Letters

A shorter work-week in Ecotopia

Dear Slingshot:

With regard to a critique of my recently published articles, (see letters, issue #58) Jan Lundberg is to be commended for understanding that a saner society of the future would not work as many hours as we do at present. In spite of being on the right track in that regard, Lundberg claimed that I ‘believe in work, productivity, and everyone having plenty of stuff’, but the extent of my belief about productivity is that it is constantly increasing. The only condition under which I could be tempted to become a religious believer in productivity would be if constant gains were automatically compensated by instant reductions in the amount of time that we work, precisely in order to prevent over-exploitation of natural resources and the environment, exacerbation of class differences, explosive population growth, and to enable workers’ control and increasing freedom for producers of useful commodities and services.

In spite of my written record on these issues, I was amazed to find myself accused of ‘nudging people in a dangerous direction’, as though proceeding in the direction of less work, which we both believe in, were not good enough a reason for us to collaborate.

Fixing our problems with a new economic system to be known as ‘bioregional-based subsistence’ sounded wonderful to me, but, if the new economic system will be at all based upon changing property relations, there may be a hard row to hoe. If it took a Civil War to abolish as unpopular a form of property ownership as slavery, then enlisting the services of everyone whom Lundberg knows, or would like to know, may not suffice to change ownership of much else, so precious are the principles and privileges of private property to ‘the man on the street’.

Though exploiters would certainly like to see work-time maximized, the amount that we allow one another to work is not as absolute a principle as is property ownership. Until we adopt the philosophy that ‘too much work for me means too little work for my brothers and sisters’, we will remain in the grips of a dog-eat-dog philosophy of cutthroat competition that may have enabled societies of the past to prosper and triumph, but has since been superannuated by unprecedented levels of productivity, the result of which goes mainly to the rich. 98% of new wealth accrues to the upper 20%, while the lower 80% mindlessly ‘race each other to the bottom’ for bits of their measly 2% class share.

Billions of people all over the world feel as if no one gives a damn about anyone but themselves, because everyone is allowed to compete for scarce jobs. Remove this state of desolation by adopting reasonable measures to cut down on wasteful competition for jobs, and people will begin to give a damn, not only about themselves, but about everything else on the planet as well.

–Ken Ellis

What would Freud have to say?

What’s happening Slingshot collective:

Whenever I whip out my 1997 Slingshot Organizer, I get looks of envy from passersby. Sooo, to rid myself from wanton glaring and lecherous leers, except when I want to impress my coworkers with obvious (I pull out my 1997 Slingshot) organization capabilities, I want as many of those dang handy organizers as you can send.

Keep on lovin’

Martin Johnston

Refuse the California Police State

Dear Slingshot:

I just moved here. I went to the DMV to try to transfer my license from New York State to the Police State. First I was told that I needed a birth certificate. I called up my Dad and asked him to go to the town hall in Massachusetts (where he still lives) and get a copy of the record. He asked why, and I told him that I needed it to transfer my drivers license. Strange eh? So we both thought.

A week later I got the certified copy of the record of my distinguished birth. Sure enough, my birthday really was October 7. I then drove to the DMV (mind you, I’ve never had an accident or speeding ticket, or even parking ticket in my 15 years as a licensed driver). I jumped through the appropriate hoops, and got to the next to the last window, right before they are to take your photograph. Here is the sign Fingerprinting Mandatory. What the fuck?

I saw a whole line of dutiful citizens voluntarily lining up for their thumb printing. I took my completed application and told the woman at the desk I found it offensive they first wanted my birth certificate (to prove I was a citizen), but I sure as hell wasn’t giving them my finger prints. She was surprised to hear me, a non-threatening white female tell her I found this policy offensive. I said I’d have to think about it before I finished the process.

I asked the flip question how long before you start taking people’s blood? Don’t laugh, she said we might just start doing it. That made it very easy for me to make up my mind. I took my old trusty NY drivers license from the counter, and all my records and left the premises. I almost thought someone was going to prevent me from illegally leaving the building or something.

REFUSE to succumb to the Police State. I’ve been in CA for less than one month, and have had to refuse finger printing twice already, once at the DMV, once at my teaching job which also asked me to sign a loyalty oath. Pay attention to when your personal freedoms get slowly taken away. Soon you might forget you ever deserved them.

–Donna

Radio Free Allson Rocks Boston

Dear Slingshot

I’ve been a subscriber to Slingshot for about 5 years, I think, and it’s been well worth it. I am sending in my renewal soon (as soon as I get paid)….

Anyway, I wanted to tell you about our pirate/community radio station here in Boston. It’s called Radio Free Allston, and we broadcast four days a week, from 5 pm to 1 am at 106.1 fm. Our antenna should give us 20 watts, but mostly we get only 10, which gives us a broadcast radius of about 5 miles. We have news, public affairs, and music programming in five languages.

The difference between us and other pirates is that we are doing our best to involve everyone in the neighborhood, and we are broadcasting from right out in the open, figuratively and literally. Our regular home is in a gallery space in the Allston Mall, which is a collection of interesting small businesses – a vintage clothes shop, a movie store, (formerly a cool record store), a body piercing shop, and now us.

Every once in a while, we take the show on the road. We’ve done mobile broadcasts from a Homes Not Jails building takeover, a fundraising bike ride for a youth mentoring program, and a festival called Wake Up the Earth. At each one of these, we broadcast from a van with a huge Radio Free Allston banner on it, for maximum visibility. We have been written up in all the large and small newspapers in the area, and we were just featured on the evening news here in Boston. We have benefits for the station in the local clubs and our flyers are in all the record stores.

From what I’ve read of the stories of pirates who try to hide from the cops and the FCC, I like our strategy much better, although I probably wouldn’t be so brave if I were in it all by myself. At least this way, when the FCC comes knocking (heads), we will all be in the fight together, along with the people of the community.

I hope this info is useful to potential pirates, and I am very excited about all the micropower stations popping up all over the country. They’re starting so fast, no one can keep a complete list of them! Here’s a commercial for my show: I am known on-air as Tasty Aileen the Beauty Queen, and I host the Grrrly Show, which is by, about, and for the women who rock Boston. If anyone wants to write to me, or send me stuff to play, my address is: P.O. Box 2061, Jamaica Plain, MA 02130. I am also the new webmaster of our old site, which is here: http://www.tiac.net/users/error/radiofreeallston/ although it may be moving, so you might have to
search for it again.

Also, there is a fight going on in Cambridge, where they are trying to tear down a whole block of small businesses, including the Lucy Parsons Bookstore, and build, of all things, a hugeapartment building and a GAP! Please read about this effort and support it in any way you can – their website is here: http://www.worldmedia. com/madness/directtest/hnj4.htm or you can call the Save Central Square committee organizers John Bekken at (617) 783-4328 or George Salzman at (617) 547-5033.

Peace, Stacey.

p.s. Do you have any of those Slingshot organizers left? Here it is July, and I could really use one.

Inevitability of freedom

Greetings comrades of Long Haul,

I hope you are well and a continued spirit of struggle. As for me, I am well and confident of the inevitability of our freedom and our nation’s independence. Next year, July 25, 1898 will mark the 100th Anniversery of the imposition of U.S. colonial domination (of Puerto Rico). It is a time for action and concrete steps of international solidarity.

I would like to continue receiving your newspaper as well as news on our struggle.

In Struggle,

Edwin Cort├ęs P.O.W.