Trump Connection Makes American Fascists Dangerous

By Dan Siegel

“We are the Trump vanguard.” —Richard Spencer, white supremacist, anti-Semite and leader of the “identitarian” movement

There were “very fine people” on both sides in Charlottesville. —Donald Trump

Many progressives are still reluctant to take the fascist “alt-right” seriously. Others hope that if we just ignore them, they will go away. Their perspective seems to be that until the Nazi flag is flying from the White House, we can afford to ignore the threat posed by American fascists.

Successful struggles to increase the minimum wage and for full employment; for affordable housing; and for quality education and health care, including mental health and addiction treatment, will both advance the goals of the progressive movement and erode the attraction of the far right. We should not naively think we can transform the hard core fascists or their elite supporters, but a political movement that advances the interests of middle class, working class, and poor Americans can divide the fascist leadership from many potential supporters.

Mass protests on a variety of issues including women’s rights and gun control remain critical. Antifa (anti-fascist) activists have taken the lead in refusing to allow fascists to occupy public spaces in Boston, Berkeley and elsewhere. While everyone may not be willing or able to confront fascists in the streets, we should all respect antifa’s leadership.

Fascism is a growing threat in America, in part because it is expanding in numbers and violence, in part because it is linked to Donald Trump. A new report from the Southern Poverty Law Center counts 43 murders linked to the “alt-right” since 2014, 17 in 2017 alone.

A definition and some historical perspective are in order. When the Soviet Union was trying to build a worldwide coalition against fascism in the mid-1930s, it and its allies described fascism as “the open, terroristic rule of the most reactionary, most chauvinist wing of the ruling elite.” That definition works well to describe a fascist state, like Germany in 1935.

Fascism today is a social and political movement: (1) Pre-occupied with complaints of exclusion, impoverishment, and marginalization (They chanted “we will not be replaced by Jews” in Charlottesville.); (2) Obsessed with hatred for the people they blame for their decline—Blacks, feminists, Jews, Latino immigrants, queers, Muslims; (3) Violent; and (4) Supported financially and politically by factions among the “respectable” right-wing elites. Individuals like Richard Spencer try to bridge the social gap between the thuggish gangs and their better-dressed funders.

Fascism came to power suddenly and legally in a Europe facing many of the conditions America experiences today. Just as in Europe in the 1920s, economic decline has degraded the living standards of millions of working class families, and the country’s political institutions and elected leaders are hopelessly polarized and ineffective. Like the American far right today, fascists of the 1920s seemed marginal and even somewhat absurd.

The Fascist Party that Mussolini led had just a few hundred members prior to 1921 when it was invited to join the government. In 1922, as conditions in the country became more and more chaotic as a result of economic decline and political fragmentation, the fascists numbered in the tens of thousands, and King Victor Emmanuel invited Mussolini to form a government. By 1925 he had turned Italy into a one party, totalitarian state. And all this by a man whose “attitudes were highly theatrical, his opinions were contradictory, his facts were often wrong, and his attacks were frequently malicious and misdirected.” That statement could easily be written about Trump.

Hitler and the National Socialists were dismissed and ridiculed early in their rise to power. Before 1930, they received less than three percent of the vote in successive national elections. A few years later they grew exponentially, as the Great Depression drove millions of Germans into unemployment, poverty, and fear. Hitler was a powerful orator, who promised to restore Germany’s pride and prosperity. Sound familiar?

In 1933, German President Paul von Hindenburg appointed Hitler as chancellor. His legacy was the murder of six million Jews and hundreds of thousands of “social deviants,” 50-80 million dead in World War II.

Even before the rise of fascism in Europe, the United States experienced the rise of its homegrown, fascist movement, the Ku Klux Klan. Founded as a social club in Pulaski, Tennessee in 1866, the KKK quickly grew as a terrorist vehicle for whites fighting against their perceived displacement and frustration. The Klan’s growth in the South followed the end of the civil war during the Reconstruction period and the short-lived empowerment of newly freed African Americans.

No one seems to know precisely the extent of the carnage inflicted by the Klan, but few would dispute that its toll of murdered African Americans numbered in the tens of thousands. After a period of decline, the KKK expanded exponentially to at least four million members during the 1920s, including business people, preachers, and politicians in every state in America. The governor of Indiana was an open member. The Klan’s decline came at its own hand in a series of financial and other scandals.

But the KKK never disappeared. During the 1960s, Klan members committed the most notorious acts of violence against the civil rights movement. KKK and White Citizens Council member Byron De La Beckwith assassinated NAACP leader Medgar Evans on June 12, 1963 in Jackson, Mississippi. On September 15, 1963, four Klansmen planted at least 15 sticks of dynamite at the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, killing four young Black girls and injuring 22 others. On June 21, 1964, civil rights workers James Chaney, Michael Schwerner, and Andrew Goodman were arrested by police near Philadelphia, Mississippi, and then turned over to Klansmen, who beat and murdered them.

On November 3, 1979, Klansmen and Nazis, with the help of local and federal law enforcement officers, carried out an armed attack on an anti-Klan rally at a Greensboro, North Carolina public housing project shooting five people dead and wounding many more, some seriously. The victims had been carefully selected from the crowd —union leaders and community activists, most associated with the newly announced Communist Workers Party.

Donald Trump and the fascist right have supported each other since the early days of his campaign. Trump is easily the most racist president in US history, quite an accomplishment among a group including Andrew Jackson and Woodrow Wilson. Trump has never shied from racist rhetoric and action.

Along with his father Fred, who was arrested during a 1927 KKK demonstration that turned into a riot in Queens, New York, Trump and his building management company were sued by the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department for housing discrimination in 1973. Two years later, they entered into a consent decree with the government.

During his campaign for president, Trump refused to disavow the support of KKK leader David Duke and falsely claimed that he did not know who Duke was. But years earlier, Trump had refused to join Duke in the Reform Party.

Trump’s campaign for president escalated his practice of racist attacks. He may have been the last prominent American to promote the lie that Barack Obama was not born in the United States. He has viciously and persistently attacked Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and continues to make building a border wall his priority, a demand that plays well to his right-wing support. He panders to prejudice against Muslim people and seeks to bar immigration from countries with Muslim majorities. In one of his most overtly racist statements, he recently slandered Haiti and African nations as “shithole” countries.

Richard Spencer and his fascist allies welcome Trump’s support and act accordingly. The KKK, Nazis, and their partners openly proclaim their intent to kill Jews, Blacks, Muslims, and people from Latin America. Dylann Roof acknowledged his racist inspiration for the massacre of nine African Americans in a Bible study class at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina on June 17, 2015. Fascists stabbed at least seven people, most African Americans, at a rally in Sacramento in June 2016. Oregon white supremacist Jeremy Christian stabbed to death two men who stood up against his anti-Muslim hate speech towards two young women on a Portland light rail train on May 29, 2017. In Charlottesville on August 12, 2017, Nazi admirer and Vanguard America supporter James Alex Fields Jr. drove his car into a crowd of peaceful anti-fascist demonstrators, murdering Heather Heyer and injuring 20 others.

As Trump continues to unravel, his racist rants escalate. As his support diminishes, the far right remains his most loyal base. The history of the last several years makes it reasonable to predict that fascist violence will continue to grow.

The struggle to eliminate fascism as a political force in the United States will require a variety of strategies and tactics. The rise of fascism has an ideological or social basis in the tradition of “American Exceptionalism” and white supremacy. Its growth today also has a material basis in the declining incomes and opportunities for class mobility experienced by many sections of the white working class.

But complaints of exclusion, marginalization, and impoverishment made by whites attracted to fascist movements are not dissimilar from the complaints by people of color about their own conditions. Strategies for improving the living standards of all low income and working class people will impact the lives of many who are now attracted to Trump and his fascist allies, as demonstrated by the appeal of both Bernie Sanders and Trump in some working class communities during the 2016 election.

The American left cannot treat the anti-fascist struggle as just one of a number of competing single-issue concerns. Fascism represents the most extreme element of the reactionary forces seeking to block people’s struggles for social, racial, political, and economic justice. None of these struggles can succeed unless people unite to eliminate the threat of fascism in the United States.

Will clit envy cause the end of the world?

Inspired by Ladypants McGee

Written by H. Sabet

I don’t think I knew what the clit was until after I started having sex. Even now, much remains a mystery. Imagine realizing what your penis is after you’ve already been using it. Or smoking weed without ever inhaling and knowing what it feels like to get high. Before masturbating or having sex for the first time, I didn’t realize that the clit is the only organ that is dedicated solely to sexual pleasure. That it rivals the penis in size and has erectile tissue. With over 8,000 nerve endings, it contains more than double the number of nerves penises do. Best of all, the clit continues to grow. Not only during arousal, but also 4x its size by the age of 32. And 7x by menopause! (Tina C., “A Whole New Reason to Love Your Clit”)

It’s no coincidence that rad and glorious information about the clitoris is obscured in our society. For thousands of years, thanks to medical inaccuracies, moral objections, and the fact that most scientists, research subjects, and anatomists have historically had penises, precise charting and understanding of the clitoris remains tragically deficient. The significance of the clitoris has also been minimized because it does not have specific reproductive function. Its size is unrecognized because it’s inside.

Can people accept that people with clits not only have essentially the same size sex organs as cis-men, but they can also feel more, have the capability of reproducing, and of getting aroused discreetly without exposing ourselves or blowing our loads? My guess is that some people can’t—por ejemplo, our president/notmypresident.

Is it any coincidence that a man who endorses grabbing women by the pussy has a childlike, pathetically unhinged obsession with size, of always having the biggest and the best—My button is bigger than your button. Not. Even. Possible. The desire to control others’ bodies by asserting non-consensual and feigned dominance is one symptom of repressed envy, “a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.”(

What happens when this longing cannot be fulfilled? This inability to accept truth, inadequacies and verguenza leads to a funny thing called clit/pussy envy. And feeling green is the number one ingredient for making green. If he wants what they have but “bigger” and “better”, and will stop at nothing to gain the leverage he will never have, capitalism is working.

In our redhot sexist, heavily militarized cesspool of a society, nuclear weapons and gender have undisputable connections. Dr. Carol Cohn, who is the founding director of the Consortium on Gender, Security and Human Rights, built her career in the world of nuclear security policy, having worked at Rand, a US institution for nuclear strategy. In her research, she discovered two key things: that “nuclear strategic discourse is weirdly sexualized in a dominantly masculine way, and that the technical jargon of nuclear strategic discourse is a gendered discourse that leverages masculinized and feminized concepts to police what can be thought in nuclear policy.” Some terrifying examples of this include an ad for a “special bunker busting bomb, called a Kinetic Energy Penetrator, which included statements like ‘designed to maximize runway cratering by optimizing penetration dynamics and utilizing the most efficient warhead yet designed.’ Of this, Cohn says, “In case the symbolism of ‘cratering’; seems far-fetched, I must point out that I am not the first to see it. The French use the Mururoa Atoll in the South Pacific for their nuclear tests and assign a woman’s name to each of the craters they gouge out of the earth.” (Aaron Johnson, “Missile envy”)

Overcompensating for their lack of clitoral depth, the government continues to repress female and gender nonconforming sexuality, taking many steps to remove access to information as well as resources for reproductive and sexual health. Trump/#notmypresident has been trying to “cut Medicaid funding, which 13 million American women of reproductive age rely on for family planning, STI testing and treatment and pregnancy-related care. According to the Guttmacher Institute, Medicaid accounts for 75% of all public dollars spent on family planning in the U.S., which helped women avoid nearly two million unintended pregnancies in 2014.” (Maureen Shaw, “Trump’s budget is an unmitigated disaster for abortion rights and reproductive health”)

Not only is this lack of information disempowering sexual health for those with clits, it is empowering a systemic bully to repress female/gender nonconforming sexuality. Even Wikipedia tells us that cultural perceptions of the clit are significantly impacted by the lack of knowledge of the organ. Clits make people feel uncomfortable. Under ‘Weird News’ on Huffpost in 2013, an article titled “‘International Clitoris Awareness Week’ Takes Place May 6-12 (NSFW)” reveals a lot about our social psyche—‘NSFW’=Not Safe For Work. But you ask any teacher K-12 what they find drawn on desks and lockers more than anything else, I guarantee they will say penises. There’s even a comically popularized motion for jerking off a penis, used to mean an array of things. What’s the sign for getting off with a clit? Where’s all the whimsical clit graffiti? One’s relationship to the clit is not meant to even exist and especially not be glorified outside the realm of penis control. It’s a matter of power, of insecurity, of fear and fear-mongering.

So what can we do? For starters, I’d like to bring back International Clitoris Awareness Week, initially started by Clitoraid in 2013, as the first week of May. (This year would be May 6 – May 12th.) Clitoraid, a nonprofit that aims to offer free medical services for the physical restoration of Female Genital Mutilation victims, found that whenever something has an ‘awareness day,’ it makes it more comfortable to talk about. Take a week to celebrate the only organ designed purely for pleasure. Make a giant glittery clit to take to festivals and concerts for people to hug and call it a Glitoris (an artist named Amanda Palmer already did that for real). Draw your own clit and make a clit collage with your friends. Visit your local sex shop and get ideas for creatively treating yourself. Continue to serve your clit communities by supporting proactive sex education. Study a diagram of the clit and learn the names of all its parts to impress your coworkers or your special person [; Knowledge is power. And pussies are meant to riot.

Pipeline sentencing:  outlaws in robes

By The Pukulatamuj brigade of the Imaginary Anarchist Federation

On December 18th, 2017, two Canadian anarchist comrades were sentenced for their role in a 2015 direct action in which Enbridge’s Line 9 was shut down. Their affinity group accomplished this by physically closing a manual valve, thus proving that it was possible to safely shut down pipelines. This action, the first of its kind, inspired a wave of similar actions, including one in which 5 pipelines in 4 different states were shut down simultaneously.

At the sentencing, the judge gave the defendants a lecture. “You were convinced”, he said, “that it was correct”. He went on to compare the action with terrorist attacks such as Boston Marathon bombing and the Bataclan massacre in Paris, because all of these actions were ideologically motivated.

This judge is a representative of the very same Crown that has been responsible for atrocities much worse than the Boston Marathon bombing or the Bataclan massacre. The genocidal residential school system was presided over by many judges, and the human cost of this system has been much greater than the terrorist acts the judge cites. How dare you chastise our comrades, as if they were errant children, for disobeying your Law, when much greater atrocities have been committed by people using the Law as their weapon? It is your moral code, not ours, which is ill-conceived and naive.

You are old, and will not live to see the full extent of the coming cataclysm wrought by climate change and the crises it will precipitate. For those of us who must live with the consequences of your generation’s failure to address the ecological crisis, we cannot tolerate the rape of Mother Earth that Enbridge and their malignant ilk daily engage in. Would you rather that we wallow hopelessly and helplessly, watching the web of life upon which our survival depends deteriorate further and further? The political channels you would have us believe in have clearly proven their inability to address the planetary crisis.

In your inane lecture, you compared Frederick Brabant to Hitler, for the reason that they both believed in a cause. The election of Hitler was legal, the actions of those who protected Jews from the Holocaust was illegal. The actions of slave-owners who whipped slaves was legal, the Underground Railroad was some outlaw shit. The residential school system was legal, indigenous ceremonies were forbidden. It is an idiotic abasement of the human faculty for reasoning to equate lawful with right, and unlawful with wrong. The law, in every country, is created by its ruling class, according to the interests and inclinations of that class. What you are saying is, in effect, Might makes Right, and in doing so you place yourself in the spiritual company of the judges of countless oppressive regimes, who have legitimized terror and torture by upholding the Law.

There will come a day when the actions of water protectors will be seen in the same light as those who fought against slavery and imperial conquest in earlier generations. While we await that day, we will continue to fight in defense of Mother Earth, on behalf of future generations and all our relations, consequences be damned.

And make no mistake – our movement is growing. Those with their fingers on the pulse already know this – the rest of you will soon enough.

Stranded at the border:  caught in limbo in Tijuana

By Josef Dobraszczyk

The city of Tijuana in Mexico lies exactly on the border with the US, and from many points in the city there is a clear view of the wall stretching all the way across the hills. On one side a densely packed urban metropolis fills space as far as the eye can see, and on the other there lies a relatively untouched area of grassland interspersed with the occasional housing development. At the border crossing itself giant flags of each country are raised high above the buildings, visible for all to see while waiting in line to cross. On the San Diego side the wait to cross is rarely longer than half an hour, while on the Tijuana side it can be up to 3 hours going into the US (“the other side”, as the USA is colloquially called by everyone here). This is the most crossed border in the world, and you can feel the atmosphere of life as a border town on the streets of Tijuana, permeating into businesses, shops and markets.

In the last years, thousands of Haitian migrants arrived, traveling on the promise of work, based on the previous status offering legal asylum to enter the USA. With this status now changed however, they now find themselves stranded in limbo living in shelters that are often over-filled and under resourced.

Many of this community are highly skilled and educated, often having worked in a number of Latin American countries prior to Mexico, picking up various professions to work wherever possible and learning new languages along the way. In the wake of the cataclysmic 2010 hurricane that destroyed much of the country, many migrated to Brazil for readily available work during the successive World Cup and Olympics in 2012 and 2014. With a struggling economy and work drying up there, many felt no choice but to leave the country towards the US.

With the recent change to legal status for Haitians and an increasingly strict deportation policy taking shape in the US, Tijuana is now a place of limbo for thousands of Haitian people. “Many people are just waiting for something to happen in the US, for Trump to be killed or some major change to take place,” says Hugo Castro of the Border Angels organization. For the foreseeable future then, thousands of Haitian people are indefinitely living here, with no sign of a slowdown in new arrivals entering into shelters.

Charity groups are using the term ‘humanitarian crisis’ where government officials often seem unwilling to. Such groups are emphasizing the permanent nature of population change within the city, advocating greater efforts to include the marginalized Haitian community in Tijuana society. They accuse the Mexican government of failing to offer adequate support to those living in shelters, often relying largely on charitable donations or working in unregistered temporary labour.

One organization working with the shelters are the group Border Angels (Los Angeles de la Frontera), a cross-border effort based in Mexico and San Diego, with the US side primarily focused on fundraising, with the Tijuana side delivering these donations. There are three main members in the Tijuana team, working with a Haitian community of over four thousand (known) migrants in the city. The team regularly drive across the expansive urban area of Tijuana with food and supplies for shelters, including footballs, coloring books and children’s toys. Although some of the larger shelters possess a well developed infrastructure, many smaller shelters the group visit have poor access, without regular bus connections or paved roads in some cases, becoming almost inaccessible during periods of heavy rain. At one shelter the pastor explains how she built the wooden housing cabins, a lady in her 60’s, sometimes working alone in running the centre.

The Border Angels team walk around a shelter assessing some of their needs. Hugo Castro mentions the exposed wiring and multiple electrical connections scattered around. The conversation with pastors around the needs of the shelter is always impassioned, with both sides keenly aware of the financial and physical limitations of developing the shelters.

During the morning meeting at another shelter the discussion is centered on how food should be distributed for communal meals. It seems like an essential discussion in the life of a shelter, that always have sets of agreed rules displayed boldly on the wall regarding meal times and many other aspects of communal space. In the meeting, three men including the pastor stand at the front of the converted church speaking, with a translation from Spanish to Creole French. It seems like a rough and ready decision making process, with people often talking over each other and some walking out midway in frustration.

Most shelters housing the Haitian community are converted churches, led by pastors that have responded to the crisis by offering such spaces as housing for large numbers of people Before the large-scale migration of the Haitian community began in earnest during 2016, many pastors had little to no experience in running spaces set up like this, usually taking on these roles without any formal support. As a result, the internal organization in shelters is sometimes fragmented, with no government or centralized network co-ordinating needs across the city, where resources may be readily available.

When delivering donations, the Border Angels group make frequent use of social media, personally thanking individuals from the US who have recently donated to the group. Nearly all their interactions at the shelters are livestreamed, where much of the donations the group receive are sustained in large part by their social media connection to those in the US. Alongside essential supplies, these donations are used to fund new construction and housing projects. The response to the group is more hostile in one shelter however, as one young man plainly states “we are not monkeys here for you to come with a sack of rice to take pictures with. If you want to know how it is, come here and talk with us. It is a crisis, but there are lots of other things you can do to help”. It’s a frank and clear statement from someone now clearly accustomed to the wave of journalists currently flocking to Tijuana.

Undoubtedly civil society groups are overstretched and working relentlessly in response to the crisis, yet there seems to be a relationship of dependency that exists for many living in shelters. Speaking with people here the question asked is often if it is possible to help find a job. People are working hard to create a life here in Mexico, yet many are hampered by a lack of legal working status or adequate connections within the city. A wider working network with the Mexican community is still an issue for many, as people recount tales of their positive experiences working in Brazil, finding it easier to connect with society in general than here in Mexico. The charities are doing all they can to provide for people living in shelters, but many of the social barriers to life in the Mexican community are still firmly in place.

The Haitian community are not the only group feeling the effects of border policies here in Tijuana, with an increasing number of Mexican ‘deportandos’ out on the streets, often people raised in the USA, finding themselves suddenly deported and stranded in Tijuana, a city that can often feel unwelcoming and tense, very much a foreign country for those unaccustomed to the hustle of it all.

An organization working closely with these migrant communities is ‘Madres y Familias, Deportados en Acción’, quite literally a frontline service based out of a small office almost directly on the border crossing. The offices are open five days a week offering vital legal support for migrants but with a constant supply of coffee, food and phone charging space, it feels like more of a refuge or community centre than office. The project was set up by the tireless Maria Gallete, working as policy campaigner, legal adviser, part-time guidance counsellor and mother all in one.

The future is most definitely unwritten for Tijuana and the migrant communities across all of Mexico. It remains to be seen how the government, charities and civil society groups will work together, how the network of shelters will cope and adapt to increasing numbers, and how new communities will connect with each other in Tijuana and across Mexican border towns. It seems likely dramatic changes around migration on the border will continue under the Trump administration in the US, while the response from people in the US and Mexico has been just as strong in supporting independent groups looking to bridge the divide and support all those affected by the border.


Images by Alexandre Alfonso

El Banco:  Bilingual interview with Mexico City bank occupiers

By Renaldo Bellamy and Adelita Zero

This is the first part in a series of interviews of radical projects and struggles in Mexico. We are starting with our friends in El BANCO (acronym for Neighborhood with Art, Our Culture Organized), an ex-Bancomer (bank franchise) — now squat —that can be found in the municipality of Ecatepec; one of the marginalized neighborhoods on the outskirts of Mexico City where overpopulation, violence, and flooding are its most notorious aspects. In this complicated zone an incredibly horizontal, creative and solidary project has emerged that is looking to generate a change in its community.

Ésta es la primera parte de una serie de entrevistas de proyectos y luchas radicales en México.

Empezamos con nuestros amigos en el BANCO (El Barrio con Arte, Nuestra Cultura Organizada), un ex-Bancomer -ahora okupa- que se encuentra en el Municipio de Ecatepec, uno de los barrios marginales de la ciudad de México en el que la sobrepoblación, violencia e inundaciones son sus aspectos más notorios. En esta zona tan complicada ha surigdo un proyecto bastante horizantal, creativo y solidario que está buscando generar un cambio en su comunidad.

¿Cómo surgió el proyecto?

“Yo viviendo aquí desde que tengo 11 años … no había algo que te influienciara de alguna manera positiva por decirlo, entonces terminamos en situaciones difíciles. Es parte del proyecto, no? Empezar a generar raíces, porque si sabemos de dónde venimos, pues sabemos a dónde vamos. Es importante que en estos tiempos de capitalismo, donde todo es consumo y centros comerciales, pues existan este tipo de lugares aquí.

“De tantos años trabajando en la colonia, tuvimos la fuerza un día de ver el Banco deshabitado y decir, vamos a ocuparlo.” ~UnoConHambre

How did the project begin?

“Living here since I was 11 years old, there was nothing to influence you in a positive way so to say, so we ended up in difficult situations. Its part of the project, no? Begin to generate roots, because if we know where we come from, well we know where we are going. Its important in in these times of capitalism, where everything is consumption and shopping centers, that places like this exist here.

“From so many years working in this neighborhood, one day we had the strength to look at the bank uninhabited and say, lets occupy it.¨ ~UnoConHambre

¿De qué se trata el proyecto?

“El proyecto es rescatar el espacio para integrar a la comunidad mediante talleres, eventos culturales, además de que está en una zona muy conflictiva. De todo lo malo que existe aquí, sacar algo bueno mediante el compañerismo y la organización.” ~Samara

“Funciona como un faro, como un escenario, un lugar de exposición de otros proyectos; hay muchas formas de participar como en el huerto. Es un espacio que permite que sea una galería de arte donde hay una exposición que constantemente se cambia con artistas locales de gráfica, de pintura y escultura.” ~Lalo

What is the project about?

“The project is to rescue the space to integrate the community through workshops, cultural events, even with it being in a conflict zone. Of all the bad that exists here, bring out something good through companionship and organization.” ~Samara

“It works like a beacon, a stage, a place of exposition of other projects; there are many forms of participation, like in the garden. Its a space that allows itself to be an art gallery where there is an exposition that is constantly changing with local artists of visual arts, painting and sculpture.” ~Lalo

¿Cómo son las condiciones de la comunidad?

“Hay un montón de peligro, en todos lados, pero en Ecatepec más. Sabemos que matan a cuatro mujeres al día [en el Edo. Mex.] nada más por el simple hecho de ser mujer. Antes la cifra mayor era Ciudad Juárez, ahora pues se supone que le gana Ecatepec. Uno de los objetivos es podernos mirar a los ojos y hacer comunidad entre todos y conocernos y poder cambiar de cierta manera el lugar en donde vivimos. Alrededor de este espacio hay mucha delincuencia y hay muchos espacios abandonados, sigue mucha gente robando. En este espacio ya no se meten, tal vez porque conocen que hacemos cosas diferentes.” ~Dulce

How are the conditions in the community?

“There is a lot of danger, everywhere, but in Ecatepec there is more. We know they kill four women every day [in the State of Mex.] only because of the simple fact of being a woman. Before the higher number was in Ciudad Juárez, but now is supposedly in Ecatepec. One of the objectives is to be able to look in each other´s eyes and make community between all of us and to know one another and be able to change in some sort of way the place we live. Around this space there is a lot of crime and there are a lot of abandoned places, there are still a lot of people stealing. They don’t come inside this place anymore, maybe because they know we are doing different things.” ~Dulce

Cómo se organizan?

“Hacemos juntas en donde cada quien desde su área expone las necesidades de los proyectos que está teniendo y conforme a eso se hace un acuerdo de cómo se puede participar. Hay egos, conflictos, pero el deseo de prevalecer nos ha permitido escucharnos. Somos un grupo que trata de retroalimentarse uno del otro. Tres años no es mucho, pero se debe a que nos hemos escuchado y tenido paciencia.” ~Lalo

How do you organize?

“We have meetings where each from their area explains the needs of their project and according to this an agreement is made on how to participate. There are egos, conflicts, but the desire to persevere has permitted us to hear one another. We are a group that tries to give feedback to each other. Three years is not much, but it is owed to the fact that we have listened and had patience.” ~Lalo

¿Cómo se puede apoyar al proyecto?

“Viniendo, buscando talleres, difundiendo, trayendo una planta para el huerto. Hay muchas maneras de apoyar, pero sobre todo nos gustaría que vinieran y fuéramos compas, compartir algo y hacer comunidad; conocernos y seguir compartiendo el espacio, porque al final de cuentas si somos un grupo pequeño, queremos que crezca”. ~Dulce

How can someone help the project?

“Showing up. We are looking for workshops, spreading the word, bringing a plant for the garden. There are many ways to help, but overall we would like that people come and become friends, share something, make community; know each other and continue sharing the space, because at the end of the day we are a small group, we want to grow.” ~Dulce

¿Están involucrados con otros proyectos?

“Afortunadamente sí. Creemos que involucrarnos con otros proyectos va a permitir que nos fortalezcamos. El BANCO como tal, es una estructura vulnerable, es una okupa, estamos sin permiso de nadie y por las situaciones políticas y sociales ahorita estamos bien, después no sabemos. Las redes y el apoyo de otros espacios es lo que nos podría hacer el paro de que esto no se venga abajo.” ~Lalo

Are you involved with other projects?

“We believe that involving ourselves with other projects will permit us to become stronger. El BANCO as it is, is a vulnerable structure, its a squat, we have the permission of no one and because of the political and social situations now we are ok, later we don’t know. Social networks and the support of other spaces could be what keeps this place from going down.”

¿Qué problemas han encontrado y cómo lo solucionaron?

“Uno de los problemas era que la gente no se acercaba. La gente no sabe qué es una okupa pero es algo desconocido y ése es un gran problema, ¿Cómo haces que la gente pase a un banco en donde iba a meter dinero y ahora no tiene ese fin? Al contrario, en ese banco están regalando cosas y a lo mejor es así cómo lo hemos solucionado. Al principio venían nadamás gente de otros lados y la gente a la que está dirigida el espacio no estaba aquí; a los que queremos sacar de ese hoyo negro de la violencia, los asesinatos, las drogas, los robos. Lo hemos resuelto con actividades, obras de teatro, música, la gratiferia, salimos a repartir propaganda para que la gente venga.” ~Jakie y UnoConHambre

What problems have you encountered and how were they solved?

“One of the problems was that the people didn’t want to approach. They don’t know its a squat but its something unknown, and this is a big problem. How do you get the people to enter a bank where before you deposited money and now it does not have this purpose? The opposite, in this bank they are giving things away, and maybe this is how we have solved it, gifting. In the beginning the only people that came were from other places and the people that this space is directed to weren’t here; those that we wanted to take out of the black hole of violence, murders, drugs, robbery. We have resolved it with activities, plays, music, the freefair, we go out and distribute propaganda so the people will come.” ~Jakie y UnoConHambre

¿Qué planes tienen para el futuro?

“Al final, si tu logras que una persona salga de aquí con una mentalidad diferente, no va a importar que no esté el BANCO, esa persona va a salir y fundar un Banco en donde sea. Eso lo hemos hecho y lo hemos replicado varias veces y sabemos que es posible.” ~Pavel

What plans do you have for the future? “In the end, if you achieve that one person leaves here with a different mentality, it doesn’t matter if there is no BANCO, that person will go out and start a BANCO wherever. We have done it and we have replicated it multiple times and we know it is possible.” ~Pavel

Find them on facebook as BANCO / Encuéntralos en facebook como BANCO @ReventonCultural

Dear Joan:  tools for for building community processes to center the healing of rape victims

Dear Joan,

I’m writing to you from the underground music scene of a town that seems big, but is smaller than you’d think.

An individual in our community has admitted to raping three women. His friends all think he has paid enough of a price since he sometimes feels awkward going out. I am disappointed in the way this is being handled, as no one seems sure of what to do, and many want to pretend it is okay now. People still support the band he is in, still go to shows and play shows with him, praise him for his “honesty” in “admitting it” (even though he only admitted it after it became public), and insist he is getting better and deserves a second chance. A lot of this comes from some kind of strange pseudo-hippy “love”/”forgiveness”/”vibe”/”don’t judge” thing which is maybe the worst kind of liberalism? Either way no one is taking account of how supporting him is affecting the survivors.

One of the survivors had the courage to bring her rape out to the public, and that is how all of this became known. Now she has been basically ostracized by the community. Some have done it intentionally, because they think she is “crazy.” Others have done it as a matter of neglect – because they haven’t chosen a side. No one wants to choose a side. But I think that is irresponsible. What do you think?

I do not know the other two survivors, but one of them put posters all over town about what happened to her. She is scared for her life. None of them can access spaces he is in, and I want to change this. I want to form a group to begin opening up spaces for survivors by kindly removing rapists from them. Something has to be done to let survivors know they belong, and that this is their community too. I am deeply afraid that my friend and the other two women will leave our city and he will stay and it will all be forgotten about. I am also afraid he will rape again. He has continued to display predatory behavior. He still tries to get women drunk, and no one calls him out.

I have reached out to a lot of people here and formed a list of people I believe will be “allies,” but it is hard, because people think they are “allies” until the hard work comes, and then people suddenly want to pretend it’s a “both sides are to blame” thing. There are no “both sides” to rape. It is one side who is to blame. So I am building my ally list but I don’t know how effective that will be. Maybe I need to learn to communicate better, or choose allies carefully, and I am open to advice on that as well.

My hope is to get a group that will kindly clear space in venues and bars, and especially at shows, for survivors, by having “protectors” of some kind who will ask rapists to leave. I know other communities have groups that do similar things, but I am just researching this now and I know it is a hard ideal to achieve.

In Solidarity, A Little Less Yuck


Dear ALLY,

Thanks for writing in! I should say that I’m not any kind of certified authority on handling rape in community—here at Slingshot, we don’t believe in authorities—but I can certainly share with you my thoughts, and draw from the 15+ years of experience I’ve had dealing with rape, stalking, and sexual violence within community organizations, and also from my experience as a survivor of rape and as a co-counselor to rape victims. When I can, I’ll try to back up my statements with statistics (cuz unlike authoritarians, I don’t think people should believe what I say just cuz I say so) but that said, I’m convinced that pretty much all current datasets on rape are broken due to underreporting & underfunding of research.

First, dang. All I can say is…how does it feel to be the one sane person in a SEA OF FUCKING MORONS? I mean, sorry, but WOW! Clearly, lot of people in your community don’t have a clue what rape is! All this “both sides are to blame” and “he’s been punished enough” bullshit must be super aggravating! It’s that kind of stuff that makes you want to beat your head against a brick wall. GAHHHHHH!

So, when I was in college, one of my friends learned that his little sister had been raped by his dad (~30% of kids who report being raped were raped by a family member1), and my friend did this totally dissociated thing of trying to get his sister to “make up with” his dad. Like, WTF! If someone was mauled by a dog, would you fucking insist that they “make up with” the dog?! That relationship is done. There is no longer a relationship, there is a disaster. Rape isn’t a conflict. There are no two sides to nothing.

I’ve come to learn that hella cognitive dissonance is totally normal when people learn that someone in their life has been raped by someone else in their life. Maybe one of the reasons for this dissonance is the Hollywood stereotype that all rapists are creepy “Jack the Ripper” types—inhuman monsters who spend their lives lurking in dark alleyways with creepy violin music playing in the background. Most people don’t realize that’s it’s not like that at all. It’s more like Battlestar Galatica, like how everyone is surprised when they find out someone’s a cylon cuz “they seemed like a real person!” (cuz, they are real people, duh!)—that’s how rapists are: real people. And they are among us. Totally like cylons. A majority of rapes happen between people who knew each other in advance1, so there’s likely a social network that surrounds the victim and the rapist, and yeah, I guess it’s hard for a lot of people to understand the severity of rape when they just saw the victim and the perpetrator just the other day having such a nice time together, and it doesn’t help when they have this unrealistic image in their heads that rapists are like Freddy Krueger rather than what they are: actual, real people.

I’m sorry to hear that people in your community are calling the victims “crazy.” I wish I could say that’s unusual. I hate to be the one to say it, but in a personality contest between a victim and their rapist, the victim will almost always lose. This is because a serial rapist is more likely to have narcissistic personality2, and because the victim is likely to be dealing with a slew of medical issues in the wake of being raped that are likely to, well, “reduce their social capital.”

A 2010 study by the Center for Disease Control showed that 81% of women who experience rape or gender-based violence report having serious medical consequences3. Rape victims will often have random PTSD triggers, panic attacks, disassociation, flashbacks, suicidal thoughts and behavior, moderate to severe depression, digestive problems, nervous system problems, fibromyalgia, irritable bowel syndrome—not to mention physical wounds that may have been caused during the rape itself. Rape and sexual violence are “a major health problem in the United States” according to the CDC. These are serious medical problems victims are left with. One friend who was raped over a decade ago still has to go to the hospital every couple of months for IBS attacks that started right after her rape. A lot of friends who have experienced rape get panic attacks, which feel like heart attacks—they’re really scary and fuck up your week!

So, being raped and its medical consequences are likely to seriously mess up your social game. Rape victims will be more likely to “flake out” on social events (due to flare-ups of rape-related medical problems). The victim is more likely to yell or act erratic (cuz random trauma triggers can lead to adrenaline rushes, dissociation, and other PTSD symptoms). Also, when triggered, a victim is likely to experience flashbacks of not just the rape but all the harm they’ve ever experienced in their whole dang life—cuz yeah, the synapses for traumatic memories are often bound together in the nervous system and trigger each other.

Serial rapists are able to capitalize off of how predictable these symptoms are. The rapist might use their victim’s state to discredit their claim of having been raped, or, like in the case of the rapist you’re talking about, they might subtly try to frame things as: “Who do you all want in your community, that nervous wreck, or me?”

Five years ago, I was living in a co-op house, and we had a serial assaulter move in who was a PhD student in psychiatry and who proclaimed himself to be an “expert in Nonviolent Communication.” After he’d assault a woman, he’d make a big deal about how she was “yelling” and that this was a form of “emotional violence” and then he’d offer to give her free training in NVC, at which point she’d move out in terror. He’d say to the other housemates: “A lot of insecure women find a strong man like me to be upsetting” and “I refuse to back down when they project their rape trauma onto me.” Like, holy shit! He managed to assault three women before everyone figured out what was going on. Well, no… No one figured it out actually: he was caught in the act by another housemate. What a bummer that no one believed the first victim! But this guy was a smooth operator.

Rapists often put a lot of effort into grooming entire communities to support their behavior. A serial rapist is often surrounded by serial rape apologists. Just look at Harvey Weinstein’s staff: there were several older women on the staff of his company who he’d groomed to say things like “that’s just the way Harvey is—he’s a touchy guy” to victims and concerned observers. The aim of any serial rapist is to train the people around them to make excuses for them and support their behavior so they can keep doing it. What’s crazy is how easily people fall in line and do this.

Colonial capitalism has hecka trained us to rally our care and labor around supporting people who harm others—people who abuse the environment, people who abuse workers, people who abuse indigenous people, people who abuse women, etc. We’re all trained from birth in this broken, unsustainable and stupid culture to form hierarchies that center abusers and excuse and accommodate their behavior. For a whole community to fold itself into a cushy extension of rapists’ raping habits is really no surprise. It’s the norm in capitalist culture, not the exception.

The fact that some people in your community are saying “he’s suffered enough” shows that they are thinking more about punishing the rapist (which is a way of centering the rapist) rather than holding space for the healing of the victims. The community strategy of handling rape must always ever be focused on the victims’ healing and community safety.

Back in 2014, I was teaching a free community writing class and one of my students wrote something that we published in Slingshot. Then we were contacted by someone from out-of-state who said that person had raped someone in their community, and thus should be banned from all of our community spaces in the Bay. I was glad we got the email: I discretely informed several likeminded community members to keep a close watch on the rapist. But were we going to ban the guy? Drive him out of every infoshop, hacker space, and house show in the area? He had already been banned from an entire extensive community in another state, and I believe his reason for moving to our region was to try to rebuild his life. Many of us of course kept an eye on him, and no rapes (that we know) of occurred. But yeah, wow, the fact that those folks in the other city were hellbent on “ban him from everywhere on the planet!” was just nonsensical. Like, the person who sent the email wasn’t the victim, and there was no indication that she was in contact with the victim. Also, based on the info she sent, the victim was going to college in another state! She had never been part of our community nor was she planning to join it. Banning the rapist from our spaces wouldn’t have helped the victim at all. This was just a case of someone punishment-mongering.

A lot of people, rather than holding space for the victims’ stories and healing, will do this self-centered ego-driven thing of taking it upon themselves to punish the rapist. This vigilante bullshit comes from a childish desire to play hero, and is a way of centering yourself rather than the victim. Also, it is a huge reason that many victims don’t speak up: Having big-ego-types walking around talking about how they plan to break the legs of any rapist puts a ton of pressure on the rape victim not to speak up cuz, on top of everything else they’re dealing with, now they have to worry about their rapist’s safety. You could punish and torture a rapist unto infinity, and it will never reverse the harm that was done.

When communities go overboard with punishing a rapist, it also makes it really hard to rally people to respond to the next rape or assault (and this is rape culture—there will be a next time). I’ve totally seen communities do a 180-flip and fail to address future rapes cuz they aren’t comfortable with the level of extreme punishment that went down last time.

Not that over-punishing is what you’re dealing with. You’ve got the opposite shitty community response on your hands: apathy/dissociation. But still, people in your community are latching on to this whole punishment crap, in the form of deciding it’s okay to let him into the victims’ community spaces because “he’s suffered enough.” The punishment paradigm leads people to think that once a rapist has had what to them seems like enough punishment, the situation no longer needs to be addressed. It’s yet another freaking way of throwing victims under the goddamn bus.

When rapists stay in community spaces, it often means their victims have to leave to avoid being re-traumatized by seeing their rapist. Additionally, due to shitty things people tend to say to rape survivors (I’ve compiled a list here:, survivors tend to be re-traumatized when they try to seek support from their community. The fact that you’re working on creating a network of people who kindly ask rapists to leave community spaces for the sake of allowing their victims to be in those spaces is huge! It is also huge for members of the community to educate themselves about what rape does to people, and about how important it is to avoid saying and doing shit that can re-traumatize victims.

I wish we could say that in the Slingshot / Long Haul community, we’ve figured this out, but the truth is, we’re still working through it too. There are always new people who join our community who haven’t yet watched this pattern go down, people who “refuse to take sides.” I wish I could say there was some easy way to convince these folks to be more proactive, but you can’t make up other people’s minds for them. They have to do the work themselves. We have very tragically lost multiple amazing women from our collective who had been victimized by people who used the building or who were also in the collective. For those of us who the victims confided in, we feel like failures for not doing anything fast enough to make the space feel safe for them. Because of our indecisiveness, they ended up re-encountering their perpetrator, and had to leave the collective (and the area) as they grappled with their trauma and their need to find somewhere safe. Those were people who brought wisdom and light to our project and community, and the Slingshot loft will always be just a little bit dimmer now that they are gone.

Holding space for rape victims to heal (rather than centering rapists) has to be a choice. It has to be a conscious, intentional choice on the part of everyone in the community. If your community is failing to have that type of intentionality, well, they should call themselves “consumers” then, rather that “hippies.” Consumers are all about doing whatever is easy at the time at the expense of everyone else and the environment. Hippies, at least the real ones, understand that creating a world where free love and equality are possible takes work. “Everyone gets a blister,” is a local hippy saying, cuz, whether you’re building a Free Speech Stage on the land you’ve just taken from the man (Long Live People’s Park!), or whether you’re building a community process to center the healing of rape victims, building a new, better world takes work. Doing work means you’ll get tired sometimes, but that’s part of what being a real hippie is all about! And being a punk! And a hacker! This is part of building a counter culture that is a true alternative to capitalist rape culture, rather than just replicating it.

Even though it seems like we have a long road ahead of us, the fact that we are able to have this conversation, and that victims feel more confident than ever before in sharing their stories, is a sign that change is coming. For a victim to share their story is a leap of faith. It is up to the community to catch them—to whirl into action and center their healing. A better world is possible, but only if we all put in the work.

Towards something better, Joan

P.S. If anyone reading this feels their space or community has a really awesome set of practices for addressing rape and sexual violence, we’d love to hear about it! We’ll pass along anything you send us to ALLY, and we may even print it in the next issue of Slingshot.

In memory of Stephon Clark:  We will not shut up and dribble

By Gerald Smith

The Oscar Grant Committee Against Police Brutality (OGC) went to Sacramento on March 29, 2018 to join the demonstrations following the police killing of Stephon Clark. On our way to the demonstration, a young man walked up and hugged me. I was taken by surprise. This young man was Stevante Clark, the brother of Stephon Clark. He is the man who on Tuesday, March 27 led hundreds of people to disrupt the Sacramento City Council meeting as he danced into the building and jumped up on the dais chanting his brother’s name. He later said, “They gun him down like a dog. They executed him…” Of the 20 shots the police fired at his brother he said, “That’s like stepping on a roach and then Steppin Steppin Steppin Steppin Steppin Steppin Steppin.”

The killing of Stephon Clark on the 18th of March by Sacramento Police has sparked anger and militant protest in the capital city of California. Clark, a twenty-two-year-old father of two was standing, unarmed, in his grandmother’s backyard holding only his cell phone when pigs, who did not announce they were police, appeared in the dark, yelled at him to show his hands and quickly fired 20 shots at him before he could comply. In the wake of this, his 25-year-old brother has been thrown into the national spotlight and forced to deal with the media, protests, lawyers, and donations while struggling through his own pain, grief, and anger. He said, “ I shouldn’t have to defend my brother. They [the police] should be proving their innocence.”

On April 19, Stevante Clark was arrested for threatening his roommates. No bail. I was in Sacramento on Friday, April 20 supporting the anti-fascist protesters Felarca, Williams and Paz, who are currently on trial. In the courthouse, I was fortunate to learn from a number of activists who knew Stevante what was going on. They explained to me that Stevante was deeply troubled having lost two brothers to police violence. That his behavior had been erratic. He threatened everybody they said. He even threatened Fred Hampton Jr., the son of assassinated Black Panther Party leader Fred Hampton, when he came to town. His roommates had called the pigs multiple times to complain about Stevante’s threats. No police response. Then, they came down on him.

Jamier of the Party of Socialism and Liberation explained to me: “Stevante was a symbol that the establishment created and then demonized. They built him up so that they could tear him down and replace him with the Build. Black. Coalition. What they don’t want is an independent People’s movement.”

The recent protests have rocked Sacramento. They blocked downtown traffic; marched on the I-5 freeway; and shut down the Kings basketball games. This is not our Grandmothers’ civil rights demonstration. The authorities had to install a fence around the entire stadium to ensure that King fans could attend the games.

On March 29th, Hundreds attended Stephon’s funeral. At the funeral, Stephons grandmother, Sequita Thompson lamented:

“Why didn’t you just shoot him in the arm, shoot him in the leg, send the dogs, send a taser? Why? Why?”

During the funeral, Reverend Al Sharpton declared, “Yesterday, the president’s press secretary said this is a local matter. No, this is not a local matter. They’ve been killing young black men all over the country.” Indeed, this horrific murder by police was like too many others…

After the protesters shut down the Kings NBA game, organizer Barry Accius received a startling response from the Kings. They asked him to come and speak to the owner. Accius thought he was going to be arrested having just blocked 10,000 fans from seeing the game. Instead, he met with co-owner Vivek Yeshwant Ranadivé and former player Doug Christie. They offered to set up a fund to help the young black people of Sacramento. This was a big surprise. The money has been donated to the Build. Black. Coalition. This grouping includes Black Lives Matter and the NAACP. The majority of players in the NBA are black and they know that they too could be victims of police murder. DeMarcus Cousins, formerly a member of the Kings, presently with the New Orleans Pelicans, offered to pay for the funeral expenses. Matt Barnes offered to pay for the college expenses of Stephon Clark’s two children. On March 25, when the Boston Celtics played the Kings, the players wore t-shirts that read: #Stephon King and on the back “Accountability-We Are One”. The NBA players made a video in which Al Horford of the Celtics proclaimed “We will not shut up and dribble”.

The struggle continues.

Edge of the Cliff

By Jesse D. Palmer

So much of our world is unsustainable — the weather is going crazy, cities are too expensive for regular people, mainstream politics are an endless spiral of distracting chaos, income inequality keeps getting more extreme, there’s camping on every sidewalk. People stare into their phones in a state of anxiety and isolation, replacing facts with propaganda while abandoning privacy and time to think. While some people are checking-out or in denial, others are lashing out in rage and despair — in extreme cases shooting up schools or joining hate groups. Things can’t keep going like this, which is precisely what “unsustainable” means.

We’re on the edge of a cliff — which can be exciting if your going hang-gliding but scary if your about to be pushed off. We need to decide if we’re going to be crushed beneath the massive shifts that are upon us, or if we want to help steer the course of events. If so, we’ll need to be organized and have vision.

The only real answers are coming from the underground. We need to start paying attention to fun and life, not profit and technology. Cultures are tools that can enable human beings to live more fulfilling lives so we can explore each of our unique talents and appetites. But this culture has it all backwards — people have become tools serving the system’s abstract goals of production, efficiency, speed, consumption and standardization.

Why is fast food the norm and slow food a pleasure reserved for the rich? Eating food is our most basic natural, animal function and we evolved to enjoy food — to enjoy it slow — to savor every delicious bite. Meals are times to build social connections with rambling groups of comrades, to tell jokes, to build sexual tension. The system selling us a fast lunch so we can rush back to work is unsustainable environmentally, spiritually and politically. So instead, we’re taking back the pleasure of growing our food, of cooking it, of eating — of direct experience rather than having the system do for us the very experiences that make us living beings on a living world.

We need to cooperate and make decisions for ourselves rather than letting the system break us into ever smaller managed, isolated, lonely boxes. We’re replacing corporations with coops and replacing condos with communes. The stuff we do with our days should matter both to the world and to the people doing it rather than just being a job we hate that serves the elite. When we cooperate to make stuff, grow food, or build households, we exercise direct participation in the decisions that relate to our lives rather than being powerless workers, voters or consumers.

The nuclear family is as toxic and unsustainable as it sounds because kids and parents need complex connections with adults who aren’t their parents of all ages — and people without kids shouldn’t have to live without the chaos and energy that kids and childrearing generate. The arbitrary separation of families from each other and everyone else — each armed with their own car and their own washing machine — is unsustainable environmentally and emotionally.

We need to reject the artificial separations between the way we live, the economy, politics, the technology we use and the environment — they’re all on a continuum and we can’t fix one part without fixing everything.

Limiting disastrous climate change and thereby perhaps postponing our own extinction isn’t impossible or unthinkable, unless we want to preserve all the broken, unjust, joyless aspects of the present system. Why on earth would we want to keep things that aren’t working the same at the expense of this world’s beautiful ecosystem? That would be crazy — and therefore unsustainable.

If we want to limit carbon emissions, that means we need to immediately block new fossil fuel infrastructure, and begin dismantling what’s already around. This isn’t so hard because it aligns with what makes us happy, healthy and engaged with other people and ourselves. Who wants to be stuck in their darn car or sold the lie that cars represent freedom and sex appeal? It’s time for less cars, more bikes, denser cities, no more airplanes and less kids per person — but yes let’s keep having kids and raising them as ziblings (*unrelated siblings) in big purple communes.

Has anyone else noticed how the rise of Uber means there are more cars on the road day and night and you see people hunched over phones in idling cars fucking everywhere? At least turn off the motor if you’re just sitting there — it wastes gas and it smells. And really just take the bus or walk. Everyone hates the idea of the oceans filling with plastic, which begs the question “can we please stop buying more plastic already?” The hour is far too late to hope other people will make the changes that we need to make on our own. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t holding the bosses and corporations responsible for the reckless, poisonous options they peddle — this isn’t up to individuals to solve on their own. This isn’t about being green consumers — we reject being consumers of any color.

Perhaps the most unstable aspect of this system is the way 1% of the population owns more than half the world’s wealth — and climbing. This inequality causes so much day-to-day suffering and is so easy to fix with what we were taught in kindergarten — learn to share! Inequality on this scale is unsustainable and is responsible for diverse dysfunctions — health problems, rising nationalism, violence, mental illness, housing displacement.

In cities, everyone’s anxious because housing is scarce and unaffordable which we summarize as gentrification. It is past time to redistribute the wealth so everyone can afford a place to live. Even if we make a land trust, where’s the money going to come from to buy the neighborhoods? Let’s seize and share the land instead — much less paperwork.

The recent wildcat teachers strikes provide a tiny glimpse of how it’s done. We need to stop begging the elite for crumbs and point out the obvious — this shit doesn’t work and we can do better. We need to move beyond protesting against stuff, and instead spend our energy creating positive change.

The current ways are finished — none of the system’s ways are either natural or inevitable. This isn’t about single issue politics — because all the various systems of hierarchy, sexism, racism, capitalism, technology, short-term thinking, worship of efficiency in areas that don’t demand efficiency and artificial barriers between the head and the heart, between human beings and nature — all these things are killing us and killing the earth.

When everything is falling apart and no one can figure out what might happen next, it’s scary but even more its exciting, sexy, and a damn relief. The collapse we’re in the midst of is long overdue.

The trump regime confirms the dramatic nature of the systems’ disintegration. He offers nothing but division and distraction yet the mainstream power structure, the media and the Democrats are so spiritually, intellectually and politically bankrupt that they are powerless to stop an orange-painted fool.

A society that kills the earth is killing itself and deserves to go — being unsustainable is self-limiting. Because life is fun and I love so many things humans have created despite all our obvious flaws, I’m optimistic that this phase of history will transition and something radically different will emerge soon enough. But make no mistake — banks don’t burn themselves down and social collapse needs all of us as active, creative, joyful participants.

We might find that the one thing that is sustainable — that can last over the long haul, thrive and grow richer and more satisfying the longer we practice it — is the counter-culture and our resistance to the death-system. The web of do-it-yourself, funky, humble alternative institutions that our communities are building voluntarily, without funding, without asking permission, based on values the mainstream doesn’t take seriously like love, pleasure and beauty — these pursuits aren’t dead ends. Making them your life’s work doesn’t entangle you in contradictions between your own needs and the needs of the earth or others around you, but rather takes you places you didn’t know you needed to go. Let’s let our minds wander while we share good times so we can appreciate these wild times together.

Journey to the End of Racism

By H-Cat

I like to play pervasive street games, and last autumn I took part in a game that’s been running for around a decade in San Francisco called Journey to the End of the Night, or “Journey” for short.

Journey happens once a year, and it is sort of like capture the flag merged with cops and robbers, blended with absurdist performance art. It happens outside and players chase each other through the streets, often dressed in colorful costumes. There are “runners” and “chasers.” The runners attempt to make it to a series of checkpoints without being caught by the chasers. At the checkpoints, you have to complete some kind of strange task, like solving a puzzle blindfolded while someone else directs you. If you’re tagged, you have to become a chaser, so the game gets progressively harder as the night wears on. This game is no joke! Not everyone makes it to the end of the night—at least without getting caught!

Inspired by Situationist psychogeography, Journey is a way of remapping urban space to create new meaningful experiences, to really take ownership over public space, as we follow paper maps and invent fun puzzles and quirky characters (i.e. the checkpoint guardians) to entertain each other. Like Slingshot, Journey to the End of the Night is put together entirely by volunteers.

While this game is truly wonderful, there has been a troubling pattern with Journey, and with other street games of this ilk: Where are the people of color? #StreetGamesSoWhite It’s unfortunately a thing. There simply aren’t as many people of color represented in the playerbase of these games as there should be based on the demographics of the population. This is something that has left many game organizers scratching their heads, myself included as I develop my own games.

Last year, at the end of Journey, as everyone shared our stories of the evening’s adventures at the finish line, one of the players who was Black shared a story that led some of us to pause as if we were being choked by an Occult hand.

This young African-American man had been running from some chasers near Golden Gate Park when a group of random bystanders started chasing him too. (!!) The bystanders tackled him in a way that was super not safe. Within live gaming communities, we often have special safety rules about how (not) to touch each other’s bodies, and yeah, these bystanders weren’t even playing and didn’t follow these rules at all, and also: What the actual fuck?!

As the bystanders explained, they hadn’t noticed the colorful costumes or armbands or that a massive street game with hundreds of players was going on around them. All they saw was a Black man running from a group of white people, and they had assumed this meant that the black person had robbed someone.

The player who was tackled was rather jovial about the incident (or was still in shock!?) at the finish line, and shared the story as we stood around eating buckets of gold fish crackers, and he even added the story to the whimsical map we were making of things that had happened that night.

Organizers of the game were deeply troubled when they learned about what had happened to him. “How can we make our game safer for players of color?” is a question asked by more and more creators of live games, whether it is people working on corporate bullshit games like Pokemon Go, or those of us DIYing our own Situationist mirth.

The sad reality is that it simply isn’t possible to make Journey safer for players of color without changing the very nature of the game. A key part of any psychogeography game is that you’re moving through public space in a way that often startles people and wakes them up. If we were to remove random public encounters from the game, all of that will be lost. The point is that you never know if you’ll find yourself chasing each other through a crowd of opera patrons dressed in their best, or a camp of homeless people, or a group of other random humans. Due to the ambient prevalence of racism within the public play space though, it seems all street games ought to at least include a disclaimer like:

We apologize for the ambient racism of society which creates an additional layer of the safety hazards on top of those already in play in this game.

…of course there is another way to make Journey and other street games safer for players of color… This would involve a massive pervasive game in which we change the nature of reality. …Or at least the social reality. So, reality. It would be a game about removing racism. If playing this game, it is important to let people know that Society is Under Construction. This means you should probably put up yellow “Caution!” signs, and wear hardhats to protect your head from falling racists.

Racists come in many varieties. Some are worth more points than others. Don’t focus too hard on the ones who merely use slurs, but rather the ones who use their power to harm or systematically direct resources away from people of color. Go after the ones who put pervasive conditions are in place that increase the likelihood that a person of color will be in poverty, and thus may need to steal to get by, and thus the stereotypes emerge from those social conditions. (The slurs won’t matter any more once things are made equal—just ask the Irish!)

Types of Racists / Point Values:

• People who have been granted the institutional power to kill or physically harm others, and who use it in a biased fashion towards people of color / 1,000,000 Points

• People who have been granted institutional power over other people’s freedom, and who use it in a biased fashion to rob people of color of freedoms / 800,000 Points

• People who have been granted institutional power over images presented in mass media, and who use that power to depict people of color as “threatening” in a biased way / 900,000 Points

• People who have been granted the institutional power to restrict people’s access to food, clothing, shelter, and care, and who use it in a biased fashion to thwart people of color from receiving these things / 500,000 Points

• People with the institutional power to assign other people the ability to direct the labor of others, and who do so on a way that disproportionately goes to non-people-of-color / 700,000 Points

• People who use racial slurs, or who verbally spread stereotypes about people of color, making whatever spaces they occupy emotionally untenable for folks of color / 75 Points

People who say “everything is equal and people of color need to stop whining cuz they have the same opportunities as everyone else” (aka, Colorblind Racism) / 50 Points

The goal isn’t to physically harm racists, but rather to take their toys away and/or put them on a time out, which is to say: strategically limit their ability to harm people of color, and keep an eye on them so they don’t do it again.

Identifying racists within institutions isn’t always as easy as you think. It often means crunching the numbers to find out, for example, if a specific worker in the Food Stamp Office is more likely to reject an application by a person of color, or if a specific film director keeps having people of color appear on the screen in ways that train viewers to fear them. Track this stuff. Write it down. Create a data set.

Once a person, company, or institution has been identified as racist, players will need to develop a specific strategy. These strategies could involve suing them (making it too expensive to harm people of color), removing them from their positions and/or not reelecting them (making it a bad career move to harm people of color), boycotting their products (making it a bad business move to fail to include people of color in wealth-generation practices), and any other excellent strategies you come up with that match whatever unique situation you’ve identified.

Points may only be awarded if the conditions are changed to put people of color—within the context of the racist person or institution—on equal footing. So replacing one racist with another doesn’t count.

This game can be done in single player mode or in teams. Try it both ways!

It is important to avoid Witch Hunts, or situations in which someone is accused of institutional racism without data to back up that claim, or without 1 or more victims who have publically come forward. If you start a Witch Hunt, you will lose 500,000 Points, or your points will go back to zero, whichever is higher. So, if you suspect someone is using their institutional power in a racist way, seriously, crunch the numbers. Get a statement from one (and hopefully several victims). Don’t cherry pick the data. Look at all the cases of a judge—and compile a spreadsheet—and really make sure you’re accurate in your assumption that they tend to give harsher sentences to people of color than to non-people of color who have committed the same crime.

There are lots of things you can do with data: post it on and tweet it like crazy, contact lawyers who specialize in that type of lawsuit, email it to journalists, send it to professors, write a letter to the editor of every publication in the area. Extra points awarded for creative uses of data!

Energy Limit. Some games have a time limit. This game has an energy limit, which will be different for each player. Based on your energy limit, you’ll probably only be able to put in check between 5-50 racists per year. Please refer to the points system to help you calculate how to spend your energy most efficiently. The points have been carefully calibrated through years of meticulous scientific efforts in Berkeley’s secret Laboratory of 4th Dimensional Anthropology, a lab that mysteriously appears in spaces throughout the Bay Area and then vanishes just before the authorities arrive.

Don’t get a Game Over! If your Energy Meter drops below 5 Energy Points (your body will tell you when it’s that low), use that remaining energy to replenish yourself. Games are fun, but if you wear yourself out, you’ll be too exhausted to play tomorrow. Go for a steady burn. That said, if you’re on a roll, that’s great! Extra points for single month combos!

Risks include head injuries (wear your hardhat!), indigestion, adventure, danger, singing silly songs, death, life, general tomfoolery, destroying your reputation for being “a nice person,” and complete destruction of the social reality. Extra points for tomfoolery.

Disclaimer: The organizers of this game would like to apologize for the ambient level of racism in society which creates an additional layer of the safety hazards on top of those already in play in this game. We solemnly swear to actively do all in our power to change those ambient conditions, but in the meantime, we ask that players of color play with caution. Society is under construction.

What’s up with March for our Lives?

by Rabble Rabble Cheeseburger

“March for our Lives” has a cataclysmic tone to it, a call for mass flight in the face of disaster. It’s unquestionable that we in the Holocene extinction are ‘surviving’ an ecocide. The resulting survival sickness has become a pandemic. The malaise infects the youth, inheritors of a thinly veiled extermination, that’s given partial expression in the breakdown of the schools. The model of education which emerged out of industrial England, and that came to signify education proper, of training youth to become workers, is obsolete in a society that lives in permanent denial about its future. Schooling reduced to a disciplinary function shows children for what they are, political prisoners.

If assault rifles were banned, it would only strip away one of the last residues of constituent power. A people armed, not as individuals, but as militias that provide a check to state power. Nowadays that is perhaps a far fetched idea, but so is allowing only the police and the military to have them. Roughly 3% of the population owns over half of the guns today, while gun ownership has been declining, as have gun deaths. Over two thirds of those gun deaths are suicides. While schools remain safer for students to be at than their own homes, or anywhere else for that matter. Increasing surveillance on the ‘mentally ill’ is nonsensical, as a ‘group’ they commit fewer crimes than ‘normal’ people. Furthermore, nearly all school shootings are suburban, though sometimes rural, while security measures are typically deployed in urban areas. Sure, the N.R.A is a political action committee, and are lobbyists for gun manufacturers, but that’s business as usual. So, where’s the beef?

Liberal pitfalls are unavoidable, for there is no outside to ideology. Revolutionary struggle proceeds through contradiction. The radicals in “March for our lives” deserve solidarity, without it they risk abduction by the liberal consensus. Capitalist narratives have maintained the view that there is no escape — not even a plausible idea of one — from a system of infinite growth on a planet of finite resources. A la Frederic Jameson, it is more realistic to imagine the planet’s death, and to ‘live’ with that, than to imagine a future beyond capitalism,

Youth, the transformation of what exists, is in no way the property of those who are now young, but of the economic system, of the dynamism of capitalism. Things rule and are young, things confront and replace one another (SOTS-Unity and Division within appearance). By commodifying the world which youth inhabit, and restricting it to upholding the market, the creativity of youth is directed at preserving what is old, what is young is valued only in so far as it is exchangeable with what is already past. Our dilemma is that the movement which abolishes the present state of things is necessary, but denied out of suicidal faith.

Struggle determined by single serving issues guarantees defeat, the trap of the particular, as opposed to struggle against alienation in general. Production, as well as consumption is premised on preserving alienation, hence the serial production of the masses. This is why shootings continue to happen. In serial relations governed by scarcity, the other is a dehumanized alien, a threat to one’s being. The shooter and the shot-at reflexively preserve each other as the other. My sense of who I am is dependent on this mirroring, an identity which is made of what is other. The other disappears only when there is a solidarity which makes a break with alienating relations.

The lost children must see the potential for exodus. The liberals will settle for the pseudo equality of being mutually allowed to not be shot to death. Their belief in a world without alternatives needs fresh managers for the collapse. Dylan Klebold, one of the Columbine shooters, wrote that it was a question of conformity, that, “the zombies and their society band together and try to destroy what is superior and what they don’t understand and are afraid of”. What is intolerable about those like Dylan, is that they exist, and this ‘civilization’ has no place for them. Like the nomads in Kafka’s Old Manuscript, they do not want to know the ‘language’, and they reject translation. Instead, they play a zero sum game of non-equivalence with their enemies.

In the age of the state of exception (See Agamben, esp. Homo Sacer), when law increasingly operates by the rule of decree outside of constitutional oversight, lawfulness becomes the exception which upholds the rule of lawlessness. Sovereignty is nowhere more absent than on the level of totality, where we have no guarantees against threats to the species, resulting in a condition where one can be killed without protection from the law. This is the real truth of the war on terror. The logic of ‘terrorism’ is one of dissemination and visibility, ideally as spectacle, thus the media are accomplices of ‘terrorism’. The media inflicts violence by amplifying the effects which results in reinforcing the power of scarcity, serialization, and otherness. Provocative studies suggest that school shootings happen more frequently with every broadcast of a larger shooting, which creates a contagious effect. The consequence is an induced hysteria.

The actions of “March for our Lives” don’t add up. It’s a premature struggle trying to find itself, where what is at stake is mystified, directed at a particular commodity of the disaster. The enemy has no exit strategy. Cold war deterrence in the schools, like everywhere else, is just capital on life support. We are being slowly wiped out by the real mass killers who see no other way than collective suicide. That the shooters act like sociopathic madmen indistinguishable from our power elite gives new truth to Marx, when he wrote that the hegemonic ideas of an epoch, and by extension its actions, are those of its ruling class.