a11 – Book review – Environmental melancholia

Psychoanalytic Demensions of Engagement

by Renee Lertzmen 

Review by Hayley

For those of us working hard to protect the environment, it is easy to become frustrated at the people who aren’t engaged. Don’t they realize what’s at stake? Why don’t they care more? In her book, Environmental Melancholia, environmental psychologist Renee Lertzman argues that many of these people do care, but their ability to act has been stifled by a deep, inchoate sense of loss and mourning. These people have become psychologically frozen when it comes to environmental action, and Lertzman argues that this frozenness is a completely natural human psychological phenomenon. As activists, it is important for us to see it as such, and avoid moralizing and judging people for it. If we are to help these people unlock their creative potential for action and become environmentally engaged, we have to get better at acknowledging the unconscious processes that prevent people from engaging—denial, projection, splitting, disavowal, and apathy. Only by helping these individuals name their loss and make public sense of their personal experiences of environmental degradation can we create a resilient environmental movement that harnesses the deep level of care that is already felt by a lot more people than we realize. 

a16 – Fall off the rat wheel (Calendar)

October 14 • 12-6pm

Atlanta Radical Bookfair, 101 Auburn Ave, NE, Atlanta, GA atlantaradicalbookfair.com

October 14 • 10am

Cassette Store Day – celebrate by making a mixtape

October 14 

Indigenous Peoples Day

October 18

Justice for Kayla Moore, pack the courts! Phillip Burton Federal Building, 450 Golden Gate Ave, SF, CA justiceformaylamoore.wordpress.com

October 21 • 8-4pm

Northwest Conference on Teaching for Social Justice, 2600 SW Thistle St., Seattle, WA nwtsj.org

October 21 • 7pm

Benefit for Survivors of Human Trafficking in India, (film screening & performance), Fellowship Hall, 1924 Cedar St, Berkeley, CA bfuu.org/events

October 20-22

Bioneers Conference, San Rafael, CA conference.bioneers.org

October 27 • 6pm

Halloween Critical Mass Bike Ride – Dress up! Justin Herman Plaza San Francisco sfcriticalmass.org

October 28 • 10-7pm

Los Angeles Anarchist Bookfair, Leimert Park Plaza la.anarchistbookfair.com

October 28

London Anarchist Bookfair, Park View School, Green Road, London anarchistbookfair.org.uk

October 28 • 7pm

Roundtable Discussion on Anarchist Video Activism @ Omni Commons, 4799 Shattuck Ave, Oakland, CA omnicommons.org, ntaflof

November 3-5

Left Coast Forum 2017: State of the Struggle, 400 West Washington Blvd, Los Angeles, CA leftforum.org

November 10 • 8pm

East Bay Bike Party 

November 11-12

Boston Anarchist Bookfair, 775 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA bostonanarchistbookfair.org

November 12 •12-7pm

Philly Zine Fest facebook.com/phillyzinefest

November 13 •1-8pm

SF Punk-Metal Flea Market, The DNA Lounge, 375 11th st, SF CA 

November 15 •7:30pm

Anti Police-Terror Project (APTP) Meeting, Eastside Arts Alliance, 2277 International Blvd, Oakland, CA antipoliceterrorismproject.org

November 19 •10-6pm

Howard Zinn Radical Bookfair, San Francisco City College, Mission Campus, SF CA howardzinnbookfair.com

November 24


December 10 • 7pm

Slingshot New Volunteer Meeting, Long Haul Infoshop, 3124 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley, CA

December 16-17 

Punk Rock Flea Market, 1901 59th St Philly PA

December 17-18

KPFA Winter Craft Fair, 1414 Harbour Way S., Richmond, CA kpfa.org/craftsfair

January 13 •3pm

Article submission deadline for Slingshot issue 126 to slingshotcollective@protonmail.com

a15 – The Slingshot organizer app is here

Slingshot is pleased to announce the release of a Slingshot organizer smart phone app. It’s a calendar app with hand-drawn art, menstrual calendar and the radical historical dates that appear in the paper version of the organizer. If you click on the historical date, you can see all the dates we have in our list — up to 20 events for each day. The app syncs with your google calendar so all dates added in the app or in your google calendar will appear in the other automatically. The menstrual calendar in the app has a graphical predictive feature. The app is free with a donate button.

We hope you’ll try the app and if you like it, tell your friends. It seems like on-line things like the app get spread and popularized on-line, which poses a problem for Slingshot since we don’t have much of any on-line presence, so we leave it to our readers to help. Many people have approached us over the years and told us they previously used the paper organizer, but then they started using their phone calendar. We hope some of those folks will give the app a try. 

In our wildest dreams, the app will help get radical information beyond our comfort zone and the activist ghettos based in big cities, college towns, and the coasts. Maybe it can get some Emma Goldman and IWW dates out to folks who’ve never seen the paper Organizer, or who don’t find it practical to use anymore. 

We’re going to keep publishing the organizer on paper, because the paper calendar has different uses than an app. We decided to make the app a few years ago and it ended up being harder than expected to make the app a reality. 

The app is a work-in-progress, and we expect we’ll find some bugs and perhaps upgrade or adjust it over the next year or so. Please send us your questions, comments or suggestions. Currently, the app only works on Android phones, and a big question is whether we should invest additional resources to make an iphone version. We don’t have an iphone programmer so if you know how to program apps for the iphone and want to help, let us know. To download it, go to the google play store and search “slingshot organizer.” 

a15 – Radness is your radius

Compiled by Jesse D. Palmer

As usual, as soon as we took the 2018 Slingshot organizer to the printing press, folks started emailing us with updates and additions to the contact list. Let us know if you see things we should correct or add. Due to computer problems, we have been unable to update the on-line contact list (or even fix an error that eliminated all of Europe) for the last 6 months. We hope this will be fixed soon. The new website is slingshotcollective.org. 

The Aquadome – Kirksville, MO

A volunteer-run DIY venue and art space that hosts events. “It is, unfortunately, not a water park.”  120 S Main St, Kirksville, MO 63501

Aboveground Zine Library – New Orleans, LA 

They were closed for 6 years and now they have a new location at a radical / self help bookstore and flower shop (!) that has been nice to lend them some space. Open Wed-Sat 11-7 pm and Sun 11-5 pm closed Mon and Tues. c/o Rubber Library 3240 Dauphine St. New Orleans, LA 70117, 504-945-4662. 

Appalshop/Boone Youth Drop-In Center – Whitesburg, KY 

A non-profit arts and media project in the heart of the Appalachian coalfields. They have video training facilities, a community radio station, a 150-seat theater and an art gallery space that hosts community projects. 91 Madison Ave, Whitesburg, KY 41858 606-633-0108 appalshop.org

The Plantory – Lexington, KY 

A coworking space that rents work and meeting spaces to various non-profits. Our contact recommended it so if you visit, let us know what you think. 501 W 6th St Suite 250, Lexington, KY 40508 859-255-6999 plantory.org 

Good Life Center – Harborside, ME

A five acre homestead farm that promotes “simple and sustainable living skills, social and economic justice, organic gardening and the non-exploitation of animals.” It was the home of Helen & Scott Nearing who promoted sustainable living starting in the 1930s.  Someone suggested we include this in the contact list and it’s hard to know if it is a good fit – it is part museum and they host some educational projects. Let us know what you think. 372 Harborside Rd.Harborside, Maine, 04642 goodlife.org 

Diggers Books & Zines – Prince Edward County, ON, Canada

They sell books and zines on radical topics and they host events. 2569 County Rd. 13, Prince Edward County, ON, K0K 2T0, Canada 613-920-4914, diggersbookshop.wordpress.com

Andrými – Reykjavik, Iceland

A new radical social center. Iðnó Vonastræti 3 Reykjavik, Iceland, andrymi.org 

Updates to the 2018 Organizer and news bits

• The Che Cafe in San Diego – which had been in an epic battle for survival with the University of California – won and now has a stable lease!

• Peoples’ Action for Rights and community in Eureka, Calif. closed but left behind a super thoughtful communique about running a radical space amidst the horrors of capitalism. It will be included in the on-line version of this article. 

a13 – Many hands makes the work light

hoping you find at least one thought provoking sentence in every issue! Slingshot loves it the slow way, loves to do the hand job: writing, drawing, cutting, waxing, rolling, folding, putting the slingshots in envelopes, taking it to the post office on bike trailers…

We’re enjoying the collective(‘s) time together sharing our ideas, crazy thoughts and big questions while working together till the pages are all done and ready for the printer. That’s why we spend little time in front of the screen, that’s why it’s so hard to find us on the ‘other end’ of the screen: on your smartphone, tablet or computer, on social media…we started publishing in 1988, before the first website existed. Some of us think that computers and the internet won’t exist forever and we don’t want to lose our skills, want to stay independent from the system(s).

As a collective we still want to spend as little time as possible attached to the flickering box, and we’re also not good at it (guess why!). But we acknowledge that some of you are and you might even like it! Besides those of you that we meet on the streets (here is our limitation mainly to the Bay Area) we would love to reach as many active people as you out there in all possible ways into the farthest corners of the globe. Please help us! Please share the sentence, the article you like with your friends! Please make us more visible on the internet by posting a link in whatever computer platform you favor!

Every Slingshot issue you’ll find online at our websites slingshot.tao.ca or slingshotcollective.org – you can even dig deep down in our archive. Which social media (fb: slingshot collective; twitter: #slingshotnews) seems secure enough for you to chat with us, start a discussion, we would love that. …and if you want to retreat to our slow way we’re extremely happy to meet you in person in Berkeley at the Long Haul Infoshop!

a13 – Next year is coming – resist now

The 2018 Slingshot organizer is available now. By selling the organizer, we are able to print and give away this paper for free, so if you want to support the paper, please buy the organizer for yourself and as gifts. 

Because our costs went up we raised the wholesale price for the organizer — the first price increase in over 10 years. The way stuff works, we don’t set the retail prices, but they’ll be higher. Thanks for your understanding. If you can make it to the Long Haul Infoshop at 3124 Shattuck, Berkeley, you can purchase it at the old price. 

You can order the organizer on-line but if possible, please buy it from a brick and mortar store which helps support the many coops, infoshops and independent bookstores that sell the Organizer. If you know of a store in your area that might like to carry the organizer and/or the paper, let us know. We would like to meet them. 

The process to make the 2018 organizer was particularly fun this summer and we think it looks amazing. A number of people who we had never met before dropped by to make last-minute art and stayed until 2 am. Thanks to everyone who helps make the organizer lovely.

a12 – A challenge to bro culture in feminism

“The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power; cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both. Any attempt to “soften” the power of the oppressor in deference to the weakness of the oppressed almost always manifests itself in the form of false generosity […] In order to have the continued opportunity to express their “generosity,” the oppressors must perpetuate injustice as well. An unjust social order is the permanent fount of this “generosity” which is nourished by death, despair, and poverty. That is why the dispensers of false generosity become desperate at the slightest threat to its source”
-Paolo Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed  
Talking Feminism- some new ideas
by Dorian Commode  
This article is an exploration of the way those of us already invested in the destruction of patriarchy and gender create space to talk with and educate each other. It is not patriarchy 101, nor a proposal of specific solutions. In the tradition of popular education, I believe that the oppressed already contain enough information to assess and destroy our oppression, but that we must structure spaces in a way that such information is brought out in an actionable way.  
Patriarchy remains a structural element of global society. It is neither about to be destroyed by the class climbing of a few highly privileged women, nor the injustice system “locking up rapists,” nor by genderfucking. Every transperson and woman I know (and a significant amount of men) has experienced some combination of sexual assault or domestic violence, almost entirely at the hands of men. Following the logic of The Shock Doctrine, this near universal, continuous experience and helpless witnessing of torture primes us to think of ourselves as individuals in permanent conflict with “The World”, incapable of solidarity and unable to resist the ongoing waves of violence we experience on larger economic scales as well as the regular abuses and entitlements of men*. As I wrote this article, I was “mildly” sexually assaulted by someone in my community. Of course, he honestly wants to do what he can to be a good feminist, and I honestly believe him. The condition of privilege is that of ignorance — the easiest thing is to participate in oppression. It is not an outlier.
Of course this is urgent. It’s been urgent for 5000 years. Of course men* of conscience want to defect. Of course they don’t know how. “What should I read?” I don’t know. “Educate me.” Are you ready? Am I? Are we? To be educated as an oppressor is to be reduced from a position of power as the oppressed free themselves. Since when should the oppressed not have to educate the oppressor”? Who else will?  
While the quote above should be considered by all “allies,” the “oppressor” Freire referred to was not the privileged individual (man, white person, straight person, etc), but the economic ruling class. His “oppressed” are the economic/racial underclass. Men compose the majority of this ruling class, and are fused in a cross-class alliance with other men, most clearly within the Men’s Rights Movement which blames women, transpeople and queers for their (for poor/working class men, very real) disempowerment. If the privileged man* is not an oppressor, per se, what is strategy is left for common struggle? How will the privileged defect from their alliance with the oppressors? When must we struggle against them, and when can we struggle with them?  
Articles like this one tend to provoke resentment, defensiveness, or unthinking submission from privileged people. Are these responses the failing of the writer? Or the fault of the “fucked up” reader? This lack of connection between voice of oppressed and ear of privileged is simply that — one that hasn’t been made yet. To focus on the “fucked-upness” of individuals is to silently acknowledge that the best we can do is get a few people to act slightly better. We need them to, yes, and a lot more.  
The notions of declaring oneself a “male feminist ally” and forming a “feminist men’s group” (much like the whites-only anti-racist group) persist as “the” way to organize as aspiring feminist men. This is rather bizarre, considering that some prominent male feminists of the 70s ended up founding the Men’s Rights movement.** A group of privileged people, especially a group such as men, who are generally socialized to be competitive and uncommunicative, getting together in a “safe space” to talk about their privilege seems to me like an incubator for anti-feminist activity. Let me explain:  
What I’ve seen of organized feminist men’s groups, and in subculture that considers itself feminist is this: those men who are best at talking the feminist talk are elevated as “good men” who can be trusted, regardless of their actions. I’ve known male women’s and gender studies majors who refuse to wash their dishes, feminist queer men who mansplain abortion rights, macho bros who feel really righteous when they “kick rapists’ asses,” men who are so excited to use “bitch” again now that it’s ok if you attach “basic” or “white,” and on and on. At worst, I was around a men’s group organized by two (unacknowledged) male rapists. These guys were, of course, “good dudes.”  
This is what happens when talk is more important than walk, when someone can be considered an “Ally” as their static identity. Ally is a verb, something which must be done, not something to be. As long as we allow ourselves to fall into thinking that there are Good People and Bad People, rather than reacting to what people Actually Do, we will continue to be fooled by those who say all the right things and do all the wrong ones.  
The evolution of a caucus of privileged people into a reactionary group is predictable because it imitates the structure of mainstream society — a space in which privileged people are listened to, but worse because the rest of us aren’t even there to observe or react. If men* need a space to process the (very real) hurt they carry from patriarchy, it’s probably best that they do that within organically developed, trusting friendships with people of many genders. Within a group of men* discussing feminism, it’s unlikely that members have a high enough degree of vulnerability and trust with each other to avoid a competition to be “most feminist.” It seems like a set-up for men to feel good about themselves either by ascending to the top of the hierarchy of “good dudes” or to engage in indulgent self-punishment for being “bad” (hire a dominatrix, it’s simpler). to make
Women and transpeople make groups for ourselves because we don’t have spaces in mainstream society where we hear each other and see each other as valuable. These spaces have far more potential to transgress normal social relations. I say “potential” because women-only spaces are an essential part of maintaining patriarchy. The kitchen, the laundry, the servant’s quarters, the boarding school, the brothel,*** the finishing school, the female-dominated care industries, and the private discussions in which we discuss those most unpleasant things: abortions, yeast infections, rape, who to watch out for. Those things that men just shouldn’t have to think about. Women also enforce gender norms on each other in these spaces: discussing men, instructing each other how to act and look in order to please them, putting each other down for our gender transgressions.  
We need to change the way we relate within groups of oppressed people, too, and not assume that we are radical or feminist simply by getting together. Someone who experiences a certain type of oppression knows better than someone who doesn’t what that experience is like. What one does with that information varies.  
I think it would be more useful, as far as discussions go, to have mixed gender groups in which men* are actively obliged to both speak honestly and respect other’s ideas. Women and trans people in such groups must also transgress expectations to not upset or offend men, to actively name when men are being overbearing or disrespectful, and to name and discuss openly aired patriarchal ideas. We’d have to challenge ourselves to be radically unsafe in a group of people with whom we could feel (but never actually be) safe around. Conflict in such a space could easily be dismissed as “too hard to deal with” (for men who have the option of avoiding discussions of patriarchy), or as a product of the irreparable ignorance of the privileged. Or it could be avoided. Or it could be productive. 
We are not yet equipped for insurrection against patriarchy. Discussion groups, caucuses, and collective action make possible this insurrection by fusing the information we already have into something actionable, which then can be reanalyzed and turn into something even more effective. The discussion group is not an endpoint. What I’m proposing is the most challenging of actions- telling the truth to each other and ourselves, so that we might do something useful together. Maybe we will decide to try doing clinic defense again, become union organizers, get guns, learn to do abortions, infiltrate legal advocacy, opt for political homo- or asexuality. Who knows? We need to talk about it first.

*for brevity’s sake, I will use “men*” to refer to people who experience male privilege. AFAB (assigned female at birth) and AMAB are more descriptive terms than “men” and “women,” but I’m making the always debatable choice to use less accurate, more accessible language.

**There is some documentation of this available, some evidence is anecdotal. I have also witnessed the effects of an echo chamber of men talking about their experiences of oppression within patriarchy lead towards regressive, sexist conclusions.  

***Let’s not kid ourselves- patriarchy fully necessitates sex work/ers, it simply terrorizes them to keep them in line and to keep other women in their place- that is, performing obligatory sexual labor for free. The terror wrought upon transfeminine sex workers is an overlapping and equally charged topic worthy of its own article.

Note: This part doesn’t seem to fit into the rest of the article, could be a sidebar? possible titles: ally as a verb, feminism in action, how to “do” feminism

Feminism has given us the adage “the personal is political.” Meaning, in part, what you actually do is the truest indicator of what one will continue to do. Your actions are your politics. You can aspire to something different, sure, but what you do is what you believe is ok or necessary to do right now.  
— Listen to people, especially those who don’t get listened to as much as you do. When you think their experiences or complaints sound too bad to be true, ask yourself where that denial comes from. Get in their shoes. Part of female socialization is constantly putting oneself in other’s shoes, try doing the same so we can try staying in ours. When someone has a patriarchy-related problem ask if there’s something you can do, don’t be disappointed if there isn’t, do not try to be a primary actor in the “resolution” nor reneg on responsibility to act.
— Be nice to people. Assume that most people, especially those that experience oppression(s), have gone through some fucked up shit.  
— Seek validation outside of activism, that’s what good friends are for. Successes are few, and trying to “look busy” or be seen as a “good ally” rarely assists in strategic collective action.  
— Clean up after yourself. Seriously. It is a continual problem that men don’t clean up their shit, I assume this comes from a confidence that “someone” will come deal with the mess, or that the mess is “not a big deal.” The sense that someone will take care of you or that getting other people sick won’t impact you is an entitlement that most people don’t have. Oppression is always economic. One’s health and stuff is precious and costs money that is often hard earned. Yes, there are messy femmes, I live with them. It’s annoying but the political and social weight is just not the same.  
— Don’t participate in trends like calling women “basic bitches” or whatever. It’s still sexist. 
— Sexual tension is often used as a form of social control. Men have the option of using flirtation to insure themselves against being challenged, whether or not they are actually sexually interested in their subject, as femmes and women are less likely to compromise getting laid by being argumentative. It’s unacceptable to rely on being charming, sweet, or flirtatious as a way to avoid responsibility for ones actions.  
— Learn and practice feminist theory: Reading ideas and stories of women and transpeople is a great way for men to educate themselves without overburdening those people. Remember that this is not “self-education,” the writer did the work and is educating you, and someone had to make the reading list. That said, I’ve known plenty of men who’ve read all the right stuff and still act like sexist assholes. Why? Because they equate thinking with doing something. To be a true ally you cannot just do the homework — you must take what you’ve learned and actively apply it to your life, your behavior, your sex life. The future is unwritten, comrades.

a11 – Dangerous, alluring, meaningful – students on People’s Park and their role in its destruction

By Sam

The University of California Berkeley is very concerned about the housing problem the city faces, but not the one that immediately comes to mind. Apparently the school is about six thousand beds short and student homelessness has been on the rise (though so are student fees and chancellor saleries, but apparently that’s neither here nor there to them). The school has nine sites in mind as future student housing centers. Perhaps inspired by how many folks it currently houses, one of those sites is People’s Park, an area that the school technically owns, but has no control over. Originally a proposed spot for student housing in the fifties, the university lost funding and intrest and ceased construction. In 1969 there was a community effort to turn the area into a park, but the university abruptly demanded the space back. Clashes between people and police lead to rioting, police shootings that left one man dead, and a National Guard occupation of Berkeley, but in the end the people kept their park.

So my original idea for this article was to simply report on the university’s plan, but a thought occurred one day while lazing around on Telegraph, watching the students roll by: do any of these people care? I mean, it’s for them — people that will only be in Berkeley at most four years — that Cal is attempting to get rid of a spot loved by so many. How do they feel about that? As far as I can remember, I don’t ever recall seeing a student pass through the park. Why did they avoid it so much? With all of that in mind, I got a tape recorder decided to hit the streets for answers.

My initial approach — chasing kids down Telegraph with a microphone — yielded no results. It was pretty depressing how those kids eyed, or refused to eye, me. They seemed disturbed by the fact that someone they’d never met was smiling and saying “Hi” to them. I wondered if they assumed I was a panhandler, and then wondered if that, coupled with their reaction, had answered my question better than any interview could.

Finally a freshman agreed to talk to me. His thoughts on the park? “Not so great.” In regards to it’s possible destruction, he said that he’d indeed heard about it but had yet to form an opinion. “It would be nice for the students to have more housing options,” he added. Next was another freshman who actually lives right next to the park! He described it as a home for the homeless and “a place where a culture of hippiness is fostered.” Fair. Unfortunately, he was actually in favor of the proposed project, adding “it’s not like they won’t rehabilitate the people that have been displaced”. Quite baffled, I asked him if he really thought that the university was going to help out the homeless if they got rid of the park. “Uh, I’m not so familiar with the system yet; it’s only been one month here.” One month where, on this planet?!? Sheesh.

Next up was a Cal graduate named Edward, who said that he’d heard that “sometimes girls are afraid to go past it alone at night, but it hasn’t caused me problems so I’m cool with it.” He thinks that, while some renovations wouldn’t be too bad, overall he “[doesn’t] think they should build a complete housing unit [there]”, though he cynically added that “the guys with suits do whatever they want.” Good lord, conceding to authority? What are they teaching those kids there?!? Fortunately his friend Ivan, also a former Cal student, was a little more optimistic. “[The park] has a special vibe that you can’t find in other places,” says Ivan. “When my friends come over to Berkeley that go ‘Oh! That’s People’s Park!’ I think if there were just ordinary buildings there it would take out the uniqueness of the place. Even though it’s kind of sketchy and dangerous, I still find the allure of the place pretty meaningful.”

Dominique, a junior at UC Berkeley, said that “a lot of people say it’s a hole in the wall and they don’t wanna go there,” though personally he finds the patrons of the park “harmless for the most part”. When I asked him about the proposed project, he said “I know there’s a shortage of housing, and I know that the park isn’t liked very much, so I wouldn’t be surprised if it happened.” As for it’s historical significance, Dominique gave me one of the best understatements I’ve heard in a long while with “I know some people say it has some significance along with the Free Speech Movement and things like that.” These fucking kids, man. “I feel like eventually it’ll be taken down because of the need for housing.” Housing for the students or the homeless? After all, both are in need. Dominique shrugged and said “In this particular area [they] would prioritize students.” 

At this point, the sun started to go down and I knew I’d have to wrap up soon. I was still a bit dismayed. I’d succeeded in getting people to talk to me, but their answers gave me little to no hope. The fact was almost none of them cared about the park’s past, present or future. 

The last person I talked to was actually someone who turned me down before doubling back and saying “No wait that sounds cool.” Was he familiar with Slingshot? No. Did he attend UC? No, but he had grown up in Berkeley. Was he familiar with People’s Park? At this his eyes lit up, and I started to come out of my depressed haze. “[The park’s] history is so rich and just so fucking cool,” he excitedly exclaimed. Without my even bringing it up he added “It breaks my heart that they might turn it into student housing. That mural tells the whole story.” Awesome! So, maybe the students don’t care too much (or at all), but I think it’s safe to say that the defenders of the park have strength in numbers. Right? Right.

a11 – Book review: Being the change

BEING the change:

Live well and Spark a Climate Revolution by Peter Kalmus

Reviewed by elke

New Society Publishers $21.99 or read at the Long Haul Infoshop in Berkeley for free

This book is inspiring as it holds the mirror just in front of my face: We are the (climate) change! It talks about our common predicament and our millions of little ways of denial and escaping. It’s written by a fellow traveler in the middle of this industrial society, though he has to deal with the undeniable data and facts every day as a climate scientist.

Using very understandable language, he shares with us a critical view of how this data is processed in the culture/society.

The second part is the story of his gradual opting out to where he is now living using 1/10th of the fossil fuel of an average (ever rich) American (1/5th of the average German). Following his adventures on this path, the book explores and challenges his/our general mindset, his/our underlying beliefs and ideals, looking at it all that with one scientist’s eye and human eye. He attempts to find sense in the craziness, calling out the brokenness in the system and in us. It’s also a hands on instruction manual for living in a post-fossil fuel society, without ignoring the frequent and sometimes overwhelming questions and contradictions. I appreciate the 60 pages of source material for my own further research!

Why are we not fucking doing it? It’s right there! Peter Kalmus is not leaving us out of it, so Let’s fucking do it!! Let’s opt out of fossil fuels and everything connected: militarism, industrial society, separatism, and our death inducing imperial behavior towards the Earth.

Look forward to an interview with the author in our next issue.

a -10 Book review – The lamb will slaughter the lion

by Tom Doherty Associates


Review by Steve Brady

In The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion, Danielle hitchhikes to Freedom, Iowa, a ghost town settled by anarchy-punks. She’s searching for clues about her best friend’s mysterious suicide, and what Freedom might have to do with it. This community has all the pieces of a good idea but something is wrong—in the air, in the animals. Turns out their murderous demon has gone off-leash and rogue. And there’s a bigger and more dangerous problem: the usual squatter dysfunction and folly.

While Margaret Killjoy’s first novel, A Country of Ghosts, came out on her own label, this one is published by Tor, a leading sci-fi and fantasy publisher. Through speculative fiction, Margaret has found a way to bring her anarchist culture and ideas to a broad audience. Fortunately, she has a real talent for telling the punk-traveler experience.

Well, because so much written about the life is terrible. There’s so many bad zines, Kerouac-ism, and Evasion. All of this horror pales before what outsiders and poseurs write about us. Instead, Margaret Killjoy gets it right. She shows us as flawed and unpredictable, but beautiful and resourceful. This story is neither Lord of the Flies nor News From Nowhere. It’s about people who aren’t cut out for normal life living the only way they can. How amidst the ugliness and danger, that way of life is still worthwhile. 

All the details are authentic; even when I disagree with her traveling and self-defense advice, it’s still real and doesn’t make me gag. One thing I find tiresome about urban fantasy is the moment the normal characters find out magic, vampires, ghosts, etc. are real—it’s never convincing. But in this skilled portrayal of a culture where anything can happen, Danielle’s acceptance of the demon’s existence goes down flawlessly.

And Uleksi is an outstanding demon. He’s mysterious like Moby Dick, an archetypical symbol of something or other, but he’s also more than that. Killjoy gets what it means to be intelligent without being human. Uleksi’s actions make consistent sense, but his idea of what to do is alien to us. Uleksi seeks out those who have violated others, but that’s because it’s his nature, not morals.

Uleksi fits in well with the theme of justice in anarchist communities and societies, which was also a major theme of A Country of Ghosts. Outside the system just like within, no one quite knows the answers. Killjoy’s anarchist characters know they’re merely doing the best they can. They’re not amoral or dogmatic; they’re sincere, but just because justice is anarchist doesn’t make it pretty. 

To be vulnerable, Danielle’s lover reveals her weakness: “I fucking love trashy romance. The straighter the better. The worse the politics the better. I’ll just eat that shit up.” If this isn’t you, if you want a starkly unpredictable novel, that ignores gender conventions, with solid ambivalent politics, read The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion.