I am sure that at least 90% of the people would commemorate or give me an ovation. The Congress today is good for nothing, they only vote in favor of the president’s projects. If he is the person who makes the decisions, who calls the shots, who laughs at the Congress, then start the coup at once, and let’s make this a dictatorship.”24 Despite this he was still somehow elected in 2018. He claims to have since “changed his mind” but put in context with his other statements, this seems to be an egregious lie.

The world is on fire and creatures like Bolsonaro ask for more gasoline. Coastal cities are flooding, pollution is killing millions, our food and water are being poisoned by various industries, refugees are being bombed or forgotten, and Bolsonaro wants more of the same. What is wrong with humanity that we elect such putrid parasites? Why do demagogues like Trump, Marie Le Pen25, Theresa May, Viktor Orban, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Geert Wilders, Nigel Farange, Netanyahu, and Bolsonaro seem to fool more and more people? Especially in a country like Brazil wherein the previous four presidents were members of the “workers party,” including former Marxist guerilla, Dilma Rousseff, it makes little sense. (However, even under Rousseff, “anti-terrorism” were passed that curtailed freedom of speech, assembly, and protest, and her reforms were mostly neoliberal in nature.) Why can’t humanity see the people in power are the problem, not common, struggling people? Why can’t we govern ourselves and stop seeing the world as a collection of resources to be exploited? It seems as if what appeals to people most about far-right figures such as those mentioned is that they claim to be against the ruling class as Trump did but somehow people fail to see how they are the ruling class, just a brash and blunt portion of it less concerned with appealing to liberals.

Perhaps a sense of defeatism has permeated the voting public. We know that whether politicians claim to be leftists or conservatives, their policies are essentially the same. They serve the rich and exploit the working class, minorities, and the natural world for financial gain. Perhaps the appeal of these right-wing demagogues is that they don’t pretend to care like more “liberal” politicians. They are slightly more honest about the fact that these policies are fueled by their own prejudices, hate, and greed and they are unapologetic about it. But voting for these people just because they are relatively more authentic is insanity. We don’t have to vote for anyone. We can govern ourselves. We outnumber these parasitical politicians and it only takes a critical mass of people willing to resist and fight back to bring it all crashing down.

Bolsonaro has been called the Trump of the Tropics but he is worse because Brazil already has more ubiquitous police brutality and it has much more to lose in terms of its priceless biodiversity and indigenous populations. Amazon is home to 50% of the animal and plant species on the planet and it sequesters 2.2 billion tons of carbon in the atmosphere.26 It is often called the “lungs of the planet” for this reason. It is barely holding Earth together, and this parasite wants to destroy it along with the indigenous peoples safeguarding it for his own short-term gain. A brave attempt was made on Bolsonaro’s life by Adélio Bispo de Oliveira but unfortunately he didn’t succeed. Such actions may be the the only way to stop this lunatic.

I hope for the sake of the natural world that working class Brazilians, minorities, and indigenous peoples of Brazil can see past their differences and band together to repel Bolsonaro’s attacks on the Amazon and vulnerable, marginalized Brazilians. Of course, Bolsonaro is only a symptom of the much larger problems of global capitalism and the state. Ending Bolsonaro would only cure a symptom. Capitalism in all its forms and state must be attacked and that can be done by attacking extractive industries in Brazil. Logging, mining, and hydroelectric infrastructure and equipment there ought to be sabotaged, along with palm oil plantations and unsustainable, massive cattle ranches that only exist because large swaths of forests have been clear cut. And hopefully the rest of humankind can learn from indigenous peoples and adopt their far more sustainable ways of living in harmony with nature before it’s too late.

A. Goldstein is an ecoanarchist author, conservationist, and organic permaculturist passionate about indigenous rights. You can read more of his work at his website ToolsofControl.com

1 Folha SP: URU-EU-WAU-WAU: Terra indígena é invadida por grileiros em Rondônia. 01/13/19. http://rondoniaovivo.com/geral/noticia/2019/01/13/uru-eu-wau-wau-terra-indigena-e-invadida-por-grileiros-em-rondonia.html
2CULTURAL SURVIVAL STANDS IN SOLIDARITY WITH INDIGENOUS PEOPLES OF BRAZIL. 10/30/18. https://www.culturalsurvival.org/news/cultural-survival-stands-solidarity-indigenous-peoples-brazil
3Vijay Prashad: Bolsonaro of Brazil: Slayer of the Amazon. 11/3/18. Salon. https://www.salon.com/2018/11/03/Bolsonaro-of-brazil-slayer-of-the-amazon_partner/
4Vijay Prashad: Bolsonaro of Brazil: Slayer of the Amazon. 11/3/18. Salon. https://www.salon.com/2018/11/03/Bolsonaro-of-brazil-slayer-of-the-amazon_partner/
5Ricardo Brito: Brazil’s Bolsonaro plans more power plants in the Amazon: adviser. 10/21/18. Reuters. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-brazil-election/brazils-Bolsonaro-plans-more-power-plants-in-the-amazon-adviser-idUSKCN1ML288
8Julio Jacobo Waiselfisz, et. al: OS JOVENS DO BRASIL. Mapa da Violência 2014. Secretaria-Geral da Presidência da República Secretaria Nacional de Juventude Secretaria de Políticas de Promoção da Igualdade Racial. page 35. Tabela 3.1.1. <<www.mapadaviolencia.org.br/pdf2014/Mapa2014_JovensBrasil.pdf>>
9Anistia Internacional Brasil: You Killed My Son: Homicides by military police in the city of Rio de Janeiro. Praça São Salvador, 2015. Page 8. <<https://www.amnesty.org/download/Documents/AMR1920682015ENGLISH.PDF>>
10PEDRO HENRIQUE LEAL Bolsonaro and the Brazilian far right. April 24 2017. https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/pedro-henrique-leal/Bolsonaro-and-brazilian-far-right.
11Raphael Ahren: Israel hails election of Brazil’s controversial Bolsonaro, who plans visit soon. 10/29/18. Times of Israel. https://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-hails-election-of-brazils-controversial-Bolsonaro-who-plans-visit/
12Bolsonaro: “prefiro filho morto em acidente a um homossexual”. June 8 2011. Terra. noticias.terra.com.br/brasil/Bolsonaro-quotprefiro-filho-morto-em-acidente-a-um-homossexualquot,cf89cc00a90ea310VgnCLD200000bbcceb0aRCRD.html
13LEILA SUWWAN: Apoio de FHC à união gay causa protestos. May 19 2002. https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/fsp/cotidian/ff1905200210.htm
14Palmada muda filho “gayzinho”, declara deputado federal. Folha de S. Paulo. 11/26/10. https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/fsp/cotidian/ff2611201025.htm
15 Michael Stone: Brazil’s Christian Fascist Bolsonaro Takes Office, Sets Stage For Genocide Of Non-Christians. 01/04/19. https://www.patheos.com/blogs/progressivesecularhumanist/2019/01/brazils-christian-fascist-bolsonaro-takes-office-sets-stage-for-genocide-of-non-christians/?fbclid=IwAR0Rh7Waa6DzwmyhqsHQAzrEqeJd9Jseg82gdI-HOEsH7opuxKsMqyHRIvE
16Julia Conley: Bolsonaro Unveils Mass Privatization Plan for Brazil While Slashing Taxes for Rich and Wages for Poor. 01/04/19. Common Dreams. https://www.commondreams.org/news/2019/01/04/Bolsonaro-unveils-mass-privatization-plan-brazil-while-slashing-taxes-rich-and-wages
17PEDRO HENRIQUE LEAL Bolsonaro and the Brazilian far right. April 24 2017. https://www.opendemocracy.net/democraciaabierta/pedro-henrique-leal/Bolsonaro-and-brazilian-far-right.
18BBC: Jair Bolsonaro: Brazil’s firebrand leader dubbed the Trump of the Tropics. BBC. October 29 2018. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45746013
19Daniel Wilkinson: No Justice for Horrors of Brazil’s Military Dictatorship 50 Years On. HRW. 12/13/18. https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/12/13/no-justice-horrors-brazils-military-dictatorship-50-years
20James Brooke: Conversations/Jair Bolsonaro; A Soldier Turned Politician Wants To Give Brazil Back to Army Rule. July 25, 1993. NYT. https://www.nytimes.com/1993/07/25/weekinreview/conversations-jair-Bolsonaro-soldier-turned-politician-wants-give-brazil-back.html
21Jovem Pan: Defensor da Ditadura, Jair Bolsonaro reforça frase polêmica: “o erro foi torturar e não matar” 8/7/16.
22Bolsonaro’s facebook post: https://m.facebook.com/jairmessias.Bolsonaro/photos/a.213527478796246.1073741826.211857482296579/546694672146190?locale2=pt_BR
23Ana Pompeu: The polemics of Jair Bolsonaro. 08/05/17. https://congressoemfoco.uol.com.br/especial/noticias/as-frases-polemicas-de-jair-Bolsonaro/
24RANIER BRAGON: Congressman Bolsonaro Defended New Military Coup in the 1990s. 5/04/18. Folha De S. Paulo. https://www1.folha.uol.com.br/internacional/en/brazil/2018/06/1970871-congressman-Bolsonaro-defended-new-military-coup-in-the-1990s.shtml
25 Even Marie Le Pen told the press she thinks most of Bolsonaro’s comments are “horrendous and offensive”.
26 Becky Oskin: Amazon Rainforest Breathes In More Than It Breathes Out. 3/20/15. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/44235-amazon-rainforest-carbon-cycle-measured.html

3- Save the Mattole ancient forest

By Olea

Last Spring, Slingshot published an article about the 20-year-strong campaign to defend beautiful old growth mixed forest in the Mattole watershed. The Mattole is a wild, undammed river running through steep, seismically active terrain on Northern California’s Lost Coast. Its forests capture coastal fog and rain, a vital lifeline to protected Coast Redwood groves that lie just to the east. At the headwaters of the North Fork of the Mattole lies Rainbow Ridge, home to endangered Pacific fisher, Coho salmon, golden eagle, Northern spotted owl, rare medicinal Agarikon mushroom, and thousands of acres of unlogged forest owned by Humboldt Redwood Company (HRC). For years, forest defenders have used non-violent direct action tactics — road blockades, tree sits, and getting in the way on the ground — to hinder logging operations on Rainbow Ridge. Due to resistance, HRC backed out of two thirds of their logging plans in 2016, but 275 acres remain on the chopping block.

In the late Spring, an outpouring of public opposition caused HRC to cancel a proposed road that would have cut right through a fragile meadow and a grove of old growth bay trees (see Slingshot #127). On summer solstice, Mattole defenders raised a tripod on the only road into Long Ridge, cutting off road access to the active timber harvest units. The tripod was up for one month before HRC hired private security company Lear Asset Management to raid the blockade in July. Military-style contractors moved in early in the morning, brandishing tasers and tackling and arresting blockaders. They shook lifelines and spent nights blasting music and training spotlights on a blockader hanging high in the air. After four days of this, the CEO of HRC ordered their security to catch and detain all forest defenders. One person was caught and arrested while another was able to escape. The blockade was dismantled, and security kept a constant presence on the ridge for the next four months. An outpouring of public support followed the raid, including protests at the company gate and offices, and later a week of action. During an action where protestors blocked traffic at HRC’s mill in Scotia, a logging truck rammed through a banner being held by protestors, barely missing several people. Supporters expected the worst — for HRC to start work immediately once they dismantled the blockade. However, shortly after the raid, the nonprofit Lost Coast League (LCL)  filed a grievance with the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) that certifies HRC’s lumber as “sustainable”, triggering an FSC audit. HRC is concerned with maintaining a “green” image because FSC-certified lumber garners a higher price, and they are under a great deal of pressure from FSC, Home Depot (a major client of theirs), and local groups including LCL. HRC didn’t log on Rainbow Ridge for the rest of 2018. The company is currently at least 8 years behind schedule on their harvest plans due to resistance. Direct action PLUS public pressure gets the goods!

The vast majority of Rainbow Ridge is under HRC ownership, but a few parcels belong to timber giant Sierra Pacific Industries (SPI). Though focused on HRC, the blockade had also been keeping SPI from accessing their units. However, in November, SPI started work on Long Ridge, clear cutting 20 acres of a 40 acre unit. In a last minute action, a tree sit was set up and roads were blocked with slash piles. For days, over a dozen forest defenders were on the ground, engaging with loggers and keeping trucks from removing some of the cut logs. With wet weather approaching, SPI eventually gave up, abandoning the rest of the logs.

For the past few months, Rainbow Ridge has been quiet. Forestry regulations prohibit use of large machinery while the soil is saturated with rain. However, it has been a dry winter, and HRC could cut at any time and use herbicides during dry spells. In fact, because hardwood trees are most susceptible to herbicide when they are coming out of dormancy, spring is the preferred time to apply herbicides — which on Rainbow includes glyphosate, a.k.a. Roundup. Forest defenders continue to survey the area, monitoring company activity and scouting for unknown patches of old growth.

Flagging was spotted recently at the south end of Rainbow Ridge, around the Rattlesnake Creek tributary of the Mattole. A timber harvest plan has yet to be filed for this area, but the flagged area is huge and includes ancient trees and beautiful springs.

The 2019 logging season promises to be hectic. Because one of HRC’s active timber harvest plans is set to expire this September, the company will surely want to get work done. The precedent they set last summer of employing private security only ups the ante. The forest defense season will kick off with a training/action camp March 15-20 in the Mattole watershed. Come to camp to learn and connect, or even to stay — individuals and groups are needed to come hike, climb, survey, and scout.

Contact efhum@riseup.net and follow on instagram @blockade.babes

3- Criminalizing the Heart and the brutal logic of border enforcement

By dov

There has been some publicity in the main stream press about the desperate plight of migrants crossing into the US from Mexico but much of it has been drowned out by discussions of “the wall”. These migrants have been increasingly funneled into the Arizona desert as the budget for ICE and the Border Patrol has ballooned and the safer routes north have become militarized. Many people crossing the vast Arizona desert become separated from the groups they’re traveling with, scattered by the border patrol or abandoned by their coyote guides. Without food and water and a clear idea of where they’re heading many of these people are condemned to die of exposure. The exact number of deaths is unknown but somewhere between 6000 and 10,000 people have died crossing the US/Mexico border in the last 25 years with the annual rate rising sharply under the harsher enforcement policies of Presidents Bush, Obama and Trump.

Several community organizations have tried to do something to challenge government policy, most notably No More Deaths. Based in Tucson, No More Deaths supplies food, water and medical attention to migrants lost in the desert and seeks to draw public attention to the plight of migrants and the abuses of the US border patrol.

On 1/17/19, 4 activists with No More Deaths were found guilty in federal court on multiple charges including entering a national wildlife refuge area without a permit and littering on public lands. The litter cited are the jugs of water and cans of beans that No More Deaths leave in the desert to aid those who are lost and have become hungry, thirsty and disoriented. These 4 activists are awaiting their sentencing hearing and are facing up to a year in prison along with steep fines. More trials for NMD activists are coming this spring as the government seeks to silence any opposition to it’s homicidal policies at the border.

No More Deaths is in desperate need of financial and moral support as it fights to exposed the crimes of the US government and to awaken the conscience of the American people.

You can learn more and find out how to get involved at http://nomoredeaths.org

Calendar (Play Dates)

February 17 • noon – 5 pm FREE ALL AGES

Dear diary zine fest – Humanist Hall 390 27th St., Oakland CA

February 26 • 5:30 – 8 pm

El Rio Best of the (film) Fest Fundraiser – outdoor screening of short films – $20 donation 3158 Mission St SF

February 27 • 6:45 FREE ALL AGES

Panel Discussion of People’s Park, Berkeley – gather at UC Berkeley Sproul Steps (Biko Plaza / Mario Savio Steps)- peoplespark.org

March 3 • 10:30 am – 12:30 pm

Marx’s Das Kapital discussion group – 1st Sunday of each month

6501 Telegraph Ave. Oakland icssmarx.org


International Women’s Day

March 8 – 8 pm FREE ALL AGES

East Bay Bike Party – at a BART station to be announced

March 9 • 6 am – midnight

KPFA celebrates International Women’s Day with special programming for 18 hours. Tune in to 94.1FM or kpfa.org

March 10 • 7 pm FREE ALL AGES

Party for 31 years of Slingshot publishing – Long Haul – 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley slingshotcollective.org

March 9 • 11 am

World Naked Bike Ride SF Ferry building

March 16

Omaha Zine Fest omahazinefest.org

March 16 – 20

Forest defense training camp in the Mattole watershed, CA (see page 3) efhum@riseup.net

March 17 • 7 pm

Slingshot article brainstorm & new volunteer meeting to kick-off work on issue #129 – 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley

March 23 • 7:30 – 10:30

Annual Anniversary Gala for Oscar Grant Foundation Oakland oscargrantfoundation.org

March 27 • 7:30

Shaping SF public talk: Sea level rise: Pacific ocean and the Bay Area 518 Valencia St. SF shapingsf.org/public-talks

March 31

NYC Feminist Zine Fest feministzinefestnyc.com

April 6 – 7

New Orleans Comics and Zine Fest nocazfest.com

April 6 – 3 pm

Article deadline for Slingshot issue #129 – 3124 Shattuck Ave Berkeley slingshotcollective.org

April 6

Milwaukee Zine Fest binderymke.com/milwaukeezinefest

April 7 • 2 pm FREE ALL AGES

50th Anniversary People’s Park Exhibition Berkeley History Center 1931 Center St. Berkeley berkeleyhistoricalsociety.org

April 13 11am-5pm

Liverpool Anarchist Bookfair 1 Great George St.

April 13 • 1 pm

50th Anniversary of People’s Park concert / event East of Telegraph Ave btw Haste & Dwight, Berkeley peoplespark.org


Extinction Rebellion International Rebellion Week – demand decisive action on climate change http:/rebellion.earth

April 28 • 1 pm

50th Anniversary of People’s Park concert / event peoplespark.org

May 1


May 16 – 18

Chicago Zine Fest

May 22 • 7:30

Shaping SF public talk: Local ecological justice and urbanity 518 Valencia St. SF shapingsf.org/public-talks

May 25 – 26 • 10 – 5 FREE ALL AGES

Montreal Anarchist Bookfair – 2515 rue Delisle and 2450 rue Workman anarchistbookfair.ca

May 26

Los Angeles Zine Fest @ Helms Bakery

June 7 – 8 FREE ALL AGES

New York Anarchist Book Fair – 55 Washington Square South anarchistbookfair.net

June 8

Zinecinatti Cincinnati, OH zinecinnati.com

June 14 – 17

Fight Toxic Prisons national convergence Gainesville, FL fighttoxicprisons.org,

June 23

Denver Zine Fest denverzinelibrary.org

October 25 – 27

Olympia Zine Fest olympiazinefest.org

2- Slingshot issue #129 Introduction

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

Much ado is made of the “Slingshot miracle”, the phenomenon where friends or strangers unexpectedly show up to help with layout right when we need them. This issue, what felt miraculous wasn’t the collective push to get layout work done – even though that was great – but that we were able to gather enough worthwhile articles to make an issue.

The high point of production was possibly the moment when two collective members, one of whom had just arrived in Berkeley visiting from Brazil, used a trash can to draw a perfect circle for their page (judge the results for yourself on page 19). Later on we enjoyed groundscored pizza.

It sometimes feels like our whole operation is made out of trash – we read articles on a couch salvaged from a collective house, print Slingshot logos on freebox t-shirts and then give them away, and paste up our pages on layout sheets discarded by another news-paper. Our paper is held together by melted wax that is dispensed by these old contraptions called waxers that no one uses or manufactures anymore. In the time it took us to produce this issue, two of our friends released cassette tapes (which most people now think of as trash) that are named after the trash island in the Pacific.

And to be fair, while some copies of Slingshot are read over and over, most copies probably end up recycled at best. So we are making trash out of trash. What will future humans and other animals have to remind them of this period of human history? Our trash!

The collective decided that the theme of this issue is climate chaos and ways to respond to it. We anticipate every subsequent issue being similarly themed, at least until our climate stabilizes, which very well may be beyond Slingshot’s lifetime. Mitigating and adapting to climate chaos is complicated and hard not just to act on but also to wrap our heads around. We welcome submissions from a variety of perspectives, exploring multiple ways of talking and thinking about and responding to this global crisis. We also welcome articles and art not directly related to the climate, since, after all, this is Berkeley, and “everything is connected, maaan.”

In keeping with our theme, we have decided to list the atmospheric concentration of CO2 on the cover of each issue starting with this one. There is a laundry list of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming, but CO2 is responsible for about 75% of the warming, so it is a good benchmark for global emissions. The figure is expressed in parts per million (ppm) and goes up and down seasonally about 10 PPM over the year.

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.

We’re a 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: Dov, Eggplant, Elke, Fern, Hannah, Isabel, Isabelle, Jesse, Karen, Kathleen, Korvin, Stuart, Talia 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 Sunday, March 17, 2019 at 7 pm at the Long Haul in Berkeley (see below.)

Article Deadline & Next Issue Date

Submit your articles for issue 129 by April 6, 2019 at 3 pm.

Volume 1, Number 128, Circulation 22,000

Printed February 1, 2019

Slingshot Newspaper

A publication of Long Haul

Office: 3124 Shattuck Avenue Berkeley CA 94705

Mailing: PO Box 3051, Berkeley, CA 94703

510-540-0751 slingshotcollective@protonmail.com

slingshotcollective.org • twitter @slingshotnews

Slingshot free stuff

We’ll send you a random assortment of back issues for the cost of postage. Send $4 for 2 lbs. Free if you’re an infoshop or library. slingshotcollective.org

Circulation information
Subscriptions to Slingshot 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.